keep it real

By | February 21, 2013

So my pal Natalia from MaNouvelleMode asked me (and several other amazing ladies) to share some tips for the work at home mom. The WAHM.

At first I was all, “well shoot, that’s not me.” But then I got to thinking.

I’ve been blogging for around four years, but I never considered it my “profession” until last year. It really was as if one day a light switch went on (hello viral post on Pinterest) and suddenly I had responsibilities. Out of the blue, I started making money. Praise God! My family needs it, and I am so thankful to get to help out by doing something I love.

So you’re saying you’re a WAHM?

Yes, I am. And Mmm mmm! It sure feels good! ::closes eyes and breaks out in spastic dance::

But once something becomes “professional,” no matter how fun or cool it is, there is definitely a stress factor. Things can get weird and out-of-control real fast if I’m not careful.

Like last week–oy. Even though I was in a funk, there were still things I had to do to keep my “business” moving forward. Such as answer emails. Post on Facebook. Respond to comments. Be active on Pinterest. And most importantly, stay on top of writing. And more most importantly, stay on top of the whole mom/wife/human being gig.

It’s almost embarrassing to give “advice” after being so vulnerable last week. Why should you listen to me? Aren’t I the one who wants to crawl under a rock until we’re clear of February?

Well, yes.

But here’s another truth: even though last week sucked, I couldn’t quit my responsibilities. And through that lousy funk, I learned something extremely encouraging. Being real with you guys was what saved me. This blog isn’t just me. It’s a project between you and I–a dialogue, a journey. So by being real, I keep that dialogue moving.

youer than you

I cannot speak for every entrepreneurial venture, for every WAHM situation. But I have this pretty solid hunch that if you want to make it work long term, you have to keep it real. Both in real life, and in your business/blog.

I think I’m doing that, so by my own definition I’m “winning” right now.

So here I am, little old me, sharing my tips on how to keep it real in both your life and your business:

keep it real

1. Gather your daily inspiration from what YOU love, not from what’s popular at the moment. Obviously in the business world we have to stay current, but if you’re only acting upon what’s trending you’ll lose sight of your loves–your passion. This happened to me last week. I was so focused on trying to be current/relevant that I found myself paralyzed and in a rut.

Here are some simple ways to jog YOUR inspiration. You could also just get on Pinterest, but the point here is to get creativity coming from within yourself. Not the incredible time-vortex that is Pinterest. ::love you Pinterest::

How to inspire yourself

2. Have daily focus time with your children.This is something I work at every day and feel very passionate about. My kids need to have me 100% engaged with them for a portion of time, every day. I am not talking about the general mom stuff we do 24/7.

keep it real

I am talking about quality time. I find that if they only get this around bedtime, those are very difficult bedtimes. They didn’t get their “fill” of mom and I feel as if I missed out as well.

So, whether it’s making towers out of blocks, pushing them on the swings, or following Coco around on her bike—I make it a point that I am just enjoying them and they are enjoying me.

The same goes with your spouse. Spend time each day being friends, being affectionate, and having fun.

keep it real

Even if it’s only thirty minutes after the kids go to bed–you need it, and so does he.

3. Get yourself a special helper. Now, if you live near family then you are in the best situation for being a WAHM. Grandma can take the kids every now and then, and that makes the world of a difference. Maybe she’ll even help with the laundry while she’s there. Ahh. Those are good times, right?

But some of us do not live close to family, and their ability to help out is limited by time and travel.

Get thee a helper!

If you are making money at home and want your business to grow, you must use a portion of that money to streamline your life. If you have to choose between doing laundry and spending that quality time with your kid, which should you opt for?

Duh. But does laundry do itself? No, but a helper can certainly do it for you! I have a sweet little neighbor who is in junior-high and  I pay her to come and do laundry twice a week. She’s thrilled to have a job, and I am thrilled to not have piles of stinky laundry. This gives me the opportunity to be present with my kids and work on bloggy stuff.

I also have a special helper for Chaucer. Since he doesn’t go to preschool yet and has the energy of a hummingbird, he needs some extra assistance. My friend’s son, J (also in Jr. High) comes once or twice a week to keep Chaucer occupied while I’m at home.

This kid is a gem. He did a babysitting course through the American Red Cross, and takes his job very seriously. He plans little activities like crafts and games for Chaucer, and gives him 100% attention while he’s here. Chaucer lives for those days when the coolest kid in the world comes to hang out with him.

So worth a little extra money. I can focus on my work, and know that my son is having a blast and getting worn out ????

 It might not sound like much, but these tips truly do save me. It makes it possible for my “real” life and my blog life to sync. I feel like I am the same (pretty much) in both spheres. I try to give both my best, but I also try to keep it real and continue our conversation, our journey. We’re all in this together, right?

Now. You have the opportunity to hear from some pretty swell ladies who are probably more credible than me. Just sayin. We collaborated today and it would mean the world if you’d give each one of these gals a visit! You will benefit from it, I guarantee it!

See Natalia for Tips on Work/Life Balance

See Aimee for Workspace Necessities for WAHM’s

See Alison for Tips on Making and Keeping a Daily Schedule

See Alissa for Tips on Organizing a Business Day

29 thoughts on “keep it real

  1. Chris Carter

    Such great ideas!! I hope someday I can actually help our family out financially with my blog… but until then I will just keep on keeping on and hope my words encourage moms, and that’s the most important part. I love that you pay someone to do your laundry. LOVE that. I most importantly love how you balance it all and especially focus so beautifully and intentionally on your kiddos. You’re AWESOME my friend!

    1. hillary

      It is possible! I am still pinching myself that I get paid to do this. You need to go to a blogging conference, girl!

  2. Keely

    Oh man, the being 100% present with the kiddos part? Daily. Struggle. Because I totally want to- and they’re the whole reason I get to BE a wahm- but deadlines and household junk and schedules pile up…

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  4. Courtney

    Yes, working at home is tough. I love these ideas, to keep it going. It is so hard to be creative with the troops constantly needing something or staring at you. By bedtime, one is exhausted. I am glad that you have found a business that helps your family and fuels you!

    1. hillary

      I think that more than the money, blogging makes me a better wife and mom because it gives me a real passion and purpose. I love our community and couldnt live without it!

  5. Alison

    Love these tips, Hillary.

    I am very lucky and blessed that I have special help – my in laws live a mere 5 minute walk away, so my kids go there fairly often for a couple of hours each time (either both, or one of them), so that does give me one-on-one time with the kids, AND I can work on my writing/ social media business. It makes a huge difference.

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  7. Amanda

    I loved this, and I hope your funk is slowly over (it’s the end of February ! )

    I might as well do every single item on your “inspiring the you in yourself” list. And each of your tips is very valuable, even if you are not (yet) a mom.

    1. hillary

      Thank you. I think I’m coming out of it ???? And Yes–they work for everyone but I think especially women.

  8. Adrienne

    Oh I needed this! I’ve been struggling lately trying to find the balance between the responsibilities of my blog as a job and writing what I love. It is a job! It has taken me a long time to say it out loud but I’m learning to embrace it. Does it make a ton of money? No. Does it help when times are tight? Absolutely.

  9. Hope

    So Insightful. I hope to one day turn my blog into a business. You gave some really good ideas for what I think are ways to find writing inspiration. Always love your posts.

  10. Kathy at kissing the frog

    I often wonder how working moms do it, especially WAHM. I would be so all over the place if I really “worked” at home. As it is, I already AM all over the place. These are great tips. Thanks for sharing!

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  12. The Dose of Reality

    I absolutely love your ideas for getting your groove back. They are awesome.

    I was just nodding my head in agreement the entire time I read this.

    Fantastic post with wonderful advice. ????

    1. hillary

      Thanks ???? I hope its helpful to someone. For now, its helpful for me just to have it out there haha

  13. hollow tree ventures

    Great tips! Ugh, I struggle with balance every day, and while I love writing, the business part of it can start to consume you. And you’re soooo right about bedtime – if I don’t spend real time with them, they have a harder time and so do I. I’m ashamed to say that many times, when we’re having “quality” time, I’ll find myself checking my email “really quick” or whatever, so I’ve gotten to the point that I have to leave my phone in the other room. It’s hard to separate work and family when you’re a WAHM because all your roles become so fluid, but it sounds like you have some great mechanisms in place to help you find that balance.

  14. Steph at I'm Still Learning

    Yup. I’ve had all sorts of work at home gigs, be it my blog or other consulting work and I agree with all of your advice. Thanks for the great post!

  15. WPS

    Thank you. I really like reading about the same topic from several bloggers. That was really neat, and helpful. And I really liked yours!

  16. Lara

    Oh my goodness, I think I love you. Is that weird? Yes, I’m sure it is. Anyway, I have been in a super funk (not just a funk, a super funk). I’ve been feeling exhausted and overwhelmed and stressed and like I’m failing at everything. Tonight is the first time in a long time that I’ve been able to just relax and catch up on some of my fave blogs, so I stop by here and the first few posts I read are like you’re speaking to me. I really needed your blog tonight so thank you. Again, sorry for the weirdness. Off to check out these other links…

    1. hillary

      My friend, you are not weird. You have just made my day! I am so glad you like my blog–those words truly do encourage and uplift me.

  17. Susan

    Awesome!! What more can I say? You covered a lot of things and ones that really were clear to me, getting help and spending time with your kids/spouse. So true! I also love the playlist! That is my way to get my day started just right


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