Ah, one year olds. All the moxie of a full-grown toddler, but none of the interest in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. And while the real fun and games of toddlerhood seem to hit around two, our kids definitely grow out of the “baby” stage well before then. We’re left with this not-so-fun in between time where our kids are more active than babies, but cannot yet be bribed. Worse still, they often will refuse to sit through a 21 minute episode of something bright and cartoony so we can just make dinner already! It’s not like I don’t love sitting with my one year old and playing Pat-a-Cake until my hands are raw, but sometimes I just have to get something done. And if I could find a way to entertain my toddler while they’re sitting next to me also doing something she enjoys, then hurray for us both!
Here are some things I’ve found that actually entertain a one year old.
We have talked before about the Miracle Morning for Moms, and how you can adapt the program to meet your needs. Parents need peace and quiet as much as the next person (strike that: parents need peace and quiet MORE than the next person), and using the Miracle Morning for parents is a genius way to start your day with focus and intention. But when you’ve got small children at home, and a schedule that isn’t your own, carving out an hour a day is not an easy task. If the Miracle Morning isn’t working for you, you’ve got to find a way to work it that’s all your own.
Ahhh, the Work at Home Mother. People are eager to tell you that being a WAHM is the “best of both worlds,” and at face value, it is. You are earning income for your family, maintaining your career trajectory, and pursuing interests outside of the home. All without having to figure out childcare options! People picture you playing with your babies all morning, tucking them in for their naps, and completing eight hours worth of work in a two hour period, before greeting your little ones when they wake and heading to the park.
Ha. Ha! Hahahahahaha!!!
Because it’s all fun and games until someone misses a deadline. Or a child is screaming in the background during a work call. Or your kids are too sick to head to their normal childcare locations.
So if you’re a Work At Home Mama- whether you’re a blogger, a freelancer, or if you work remotely- we’re right there with you. It’s not always easy, but when it works- MAN does it work. Over the last couple of years, we’ve come up with some VERY creative childcare solutions to get our missions accomplished, even with five kids five and under in tow.
When Jaymi and I were first exploring the idea of starting a blog, we did our research. Not about the “important stuff” like Pinterest strategies and Search Engine Optimization, but stuff like what colors we liked, what topics we could cover and what vibe we wanted. During this phase I came across a cautionary tale about a woman that blamed her divorce on her devotion to her blog. I paused, re-read it, and sent it to Jaymi. We decided then and there that priorities included staying friends, maintaining a strong marriage, and enjoying this gig.
Even with all our new goals and dreams, I never once imagined that the blog could make me a better friend, a better Mother, and help me build an even stronger marriage.
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Ahhh, the survey. The MicroHustle many of us love to hate/hate to love. This is probably the MicroHustle I’ve taken the most heat over in recent years, because from a short-game stand point, it just doesn’t make sense. Sometimes I spend twenty minutes on a 50 cent survey, and those numbers just don’t seem to add up. But the survey is the tortoise of the MicroHustle Universe. You earn money in very small increments sometimes, it’s true. But eventually, you can win whole races- and pay for whole cruises– using these little guys.
I’m going to start by introducing you to the survey site that seems to have the most potential to make big money. It’s called SurveySavvy, and it works like most survey sites do- they send you surveys, you take them, and you make a little money. (You can also earn referral credit when someone signs up using your link, so yes, I’d like you to use mine if you’re wanting to sign up anyways 😉 ) But the reason SurveySavvy ranks number one on my list of sites is that SurveySavvy is a screening site for CSpace, a company that businesses and brands hire to conduct panels. And that, my friends, is how you make the big bucks.
I’m not on any panels right now, but when I was, I would make about $60 a month per panel, and I was on two. They would ask me to do things like participate in discussion groups, or visit a store and take pictures of certain sections, or post a video of me discussing why I liked (or didn’t like) their brand. It is very much like a focus group, except you participate from the comfort of your home and on your own time. I found the activities to be kind of fun, and it was neat to see products that I had weighed in on showing up in stores a few months later. And, of course, the money wasn’t too bad.
So there you have it, my first and favorite survey site. Do you do surveys at home? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section!
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Note: SurveySavvy also has an app, called SurveyConnect, that you can download. This app will give the company some access to your phone usage and browsing history and, for what it’s worth- I don’t use it. The idea of having someone tracking my phone just gives me the ick factor. If you don’t have the same reservations, feel free to try it out, but I can’t personally speak for, or recommend, a service I’ve never used. Just food for thought!
I’m not totally sure when I jumped the gap between being frugal and being a cheapskate, but here I am, living in the land of pennies and dimes. I count them, I save them, I try to help them grow into strong, confident dollars. I find ways to earn them and work hard not to spend them without long, drawn out conversations with myself and a million lists and plans in my BuJo.
But this land of Pennies and Dimes also gives me power. When I decided to give up a pretty decent income as a well-educated special education teacher, I chose to become more than a budgeter. I decided to be more than a saver, which has always sounded so passive to me, and to become a hustler. A micro-hustler, that is.
It began with aggressive budgeting, and trying to spend as little as humanly possible. And I got good at it. Like, really good. Like, I-don’t-buy-meat-if-it’s-not-on-clearance good. But Holy Moses, that can stifle a person. I mean, a cheap month here and there is fine, but as Dave Ramsey would say, a person can’t live on beans and rice, rice and beans forever. And I wasn’t willing to take more out of our budget than I already was. So it was time to get creative.
And I’m not gonna lie, some people made fun of me. I mean, I was always hustling. But in teeny, tiny little ways. I came to think of all my little income streams as my micro-hustles, and I began to keep track of my earnings. I shrugged off the teasing, and I kept on keeping on. And as for the haters? They didn’t have much to say when I paid for an entire cruise with my girlfriends with those damn surveys and bottles and cans. Because those pennies and dimes? They WANT to be saved. They WANT to grow. I’m just helping to use those small coins to make big things happen.
So no, I’m not pulling in a full income off of these little side gigs of mine. And I’m by no-means replacing the income I gave up to be where I felt that I needed to be. But I am contributing to the household financially, and I am slowly but surely helping to make our dreams come true, the big ones and the small ones. And it’s happening one micro-hustle at a time.