An Uncomplicated Life Blog: February 2016

nav

Monday, February 29, 2016

A Roundup of The Best Blogging Advice

If you want to take you blog to the next level, check out this great advice from other successful bloggers!

Nobody is born knowing how to blog. In addition, its constantly in flux, as technology is always changing and strategies to best utilize those changes are constantly evolving. So even when you "know" how to do something with your blog, odds are good that in 3-6 months, it's already changed! I've written a few "how to blog" posts where I share my ideas of what's worked for me, but I wanted to spread the word on some of the posts and sources I've read that have been the best blogging advice, and have taken my blog to the next level.

Great tips on how to run and manage a blog! From monetizing to Instagram to Google Analytics, there are tips from other bloggers on all the key areas to having a successful blog.


Blog Monetization: I wrote this post about how I monetized my blog and some of the things I learned along the way. This post has tons of links where you can find blog/brand connectors that fit your niche so you can start getting more sponsored post opportunities.

Google AdSense: This beast is still a bit of a mystery to me - some months I do well and others? I think I make a whopping $15. While I'm still quite green in this area, this post had some great tips on increasing Google AdSense revenue that literally helped me double my revenue overnight!

SEO: I'm not a tech junkie, but I do know SEO is vital to having people come across your blog in basic web searches! While social media promotion is key, you have to also know how to make people find you. Click here to learn about SEO and how to optimize it in your blog posts.

Instagram: IG is one of those social media channels everyone wants to do really well, but so few do. I took all of the 4th quarter to focus on it, and wrote my best Instagram advice in this post. I learned takeaways from the Blog Elevated conference as well as the SITS Girls blog boot camp; outside of those two sources, this one was the best I found for getting your Instagram in order.

Pinterest: Pinterest is funny because it's a search engine, not a "social" media, and therefore functions a bit differently. The game really changed when they implemented the Smart Feed late in 2015! I wrote up a great Pinterest basics post that will get you started in the right direction (including HOW to transition your account to a business account and WHERE to edit your images vertical, all linked up and easy for you!) and this post has great information on how to use the Smart Feed to your best advantage. She's also my blogging BFF so you should be reading her anyway.

Google Analytics: GA is the standard for all brands who want to know your stats when they're seeking bloggers to work with. You HAVE to have Google Analytics installed in your blog's HTML header in order to work with brands and be monetized! I have so say though, GA isn't the easiest thing to figure out. There's tons of information there, but if you can't translate it to something meaningful, then it's all a waste! This post had great info on the basics on Google Analytics to get you started.

I hope you find those links and posts as helpful as I did when I was doing my research on the best blogging advice out there! Blogging isn't easy and for me, it doesn't always come naturally, but it's so helpful to read how others have found success with their blogs so that we can all benefit from it. If you found this post insightful, check out my Pinterest board Blogging Education - I pin all these posts and more great tips on running a successful blog there! 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Things To Bring Your New-Mom-Friend That She'll Actually Want

Meeting your friend's new baby? Bring her these items for gifts she'll actually want!


So your girlfriend just had a baby and is finally ready for visitors! (Unless your family or she asked you, I'd recommend NOT going to see her in the hospital - it's such a quick and chaotic stay, visitors only complicate it.) Great! Now what do you bring her? Please, no more baby items. Bring her something for HER. At a loss for something other than flowers? Here are a few things she'll actually want that you might not have thought about, from a woman who's given birth twice *affiliate links used*:

Have a friend who just had a baby? Here are some things to bring her and do for her - that she'll really appreciate! Take it from this experienced mama


- Infant gas drops and gripe water. Sure, this is actually for the baby - as in, he or she will be the one consuming it. But these are LIFELINES for the new mom. If the baby is fussing for no reason, gripe water comes into action. I use the  gas drops after almost every feeding with Otto to keep him from being super mad about any gas he might develop. And a happy, calm baby = happy calm mommy.

- A hot cup of coffee (ask if she wants it decaf!) and breakfast from her favorite coffee shop. You know what's really hard to do when you're nursing an infant? Making yourself food. And I haven't had a hot cup of coffee since Otto was born. Find out what she wants and pick something up before heading over to her house, then hold her baby while she eats and drinks it. Trust me. She'll love you.

- A GOOD bottle of champagne. Your friend has been in forced sobriety for the past nine months. Don't be cheap and bring over a bottle of Cooks. Get a good one! Even if she's nursing, one glass (or two) won't hurt her. Even better if you're visiting her in the morning - she likely had a rough night and is ready for some bubbly by 9am!

- Baby-friendly laundry detergent. Yes, laundry detergent. Make sure it's baby-friendly (scent free, chemical free, etc). Then, do a load or several of her laundry. Ask her if she wants the baby items separate from her clothes (when I was a first time mom I separated mine... Now as a second time mom aint nobody got time fo dat) and if there's any special instructions. You'll be her favorite person if you stay and fold it, too, then put it away for her. Let her nap while you do this.

- Bath salts. Pickup a big bag of bath salts and bring them to her. Then insist she go relax in the tub (perhaps with a glass of champagne! That's how I'd roll) while you watch the baby. Give her a little advance notice so she can pump/prepare a bottle for you if need be! Don't disturb her. Just let her soak while you soak up some baby time.

Flowers are nice, but they go brown quickly and then your poor new mom friend just has another mess to clean up after. Instead, get your new mom friend something she'll actually want! These items are a great place to start. Be sure to follow the directions listed and watch that baby for her while she enjoys what you brought her!

Monday, February 22, 2016

How I Manage Post-Partum Hair

Tips on managing post-partum hair loss, excessively greasy scalp, dry ends or any other hair disaster after delivering a baby


If you've ever had a baby, you know. Your once dreamy, glorious pregnancy locks turn into a nightmare of a mess on your head. Some women get super greasy. Some get super dry. If you're me, you get both! Greasy roots with really dry ends. And either after you deliver or after you're done breastfeeding, it all starts to fall out. It's one last treat that nature throws at you after you've dealt with the hormonal roller coaster of having a baby. Fear not though! There are some ways to curb this dreaded post partum hair phase.

Delivering a baby does a number on your hair! Be prepared and able to combat post partum hair with these tips

I got pregnant in the fall of 2013 and was shocked at how easy my hair was to style! It was thicker, shinier, and actually held a curl. My whole life, I've had fairly thin hair that was hard to style. It doesn't hold a curl long and certainly lacked volume. So once I was pregnant, I was in awe of my hair! It was amazing. Even though pregnancy wasn't my jam, I had nine months of hair bliss.

Pregnant hair, FTW!
Then I delivered Henry. Almost immediately, my hair became super greasy. I'm talking stringy grease strands, even at the roots level of grease! I remember asking my stylist what to do about it, and he looked at me in horror (I went to the salon without washing my hair for two days, because, errrrr - new baby in the house!) and said, "Ummmmm... I think you just have to wait this out." He ended up cutting off nearly five inches, because despite my greasy roots, my ends were fried. They were so dry! It was bizarre to have such extremes on the same head. My stylist thought so too by his facial expressions as he attempted to "fix" my post partum hair mess.

A few months later, my grease mess head of hair started falling out. I was to the point where I really didn't think I would mind losing my hair, because it was so gross. But then more and more started falling out. I could literally pull clumps of hair out! I thought I was going to have nothing left. I would produce massive hair balls after combing and drying my hair in the morning. It was so alarming.



This time around (after delivering Otto), I'm much better prepared! I knew what was coming my way and got the tools ready to combat post-partum hair problems. One of my favorites is NEW Dove Regenerative Nourishment Collection from Dove Hair. It gently washes away excess grease and moisturizes my dry ends without weighing my fine hair down. Just as awesome as the product  is the fact that I can pick this up during one of my Target runs - no extra trips to specialty stores or salons, which this new mama appreciates. Dove Hair thinks that every moment of your hair journey is a special one, even when your hair is a post-partum mess like mine was before I found these Dove Hair products!

Long and straight wins for easiest "new mom manageable" hairstyle!
If you're a new mom or about to deliver a baby, the best way to manage post partum hair is to be prepared! Get some tools in your post partum tool belt and be ready to meet the hormonal mess that will be your hair with a bang! Dove Hair makes some great products to help you manage any hair issues that will inevitably come your way.

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Dove Hair, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #MyHairStory #DovePartner  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Otto Update!

My wee man turned two months today. Don't worry, I'm not going to say "I can't believe it!" because it annoys me when others do that. Like, really? You can't believe that time passes and everyone gets older, huh? Hmmm... Anyway. I put a few of his cute pics on social media but I thought I'd tell you a little bit about him in addition. Here's an open letter about my little guy:



Dear squish,

You're two months old now, and getting so heavy! I'm so impressed that you can hold your head up as long as you can. That thing is big and heavy too! You're happy in tummy time for about two minutes, and then you're so over it. You get happier again if your big brother comes in and plays with you, or doesn't play with you but gives you something and someone to watch.

You LOVE watching your big brother! In fact, you usually dart your eyes around the room until you find him, and then you don't take your eyes off of him. I hope that means you already love him, but I have the sneaking suspicion that you're just on guard for any moves your older brother will inevitably pull on you. Develop those cat-like reflexes now kiddo, because big brother Henry is coming to bop you on the head!

You are an easy and calm baby, and a good sleeper to boot! I'm not sure if it's because that's what you are as a Sagittarius (thank God I birthed another sleeper. Your older brother nearly killed me with his lack of sleeping) or if it's because I learned all my lessons with my first baby and better know how to sooth you. Big brother might try to pull some moves on you, but hey! As the second born, I'm not making nearly as many mistakes with you (sorry Henry!) So you have that going for you and your development into a little boy.

A photo posted by Paige AnUncomplicatedLifeBlog (@anuncomplicatedlifeblog) on

Your favorite things to do are to eat, take a bath and to watch your big brother. He brings you toys, but you're not interested in them yet. Don't worry, if Henry has his way you'll be throwing a ball in no time! I wonder if you'll be a swimmer like your brother. It's nearly pool weather here, so we'll find out soon. And if you're not, that's ok. I only really like getting my feet wet enough to handle the Texas heat; I'll sit on the sidelines with you. We can continue your love of watching your brother together as he fearlessly splashes and you fiercely cuddle me. You love being cuddled.

You absolutely hate having a dirty diaper! This was a learning curve for us since Henry gives zero craps about a crap in his pants, but you scream and scream until you're all clean. Now we know! You also inherited my extremely sensitive skin. This means you'll break out in a terrible rash unless only the most expensive diapers and wipes are used on you. We're deducting these from your college fund. State school for you! Just kidding. You can go where you want as long as it's not a private school for a liberal arts degree that will take you the better part of 20 years to pay off. How did I get here? Wasn't I just talking about diapers? Two months later and I still have new-mom brain.

You are my sweet squish and I love you so! Cheers to two months buddy, I can't wait to see who you are  and how you've changed in two more!

Love,
Mama

Monday, February 15, 2016

Pinterest Popular Pin FAILS

Ever wonder if those viral DIY Pinterest pins really live up to their claims? I played Myth Busters to find out!


How many times have you been cruising Pinterest and you noticed a homemade or DIY beauty treatment that has thousands or even tens of thousands of repins? I remember a few years ago, there was a teeth whitening pin that was insanely popular. This month, a DIY blackhead removal mask has been crowding my feed. Anyone else? Perhaps the internet has become so savvy it "knows" I just had a baby and my skin has suffered terribly from the hormonal changes... Or it's just a really popular pin. Either way, I wanted to find out - Does this homemade mask really work?

There are two pins I see often for this: one is a gelatin and milk mask. It has really grotesque pictures of the blackheads after removal. Then there's a milk and flour mask, with photos of beautiful glowing skin after it's use. Who doesn't want that?! Since having Otto, my skin has been a playground for all kinds of breakouts so I thought, "Perfect! Easy, nontoxic DIY remedies? I'm all about it. This pins have to go viral for a reason, it must work!" But did it? Let's take a look.


First, the gelatin and milk mask. This one made sense to work; the gelatin would harden on my nose and pull out all the gunk with it, right? What the milk was for I had no idea. Alas, here we go! Here's my before pic. I have ZERO makeup on, and actually just returned from a barre class so my hair is up and in a post-sweat sesh messy bun to boot.

Hey blackheads.
I followed the directions to a T! One tablespoon gelatin, one tablespoon milk, microwave for 8 seconds. This is what happened:


So it was pretty chunky and gross looking but I thought, "Hey you never know! Maybe it will still work?" I applied it to my face anyway. Y'all. I have to tell you. It smelled JUST like Otto's vomit/spit up. I mean, just like it. I guess that's what happens when you microwave milk.

Not what it looked like on Pinterest!
It didn't look like the pictures on Pinterest at all. It was disgusting! Clearly not even the consistency of a mask. The chunks started to fall off as I attempted to apply them. There was no way this would harden and be "peelable" off my face! It was so foul.


Ok so the gelatin mask failed miserably. What about the honey and flour one? The after photos from that were of such beautiful, glowing skin! I had to try it. Plus, with the honey, there was no way it would smell like the nasty gelatin mask. Game on!


This one was super easy to throw together too: one part flour, one part honey, one part warm water. Mix together and apply to your face until it congeals. Boom - flawless skin! Or, so it promised. It mixed together easily and formed a consistency that actually would go on my face, unlike the gelatin mask. "Ok, we're already miles ahead of that thing!" I thought. "Maybe this will actually work..."

Not the prettiest facial mask, but if it works, who cares right?!
I put it on. It was thick enough to stay put, although it did run down my face a little bit. It didn't burn or sting, and the honey added a nice scent. I went to do some work to let it dry, hopeful that Pinterest wouldn't let me down for a second time in a day.


I let it sit for about 20 minutes. When it came time to remove it, it wasn't "peelable" (like a Biore strip). It was actually quite hard to get off my face! It took about 3-4 minutes of consistent washing to get that cement-like gunk off. But seriously, if that was what it took to get a DIY blackhead removal mask to work, no biggie!

And... The result? Drum roll please:


Yeeeeeeeeeah. It didn't. Pinterest fail number two of the day. Although, my skin looks bizarrely more yellow in this shot than in the first and I'm standing in the exact same spot for all the photos. You can see my nose is a little red too - not sure if that was from the mask or from trying to jackhammer the cement off scrub it off my face. Who knows. I won't be trying it again to figure it out either.

Pinterest is a funny thing. Pins go viral for absolutely NO REASON at all. Neither of these masks work, but you'd never know it from how many repins they got! You'd think it was God's gift to blackhead removal. They aren't. They don't even come out looking like the pictures associated with the pin! It just goes to show you - before you hit "repin" on any of those super popular homemade or DIY beauty remedies, perhaps you should check to see if they work first. Odds are, it was a pin that went viral because people want it to work and it seems like a good idea. But the reality is there's simply no value behind the pin.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

5 Breastfeeding Essentials

Essential items to help you successfully breastfeed your infant and baby


I'm happy to report that I'm exclusively breastfeeding (EBF) Otto and it's going swimmingly. By this point with Henry, I was already introducing formula and cursing breast feeding's name! I chalk most of my success up to being an experienced mom who was prepared this time around for a) how challenging breastfeeding actually is b) the sacrifices you need to make as a mom to breastfeed and c) how time consuming it really is.

Despite all that, I'm actually enjoying it! Yes I miss coffee and dairy (read below) but EBF'ing is far easier than washing all those dang bottles and getting the formula un-stuck from the tip of the nipple. Bad memories trying to get that gunk out, friends. Anyway, I've rounded up my 5 most essential breastfeeding items to adequately prepare yourself for the challenges ahead. First time moms and soon to be moms, this one's for you!

What's truly helpful for breastfeeding success. There are tons of gadgets and items sold to new moms and most of it is junk. Here's what you really need to be successful at breastfeeding - from one mom's perspective

Here are my 5 breastfeeding essentials *affiliate links used*:



My Brest Friend nursing pillow: This thing has been a lifesaver! I never found a breastfeeding pillow I liked with Henry (I had a Boppy but it was too big/over-stuffed for how short-waisted I am and the baby would roll all over the place because it's round. It was great for when Henry started sitting up, however! Just not a good breastfeeding pillow for a woman of my build) Not only is there back support with this pillow (which after popping out a baby, you WILL need) but there's molded foam to keep the baby positioned at your breast correctly. The pillow is flat so he won't roll all over the place while you're feeding. There are pockets for things like nipple cream or other necessities. The cover comes off and is washable. I could go on and on about how great this thing is - I honestly use it every single time I nurse Otto. 

Bamboobies breast/nursing pads: I wear these every day. They're super soft bamboo so they won't irritate your skin. They protect your clothes from "grease" stains while you're applying nipple cream in those beginning weeks. You can use them to wipe up after yourself if you're pumping (all my pumping mamas know what I'm talking about here - you pull the pump away and end up with a lap full of milk-dribbles!) I've even used them to wipe Otto's mouth after a feed. And best yet - they're washable! No excessive waste here.

Peet's Coffee decaf house blend: Here's the thing about breastfeeding: What you eat, your little one eats too. Infants, especially those first three months, are notorious for having aversions to various foods, but caffeine is a huge offender. Whenever you hear about a "colicky baby" odds are it's nothing more than a reaction the baby is having to what the mom is feeding him or her, resulting is gas, stomach upset, acid reflux, and other issues. To minimize any issues (Henry was extremely gassy and fussy - I learned this lesson from him) I decided to go caffeine free from the moment Otto was born. But I love the tradition of morning coffee, so decaf it is! After the three month mark, I'll try incorporating good old regular coffee back into my diet to see how Otto does, but in the meantime I'll take my peaceful and calm baby over a cup of Joe. But oh, I can't wait for the glorious return of caffeine!



Wireless nursing bras: Yes, wireless, kinda like the training bras you wore back in the day... Amirite?! In the beginning when your milk is coming in, you definitely want a wireless nursing bra. First, you have no idea what size you'll end up being. I can tell you I'm about four cup sizes bigger than normal! The stretch of the fabric and flexibility of not having a wire is essential. Second, wires rub on your milk ducts and contribute to the cause of Mastitis. Mastitis is a clogged and infected milk duct, and while I've never had one, I've heard horror stories about it. It makes the mom insanely ill and makes breastfeeding extremely painful and challenging, then you have to go on medication that reduces your milk supply. So while you're getting used to nursing, just stick with the wireless bras for a bit to curb any infected-duct potential and to keep your size flexible. I know they're not as cute as other bras. Get over it. Channel your inner Jr. High school self and get comfy.



Almond milk: Remember what I said about caffeine? An even bigger offender to the delicate tummy of a newborn is dairy. If you have an extremely fussy baby, try omitting dairy for a week and see what happens. I bet he or she calms down! There's a protein in milk that crosses into the breast milk that's extremely challenging for newborns to digest. It's the protein, not the lactose, so even lactose-free milk won't help you! I went ahead and went dairy-free for Otto to avoid all colicky situations. Just like with coffee, I'll introduce it back in in a few months to see how he takes it. But for now, despite my deep love for cheese and milk, I'd much rather have a calm and happy baby and I highly suggest all other nursing mamas give it a try, too!

Breastfeeding is a challenging, time consuming job. But if you have the essential items to help you, it can also be really rewarding and dare I say it... Fun! I'm really enjoying breastfeeding Otto. I mean, I'm also enjoying not washing bottles every time he feeds and not changing formula diapers, but breastfeeding has turned out to be a great bonding experience. I hope the same for you if you decide to nurse. Just remember these 5 breastfeeding essentials!

Monday, February 8, 2016

St. Patrick's Day Snack Mix

This snack mix "Leprechaun Crack" is perfect to accompany your St. Patrick's Day libations!

Who doesn't like to celebrate St. Patrick's Day? You drink, dress in green and gold, dance like a leprechaun and kiss people pretending that you're Irish. What fun! The thing is, you need a good snack to accompany those adult bevvies or disaster will strike and you'll be down for the count and out of the party. This snack mix is SO good, and takes about 5 whole minutes to throw together. Make a lot of it, because I promise it won't last long with drunk people around!



Leprechaun Crack Snack Mix:
- 1 bag sea salt popcorn
- 1 small bag pretzels
- 1 bag white chocolate chips
- green sprinkles/sugar crystals



Spread the popcorn and pretzels out on a cookie sheet. If it's not nonstick, line it with parchment paper or spray it with cooking spray for easier clean up. Melt the chocolate in the microwave. Use a fork and drizzle it over the popcorn and pretzels. While the chocolate is still soft, sprinkle with festive sprinkles or sugar crystals. Let cool completely before you break it up and put it in a serving dish.

Enjoy! See? So easy, even your drunk friend can make it.


Have a happy St. Patty's Day, and enjoy this delicious snack to keep you thirsty all day long!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

If You Knew Me In High School...

I saw this fun post on Karli's blog and thought, "That's fun!" Then I tabbed over to Facebook, because who doesn't have 100 tabs open at once right, and low and behold! I had been tagged in an old high school cheerleading photo (you know, we didn't have digital stuff back then so it was a pic of a pic). "That's it!" I thought. I need to do one of these posts too. It's been a long time since there was a "get to know you" blog post so why not? Here's what would have gone down if y'all knew me in high school:

Hey braces


If you knew me in high school...
You'd know I made a quick transition from being "alternative" with pink hair in Jr High to preppy girl on the cheerleading team between grades 8-9. Literally overnight, I determined being alternative was super dumb, took a hard left turn and went as preppy and peppy as I could.

If you knew me in high school...
You'd know I never dated anyone from MY high school, and St. Louis Park boys never asked me out. Never. Not once. But the second I showed up at a party at a different high school, I was a hot commodity and was never single. Don't know what was wrong with those St. Louis Park boys but they were all short anyway so I wasn't interested. Seriously, I was taller than all of them but a certain Chris Johnson. But he had a {much shorter} girlfriend. Your loss, CJ!

If you knew me in high school...
You'd know I was the first one to learn how to drive a stick and taught my friends. I had a 1989 Honda Accord. Two of them actually. And a 1990 Honda Civic. And a 1998 Mazda Protege. And a 2002 Mazda Protege. I crashed a lot of cars y'all.

If you knew me in high school...
You'd know I was a three-season athlete - cheerleading (competitive, fall and winter seasons) and track & field. I was a sprinter but got slower every year. Or the other girls got faster, who can really be sure?

If you knew me in high school...
I was pretty active on the party scene. I don't know how I stayed out so late and my a$$ didn't get grounded on the reg, but I think my parents either let a lot slide with me BECAUSE I was so involved with school or because I was the youngest and they were tired of fighting that battle. Again, who can be sure?!

If you knew me in high school...
You'd know I rarely, if ever, studied. I was in honors and AP classes. I just didn't give a rip about academics. I remember briefly looking over some notes before the AP Psychology exam. I got college credit for that (whoohoo!), but I only scored a 23 on my ACT. Oops. Never even took the SAT because why test twice?

If you knew me in high school...
You'd know that I attempted to work at Abercromie & Fitch for exactly two weeks before the pounding music and horrific cologne drove me to call my manager with a fake injury from cheerleading. "Sorry can't come in, sprained my ankle!" I never went back and also never collected a paycheck from the four shifts I worked. They paid a measly $6.50/hr so I wasn't worried about it #notmissingmuch

It's funny to think back on my high school self! In many ways, I'm still the exact same person: I didn't give a hoot what anyone thought then and still don't. If I liked it I did it, and if I didn't like it I didn't do it. Adult life requires a bit more compromise than that, but my arm still needs a good twisting to do those mundane tasks! Have you ever thought back to your high school self?


Monday, February 1, 2016

How I Earn Thousands Per Month As A SAHM & Blogger

Detailed strategies to getting all the work done when you're a work from home mom


You know what the problem with many of these posts titled "How I Earn Thousands Per Month As A SAHM and Blogger" are? They give you bogus tips. They say things like, "stay organized!" and "work during nap time!" and other obvious, no-brainer things. Generally, I don't learn much from them. So I thought I'd write my own non-bogus post about how I get all the work done when I have two kids under two and work from home to boot.

Detailed strategies to getting all the work done when you're a work from home mom

I'm going to get into the details here. No vagueness! I've seen this question come up multiple times in the last few months in some of my "mommy" blogging groups and I know it's on many women's minds. It applies to non-mom's too - y'all just have the added benefit of NOT having a major distraction on your hands! But the organizational tools can apply to you too. Fear not, non-mamas - read on!

Alright, so here's the deal: Last summer I monetized this blog, and quickly climbed into the thousands of dollars per month range. It doesn't come close to replacing my former income, but it's a solid part-time income that I'm happy about. With that comes responsibilities, as I outlined in this post about monetizing. (If you want to know how to monetize a blog, check that one out.) Here's exactly how I manage it all:

First, you have to get rid of "distraction work":

You have to hire some things out. We have a housekeeper come every other week. This means I don't need to spend any time doing deep cleaning - I just need to stay on top of the dishwasher and wipe down surfaces. Aint no work at home mom got time for no mops! Hire that out. We also hire out a gardener. While we don't have a large yard, I certainly don't have time to mow an ever-green lawn. If you're in Dallas, you know that most of us do this because 1) it's super affordable here in Texas and 2) who wants to mow a lawn when it's 115 in the sun by 8am for half the year? #nothanks Basically, hire out side work. As much as you can. Hire out cleaning, mowing, laundry, whatever you can/can afford. This stuff is only a distraction from your two main jobs: being a mom and blogging (or whatever you do professionally from home).

Detailed strategies to getting all the work done when you're a work from home mom


Ok, so the side work is out of the way. Now for how I get the babies taken care of and my blog written and promoted:

- I keep a strict sleep schedule. I'm not kidding y'all, I do NOT play around with bedtime! The clock strikes 7pm and those buggers are down (click here to see how I do it). And you know what? Even my one month old was on board with this after two weeks! This of course enables me to have guaranteed distraction-free time to blog. If my husband is traveling, I'll write posts and finish up post promotion. If he's in town, I just wrap up post promotion so that we can spend time together. I do this until I go to bed, sometime at or before 10pm. I usually have my laptop open AND my iPhone 6 Plus going at once during this time. Phone is used to catch up on Twitter and Instagram threads; laptop is used for Pinterest, Stumble Upon and replying to blog emails. God gave me two hands and I use them to their fullest potential during this time.

- Nap time is for photos. If I know that I can spend 7pm-10pm writing and promoting, then I need some "non baby daytime" to get all my photos in. My kids nap at 11am so this works well - I have light! I try to get as many photos done for both my blog and Instagram during this time. It's way to hard to stage everything and then have grubby toddler hands swoop in and ruin it, so use your nap time for essential kid-free activities.

- Mornings are for linking blog promotion threads. We get up at 7am (sounds luxurious but I've only slept about 5 hours from nighttime feedings) and have breakfast. Afterwards, Henry likes to play in our playroom. He's content with building blocks and train sets, and Otto is only awake for an hour before he's ready to pass out again. So he's in a bassinet at my side while Henry plays, and I get to linking up my post in various blog promotion threads found in Facebook blogging groups. I have a tab open for every social media channel with the direct link ready to be copied and pasted. This way, I can go from group to group and link myself up without having to find the link again! It takes about 30 minutes when you're organized and ready to go with your links handy.

- I use my phone throughout the day to stay on top of blog promotion and emails. If I'm nursing Otto, better believe I'm on that phone reading emails. Or retweeting tweets. Pinning pins. All that good stuff, just to stay on top of it - and so I don't have hours of promotion work to catch up on at 7pm. *Note* see how much time I spend promoting? That's necessary if you want to make the income I'm making as a blogger. 80% (or more) of my time is promoting my work. The other 20% Is simply creating the work to be promoted.

- Never be unprepared. You NEED an editorial calendar! I have mine scheduled out about a month, with lots of wiggle room for sponsored posts (that you typically only get a few days to a week advance notice on). This is essential because you never want to have a nap time where you're sitting at your laptop thinking, "I don't know what to write about..." or you're with your DIY photography backdrops and you're like, "I don't know what to take a pic of..." When you're planned out, you always know what you need to write about or take photos of! Always. I have a running list of blog post ideas and my editorial calendar to space them out so I don't have too many essential oil posts clustered together, or talk too much about baby items at once.


- Don't stress when your day derails. Because it will, if you have children around. Someone will get sick or some jerk will ring your doorbell and ruin nap time, right as you got your cute outfit ready to be photographed. Try to roll with it. One of the greatest things about this type of work is that we have such flexible schedules. So be flexible. Sometimes a play date will pop up in my texts and I think, "To hell with blog promotion, it's time for some fun!" My kids (like all children) do extremely well with routine, but sometimes a little veering off course is the best way to get through the day.

That's how I do it folks! We also get a workout in mid-morning, after I get all my links linked up in promotion threads. That's my sanity and my socialization time, so I'm not a shut-in who only talks to people via the internet or who only speaks to toddlers and babies. That's not fun for anyone! Clearly, you have to hire out mundane tasks so your day can be filled with beneficial activities and you need to be well thought out, prepared, intentional and flexible. It's not easy with two kids under two and working from home, but it CAN be done. And earning thousands per month as a SAHM and blogger is really the best job combination there is!