Pacifiers, Preschool, and Blogging: A Guest Post by Tsh Oxenreider a.k.a. Simple Mom

Since reading No Impact Man, I’ve been thinking a lot about our family’s happiness and lifestyle habits. Earlier this week I wrote about how even though it’s not even Thanksgiving I’m already fretting about the consumerism of Christmas and wondering how to simplify the holiday and make it more meaningful. I’m delighted today to have a guest blogger who makes a living writing about simplicity. Tsh Oxenreider is a hugely popular blogger, the main voice behind Simple Mom, and editor-in-chief of Simple Living Media. I just ordered a copy of her new book, Organized Simplicity, which hit bookstores last week and which I’m eager to read. You can follow Tsh on Twitter to chat about handling the velcro on cloth diapers, dealing with Silly Bandz obsessions, and why less is really more.


Pacifiers, Preschool, and Blogging by Tsh Oxenreider

Blogging well, motherhood, and sanity. These three ingredients make a delicious concoction, but usually, one of them is deleted from the recipe. Finding all three is a challenge, which makes this decadent indulgence a rarity indeed.

It can be done, though. Last month on my blog, Simple Mom, I shared my 11 top tips for blogging. A few weeks later on ProBlogger, I gushed over my husband, my golden ticket for running a successful blog.

But what about being a good mother and a prolific blogger? Can it be done?

Yes. But you have to tread carefully that narrow line entrenched between the two worlds. Here are a few tips from my experience.

1. Take advantage of those unique seasons in life.

When I started Simple Mom in early 2008, I was in the throes of nursing my second-born, Reed. He was one of those babies that loved nursing leisurely, so I had days where I sat for half the day, baby cradled in one arm while laptop balanced on the chair’s opposite arm.

I read all I could about blogging and blogging well. I learned jargon like SEO, plugins, PHP, CSS, and monetization. In those early days, I drank in all I could to lay a solid foundation for Simple Mom.

Fast-forward 14 months later, and Reed was in to everything. I’d turn away for ten seconds, only to find him on the step stool, reaching for the knife block; or worse, out on our fifth-floor balcony and climbing on the outdoor dining table (true story). Needless to say, I didn’t have a moment to rest.

During those months, I didn’t do as much “behind the scenes” blogging stuff. I wrote when I could, and put web design by the wayside.

There are seasons in parenting when you have more time than others. It’s good to use whatever time your current season offers.

2. Make the most of those daily pockets of time.

I blog during naptime and after the kids are in bed for the evening. I also check Facebook or Twitter here and there, between loads of laundry or while dinner simmers on the stove.

It’s not easy. But I can’t expect myself to have a solid five hours or uninterrupted writing bliss — it just doesn’t happen in this life stage. So I go with the flow.

avatar013. Forgive yourself…

While I don’t want my kids’ primary memories of me being glued to the laptop, they know I work from home. My blog is income-generating, so it contributes to the family’s finances. In order to make it run effectively, I need to devote time to it.

I love playing with my kids, and I make sure I’m on the floor with them at least once per day. I nurse my youngest, Finn, throughout the day, and I enjoy sitting on the deck and watching my kids romp in the backyard.

But I’m a grown-up, and it’s okay that I work from home. My kids can see me work and not feel neglected in the process. It took me awhile to let go of this guilt, and I still struggle often. But when those advertisers pay and we can therefore pay our bills, I’m reminded that running Simple Mom is the best job I can imagine. I get to work from home encouraging women, and not miss out on my kids’ milestones.

How great is that?

tate and reed4. …But put family first.

Yes, I work from home, and I log quite a few hours. But at the end of the day, none of that is worth it if I’m too busy to meet our basic needs, or to get offline and build a farm with the wooden blocks.

Ultimately, my blog (and blog network) isn’t all that it could be because I can’t blog full-time. I’m a mom to three kids under five. The math just doesn’t compute.

Maybe one day I can log a full 50 hours per week doing nothing but writing, networking, and coding. But that season isn’t now — and quite frankly, I’d rather mother my children than blog full-time anyway.

It’s a delicate balance of being fully at home while pouring out excellent work in your craft. So really… Blogging well with small children isn’t unlike the well-known struggle of most working moms.

How do I do it all? Easy answer: I don’t.

Are you a blogger with small children? Do you work from home? How do you make time to blog/work while in the trenches of motherhood?

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19 thoughts on “Pacifiers, Preschool, and Blogging: A Guest Post by Tsh Oxenreider a.k.a. Simple Mom”

  1. I guess that sometimes it has to be “good enough.” I am amazed at how much you DO accomplish, given being the mother of 3 kids under 5! Reading your post makes me wish I was more relaxed about things when my kids were little. I was too hard on myself, expecting perfection and feeling frustration as a result. Keep up the great work~!
    .-= Sheryl´s last blog ..Dr Ozs Top 5 Anti-Aging Tips =-.

  2. Exactly. Same here. I was trying to explain the “balance” to someone yesterday and I said basically I can get some things done part-way, or one thing done well while everything else falls apart. I could be saying yes to so much more that would take me farther in my blogging, but it’s not the right time in my life as a mother to do those things. It makes me sad sometimes to “miss out”, but I know that when the time is right it will feel right.

    For me, there has yet to be a BALANCE of it ALL. And that is…

    OK. πŸ™‚

    .-= Adventures In Babywearing´s last blog ..Its been =-.

  3. Kudos! This is exactly what I did – worked when I could fit it in and tried not to stress when I couldn’t. Family has to come first.

  4. I work full time and write a blog. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time for everything there is to do in life. I’m an innkeeper and never imagined this life would be so busy. I have three grown children. Generally I do one thing and try to do it well. Perfectionism, in other words. When my three children were small, that was all I did, taking care of them. Working mothers amaze me. Where they find the energy for everything that is required.

    Also, wanted to compliment you on your writing style. I look forward to reading your blog … when I can find some time!
    .-= Alexandra´s last blog ..B&ampB Etiquette- When Is A Hug Appropriate =-.

  5. I found that I could not write when my daughter was around. I did it a lot when she was a baby, mostly writing as she nursed or played in a little gym thing. But once she started moving around and making noise, I found I was either not a good mother or a good writer. So I lined up care for her and now I just make really good use of my time (when possible).
    .-= Alisa Bowman´s last blog ..The Fabulous PHEA Giveaway =-.

  6. Oh, this really really speaks to me. I love how she puts it: seasons. There have been times when I’ve resisted the idea that I can’t do everything I yearn to do, but I also know how quickly time flies. Having older children at all different stages of childhood is a daily reminder that the into-everything-toddler stage doesn’t last forever, and neither will the stages they are at.

    I really admire how Tsh keeps everything in balance. I’m looking so forward to reading her book!
    .-= Christine @ Origami Mommy´s last blog ..Malabrigo hat pattern =-.

  7. I struggle with this all the time. My kids are young — 19 months and 4 years. I write early mornng, during naptime and less at night. I also work part-time. Now I’m trying to give myself permission to do some stuff for me like see my friends and exercise more. While I can’t do those things as much as I like right now, fitting some “get-away time” helps me avoid burnout and be more productive.

  8. I work from home and have since my kids were wee. Back then, I can remember putting my son into one of those jumping jack bouncers that hang from a door jamb and singing to him while working. Nowadays, the boys are both teens and are great about letting me work. Even so, I have to make an effort to make sure that I’m available for them when they want to talk. With teens, it seems like it’s now or never, so I try to be aware of their needs.
    .-= Kris Bordessa´s last blog .. =-.

  9. I wrote my Masters dissertation while nursing my second child. Working with kids around it not always easy. When they’re tapping me on the shoulder and saying, “Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom” I get very stressed and so I step away from the computer and deal with them.

    I also try and work after they’ve all gone to bed. In the morning, I reread it and think, “whaaa??”

    Like another poster mentioned; the hardest part is forgiveness. The rest is a matter of scheduling.
    .-= Claudine M Jalajas´s last blog ..The Many Colors in a Crayola Jumbo Pack =-.

  10. Beautiful, Tsh– thanks for the honesty!

    I especially resonate with being ok that the work you do right now is simply not all it *could* be.

    As a work from home mom running her own business/blog I sometimes get so overloaded with excitement and ideas about what I could be doing in the business, it’s important, for me, to remind myself gently to simply place them in my idea garden, they aren’t going anywhere- do what you can right now and don’t lose sight of your primary role as a mom (to three littles under 5 yrs old too!)

    I so deeply appreciate all that you give out to the world and to moms- and especially your honesty in allowing us to see the behind the scenes Tsh who looks a whole lot like us πŸ™‚

    Oh and Congrats again on your book hitting the bookstores– Yipppeeee!

  11. Great advice! Working mom blogger here, too, and you’re right – it’s a very delicate balance and one that each mom has to figure out for her own situation.

    I support our family of four on my work as a family entertainment writer & blogger, syndicated family movie columnist, and online blogging teacher. I go a little crazy every day, but somehow it all gets done. And we still have a roof over our heads and we’re not starving by any means.
    .-= Jane Boursaw´s last blog ..New Movie Friday- Megamind! Due Date! 127 Hours! =-.

  12. I started blogging as a mother to a 3 year old and 5 month old. Fast forward to now, they are 6 years and 3 years and I am teaching full time. I still love blogging and am not inclined to give it up, but I am sacrificing…things like sleep and free time…to keep it up. Its for a season though, right?

  13. Wow – I’m impressed by how you manage all this. I write and blog full time from home, and while I don’t have any kids (yet), it’s still a struggle to juggle household chores, assignments, and time with friends/family. I’ll be sure to refer back to this post in a few years when I have a few little ones running around. πŸ™‚

  14. I enjoyed reading this. I have a 3yo, 2yo and another on the way. I just don’t have the time to devote to learning about blogging. I do it because I enjoy it but some day I hope to have a little more time to devote to it. Right now, I blog when I can.

  15. Thanks for this insightful guest post. I love how motherhood forces me to squeeze writing into my scant kid-free times, wringing them for all they’re worth. Sure my blog design needs some freshening, but I try and keep the laptop closed when kids are around, so blog-design gets shuffled to the back burner. My mantra is “there will be time, someday.” (but of course when that day dawns I’ll miss building lego worlds with these precious small people).
    .-= 6512 and growing´s last blog ..Does yogurt count as a retirement plan =-.

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