The grass is always greener, amiright?
Being a working mom is hard. Being a stay at home mom is hard. Being a work at home mom is hard. Running a stay at home mom blog? It may sound like the best of both worlds, but it’s hard as well.
No matter what your motherhood journey looks like, it’s all hard.
There are challenges, joys, and pros and cons no matter what path you choose in motherhood.
I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting over the past few months as we’re about to welcome our fourth baby to the family, and I can’t help but be overcome with humble gratitude at the path my life has taken.
This is not a post about how to quit your job and stay home with your kids, nor is it a get rich quick scheme. I’m simply sharing my story and journey into how I started running a stay at home mom blog.
Fun fact: I used to be an elementary school music teacher. When I became pregnant with my first, a whole bunch of stuff went down at the school I was teaching at, which was actually a good thing because it was a pretty toxic environment.
That summer while I was pregnant, I stressed a LOT over finding a job. While I didn’t want to work full-time and put my baby in daycare, I wasn’t sure what other options I had.
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Being a (Part-Time) Working Mom
Mid-summer, I accepted a job teaching lessons at a local music studio.
It seemed like the perfect fit: while it was less money than a public teaching job, I would have a flexible schedule and could work in the evenings and on weekends when my husband was home.
While we had some help watching Theo from a neighbor and my husband’s mom, we didn’t have to pay for childcare, so the drop in pay was well worth it.
Fast forward two years.
I have one word for you: twins.
Let’s make that 6 words actually: twins and a two-year-old.
I took a lot of time off after the girls were born. I don’t remember how much exactly, but zero of it was paid.
We adjusted our budget and made do off of one income. It was tough but definitely manageable.
When I went back to work it was SO. HARD.
I was with my kids all day, so it shouldn’t have been that hard to be away from them. And it wasn’t that, exactly.
It was that the time I was away was dinner and bedtime. It was Saturday morning.
I spent all day taking care of my children and pouring into them, that by the time I arrived at the music studio I had no capacity to teach other people’s children. I was spent. Exhausted. Emotionally drained.
Ben and I had a conversation and decided that we had survived on one income for several months, we could make it a more permanent thing. My mental clarity was more important than a paycheck.
Being a Stay At Home Mom
So, I stopped working and officially became a full-time stay-at-home-mom.
The month after I left my job, I launched my blog. I knew I needed some sort of creative outlet, and something to work on that was for *me* and not my family.
I knew that I had valuable advice to offer other parents, especially twin parents… not because I’m some super amazing, rockstar mom, but because I know how important it is to hear from real-life moms and real-life experiences.
You can read all of the books in the world by parenting “experts” but nothing compares to hearing how it’s done by actual moms.
When I started my blog, I decided a few things up front.
One, I decided that if I started, I would not quit. No matter how successful it did or didn’t become, I would not quit.
I also made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t become a slave to it.
My family and children would always come first, and while, yes, I do work in front of the kids sometimes, it’s not constant.
If I have to say “sorry, mommy can’t do that, I’m working right now” it is a very rare occurrence.
I also decided (hoped!!) that by the time my children were in school full-time, I would be generating enough of an income that I could continue blogging and not get a job out of the house.
How I Successfully Started a Stay at Home Mom Blog
Do you know how hard it is to find time to work when you have 3 tiny children at home with you? It’s really hard.
I Did Not Quit
I developed a great routine that changed as I needed it to.
We had a lot of big changes in the 3+ years that I started, and there were times that I stepped away and didn’t touch my blog.
Like when we moved from Ohio to Rhode Island.
When my dad died.
And again, when we found out we were expecting our fourth baby and I couldn’t get off the couch.
We have been through a LOT! But no matter what, I came back to blogging.
I Did Not Become a Slave To It: Slow and Steady
Slow and steady.
I did not let it take over my life.
I let it be a side hustle and knew that it would eventually get there.
I Wasn’t Actively Trying to Replace an Income
I do NOT suggest quitting your job with zero experience blogging and trying to become successful to replace your income.
If you can quit your job and survive on one income? Then go for it.
But if it’s going to be crunch time and you have 6 months to make money or you’re going to be struggling with bills? Do. Not. Do. It.
It is definitely possible to make money that quickly, but there is no guarantee! I also think that if there was that much pressure on me to make money blogging, it would take the joy out of it.
It wouldn’t be a creative outlet, and I wouldn’t be able to connect with my audience as much. There are times that I read blog posts on other sites (rarely, but it does happen haha), and I can tell the post was written with the intention to make money.
There’s no passion. No personality. Full of SEO keywords and links to purchase products.
When I started blogging, we were fine on one income, and while nobody complains about extra money, I knew that my goal was essentially to make an income by fall of 2021 when all 3 kids would be in school full-time.
Slowly Generating an Income as a Blogger
As my blog started gaining traction, my followers on social media increased. I think people liked the fact that I embrace the chaos and don’t only showcase our picture-perfect moments.
In December of 2018, I reached a pivotal point for many bloggers on Instagram: 10,000 followers, which means access to the elusive SWIPE UP feature!
In January of 2019, I started to have brands reach out to me to do sponsored Instagram posts. I really had no idea what I was doing, but I wasn’t about to turn down these opportunities!
My very first sponsored posts, I charged $125. Since then, my highest paying campaign has been for $650. It’s truly been a huge part of my income, but the downside is that it fluctuates drastically.
Some months I have dozens of offers, and other months I have 1 or 2.
Actually, I do turn down a lot of offers lol. If the brand doesn’t align with my views, I won’t promote it.
This isn’t saying that I will only promote my absolute favorite things, but if I won’t allow it in my house, I won’t put it on my Instagram feed.
One of my biggest goals was to have enough views on my site to make it with an ad network that actually generated income.
I had Google Adsense on my blog, but they seriously pay PENNIES. I’m talking maaaybe $100 every few months.
Once I started doing sponsored campaigns on Instagram, I felt really confident in my abilities. I had a newfound confidence that I really could make it as a blogger.
I started reading a book called Make Time to figure out how I could be better with time management so that I could increase my time working on my blog and gain enough views to make it into an ad network.
Remember how I said I wouldn’t become a slave to my blog? Yeah, well that changed a little bit during this time period!
Something I read in Make Time really hit home for me. They talked about prioritizing the things in your life, and how usually your family should be number one.
But sometimes? Sometimes you need to prioritize work. If you have a big project or a deadline, it’s OK to temporarily spend less time with your kids.
The author’s example was that he had just spent the entire summer spending tons of time with his family. But during the fall, he had deadlines to meet and his kids went back to school, so his number one priority became the book he was writing.
I took that into consideration. I had just taken several months completely off from blogging as I was processing the death of my father.
It was the middle of winter and the perfect time for my kids to have some extra screen time so that I could grind.
We planned a family vacation in April, and by April 11th, about a week before our vacation, I applied for and was accepted into the Mediavine ad network.
I’m not one of those huge bloggers making six-figures. My husband is not about to quit his job.
But I’ve accomplished my goals, and a few years early at that!
The best thing about blogging is that it’s passive. If I don’t have time to get out new content, people still come to my site and I still make money.
Granted, not as much money as when I’m working hard, but still.
And while I’m not earning massive amounts of money, and don’t have any plans for that this year (you know, what with a newborn on the way and all), I know it’s something that is within my reach.
Working From Home is Hard
Guys, working from home is HARD. I have 2ish hours in the morning when Josie and Margo are in preschool. I typically get up and spend about an hour getting work done (usually anything I have for Instagram) before the kids get up.
I spend the 2-hours in the morning getting as much done as possible.
When the girls get home from school, we have lunch together, they play for a little bit, and I tidy up a few things. Then they have nap/rest time from 1-2:30. If they fall asleep, I get another hourish of work done.
If they don’t sleep, even though they stay in their room, I can hear them playing and have a really hard time focusing.
Then we go pick up Theo, and we all spend time together. If I’m really behind on things (I mean, I’m always behind, but if I’m extra behind), I will set them up with some books for quiet reading time, and I’ll finish up some work.
I try really hard to make that the exception though. I have no problem with my kids seeing me working, and it happens a lot over school breaks.
However, it’s a huge priority to me that I’m available to them when they first get home from school. I don’t want to be on my computer, I don’t want to be working, I want to be snuggling them on the couch and helping them unwind from the day.
Then I make dinner while they play, then it’s bedtime routine and then I collapse on the couch (pregnancy problems!).
The True Meaning of Being a Successful Mom Blogger
Putting my life and views out there, I sometimes get some snarky comments. It doesn’t happen to me frequently, but it does happen.
But do you know what I get a LOT of??
Messages saying “THANK YOU.”
Messages saying “I don’t feel so alone knowing someone else feels this way.”
DMs saying that they followed my schedule for newborn twins and they don’t know how they’d survive without it.
Comments saying that they felt weak because they are struggling with twin pregnancy but that my honest post made them realize that it’s normal and OK.
You guys. These messages literally bring tears to my eyes.
They keep me humble.
They remind me of the WHY.
They put me right back into my days at home with newborn twins and a 2-year-old when I cried on the floor with my kids.
They also remind me that no matter how many days I’ve spent crying with my kids, I’ve spent more days kicking butt at mom life.
So there you have it. A look into my glamorous life at running this little blog of mine.
And a reminder that no matter WHAT path you choose in motherhood, it is enough. You are enough.