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.
3. 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?
4. …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?