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.

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?

Open House

Sunday we had our first open house experience, and I think it went quite well!  I channeled my best impression of Christina from the “Flip or Flop” TV Show, and pretty much smiled and greeted as many people as I could!

Considering neither of us had any formal ‘schooling’ in this arena, we were pretty happy with the turnout.  Everything we have learned has been self-taught through lots of reading, videos, and learning from past mistakes.

Friday Joe and Bradley hit up the store for some signs and last minute prep.  I just adored this photo–what memories we are making for our little ones!

Sunday was a beautiful day; it snowed lightly Saturday night but it was in the mid-thirties and partly sunny on Sunday.

This home had a lot of work that needed to be done.  I’m thinking I’ll share some before/after photos in another blog post!  The living room/dining room is open and I just love the high ceilings.

The kitchen needed all new cabinets, flooring, backplash and countertops.

We did not choose to stage the entire house, but I decided to grab a few items I’ve used on past houses to just add a little something extra.

We didn’t want too many scents/plug-ins going, but we did have a little cinnamon candle burning in the kitchen.

I love the white railing leading up the staircase.  It kind of reminds me of my old house; yes I owned my own home before I met Joe!! My walls were blue though.

The bathroom was my favorite renovation!  It was a really dingy pepto-pink and needed a total redo.  I’m obsessed with this granite countertop and vanity.  The mirror is extra large which is always a plus, and the oversized vanity gives lots of storage space below.

We had a little table set up with some water, cookies & hershey kisses…along with our applications and other forms.

It was really cool to meet some new people, get our names out there, discuss our program and explain to folks what it is we do.  It’s so unfortunate that there are illegitimate companies or people out there that take advantage of people in already bad situations.  While rent to own may not be for everyone, for certain folks it provides a really neat option to be living in a home to call your own, until you’re able to transfer the mortgage into your name.

Right after our open house we had to meet up with some prospective buyers for another property.  We met at Starbucks and they are beyond excited to be able to fill out the paperwork, provide a down payment and be able to move into their new home before next weekend.

My favorite part of the day?  Realizing how very much I want to work with my husband.  I’m not sure of how many years we have together on this planet, but I do know that I enjoy very much being by his side.  I lack confidence in this ‘newish’ business venture (we’ve been in the real estate game for awhile, but we continue taking it to new levels!) however, Joe has always been 100% supportive and encouraging.  He pushes me out of my comfort zone and really seemed proud of how we were today.  I know that in a few short years both kids will be in school and I don’t want to go off to another job where I’m away and not in charge of my day.  We are creating a life by design and it’s worth every hardworking second.

It’s not always easy, as I’m typing this I am a little tired and kind of wonder where our weekend went; but I truly believe if we work hard and live like no one else now, we will be able to live like no one else later.