Former teacher creates meaningful jewelry for moms
Jennifer Cervantes discovered her true calling to make meaningful jewelry for mothers when she hit her lowest point as a stressed-out teacher working 12-hour days to serve underprivileged children.
“My body finally started shutting down, reflecting the stress I was under. I stopped being able to nurse my 5-month-old, and that’s when I knew I needed a change and that my calling wasn’t in being a frazzled, at-my-wit’s-end mom through these tough but precious years,” said Mrs. Cervantes.
Her solution was to launch Tough As a Mother jewelry, “utilizing the power and meaning of gemstones to design pieces that honor the most joyous and raw parts of motherhood.”
Each of the gemstones she uses for her necklaces and bracelets has a meaning: Labradorite stone clears worries and reduces negative thoughts; blue chalcedony is calming and reduces anxiety; rose quartz promotes peace and confidence; clear quartz encourages patience and balance; turquoise represents courage and friendship; rainbow moonstone offers hope and strength; and amethyst calms the mind and promotes decision-making.
The rainbow moonstone has a special meaning for Mrs. Cervantes, who found it especially comforting when she had a miscarriage.
“I had always dreamed of being a mother, and I was one of the lucky women who got pregnant the first time I tried. I was beyond excited, telling my close family right away. But in just a week, I had a miscarriage. The most surprising part was the mix of emotions I did and didn’t deal with as I broke the news to my husband and family. I felt shame. Guilt. Embarrassment. I learned quickly that no matter how long you are pregnant, it’s a true loss and valid, whether it happened early on like my miscarriage or much later,” said Mrs. Cervantes, the wife of Cole Cervantes and now mother of Vienna, 3, and Lola, 1.
As it turned out, motherhood was not exactly the idyllic existence she had been led to believe in social media and other sources.
“I was naive. I envisioned sitting on a park bench, sipping my extra foamy latte in cute flats with a trendy diaper bag sitting beside me. I’d watch my kids swirl down bright blue slides, wearing adorable onesies with a matching flower bow. It would be nothing short of a dream, all day every day,” Mrs. Cervantes told the News-Press.
“Then I had my two kids. Let’s just say, I was off a bit. While there are brief moments that feel like my motherhood vision, most days are way messier, louder and chaotic than I ever thought possible. But not necessarily worse, just different. It’s no wonder we talk about being tough as a mother. We moms need to be strong.”
A native of South Lake Tahoe, Mrs. Cervantes earned her bachelor’s degree and four teaching credentials at National University in Camarillo. In 2009, she came to Santa Barbara for teaching stints at Cleveland Elementary School, La Cumbre Junior High and San Marcos High School.
“While I was teaching, I had another company called Hide and Stone jewelry, which I sold to boutiques and resorts around the country. I resigned from teaching this year to devote full time to Tough As a Mother jewelry, which began in February and is sold online only,” she said.
Pieces are available in gold such as a mom necklace with a baby name or initials that comes on a 16-inch or 18-inch chain.
Prices range from $39.99 to the $500s.
“Personally, I’ve grown deeper and stronger than I ever thought possible through this journey we call motherhood,” said Mrs. Cervantes. “I may be wearing last year’s worn-out sneakers, and I’m definitely not sitting when we are at the park. I’m cleaning wet butts from the dirty slide, picking up my not-so-perfect diaper bag that spilled everywhere and yelling at one kid to stop climbing the light post.
“But I’m also enjoying my kids, chasing them around pretending to be the tickle monster, laughing with them and picking them up for a hug when they wipe out. That’s real motherhood. That’s being tough as a mother.”