It’s funny how sometimes the path you choose doesn’t go in the direction you thought it would. The path meanders and takes you right by your dreams but then whips you away briskly towards things you didn’t know you would encounter. I was married and started having kids young and now my husband and I have four kids. Four!?! I never would have dreamed I would have so many crazy kiddos running around. I never saw myself blogging on a budget or worrying about a budget but then I grew up and realized most of us have a budget. My family has been through our ups and downs and our life is far from perfect. I wanted to share some of my story since I know it can be easy to get wrapped up in the perfection of pictures. Social media is pushing out pictures of perfection as fast as they can and only showing us part of a picture. What we often forget is that behind every perfect picture is a mess, there are real people, real situations and real emotions.
I started blogging in 2010 while working and going to school for web design as a way to feel connected to the outside world. When I wasn’t working I was at home raising our (then) two little boys – Wyatt 2 years old and Mason 1 year old. To make sure we didn’t have to send our boys to daycare (because quite frankly we didn’t have enough money) my husband Mike and I worked opposite shifts. I worked a 7pm to 3am shift for a while and I honestly can’t remember much of anything from that year and a half. I was like a walking zombie who tried to sleep as much as I could. I can remember crying in my bed trying to get them to nap at the same time in the afternoons so I could get sleep too. When I was home with the boys my husband would be at work so I felt lonely and exhausted without my own identity. Blogging filled a void by helping me connect with so many other moms and women staying home like I was and it gave me reason to stay busy with crafts. When I was blogging I felt like the regular day to day tasks suddenly had more purpose.
I remember being jealous of the stay-at-home mom bloggers that seemed to have everything I didn’t. Every blog I went to had a picture and bio that read ‘stay-at-home-mom blah blah blah.’ They didn’t seem to have money issues and from my point of view they were living quite comfortably. Here I was on the other end reading their blogs in my early 20s busting my ass and living check to check. Who knows maybe they weren’t really living as good as they made it look but it sure made me feel inadequate.
-In my mind different periods of our lives are signified by the house we lived in. My husband is in law enforcement and as he has made moves in his career we have had to move. It became a trend and we were moving almost every two years.-
Things started to change as I found footing in the blogging and handmade community. In October of 2012 after we moved to a house on Kalamazoo Trail I officially quit my job right before having our daughter Delilah. We hadn’t saved money up or planned for the what-ifs so it was a true leap of faith. I stayed at home running an ETSY shop and blogging here at Poofy Cheeks. I was also the house chef, maid, taxi, bill payer and whatever else I needed to be. I look back at instagram pictures and am reminded of all the great memories with my babies in that home. I can feel the sunlight that poured through the front windows as I pecked away at the keys of my computer and created a bulk of the content here on the blog now.
The house on Kalamzaoo is where I feel like I truly became an adult. Our car always seemed to be on E because we only put a little bit of gas in here and there as we had the money. We had to call my parents a few times because we had run out of gas and were on the side of the road. The kids and I took a quick trip to the closest store to grab something for dinner. I had accidently left my phone at home. It was a Florida winter day, chilly and windy. I didn’t pay attention to the fact the needle was below E until I was halfway home and as soon as I realized it the steering wheel locked up and there we were on the side of the road. We had no choice but to get out and walk home. My husband was there sleeping since he had worked overnight the night before. I felt like the worst mom – here I was walking down the side of the road with my two boys and my daughter who wasn’t even a year old yet because I had let the car run out of gas. I made the cheapest of cheap meals especially the few days leading up to pay day. Those were the nights I made breakfast for dinner to get us one more day to my husband’s pay day. I was bringing in money but it was rarely substantial. I would make $20 here, $50 there and then if I was lucky a measly three days of $5 in a row. The weeks I actually brought in a few hundred dollars were like a windfall. Somehow we got through. We had our water shut off one day when my husband’s friend was over which was super embarrassing! Slowly I gained traction and my ETSY shop started bringing in more and more of an income until finally I was able to actually contribute to bills on a regular basis. It was on the hardest days I grew strong enough to overcome. When I felt like quitting something would happen that would keep me going. When we were broke a big wholesale order would come in and lift me back up into the saddle. It was two years of ups and downs.
We had our last baby Emmett in May of 2014 and moved a few months later to Whynot. We have lived at Whynot for over two years now. We moved from the town my parents lived about an hour away to my where my husband’s parents live. We now live in the town he grew up and went to High School in. I have made so many friends through him and as my shop sales continued to grow our lives became more comfortable. All the while blogging seemed to fall further from my grip and take a back burner. When I was blogging I was taking on a lot of sponsored posts and didn’t feel happy with the content I was putting out. I wanted to create and craft for fun without guidelines. One morning last Spring I woke up and felt this urge to start working outside the home. I love my babies but I wanted to be part of a team and at home I felt like I was running a one-man show. I even told my husband that because of his work schedule I was left feeling like a single parent most days. Since I stayed home I felt like it was an unwritten thing that I should do all of the work around the house but since we also had four kids and I was running what had become a lucrative and successful ETSY shop and blog I was becoming burnt out. My husband did help when he could but he didn’t get it. He didn’t get why I always seemed exhausted or why the kids were always on my last nerve. I woke up one morning and decided I was done being the everything – I wanted to work outside the home again. I did just that. I found a job – one I love by the way and even though my shop was still bringing in lots of orders I realized I could no longer keep up with everything as my shipping times seemed to get out of hand. I closed my shop on ETSY in early December and I started blogging for me again.
That brings me today. I would try to guess where I might be in a few years but I’m sure I would be completely wrong so I am living for today. I am giving my kids and husband lots of attention, I am trying to make up for all the times I told them I was busy and I constantly strive to have more patience. For those of you who have been with me through any part of my path I am so appreciative of you. Thanks for sticking around even when I have been a little off course.
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