DIY Mama: How to Balance Motherhood & Blogging
Today I’m taking a break from tutorials, interior design, and furniture makeovers. Today I’m talking about my family, and answering some questions that were sent my way by a fellow blogging mama, Meagan from The Charming Farmer. She asked several bloggers who are also mamas, to participate and I was happy to. First, because I hear these questions SO OFTEN from so many of you, who read my blog, and I wanted to hopefully offer some encouragement and ideas if you are thinking of starting a business adventure, or your own blog. It IS possible to find some balance, and I’m sharing my thoughts on the matter!
– Let’s meet the family and/or your journey to motherhood…
I have 3 children, Owen, who is 9, Alex, who is 6, and Kaila (pronounced Kyla), who is 4. I’ve been married 11 years to my love, Bruno, so yes, I started having babies early. 🙂 I was a mom through my most of my college years and while it took me longer than most, I DID complete my bachelor’s! I was a huge and pregnant with Alex when I donned a navy tent (aka the graduation gown) and received my diploma. He was born a few weeks later. Motherhood is the most difficult and gratifying work I do, and I just love those little squirts more than anything. 🙂
– What is your biggest challenge of motherhood?
I LOVE my work. Like, truly it often does not feel like work at all. I love the creating something new, drawing up design plans, challenging myself with a strict budget, dipping a paint brush in a new paint color and applying that first stroke, editing pictures, writing what I WANT to write, perusing online and getting inspired from others, the thrill of meeting new people and businesses… all of it. Yes, it is work, but it is exciting. Which, if you are me, means you have to really pull on the reigns all the time to control how much time you spend on it. Because I love my family more! And sometimes they need me more. I DO want to teach them how to do some things independently and I like them seeing me work really hard on a project. But sometimes I have to step away. Or sometimes I have to find a way to include them, even if it means it will take longer. Sometimes I have to reevaluation and say no to that exciting opportunity, or at least not now. This season of them being little and wanting to be around me doesn’t last forever.
– How do you find time to DIY and/or blog?
I work it into my day at slow times or when they are playing outside with each other, and I do a lot early in the morning or late at night after they go to bed.When Kaila was a baby, I figured out how to get them all to take naps or at least have a quiet time in their beds every afternoon and I would work during that time as well.
I will also say that this year, as I have finally (after 3 years) started making actual money (not just product exchanges), I MAKE time to build, paint, and blog. I treat it as a job and I have to give it priority sometimes. I don’t feel I have to entertain my kids all day long and sneak off to blog when they aren’t looking. There are times when I have to work and there are times when we get to play. We try to get out of the house and do something fun every single day though, so there is something for us both to look forward to.
– Any special tricks or tips for balancing both?
1) Ice cream. I kid you not. It is amazing what an ice cream cone can do for morale. And it really gets me to stop and enjoy and reprioritize!
2) Get support.
You cannot do it alone. I desperately need the support of my husband and friends for me to get things done. If I have a deadline, sometimes I have a friend who I will ask to come over to play for a few hours so I can knock out some projects. Or sometimes I have to work all Saturday, so Bruno will be in charge of keeping the kids happy, fed, and mostly out of the garage.
I also try to involve them in some way, when possible. Kaila and Owen like to paint, and they have actually learned to be pretty good at it, so I often let them help if I need to paint a piece of furniture. Owen loves to make money, so I help him find small stools, or chairs at garage sales to paint and re-sell. I’ve also taught him how to use an orbital sander and a power drill. When I did my bathroom remodel, I involved all three in building the floating shelves.
I really think kids are a lot more capable than we give them credit for. With a little assistance and supervision, they can do a lot when it comes to DIY. You sometimes have to get creative to find ways for them to help, but they enjoy working alongside you. Promise.
Sometimes, if there isn’t a way for them to help work alongside, I let them just hang out with me… we chat while I do something mindless, and they enjoy it just as much.
Kaila was quizzing me on my letters and sounds while I worked… 🙂
Last, I highly recommend taking at least 1 day completely off from work. Make sure everyone in your family knows it, so they can plan on it. For us, it is Sunday. I don’t do any DIY or blogging on Sunday and it becomes our day to reconnect on what is most important.
– Any handy kid gear that you swear by?
My kids are a bit older and don’t need much ‘gear’ any more. What I swear by now is planned outings. They need to know that besides our daily little trips to the park or Target (haha… the toy aisle is totally a fun outing for us!), that every week or two we have something bigger to look forward to. We will go to the Zoo all day.
Or a visit to an orchard.
Or a day trip to a nearby town.
Most recently we had our Annual Ice Cream Day, where we ate ice cream all day at the top 6-7 ice cream shops in St Louis, for every meal and snack, and visited near-by parks & splash pads in between stops to run off the sugar.
– What is your dream DIY kid based project?
I don’t know if I have a specific “Dream DIY Kid-Based Project” but I do think there are many projects that can be a dream come true to you and your children when you involve them in some way. Maybe you let them pick the color (depending on their age, among some pre-selected options), or you ask their input for what features they would like included, or you make something JUST FOR THEM and not to make money.
– Any awesome DIY kid based projects that you’ve completed?
Well I think there are two real categories in my mind when it comes to kid-based… first are projects that the kids were involved in and helped me complete…
and the second are projects created with kids’ needs in mind or their input greatly influencing the outcome…
– Who would be your dream babysitter?
Grandma of course! She loves nearly as much as I do, and I never worry about inconveniencing her since I know she truly loves being with them and playing with them, and I know they are never bored with her.
-Any inspiring mamas that you want to give a shout out to?
There are so many! All of my blogging friends are moms and I think they are doing an amazing job. I look up to them. They inspire me. But they also offer support and ideas! I think that is so important in blogging– to listen and pay attention to how others are juggling. I hear a lot from people that don’t blog, how do you do it? How do you have time? I think if something is important to you, you make time for it. You cut out something you might like to do in your spare time, for something you love (blogging).
– Best piece of mama advice you’ve ever received?
I first heard it at Haven Conference last year, I can’t remember her name but she taught a class and said, “In 10 years you will never regret spending more time on your blog, but you will regret not spending enough time with your children.” Then one of my best friends, Lucy, always reminds me that family always comes first, so when that amazing opportunity may come your way, always evaluate if it is the right time for your family. Basically, don’t neglect your family for the sake of your blog.
So that is it! That’s all I got for ya today…. What do you think? How do you find balance between work and family?
Here are the links to the other ladies participating:
Day 1 Mamas:
Day 2 Mamas: