Boyish Charm

My Journey to Full Time Blogging

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Leaving my career in marketing for freelance work was a big step. Leaving freelance work to become a stay-at-home, full-time blogger and sole breadwinner was a giant leap. Friends are asking: do I have regrets?

My Journey to Full Time Blogging

As a long-term workaholic, maternity leave after having Sam was a total change. After my year-long leave, I went back to my perfectly fine, full-time job with a two-hour commute, working in the marketing department of a very large corporation. People there were very nice and I loved my immediate supervisor. Pay was great. Work was good…and interesting.

But something had changed. It was just…a job. In contrast with spending that first year at home with Sam, I was now only getting to see him for about a half hour each weekday before his early bedtime. And I grew increasingly miserable.

I will never forget the tipping point. Mike and I were sitting in the living room when wobbly, new-to-walking, one-year-old Sam ran towards us. He tripped, fell and bashed his head. He got up and ran to Mike for comfort.

My heart broke.

I vowed then and there to change things. I did not want my relationship with my son to be sacrificed while I was building someone else’s company, helping make millions of dollars for investors I didn’t know.

Six months after I returned to the corporate world I became self-employed.

I was on retainer with an advertising agency. I worked freelance for friends’ businesses. I tried to build my blog into a business. This was in addition to trying to be a great mom—and an OK wife (poor Mike!).

To make it work, I stopped watching television. Social relationships suffered. I did very little for myself and I rarely slept more than five hours a night. I made big sacrifices but they were made with the hope that the blog would be viable so we could make big changes for our family.

You see, in addition to missing Sam, there were other issues. I hated where we lived but we had to be there because it was tied to Mike’s work. And he didn’t love his job—long shifts and unfulfilling work—but a lengthy history with the company made it impractical to leave and start over somewhere else.

Today, we are in a very different place—literally! We moved to a new community that we love. We can walk Sam to school, to a park or the beach. Best of all? Mike and I both work from home. He manages our house as a stay-at-home dad and I manage the work side of things by running the blog full time.

Our marriage has improved. Whether it’s sitting on the beach drinking early-morning coffee or paddling the lake in our two-person kayak mid-day, we have fun together again.

And we have a stronger family unit. Since my freelance work was arranged around Sam’s schedule, we’ve been close. But now Sam and Mike have really bonded, too. We do so much as a family that it feels like a dream come true.

Of course there are challenges. It took Mike and me time to adjust to our new roles. From 21 years of working for the same company to house husband meant a real change of habits!  Now we spend A LOT of time together and that also takes some getting used to. 🙂

Part of what has made this work for us are the financial habits we established when we first married. We live on less than we make. Our savings account has been a long-term priority. We update our budget regularly and discuss all big purchases together before buying.

Even so, right now my biggest issue is fear. It’s scary being the sole breadwinner. Building a blogging business is wonderful and fulfilling and exciting, but it’s also filled with a lot of uncertainty.

Do I regret our choices? Without a doubt the answer is NO REGRETS. We have carved out a life for our family that we love. Sam has the privilege of two parents living and working in the same house—parents who both have the capacity to volunteer at his school, attend his sporting events and play LEGO at his beck and call.

Working from home might not be for everyone, but it is just what our family needed to thrive instead of survive. If you are considering making the leap, I suggest checking out helpful resources such as Northwestern Mutual’s educational tools for planning and empowerment. Their “Questions to Ask about Being a Stay-at-Home Parent” might give you more insight.

And then, if you decide working from home is for you? Jump!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Northwestern Mutual. The opinions and text are all mine.

Stephanie Keeping

Stephanie is in love with a boy named Sam. He has taught her that it's okay to jump first and look later, to wear a dirty shirt to the park and to decide that today is a good day to take a nap in your rubber boots. She hangs out here blogging at Spaceships and Laser Beams and at our printable party shop on Etsy.