Blogging in 2014: I’m Still Doing it My Way

Well hello January. Nice to see you – a brand New Year with a new beginning. As I enter into my fifth year of blogging here at Theta Mom® I took a lot of time to reflect on when I started out, where I have been, and where I want this to go.

Five years ago, my life was vastly different; I had an infant baby and a little toddler boy. Now, that boy is on the urge of “pre-tweenness” and that infant girl? Well, she’s five going on fifteen. I no longer have hours of endless feedings and late night diaper changes. Instead, my life is consumed on the sidelines at the pool and soccer fields. It consists of coordinating play dates and helping with homework.

My blog used to be about my kids – about going through this thing called motherhood. Whether I complained about the sleepless nights or wondering why my baby wouldn’t feed, I used this blog as a way to connect with other moms.

But now, my life has changed. And so has social media – and so has my blog.

I can’t really write about the things I am experiencing because my son is old enough to read my blog and I would never want to write about something that is not my story to write anymore.

I’ve blogged about this transition before. It is obvious by the date of that post I’ve been feeling this way for quite some time. The storytelling is not really about me anymore and that’s where I need to draw the line. Will I continue to write personal posts? Of course I will. But not at the expense of my kids.

Having said that, where do I go from here?

Well, after tons of reflection {see this post} I’ve decided that it was time for a bit of a rebranding at Theta Mom®. Many bloggers rebrand when they find a niche that fits them best and since I walked out of the gate in 2009, I’ve always known what I wanted this blog to be. But, like all things in life, it’s evolving. And as parent, I am growing up alongside of it.

Many other successful “mom bloggers” have found continued success by blogging though an offshoot of the “mom blog” niche – whether that is technology, food, home décor, crafts, homeschooling, or developing lifestyle brands supporting beauty, fashion, photography, etc. So I thought long and hard over the last six months about what I really want out of this blog and where I can take it to the next level.

I realized that in order to be continuously successful in this space, you have to write about what is important to you. You have to be passionate about what you write about. If that passion goes away, there would not be much to blog about, so another key to remaining successful is finding that special quality that makes you stand out among a sea of millions. What is the unique quality that only YOU can offer your readers?

What is your gift?

GIFT

For me, that gift is teaching. Over the last five years I’ve been inadvertently still teaching through this blog; I assisted other bloggers with advice and information, sparked conversation through important topics, engaged readers and got them to think. I taught.

In my former career, I was an elementary school teacher in the traditional classroom and also worked as an Adjunct Professor. I have a graduate degree and so much experience to offer. My passion for education has never gone away and this is a great platform to explore all of it.

So what does this mean for Theta Mom®?

It means I will be blogging about parenting like I always have, but I’ll be mixing in some fluid posts on education. But it won’t stop there. My rebranding will include a huge spark for supporting women in business so I will continue to highlight and support products, services or companies that are a great fit. I’ve also enjoyed being actively involved in the important dialogue about women, motherhood, career, and the issues we face – so I will continue to use this platform to share my voice. I will also serve up some fabulous posts on organization including tips and tricks along the way to get you and your home up and ready for a smashing new year.

Finally, I want Theta Mom® to be more about me; who I am as a person, a mother, a business woman and continue to share my experiences – not so much about my kids because the storytelling should remain my story, not theirs.

There are so many exciting changes and new developments in store and I am confident this is the right direction for me in this space and I can’t wait to get started.

Nearly five years in this industry and I can absolutely say with pride that “I’m still doing it my way.”

Finally, thank you for being here and exploring this uncharted territory with me.

xoxo

What’s in a Title Anyway?

I have been doing so much soul searching the last few months about my life, my kids, this blog, all of it. My kids are getting older and the real questions about blogging have recently been, “Do I want more from this – do I need more?”

Friends working together, selective focus, canon 1Ds mark III

And my answer is a resounding yes. I want more from this.

I need more.

But, what? What is this need I speak of?

It almost feels like I am experiencing an identity crisis, like who am I? And what do I want to be when I grow up?

Like many other “mom bloggers” I fell into this industry almost by accident. I didn’t wake up one day saying, “Hey, when I grow up, I want to start a mom blog.” At the time, this whole blogging thing was not even on my radar and the truth is we all know this job takes endless hours of blood, sweat, and tears – and I am far from rich off of this thing.

But, where do I go from here? I no longer have babies at home that need me every second of every day. I no longer have that insane juggling act of working from home and raising babies because my kids are in school full-time.

And then, I have that fancy graduate degree from Columbia University hanging in my office staring at me each day along with an impressive resume and over a decade of experience – so now what?

Well, let me digress for a moment…because of this little ol’ blog, I managed to attend every single event at school for my children and I literally watched my babies grow up. Unfortunately, many full-time working women cannot say that and I know firsthand because I used to be one of those women.

You see, before I started this new career online I went back to work full-time when my son was ten-months old as he was placed in the hands of day care. I have been on both sides of the fence and one of my absolute favorite posts I ever wrote is called You are Not Alone where I address many of these issues. To date, it’s one of my proudest moments here at Theta Mom®.

Then, in 2011, I announced to the world that blogging IS a real job. I am still so damn proud of that fact because I managed to turn a blog into a business.

Yet now, I stand at another crossroad.

At this time in my life, do I attempt to re-enter the workforce, to the very career I left behind? Or do I continue to foster what I have spent every single day of my life building right here these last five years?

To help me sort out some of these questions, I read a few books to help clear my head and provide me with some guidance and insight. I soaked up every word of Maria Shriver’s Just Who Will You Be which answered several questions that have been keeping me up at night.

Books

Shriver talked a lot about how many women at some point in their lives experience an identity crisis; she described her own personal experience being born into a famous political family which forced her to work even harder to make a name for herself. Through years of hard work moving up the ranks in television, she married a famous movie star and was immediately seen as “Mrs. Famous Movie Star’s Wife” and later, “The First Lady of the State of California” which truly blurred the lines for her on what SHE really wanted to be on her own terms.

I find myself in a similar spot in my life right now.

No, I am not married to a famous actor or a man in politics, but I have been asking myself the question – just who will I be? For so many years when I had a steadfast career, I defined myself by THAT title. Ivy League Graduate. Educator. School Administrator. Instructional Designer. Adjunct Professor. I even defined my worth as I proudly displayed each badge of honor and now, I am not quite sure of what my title is anymore…

So, who am I?

Perhaps I should be asking, “WHY do I define my value as a professional and on my personal happiness solely on a title?” If I were to return to the traditional workforce to attain a fancy new title again, although I would be earning much more money, the REAL question is, would I truly be happy?

My short answer? No.

So what’s in a title, anyway?  

As housewives, mothers, caregivers, caretakers, business owners, and women working numerous jobs around the clock in the midst of trying to juggle it all, that definition of “just who we will be” will come in time and mean different things to every single one of us. It’s up to us to discover our authentic selves, the one that makes us truly happy.

“May you always remember to trust your own heart, listen to your own voice, and have the courage to discover…Just Who You Will Be.” –Maria Shriver

Maybe, just maybe, all of those previous failed attempts at re-entering a former career are simply God’s way of leading me toward a different path…the path I was always meant to travel. For me, this means being personally and professionally fulfilled on my own terms. 

Theta Mom® 2013: A Year in Review

Another year has come and gone. Having said that, this is the perfect time to reflect on the previous year and look forward to beginning anew.

Here are some of my favorite posts (one from each month) from Theta Mom® in 2013. As I get ready to ring in the New Year, enjoy reading some posts you may have missed!

JANUARY: Bring Blogging Back

FEBRUARY: The Digital Lunch, or Not

MARCH: Chasing a Dream

APRIL: My Wish

MAY: With Clear Eyes and a Full Heart

JUNE: Mom Blogging and Our Digital Footprint

JULY: How I Got My Spark Back

AUGUST: Back to Basics

SEPTEMBER: End of Summer Sabbatical

OCTOBER: My 1980’s Childhood  

NOVEMBER: When Life Hands You a Bowl of Lemons  

DECEMBER: 500 and Counting  

And as always, pass me some bread, salt, and wine in 2014!! Taken from one of my favorite movies It’s a Wonderful Life, here’s why:

Bread–so that this house may never know hunger.

Bread

Salt–that life may always have flavor.

Salt

Wine–that joy and prosperity may reign forever.

Wine

Along with good health, please pass me the bread, salt, and wine in 2014.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERY THETA MOM®!!!

Christmas Blogcation

Each year, I look forward to the holiday season because it forces me to slow down and I am reminded of the many blessings I have in my life. And this year, Christmas break (which is two whole weeks off for the kids – eeeek!) is a vacation of sorts for my family even if we don’t leave the house because we are taking some well deserved time together.

Basically, I call it my Christmas blogcation and will return next week excited to share some reflections of 2013 and of course, ring in the New Year with you! Until then, you know I’m never far – just an email or tweet away. And if you’re a blogger, I highly encourage you to take a holiday blogcation for yourself. As a blogger speaking from experiencea little blogcation is always good for the soul!

So from my home to yours…

Christmaswine

Have a safe and wonderful holiday season!!!

500 and Counting

As I press my fingers against the keys on my laptop to write this post, let it be known this is the 500th post I am publishing on this little ol’ blog.

500 stories.

Hundreds of lives touched.

Thousands of public communal comments.

Countless searches and shares nearly five years in the making.

 Five years!!!!

And somehow, through these words, comments, conversations, shares and exchanges, Theta Mom® is alive and well even through the many blogging changes over the years.

I mean, remember this girl??

TM

I had several redesigns, adapted to many different social media platforms, stayed relevant in the process and even started my own business. I feel like I have been through it all and I’m so proud that Theta Mom® continues to be a leading destination for women meandering their way through the journey of motherhood – a place to read, connect, or simply feel like you can talk with a friend who understands.

I hope to continue to inspire you and share words of encouragement; stories that resonate with you and make you think about a particular post even long after it’s been shared. And I remain passionate about only endorsing products that I know and trust. With the exploding inbox of pitches that arrive daily, I am proud to be very selective of the companies and brands I choose to work with – the kind of businesses that are aligned with my own set of values as both a mom and a blogger.

After nearly five years of working in this industry, I’m proud of the fact that I have remained true to what I believe in and what this blog stands for – especially when other bloggers have taken a much different path.

It’s no question that blogging has changed dramatically over the years and there’s no doubt it will continue to change. Where is it really headed? Nobody knows for sure, but as I said one year ago, “I hope my ability to tell a story will be enough.”

Whenever I begin to question myself or wonder if this whole bloggity blog journey is worth it, I am reminded that I’ve come way too far to ever think about giving up.

I mean hey, I’m 500 and counting – and I love the sound of that.