During the Reward Style Conference I was asked by a lot of girls how I manage having a full time job, being a wife/mother AND run my blog. This has been a question asked by a lot of my readers too. I promise I am not a super woman and I have PLENTY of bad moments. It has taken me a while to get to a good spot with managing everything. I am not an expert by any means, but I thought I would give you an insight on how I manage everything.
My Career/Job– I have been working full time since College. I started my career at JB Hunt and then moved into the vendor community. Wal-Mart was founded in my hometown and almost every large vendor has an office here. I worked for Unilever for 3.5 years and then last year came over to Reckitt Benckiser. I run a very large replenishment desk for 5 categories at Wal-Mart. I have a background in computer information systems and transportation/logistics. My job is the usual 8-5, M-F.
Organization– Being organized is KEY for me. When I get off track, that is when my stress levels go through the roof! Below is how I manage my work/life balance…
My Planner– I ALWAYS have my planner on hand (I use this one). I usually have the entire month mapped out with blog post ideas, outfit shoot times, and meetings for my job. Of course last minute things can pop up like a quick turnaround collaboration, Drs Appts and etc. Being Flexible, but still keeping on track is key. I also have my blog editorial calendar mapped out for 3 months. For example, major sales, season changes, future campaigns, travel dates etc. I can go into more detail about this if you guys want me too (comment and let me know!) When I have a visual of everything I have scheduled, it’s easier to see that I can’t possibly do everything (even if I want too haha!)
Meal Prep– This may be a silly thing to some, but meal/grocery planning is huge for us. We have spent way to much money over the years on eating out so we are trying to cut that back and eat more at home. My husband jokes that when I cook at home its like eating out, because I got ALL out. I have always LOVED to cook. I had to scale that back quite a bit, but occasionally we love to cook up a gourmet meal. We have found 5-10 meals that we cook on repeat and usually have the ingredients readily on hand. If you guys want to know what they are let me know in the comments. Of course not every single week is perfect. We still eat takeout, some nights we spend 45 talking
arguing about what we want to eat that night haha, and we have emergency frozen pizzas in the freezer. If we get of track, we do better the next week. We spend more time at our day jobs then we do with our actual family, so having meals planned in advance gives us that much more time to spend together.
My Lunches– My weekday lunch times usually vary but I use the time to either catch up on blogger emails, edit photos, get in a workout, shopping for looks, taking blogger meetings and sometimes even shoot a look! An hour does not seem like a lot of time, but let me tell you, a lot can be accomplished if you put your mind to it!
Shooting Schedule– My mom and I shoot every Sunday (pending weather.) I try to schedule our shoots when Olivia naps. We usually shoot 4-5 looks and 3-4 insta looks. I map out locations before hand and we always like to get ahead if we can. We also have our go to spots when we are in a pinch. My mom has a very artistic eye so she is always looking for new spots when she is out and about too. I posted a “BTS” of our last blog shoot on snapchat the past Sunday. If you guys like seeing things like that on snap let me know!
Also for those of you that have asked, yes we recently got some new lenses and I love them! My favorite is the 85mm F1.4 (amazing for detail shots!) I use the Nikon D7100 body currently. Shopping around for a new one though if any of you have any favs! Must be Nikon since I just invested in lenses.
Instagram Scheduling– Instagram is like a mini blog and very important for bloggers growth. I sometimes feel like instagram is a job in itself! Over the last 6 months I have found that if I can get my insta content scheduled out earlier in the week, it keeps me from getting stressed out after work. I am already dolled up on sundays so my mom and I take advantage of being in great locations and shoot a few extra pics for instagram. I usually plan my outfits for the week in advance and if time allows, I even shoot my mirror, over head and detail shots on sundays. I don’t have the advantage of that great mid afternoon light during the week because I am at the office. Of course I do not schedule every single picture, but having some content ready to go before the week starts always makes for a less stressful week. Side Note: One thing I must mention is that when I post a morning #ootd it is not always what I am wearing to the office. For example, I may post an outfit with ripped denim and a cute top, but I will change into NON ripped jeans for the office. Sometimes it may be a look I wore the night before or one I plan on wearing later that day. We are lucky to be able to wear denim to the office, but I do dress up in classic office wear at least twice a week for customer meetings. Let me know if you want to see more of my office attire on the blog or instagram! I wanted to clarify that as I know it can probably be kind of confusing. I definitely don’t waltz into the office in my destroyed denim and cropped swing tank lol.
A couple of apps I use to edit photos- VSCO (great for mapping out your feed), pictapgo, and snapsneed.
Motherhood– When I get off work, it is a rule of mine to not spend any longer than 15-30 min on “blog work.” From 5-to when Liv goes to sleep, I spend time with Drew and Liv, cooking, etc. I have been guilty of getting out my computer after work to jump into blog work, but Olivia quickly lets me know that is not going to work haha. It is important for my full attention to be on my family during this time. I will say now that Olivia is a bit older, it is easier to manage things. When she was a baby I absolutely was not as organized and prepared. Setting realistic expectations and keeping what is most important close to your heart is key. I never want to take an unnecessary amount of time away from my family due to my blog. It is healthy to have hobbies and have time to yourself which if you are a mom, you know that can be a RARE thing. There are times I feel completely selfish and feel like I failed, but eventually I pick myself up and learn from my mistakes. I am also extremely fortunate to have my mother take care of Olivia while I am working at my day job. I know this is something a LOT of women would die to have and I do not take it forgranted. It worked out 12 years ago for my mother to quit her job and for my sisters and I to pay her for childcare. My mom is a HUGE supporter for all of us to be working moms and she is also a HUGE part of my blog. We are very VERY lucky girls! Also, something I have always struggled with is how much to share Olivia on the blog and my social channels. I will be honest, it freaks me out! I feel like I am not being “me” without having her part of my blog and social so you will be seeing her more this year (like today! haha) . Each and every mom knows whats best for their child so there is absolutely no judgement here. I get asked quite a bit if I am going to share more of her, so I wanted to clarify a bit more. 🙂
Blog Posts– I try my best to get ahead on blog posts but that does not always happen. I usually spend from 9-11pm working on the next days blog posts and my insta schedule. This includes editing photos, inputting proper SEO, scheduling social posts and more. If I didn’t get my workout in that morning or at lunch I usually squeeze in a workout video during this time too.
Deadlines/Commitments- Over committing yourself in blogging is a very easy thing to do. During the first part of my blogging career I had a hard time saying No. I found myself losing sleep, not eating enough, taking time away from my family and friends and quite frankly I was pretty cranky! Building lasting relationships with companies and brands as a blogger is extremely important. This means you need to fulfill all requests, at the best of your ability and ON TIME. To get respect for the content you create, you first have to treat it like a business yoruself. Just because I am a working mom does not mean I get slack from my blogging business relationships. I may have never missed a deadline, but I learned very quickly that I was overextending myself. Prioritizing, knowing your limits and most importantly learning how to respectfully use the word “No” is key.
That is a bit of insight on my day to day life of managing everything. Yes I still sleep (probably an avg of 6-7 hours) and yes my life can get pretty chaotic/hard at times. Am I forgetful and lose my keys every other day… yes. Do I take a downward selfie because my hair is a hot mess and my face looks like death warmed over… yes. Does my husband tell me to put the phone away… yes. I am not perfect by a LONG shot and I definitely make mistakes. I will always and continue to hold myself to a standard of Grace, not perfection.
Drew and I both have hobbies that we enjoy and we both support each other on them. Being a blogger is by choice, so I know the added stresses it can bring are brought on by my own choices. My heart and passion is in this blog and I am extremely thankful for the support system I have around it. I am so greateful for the opportunities and relationships that have come out my little piece of the internet. Most importantly, I am thankful for YOU! I try my hardest to respond to all reader emails, comments on instagram and on the blog. Of course I will miss some, but just know that I am not purposely ignoring you ;).
Managing a healthy work/life balance is challenging but it can be done with the right priorities in place, a heck of a lot of prayer and of course LOTS of organization. If I can tell my body is literally falling apart I scale back. Delegating has never been my strong suit, but over time it has become vital in my sanity… what little I may have left haha.
Sorry for the longest blog post EVER and if you have made it this far, then congrats! If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments or you can email me!
Have a great day and again THANK YOU for reading!