WARNING: I’m being real and vulnerable today friends. You have been warned.
So the other day I was sitting in the dentist office, trying my hardest to find my happy place amidst the feeling of squeaky latex gloves and spinning brushes in my mouth. (Anyone else find the dentist chair to be much like a torture chamber?)
And the sweet dental hygienist asked me what I do for a living? (As if I can talk with your hands in my mouth).
“Well” . . . I said, “I make meals and snacks 50 times a day (slight exaggeration), change diapers, car pool, do dishes, clean house, break-up fights, wipe noses, kiss boo boo’s, count down to nap time, play princess and cars, watch Dora . . . ” and on and on I went. Until I remembered, “Oh ya, and I am a blogger”.
And while in the midst of flossing my teeth, she takes it upon herself to rephrase my comment and says, “so you are a stay-at-home mommy blogger. That’s cute” Dead serious. She said “That’s cute”.
I kind of went a tad bit on the defensive side and said, “No, I’m a work-my-tushy-off-from-home, design and DIY blogger”. (Thank you very much). And then I proceeded to politely tell her how grateful I was that I had found a way to stay home to raise my babies – despite how hard and crazy it is – and make money to help my family. I figured that was the most polite way to drop the hint that I made money on this “mommy blogging” thing, and make myself feel more legit in the face of a working mother. (Forgive me for sharing the ugly side of my thoughts with you today.)
To which she perked up and said, “Wait. What? You make money blogging?”
To which the very prideful (and shameful) part of me smiled inside and I said, “Why yes I do”.
Then came the common string of questions, “What is a blog? How do you make money? How do you get people to see your blog? So, like, you are on pinterest? How much money do you make?” and on and on she went.
And at some point, while answering her questions and enjoying the break from the latex, I humbled myself and realized how very blessed I was. Here was a woman who sent her baby to day care so she could work, and hated every second of it. A woman who was so intrigued with the idea that someone could stay home and make sufficient money to help support her family.
And while I’ve come across these encounters more and more through the years (minus the dentist office) , from friends, family, readers, and online connections, it always causes me to think about the pros and cons of being in this world of blogging. More often than not, these questions come from women who are desperate to find a way to support their family or add to their income, while staying at home with their kids.
I never know quite what to say, rather than expound on the pros and cons and reassure them that blogging is by no means a get-rich-quick scheme. But if you work hard and keep at it (even if that means years of working for nothing), you can get to a point where you can help pay for kids piano lessons and school clothes, and maybe even splurge on yourself once in awhile. Or who knows, pay off a house even!!
So while it was my intention today to just quickly share with you my excitement for being in this special edition of “Cottage White Magazine”, which I view as a small pay-out of my hard work, I thought I would also share with you what I view as the pros and cons of being a blogger. And just to keep things in perspective, I’m going to share images of our latest trip to the lake with my family. They represent what really means the most to me in this life and they are what drives my passions and motivates me to work hard.
I can only hope my thoughts will help someone, encourage someone, or even help others understand what their blogger friends might be experiencing in this journey. But since we can’t sit down at the dentist office to discuss it, I thought this would be the next best thing.
Let’s start with a pro.
Pro: Blogging is an expression for who I am
I am a mommy. I am so stinkin’ proud to be a mommy. But much to my kids surprise, I am more than a mommy. I am an individual with individual needs, talents, expressions and purpose. If I could go back to being a new mommy 10 years ago, I would plead with that young woman to not loose herself. I would beg her to not waste 6 years feeling lost and depressed in this new role of motherhood. I would tell her it would be just fine if she wanted to think about herself and her needs every once in awhile. She could have hobbies. She could find success. She could achieve and grow outside of being a mother. And she would be better for it.
I spent so long suppressing my need for growth . I blame it on my entrepreneur Father, but it just about ate me alive to sit back and watch as my husband earned all the money, succeeded, advanced, and found amazing opportunities. I was always so proud of him, but was beating myself up daily for the feelings of jealousy. I remember a point in our lives when he would complain there were not enough hours in the day, and I would ache inside feeling like the days were just too long. To add to it, my dad passed away when I was just a little girl, and I’ve lived with this panic of what would I do if my husband also passed and I was completely dependent on his income.
Forgive me for getting so personal, but the point I wish to make is that blogging has become my platform for finding myself again. Sharing my talents and knowledge with others. Expressing the creativity that lives within me. And finding a purpose to carry me through.
Now don’t get me wrong. I do not mean to down play motherhood and wife-hood. I wish with all my heart I would have been satisfied doing only that and giving my kids everything inside of me. I envy those who can and those who find great happiness in that. But I am who I am, and as busy as being a mommy and a blogger makes me, I am grateful every day that I have both.
Con: Mom Guilt
Oh yes. The mom guilt. Just the other day I came across a little note from my 10 year old exclaiming to her mom and dad that all she wanted was time. She wanted nothing else in the world but time with us and we never had time for her.
Que the self reflection and goal making lists.
But I definitely live in fear of having regrets, or screwing up my kids lives for being too busy or preoccupied. Or when I am grouchy and exhausted I wonder if I was not blogging, would I be better for them?
I haven’t found a way to overcome all this yet, it is just something I live with at the moment. I simply hope and pray I will be enough for them.
Pro: MORE MONEY!
Hopefully I can say this without sounding too greedy, but man it’s nice to have some financial padding. I’m not saying I’m banking it, but I do enjoy the occasional splurge or girls trip without having to report any frivolous spending to my husband. It gives me such satisfaction to know that I can go out and buy my kids school clothes without having to stress about how to pay for it. It’s nice to put a little extra in the savings account. It’s so nice that I can pay for all my hobbies without them feeling like a burden to my husband. There is something to be said about the feeling of being self sufficient.
Con: Less Time
But you know what they say – “mo money, mo problems”. With this added financial freedom, come the chains of less free time, less relaxing, less Netflix, less time for recreation . . . you get the point?
Bloggers are busy. A website doesn’t run itself. Lest you think we are just writing posts, you are thinking wrong. There is so much technical garbage and games we have to play to keep things going and growing. I never saw myself as someone who would be technical savvy, but I’ve had to learn how to be, and that means hours and hours sitting in front of a computer. And that’s not even considering the time it takes for all the projects I do! I squeeze in at least 6 hours of blog work a day (morning, nap time, late at night), and the rest is for my family.
I know sometimes it can seem like if you are busy you must be really important, but I actually live with more guilt for being too busy. I know it isn’t healthy for me. I actually find my busy schedule embarrassing and try my hardest to play it down. But I’m actually a basket case most days. It’s no good.
Pro: Opportunity and Adventure
5 years ago I proclaimed it to the Universe that I would be in a magazine someday. It’s a silly thing to want to accomplish in a life time, but I’ve since had the opportunity to be in 3 (blush). The one you see here is my biggest spread yet, and it makes me giddy with excitement.
Thank you Universe!
But in all seriousness, the opportunities that have come my way in the last year have been incredible. Stuff I only could have dreamed about years ago. I have to wake up and pinch myself often.
Through my work I’ve been able to travel, speak at conferences, and I may or may not have just signed a book contract guys. Just saying.
Con: Growing Pains
My blogging journey started out as 3 years of being a complete hobby. I didn’t even know you could make money. And then when the crossroad came to give it up or turn it into a business, that’s when things got uncomfortable.
Computers scare me. I’m pretty sure they can blow up if you push the wrong button.
Making a pitch to a large company can feel like the scariest thing EVER! But every time I muster up that courage – amazing things happen.
Did you know nothing on YouTube is ever as easy as they say it is? NOTHING!
Did you know the internet speaks in code? Well it does. And I don’t get it, nor do I want to get it.
And did you know when you make money you have to track taxes and fill out forms and calculate numbers and get licenses and report all sorts of things??? Such a bore!
I sometimes miss the days where the most complicated thing of my day was “What’s for dinner?”
I have never ever liked to be the center of attention. It makes me squirm like a kid who stole candy. But my goodness, some of the emails and comments I’ve gotten have warmed my heart. I absolutely thrive on the hope that I am being helpful and inspiring. Indeed, it is the very foundation of every post I do.
This one weighs so heavy on my heart sometimes. Surely, everyone must know that my home with 4 kids is as hard to keep clean as theirs. Surely, everyone must know that none of my achievements are because of some lucky star, but the result of incredibly hard and diligent work. But the fact of the matter is, everyone doesn’t know. They see my images, they see the best I have to offer . . . and they feel like they are not enough. I never intend to make life seem picture perfect to make anyone else feel less. That breaks my heart if that is ever the case. But I do so enjoy making beautiful images that will inspire others to dream and create. Whether I make it up in my head or not, the times when I’ve sensed resentment and distance from loved ones because of what I do – it breaks me.
This is probably the best part. I knew it all along but being a mommy and housekeeper, it’s easy to forget that women need women. We so desperately need friends and connections and we need to find those people in the world that feel safe and who we share common interests with. The connections I’ve made through this blogging adventure have been so rewarding. Even if some of them are only virtual connections, there is such a camaraderie in this industry because we realize how much we need each others support and help. From emails to Facebook groups, I have loved to connect with other women struggling with the same things I struggle with, and hoping to achieve the same things I hope to achieve.
Some of the best times I’ve had is when I’ve gone to blogging conferences and have met these friends in real life. It is inspiring beyond words.
Somehow, with all those connections, this age of the internet can feel so very lonely. Because sending a text, email, or instant message is never the same as looking someone in the eye and laughing together. No online friendship can take the place of real friendship. And the truth is, I feel so busy and spend all my energy on my blog and family, I feel like having real life friends can tend to take the back burner. And that can begin to feel very lonely.
I have, however, found a great blessing in working closer with my sister on this blog together. She is beginning to take over the food side and we’ve just about wrapped up an eBook together, so building that connection has been so fulfilling in my life. I also try my best to stay involved with the community and my religious congregations, which helps to keep my head out of the cloud. And I have some very dear friends who seem to love me although at times I may not be the best of friends to them – but they stick by my side and cheer me on.
And of course, I can’t end this without saying that my husbands continuous support and help is THE ONLY THING that keeps me going. When all those cons fill every square inch of my life, he lifts my head and steers me in the right direction. As cheesy as it sounds, he truly gives me my wings to fly.
I’ll end this by saying, if you want to purchase the Cottage White magazine (hint, it’s a good one!) you can do that at your local marketplace or online HERE.
5 Things you should never say to a blogger
And because I like every post to have some useful tips, here are 5 things you should never say to a blogger, based on my own not-so-joyful experiences.
- “So you are a mommy blogger. That’s cute.”
- “Oh, you have to “work” do you?” – loaded with sarcasm and insult.
- “You have no idea how lucky you are”.
- While looking up something on your phone, please don’t say “I love it that the world is full of bored people who post anything and everything on the internet.” But thank you for the pageview any way 😉
- “You are a blogger? So you sit home in your pajamas and eat bon bons all day and write about it?”
If you made it this far, you should get a reward.
Thank you for being vulnerable with me!