SlowNote & Housekeeping Matters

Waterfall
Over the summer, I reflected a lot on the past school year with my girls, and one thing became very clear: I was doing too much. There were no catastrophes, mind you, and I managed to keep everything going more or less as it should be, but it was just a lot; at times I didn’t feel like anything was getting the full attention it deserved. Homeschooling is almost a full-time job, and when you add in caring for children, doing paid work, managing a household, keeping a blog going, and all the other stuff of life, it’s a lot for one person — or, at least, it is for me.

One of the major themes of this blog is living “slower,” and given my desire to practice what I preach, I’m making a few changes this fall to help reduce the rush factor in my life.

To begin with, our homeschooling schedule will be a little more structured, allowing me more time for paid work, which we’ve determined is important for our family right now. I haven’t worked much since the girls came home, and it’s tough to live on one income where we are (unless one person is making mega bucks). My work will be flexible, so I can put in hours around homeschooling and caring for the girls, but it will require a good chunk of time each week.

For that reason. I’m taking a small step back from blogging this fall. Not a big one — I like it here too much! — but instead of posting every weekday, I plan to post around three times a week (sometimes it might be little less or more, depending). I’ll start scaling back in the next week or two.

You can still expect the same kinds of posts from me: I’d like to write more about homeschooling, feature more books, maybe wade into some tougher issues that are on my mind, as well as share more inspiration about living meaningfully and mindfully. I also plan to continue with my “Parenting Against the Grain” series. (If you know anyone who you think would be a good fit for it, drop me a line!)

I plan to have occasional guest posts, and my contributors will still be here, too: Ann took a break for part of the summer, but will soon be back once a month, and Margaret will be here every other week starting in September. And I’ll still be posting to Instagram (my favorite social media platform) and Facebook, as well.

I’ll evaluate all this as I go along; I’m hopeful that, by organizing my time differently and slowing my blogging schedule a bit, I can be more present to each thing on my plate.

As I consider my posting schedule over the next few months, I’d love to know if there any topics you’d like to read about on SlowMama this fall. Please let me know in the comments! Are you planning any changes in the upcoming year yourself?

Image: Zoe Saint-Paul

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SlowMama in 2014

January 13, 2014

Snail About to Jump

All the talk of New Year’s resolutions lately got me thinking about some resolutions for this little blog. Sometimes I find myself surprised that it’s still alive and well, given what my life has been like the past two years, but here we are! I’m excited about what’s in store for SlowMama in 2014, and I wanted to share some of it with you, as well as ask for your input…

Of course, much will remain the same: I still plan to show up here at least three or four times a week with posts on the usual lifestyle and parenting topics. (I do reserve the right to skip a day or two every so often, to help preserve my sanity.) My regular contributors — Margaret Cabaniss and Ann Waterman — will also be here; they always bring so much to the table with their skill, creativity, and reflections, and I’m glad to have them. I’ll continue to have guest contributors stop by occasionally, too.

I feel like it’s time to freshen things up a bit, though, so you can expect a few changes this year. The first is a site redesign — nothing too drastic, but something that enhances what I’m trying to do here and makes our content more accessible. I’m not promising a date, but I really hope to launch it this quarter.

I’ve got a couple of projects in the works that I’m not ready to talk about quite yet, but I look forward to getting to a place where I can share them. I also want write about some topics that I haven’t addressed as much I’d like: aging, style and beauty, health and diet, homeschooling, multicultural education, and more. I’m also considering a new series or two, and here’s where you come in…

More than anything, I want SlowMama to be a global community of people who care about living well in a fast-paced, busy world — so I’d really like to know what would help you live better. Are there are topics you want to read about here, issues you’d like addressed, information or inspiration you could use? If you’ve got a few minutes, here’s a short survey I’d love you to answer in the comments:

  1. What do you enjoy most about SlowMama?
  2. What would improve your experience here?
  3. What kind of information would most help you in your life right now?
  4. What currently interests or inspires you?
  5. What social network platforms are you most active on — Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest? Instagram? Others? None?
  6. Are you a parent, a non-parent, a working mom, a stay-at-home mom, etc., and what part of the country or world do you call home?

Even if you don’t tend to comment on blogs, if you like SlowMama, I’d love to hear from you. (If you’re still just too comment-shy, feel free to email me your feedback.) Here’s to a great 2014 here at SlowMama!

Image: via Pinterest, source unknown

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Pull Up a Chair

April 26, 2013

Florida Sky

It’s time for a little housekeeping news…

SlowMama is growing! Slowly, but surely (which seems like the best way for a site like ours, don’t you think?). It was always my intention to make this site an integral component of my work if I ended up loving it, which I do — and that means finding ways to monetize the site so I can keep giving a lot of my time to it. Making money from a lifestyle blog is tough, but it can be done if you’re putting out good content, being consistent, and open to the right opportunities.

It’s essential to me that I never compromise my integrity to make a buck, so there are certain ground rules I’ve set when it comes to taking ads and working with sponsors and partners. I won’t work with a company I’d never buy from. That doesn’t mean every company I accept an ad from perfectly espouses the values of this site; it just means I’m not going to promote companies that are blatantly antithetical to those values. I’ll always prefer to work with smaller companies, organizations making a difference, and creative enterprises, but I won’t say no to bigger companies and entities whose missions don’t explicitly oppose mine.

That said, you may have noticed a new ad on the side bar (to your right) for Tom’s shoes. I’m thrilled to have Tom’s here because I not only love their shoes, I love what they’re about: Tom’s gives a free pair of shoes or eyeglasses to someone in need for every pair sold. Please do support SlowMama’s sponsors and partners if they resonate with you!

In another piece of news, SlowMama monthly contributor Alissa Lively will soon be taking an extended maternity leave from blogging; May will be her last month for a while. I’ll miss her voice on the site and hope she’ll be back soon. Lucky for us, the talented Abby Scharbach — who has guest posted here a number of times — will be filling in for the rest of the year. Abby is a wealth of wisdom, creativity, and great ideas, so I’m thrilled she’ll be here.

That’s all for now, but I’ll be sure to keep you updated on what’s happening at SlowMama. Our growth is certainly something to celebrate, so I’m thinking this classic sazerac, a cognac-based cocktail, is perfect for a toast and some laid-back conversation about our week. Here’s my high and low:

Low: Nothing stands out — which, I guess, is good. Maybe having to send back yet another mail order of clothes? Such a non-problem, but I do find it irritating that I have such poor luck ordering clothes online.

High: I’ve got a few: We have a new nephew! Born in Nova Scotia to my brother Alex and sister-in-law Jen, little Aaron James is as cute as a button. This new generation of our family is heavy on boys — but that’s good, because I can get my fill of little-boy wonderfulness whenever I visit siblings. Also, we finally sold our bed and set up our new king mattress. It’s family bed all the way here now, but we’re digging all the bonding time — and we’re sleeping much, much better. Yay!

Bonus question: Mac or PC?

Late did I love thee, oh Macintosh. B and I became converts about three years ago and can’t believe we waited so long. It makes my computer experience so much easier and a million times more fun. I dread the day my little MacBook croaks because I’m ridiculously attached to it, and Apple isn’t making this version anymore. I didn’t like the white plastic body initially, but now I love how it looks and feels and don’t want to go back to metal. (I’ll get over it when the time comes, I’m sure.)

Okay, friends, grab a glass and tell me about your week. Then have a slow weekend, and I’ll see you back here on Monday!

Image: Clara E.

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SlowMama in 2013

January 1, 2013

quote2011 via deviantart

Happy new year! It’s hard to believe it’s 2013 — but I think I say that every time a new year rolls around.

I’ve been thinking about what I want to focus on in 2013. Usually, I make resolutions in the form of goals and tweak them as I go. This year, though, I’m going to embrace one overarching theme: finding a new equilibrium.

Everything is new and different for me now, and this year will be all about figuring out, step by step, not just how to survive — which has been the focus of the past few months — but how to thrive in my new life as a mom. This includes continuing to meet the girls’ needs and forge our way as a family, getting my immune system back into shape, figuring out when and how much paid work to take on, and making sure this blog remains a fun and inspiring place to be — for me, my contributors, and my readers.

To that end, I want to let you know some of what you can expect from SlowMama in the coming year…

First, I’m happy to report that my regular contributors — Margaret Cabaniss, Ann Waterman, and Alissa Lively — will continue to show up here with their excellent posts. I love working with them and am so glad they’ll be writing for SlowMama in 2013. I may also add a new contributor or two this year, so stay tuned!

I’ll also continue to run occasional guest posts. The ones I’ve posted in the past few months have been terrific, adding a lot to the blog in a time of big adjustments for me.

Besides the content you’ve come to expect, I’m also hoping to start more conversations on topics of interest to parents — especially moms — some of which may come from the news or may just be items I’ve been thinking about.

And last but not least, I’m excited to announce a new weekly post I’m calling “Pull Up a Chair.” I want to foster more community here on the blog, so every Friday I’ll be offering a special drink (virtual, of course, so anyone can imbibe!) and will invite you to share your high and low of the week. I may also throw in a random bonus question just for fun. If I find interesting links during the week, I’ll still share them at the end of the post. “Pull Up a Chair” will debut this Friday, so come on by at the end of your busy week and join us!

What’s in store for you this year? Got any resolutions or goals? Any topics you’d like to see SlowMama take on?

Image found at French by Design

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The SlowNote

December 6, 2011

Snail mail

Like snail mail. Only slower. That’s how I officially began my first SlowNote, which finally went out two weeks ago. In fact, I’ve sent two. Yes, miracles do happen. One day soon, I may actually be sending it every week, like I’m supposed to.

If you haven’t signed up for my SlowNote yet, feel free to join in the fun. If you scroll up the page, you’ll see a lovely blue button on the right-hand side. Just click there. The SlowNote is a short message — an inspiring quote, a bit of life coaching, an interesting idea — delivered to your inbox. I reserve the right to even make it a bit silly every now and then. Regardless, it will always be short, because I know your time is precious. I hope you’ll enjoy it and, as always, I welcome your ideas and suggestions.

Come on back here a little later today — Ann’s got a great post about a fun Advent tradition!

P.S. — Something completely unexpected and fun happened yesterday: I won some fabulous prizes at Design Mom! I never win anything ever, so I was shocked and delighted. The wonderful goodies involve a beautiful leather camera bag made by ONA. I’ve been wanting a camera bag forever, and my birthday is right around the corner, so this win felt extra special.

Image found here

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