Well hi there.
It's been a bit. A lot of life changes are going down right now, and I feel like I've been on an emotional roller coaster. Writing is how I process what I'm feeling, so I think it's time to share it with my online community.
If you're a long time follower, you may have noticed that the content on my blog has shifted a little bit. What used to be more of a lifestyle blog chronicling our daily life and funny things my kids were saying has turned into more of a structured website about motherhood, health, and family travel.
But to tell you what's going on now and why I'm making this change, I need to back up to, like, kindergarten.
A Childhood Dream
From a young age - even as young as kindergarten - I knew I loved words, books, and writing. I was often in trouble for having "my nose in a book" instead of interacting with the family or paying attention at school. I wrote creative short stories and read every book I could get my hands on.
I imagined myself becoming an author. I wanted to use my creativity and imagination to write stories for kids. Roald Dahl was my hero, and I wanted to write just like him.
The older I got, though, the more realistic I became. How would one make a living as a novelist? It would likely take years to achieve success in that field, and something had to pay the bills in the meantime.
In high school, I tried being on the school newspaper and realized I didn't LOVE journalism the way I loved creative writing. It was all facts and no heart.
Then, thanks to a Spanish teacher that saw potential in me (thanks, Plugs!), I experienced my first mission trip to Mexico. I loved the culture, the people, and the language, and decided that I could be a Spanish teacher. I would still be working with words and inspiring kids. It felt like a good fit.
A Teaching Career
Honestly, I loved teaching Spanish. I loved opening my students' eyes to the great big world outside of the bubble they grew up in. I loved inspiring them to travel, I even geeked out about the grammar and new teaching techniques. I devoured blogs about how to use authentic resources instead of the textbook and would spend hours on Google and YouTube finding commercials, songs, menus, and online stores in Spanish.
Then I had kids.
And my heart belongs at home with them. I want to be there for them when they're sick. I want to go on field trips with them. I want to have lazy mornings and long days at the park and naps with no deadlines. I want to make messes and do puzzles and teach them memory work verses and songs in Spanish.
Teaching is an amazing, fulfilling career, but it requires much more of me than I'm able to give right now.
And then there was the internet...
So, my husband is also a teacher, and we have sizeable student loans. That means that I really need to be earning some sort of income if I want to stay home with the kids.
It started with my health and wellness business. I saw a friend posting about the opportunity a few years ago, and as a former athlete, I knew I could get on board with helping others get healthy (and improving my own health in the process). I've built almost my entire business over the internet and social media. Perfect for a stay-at-home-mom.
I've also always had the opportunity to continue teaching in a part-time capacity. It's been nice to use my degree, earn a small income, and get dressed up and have adult time.
In addition, I've always kept a blog as an online journal for our family. For the longest time, it was just a creative outlet for me, and a way for me to continue writing and developing my skills as a (very) amateur photographer. But it was always just a hobby.
I mean, sure, I always secretly hoped companies would somehow discover my profound writing and beg to sponsor me. If you've ever tried your hand at running an online business, you're probably on the floor laughing right now.
You don't just "get discovered." For the longest time, I didn't know that.
So anyway, about a year and a half ago, after I discovered I was pregnant with our third, I decided enough was enough. I was going to actually TRY to make my blog a business. I knew I had so much to learn, but hey! I love learning!
So I got to work, spending hours poring over Pinterest and blogs about blogging. I bought some small ebooks or resources here and there. Slowly, s-l-o-w-l-y, but surely, my blog started to make some money.
Too Much on My Plate
So now here I am with three kids juggling being their mom and all that that job title entails, teaching part-time, blogging as a business, running my health and wellness business, and now freelancing for TravelPulse. Our home feels like it's in a perpetual state of chaos. And while part of that is just called "having toddlers," a lot of it has to do with me biting off more than I can chew.
I had to let something go, and after praying about it, the decision seemed very clear. This would be my last school year teaching. And yesterday was my last day.
Mostly it feels like a relief to be done. But it also feels a little bit sad to set aside the career I worked so hard to achieve.
Anyway, I am now officially a full-time stay-at-home-mom who also works from home running 2 businesses and freelancing! No big deal at all! I have so much free time! (Hahahahahahaha).
So Now What?
Ok, so basically now my days look like playing with my kids, running the household, wiping bottoms, and making my kids food.
As far as when I fit work in, from 5 a.m. - 6:30 a.m. I write. It's when my mind and creativity are at their best.
When the kids nap after lunch, I catch up on odds and ends. Promoting my blog on social media, checking in on my health and wellness business, getting on phone calls with potential customers, emailing brands, etc.
After the kids go to bed, I'm pretty drained and not very focused mentally, so I don't really do any creative work. I mostly use this as more time to connect with people about the wellness products I use (because that's when most people are around), post on social media, and put finishing touches on articles and blog posts (like adding links, photos, etc).
And make no mistake - this blog is now a business! That's why you're starting to see more articles that might help or inspire other parents rather than a recap of our life. Don't worry, I'll still post the occasional family or personal update. But in order for traffic to come to the site (which pays the bills), I need to write articles that people actually want to read. And not many people besides my mom want to read about the minutiae of our lives.
As for what's coming up in our personal lives, we'll be doing a LOT of traveling this summer. I'm so excited to share everything we have going on, but you can always follow along on my social media channels, especially Instagram.
Pippa is graduating from preschool and moving on to kindergarten in the fall (what?!?! how did this happen?!?!), and Teddy and Lewis will be home with me until they start preschool.
I will start by saying that I am incredibly grateful the Internet exists. 15 years ago, writing my own content and getting paid for it would not have been an option outside of legit journalism or writing novels. While I would still like to write a novel and a memoir about growing up with 5 sisters, I do think that developing this blog and a readership will serve those goals in the long run.
I count my blessings every day that I can make a living writing in my pajamas, on the couch, sometimes with kids snuggled up beside me. The internet is an amazing blessing for SAHMs who want to contribute financially.
I also want to be very honest that it's not all rainbows and easy cash flow. It's a TON of hard work to run a successful blog and it comes with its share of frustrations and a giant learning curve. (Don't be fooled by those articles you see about how people are making thousands of dollars in their third month blogging. That is INCREDIBLY rare and usually, there are circumstances that gave them a leg up).
The work for both blogging and my wellness business are never done. I could always be doing more. There is kind of this ever-present cloud of guilt and unfinished tasks hanging over my head, and never enough time to do it all. So don't be fooled by all the fun pictures of travel and SAHM life! There is a lot more behind-the-scenes work than you might realize.
But despite the feeling of never being able to turn off my work brain, I do feel like I'm found work that is a perfect fit for my personality. I don't have to answer to anyone but myself (and sometimes brands, but that's of my choosing). I get to work on my own schedule, take days off when I need to, and work from wherever I am in the world. I get to do what I love and make money doing it, which is a privilege not everyone is afforded.
How Can You Help?
As a reader, there are a few ways you can support me and my little blog.
1. You can just simply encourage and support me with your words.
2. You can read my work! And share it if the spirit moves you!
3. You can give me feedback about what's useful to you, and what you want to see more of.
4. You can use my affiliate links to purchase items (like my Amazon affiliate link!)
That's basically it! I'm proud of the work I do here and want to continue to be able to provide as many free resources as possible. If you have any ideas or suggestions for posts you would like to see, I would love to hear it in the comments or on social media!