When it comes to following their own dreams, moms are notorious for putting them and themselves on the back burner, then dragging along a mountain of mom guilt for even wanting more than their kids to fill their well.
That was Ceta Walters. After struggling with infertility, she had her boys, Clark, now 9, and Stone, now 8, 18 months apart and threw herself into being a stay-at-home mom. But then she found herself wanting more.
“I felt so invisible in the sense that the life that I built and created was totally reduced to ‘how are the kids?’” says Walters, the Chicago mom behind the popular “Clark and Stone” fashion/lifestyle blog that rose out of those feelings. “I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, and it was no longer enough for me. I don’t know if it was the invisible feeling that I couldn’t shake or kind of competing with my husband and kids, that they all had a life except for me.”
Yes, she admits, mom guilt hit. “I finally got out of that because I was drowning in motherhood by not getting help. I get to create and write this story and I need to write it the way that suits me best. … That’s when I realized I can’t be a good mom without being good to myself first.
“…We only get one life. I can’t just keep coulda, woulda, shoulda.”
She intends “Clark and Stone” (which is nearing 100,000 followers on Instagram alone) to not only be inspirational, but aspirational. Plus, she uses her influence to boost other women up when she can.
Through it, she shares her own life hiccups — with her unique style, of course — to show, as she says, “that life is as good as you make it, even with the adversities you face.”
And this past year has been a real test of adversities for Walters.
She asked her husband for a divorce (she says she still loves him, but she wasn’t happy), she was diagnosed with breast cancer and the pandemic hit, delaying her bilateral mastectomy.
“It turned me upside down in my head. I did not see that coming,” she says about her cancer.
She says she gave herself two weeks for what she used to call a pity party. Then one day, she says she looked at her boys and a spirit of gratitude took over. She just celebrated one year cancer-free.
Your biggest fear:
“Not being here. That’s the thing with breast cancer. The reality is we are all going to pass away one day, but we really all live as if we’re not. And breast cancer kind of reminds you that it can happen. So now my biggest fear is not being able to watch my boys grow up. … I find myself, when I pray, bartering for time.”
But also, she says, she fears she won’t remarry even though she “100 percent” believes in love. “I just miss having my person.”
Your biggest parenting lesson:
“So many. The first is that they are their own person. I struggle with making sure I am not trying to make them like me. … Talking with my kids and helping them be their best selves, but always, always accepting and acknowledging that they’re not me. How they choose to handle things, process things, is not how I would choose to do it and I have to always remember that.”
What do you love about raising your boys in Chicago:
“I love the city. I love that they will be so well rounded and exposed to so many different cultures. We like to experience the city through food. I can take them to an Ethiopian restaurant, an Italian restaurant. They love Japanese food. And then the museums. It’s really like your own personal classroom or playground as a parent with having kids in Chicago. There’s so much that you can take them to.”
- Your super power: I’m a people person. That’s one of the things that I love about the blog. I’ve been able to meet so many people, I love hearing a person’s story and getting to know them.
- Most hated chore: Laundry. Oh I hate it!
- Secret weapon for doing it all: Delegating. I gave up thinking I could do it all myself and so I delegate.
- Your guilty pleasure: Reality TV, especially any of The Housewives series.
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