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Three Year Update of My Working Homeschool Mom Journey (& When I Almost Gave It All Up)

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Working Homeschool Mom

I want to share my updated working homeschool mom schedule with you in the coming days. I get so many questions about feeding a large family, enjoyable homeschooling, and mega motherhood.

Additionally, I get questions about being a working homeschool mom. I’ve given “The Working Homeschool Mom” talk at homeschool conferences for years. I love to chat about schedules and strategies for homeschool moms and ways to make it all work.

NOT that I have any of this figured out perfectly or have all the answers. I am living it though and always feel inspired to share what I’m learning and processing along the way. 

The last time I wrote online about being a working homeschool mom was in 2015. I can’t believe it has been three years! In 2015 I wrote several articles including my real life work at home mom schedulewhich includes part one, part two, and my homeschool work at home mom scheduling secret weapon at the time.

In 2015 I also shared How I Make A Full-Time Income Online To Support My Growing Family {And How You Can Start a Blog, Too!}. The year before, in 2014, I shared my family’s story of How My Blogging Brought My Husband Home Full-time.

You know how it goes, many times it’s hard to grasp all the Lord is doing and all that is happening in the everyday moments. Once you get to the other side of a season, it’s easier to look back and clearly get perspective. We’ve also had three babies (Amelia, Daniel, and Benjamin), in the past five years and had our first major family move in over ten years in 2016. It is ALL a blessing and it has been a lot!

Going back even further, April 2012 to August 2015 is really a blur. It was in June of 2013 when Travis came home full-time. But even after he came home to help, our family life wasn’t instantly easy.  There was just so much to figure out and juggle together. All of life felt overwhelming and like drinking out of a fire hydrant (as my friend Amy Roberts says). 

I developed a business.

Busted hard and grew the business.

Hired help.

Lost help.

Traveled and spoke.

Tried to create products. (I always get jammed up with this)

Worked hard to stay focused on the family, many times unsuccessfully.

Dealt with a lot of frustration and failure.

Had several anxiety attacks and prayed for the Lord to make it all (online business-wise), go away.

And that’s just the truth of the matter. These past seven years total that I’ve been an online working homeschool mom have been full of many ups and downs. I’ve had super successes and I’ve had massive failures. 

3-month old Amelia and I were flying back from a conference event in 2013.

Then in mid-June 2015, in-between speaking engagements (I had just spoken in Sandusky, Ohio, and we were flipping around for me to speak at HEAV in Richmond — it’s kinda sad, but you can read about those trips and my hopeful attempts here and here), I went to bed one night with an odd neck pain that by the following morning developed into difficulty swallowing.

You can read more about my neck injury here in Mommy, Who Broke Your Neck?  

My neck scan in 2015.

The Lord moved greatly during that time and I yet again surrendered *all of this* to the Lord. After my neck busted, I laid down at night with ice wrapped around my throat, while breastfeeding Daniel, and just prayed for the Lord to show me what to do.

Clearly, damaging my neck wasn’t part of my plan. I was trying so hard to do all the things and make the most of the opportunities before me. Clearly (now I see), filling in all my nooks and crannies with work hours to the tune of 40+ hours a week, flying around and speaking, juggling babies, stories, home life, and more, wasn’t how life could continue long-term, for me anyway. Something had to give and the first thing to go was my neck.  

 

Baby Daniel Joel and I the summer my neck busted

Travis and I dug deep that summer of my neck injury into the question of if I should just stop working online altogether. Stop blogging, close down FreeHomeschoolDeals.com, forget speaking, and writing the books on my heart. We prayed about all of this and agreed that while I still had an online income coming in from FHD, he’d go back to college for his dream (to be a car guy 🙂 ) and get ready to return to the workforce in a new profession.

Meanwhile, I cut all the fat I possibly could from my business. I let go of any help that wasn’t 100% necessary. I made a survival task list to keep FHD afloat and handed those tasks over to my two VAs. I figured at the time that FHD would slowly fade away and be forgotten. My online encouraging efforts would be forgotten, too. But at that point, I was thrilled with that prospect.

Within all of this, as a burned out blogger and overworked entrepreneur at the time, the only thing the Lord gave me the grace to really lay my hand to was YouTube. So, as awkwardly as possible, I continued to make vlogs and I surrendered my work time struggles to the Lord. YouTube was easy for me because I could film in the middle of real family life, just sharing my momma’s heart during my busy homeschool mom day. Fairly easily, I could still bless other mommas and create content they’d enjoy. It was gentle on my family and me and seemed like a win/win.

Blogging baby Amelia Elaine 2013-ish.

From August 2015 to May 2017, while my husband was back in college full-time, I cut back to basically a scarce work schedule for myself. I kept my one long workday a week (usually 12 hours or so on a Saturday) and filled in a little work here and there some evenings.

For those two years, I believe I averaged about 15 work hours a week. This felt like a vacation because I had been up to 40+ hours a week before my neck gave out. I put what little work time I had towards running my little YouTube channel. Much to my surprise, FreeHomeschoolDeals.com didn’t disappear or fade away within this. Even with the bare minimum being done daily (about 10 hours a week, still done now by someone else), the site continued to rock on as a beloved resource of thousands of homeschooling families. 

If you’ve followed me for a bit, you know I’ve had my usual blunders. I’ve gone through some name changes as I’ve worked through finding my voice. Finally, I settled on LargeFamilyTable.com and here we are today. Don’t worry; I’m not changing anything 🙂

I shared on Instagram in 2016 “Oh, just making 70 slices of French toast, drinking coffee, and trying to update my iMovie software so I can edit more #YouTube videos ? How’s your Saturday morning?”

Travis graduated in May 2017 and I had Benjamin in July 2017. As I mentioned above, we thought back in August 2015 that by the time Travis graduated, my business would have slowly dwindled down to nothing and slowly fade away on the internet. 

However, by the time Travis graduated I had many more opportunities, even with my limited sit-down work hours over these last several years. The business side of what I do has continued to be profitable. I knew once Travis graduated and was back to being 100% home with us again I could go back to having more dedicated work hours for projects like books I want to write, products I’d like to create, podcast recording, and more. 

I’m still not sure if “having more dedicated work hours” is what I want or need. With baby steps, since I’ve had Benjamin this summer I’ve slowly been putting in more work time. I’ve been working 2 to sometimes three dedicated work days out of a seven day week and Travis has run the house and homeschool on those days. 

 

There have been weeks where I know I’ve worked too much since then. Two work days may go fine, but three feels like it’s pushing it. If I do three days two weeks in a row, I’ve felt stressed and frazzled again. If I just do two days, it seems like all I’ve done is play catch up with no real progress on my creation goals. 

A few weeks ago, I boldly (and now I’m embarrassed) shared with several girlfriends how I’m now switching to getting back up and working early mornings on a daily basis. Well, we tried that for a quick flash and it became obvious that’s not going to work in our current world either.

So how do I move forward, keep our family days protected, and grow further in various opportunities? 

Then Travis got a bright idea of one last schedule try that we’ve never tried before.   That’s what I’m going to share with you next. In a few days, I’m going to share with you my updated gentle (attempt) working homeschool mom schedule for Winter 2018. Even though it’s fairly new, I want to share it with you as we make tweaks and readjust. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution for all working homeschool moms. You may find it helpful to see how we continue to work together to make this all work for us. And if I ever disappear from the internet, you’ll at least know I tried (ha!). 

If you’re a working homeschool mom, please share how you get in your work hours in the comments below!

 

2020 Update –> 💥WORK AT HOME HOMESCHOOLING MOMS with 19 KIDS!!! How We Run Businesses, Homeschool, & Run Our Homes!

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