In every May issue of P&N, we have the privilege of sharing a peek into the lives of five fascinating mamas. Our hope is that you’ll be inspired, but more so that you’ll feel right at home in this wonderful sisterhood.
Founder of RAD & HAPPY
Home: Huntington Beach, California
Kids: Kyra (5), Brock (3), Paige (10 months)
Hidden talent: Riding dirt bikes practically since she could walk
Guilty pleasure: Chick-Fil-A frosted lemonade
Must-have beauty product: Mascara and dry shampoo
Best parenting advice: Kids who are loved will turn out just fine
For Tara Nearents, mom of three and founder of Rad & Happy, it all started with a quilt. Shortly after her first child was born, Nearents discovered being a photographer was keeping her away from Kyra more than she’d like. But it wasn’t until she couldn’t find the perfect bedspread—and resolved to sew her own—that she stumbled onto her future business.
“I actually fell in love with the process and the outcome and started making and selling quilts like crazy,” she shares. “I realized I needed a new business name that would be generic enough to let me expand and grow into what I wanted to do.” And that’s when Rad & Happy was born.
Since then, the company has steadily grown to encompass what can only be described as a whole lot of fun stuff, including hand-drawn fonts, coloring books, T-shirts, cards, notepads and more. Just last year, Nearents collaborated with Ju-Ju-Be to create prints for a limited-edition diaper bag. “I want to design products for the everyday that make life just a little bit more happy,” she explains. By the looks of things, she’s succeeded. Even her Instagram account is sure to brighten your day with quippy doodles and her honest, not to mention hilarious, take on life as a mom. “I never want to throw my kids under the bus or make jokes at their expense, ya know? So, I am always trying to take the humor of motherhood and life while still putting a positive spin on it.”
That doesn’t mean raising wee ones is easy. Nearents admits that her third pregnancy was hard every single day, and when Paige arrived a month early, she spent hours sitting in a worn-out NICU recliner unable to hold her baby. “Something I thought would for sure kill me also became some of the sweetest and most sacred experiences of my life,” she says. “It gives you the ultimate perspective. [A doctor] told me that down the road sometime when the world seems ugly and crazy, to think back on our NICU days and the people here and the things that happened there. The NICU really did end up being a sanctuary from the rest of the world.” One week (and approximately 400 handwashes), later Nearents and her husband, Matt, were able to bring Paige home.
Perhaps it was Paige’s extended hospital stay or that Nearents has done this twice before, but becoming a new-again mom came pretty naturally this time around. “You realize that you will sleep again and even though you still don’t know what you’re doing, you know enough to know that everything is going to be OK—and you really can soak that baby in and enjoy them being little,” she shares. “Third babies are magic.”
Even with her newfound perspective, there are still days that dishes pile up in the sink. Nearents is adamant that work-life balance isn’t a real thing. “Sometimes my house is a complete mess and no one has clean clothes, but my business is doing great. And sometimes I need to take a few steps back for a few days to get things going good at home.”
But she’s clear that in the grand scheme of things, her family will always come first, and that’s evident even in her daily routine, which never fails to begin with snuggling all the kids who made their way into mom and dad’s bed. During the day Nearents is busy running errands, cleaning and hanging out with Brock and Paige. She might respond to a few emails (and she’s constantly drawing coloring pages for her littles—perks of having a designer for a mom!), but her real office hours don’t start until 7 p.m. When dinner is over, Matt tucks the kids in, and she sets to work.
“Being creative is how I unwind, and I look forward to it during the day. So, I don’t mind spending my nights working instead of watching Netflix or just relaxing … most days,” she jokes. Whenever she does take a night off, she’s quick to spend it with her husband—probably at their favorite Mexican restaurant or cuddling on the couch.
“I think the thing that has helped [our relationship] stay strong the most is serving each other. Think of little things you can do without expecting something in return. He is really good at this, and I’m working on it,” she confesses. “And babies. Watching your husband become a dad is sexy.”