I remember the first time I made money with a sponsored blog post. I peacocked around the house like I had finally ‘made it’. Hoping that my husband would widen up some love of me spending my ‘free time’ blogging when we had small babies, because we all know that free time should really be spent doing laundry and making salads. When I told my family I would be a paid contributing writer to a parenting site I beamed that I was ‘making something with this blogging thing’. After all, I had resigned from my career in healthcare to stay home and raise our three small kids.
If I told you that for all the time I spend online that I am making enough money to buy our monthly groceries I would get a wholehearted ‘atta girl!’ We love to hear those tales of moms who carve out occupations from their passions and fringe hours.
If I told you I’m relatively breaking even with the cost of running a blog and the few dollars I might make when I chose to do a sponsored post, then there is a hushed smile and nod.
Because I’m a mom, with three small kids at home and this isn’t ‘my job’. I am taking time away from my family, my husband is with the kids when he could be working on our endless basement renovations. I’ve left laundry on pause and am alllll alone with a coffee and my laptop. People assume I am ‘working’ and they should, because I consider it work regardless.
I feel like we live in a culture that says our extracurricular efforts should lead to us making money in order for it to be worthy of our investment. We are told to shut down the outlet of creating unless it could lead to a career. Especially if you are a mom, spending time away from her home and family, to not make money, it is considered selfish or irresponsible. As if we can’t spend our time doing things that fill us up and we enjoy for the act of simply doing them.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think we should sell ourselves short for the value of our work. I think the whole family can breathe a little easier when there is another source of income in the home. I think entrepreneurship is the way of the future and that we should be modelling it for our children. I admire many of the products, blogs and resources that other women have made available online and I love to support and buy from them so they can continue to move their business goals forward.
But I don’t think we should consider ourselves unsuccessful if aren’t monetizing, or monetizing ‘enough’.
We don’t have to sell a single thing! Our site space, weird skin creams, publications. We don’t have to. We can be using our skills and passions to do just good work we enjoy. Work that comes with goal setting, mastermind groups, learning, calling ourselves professionals, the occasional babysitter, the grilled cheese dinner. We can still be lady bosses without the platform of dollar signs under each step we take. We don’t have to brush it off that it is a mindless, frivolous hobby that cause reactions of, ‘oh, good for you’ when we tell them we spend our time on it.
Many of us grew up with moms in power suits teaching us that women have value in the workplace and home. Now we are in a time where many educated women have chosen to be stay at home moms. There is still that framework in our mindset where we measure our success by goals, progress, and income: time out = dollars in. Where a mom can’t spend her time outside of the home unless it is to make money. But we do want a little more than ‘motherhood’ and ‘home’, we still want to do valuable work in the world, or our towns, or in our sewing rooms, or in our backyards. There is nothing wrong with that. We don’t have to be called to it, or making money off it, or even that good at it. We can just do it because there is value in the doing of it.
Our kids are watching us dedicate our time and skills to something of value regardless of the monetary outcome of that thing. I remember watching my mom publish a book when I was still in elementary school. She poured over it for months and spent years perfecting it, promoting it, selling it. I’m positive we ate a lot of cold sandwiches and I learned to do the laundry. I’m also positive she spent more money than she made. But she is the reason that I give myself permission to be dedicated to something that is important to me even if I don’t make money off of it. She is the reason I take pride in the creating and don’t feel bad telling my kids to entertain themselves for half an hour while I work. Moms who create raise children who create.
She also struggled with identifying the value of her work with money and ended up moving to joyless career that paid well but took all that she had to sustain it. She was often out of the home and we became latchkey kids. It was only at this time that I resented her absence. The hard work she was dedicated to was something that took more than it gave, even though it was what paid some extra bills.
So maybe you are up at the end of the night writing a blog post, or sewing, or googling curtain fabrics, or encouraging other women to reach their fitness goals. Maybe you make money off it, and that is wonderful. But maybe you just do it because the cost of not doing it is way too great. What matters is the heart in it all. Are we losing joy to fight uphill and ‘make money’ to justify our work? Is our work slowly shifting into something different when we try to run it through the monetization slot? Can we enjoy a day of rest with our families without feeling anxious about the work not being done – because we’ve over-invested? Can we see our successes when they don’t circle back to money?
Whatever work you do, know that your success doesn’t need justification of a pay cheque. You are successful when you do it with all your heart and soul, unto the Lord.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men – Colossians 3:23
A Little Light is a community of Canadian Christian women looking to use their platforms with purpose and glorify God in their daily and online lives. Find us on Instagram!