How Chelsea Whitley Became a Mom at 17 and a Entrepreneur at 24
Chelsea Whitley’s life changed when she became a mom at 17. While others were still figuring out themselves and worried about prom dresses, Chelsea was balancing work, school and motherhood.
Her circumstances were anything but easy and her life choices may have caused others to write her off and question her destiny. Yet seven years later, Chelsea has managed to find a balance between motherhood, entrepreneurship and a life outside of it all.
Find out how Chelsea manages her schedule throughout the week to ensure that she has enough time to get things done and spend quality time with her daughter. She also shares details on the tough decision she had to make between money & peace not too long ago.
Many people may not know this about you, but you’re a mom and you had your daughter at 17. What is the best thing about being a young mom and watching your daughter grow?
The best thing about being a young mom is being able to relate. I have a clearer memory of my childhood and past so I can relate more. I feel like when you're a young mom, you have more in you to rationalize with things, rather than just being the mom that says "this is how it's supposed to be and that's it."
The best thing about watching my daughter grow, is that fact that she's mine. I created her, and seeing her healthy, smart and alive reassures me that my hard work is paying off.
What are some things you’ve experienced growing up that you never want your daughter to experience?
I never want my daughter to wake up to screams, fights and her parents fighting. I never want her to cry for the fighting to stop. I don't want her to experience her parents split ups and the break ups-- having to decide on which parent to go with.
What was your last most difficult moment? How did you overcome it and what lessons did you learn from it?
My last most difficult moment was choosing happiness, which left me jobless. If I had to choose to be the same me and stagnant over money, I'd quit my job again.
It sucks when you're in the process of changing but your circumstances won't allow you to do so. Every day, I would tell myself to be happy, that happiness is a mind thing and it's in me, but everyday I'd wake up and dread going to a job that I hated. I didn't feel appreciated there and I knew I was more than my position there. I felt stuck around people I no longer related to anymore.
I've learned to worry less and to determine when things should be let go. The moment you make a decision and you're completely at ease, know that it's the right decision and never question it.
What is Tampered by Whitley? What makes it different than any other clothing line?
Tampered by Whitley is my clothing brand. I want to tamper with your closet. I want to get rid of the things you don't really care for, or you've settled for. I am your personal designer. Everyone has a look they're going for when they're deciding on what to wear. You get disappointed and frustrated after not finding the exact items that you want... I know, I've been there. Tampered is different because, I don't just want to sell you my style. I want to simply help enhance yours!
What is the most difficult part about launching a clothing line? How did you overcome that challenge?
The constant battle of wait and go. Having a life and not trying to have a life. The only reason that I can say I overcame, is because of Gods promise; it has already been done.
How do you balance being a mom, a seamstress and the Chief Operating Officer of Pink Productions?
Lots of planning. It took a lot for me to figure out a system. In the beginning, I was overwhelmed. Take out Online Store Director and add two other jobs to all of that. Now, I'm extremely better at everything I do.
I designate my days to certain things and it helps me accomplish things more efficiently. I send all my emails, do research and plan on Mondays. On Tuesdays, I sketch and design. On Wednesdays, I update calendars, database, plan ahead and read. On Thursdays, I sketch and design again and on Fridays, I finish whatever didn't get done throughout the week. I finish working by 6 p.m. every day and I spend the rest of my time being a mom and relaxing. On weekends, I mainly relax or free play and that's how I get it done.
What advice do you have for single young moms struggling to make ends meet?
Prayer. If you ask for what you need it will be provided. It took me forever to learn to stop, pray and ask first, rather than worrying about how I'm going to get something done. Most of the things I tried to do alone, didn't work out and I came to the conclusion that I wasn't doing anything.
My next piece of advice would be to always ask for help, you just never know where it's going to lead you.
What new lessons did you learn this year and how do you plan to put them into practice 2018?
Wow, I have learned so much this year to the point that I have troubles reflecting. My favorite and most important lesson is to not worry. I could worry about the smallest things and what helps is reading and getting lost in a book. By the time I finish reading I feel better and I notice how it takes my mind off of whatever I was worrying about. I plan to implement this anytime I start to overthink and worry.
The second lesson would be to focus. I learned taking on too many things at once, doesn't allow you to fully master a task. We weren't created to multitask. I learned that things weren't happening because I wasn't putting my all into it. In order to get endless results, you have to master something and in order to master things. You have to have full focus and let's just say I've been all over the place this year up until this moment.
If your daughter, sister, and mom ever happen to read this one day, what are three things you want them to know individually?
First and foremost I love you. You're a daily reminder of the little me, which keeps me on my p's and q's; because I see me perfectly. It's a constant reminder of what I need to do, because of what I needed. I want you to know it's hard to be a mom, because you want everything to be perfect, in a world where perfect doesn't exist. I want to apologize, for my carelessness decision of bringing you into a world at a time where I wasn't capable of giving you everything you deserve. I even wish you had a better father figure. But rule number 1., No regrets. I feel like there's so much weight on me to change for you and become this superwoman because I know you deserve it! I apologize for how hard I am on you. See right now, you wouldn't understand. Who I am today was passed down from my parents and society. I'm wrapped up in ridding myself from the curses of my parents, destroying old behaviors that doesn't do me any good, and building myself up for you and I. I hope when you're older, you'll acknowledge my effort and be proud to call me your mother.
To my sister,
I was so mean. I asked for you, literally begged mom and dad for you and disregarded you. I feel like a lot of our problems could have been avoided if mom actually did something about them. We took a lot of things into our own hands and as kids that was a big no, but I won't blame her for my actions though. I apologize for hurting your feelings every chance I got. I should have been more understanding. I feel like it's one of those things you don't notice until you're older. A lot of things you went through could have been avoided. I'm your big sister and I never took the title seriously. Now that we're older, we're growing closer and even have a lot of common interest. I hope that over time our bond continues to grow! I love you!
I can't imagine what's your actual perspective on your life; life in general. I can't imagine all that you've went through and I can't imagine what's it's like right now for you. Until recently, I blamed you for a lot of things that happened in my life. I realize now how a household is supposed to have a mom and a dad for where one parent lacked at, the other will be better at. I didn't blame my dad either, because I realize you can't force what was never meant. You had me at 23, I'm now 25 and anything and everything that you did was perfect! You did a damn good job with what you had! I will not take that from you! Your youngest daughter just turned 18. We turned out just fine! Your job as a mother isn't complete, but technically it is. I just want you to know that I love you, I couldn't have done anything without it and you are appreciated!