Thoughts as a Work at Home Mom

Snow day (or rather, “Cold Day”) number 2 with the littles today!! Honestly, I am as giddy as ever when I see my babies will be home safe with me.  Being a former teacher, I have never outgrown the love a good day off from school.  I also have the pleasure (and stress) as being a work at home mom.

There I said it. Whew.  I think for so long I have been battling with this idea that I don’t really work…and in reality?  I really do a lot of work! Simply staying home filled my days with more than enough to do.  The laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, tidying, tending to, it’s endless, am I right? No matter if you stay home or work outside of the home, being a mom is hard work but someone’s gotta do it, and no one better than you mama.

I think I’ve struggled a little bit with coming to terms with working because I don’t exactly get a paycheck, nor do I get dressed up daily and go clock in somewhere.  It’s not the conventional way I used to ‘work’ when I was teaching full time and so I know that internally I had some things to overcome.

Sure I’ve done my fair share of side hustles.  I loved getting healthy with Advocare and with that, helping a lot of friends and family find a better way to live their lives as well.  Why did I stop?  Well, honestly some of the products just didn’t work for me the way that they once used to, or how I would have liked them to.  I still believe it’s a great company and I take daily supplements but my heart was not into devoting all the time and effort into that business.

As Bradley began crawling around, I saw the new up and coming jewelry KEEP and got super excited with that! I also felt that pull of needing to be a part of something. I reached out and did a ton of online parties, made some new friends and really had fun.  Which lead me to my next little venture with Stella & Dot.

Stella & Dot had been around for awhile and while I truly love love love their accessories, what I didn’t enjoy were doing in person trunk shows.  Sure you can still have a great business online, but at the same time as I was rocking with this biz, my husband and I changed the way we were running our real estate company.

Two years ago in March we decided to switch our business model from renting single family homes, to Rent to Own Homes.  This has totally changed the game for us, but as with any business, it continues to grow and evolve. We now have ten properties and a lot of book-keeping, marketing, advertising, taking calls, paper work, collecting money from all tenants…the list goes on.

What was once a small hustle, is turning into an empire.  My husband still works beyond full time and I refuse to raise Bradley differently than Brooke, in the sense that I don’t want to put him into day care and not be with me.  So?  Somethings have to give.  There is no ‘balance’ so I won’t pretend that I’ve found it nor do I believe one day I will magically feel all zen.   But I do believe that as we grow, change and become better versions of ourselves each and every day, we have to say goodbye to old patterns, habits and move forward.

All of my experience in MLMs or Direct Sales, whatever you’d like to call them, not only brought me the BEST of friends—hi guys!!– but also a huge sense of confidence in sales.  I now surround myself with other leaders, continue to read the best professional development books and know that when I have my down days, (and oh, do I ever!) It’s always important to pick myself up and keep going.  I also learned a ton about social media, how to connect with folks and as always the number one reason why we are on this planet?  To help one another.

So I suppose I share all of this because maybe you too feel a shift and want to change.  Perhaps there’s something new you’d like to try but maybe feel like you shouldn’t.  You are never too old and it’s never too late.  I went to school for a very long time; received a Bachelor’s Degree and a Masters Degree.  While these may just be pieces of paper to some people, to me I accomplished my goals, lived out some dreams and was able to teach some amazing and beautiful souls throughout my 8 years teaching English.  The best part?  I will forever have the knowledge I’ve gained, and if I decide to go back ever, I have a NYS certification.

As for now?  I will be parting ways come March with my fun little side gig of Stella & Dot.  It was sure fun while it lasted, but I feel that it is in my family’s best interest to focus on our family business and help grow what we have started to build.  Since realized that time really is the biggest and most precious thing on earth, I really value where I spend it and whom I give it to.

I think I’ve been nervous to admit that I do in fact work, partially because I wanted to be a perfect stay at home mom, making all the meals from scratch or at least semi-homemade.  Do all of the cooking, cleaning, organizing, shopping, etc…but if you are a successful person, you already know this: You cannot do it all.  With 24 hours in the day, it’s imperative to figure out what needs to get done and what and when to let go of things.  (Grocery pickup, I’m looking at you!!)

As far as 24 hours?  I saw a quote that said, there’s 24 hours in a day.  You deserve 1 hour to do whatever you want with it.  Or something like that. Basically, it put me into tears because so often I find myself turning into ‘all work no play’ and then turning into a potato at 8pm and scrolling FB/Insta because I never gave myself one small morsel of the day to spark joy, inspire myself or heal.

I need to write more, so that’s back up at the top of my list.  Working out.  Spending quality time with the kids and Joe.  Dating my husband.  Re-establishing and even creating new friendships. Cooking.  Building our real estate empire.  Playing with our dogs.  Being in nature (when it’s not a Polar Vortex!) Yoga.  Meditating. Networking with other leaders/girl bosses. Giving back to our community. Reading.  Walking. Being.

As I continue to lean into this year, 2019, the year of SIMPLIFYING, as long as this month seemed to be, I could not be more clear or driven on my purpose and reason on this earth.  I pray that we are blessed with better health in the coming months and that by Summer time, all these seeds that have been planted, will bloom.

Introduction

Hello!!

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Photo: Summer vacation Folly Beach (I’m a Summer girl!)

If you are new here, I’m so happy you stopped by my little space here!  I’d love to connect with you, so please leave a comment!  If you’ve been following for awhile, welcome back.  I’d love to hear from you too!!  I started a blog back in 2011–(feel free to stalk me here, I totally don’t mind; I’d do it too!)

I am a 37 year old woman married to the love of my life.  We have been together 10.5 years, married for 8 and have two kiddos (a 5 year old girl and a 3 year old boy). We also have two crazy dogs!  I stay home and my husband works crazy hours.  We have a very 1950’s style marriage and I couldn’t be happier.  (I’m happiest in the home!)

It wasn’t always this way…back in 2011, I decided that teaching English 7-12 for 8 years was good enough, and I’d give it a go staying home as a housewife.  Boy did that get a lot of looks and comments!

My husband Joe and I decided that he worked enough hours and if anything, it’d make more sense to stay home because my district looked as though there’d be cuts in a year or so anyway.  I had driven about a 45 minute-one hour commute to and then another 45 -1 hour home each day.  It was about 2 hours of my life daily and as much as I loved the students and the school, it was a lot.

How did I spend my time? Well, I certainly enjoyed it! It was a nice buffer for what was to come, I’ll tell ya that much!  I perfected my cooking skills; think Food Network star worthy dinners 4-5x  a week. Yeah, that kind of backfired once I had kids, haha!  Hubby was like, um….and I was like, ya here’s another pasta dish!  I feel like now that we’re into a groove, my oldest is in Kindergarten and I have one in preschool 2 days a week, for 2 hours each, I have my head on a little more straight.

That said, we also decided to change up our side hustle a bit.  We had accumulated some rental properties, but decided to get into the Rent to Own business.  It’s awesome!! It’s also a lot of work; don’t be fooled.

We have a total of 9 properties and some amazing tenant buyers we are able to help out.  They are able to rent out one of our homes until they’re capable of getting a mortgage.  All they really need is a down payment & to afford the monthly rent–it’s so awesome to help people like this!

I still try to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner daily for my family.  It’s not easy, as my husband has Crohn’s, the kids are, well, kids and don’t eat Kale & spinach readily, imagine that!! My diet works best if it’s lean proteins, lots of veggies, some fruit & complex carbs.  I enjoy food, do NOT get me wrong!  I love burgers, tacos, steaks, grits, fries–and a good old mac and cheese!  However, I’ve learned how my body best responds to food and I definitely plan on sharing that in some blogs. Stay tuned!

I am a Stella & Dot Stylist as a very part-time hustle.  I just love the accessories and helping other women feel a little more confident and cute! It’s nice to connect and talk fashion with fabulous ladies.

I absolutely love to dance; it’s probably my favorite thing ever.  I just love moving and grooving to the music. Luckily my hubby and kids love it too. In fact, that’s one of the biggest things I look forward to with the cooler months ahead: Dance parties!

I am not perfect, nor do I try to be.  I make a ton of mistakes, learn as I go and try to enjoy every moment of this crazy ride called life.  Blogging is a way for me to keep my memories alive, share in hopes of helping another, and cherish what I’ve been given.

You may find me all dolled up in red bottoms, rocking an LV, or I may be in days old hair, sweatshirt & walking our land in the country.  We are really hoping to build this coming Spring and I am beyond excited.

As for religion, all I can say is that I am spiritual.  I feel like that’s a whole post/topic in and of itself, but I’m on journey that is for sure! There’s so much ‘wrong vs right’ when it comes to “being a Christian” I honestly find it ridiculous and a bit hypocritical at times.  I do love Gangster rap, I tend to swear from time to time & I love short dresses.  According to some, I can’t love Jesus too, and if that’s true, then okay. (Yes, I love me some Rachel Hollis.)

I have put blogging on the back burner for many reasons/excuses, but here I am ready to rock and roll this October.  Here’s to an awesome week!

Don’t be shy, say hi!  I’d love to read and follow some new blogs.

Real Estate Investing: A Mini Rant

I would like to say that as I get older, I have truly started to mature.  I try to not let things get me all fired up as much as they used to.  I try to think before I speak and not let my emotions cloud my voice.

The more we grow our real estate company,  more people have started to come out of the wood work.  Now, I get it.  Rent-To-Own totally has a bad wrap in some cases.  There are bad people who take advantage of others in difficult situations.  I’ve heard horror story, after horror story, of money taken, houses sold out from under tenants etc.

Well, I’m here to say that our business is nothing like that.  If you know me (or my husband) you know our hearts.  You know we would help anyone in need and go above and beyond to take care of others.  Unfortunately, in this field we really have to state our intentions and prove ourselves, over and over and over again.  It’s okay, we totally get it and understand.

Recently we had a “Team Leader” of a local real estate agency write us.  She was concerned that one of her member’s clients were truly excited about our program and that we would be taking advantage of them.  My husband responded to the message and upon reflection, I can’t help but be disgusted by her tone.

“I sell high end properties. I don’t need to be paid for a client finding their dream home at this level.”

Yes, those are her words exactly.  As if anyone below a $500,000 home isn’t worth her time? Money? I’m not sure, but either way that kind of character is appalling.  I completely understand reaching out, checking in to see what kind of business we run etc, but to use words like that?  I’m sorry but I was raised to treat every human, just that: a human.  I don’t care what you do for a living, but when you start acting like you’re better than others, that is where I have a problem.

Interestingly enough, upon a quick Google search, it wasn’t but 5 years prior this same woman was in fact selling homes in the price ranges that we deal with.

So here’s the thing, every person’s dream home is completely different.  We tend to buy nice homes in nice areas, but are they $200,00+ homes? No.  However, we do our best to ensure that our houses have character, charm, even a cozy factor.  A nice backyard, perhaps a garage.  A fenced in yard.  Good schools. Safe environments. We create visions for families to move from the inner city or apartment buildings, to their very own homes.

While it almost could sound too good to be true, we really are here to help people.  Isn’t that what God put us on this earth to do? At the same time, yes, we are a business not a non-for profit but I can assure you that my hands get dirty, and that mine and my husband’s blood, sweat, and tears go into these homes.  The stress, the frustration, the money aspect, it’s a lot to juggle! Not to mention we do it all while he works 50+ hours, battling Crohn’s disease, and I am home raising a 3 year old and 5 year old, taking care of two dogs all with zero help from family, only paid help from sitters.

So no, maybe our homes aren’t worth a million dollars, but we are certainly making dreams come true.  From the bottom of my heart, I know what we are doing is changing lives.  As my mom put it, we are making magic.

I’d love to ask this lady if she can say that she feels the same?

Wordless Wednesday

March Favorites

Here we are in the beginning of April, so I figured I’d share a few my favorite things from last month!!  March is typically one of my least favorite months.  It’s SUPER long. STILL cold and just overall crazy!  This past March didn’t seem to stray too much from that!

#1 Favorite–

I would say the biggest favorite of the month of March was getting our puppy Bailey.  She is also the biggest adjustment and so much work!  She completes our crazy little family in ways I almost had forgotten about.  When we got Holly, we had Sadie.  For the last 3 years Holly has been an only dog, and honestly I haven’t been the best dog mom.  With two kids, 4 and under, life was nuts!  We are nuts for getting another fur ball, but we love her so much.  My husband and I laugh at how we will look back at these times and just shake our heads.  I need to make sure I keep blogging about all of this beautiful, messy, chaotic life of ours.

Accessories–

LOVE these Rose Chandeliers. Obsessed.  I think because it’s still freezing and grey outside, any pop of color helps beat these Winter blues.  I am all about the statement earring trend these days.  Toss on a black shirt, add a fun pair of earrings & bronzer and go!

Booties-

I ordered a pair from Jane.com but they did not fit.  My friend Shelby swore these pretties from Target were comfy and a must have! She was on the money.  I normally am a solid size 9, but she suggested I go down half a size and I did. 8.5 fits perfectly without any socks.  Score a pair here.

Drink:

This was even more amazing than I anticipated. Joe gave me this for my birthday and I was saving it for a celebration. We had a particular house that was, well, tricky to say the least, with our company, 585 Rent to Own.  I said back in the Summer, that when we sold said house, we’d pop this bottle. I’m not sure if it was the taste of sweet success, or just really good champs.  I’ll sip to both!

Hair:

Two things–One, a high pony.  If I’ve curled my hair (or even if not) I am loving throwing it up in a high pony tail.  I think it still looks chic, but effortless!

Dry Shampoo–

This is THE BOMB.  Seriously, I didn’t understand why girls swore by dry shampoo. I had tried a few different kinds and nothing really did much for me.  My friend Stephanie is a mama whose hair is gorgeous.  I had been wanting to try Monat for awhile and I am so glad I did! The scent of this alone is to die for.  I can go 3 days comfortably…I workout and I hate my hair smelling weird or funky, so I can’t go much over 3 days, unless I wear a hat! I will definitely be ordering more of this no doubt.

Quote:

My phone screen for the month.   I try to stay motivated/inspired and this quote stuck with me.  I find that if I change up my phone screen it helps! It’s not always easy to stay positive.  I had a goal this month for my S&D biz and I knew it wouldn’t happen by itself. I have to wake up and make efforts every single day, if I want my dreams to come true.

Podcast:

I love audiobooks, but sometimes I like a quick little something something to listen to.  I’ve been trying out different podcasts and THIS one speaks to my heart.  I could barely get through my workout because I was SO motivated. I wanted to get right down to work on our Rent to Own Real Estate business when I listened to her the other day.

Day:

As I mentioned, March tends to be a tricky month.  Since we were doing a whole lot of work and not a whole lot of playing, I pulled the plug on the last Friday of the month and made us go to the spa.  We got a couples massage and it was SO beneficial.  As much as we are all about the hustle, man you just need to pump the breaks a bit.  If you don’t take the time to step back, relax, rejuvenate and unwind, you’ll burn out and go crazy. During our quiet massages, we BOTH had experiences where we learned something.  Sometimes the best thing to do is sit in silence and let it work its way out. Running multiple businesses, raising kids, getting a new puppy & Joe working full time doesn’t really allow for much “quiet” time other than us passing out from exhaustion! This is something I will make us do more than once a year.

We didn’t even take the whole day ‘off’ but scheduling this time to feed our souls and physical bodies was worth every penny and moment.

Song:

We are getting ready for the disco, so naturally I am listening to that Pandora station!  It’s really hard to be in a bad mood when you’re listening to this.

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Superhero:

My son.  I was having a rough day and may have teared up a bit.  On one hand, I was mad at myself or letting him see me cry, but then the most beautiful thing happened.

“Don’t cry mommy, I am a super hero.  I can save you!”

My heart is still fluttering from hearing that; he’s a lot of work at 3, as most little tykes are.  I know that I’m doing a lot of things right when I hear and feel compassion like that.  Baby boy, your heart it so sincere.  I know you’re a tough little cookie, but your sweet heart is love. You radiate so much compassion. Stay this way always.

 

Tiny Dancer:

She marches to the beat of her own drum, this one.  It’s hard to tell her what to wear, as she has a style all her own.  She loves dance class, but does think ballet is a tad boring.  Tap is her favorite!  I told her to smile for a picture for daddy, this is what she gave me.  I can’t get over how tall she is!

Brookie, you have grown so much (and not just in height!) Since adding a puppy, you’ve shown so much patience and responsibility.  I thank God you’re so understanding and supportive.  I worry you’re a little too like mommy; I want you to have fun, be little and not try to grow up too fast! I love your creative soul and all the joy you bring to our lives.

Book

I have read my 9th out of 52 books for 2018!  This was FANTASTIC!! I love Oprah.  It reminds me of my childhood, as my mother always watched her.  She is full of wisdom and interviews the best people; this book is life changing.  It has introduced me to new authors and I feel myself growing more spiritually and mentally.  I love that feeling.  Oprah reads it, so you’ll be soothed by her voice too!

Humor.

Laughter will get you through so much; lighten up, take risks and enjoy this crazy ride called life! It’s not always easy, in fact most days it’s downright freaking hard, but always worth it.  I just can’t choose that third row; I was born for the front row.