Last year this amazing thing happened to me – I discovered that even after many years of being a stay-at-home mom with three little boys I was still a writer.
Okay this might sound lame, but for many stay at home parents there is this process of ghosting that occurs when you leave your career behind.
The fact is that most of us find a sense of self in the careers we put our energy into and even when we choose to put it on the back burner while raising families, the characteristics that drew us to a certain path doesn’t just fade away.
In spite of that, so many stay at home parents turn into ghosts of the people they once were. If you’re a This Is Us fan, you will remember that moment at the end of season one where Rebecca and Jack have a blow-up fight the night of her first big singing gig and he gets completely smashed. In a rage and through tears she yells at him how she has nothing of herself, how she is a ghost.
Excerpt: “I have no life!” Rebecca screams at her husband. “I have zero life, Jack. I am a housewife to three teenagers who do not need me anymore, and I have a husband who waltzes in every night at at 8 o’clock, if I’m lucky, goes to the kitchen, recaps his day for me and then passes out upstairs at 10 o’ clock. I have no life. I am a freaking ghost.”
That moment. That is honesty in scriptwriting and one of the reasons that made me love that show.
Playgroups don’t centre around work topics.
Coffee dates almost always end back at questions around what we are going to make for dinner or how messy our house is or how crazy our kids are driving us.
Mom friends, as amazing as they are, almost never come from a similar career background as yourself and so those topics just don’t come up much. You talk about the kids and spouses because most often those are the only things you share commanality on.
Before you know it, you’re use to just being X’s mom.
You’re use to being known as the one with the amazing sugar cookie recipe… instead of the one who landed this huge account at work for your team or who orchestrated big events or, in my case, as someone who wrote stories.
And when you are momming it for long enough it’s easy to forget that there was a time you were someone beyond X as well. And even if you don’t forget it – everyone else around you might.
So after I realized I too had felt like a ghost the way Rebecca did, I recognized a need to create a path back to the things that made me – me. And so I discovered blogging, it seemed like a good place to start back unto a path of writing.
The year of creating and running The Mommy Confessionals was a major learning curve for me. It had been 10 years since I worked in Communications – and that was on a team where I had very limited need to do social media work. I was a writer and coordinator more than anything. Social media was just starting to come into play at the time that I left my career. No business websites even had a blog or social channel.
And 15 years ago at the time of earning my Journalism Degree, social media wasn’t even a class. Facebook did not exist! We still used film cameras! We used Photoshop as our only design program for editing images. We didn’t have websites to manage.
So for my first year in blogging, the task was daunting. It was a lot of self-education in how social media promotion works, how blogs really work, how followers work and what is real and what is likely fake when looking at numbers. I also learnt a lot about what makes a successful blog – a money-making one – and what typically doesn’t. And I’ve learnt I am more likely to fall in the latter.
Okay you can laugh at that! But the truth is I never set out to be an advertising writer or promoter. I never set out to gain free products. I don’t write a blog because I don’t want to have a different job. I only blog because I love to write. Therefore, continuing this journey means I am headed full-steam onto the path of freelance writing and reporting, because a paycheque eventually would still be awesome.
In spite of not pushing my blog too heavily and in never doing any advertising on it or working as an affiliate or in partnerships, I still had pretty decent success.
The blog more than doubled in viewing size over that year – from about 50 readers on my first post to seeing on avg. 1,000 different IP registered readers a month (when writing around 3 articles a month). My share rates for articles typically ranged from 50-75% of those that read and then shared it. I felt pretty honoured by that kind of support! Not that it is a huge amount of numbers at all compared to a lot of other professional bloggers! But still, I honestly felt like I started making some personal connections to a few readers whom were all strangers to me prior to the blog. That was pretty awesome. And powerful. It felt like it connected me back to why I went into journalism initially – which was to connect with people on stories that matter to them and touched them or helped them in some way.
So when my renewal option came up for The Mommy Confessionals it was a challenging decision whether or not to shut all that down and start fresh. But I had to. I knew that I wanted a new direction for my writing. In that same year my blogging opened up my entire career-life again. I realized I have so much more I want to share with people and learn and write about than motherhood.
I had also started freelancing a few pieces here and there, just enough to get the thirst again for publications and having a paying career as a writer and communicator. I wanted to have a blog that would be a more holistic representation of that. One where I could maybe share some of my professional work with my blog readers, without it feeling like a huge jump.
I also realized that with a change in my health – the fibromyalgia diagnosis – I wanted to be able to share more on that topic and things that tie into it, like wellness and dietary lessons that I have learnt and are still busy learning. I wanted to have a way to support raising awareness on those topics, without it becoming all encompassing.
That’s when I decided to make the cut from my previous blog site. To start fresh. And here we are – Yvette’s Slice Of Life. The new blog site kind of titled itself when I started to think about what I wanted to share with readers from this point on. Thank your for reading and joining me on this new journey.
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