Pregnancy + Parenthood

Floral Designer Chelsea Neff on Mothering a Business—and a New Baby

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You might say that Chelsea Neff knows a thing or two about growth. In fact, it's kind of her business: Neff is the force behind Pine New York, a boutique floral design studio that has garnered the attention of Vogue and Manhattanites seeking something a little more artful and unique than your typically pretty bouquet.

Heavy-handed nature metaphors aside, Neff has seen her own personal evolution mirror that of her business since its launch in 2015, "In the past 4 years, I’ve learned to take on the “impossible” jobs. The “impossible” jobs stretch you as an entrepreneur and designer. If you don’t try something new, you won’t grow in your gifting."

This all seems like an apt description for her newest "impossible" job: being the mom to Jones, her newborn son, while still juggling the demands of her business. Below, Neff explains how the two intersect and overlap—and what she has learned from these early months of motherhood.

Since the growth of your family has certainly coincided with the growth of Pine, what parallels have you drawn between becoming a mother and birthing your business?

Being a mother and running a business is 24/7, non-stop. In this early season of motherhood, taking care of Jones is my priority. I’m enjoying working when and where it seems fit!

How would you define motherhood in 2019?

Motherhood to me is about personally raising up the next generation, by instilling the important things into Jones at a young age. If Jones learns the most from me by watching how I live, I’ll know I’m doing a pretty good job. My hope is that Jones is kind and loves people because he’s watched his father and I do the same—and it’s the only way he knows how to treat others.

How does self-care factor into your daily routine?

Well, I think that for the first six months of motherhood, “self-care” is a bit limited. I joke with my husband that a 5 minute hot shower at the end of the day is the most luxurious gift he can give me. Jokes aside, every morning I take my daily Ritual vitamins, assuring that I’ve fed myself the basic nutrients for my day. Taking my vitamins may seem like a small task, but it truly makes me feel like a responsible adult. I also try and start my mornings with a fresh homemade juice: preferably a blend of orange, celery, kale, apple and lemon (or honestly whatever is juice-able in the fridge). Starting the early mornings off by taking care of myself can truly help me be a better mother to Jones for the rest of the day.

Is there anything you wish you’d known about motherhood when you first found out you were pregnant?

Motherhood is the most exhaustingly sacrificial yet overwhelmingly beautiful life experience a woman can take on. It’s a wild ride that you really can’t “prepare” yourself for.

I honestly loved finding out a lot of the new things about motherhood on my own. People tend to have and share all of their opinions with you when they find out you're pregnant. I’d say that it’s important to talk with your partner and know what matters to you most before taking in and listening to everyone’s feedback on their versions of motherhood. One thing no one told me (or could tell me exactly—because every experience is different) is that breastfeeding could be just as painful and difficult as labor itself. But then again, maybe not knowing is best.


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