After nearly six years of motherhood, I’m finally starting to feel like myself again. I am slowly getting back into my cosplay groove, so I’m doing my first interview type thing in a while today (3/14/21) on Instagram Live with @TempleOfGeek. They do a Cosplay Connection segment, and I’ll be interviewed by @Maddie_whovian, who was a Geek of the Week here on the blog a few weeks ago. It will be on their Instagram page at 4PM Eastern (1PM Pacific).
*You can now see the Instagram Live interview on this article posted on Temple of Geek
From Cosplay Girl to Cosplay Mom
Several years ago, before I had my son, I had a costume store. I made custom costumes and sold ready-made pieces where people could put together fun outfits for themed events and conventions. I had my own line of corsets and carried over 100 different corsets in the shop. I lived, ate and breathed cosplay. I thought I was going to have a baby and everything would stay the the same. Spoiler Alert! It did not.
I did not have one of the babies that sits quietly, cooing and playing with little baby toys. Or one that napped sweetly while strapped in a carrier. I had a screaming hellion that demanded every second of my attention. He had no interest in hanging out in the pack-and-play I got to keep him with me at the shop. And he lasted about 10 minutes strapped to my chest before making a fuss to get out. I finally had to accept that he was a terrible co-worker and finally resorted to putting him in daycare.
Daycare lasted about six months before I had had enough. Hellion or not, I didn’t want to miss him growing up, so after 11 years in business I closed Three Muses Costumes & Corsets for good.
From Cosplay Mom to…Just Mom
I knew I’d be giving up a lot of freedom deciding to be a stay-at-home-mom, but I didn’t really grasp what a life changer it would be until I was in the thick of it. For the first time in my life, I had no “me time.” My husband traveled often for work, and we had no family close by. It was just me and one demanding kid most of the time. I barely had time to shower, much less make a costume. I didn’t feel like dressing up or even putting on make-up. For the first two years, all I really wanted to do was take a nap.
I tried to keep up with events, but slowly I stopped going to things. It was just too much. I used to go out two or three times a week, but it just wasn’t possible anymore. And I couldn’t do guest tables at conventions for days at a time. I fell out of touch with everything and eventually I stopped getting invited to be part of things. I went from being a guest at DragonCon with 100,000+ Facebook fans, to a frazzled mom who only popped online every so often to post baby photos.
Finding My Way Back
My son is almost six now. He’s in school and my husband is back after being gone nearly a year. I actually have time to do things again for myself. Of course that’s when a pandemic hits and everything is closed down. Didn’t see that one coming! I was so ready to jump back into things and suddenly there was nothing to do. No reason to make a new costume because there was nowhere to wear it. So I started making face masks.
I made hundreds of masks. I gave a ton of them away and started my Etsy page back up again to sell them as well. I posted a pattern and tutorial and it became the number one visited page on my blog. It’s still in the top ten. I really enjoyed having a reason to sew and create again. I felt more like myself than I had in the last five years. I started thinking maybe it’s time to try and create something new…but for what? Where was I going to wear it? What’s the point? I eventually realized the point is: Because it makes me happy.
Cosplay as a Hobby
Cosplay and costumes for me is now a hobby, not a job. I’m not doing any commission work, and I don’t plan to because then it turns it into a stressful thing. I am trying to embrace virtual events and get more comfortable with video, hence deciding to do the Instagram interview today. I started taking my own photos, which makes it a lot easier than trying to set up shoots and schedule large chunks of time. And I finally got on TikTok (@SewGeekMama) and discovered the magic of “cosplay transformation” videos. Now with every costume, I try to come up with a fun way to do the quick-change from mild-mannered mom to cosplay character.
But while cosplay is now a hobby, I still had to find a way to make it useful and relate to my current work as a blogger. So that’s where the cosplay tutorials come in. I started making more tutorials on YouTube and the blog, and posting free patterns for downloads. Once I started doing that, blog traffic nearly doubled and I finally felt like I’d found my focus. I get to dress up, do fun photos and share how to make things with other people. And when I’m not doing that, I write about mom life, geek culture and do product reviews. Overall, I’m pretty happy with this new balance of cosplay and content creation.