SHE IS …. Kelsey Baldwin

I’m the one-woman-show behind the online shop Paper + Oats, where I design organizational printables and stationery and provide graphic design services for other creative entrepreneurs. I’m 28 years old, and a single mama to my adorable 10-month-old girl Penelope (aka Poppy) and a crazy border collie named Cooper. I live in Springfield, MO, but I’m getting ready for my next big adventure, moving to Nashville, TN! I am recently divorced from my husband of 5 years, and he was actually my first and only boyfriend. We were in each other’s lives for nearly a decade, so it’s been quite an adjustment going back to singleness, and even thinking about dating. It’s a little scary, but also exciting knowing God’s got a great guy out there somewhere for me and Poppy, and I can’t wait to meet him.


What are you most grateful for/has been the biggest blessing of singleness?
I’m pretty independent, and I enjoy (and need!) my alone time, so I’m grateful to have this time to myself and focus on building my business and learning to be a mom. It’s not easy being a single parent, but it’s not impossible, and I always like a good challenge :)


What have you done on your own that you are most proud of?
I am proud of two huge accomplishments since my divorce. I was able to take my business full-time, which was much sooner than I ever thought, and it has been growing quickly ever since. I have some exciting things in-store! My other proud moment was giving birth to my daughter. I was a single mama from day one of my pregnancy, so going through that journey alone and then giving birth naturally to her showed me that I am way stronger than I thought I was, and I’m so proud to have come out on the other side of that rollercoaster.


How do you pursue contentment and joy?
I’m a bit of a workaholic, so I have to force myself to close the laptop, put down my phone, and just enjoy being with my family. I live with my mom right now, and she and I and Poppy like to go on walks, go shopping, spend time with my brothers, and enjoy a good meal. I also have a strong connection to my church, so being in that environment and around my friends there always brings me joy and encouragement.


What have you learned through singleness that you wish you could tell your younger self?

You don’t have to marry right away! Haha :) I got married pretty young, and I definitely think that played a part in the marriage ending. I remember being so excited to just be a wife, that I would go back and tell my younger self that there’s no rush to be a wife, and you can enjoy being single without feeling left out.


What has been the most exciting thing you have done throughout your single years?
Well, I only recently became single, so as I mentioned before, taking my business full-time and raising my daughter have been pretty wild adventures for me! But before I was married, in fact while I was engaged, I studied abroad in Scotland for a semester and it was one of the greatest adventures I’ve ever experienced. It was an incredible 4 months of making friends with strangers, learning how to thrive in another culture, stepping out of my comfort zone, and learning a ton about myself along the way.


How many weddings have you celebrated with friends? What do you love about being a bridesmaid? 
I was a bridesmaid as a teenager in my brother’s wedding, and while I was married, I was a bridesmaid in 3 friends weddings. I loved getting to celebrate those exciting seasons with my friends and family, but as a new divorcee, even just attending weddings is difficult still. I want to shake the brides and grooms and shout “Are you sure?!” Haha! It’s bittersweet, but I’m hopeful that I’ll get to be a bride again soon :)


What is your favorite truth/bible verse to combat the lies of the world?
I often think of Philippians 4:8 if I start to build up feelings of bitterness or anger towards my ex-husband. I truly believe it was the best decision to end the marriage, but it definitely still hurts sometimes. 


What is your favorite resource for singles?
Natalie’s Wholeheartedly Devotional for Singles! Haha, she didn’t tell me to say that ;) For real, I’m only just starting it, but it has been really though-provoking and encouraging as a single woman.


When do you feel the most confidant & beautiful?
By far, I felt the most beautiful when I was pregnant with my daughter. I know a lot of women DO NOT feel that way during their pregnancy, and my pregnancy was such an emotional rollercoaster I’m kind of amazed I felt that way. Though there were days I felt like a beached whale, most of the time I loved dressing my huge belly and filling out my clothes and the thick hair. I loved it! A lot of the time, I still feel like I look like a teenager :)


What is something you like to splurge on for yourself?
I love good food and traveling, so splurging on a unique dinner on a vacation is my kind of splurge. When I was pregnant, I went to visit my brother in New York, and he treated me to a 7-course pasta tasting. Pasta is my absolute favorite food, so this was like heaven, especially for a pregnant girl :)


What encouragement do you have for those girls who are struggling and not yet thriving in their singleness?
You have your entire life ahead of you! Just because all your friends are getting married, doesn’t mean you should too. Feeling the need to get married young can backfire after the honeymoon stage, so don’t settle for just an okay relationship for the sake of calling yourself a wife. Take your time dating, if you have any doubts or red flags – WAIT! It’s not worth the heartache later on. Be patient, and enjoy this time to yourself.

So glad to have Kelsey here to share such a unique perspective on singleness as a mother and a divorcee! Her outlook on life and accomplishments are so inspiring to me and I hope has been an encouragement to you too!

Website : www.paperandoats.com

Instagram : @paperandoats

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