If you know me well you know giving up alcohol was never high on my priority list, I love my white wine! So why all of a sudden am I pulled to give up alcohol for an entire year?1
Alcohol, especially wine, are highly recommended in mom groups as a way to deal with day to day stress. Often if a mom posts asking for advice on how to deal with out of control kids or stressful situations, you will see several people pipe up suggesting wine as the answer.
Of course having the "blessing" of other moms makes it so much more appealing. And its become so normalized for mama to need her evening glass ...or bottle... of wine.
The problem for me is that I used wine as my 'self care'. Being stressed and exhausted I would grab a glass or two of wine to relax me. Unfortunately thought the initial few sips offer the desired effect, the wine would cause the opposite of what I intended. Alcohol made me tired, dehydrated and more miserable in the end. So for me this is a need to improve my coping skills and self care. While I've had no issues giving up alcohol completely for my pregnancies, doing it just for myself seems so much more daunting.
I'm not used to focusing on my needs and putting myself first. My self care in pretty inexistent. Quitting alcohol for a year, and maybe longer, will force me to actually use proper self care methods.
After discussing this with my husband, we decided to tackle a year of sobriety as a team. Both of us feel that alcohol doesn't serve us and is somewhat pointless. We want to use that energy to focus more on building up our YouTube business.
What are your big goals for 2019?
Are you doing something totally out of your comfort zone?
My darling three year old has started misbehaving.
Hitting her older brother and not listening.
I could say that it’s the age, or that she needs more discipline.
But my heart knows the truth.
Three months ago my darling three year old daughter became a big sister. We welcomed a baby girl into our family with open arms. And my daughter became a middle child. She lost the role of family baby, a role she had held for three years.
She loves her baby sister, simply adores her! But I know she misses the time she got to spend solo with her mama. Her mama who is constantly too tired or too busy these days.
We’ve taken for granted that she’s so independent. These last few months we’ve expected her to entertain herself, and keep herself busy while we attend to life, to her older brothers homeschool lessons, to our work and to the baby.
An independent middle child myself I should have been more aware of this, realized how much she really needs. But my overwhelmed mind can’t even remember what day of the week it is.
Today she wanted to play hairdresser, a favorite game where she brushes my hair and we take on the personas of ‘Coco’ and ‘Kiki’. Finally forced to sit still for a while I whip out my phone to catch up on a few Instagram posts and some emails. I mindlessly muttered a few “mmm hmmm’s” to ‘Coco’ as she happily chatted while brushing my hair.
Tonight as I’m trying to put both my girls to sleep, and one is crying her evening tears and the other one is asking me to hold her hand it hit me like a ton of bricks. And I felt so much sadness for my darling daughter. She needs her mama more. She needs more than a mindless reply as I’m catching up on work. She may be independent, but she also need’s her bestie to listen to her and actually spend time with her.
This season of motherhood is hard, but I foresee more hairdresser appointments and Barbies in my future.
I have a confession to make.
I didn’t even realize I was doing it. It was totally subconscious. And I only realized it recently after some deep reflection on how I was using my social media.
So, how did this happen?
Instagram and social media in general is full of these amazing moms and women, their social media strategy is killer, their photos are amazing. And perfect.
Everything about them seems perfect. From color coordinated outfits, to flawless makeup, spotless homes, not a hair out of place. This is not how my motherhood journey looks!
I felt pretty inadequate compared to the moms that I see with perfectly curated social media. I felt like nobody wants to see my flaws, my imperfect life, our daily mess.
I felt like my kids are my only great accomplishment, so why not focus on them? But my son is overdue for a haircut, and my daughter like to pick her own outfits which are definitely not as perfect as the outfits of the perfect social media moms.
But I realized something.
If I could find my own little tribe of women who are killing it, but because they are working so hard their house is a mess, their kids need a haircut and they can’t recall the last time they set foot in a spa! Then it will be worth it.
Since then I've been able to read so much more than I have since becoming a mom! Heres a few books I feel are a must read to help change mindset and help with entrepreneurship.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BOOKS
CURRENTLY ON MY KINDLE WISHLIST
I will be adding books to my recommended list as I get through them, sometimes I stumble upon a recommendation and my wishlist books must wait. What are some of your favourites?
The question I get asked most often is how we actually make money on YouTube, its often very difficult for people to wrap their minds around how YouTube creators actually make a profit! Here are a few ways that allow you to profit from the YouTube platform
1. As a YouTube Partner with Ad Revenue
If you're familiar with watching YouTube videos, you know that often there is an advertisement that plays immediately before a video is played. There are also at times advertisements during the video, either commercial style ads or pop up links, and sometimes there are even ads at the end of a video. As these advertisements are watched the channel then makes a profit. Usually the profit per view is very low, we're talking pennies! This is why a high volume of views is crucial to making a profit on YouTube.
Also, similarly to traditional cable, YouTube familiarizes itself with the demographic of the people watching a specific channel and chooses ads geared towards that demographic. And YouTube tracks each viewers profile and demographic, as well as behaviour on YouTube (and internet over all as YouTube is owned by Google) and chooses to show not only ads but videos that YouTube feels will most likely be enjoyed by that particular profile.
The rates you are paid for the advertisements that run on your channel are also determined by demographic, as some locations and demographics are found to be more valuable than others. For example, ad rates would be higher for a female aged 30-40 in the United States than let's say a 70-80 year old in Nigeria. This is due to the purchasing power of the demographic, and how likely they are to purchase the items they view in the advertisement.
Ad a YouTube partner you do have to abide by the YouTube Community guidelines, if YouTube deems your content not suitable for advertisers there is little you can do to change that. So abiding by the platform guidelines will allow you to stay in good standing.
2. Work with Brands as an Influencer or Affiliate
YouTube can be a great avenue for Influencers or Affiliates, which is basically partnering with brands to promote their content. This has so many different variations, from getting paid per promotion to getting commissions for sales. This is also a great option for those who already have a following on other social media platforms.
Influencer marketing is on the rise, and considering most people are moving away from watching traditional cable it is a fantastic opportunity! You do have to stay away from turning your channel into shopping network as that will deter viewers. But becoming a trusted person in a specific niche, or providing value to your viewers will help drive your credibility.
3. Use YouTube to Sell Products or Merchandise
You can use YouTube to sell products or merchandise! If you already have a business YouTube can be the next avenue to interact with your audience. For example you can create videos of behind the scenes at your business, or create videos on how to use your products in a tutorial type fashion. The possibilities are endless, but remember, don't sell but instead focus on providing value and building relationships with potential customers.
When using this option, but may be best not to have these videos monetized as you wouldn't want to have a competitors or similar product to be features on the advertisement, especially since YouTube algorithms will place similar ads with what your demographic is currently interested in.
4. Crowdfund Your Next Endeavour
YouTube can be a great way to give your fans a sneak peek or trailer into an upcoming project as you are Crowdfunding. Sometimes Crowdfunding is used to save up for equipment or to cover production or actor costs. YouTube can help you reach a broader audience as you try and generate excitement for your upcoming endeavour.
5. Fan Funding Support Through Your Audience
We were living a pretty above average life, I was a stay at home mom to two amazing kids and my husband worked as a driller; which brought in a very good salary but at a pretty big sacrifice. Where we lived in Alberta, Canada it was pretty normal to have a spouse working up North on the oil rigs. It was a sacrifice many families made to be able to afford a nice lifestyle. But his being gone for weeks at a time was taking a significant toll on our kids, they started to get really upset that daddy was going away.
My educational and work background was Business and Marketing, and as much as I enjoyed being a stay at home mom, I had started to become a bit antsy. I wanted to do a bit more, to use my creativity and have a bit of cash to show for it. I did some major soul searching and after a ton of research and some trial and error I decided to start a YouTube channel around my sons interest in Thomas the train.
I started with a basic little camcorder we had at home and my 7 year old MacBook. I taught myself the basics of YouTube, iMovie editing, and designing thumbnails. Our first few videos were pretty bad! But I stuck with it even though everyone around me thought it was pretty ridiculous. And soon enough the money started to trickle in, and then about 6 months after I had started I had a $3,ooo month! But I was exhausted! Success always comes with a price tag, on top of being a stay at home mom, who was solo parenting for weeks at a time, I was staying up till 1-2am every day to get the editing done for our video. I was aggressively trying to post a video every single day, and it was a lot of work!
My husband was also suffering from pretty bad burnout from work, plus he was really struggling with being away from the kids. It had worn him down so much, he was somewhat of an emotional mess. Since our little YouTube channel was slowly bringing in a small income, we had agreed to make a real go at it. Just try and grow our channel as much as possible to see if we can actually make a living out of it. My husband took some video editing and film courses, and he slowly started to take over many of the tasks so that my workload was easier to manage. We started working together to make our channel grow.
It took months of ups and downs, of learning as we go and figuring out what works. Finally a few months later we had reached 20,000 subscribers and Fisher Price contacted us to offer us some free Thomas and Friends toys in exchange for a video review. We were ecstatic! This was a defining moment that made us feel like we were on the right track, it helped fuel our fire to keep going.
This is when we realized that yes this is a business we can do as a family, this is the solution we had been looking for to keep our family together. It was our first step to building the dream life we keep dreaming of! We still have a ton to learn, and a ton of growing to do but we are so excited to be on this amazing journey!
Have you started a journey that everyone seems to think is a little bit crazy? Or do you dream of a life that does not match up to the "American Dream?" I would love to hear from other dreamers and doers like us, who have decided to chase happiness over conventional living!
This week we went out to enjoy a family fun trip at Aspen Crossing in Mossleigh, just 45 minutes from SE Calgary! And wow did we ever have an amazing time, this trip was more amazing then I had ever expected!
The fun started off at arrival, we had booked an overnight stay at one of the three amazing Caboose cabins! Our home for the night was the Pacific Red Caboose!
The Red Caboose is the medium size out of the three Caboose cabins, it has a queen bed, a pull out sofa bed and a double bed in the upper look out portion of the Caboose. It also has a washroom and shower, and a small kitchenette. It was the perfect size for our family of four.
Just outside of the Caboose is a patio with BBQ, there is a picnic table and a fire pit as well. You do need to bring your own lawn chairs to sit around the fire, but all the other included amenities are amazing!
The cabin is clean and so well maintained, extra bedding can be found in the dresser at the back of the Caboose. The bed was comfy and we had a great sleep. The cabin also has AC and heat so this is glamping at its finest!
Our 4 year old could not get enough of the top bunk in the lookout area of the Caboose. Immediately he claimed that as his bed and spent any minute he could up there.
A short walk from the cabin is a small playground for the kids, Aspen Crossing is super family friendly! Our kids had a blast playing here and loved the big yellow slide.
Aspen Crossing is definitely one place your kids won't be sitting around bored at!
We walked around the Aspen Crossing campground and kept coming across neat things, like this miniature train the kids had a blast playing with and exploring!
Train tracks and fields for miles, Alberta prairies at their finest!
We wandered out and explored all the big Aspen Crossing trains, it's amazing that they operate full sized authentic equipment! We had such a blast checking everything out.
We booked dinner reservations at the Diefenbaker Dining Car Restaurant, this was one of my husband's favorite parts of the trip! The history within the dining car is amazing, we could only imagine what the walls could tell us if they could talk!
The service and food at the restaurant was top notch! We had a fabulous meal, the kids had tons of fun and the atmosphere was so unique!
Narrow but super spacious, our dinner at the dining car was fantastic. We are planning to come back for one of their famous Sunday brunches!
Just behind all of the Caboose cabins is a lovely green space where we had some after dinner soccer and frisbee games. It was a great way for the kids to release some energy before bedtime.
What do our kids think of Aspen Crossing? Super duper awesome! Mom and dad had a blast too! This is definitely a great family excursion we highly recommend!
There's an unsettled feeling inside of me, I can't pin point exactly what it is. A part of me feels like travelling somewhere will silence it for a bit, but I think it's more than that. I feel like I need to do more, to create something, yet the day to day tasks of mothering while growing another human leave me exhausted and unmotivated. I also feel smothered by stuff...Our society is so focused on accumulating stuff, we then have to spend money to store our stuff, to maintain our stuff, etc. It's such a vicious cycle that I feel I constantly get dragged into. I don't want to accumulate stuff, I want to enjoy time with my child and husband. I want experiences not things!
I've been reading tons of blogs lately on families that just sold everything and moved to places like Costa Rica, and if I could I would just drop everything and go for that! What an amazing adventure. But my husband is hesitant to drop our entire lives because I feel unsettled. We do agree on getting rid of our stuff, on needing more travel in our lives and focusing on family time and experiences. But I find it so hard to stay focused on the big picture when the hustle and bustle of the city keeps tempting you with more things that you need to purchase to 'be happy'.
I really need to find direction for my focus, to work on what changes I can make to push our family in a simpler yet happier lifestyle.
I have visited the beautiful Zoo Lights on several occasions pre-kids, this year when my BFF was in town we decided to take little Monkey on his first Zoo Lights excursion.
First few things to consider:
1. Bundle up! Even if it seems warm outside, as soon as that sun goes down it gets cold!
2. If you can, avoid going on the weekend! In a failed attempt to go the weekend before Christmas with my parents we learned that the Zoo lights on a weekend have insane line ups!
3. You can enter the Zoo before 5pm and stay for the Zoo Lights. My Zoo membership does not have Zoo Lights included, but one of the staff told me we can enter before 5 and just stay :)
Zoo Lights with a toddler are a less pleasurable experience then on your own, and I'm sure this also varies from family to family and depends on your child's temperament. Monkey hates wearing clothes, and hates bundling up. So snow suit and boots make him grumpy. He also isn't a fan of the dark, and basically wanted to be in my arms most of the time (refused to sit in the stroller). He would run around the well lit areas but as soon as we walked into a darker place I'd the the 'mama up, mama up'. We spent about 90 minutes there and by the end of it I was exhausted!
I also found that most of the fun interactive areas that existed at Zoo Lights several years ago are now gone. It seemed that this year it was more just lights and less of the extras. It's still beautiful but I remember it being better.
So overall my take-aways:
1. I think this experience would be better with slightly older kids, about 4 and up.
2. Next time we will arrive at the Zoo earlier, use our pass to get in and stay for the lights.
3. If going to Zoo Lights with our toddler make sure daddy comes so that he can carry Monkey.