House of Kerrs is ONE! One year since I hit publish on our first post. One year of connecting, learning, growing. One year since a small dash of bravery led to so many wonderful encounters, new friendships and opportunities. One year of new adventure for our family. One year of seeing how so much good can come from pushing through fear and doubt. One year of being grateful for the unrelenting support and love of a husband who stands by my side through all my crazy ideas and endeavours. Below I share a message of encouragement, the challenges, and the highlights from this 1st year as a family + lifestyle blogger. Sincere thanks for your support and love…means the world xo
Go For it!
I thought I was going to write a “lessons learned” post, but many of the ones I shared at the ½ year mark still hold true today. I really just wanted to leave a message of encouragement. If there’s something sitting on your heart and mind you want to bring to life, just go for it, don’t hesitate, don’t wait for it all to be perfectly crafted. Just begin. Whether it’s a blog, a business, a book, a course. We all have gifts, and they need to be brought to life. Some of the greatest things come from a series of small steps. Perfection is paralyzing, unrelatable and will keep you busy doing nothing but procrastinating on your dreams and visions. Trust the call. Follow your heart. Set your intentions. And when doubt creeps in, remember why you started. To some this is just a blog. To me it’s been a doorway to incredible opportunity, realizing some dreams (personal and family-wide), awakening to limitless potential, being uplifted through the blogging community, and a path toward a really fulfilling endeavour and sector.
The Challenges of Blogging About Family Life
As with any gig, blogging is not all sunshine and bliss and there are parts to it that I do not particularly love. Feeling the pressure to be “on” and plugged into social media for blog promo and ongoing engagement more than I ever imagined is challenging. While I love the reach and connection, and accept it’s part of the work, it’s draining to be so connected virtually every day when my nature is one that craves lots of tech-free time for introspection . It’s also a constant distraction from what matters most – my family, and I’m finding ways to keep active on our channels while being mindful of when the appropriate times are to do so to keep our people a priority. I’m up for the challenge of the hustle and don’t half-ass anything, but also stay true to matters of the heart and go at a comfortable pace. I realize I’m very much a “soulpreneur” in this regard.
The pressure of needing polished photos is also an ongoing struggle. While I love photography, and the opportunities that have come from quality images, it’s tough to be on social media, talking about parenting, and having images that have been filtered, edited and tweaked. I have a pretty good grip on keeping things in perspective when I scroll – I get that people are putting their best foot forward, the highlights of their life, but not everyone does. Portraying our life as put together is not why I began this blog, and not a standard I care to live up to or portray for social media sake. Our life is messy, chaotic and not at all “picture-perfect”. I was even hesitant to hop on Insta at first – the land of photo perfection, where everyone posts the curated slices of their lives. But the images for me capture the beauty in family life, even when we all know parenting is HARD. These images are what I want to remember, and so many don’t make it to the feed. They’re our legacy and capsule of moments in time. At the end of the day, parenting is a privilege. Finding the beauty in the mayhem is not easy. It’s not supposed to be. But if we’re teaching our kids to be optimistic, find the good even when face with challenge, then we need to be a reflection of what that means. So while my images may be polished, I try to keep my captions and insta-blogs honest and relatable. I never want people to think we’re acing this parenting gig…newsflash, NOBODY is! But we are incredibly grateful. And gratitude affords a healthy perspective and outlook on this crazy life of ours.
Opening our family experience and life story to audience unknown isn’t without very careful consideration. We’re very cautious with what we post (respectful images that preserve our kids’ dignity), while offering honest insights and captions about our parenting experience. We also maintain a comfortable level of privacy, take security precautions and keep lots of our family life sacred, for our eyes only. Keeping life normal means not having a camera in their face all the time, and respecting their right to be children off-screen. However, we choose not to live in fear, and do believe there are healthy ways to be on social media as a family, and will continue to navigate and learn as we go. So far it`s a positive family affair. When things don’t feel right, detours and modifications will be made. The kids will always be part of the decisions, especially as they get older and may not want to be online so publicly.
And finally, while so much of the challenges of parenting are universal, we all have our unique ways of getting by. Our choices may not be yours, and that’s perfectly okay. I knew when I started blogging I did not want to preach, instead wanted to encourage. I don’t relate to articles that tell us how to parent by following “these 10 easy steps”. I know so much of what “works” in parenting is unique to each family, and can change so much over time. We are full-fledged winging this parenting gig, and while we still figure things out as we go, we enjoy sharing ways that help us simplify all the crazy with you along the way. When we found out we were expecting life`s sweetest surprise + fourth addition, I frantically searched the net on how to manage as a family of six. All I came across was advice from people who seemed to have it all together, and ways of managing I just couldn’t relate to, which is in part why I started blogging to show that if two low-key, planning-averse parents can do this, so can you, regardless of family size.
While I haven’t experienced any overly nasty feedback, judgement looms in this online realm – it’s unavoidable. In the last month alone I’ve had comments cross my path that parents of more than two “can’t parent properly”, that I “must be addicted to baby-making”, just to name a few. People say the craziest stuff behind the screen coupled with keyboard courage and while in the past my instinct would be to go all mama-bear and shoot down the ignorance, I’ve learned to tame that beast. There’s so much power in concentrated ignoring and disengaging. I can’t control judgement, but I can control my reaction to it. Putting yourself “out there” is one of the scariest parts of blogging, but it develops your backbone and a major respect for public figures who are always being scrutinized. Kindness wins. Always. Silence in the face of BS is a good self-preservation tactic!
Life’s Busy – How Do You Find Time to Blog?
It may sound mega-woo to some, but I felt called to blogging. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “you have four kids…you can’t (insert whatever limiting belief here).” Actually I can, and have never felt more inspired or full of potential than since becoming a Mom – hence where my “Mama Thriver” series was born. Moms, like Dads, can have dreams and aspirations and go after them. In fact, I’m a more content Mom when I do so, and want my daughter to see what it means for a woman to pursue her dreams whether Momming or not. I know my choice will be judged, because we still have a long way of getting over the beliefs of what a “good mom” is, and that it’s actually a really important thing for a Mom to make time for the things she enjoys. I’ve learned to no longer feel guilty for the things that make me happy, and be unapologetically true to myself. If Moms are the anchor and heart of the family, what’s good for Mom is good for everyone.
I began this journey during a very overwhelming stage in parenting as a way to connect and share when I felt very isolated. Some days I feel like I’ve added too much to my already over-flowing plate, and wish for a personal photographer, editor and assistant to take a bit of the load off so I can write more 😉 But I love it, and get asked quite frequently how I fit this in with four kids. 1) Because amongst all the crazy, writing and creating centres me, and this blog keeps me accountable to my interests and passions. I make time (after bedtime & early morning hustle yo!). And I have tremendous support from Andrew to do so. Seriously, he would stand by almost anything I want to do and is my biggest fan; and 2) It just feels so right. I’m a serial-trier. This is actually my 3rd entrepreneurial endeavour & side hustle. I’ve designed and opened a children’s indoor playground, owned an online party supplies business and run an Etsy shop. For the first time in a REALLY long time, I feel like I’ve stumbled upon a gig and industry I’m really inspired by, feel like I belong to and is a good fit for my skill set. For anyone feeling lost or confused on their next steps, just keep following those “right” feels and you will never be led astray, and if you are, like I have been, those aren’t failures, they’re invaluable lessons that will get you closer to what’s meant for you. Promise.
The Year’s Highlights
On those days I question why it is I continue to pour so much effort into an endeavour that requires constant attention and lots of work (especially now with returning to my Public Service career), when it feels like the wheels are spinning and I’m not moving fast enough toward my vision, I step back and remember the small wins over the course of the year, and I feel pretty damn proud.
Here are some of the highlights:
1) The response to my post on maternal mental health and breastfeeding pressures “A Love Note to the Mama Struggling with Breastfeeding: Your Well-Being is What’s “Best”, which led to an outpouring of Moms reaching out with sighs of relief, thanks and stories of similar struggle. This post led to being featured in a medium I love and admire Canadian Living.com and an interview on CBC’s The Current. Being part of the #howsmom movement was important. Tell your stories. Even the tough ones. Knowing they help others and give courage to people to speak out and feel more normal is perhaps one of the greatest blessings of blogging. Being relatable, even while being uncomfortable with being vulnerable, is incredibly powerful.
2) Being recognized on Blogger’s of Canada “20 Blogs We Love” feature – was seriously blown away by this one.
3) Getting published on parenting platforms I’ve enjoyed following on my own parenting journey, such as YMC.ca and MomResource.ca In fact, my first published piece “Princess Diana: Her Lasting Motherhood Legacy” ignited the fire to begin this blog. Having your words recognized on a respectable medium is exhilarating, fulfilling and slightly addicting.
3) Being featured in Best of This Life’s Purposeful Living Series – I have admired Emily’s blog from afar for quite some time and this was a true honour.
5) Collaborating with brands we use and love as a large family (turning this little passion project into a small biz!) and attending family-friendly events – the kids especially love this part and it keeps them from groaning when I have to take lots of photos 😉
A Love Note to the Mama Struggling With Breastfeeding
To the Snap-Happy Momtogs: Keep on Clickin’!
The Ultimate Father’s Day Giveaway For Modern Dads
7 Unique Date Night Ideas in Toronto
The Best Travel Sites for Families of 5+
How We’re Encouraging and Active Lifestyle & Multisport Athleticism in Our Kids
Unlock Your Family’s Love Language
8 Ways to Ring in the New Year With Kids
Why This is the Year I’m Embracing Hockey Mom-hood
Sanity Savers With the New Pampers Baby Dry
From the bottom of my heart, and our entire House of Kerrs, thank you to each one of you who follows along. Big thanks also to the brands we`ve aligned with, genuinely use and love, and who support this platform. Sharing experiences and products that help simplify and save our sanity is one of the main reasons I began this blog.
We so look forward to what this next year will bring. In the meantime, we have some cool stuff coming at you this week with some of our favourite partners from this past year, including this GIVEAWAY from one of our favourite family-owned lifestyle apparel shops MoGreen to start! Stay tuned…
Love & light,
+ The Kerr Gang xo