LAURELBOX: Nourishing A Woman's Soul
Welcome to our new interview series, our first conversation is with Johanna, one of the amazing mothers behind Laurelbox, a company dedicated to nourishing a women's heart, body, soul, and home after loss. Johanna is 30 years old, with two boys, ages 1 and 3.
It's so encouraging to see women and mothers creating and rallying behind one another to make this world a lovelier place to exist in. Motherhood is hard, and sometimes all you need is a kind word, or thoughtful gift to get you through hard times. Well, Laurelbox has done it, and has done it beautifully.
What is Laurelbox?
Laurelbox is a small online shop (at www.laurelbox.com) that offers thoughtfully curated gifts that nourish the hearts of hurting women. Our gift boxes stand apart from typical gifts that offer comfort during grief. Most items are made by us. Our other products are sourced from small independent artisans who have joined with us to offer exclusive items that speak to a woman's soul, body, home, and family. We have the option to customize your own laurelbox, send a prepared laurelbox designed for specific losses, or send a gift subscription.
Tell us a little bit about why you started laurel box?
Laurelbox came about when my business partner (and also cousin and best pal), Denise Wolfe, and I watched as some of our very best friends lost children, parents, and siblings this year. It was really heartbreaking and totally what inspired laurelbox. Denise and I both love vintage design and decor. But, when we went looking to send our friends meaningful gifts, everything that was designed specifically for loss wasn’t something that our friends would like. So we started thinking of items and gifts that would combine both a really beautiful aesthetic with special meaning. We also happen to be quite crafty, and a lot of our stuff is handmade by us. Everything else is created by small, women owned businesses.
What is an inspiring quote that lifts you up?
"Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." I love that quote because it reminds me to walk this earth with grace tinted glasses. This world can be a painful and dark place, and our human eyes can't always see the hurt in those around us. We are always most beautiful when extending kindness.
What do you find most challenging about motherhood? What is most rewarding?
The pressure I put on myself is extremely challenging for me. I always feel guilty about random things. Guilty that I forgot the wet clothes in the washing machine, guilty I let them eat too much mac and cheese, guilty that I never signed my toddler up for soccer like I meant to, guilty when I lose my cool. But I read a blog somewhere that said kids only recollect fuzzy vague feelings in their very young years. So I just try and build fuzzy vague warm feelings. My favorite tactic to building fuzzy vague warm feelings is lots of giggling, dancing, and snuggling.
The most rewarding part is the connection I have with these little people. They are my lifeblood. I love seeing the world through their eyes. Watching them develop into their own selves. I especially love hearing my toddler tell me jokes. They’re terrible and not even a little bit funny. But he thinks they’re hysterical, which makes me happy.
What has changed the most after becoming a mother?
Becoming a mother has molded me into a more gracious and kind person. Nothing will humble you quite as much as parenthood. It’s also made me more sleep deprived, lowered my standard of cleanliness, caused me to pee myself when I laugh, turned my car into a pit, and taught me that I despise making baby food.
How to you handle getting through hard times?
That is quite the question for me to answer, because this year has been the hardest of my life. The trauma of this year wore me down to my very core. But at the same time, it forced me to do a lot of soul searching. The reality of my overwhelmingly busy life was that I didn't have time for self care, so I learned to regenerate in different ways. I joined a support group, gave myself freedom to buy prepared meals at Costco, leaned on trusted and safe friends, and was vulnerable about my experiences. There is not set prescription, but everyone must find their own path.
What inspires you?
I am truly so inspired by all the women who are sending laurelboxes. I get so many personal messages from women who just want to take care of their hurting friend. Watching women care for each another is beautiful.
What question would you ask your mother?
I ask my mother ALL THE QUESTIONS. We are best of friends, so she gives me advice on everything from what to cook to how to make this crazy marriage thing work. Most of all, I look to my mother as my model for kindness, humility, and forgiveness. She shows me how to reach outside of yourself, care for others, and extend grace at each turn.
Why is the idea of a Village important to you?
I am passionate about real friends. Friends who don’t feed you any BS. Friends who will talk to you late at night when your world crumbles. Friends who won’t judge you if you want to run away. And friends who will tell you the truth about yourself…the truth that you are doing a great job at motherhood and just need to cut yourself a break. A purposeful striving together of women can only serve to make the world a more beautiful place.
Visit www.laurelbox.com and get a gift for a friend in need.
Interview by: Krystal Donovan