Today is July 1st, which means not only are we halfway through 2016 (whaa??), but it also marks the half-birthday for my little corner of the internet.
Since my first post on January 1st, in which I boldly declared that I am so much more than just a mom, I have turned here to write my way through a soul-searching journey seek my center.
I am blown away that you all have decided to join me for the journey.
When I snapped this honest glimpse of my rocky, postpartum, newly crowned mom-of-three chaos and posted it to my personal Facebook account, I had no idea that it would be the catalyst for my blog’s creation.
“Snapshot of 6:30 pm. I needed to capture this moment last night. As much as I wanted this particular moment to end, I also wanted to remember it forever. The chaos: notice how two of three are crying, how the mirror is covered in toothpaste and water (how do they manage to do that??), how spit-up covers my shoulder and dark circles are my only accessory, how panic is welling within me as I am still trying to sort out how one person can fill three people’s unique (and urgent) needs, how exhausted desperation is creeping in as I yearn for sleep just as the sweet newborn arches her back, beginning her nightly, four-hour scream-cry, moments before the three year old finds a marker and colors all over his bed, and the six year old picks up his encyclopedia and needs to discuss his findings RIGHT NOW. Inadequacy and doubt when I should really be giving myself some grace. Though I’ve been doing this for years, I’m really only five weeks in. Once again, these little people are showing me what a novice I am. I took this picture because I know that these moments will slip by before I know it, and when I look back, I will somehow remember them as the happiest of my life.” December 28, 2015
After sharing this vignette into motherhood and receiving such an overwhelmingly supportive response, I realized that I am not alone in feeling so ragged and raw and reverent all at once.
In fact, it turned out that there was an entire population of mamas knee-deep in the trenches believing that there had to be other women out there living the same beautiful chaos.
Suddenly, I knew, I was being called to write my truth. To tell my stories.
To gently whisper, and sometimes even shout out, that we are not alone.
And when, just a few days later, I awoke from a night of nearly no sleep and decided I was going to jump in headfirst to a blog with a little newborn nursling in my lap and her big brothers underfoot, I had no idea what an incredible whirlwind I was in for.
I have celebrated wins, managed disappointment, and learned so much about what it means to be courageous in the face of fear.
If you are thinking of starting a blog — if you are thinking of stepping outside of your comfort zone and beginning any new venture — please allow me to share with you all I have discovered throughout my first six months of blogging.
Let me begin by stating the obvious. Let’s call these:
Things you might have forgotten to consider when diving into a blog with zero sleep and zero preparation:
1. Blogging requires time.
Picture the amount of time you might spend writing compelling and wonderful articles that everyone is dying to read. Now, triple that amount of time. And if you’re a perfectionist like me, quadruple it. Because it isn’t just about sprawling your riveting revelations onto the screen and hitting publish, it is also about investing into your blog by promoting your work, engaging with others, reading-reading-reading for inspiration, and spending every free moment you have perfecting your craft.
2. Your riveting revelations might not draw in the traffic you imagined.
You’re proud of your work. You’re ready to share it with the world. But how do you let the world know you exist? Joining support groups like this amazing group on Facebook will help you get your work out there. What is even better than a group that helps you to take the world by storm? Discovering that there is a world rich with strong women who actually want to see each other succeed.
3. Just when you think you are beginning to figure it out, you will be reminded that you are a novice.
So you’re a few months in. You’ve had a crash course in figuring out your niche, building your Facebook community, and finding your place amongst the gorgeously cultivated feeds of your blogging idols on Instagram. Your confidence level is at an all-time high. But then you realize you need to pummel Pinterest to drive that traffic. Stumble your way through StumbleUpon tutorials. Decipher Google analytics, SEO, and quit with the rookie mistakes like that embarassing #followfriday incident.
My point is, the boss babes who have built their blogging empires aren’t just pretty faces taking pretty flower photos; they are savvy, educated women who are humble enough to realize that there is always something new to learn. Thankfully, one of those hustling mompreneurs has made it really easy for newbies like me to get started. Chrystie at livingfornaptime.com has totally rocked my world with her wealth of knowledge!
Some (most) bloggers will tell you to spend time studying your audience, pinpointing your niche, developing your brand, investing in a self-hosted site, and writing ten blog posts that are ready to go before even launching your blog.
This is incredibly sound advice, unless you are a mama like me who is too intimidated by all of that to even begin.
If you’ve put off your dreams and let hesistation rule for far too long now, I say just go for it.
Figure out your domain name, secure your free WordPress blogging platform (so you can easily switch over to self-hosted WordPress when you’re ready), and dive in!!
Need proof that you can take the leap into blogging even if you aren’t entirely prepared/don’t have substantial funds/aren’t sure about your niche/and basically have no idea what you’re doing?
Well, you’re looking at a mama who did just that, and I’m honored to say, that in spite of my naiveté, I have celebrated some wins that I am quite proud to have achieved.
1. I have been invited to write guest posts for writers and #momboss business owners whom I truly admire. Having an opportunity to share my perspective with a wider audience has been a dream I didn’t even realize I could achieve.
2. I was nominated for a Liebster award by one of my favorite tell-it-like-it-is bloggers, Mrs. Mombie. (Mrs. Mombie, by the way, has become one of my closest friends! Who knew stalking someone on Insta could result in such an organic friendship?!)
3. I have written content that I am immensely proud to call my own, and pinched myself hard when one of my favorite blogging inspirations messaged me to let me know she was not only reading my work, but sharing it with her readers, too!
6. I found the courage to apply to be a regular contributor to Austin Moms Blog, and was absolutely thrilled to be welcomed in to their team of incredibly gifted writers.
While I find myself deeply grateful for these achievements, most of which I believed would take much longer to attain, I stand most in awe of the profoundly beautiful relationships I have built in just a few, short months.
I have “met” women who have inspired me to find my voice; discovered writers who have spoken to my soul and fed the spark of desire within my spirit; found mentors who have taught me that empowered women empower others; and made lasting friendships that far outweigh any material success a blog could ever provide.
I’m sharing these wins not because I’m seeking your accolades.
I’m sharing because I want you to know that though you might be afraid –
though might feel as though the words you have to share have already been spoken-
though you might wonder if the tenancious, young woman with aspirations, dreams and desires still exists beneath the layers and layers of motherhood —
though you might hesitate, stumble and fall —
the world needs your voice, your vision, your art.
The world is waiting for you to make a leap and start soaring.
It’s true. The past six months have been more than just learning to blog; they have been a transformative period of self-discovery.
With every word of encouragment, every comment of support you have taken the time to offer, I realize that we are not alone in this journey of motherhood. What a wonderful gift you all have given to me.
This July I will be hard at work at redesigning the site. I cannot wait to share it with you all!!
I’m endlessly grateful to have each of you here, and remain incredibly humbled by the opportunity to share my belief that a centered spirit inspires a centered home.