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How One Designer Works From Home with Her Toddler

BY tess falotico 10/20/2016

 

Molly Fitzpatrick—the woman behind DittoHouse’s graphically modern, you-can’t-help-but-smile throw blankets and pillows—makes working from her sunny, exposed brick-lined Cleveland house with a two-and-a-half-year-old boy look downright aspirational. Without veering into the dreaded having-it-all territory, we’ll just say we were curious how Molly merges running a biz and parenting in a way that’s not totally crazy-making. Here, some examples of how resident baby model Malachi helps Molly take care of business.

 

INSTANT FEEDBACK

 

“I started DittoHouse because I wanted textiles around the house that had active patterns and fun shapes. I wanted my son to be around that. I love to see the things he gravitates towards. It gets me thinking about new designs and ideas for different products I could use or make. I design things that will not only be engaging to my son but also to me. I keep it more sophisticated than the typical baby palate, but sometimes those colors are a good starting place. For instance, instead of super-primary red, yellow, and blue, I’ll use a rusty red and a gold.”

 

CUTE COWORKER VIBES

 

“My son is here with me all the time. It's just me and him and whatever work I have to do. I try not to separate my time and say, ‘This is time with my son, and this is work time.’ It all runs together. When he needs me, I'm with him, and when he's busy playing with blocks or trains, I hop on the computer and answer a few emails. I like that it’s seamless.”

 

PROVING SAMPLES CAN BE TOYS, TOO

 

“He's always getting into my yarns or felt swatches from other projects I have going on. He loves to sit at the desk next to me and pull out all the samples and stack them in different ways. Now that he's getting a little bit older, he can identify colors, so that's fun for him, too.”

 

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KEEPING THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE

 

“I don’t tell myself, ‘I have to have this project done by this time, and this is what I'm going to work on for this hour and this hour.’ I try to go with the flow. I might set a goal for the day or for the week, but I don’t put a ton of pressure on myself. If my son wants me to come play with him, then I tell myself, ‘This is what you're doing now.’ It's easy to get carried away once you start thinking of what needs to be done or could be done, but I try to appreciate what I'm doing in the moment. And one day a week, I have somebody come and watch him for a couple hours—so if I know something has to get done, I’ll schedule it in that block of time. Also, he usually takes a really good nap—I'm blessed—from 2 p.m. until around 5 p.m., so that’s also time I can fully focus on work.”

 

IN-HOUSE MODELING

 

“I love my house. We live in the Cleveland, and my husband, who renovates homes, redid the second floor of our little bungalow to be an office and playroom. He was really clever about how he used the space. It's a fun, engaging space for my son, and it's very easy to work in. We do photo shoots at home as a family. My husband cleans the house top to bottom, sets up the shoots, and wrangles the baby while I take the pictures.”

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