Honestly, I didn't even know if I'd write a post acknowledging the New Year or reflecting on last year. I can't describe 2019 in one word, but the first word that comes to mind is rollercoaster. The next two are miraculous and beautiful.
Last year kicked off with two of the biggest life changes that most of us go through in our adult lives; all within a 60 day span.
We bought a house, then had a baby a just over week later.
Seriously, I remember just praying baby girl would come a little past her due date so we could get through the home buying process. It was all so unexpected, but so perfect. You can read about our home buying journey here.
Then, with the home purchase and inspections behind us, we waited for our little Moon child to arrive. She certainly took her sweet time! You can read about the weeks leading up to her birth and our birth story here.
We brought out daughter home, and a month and a half later moved. It all happened so fast.
Adding to the intensity of it all: I worked every single day throughout it. Seriously, I was in labor and working (partly because I was in denial I was in labor) the day my daughter was born. I was working at the hospital the next day when our doula came to say hi. Almost every day since our daughter has been born I've worked. P.s. this post contains affiliate links.
And honestly, I got f*in exhausted.
I was exhausted because becoming a parent comes with a whole new world of pressure. People always talk about the sleep and never having a moment to yourself and lack of physical space; but for me the pressure is what exhausted me.
The pressure of putting together a new home, being a present mom, running a business, discovering a parenting style, discovering this little human, learning who I am as a mother and how that impacts my relationships and life… and that list goes on and on.
I've found myself wanting to just go inward.
To not share my life on the internet – which is weird when that's basically my job. It's brought up a lot of questions for me about my digital identity and where I see it going in the future. I've questioned decisions and flipped flopped on ideas more than I can count this past year.
Which I'm actually okay with because I understand that I'm not one dimensional. I understand that people are multifaceted. However, the issue (and pressure), came from the fact that others don't seem to accept or understand that concept. It's like if I change my mind or am in a grumpy mood people are so shocked and annoyed… which has made me want to go inward and not show up in my life outside of my home, husband, and baby. But that's probably another post entirely.
In fact, let's stick to business for the most part today, because if I tried to dissect the internal workings of my mind right now on a personal level, I'd probably write a short novel for you.
My business in 2019:
If you asked me when I started TCM where I saw it in five years I could get you the perfect answer: publishing my book and going on a speaking tour; maybe even doing a Ted Talk. If you asked me today where I see TCM in five years, I can't even begin to imagine it.
One thing became clear to me this year though: while I've done an amazing job with this blog, I've ignored major aspects of the blogging world completely. While I've become my own boss, I've remain chained to exchanging time for money. My business has not been set up to scale. Which led to some changes:
I know people aren't a fan of ads, but I finally decided to install them on my blog. Why? Because I'm a mom now and my time is even more valuable. And I care about my time more than I care about you having a pristine page. Those ads generate enough income that I can skip out on doing 1 sponsored blog post a month or a handful of IG sponsorships a month. Not a fan of them? I get it, but I don't really care anymore. I used to have a “donations” thing set up in my sidebar, where if you liked my content you could send me a few bucks – but no one ever did. So while I love you guys for reading, you aren't paying my bills for all the free content I create and ads help offset that.
2. Affiliate links
I've never been a “beauty” or “fashion” blogger. My entire business has been set up to trade time for money. Sponsorships take time, and I get paid for them a finite amount of money. Working everyday since my daughter was born, taught me that I seriously need passive income coming in. I need to have time for myself and my daughter and I can't keep going how I was if I want more kids.
3. Raising my rates
Each day, I get about 200 pitches in my inbox. I turn down 99.99999999% of the offers I get for work. I'm very selective and am constantly told by brands that my rates are “high.” I've even had brands ask me to negotiate against myself this past year! So it took a lot of cojones for me to decide to increase my rates last year and I'm happy I did. I spend hours creating the content I create for you guys that is sponsored. I make sure that it is something you will still want to read and not just a boring ad.
Everytime I hit publish my goal is to entertain or educate you… and creating quality content like that takes time. It means my husband and I sit there brainstorming a meme for Instagram for 3-4 hours sometimes because it's just not “quite right.” It means reading, and re-reading, and re-re-reading things to catch as many typos and grammar errors as possible (which still inevitably happen). Creating content is like 20% of my time, 60% is editing, and 20% is engaging with you and managing things. I need to be paid to do my job accordingly so I'm happy and want to keep doing it.
If you're in a similar boat, I hope you take a page out of my book and uplevel.
Where do I see TCM going this year?
Honestly, I have no clue. Over the last two years I've always had some sort of announcement in this recap post (Read my 2018 Recap/Reflection Here and my 2017 recap/reflections here!); but this year, I've got nothing outward to share with you.
Last year, I let go of the podcast unexpectedly to give myself space to restructure the inner workings of my business. Some of that I just shared with you (passive income streams), some of that I'll be sharing with you in the next month or two as TCM turns FOUR!!
What I can tell you is what I'm proud of myself for this past year:
Honoring the problems in my business
I was on the road to burnout and I actually took a step back and honored the problems in my business. I let go of the podcast, something I loved so much at one point, in order to give myself space to create things that would better sustain me. Letting go of the podcast was such a hard thing to do. I felt so much shame, and had white knuckled it for the entire year. It's not that I'll never podcast again either, I just don't have the space for it in my life right now.
Creating video content
While the podcast grew stale for me, my excitement for finally tackling video came alive! For the last 3 years I've been building up the courage to create video content, and while I wasn't as consistent as I hoped I'd be this past year, I was more consistent on my Youtube channel than I've ever been and that's a win! Make sure to subscribe here + turn on notifications so you don't miss a video!
This year, I plan to become even more consistent with it. I've also been LOVING TikTok you guys! Seriously, I'm barely on Instagram hanging out anymore, because TikTok takes ALL my social media time now! I've even met people out around town because of it. After feeling so over Instagram, it's refreshing to have a space again where it feels like a community.
Being a work from home mom
Working from home is something I've always loved, but with our new house, my office shares a wall with my daughter's bedroom. Which is probably one reason the podcast fell off… I kept feeling like I had to whisper during every episode so I wouldn't wake her up!
Working from home with a mobile baby is no joke! She knows I'm in my office and will hit the door and sit outside it sometimes. Everytime she fusses from a nap early, I hear it and feel like a bad mom for working instead of getting her. I'm fortunate that my husband works from home too and can step in for all these moments; but it's still hard and I'm proud of myself for making it work and giving myself grace as I've renavigated it all.
Growing deeper in my marriage
Me being a work from home mom has been hard on the hubs too. Not because he doesn't support me fully (he seriously does, and honestly I wouldn't be able to run this business if it wasn't for him taking care of the baby and helping me with some things BTS). But blogging is not his passion. He's been working on his start up for 2 years and got so close to stability a few times in 2019 that it's been an emotional rollercoaster for us this past year.
Starting a business always comes with a lot of uncertainty…
It kicks up a lot of feelings for everyone involved. It's been a lot to work through for him as an individual and as he's seen me struggle with keeping all my balls in the area. It's opened up a lot of space for us to share our insecurities, shame, resentments, and just general sadness at times.
With that, it's opened up a lot of space for us to celebrate each other too. The strength and character we've both shown and brought into our marriage and honoring each other as individuals, as well as a team, has been truly remarkable. Every day we look at each other in awe and express gratitude because this has not been an easy year; but it's been easier together.
So I don't have a guiding word for this year. Nor do I have some big announcement for you all. Instead, all I can say is that I'm still a confused millennial figuring this whole adulting thing out right alongside you… but now I'm a confused mom too.