Why I Am Dropping the Business Side of Blogging (My Truth about Making Money Online)

This summer I stepped back and saw what I had become since I started blogging for money. And I didn’t like it.

Why I Am Dropping the Business Side of Blogging (My Truth about Making Money Online)

Jockeying for attention in the age of a million blogs and still trying to care for my family, live by my values of meaning and connection, and maintain a simple, sweet, slow life was an impossible ideal.

In the past year my life began to go so fast that I didn’t have time to volunteer at the school, meet a friend for coffee, or spend one-on-one time with my daughters. I didn’t get enough sleep, I never read books, and my house was still disorganized a year after we moved in.

Work began to seep into every quiet kid-free moment I had, from morning babysitting hours to nap time, then evenings and weekends. Time once spent on keeping in touch with relatives, exploring the place we live in, or throwing parties became slowly consumed by getting ahead and becoming “someone.”

I got so caught up in the idea of success that I forgot what I wanted in the first place.

Afraid I Would Look Back on My Life in Regret

When a friend of mine sent me the following question, I knew that something in my life was way off:

Imagine yourself at the age of 75, looking back on the life you’ve lived thus far and thinking about what you’ve done/experienced that was truly Important & Worthwhile. What percent of that Important & Worthwhile stuff from your life do you think will come from the professional/work/job sphere?

When I read that question, all I could see were my children’s faces. I could only assign ten percent of the Important and Worthwhile to the business, yet I was spending exorbitant amounts of life energy on it. What was wrong here?

The only way I was able to achieve the kind of mental clarity needed to process such a question was to completely detach myself from the online world for a couple of weeks this summer. By unplugging, I allowed all the little details and distractions to subside — the emails, the blog deadlines, the LinkedIn postings, the Twitter @replies, the opportunities that kept trickling in.

By silencing the urgent, I was able to hear the important.  My family and writing: those were the top two most meaningful things to me. So if writing was my mission, then how did I get caught up in the noise of branding, reality web shows, page rank, and traffic bonuses?

Success Can Be Won, but It Comes at a Cost

When I started my blog, I wanted to become known as a writer and get paid for assignments. I achieved this goal, but it wasn’t the way I imagined.

In Don’t Read This If You Want Your Life to Stay the Same, I recounted how my relative success happened quickly and why. It began with a couple of paid articles, then a morning news show, then getting hired by TLC, and being flown to New York for a photo and film shoot. Even after I stopped asking for opportunities, they kept coming.  Babble asked me to join their stable of writers, TLC wanted me to do a video series, and The Washington Post wanted to do a feature.

It was all exciting and, and (for fleeting moments) glamorous, and it made me feel like I had finally arrived. This late-bloomer at-home mom was creating a “brand,” becoming a personal finance coach, and learning to be a business owner. And along with those roles and responsibilities came more work, more time, more effort, more pressure.

To keep up with all this earning, I had to begin spending. From the legal help, tax prep, and childcare to the technical assistance, graphic design, wardrobe, haircuts, and website fees, my life was migrating from frugal and simple to enterprising and complicated.

One of the biggest paradoxes of this great experiment was that by gaining recognition for my lifestyle choices, I not only made that kind of life very difficult to maintain, but I began to be steered away from the very values it was based upon.

Blogging Feels Productive, but the Financial Rewards are Elusive

Blogging Feels Productive, but the Financial Rewards are Elusive

The tricky thing about success in the blogosphere is that all those “opportunities” don’t often translate into real dollars. For a while my husband and I justified the time I was spending on writing and website stuff because there was the promise, always the hope, that it would lead to something big, and ideally, big money. Not just fun money, but renovating-the-basement money or family-vacation money. It did not.

The money I made from writing a post for Parentables did not even cover the cost of a sitter. Freelance writing is not about the money, I eventually learned. It’s about the flexibility of working in your pajamas, the freedom to write about your last vacation, and the cachet of being associated with a larger publication.

Since freelance jobs require more and more time, I hoped that tacking up banner ads on my blog (after three years of building followers) would be a so-called passive income stream. But advertisers that were compatible with my message weren’t exactly clicking down my advertising door. Magazines have entire offices and millions of dollars invested in trying to sell ad space. Even for big successes like Problogger, drumming up direct ad sales is an extremely difficult endeavor.

Many mom bloggers make an income by helping promote products or services for companies. But given my blog’s focus, how could I talk up paper towels when I know that rags work just as well and are better for the environment? How could I promote spaghetti sauce in a jar when I’ve already said how much better it is (and how easy) to make it at home?

After hearing that some bloggers make good money on referral commissions, I experimented with Amazon’s affiliate program. But the time and frustration of formatting those links and images were onerous, and the earnings — a total of $34.61 from one of my most popular posts — were not worth the inner conflict I felt. A business-savvy person wouldn’t flinch, but I could never quite swallow the idea of sending my readers to links where they could buy something brand-new when it would be better for them if they checked the book out from the library or made their own own money jars from coffee cans.

The only job that rendered any realistic amount of money was the money makeover video series for TLC (which was removed six months afterwards, due to sponsorship issues, and deposited at HowStuffWorksVideos). But the pay should have been a lot more to account for the incredible amount of prep work and the taxing filming schedule, even if it was rewarding to work face-to-face with people (and to have an excuse to buy a curling iron).

The crazy thing is that when I tally up all my expenses — all the spending associated with my earning — I think my business will have been a complete wash.

Making Money Online is Possible, but It Requires Rearranging Mountains

People who are making money online have not discovered some secret tunnel to dollars and dreams. Along with passion, dedication, and talent, they are putting in an intense amount of work. They are also probably entrepreneurial, have loads of confidence, and their spouses may be working alongside them.  As you know, I am lacking in these departments.

J.D. Roth, founder of Get Rich Slowly, was able to achieve major financial success with his blog. But he was working all the time — 60 hours a week — and was not happy. Dedication to the business meant the rest of his life went neglected, and he had moved far away from his original goal of a peaceful life full of hobbies, friends, and simple pleasures.

Like Roth, we have achieved a level of financial security — but after years of working and studying day and night and Sundays, my husband is still working and studying day and night and Sundays. We got through the lean years when he was in training because we stuck to the basics and tried to find the fun in the simple things, and it was a lifestyle that we grew to love.

To make more money, I would have had to give up that life.  And for what?  To buy fancier furniture or save more for college when now is when my children really need me?  To increase the chances that someday, someone might walk up and offer me a million dollar book deal?

Certainly this choice was easier because we didn’t really need a second income.  Living below our means has always been something we worked hard at so that we could keep our options open. If we really needed the money, the truth is, I wouldn’t be blogging. I’d be out there hustling for a real job, and this blog post would never have been written.

I don’t think it was wrong to try to translate my blogging into money, but the error was in thinking that I could make money from just a little more effort, just a little more time. As a popular mom blogger commented to me the other day, the work of blogging seems to multiply twice as fast as the income.

How can one ever feel like she has done enough when there are always hundreds — thousands — of blogs that are more successful, more influential, more commented on, more Tweeted, more Pinned, more Liked?  When by hanging our shingle on the World Wide Web, we are potentially competing with everyone in the world, including multi-national corporations with their own websites?

Deciding to Do Fewer Things Better

Deciding to Do Fewer Things Better

Since I started my blog three years ago, and especially since things started ramping up, I have been in a period of Yes. I was excited to try new things, to take every opportunity that came my way, to follow every lead.  I was learning about who I was and what I could do well.

Now that I’ve stepped back and looked at myself in the big picture, I can see that the things I hold dear are still the same. Yet, if I continue saying yes and wanting more, I cannot possibly hold them all close to me.  I am not superwoman. I may have lots of energy and an almost-addiction to “getting things done,” but I still haven’t discovered the trick to making 34 hours in a day.

It’s time to do fewer things and do them better. To come back to center. To put my energy where my priorities lie.  Relationships, the spirit of cooperation, caring for each other, living with purpose, doing one thing at a time, quiet, nature, good food, friends.  And if I have time, to write something that feels difficult and important.

For years now, I have longed to write personal essays.  I’ve always been wowed by those essays that you see in magazines and newspapers where the writer puts words to a feeling that I didn’t know I had, answers a question that I’ve always longed to know, or that makes me see the world in a different way.  I want to do that too.

It was hard to get published back then, and maybe it will be just as hard (or harder) now, but I feel that it’s time for me to step up to the challenge.

I am Still Committed to Frugal Mama

This may all sound pretty dramatic, but Frugal Mama will live on and it will be better than ever. The ten percent that I found fulfilling about my work was connecting with my readers and feeling like I was actually helping people. I’ve also been enjoying writing a bit more soul into my posts, and I’d like to continue to do that, by delving into the emotional dimensions of saving money and making life better.

But everyday tips and practical advice are still important. So to fortify the Frugal Mama mission while freeing up some of my time, I have asked six wonderful women to join me in writing about living a satisfying life on less. Bringing on these fellow writers is the change I have been hinting at for a while, and I’m so happy to tell you about this new collaboration.

These writers, who I will introduce you to later this week, will write about once a week on simple living, managing technology, free play, raising children, saving money, and slowing down. They are long-time friends, colleagues, and kindred spirits, and I’m so excited they were willing to dedicate some of their time (they are all mothers who have other occupations too) to breathe new life into Frugal Mama.

Inspiration May Be Easy; Staying the Course is Not

It’s been about a month since I made my decision to slow down and drop the business side of blogging. Blogs depict life as it unfolds, which is both their strength and their vulnerability. When you have to publish every week (or even every day), there is not a lot of time for reflection and seeing how things pan out. So in the spirit of being real (and not just inspiring), I wanted to share with you how it has been to live with my choice.

Three weeks ago I gave notice at Parentables. After writing for this Discovery parenting site for one and a half years, this Thursday will be my last post.  I am grateful to have been given the opportunity — it was my first big break and I learned a lot — but I had reached the point of diminishing returns. I told them that I would not be able to participate in a renewal of the Frugal Mama video series that was in the works. If writing is my priority, then no amount of film clips in my portfolio will help me get there.

I began unsubscribing from all the media lists I had stayed on in the hopes that one day I would get that perfect pitch for my blog, even though it really just meant 90 emails a day cluttering my inbox about this new product, that new online tool, this new trend I could “share with my readers” but that was never really good enough to bother you with.

I took down the advertisements (most of which were placeholders by friends) and will slowly dismantle any affiliate links. I don’t worry so much anymore about all the underlined parts in Success Secrets of the Social Media Superstars on how I could market my Facebook page better, although I acknowledge that I’ve made some of my most rewarding connections on Twitter and Pinterest.

Some days I feel a huge sigh of relief, as if I’m slowly letting air out of a balloon that was pulling me strange places far from home. Some days I feel deflated.  As much as it was a wild and unsustainable dream, the idea of having it all was kind of exhilarating.

Some emptiness I have immediately filled with activities that are important to me, like volunteering at Luke’s preschool, helping to organize a block party, rekindling a family blog where I interview my daughters, getting rid of all the junk in the junk drawer, and fixing a screen door and a bed frame that had been broken for the last year.

And some day, sooner now rather than later, I’ll have to deal with the mess of unfinished projects and boxes in the basement and garage, the feelings of being the new mom at the elementary school where it seems like everyone else has known each other all their lives, and worst of all, wrangling the 26,000 photos on my dying computer in the attic so that I can finally compose a photo book for the grandparents (I’m sorry, Mom and Dad, that you have had to wait so long).

Finally, I will have to deal with myself.  It’s not like the aggressive world of business snatched away my halo. I was no saint before I went there, and I’m certainly not one now.

In order to write something great, I will have to pull myself away from organizing a babysitting co-op or sewing curtains. But in order to organize the babysitting co-op and sew the curtains, I will have to pull myself away from writing something great.

I bet you all know a little something about balance, too. And here is a little example of how I will continue to face that push and pull.

I Will Be Challenged Every Day

Last night my daughters were all excited for me to see a movie with them, The Lightning Thief, which we had checked out from the library due to their building interest in Greek mythology and then the Rick Riordan books.

“Can you watch it tonight, Mama?” Virginia asked.  Darn, tonight was the night I was going to revise the post about why I’m quitting blogging for business so I can spend more time with my family.

“No, I can’t tonight, girls,” I said, not unaware of the irony of my response. “I can watch it this weekend though,” I said.  Once I hurry up and get this post published and tell everyone I’m slowing down, then I can really slow down.

“Oh man, why can’t you watch it tonight, Mama?” Virginia asked, as our house came into view on our walk home from school.

You had to ask, I thought. “I have to get a blog post published. I haven’t published anything for almost a week, and I really have to get something new up on the site.”

“It’s always about the blog,” Sofia said, as if kicking a deflated soccer ball with her words.

For another hour or two, while I was making dinner and the girls were doing their homework at the kitchen table, I hung onto the idea that my work was more important than “just” watching a movie.  That I really really needed to publish soon because I had spent all weekend hanging out with neighbors and doing laundry and going apple-picking with the family and reading books, and hadn’t gotten any work done.  Sure, I was also looking forward to reworking that last paragraph, and finding a good quote to express that idea about staying on the right path, and while Enrico was working late again and the boys were in bed early, maybe I could even catch up on emails.

How many times had I made this excuse over the past three years?  Yes, it was just a movie, not reading a chapter book together, or having a bedtime chat, or going to a pumpkin patch. But the movie was important to them, and it was a window into what they were thinking about, and how much longer would they even want me to watch with them?

I watched The Lightning Thief last night, squeezed in between an early dinner and bedtime, on the couch in the basement squeezed in between two of my most precious people.

And instead of striving to be a great writer, I strove to be a good mother.

Just as I applied discipline and love to being a successful blogger, I need to apply similar commitment to being a good wife, a good neighbor and citizen, a good sister, daughter, and daughter-in-law. Friend.  I have a feeling that these ideals are much harder to attain.

Share this post:


  • pat shops November 8, 2016, 8:45 pm

    Stop. Breathe. (spelling? not worth looking up, like making 2 day gravy…you taught me that.)

    Your honesty in this post empowers.
    Dismantling from the unsustainable. Perfect.
    Getting rid of the junk in the junk drawer. A+ work.

    Your halo is brighter now. Just ask your children, husband or look in the mirror. (Better be wearing sun glasses.)


  • Raynee June 21, 2016, 8:17 pm

    Wow! I am a new blogger and this post really puts things into perspective. I blog because I love it and I love helping others live frugal lifestyles so they can enjoy more of the “experience” memory making. Thanks for all the information, insights and useful wisdom you shared in this post. I appreciate it and I also give you kudos’s for living true to you and your family. That is truly the “good stuff”!

  • Christie - Food Done Light November 23, 2014, 10:49 am

    It’s amazing how life gives you what you need at just the right moment. I had already decided to cut back on my blog starting in January and you helped squash any qualms I had about it. Something I started to have fun and help me get healthy and help others while I was doing it, was turning into something that was having the opposite effect. The better I did, the more I thought I should do more for the blog. It is time to get back to the original purpose. Thank you so much! You have lightened my load :)

    • Amy November 25, 2014, 1:23 pm

      I know exactly how you feel, Christie. Best wishes to you, Amy

  • Susie Hollams October 26, 2014, 7:53 pm

    Oh you precious poppet. That must have been hard to writel. It took courage and integrity and for that you will be rewarded with peace and a sense of belief that this is what really matters. God bless Amy lots of love Susie from Perth, Australia xx.

    • Amy November 4, 2014, 9:22 pm

      Thank you, Susie. A British friend of mine uses the endearment poppet too. I’m honored to be called that as well!

      Take care,

  • Kelly @ The Nourishing Home May 29, 2014, 1:48 pm

    Absolutely LOVE this post! And I thank God for leading me to it, it’s been tearing at my heart all the time it requires to blog in general, let alone while trying to earn an income. I have no doubt that God will use this post to open the eyes and hearts of many. Thank you again! Definitely sharing this with all my blogging friends.

    • Amy June 3, 2014, 10:25 am

      Dear Kelly,

      I’m so glad that the post hit a chord with you. Starting a business is a huge undertaking, and the “flexibility” of working from home can be a dangerous perk. I am still so relieved today that I made this decision. Everyone in our family’s life is better as a result.

      Wishing you the best,

    • Amy June 3, 2014, 10:26 am

      Dear Kelly,

      I’m glad the post hit a chord with you. Starting a business is a huge undertaking, and the “flexibility” of working from home can be a dangerous perk.

      Still today I am so relieved I made this decision. The lives of everyone in our family are better as a result.

      Wishing you all the best,

  • Jessa September 25, 2013, 6:46 pm

    So encouraging – thank you!

    • Amy September 25, 2013, 8:08 pm

      I’m glad you found it so, Jessa.

      Best wishes,

  • http://tinyurl.com/tcacinnis02299 January 21, 2013, 12:25 am

    I actually wonder the reason you branded this specific posting, “Why I Am Dropping the Business
    Side of Blogging (My Truth about Making Money Online) — Frugal Mama”.
    Anyway I actually enjoyed the post!Thanks for the post-Trena

  • Nora January 8, 2013, 4:30 pm

    What a lovely and thought-provoking post. A lot of integrity in there. :)

  • Kim October 23, 2012, 1:22 pm

    Bravo! I’ve never been to your blog before, and this is the first and only post I’ve read so far. With one post, you’ve produced an instant fan! I’ll return for more of your insights. :)

  • pammie~k October 23, 2012, 12:58 pm

    well written post – and one that is providing food for thought at what might be a crossroads for me….thank you!

  • Gladys October 22, 2012, 12:15 pm

    Just like the ongoing story of difference between mans/womans work sun to sun or never done, I think there is also a generational passed on inner conversation we ladies have of desire to be out at work or home with family that needs its own story so that we know what is going on with us. Not only read your blog but every one of the comments which also were wonderful. Why? Always have feelers out for advice that may help me be proactive in whatever or wherever I find myself. Not being able to put this down or turn off, I asked myself: Is this really this good or am I addictive type personality? The answer is both. Is the bottom line in my case though maybe not others, selfishness or to use harsher one greed? Yes, definitely send me any follow up info. God bless you and all your readers and followers.

  • shawna [of styleberryBLOG] October 14, 2012, 10:25 pm

    Stumbled upon you on facebook and wand to applaud you. A non-sleeping infant forced me into a period of nothing-but-mothering and it has been a beautiful, life changing experience. The blog lives on, when I want it to (ironically, just as busy as before). I hope you find peace and joy in your transition!

  • Tracy W October 12, 2012, 1:43 pm

    “And instead of striving to be a great writer, I strove to be a good mother.” Just wanted to say, I think you found that quote you were looking for–you know “To express the idea of staying on the right path” And it was yours.
    Thanks for saying what all of us so often feel but are ashamed sometimes to admit to. I am a follower as of today.

  • Trina Holden October 8, 2012, 3:07 pm

    thank you for this post. a much-needed, behind-the-scenes look into the real work of a blog, and how nearly-impossible it is to do blogging and motherhood and marriage and homemaking and writing simultaneously and well. I commend you for your authenticity and making choices in line with your core beliefs.

  • Kelly Tirman October 8, 2012, 10:34 am

    When you run your own business you have to find our own way. Staying the course is hard because you often come across shiny things. Things that are temping but that don’t sure your goal or purpose – they serve others. I hope you will not give up on your business and your brand. I really hope you figure out a way to work with your crew to ensure you all reach the success you deserve.

  • Samantha @ Digital Zen October 3, 2012, 2:27 pm

    I don’t understand the allegations of hypocrisy. Ideally, we make a living (that means money) with the talents and skills we do best. A doctor wants to see us get better, and their care is no less authentic when they accept our payment. Why is it different for a blogger, a mom, a part timer, a hobbyist… does it matter? If you read Amy’s blog, enjoy her talented writing, and are inspired by her ideas, encouragement and obvious care for her readers – and still begrudge her a few dollars from advertising that never once struck me as incongruous or compromising – a good place to look is the mirror. That just feels small and mean-spirited to me.

    Ads, no ads, once a week, once a month – I enjoy Frugal Mama and wish Amy the best in figuring out the right balance for her.

    • Imra October 27, 2012, 12:54 pm

      The hypocrisy in blogging is not so much about making money, (although it is still odd on a blog that tries to portray that an upper middle class lifestyle can be achieved on a small income – and that spending time with your kids trumps making some extra money..) but about being critical of screen time and the excessive use of technology while contributing to it and then taking the moral high ground on a ‘simple’ lifestyle. All bloggers contribute to this excessive media consumption and screen time with blog posts, internet videos, Facebook and twitter feeds, Pinterest pages and other links promoting products and services. I think Amy talks about a lot of these conflicting issues very graciously in this blog post and has been applauded for it . Maybe you need to read the blog post and comments again.

      • Samantha @ Digital Zen October 27, 2012, 1:05 pm

        I’m afraid you are alone on that moral high ground.

        • Imra October 27, 2012, 1:58 pm

          “One of the biggest paradoxes of this great experiment was that by gaining recognition for my lifestyle choices, I not only made that kind of life very difficult to maintain, but I began to be steered away from the very values it was based upon.”
          I repeat – read the blog post and comments again. You seem to be the only one to have missed the point.

  • Chantel October 2, 2012, 10:08 am

    Beautiful thoughts on perspective and holding on to what is important. <3 Thank you!

  • Diane October 2, 2012, 9:07 am

    Amy, this is my first time to your blog (came here on a link from Brocante Home) and oh my goodness, I can so so *so* deeply relate to what you have written here…. which is rather odd since my blog is the teensiest of teensy tiny. Even so, I have felt so much pressure to make more of it, make money off it, all in the name of good stewardship and diligence, and just being smart or whatever. I used to love blogging and had a relatively large following, but it became a drudge to me. I dreaded writing and became totally burned out. My house got messier, I spent less time with my kids and I did *everything* less well. I pretty much completely dropped the ball and just stopped posting. It’s been months and I am finally just beginning to feel the desire to blog again, to write again. I used to love it so much and I want to love it again…. but now I wonder if I even have anything worth saying to write about. Time will tell I suppose.

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. They meant the world to me♥

  • Janine October 1, 2012, 10:36 pm

    Sheesh. It HIT home for me, too.


  • Janine October 1, 2012, 10:34 pm

    Hi Amy,

    Writing this post was so, so brave. And it home for me, too. I’ve been running my own site for a few years now, as well as freelance work and on-air segments, and wow, sometimes (occasionally more-times) it’s a beast that seems to demand 48 hours a day. I’m in the middle of sorting out how best to make it more manageable so that I can find some balance, and I don’t have a family to nurture.

    Apologies if anyone’s already mentioned this, but I do think there are ways you might consider working with advertising without creating ethical conflicts. Fact is, and we know this more now than ever, time is money. Just because you can do something yourself more cheaply doesn’t mean it’s the most economical. We’re all so busy — there must be products and food items that you trust to get you through hectic days. A REALLY great bottled spaghetti sauce, for instance or other products you can get behind because they add quality of life, allow time with your family, or streamline your work? Frugal is about spending smartly — yes?

    Whatever comes next, thank you so much for sharing this. And best wishes for continued success and life balance :-)

  • Lollie ~ The Fortuitous Housewife October 1, 2012, 6:58 pm

    Amy –
    I recently discovered your blog when a fellow Boston Parent Blogger, umommy, shared the link to this post.
    As a daughter/friend/wife/mother/writer/blogger riding the ADD tides, the struggle to stay focused on what’s important, and tuning out the zillions of distractions can be exceptionally challenging.
    Lately I have been feeling overwhelmed (and a bit defeated) by it all. Everyone seems to be getting it all done, while I’m struggling to tread water. I’m not usually one to worry about “keeping up with the Jones”, but lately the Jones’ successes only seem to highlight my lack of progress.
    Reading your post helped me finally finish a post I’ve been struggling with for over a week — http://www.fortuitoushousewife.com/2012/10/springboard-forward-then-hit-add-reset.html — and start getting back on top of my life and priorities.

  • Vanessa October 1, 2012, 4:14 pm

    Thanks for these wise words! Although I’ve only been at ‘it’ 6 months, I’m actually busier than I’ve ever been in my life and I use to work 2 hospital jobs! Alot of people have no idea how much effort goes into the various details of making it all work! But it sure is great to finally be able to say, “no”…if I want to. I’ll be thinking about you next time I start multi-tasking a wee bit much.

  • sipnsnap September 30, 2012, 6:39 am

    Wow. I dont know what to say. This past weekend I have been thinking about quitting my job coz it has been consuming me. I spend nearly all my waking hours either working at the office, working from home, or thinking about work when trying to feed my son, or prepare a dinner put together hurriedly, so that I can get back to work. Its not that I enjoy it, hence I am doing it. It is that I am stuck in a project that believes people should work like that. Or may be it is just my impression. I am almost under depression that I dont get to play with my son, or see him grow.
    As an outlet, I started blogging in the hope that I have something positive to look forward to, to be able to make online friends in this new country where everyone around me is so busy working!
    It takes a lot of courage to take a step like you have done. Hopefully someday I can do the same.
    Good luck with the new direction in your life!

  • Elle @ SeeMomWorkBlog September 30, 2012, 3:49 am


    This decision must have been difficult as well as writing about it! I commend you for staying true to your roots. A lot of what you said resonated with me too – I like to remain very frugal and simple as well and a lot of what brands would like bloggers to promote are things that you wouldn’t want to buy anyway.

    As a working mom who likes to still remain engaged with all three of my children, blogging has become an outlet for me, but sometimes I allow myself to daydream that it will amount to something bigger. Thanks for putting it into perspective for me and reminding me to ‘keep it real’.

    I look forward to reading more of your blog and seeing where the next leg of your journey takes you.

    Elle – SeeMomWorkBlog.com
    All work and no play makes mommy a dull chick.

  • Lowri McNabb September 30, 2012, 1:08 am

    Hi Amy- I found this via the Crafterminds Facebook page and I didn’t want to read and run!
    It’s a really well written piece and I enjoyed reading it immensely. I think your situation was particularly tough – as it’s hard to make money period – especially from a blog that is about saving money!! I am just a casual blogger and I know how much time goes into making things look effortless.

    I have also recently found how how much traffic some of these big Mommy/DIY blogs get – and I was stunned we are talking multi-millions of views a year (some have that per month!)

    I love to read articles like this as it causes me to stop and question my own actions – and anything that can do that is written by a skilled author.

    Your time will come – and I wish you all the best in your new “slower” lifestyle!

  • Holly Lefevre September 29, 2012, 11:24 pm

    This is brilliant. I have written a lot of these same things in my head as I struggle with my own commitments. I appreciate your honesty and frankness and candor in this post immensely. Thank you!

  • Reshma Nizam September 28, 2012, 2:03 am

    I am so happy I read this post. I have just started blogging and it seems to be taking up a whole lot of my time. I don’t have any professional help to get designs, widgets etc. and do everything on my own. I am a homoeopathic dr and have a clinic, besides being the mom of two boys. I had this wish to make myself known in the community. This post definitely was an eye opener. I know I don’t have to rush, I can take it easy now on and concentrate on more important things.

  • Lisa Leake September 27, 2012, 7:35 pm

    I am curious…if you would have been able to make decent money (enough to support your family) would you have stuck with the business side of your blog?

    • Amy October 1, 2012, 1:10 pm

      Hi Lisa,

      Good question. In fact, my husband and I were thinking perhaps it was a blessing in disguise that I didn’t make much money. If I had, maybe we would have felt obligated to keep going. Things would have been even more complicated if we had increased our lifestyle and depended on my income to keep it up. Even though that is something we have avoided ever since we got married — my income was put into savings so we could keep our options open — I cannot predict how we would have behaved with a big second income. I’d like to think I’d still honor my values, but money is a pretty powerful force. I think the key question is how much is sacrificed for the money, and is is the money really necessary or worth it?

  • Jacqueline D. September 27, 2012, 11:02 am

    Have just skimmed over your article, but I love it and will be sharing it. As for me, I a pursuing an old high school dream. Thanks for the candid and great post.

  • Amy Kim (@kimchi_mom) September 27, 2012, 9:25 am

    My first time here via Dianne at Will Write for Food.

    This post is very timely for me. Not that I ever got to your level of success, but I find this post very refreshing in that it is the most honest and real view I’ve read about blogging! Thank you!

  • Amy September 26, 2012, 10:10 pm

    Dear everyone who commented on this post,

    I am so tempted to respond to each and every one of you! I have loved hearing from you this past week and reading over your responses.

    I find it heartening that so many people feel in tune with my experience and have come to the same conclusions. I also loved hearing from people who were wondering what it was like to make money from a blog, and how people are “doing it all.” If I can help people avoid some of the same pitfalls, all of this will have had a real reason.

    I finally know what it means when they say you have to find your own version of success. Our society tends to value money and celebrity, but if those things don’t make us happy — or if the pursuit of them crowds out everything else — then it’s not success at all.

    A few people have mentioned that freelance writing can be a good way to make money. I did overgeneralize, and I am heartened to hear that some people are making an income, even though I don’t know if I have the journalism experience and marketing skills to do what it takes to get those jobs.

    From my experience with regular writing gigs where a spot in a publication’s editorial schedule is guaranteed, one is either paid very low, paid higher with pressure to drive traffic to the host site, or not paid at all. When you think of how many people want to be writers, and how much freedom and flexibility are involved in these jobs, I am not surprised and I really can’t blame the hiring companies. We live in a capitalist society, and the laws of supply and demand still apply.

    I also loved hearing from people about how they were spending time with their kids, reconnecting with their original passion, or taking a moment to pause and reflect.

    Making money online is possible, but it feels like climbing a mountain that is always getting higher and higher. As I slow down and have more time for helping, sharing, caring for, and creating, I am amazed to think that I could be saving as much money as I was making when I was trying to grab my slice of the pie.

    The difference is that, instead of feeling stressed and overwhelmed, I feel hopeful and at peace. Somehow the desire to help the family finances became too much about “me,” and I’m glad I’ve found a better way to help the family, and in the process, me too.

    Thank you everyone,

  • Deb September 25, 2012, 11:16 am

    Thank you for this post – I’m a little late (came over through Liz’s link at Mom 101). I am a new mom and a new blogger. I’ve always wanted to write, and now is my chance. Every time I get overwhelmed I just think – you are writing for yourself. Period.

    Anyway, it’s refreshing and validating to hear that all of the social media, ads, affiliations, PR, etc. are overwhelming to someone else. I often find myself thinking — how could I have done any of this while I was still working full-time in an office?? How do people keep up?

    Speaking of which, here I go to baby music class….

  • Kim - Liv Life September 24, 2012, 11:30 pm

    Congratulations!!! I hope this doesn’t sound silly, but I’m proud of you. Doing what is right for you isn’t always easy, and giving up so many really, really fun and awesome and exciting and successful things is definitely not easy.
    While my blog has never been or never will be anything like yours, even my little one takes a lot of time and effort. I enjoy it now, but for a while there I was feeling very much like you described. My husband and I fought over the time I spent on my blog, the time I took taking photos, the fact that once we eat something we can never eat it again because I needed to make something new.
    I was always stressed. Then we went on vacation and I worried that I wouldn’t have a post up for 3 weeks. And you know what?? It was ok. I learned to like my life again, to spend time with the kids, etc. Now I post when I have the time, when I want to and when it is convenient. I still love my blog, I just am not married to it quite so much.
    Liv Life… it’s the title of our blog and I needed to remind myself to do it. Your post has helped me remind myself. Thank you and good luck to you! Enjoy those little ones! They won’t be little for long. XO

  • Danielle September 24, 2012, 9:54 pm

    This was the first post I’ve read of your blog, but was so inspired by it. As a newer blogger – I’ve been doing it for a year – I’ve wanted to grow my blog, but I currently don’t make money out of it. I can see how this business side of blogging can get over whelming and take you away from your original intentions. Thank you so much for your honesty. I wish you all the best! x

  • Lisa September 24, 2012, 8:18 pm

    I’ve never read your blog before but this post was recommended to me. Cheers to you for recognizing and embracing the important things in life! I think all bloggers should read this post as a reminder to occasionally move their fingers away from the keyboard keys and smell the roses. Best of luck to you!

  • Kimberly September 24, 2012, 8:14 pm

    Thank you.

    A beautifully written post…

    Good food for thought for those of us struggling to balance everything in our lives…

    Best of luck to you and your family.

  • Nicole M. September 24, 2012, 7:59 pm

    I’m almost in tears reading this post. I’ve pretty much grown up on computers and I remember blogging before “blogging” was even a word. A few years ago I created a blog, not knowing that people made money from blogging. I started getting page views from all over the world and I learned the ins-and-outs of making money online. I did everything right and my blog was going in the right direction, but the more my blog “succeeded”, the more I felt that something wasn’t right. Like you, I enjoyed living a frugal, simple life but for the same reasons, I had a hard time telling my readers they should buy “this!” or “that!” when I wouldn’t do so myself. I felt like it was actually hurting my “brand” anyways, to be so hypocritical. I ended up closing down my blog altogether because the pressure got to be too much. A big part of me misses the readership I had with that blog but I’ve since started a more intimate blog, where I feel I can really be ME. Putting your family or yourself above blogging is always the right decision. Since my mom died 2 years ago, I think about all the memories I have with her. None of those memories revolved around material things. We could have been making Ramen noodles for all I care, but spending time in the kitchen while my mom cooked dinner is a precious memory for me. You know what I mean? I look forward to reading more from you. And in case I didn’t say it already, thank you for this post. There ought to be more like ’em!

  • Daily Cup of Jo September 24, 2012, 3:22 pm

    Thank you for your honesty, really. On too many levels, I am exactly where you are in terms of investment vs. return. Just when you think every other blogger is doing it better and paying the rent with what they make online, you admit the truth. I can’t thank you enough. My three daughters will benefit directly from what you’ve shared here. Bravo and good luck with your future writing endeavors. – JoAnn Egan Neil

  • Ginger @ Girls Just Wanna Have Funds September 24, 2012, 1:01 pm

    I love this. Once the site becomes a job for me, that’s when I take a step back with no guilt, so my participation ebbs and flows. This is a hobby turned business and while I treat it as such (business) I do remember to take a step back when I need it because it’s easy to forget that I control my time here. Not the other way around. Money will not replace all the cherished things you miss so it’s best to take the time as you need it.

  • natasha September 24, 2012, 12:17 pm

    Wonderful article, Amy. I’m a single mom with a very busy (and gratifying) day job who blogs about 30 hours a week. I’ve recently made the decision to step back from the blog and find a way to make it work with just 15 hours of time a week.
    It’s a labor of love, and I began to lose the fun and emotional side of producing photos, recipes and articles just for the love of it.
    I do it for the ownership of something completely my own, with no real goal or deadlines (I need to allow myself to understand that there are times I’m not going to get my post out on Monday and that’s ok). In the end, I’d love to get a book deal, but know this is a pie in the sky outcome.
    I’d rather show my daughter that hard work in your hobbies and your day job pay off in different but very satisfying ways.
    Thanks for sharing your story. You’ve reminded me of what’s truly important.

  • Sadie September 23, 2012, 5:25 pm

    Sounds like you compromised your values and morals long before this post. It’s good to recognize and change things in situations like this. I personally have been blogging for quite a while, and though I’ve seen many compromise, I never have. I promote products I love, not just because I get paid to do so. I pass things up that don’t align with my family values. I don’t hold back, and am always 100% myself and if a sponsor or company doesn’t like that, they can find someone else who will pretend to be someone they’re not.

    Also, when I write content, I get paid. I don’t have to make the cost of a babysitter because my girls are right here with me – they’re the reason I work from home in the first place. Sometimes it’s best to get back to basics. When you realize why you started, and what your passion is, you’ll be so much happier. I’m glad you’ve found that.

    • Financial Samurai September 23, 2012, 6:02 pm

      Saddie, you sound pretty self-righteous, which is a turn off.

      Are you saying all you do is write paid content? Who wants to read that?

      Do you have posts that show how perfect you are on your site?

      • Sadie September 23, 2012, 8:47 pm

        See, that’s exactly what I don’t do – I’m not perfect, nor am I trying to pretend to be, which is why I said what I was thinking and feeling instead of just telling her she’s doing a great job by giving up the paid content.

        I work from home. I get paid. There is no shame in getting paid for a job well done. I wouldn’t put this many hours into my blog if I didn’t get paid – there would be no justification to spend more than a few hours a week if it was just a hobby – but I am not online, ignoring my kids, getting sucked into the endless abyss of social media (which is VERY easy to do). I blog when they’re in school, and I’m only online in the evenings if I’m getting paid by the hour. I think each person has to do what’s best for their own family, which is why I said I’m glad she realized she was selling out (in so many words – which she admits in this post), and is going back to her passion.

    • Christy September 23, 2012, 6:46 pm

      Agree with previous reply to this. I’m afraid Sadie pretty much showed us her heart in her first sentence. Yikes.

      Moving on…

      Loved this post, the honesty, kindness, and personal way you shared the process and your heart. Thank you so much for saying things so many of us are thinking.
      Phil 1:12

      • Melody September 23, 2012, 7:44 pm

        No, Sadie said what a LOT of bloggers are thinking right now. I have a blog, and I find BALANCE. It’s called knowing when to shut the computer off, when to either take or ignore a pitch, figure out what you stand for and standing by that choice. I’m sorry that none of the rest of you can find that, but apparently a few of us have.
        No one MAKES you take these jobs, or posts, you took them on your own. I don’t believe I read anything about a gun being held to your head… You shut the computer off and CHOOSE to take the time with your children, your home, your husband, or whatever it is that you choose to spend that time on. Maybe someday the rest of you will figure that out :).

      • Sadie September 23, 2012, 8:50 pm

        The person that WROTE this blog post laid it all out there. She basically SAID she was compromising and posting about things she didn’t want to or didn’t stand behind it. “Yikes” is right – it happens often. I think it’s great that she’s realized it and is getting back to basics instead of worrying about making more and more and more.

        HOWEVER… not everyone has that choice. Some people have to do what they can to make the money. Not all of us have the opportunity to say “I don’t need this money” and walk away from a job.

  • Mel September 23, 2012, 12:20 pm

    All I can say is that you have to do what is right for you. It’s your life and you must live it in whatever way makes you happy!

  • Trish Sammer Johnston September 23, 2012, 11:59 am

    Wow. This was fantastic. It hit close to home. I’ve recently had to slow down and re-evaluate all the stuff that I’m chasing and ask, “Wait. Do I really want that or do I just feel like this is what I’m supposed to be doing?”

    Thanks for sharing this story. And please, take the time — happily — to build in those personal insights to your blogging. This post is a great example of how powerful that is! (BTW, this is also the first post I’ve read so I’m not saying that your other posts were lacking — just that I really enjoyed this one!)

  • Kathleen September 23, 2012, 11:40 am

    Great post thanks for sharing your opinions. I am looking for a happy middle ground, making some spending money but I don’t know if I want to be on TV or anything. I want blogging to be my full time job but not completely overtake my life. Lots of things to consider.

  • LaVonne September 23, 2012, 12:03 am

    Well, you have eloquently written exactly what I felt recently about blogging. I actually wrote a post about setting blogging limits and since I have set those limits things have gotten better for me. I mean, do I really need that new DVD to review? My daughter would rather spend time with me. I can afford to buy that DVD if we really want it. Slowly life is getting into perspective. But I am glad it is now and not 5 years from now.

    Kuddos to you! I am so glad at this level of blogging, you have stepped back and told us all what is really important. Thank you! It takes courage and I for one appreciate it.

  • Anna September 22, 2012, 11:33 pm

    what a wonderful and insightful post. I agree with the earlier comment(s) about the internet being addictive, I have started treating my blogging as a business with set hours just like any other job (even though it’s hardly like any other job) and not letting it continue to seep into the rest of my life all the time. i’ll see if i can keep it up, or i may need to step away a bit too.

  • Financial Samurai September 22, 2012, 10:41 pm

    Hi Amy, I feel your pain. I’ve been blogging for 3 years already and decided to go full time after engineering my layoff and negotiating a nice severance package.

    It can get frustrating, but I know that things will payoff overtime. I just need patience!

    I think you will enjoy my post tomorrow, 9/23. I’ve got about 300,000 pageviews a month now, but I think I need to get to 600,000+ to make me satisfied with the revenue.

    Best, Sam

  • Kara Williams September 22, 2012, 9:30 pm

    As a longtime freelance writer, I wholeheartedly disagree with this:

    “Freelance writing is not about the money, I eventually learned. It’s about the flexibility of working in your pajamas, the freedom to write about your last vacation, and the cachet of being associated with a larger publication.”

    • Lisa Collier Cool September 23, 2012, 3:02 pm

      I agree with Kara. There are MANY freelancers, including bloggers, who make a five- or even six-figure income. Over the past 30 years, I’ve supported myself with full-time freelance writing, while also raising 3 kids. However, along with a passion for writing and the talent to write material others want to read, it’s also crucial to be an excellent marketer, and not everyone has that combination of skills or the drive to do what’s necessary to succeed.

  • marta September 22, 2012, 8:31 pm

    thank you for this.
    thank you for voicing the words that so many of us want to say. you’ve done it. you’ve written that amazing personal essay that pulls people in and relates with so many of us and resounds in our hearts. thank you. this is sticking with me. i’ve never taken advertisements even though it’s been tempting!! thank you for voicing what i couldn’t. i yearn to be a writer too! thank you.

  • kimberley blaine - the go to mom September 22, 2012, 3:45 pm

    Thank you for posting this. It’s so ironic that I too am going through the exact transformation as you! Over the last 5 years, I have notice that life as a social media mom has gone far too fast. So four months ago I took a break. I’m still on break. I’m reading books, reading blogs, and most importantly, tending to my boys. I cut my SoMe work week down to 10 hours from 60. It feels amazing. The question is… will I ever go back. THANK YOU FOR SHARING. Instead of writing a post or a taping a vlog on why I’ve stepped away from work, I’m going to link to yours and say, “She’s pretty much said all I can say, so why say it again?” You’re amazing.

  • The Dancing Egg September 22, 2012, 1:01 pm

    I loved this post. I don’t usually read blogs — even though I have one — but I read this post with great interest and empathy. I, too, often feel, when it comes to life, like “I’m doing it wrong.” I never relax enough anymore, or smile enough or take a break. Thankfully, I have new son (19 months now) who reminds me to look up at the clouds and listen for the garbage truck or to watch a moth flitter by. And still, despite knowing how important he is to me and reminding me of the things around me, I’ll take every free second I have to check my email, check the stats on my blog, see who just followed me on Twitter, etc.

    So I applaud you. Keep writing. I guess the one thing I may have done right is the content of my blog, which is much more essays on parenting than tips or service pieces. I enjoy writing them. I’ve had a varied freelance career and can write authoritatively about a lot of things, but the thing I like writing the most is my blog. Now if I could just stop trying to make it popular, maybe I could fit in some time on the couch with a good book!

  • Katja of Skimbaco September 22, 2012, 11:21 am

    I absolutely love you for writing this post and having guts to tell how it really is. I have been blogging for 5 years, and the perks like getting invited to the Oscars, the limos to PR events, and big buck-paid campaigns to promote products that you don’t even normally buy seem so amazing when they are offered the first time, and sometimes I feel we almost get addicted to the attention and it becomes this game “what else I can get” for some. And one paid post and by one “opportunity” after another it is so easy just to become a mouthpiece to the brands and PR companies and forget why we started this whole thing the first place. I applaud for keeping your voice true and following your passion and living life to the fullest the way you want.

    I moved close to New York City almost 4 years ago to get my blogging and social media career going, and it helped and in many parameters I “made it,” yet like you, there were so many parts of it I didn’t want for my life, and I started really focusing on my core mission in life (inspire other people to live life to the fullest) and NOT focus on money. Earlier this year we moved to Swedish country side to Europe, and while many thought it was a blogging suicide to not just move out of NYC, but out of country, but my community and I are doing better than ever: we are enjoying life.

  • Kristi September 22, 2012, 10:42 am

    Blogging is a bit like trying to be an actor…..a very few become stars and makes bizillions of dollars and the rest just work hard.

    I don’t have my own blog and was encouraged many times to start one but really I had no desire to do that or spend my dinner out looking at my iphone to tweet….you seem like you have a good grasp on reality – good for you for writing what is probably in the back of many people’s minds. There is a niche out there for everyone.

  • Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb September 22, 2012, 10:25 am

    Hi! First time on your space.

    Thank your for sharing your knowledge and honest point of view, I appreciate it. I am a new blogger, but I ll keep on blogging, because I love doing it. If I can make money with it, awesome! Its my aim because it is what I want to do in first place. I know there is no time for other things in live, but thats ok. No kids here, and my husband hasnt complained yet as such.

    You are right when u mentioned above that a blogger, who is looking for an income of the work invested, needs to have a side income or at least support (husband working/other business), there is no way that somebody who works 8 h per and who has a blog will be able to make any money with it. A Blogger works and invests all his time to make his blog successful. You have to be david lebovitz or some other celebrity to do that, and I am so sure theses folks have a complicated life as well…

    As you mentioned above, the greatest reward in blogging is the fact that u r able to help people and maybe even change their life in a positive way! Nothing beats that.

  • Tonia Sanders September 22, 2012, 7:30 am

    This is one of the best posts I’ve ever read. The truth will always set you free. I admire your decision.

  • momstheword September 21, 2012, 8:58 pm

    I really love your honesty here! I don’t have this problem with my blog but I did have this problem with a work-at-home job I had when my kids were little. I was trying to do my in-home job and found myself yelling at my kids to be quiet so I could concentrate. I had spent too many days telling my kids to STOP being kids so that I could do my “real” job.

    That day I realized that my real job was motherhood and that we didn’t need the extra money that badly. The kids were thrilled and so was I. I’ve never regretted it.

  • Lisa-Jo @lisajobaker September 21, 2012, 8:37 pm

    And I think this post is a testament to the writer you are. Bravo at both the sobering and beautiful sentiment as well as the potent writing. Thank you for challenging us on both levels.

    (from inside the beltway too :)

  • Kristina September 21, 2012, 8:29 pm

    I have no doubt you will achieve your writing goals. This post is honest and beautifully written. I identify with it. I believe you are doing the right thing. Your children are lucky.

  • Josh September 21, 2012, 8:20 pm

    Freelance writing is not about the money

    I respectfully and wholeheartedly disagree. Freelance writing is about the money but there are many people on both sides of the fence who don’t understand and/or haven’t been able to make it work for them.

    I can’t say how it went for you. I am not in a position to say you did it right, wrong or in between. But I can say from experience that freelance writers can earn a respectable living.

    • Financial Samurai September 23, 2012, 3:16 pm

      Freelancing is about the money, I agree. I barely do any freelancing, and instead am focusing most of my attention on my site.

  • janene@EverydayEO September 21, 2012, 7:31 pm

    I am glad I stumbled upon this post. Although, my itty, bitty blog is nowhere near popular–it does take time away from life…and the irony is I started it to capture the life we were living. The blogosphere becomes about comparisons, and branding, and getting caught up in. . .I don’t know what. I just know I have been guilty of it. I haven’t tried to make it a business, but I’m sure my mind has gone there–and I loved the honesty of this post. My passion is my family. My actions need to match my words.

  • Katie @ KatieTevis.com September 21, 2012, 6:54 pm

    I think you said exactly what a lot of people want to say. I’m glad I stumbled upon your post.

  • Beth Blecherman September 21, 2012, 6:33 pm

    This post expresses the feelings of so many of us that started out blogging for passion – then tried to make a business. Then realized that blogging needs to stay as a passion and business as business.. That is my mantra!

  • Liz @ The Lemon Bowl September 21, 2012, 5:20 pm

    Such a thoughtful, timely and thought provoking post. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of your fellow bloggers and readers. I will not forget this post!

  • Adia September 21, 2012, 4:15 pm

    It was so great to read this! I have a blog about teaching my kiddies and I run an online book club. Both are hobbies and are not set up to generate any income. They are for fun. Every day someone asks me why I don’t try to monetize the sites or promote them and I try to explain, to pitying eyes, that I truly don’t want to. Not that I wouldn’t love to have more money (who wouldn’t!) but I just want to do it when I have free time and I’m inspired to do so. Sometimes we’re doing an activity and my preschoolers don’t feel like getting their pictures taken. If my blog on our activities was a job, I’d have to take the pictures and write the blog. Now I can just drop the camera and not write about that activity or any this week if we’re busy. It’s nice. Like you I want to focus on my kiddies and my real life and have fun online when the urge strikes me (which tends to be weekly on the blog and daily on the bookclub, but importantly doesn’t have to). Loved the post!

  • Jennifer September 21, 2012, 3:19 pm

    Thank you for this post. I have never visited your site before until today, but love the honesty of it and taking that moment to step back and evaluate your life as a whole. I love that there are so many opportunities for all of us, but at what cost? I’m glad to know there are others that are going through the same thing, but we all need to figure out our balance and what ultimately make us happy. For me it’s my family as well but I get caught up in building my career. It’s a tug-of-war but I’m learning to find the good balance that works for me and my family. Thanks again for your post. Great inspiration.

  • Onica {MommyFactor} September 21, 2012, 3:18 pm

    Thank you for writing this. I’ve been struggling with something similar for so long without a clear way out. Now I know it’s possible to make changes and return to what I first love about blogging

  • Megan September 21, 2012, 3:12 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree. I lose money blogging – people are always surprised by that fact. I blog because I love it and there are so many non-monetary rewards. Though I do have to say that my blog did lead me to land a full-time permanent content manager position for two well-known websites. It took six years, but I did it. Good for you for realizing what’s important. Do what you love, love what you do ;)

  • Carrie Smith September 21, 2012, 3:07 pm

    I can’t tell you how much reading your dilemma, then your decision has meant to me. This is EXACTLY where I am as a blogger, writer, sister and friend. My online business has slowly taken over my otherwise important priorities and for the past 2 months I’ve been making changes to get back to my core of writing.

    For me it’s helping people get out of debt, gain control of their lives and find a career they love. I’m a writer and counselor but I also love to travel, spend time with my family and read real books. Your words here are totally confirming everything that I knew in my heart for the past few months. Money isn’t everything, and it’s certainly not worth losing your life over. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Jasmine September 21, 2012, 3:00 pm

    Such bravery and thoughtfulness. Well said, Amy.

  • Kelly September 21, 2012, 2:46 pm

    I applaud your efforts to refocus on what is meaningful and important to you. It will make for a more fulfilling life, and a better blog in the end.

    I also had a period of ‘yes’ in life where I did way too much. Since then I have learned what balance looks like most of the time for me and my family. I take weekends off, I spend time on projects I’m passionate about, and I ask for more than I used to.

    When I write a post for another site, run an event, or work with a brand it is because I love what they are doing, and it is worth it both financially, emotionally, and personally.

    I think many people are getting back to what they started with-and being more choosy. It’s refreshing. :)

    Good luck.

  • Sarah Lee September 21, 2012, 2:45 pm

    Well done. Well said.

    I’m not a blogger who blogs for money, though I’ve thought it would be nice to make some cashola, I never realized what went into it. Thank you for your honesty.

    Your words were very inspiring.

  • Nicki September 21, 2012, 2:44 pm

    So proud of you!! In a society that constantly tells our children about needing more it is hard to teach them about living with less. I’m stepping into a WAHM role and very slowly figuring out how to do it. I LOVE my Finding Freedom team and what we represent I just want to make sure to keep my priorities straight. A great post to give me direction, God is using you and all that you have gone through for amazing things!!
    LuvNHugz -to SupportNPrayerz

  • tracey September 21, 2012, 2:17 pm

    Good for you. I am actually writing about this, now. Well, not about slowing DOWN, but about not saying”Yes” all the time to begin with. I have it drafted on the back of a paper that is in my laptop bag. It will be on my blog… eventually. :) When I get a chance. Which is why I have NEVER been “big” but is why I feel I am adequately present for my family without losing my hobby. I know that there will be more time for this blogging someday. But they are growing really, REALLY fast and I don’t want to miss it.

    Then again, I have never had TLC or the Post offering me big deals. That would be hard to turn down… :)

  • molly September 21, 2012, 2:16 pm

    Although I am not a popular blogger, I can really relate to this post. Last year I started doing all kinds of sponsored posts and giveaways and putting ads in my sidebar. I recently realized, with the redesign of my website, that I was done with the clutter. My blog started as a brain dump before I had kids. It has often served as a hope chest for my boys. I want it to stay that way. I never made big bucks on my blog. What little I did bring in went to paying off our debt. But it just didn’t feel genuine to me anymore. So I have really left all the profit behind and put heart back into my posts. I think I’ll be much happier.

  • Amber September 21, 2012, 2:12 pm

    I’m newer to the blogging world and this is the post I’ve been needing to read!!! When I started 6 months ago all I wanted to do was encourage women, creativity, and use it for good. I never realized how long a post can take to write and I dove into learning everything I could. But the last week I slowed down…and liked it. Thank you for sharing your story and reminding me why I even started.

  • Brian September 21, 2012, 1:54 pm

    I’m a drop in the bucket here, but I wanted to thank you. You’ve articulated so well what has been on my mind for over a year or more.

    I’ll never make a buck off my blog. And that bummed me out so much that I quit trying. And then it hit me, how I was trying at all the wrong things.

    Thank you . . .

  • Jason September 21, 2012, 1:37 pm

    Amy – this was tremendous, and I thank you for writing it. I’ve had similar experiences – made a bit of money via my blog, got some nice recognition in the press, landed a few writing gigs as a result (including two stints with Babble), landed a well-paying corporate social media job, but I’ve reached a similar point in my life. I love writing – I’ve been working with a publisher on a book proposal, and I’m excited to see where it goes – but I’m no longer in love with blogging, for every reason you give here.

  • Melissa Chapman September 21, 2012, 1:27 pm

    I AM IN LOVE with this post!!!! Like I want to kiss it full on the mouth….

    • Amy September 21, 2012, 1:30 pm

      Hey Melissa!

      Thanks for making me laugh today. I am in love with your enthusiasm. :-)


  • Maria @amotherworld September 21, 2012, 1:21 pm

    You hit it on the nose. Especially this: “The crazy thing is that when I tally up all my expenses — all the spending associated with my earning — I think my business will have been a complete wash.”
    The amount of time, effort and spending to make a few dollars, doesn’t leave much room for profit.
    Glad to see you’ve figured out what you truly wish to pursue and are going after it!

    • Amy September 21, 2012, 1:29 pm

      Hi Maria,

      I know — crazy, right? That after ALL that work and energy and stress, it didn’t really amount to anything — dollar wise. Yes, advances were made in terms of recognition, but we really have to look hard and ask if that is what we want and if it is worth the sacrifices.

      Thank you for writing in,

      • Financial Samurai September 23, 2012, 3:15 pm

        I shudder to think what the value of my time spent is. But, we do this for fun first right? I think that’s what matters most.

  • Jennifer Sikora September 21, 2012, 1:14 pm

    Wow. These words are like you are inside of my head. My readers could care less about all the newest and latest products, but they LOVE my personal posts about cooking with my kids, the youth group we teach, and all the fun stuff we do.

    After reading this, I want to cry, because I would love to just get back to the basics, but afraid in doing so will ruin my chance as a writer (which is what I am striving to do in the first place)

    Thanks for your words. They truly ministered to me today.

    • Amy September 21, 2012, 1:27 pm

      Hi Jennifer,

      I know what you are saying. Once we are in, it’s very hard to get out. Especially when people are telling us that we need to build a platform in order to get a book deal or to be recognized as a writer.

      I don’t have all the answers, but I do think that we are probably better writers if we give space to all the parts of our lives, and if we give ourselves the mental white space that is necessary for clear thinking and prioritizing.

      I am wishing you well on your journey — thank you for commenting,

    • Financial Samurai September 23, 2012, 3:14 pm

      Jennifer, one the important things to note is that unfortunately your readers and commenters are not the ones who buy your recommendations or products. Its the SEARCH ENGINE readers who are the ones who allow you to put food on the table in the online world!

  • Shanna September 21, 2012, 12:07 pm

    As someone who is just getting started thank you for putting your perspective on it. Here I have been dreaming about how I am going to become the ultimate “Mommy Blogger” when in truth my daughter is 5 months old. I need to focus on becoming the Ultimate Mommy first! Many blessings to you and your family. I wish you the very best in all your future endeavors.

    • Amy September 21, 2012, 1:07 pm

      Hi Shanna,

      I’m so glad that I could show what might happen down the road. I’m so with you that you should enjoy that baby as much as you can!

      Take care,

    • Financial Samurai September 23, 2012, 3:13 pm

      Shanna, best of luck in getting started. The key is to NOT give up too soon. I see this way too often. Instead, give yourself a full year of dedication and constantly re-evaluate where you are going.

  • Courtney September 18, 2012, 10:06 am

    Hi Amy,
    Sounds like you are making a good choice and not spreading yourself too thin.
    Don’t get so busy planting roses that you haven’t the time to smell them!
    Words of wisdom from Aunt Corky.
    Much love to all of you

    • Amy September 20, 2012, 10:22 am

      Good point, Aunt Corky, about getting too busy planting! Just something that I might do, being focused on that to-do list and all. Thank you for the important reminder.

      Love, Amy

  • Amy September 16, 2012, 10:25 pm

    Thank you everyone for your sincerity, thoughtfulness, and warmth. Comments on this post have been amazing and numerous! For the first time ever, they spilled onto two pages.

    I love how everyone has picked up a different aspect of this issue and had something unique to say. Hopefully your comments will continue to stream in, but I may not be able to continue to respond to every one (as I have promised before). Please know that I am reading them all, and most likely mulling over your words and smiling inside while I’m pushing the stroller through the neighborhood or chopping tomatoes for dinner.

    And please feel free to respond to each other if you feel so moved. Every voice makes the chorus more richly layered.

    Thank you once again,

    • Amy Locurto September 22, 2012, 10:10 am

      Thanks for writing this. I think many of us who have been blogging for the same amount of time as you feel the same way. We’ve tried everything and now going to back to doing simpler things. I know I am!

      I just read the book “The Time Keeper” by Mitch Albom. I highly recommend that being one of the first books you read in your new spare time. It will confirm your decision is a good one! Good luck with everything:-)

  • your mother September 16, 2012, 9:18 pm

    Since everyone is being honest, I will step up with a comment. I wholeheartedly agree with Nancy: you have a precious talent which deserves care and feeding. It is important to do what ever it takes to develop and protect your writing voice.

    While you were growing up I was trying to become a painter, and I sensed that it was imperative for you and Jenny to understand that I was something else in addition to being a mother–that women in general were not limited to their role as wives and mothers. I also wanted you to see that it took self-discipline and sacrifice to develop one’s talents. So yes, step back from the tyranny of blogging for business, but in its place give yourself some new goals that keep you writing on a daily basis. Your kids will be better for it.


    • Amy September 16, 2012, 10:06 pm

      Dear Mom,

      I was very proud of you being a working artist when I was growing up. I liked telling my friends that you “did” something, and I remembered that kids asked pretty often. I’m sure that that pride translated into deep-down feelings that I, too, one day should do something productive outside the family.

      I think that’s why I was so desperate to find my calling — I knew it was somehow essential. You must be my role model, because here I am trying to do what you did: take care of a family, make a beautiful house, and create something lasting to leave the world.

      Love, Amy

      • your mother September 17, 2012, 9:04 pm

        Sweetheart, you make me so very proud. You have not only found your voice (writing), you have something important to say. In the 1970’s, when our generation of women was fighting to make our voices heard, to get our art shown, we called it “leaving our mark.” You are well on your way to leaving your mark.


  • Caroline September 16, 2012, 2:37 pm

    I love this. This is something I’ve been working on lately too, though more in general re the internet and computer time.

    This IS one of those kinds of personal essays :-)

    • Amy September 16, 2012, 9:59 pm

      Yes, in fact, Caroline — I didn’t even get into the whole can of beans about how addictive the Internet is, but that fact is something that humans everywhere are grappling with. You aren’t alone. I do think it’s very important to tame and limit technology. It takes work, but it’s worth it.

      p.s. Thanks for the note about the essay. :-)


  • Annie Kip September 16, 2012, 8:10 am

    Oh my. This is really something to think about. I have been feeling this way too. It is good to hear your experience and think about why I am making myself so nuts trying to do this. I love writing, but there are other more important things in my life. I am constantly in the process of trying to balance it all. Thanks for the very honest thoughts.

    • Amy September 16, 2012, 9:56 pm

      Dear Annie,

      You are not alone. I think we can all get off balance sometimes, whether we’re trying to make money or whether it’s a hobby. We get fixated on making something perfect, big, amazing — and next thing we know, we’re obsessed and stressed.

      Thanks for writing,

    • Financial Samurai September 23, 2012, 3:12 pm

      I write about these exact same feelings today.

      Just got to stick with it folks!

  • Jamie September 16, 2012, 1:41 am

    Wow, what an honest and wonderful post! I think you said it best – this is exactly why I LOVE your blog so much:

    “I’ve also been enjoying writing a bit more soul into my posts, and I’d like to continue to do that, by delving into the emotional dimensions of saving money and making life better.”

    Keep up the amazing work!!

    • Amy September 16, 2012, 9:54 pm

      Thank you, Jamie! I feel so lucky to have you as a reader,

  • Nancy September 15, 2012, 4:03 pm

    Dear Amy,
    I congratulate you on your choice. I don’t believe that women can have it all, at least not with children are as young as yours.But I’d like to make one recommendation: the deadlines, discipline and stress of the last years have improved your writing. It is tighter now, more effective–just better, especially the soulful stuff. It would be a shame if you let that go. Once your children are all in school, you’ll have more time but I can tell you that, as we age, skills lost are difficult to recuperate and some don’t ever come back completely. So set off a small part of each day and guard it with your life. Get some kind lof deadlines that will force you to be disciplined, maybe a writing group. You have a real talent for expressing feelings and describing your world. Protect it the way you protect your children. It’s just as fragile.
    Love and best wishes,

    • Amy September 16, 2012, 9:53 pm

      Hi Nancy,

      Thank you for being sincere. I see what you are saying, and I am committed to writing. In fact, so much so that I know the balancing challenges ahead will be just as difficult perhaps as the ones I have just faced.

      I will still be posting here (if not as much as before) and, in fact, someone in my neighborhood saw this post and invited me to her writing group. Ask and you shall receive, right?


  • Melody September 14, 2012, 8:21 pm

    I adore this post. In my own work, I’m constantly struggling between the pull to make more money and the desire to, you know, actually spend time with my family, read real books, hang out in front of Parks and Rec with my husband, take my kids geocaching, cook something. Sometimes I worry that I’m fundamentally lazy. This post reminds me that I’m just focused on something bigger than the cash. Thanks, Amy.

    • Amy September 16, 2012, 9:49 pm

      No, not lazy, Melody. As you hint, you value some of the simple, less frenzied pleasures of life — which are perhaps not as urgent, but just as important.


  • Alice September 14, 2012, 5:26 pm

    I so understand this, and although I’m sure it is a great deal to give up, in time your dream will come if you hold onto it. For most of us, life is long and there are opportunities to live our ambitions if we are willing to work on them. If it is not, how would you rather have spent your days? It seems you know, and I don’t think you’ll be sorry for your decision.

    • Amy September 16, 2012, 9:47 pm

      Hi Alice,

      I like the message that life is long! We often want to think it’s short, so that we spur ourselves to action. But the idea that it is long is much more forgiving. Helps us pick up and start over, because it’s worth it, and we can.


  • Reid September 14, 2012, 4:06 pm

    I just want to add–joining the chorus–that I appreciated the candor of this post. I think all women benefit when individual women answer the statement, “I don’t know how she does it all” with “I don’t do it ALL.” We are all human. We all fall down on the job, whatever the job is, from time to time. And we all suffer when we compare ourselves to people who APPEAR to be doing everything we’d like to do.

    • Amy September 16, 2012, 9:45 pm

      Good points, Reid. It’s about “thinking” other people do it all, without really knowing if they really are, or even taking into consideration the choices they have made.

      Thank you,

  • Eleni @ Eleni Saves U September 14, 2012, 2:33 pm

    Amy, I had time to read your post in segments, go figure mom of two ;) I want to thank you for being a role model, calling it like it is, and inspiring all these women to have priorities in life. I’ll say it again and again; bring a mom is the hardest but most rewarding job I’ve had. When I went from working as a full time psychotherapist to a stay at home mom I knew my life would change forever; it’s been for the better. So many times since I’ve started doing classes, writting about how to budget, and hold Coupon. Parties I have had to evaluate my priorities. At the end of the day; it’s NOT about the extra money, it’s about inspiration and self care. Sometimes the best is yet to come. I’m a firm mommy believer that everything happens for a reason. Have fun with your kids enjoy. Eleni

    • Amy September 16, 2012, 9:43 pm

      Hi Eleni,

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment. I do believe that the best is yet to come, and that every experience builds upon another.

      Take care,

  • Kathryn September 14, 2012, 1:18 pm

    Wow, epic post, Amy!

    Congratulations on your decision, and on doing so well (forget the financial– you did a hard thing wonderfully)!!!

    Our lives are rich and full. We attempt to volunteer, collaborate and contribute to our communities and to do work that makes a difference somehow. Your blog has contributed to making others’ lives better, and for that I thank you, being one of those others. The tone of your blog is both self-revealing and authoritative– a good combination. I always enjoy reading them.

    I admire you so much and hope that you are able to carve out time for this next challenge of writing the personal essays that you want to. Who knows what that could become? If it feels personally successful, then it is!!

    • Amy September 16, 2012, 9:41 pm

      Hi Kathryn,

      I appreciate your saying that my blog was a way of helping and contributing. There is something about the Internet that can connect people from all over the world yet make us feel lonely at the same time. I will definitely keep up the blog, but I think it’s important to connect with the people right around me just as much — my next-door neighbors, the parents at the school, my children’s friends. You know, “real” life.

      Thank you for your encouragement as always,

  • Becky September 14, 2012, 11:37 am

    Wonderful Article Amy,
    Thanks for sharing your feelings and being vulnerable.I applaud you for your decision! All the best as you rewire yourself and slow down:)

    • Amy September 16, 2012, 9:35 pm

      Thank you, Becky. I like the word “rewire,” because I think there will be a period of readjustment. Not as easy as just shifting gears.

      Take care,

  • Beth September 14, 2012, 11:34 am

    Hurray, right on, good for you, Amy.!! No, your ideals aren’t harder to attain, but they are harder to measure. Contentment is in the heart
    and joy in the small moments with your family and friends. There will be years to write the books…really!! You are so gifted and you don’t have to do everything at once.
    The gifts won’t go away.

    • Amy September 16, 2012, 9:33 pm

      Hi Beth,

      You are so right about the new ideals being really hard to measure. And that’s what makes measurable ones (views, followers, likes) more enticing sometimes.

      Thank you for these important reminders.


  • Jo@simplybeingmum September 14, 2012, 6:11 am

    Fantastic post Amy – amazing!
    We live in a world where if you ‘do’ something with little financial reward it isn’t always seen to be worthwhile. We are judged by many as they ask ‘so what do you do?’. What I’ve learnt is that although I want people to appreciate/respect me, and understand I have integrity and worth, I care little whether they agree with my lifestyle choice – it’s ‘horses for courses’. I’ve been self-employed for 6 years now – 2-years ago I took 3-months-off to spend some extra time with my Kids and family. I appear to have not raised an invoice for 2-years now ;-), my break lasted considerably longer than anticipated. Initially when, taking the break, I was asked ‘so what do you do?’ I would reply ‘Oh I’m self-employed specialising in…’ now I say ‘I’m a full-time mom who enjoys a bit of baking and blogging’.
    Many many good wishes going forward x

    • Amy September 16, 2012, 9:30 pm

      Hi Jo,

      So agree about the pressure to have something compelling to say at a party when someone asks you, What do you do? I used to dread that question until my blog started taking off. Now I’m back to having to sit with the discomfort of not having anything particularly impressive to say. But even though my version of success is not what others might see as success, I hope I will feel confident and at-peace enough with my new life that I can handle it. Sounds like you are doing just that.

      Thank you,

  • Andrea September 13, 2012, 11:21 pm

    This is a timely post for me. It comes six months after I started http://www.mommygearest.com, a gig I manage at night after my kids are in bed on top of working three days a week at a “real” job. It comes two months after receiving an email from an acquaintance who is an aspiring writer and wanted to know how I was “doing it all” (my answer: I don’t sleep much anymore). It comes on the very day that an old friend on the other side of the world messaged me on Facebook to find out how long it took my “wildly successful” blog to make money (the answer: it doesn’t. Yet. Maybe it never will.) It has been a remarkably fast ramp-up, no doubt because I work in PR and understand how to connect a brand with people. But I wasn’t prepared for it to be so full-on, so all-consuming. I went back to work part-time so I could have more time with my family, to go to the gym, to live. And here I am, writing or doing something blog-related seven nights a week. But thanks to your post I’m resolving to live more and blog just a bit less. I deserve a night or two off each week…even if my Klout will suffer for it. Good luck with everything!

    • Amy September 16, 2012, 9:26 pm

      Amen, Andrea! Of course you deserve to live a little more, and you know what? I bet your blog will be all the better for it. It’s counter-intuitive, but I think taking breaks can fuel creativity.


  • Karen September 13, 2012, 4:01 pm

    I am so thankful to you for sharing your feelings and writing such an honest, truthful post about your experience blogging. I recently decided to drastically downsize my Etsy shop for many of the same reasons. It was a difficult decision to step away but my family and my personal balance were suffering, and it was time to put those things back into focus. Reading this reminded me where I want to be in the future, and it’s not sitting at the computer (or in my case, the sewing machine) for the majority of each day.

    • Amy September 16, 2012, 9:22 pm

      Hi Karen,

      I have heard from many other moms in your situation. Creative endeavors can be rewarding, but can quickly spiral into too demanding. I’m so glad you were able to downsize — it sounds like you feel good about it.


  • Chessie September 13, 2012, 3:38 pm

    This is a very inspiring post!

    • Amy September 16, 2012, 9:20 pm

      Thanks for chiming in, Chessie!

  • Rebecca September 13, 2012, 1:33 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this. It’s so honest and straight forward. You don’t see that a lot these days. I can’t wait to see where your journey takes you next. I know it will be great!

    • Amy September 13, 2012, 2:12 pm

      Thank you, Rebecca, for checking in and saying something uplifting as you often do.

      Take care,

  • Sarah September 13, 2012, 1:24 pm

    You write, “I don’t think it was wrong to try to translate my blogging into money, but the error was in thinking that I could make money from just a little more effort, just a little more time.”

    This is true of any business so-called “mom-entrepreneurs” or really, any part time entrepreneur begin. Whether your business is hair bows or dresses or school supply kits or nutrition consulting or blogging – it really doesn’t matter. Your advice is true for them all. You may hear about the one in a million mom that was successfull and still working just part time and being present for their kid’s lives, but I’ve never met any other them.

    The hundreds of mom-entrepreneurs who quit did so because the price of success was far higher than they imagined. The ones I know who are successfull sacrificed a lot to get there.

    • Amy September 13, 2012, 2:11 pm

      Dear Sarah,

      Your words ring true to me, even though it’s not what a lot of people want to hear. The idea of being able to make money on doing something fun while ALSO being there for every moment with our kids is tantalizing. But what you say, and what I have gathered from talking to other moms who have started businesses, is true. It’s all about choices. You can have it all, but just not at the same time.

      Thanks for writing in,

  • Stephanie Precourt September 13, 2012, 1:17 pm

    Feeling you so much in this, and also feeling camaraderie in finding myself traveling a similar path. So excited for your coming journey. It’s definitely not the end, but a great beginning.


    • Amy September 13, 2012, 2:08 pm

      Hi Steph,

      I love the sense of hope in your words about this being not an end, but a great beginning. And I’m happy to have a companion on this new road. Thank you for taking the time to read and write to me.

      Take care,

  • Erica @ BeautifulBrownBabies September 13, 2012, 11:52 am

    In all honesty, this is one of the most amazing posts I’ve ever read on this subject. Thank you, thank you for being so open and thorough. I have been blogging for a few years now and decided a couple of years ago I was not willing to lose time at home with my family. My little one just started school last year and I want to remain available to him. I also don’t want him to grow up seeing only the back of my head because I’m constantly blogging or answering email. Nowadays, I do what I can and let the rest go. I haven’t regretted it. I don’t leave my full-time to go home and blog. I go home and help with homework. Making money online can be done, but you do have to ask what you’re willing to give up. It’s like giving yourself a really low-paying job that you would turn down if it came from anywhere else. And since you’re basically always on the clock, you’re never really paid for the time spent. Don’t get me wrong – I do enjoy the play money. But if that’s the amount of money I’m going to make at this level, then I’d better have fun doing it.

    • Amy September 13, 2012, 2:06 pm

      Dear Erica,

      I was really interested in hearing your story, since you have been through a similar experience and lived with your decision for a couple of years. I love that you realized the costs, you made the choice, and you are able to let go. And how heartening to hear that you haven’t regretted your decision.

      Thank you for sharing your story with me and others,

  • Kyla@Mommy's Weird September 13, 2012, 11:34 am

    This is a hell of a post. I really, really think you are amazing. I am retweeting the hell out of this! :)

    • Amy September 13, 2012, 2:03 pm

      You crack me up, Kyla! Laughing now while I read your comment. Thank you for sharing my story.


  • Alisha September 13, 2012, 10:51 am

    This is an amazing post. I recently sold my business and had the same feelings o a balloon deflating. Some days I miss the noteriety and others I cherish the time I have with my boys. I have always blogged, but was thinking of trying to go professional. This post couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you for being so honest.

    • Amy September 13, 2012, 2:03 pm

      Hi Alisha,

      You must be going through a serious period of transition after selling your business. My sister did the same because the work never ended. But I know what you mean about having changing feelings about wanting attention and then wanting to be private.

      Thanks for writing,

  • Imra September 13, 2012, 8:53 am

    I have to agree with stacey – you did redeem yourself with this post and the other post about not doing it all – I too have a love/hate relationship with this blog. I love the tips you offer but the shows and money making links didn’t feel right. And I really like your honesty when you admit that you wouldn’t be blogging if you did really need the money and in a previous post about how you don’t do it all. I have to admit – although I am always looking for tips and ideas for cool craft projects and articles about raising wholesome kids, I do get irritated with the ‘look at all the cool things I do with my kids while saving the planet’ tone on mommy blogs when all these frugal decisions / crafts with your kids / saving the planet and blogging about it all is possible because some moms have the luxury of time and don’t have to worry about making money to pay the bills. We all compromise on frugality and time with our kids and doing what’s best for the planet not because we want to but because external factors demand it sometimes.

    I am glad you will still keep up some of the blogging and pursue a writing career – I am looking forward to reading your essays. Like everyone, I too am still struggling to get the balance right – but feel it is so important to pursue our passions – as important as motherhood is we all do have something other than a mother inside of us. And I firmly believe our kids will be better off for it – once in awhile it is good for the kids to know that mommy is a person separate from them – with her own interests and needs..


    • Amy September 13, 2012, 2:01 pm

      Hi Imra,

      I appreciate your honesty too. And I wonder now why I wasn’t more open before about everything. I think I thought I needed to be authoritative and look like I had it all figured out. When it was really more “me” to let it all hang out.

      Thank you for your thoughts about women needing another interest beyond their kids. It does help to have something else to focus on; it gets tricky when that something else and the family battle for attention — as you know.

      Thank you for helping me see your perspective,

  • Marina B. Borgmann September 13, 2012, 8:39 am

    Dear Amy,

    I´ve first noticed you blog while reading the Washington Post. You seemed to be a very sensible ( and sensitive as well) person.
    Now, when you write about your reasons to quit the so called “monetary” side of your blog you reached the very best of your talents: you can be sure that you made many other moms rethink what they were doing…..
    I can imagine how difficult the decision…. But you are a writer still. Little by little collect your stories. You´ll certainly published them —- and Success will come !!! Well, let me rephrase that, you ARE successful, but you´ll get your well deserved monetary reward. I´ll be there — if I can — to buy an autographed first edition !!!

    Keep on moving ! At your own pace !!!

    Warm regards from Brasil !!!!

    • Amy September 13, 2012, 1:57 pm

      Dear Marina,

      So sweet of you to root for me, all the way from Brazil! I’m glad you have confidence in me. You’re right — I need to collect my stories, and one day, it will be time to get them out there.

      Warmest wishes,

  • Victoria@Snailpacetransformations September 13, 2012, 8:07 am

    As a new blogger struggling with deciding just how much time to give the blog, I appreciate these words.

    • Amy September 13, 2012, 1:55 pm

      I’m glad, Victoria. I wanted to provide information for people who maybe thought it looked easier than it is. I hope it has helped,

  • Lara September 13, 2012, 7:45 am

    The career/family tradeoffs are difficult for every mom to manage, and building a business is no small undertaking.

    Good luck with your writing, Amy. Thanks for keeping it real.

    • Amy September 13, 2012, 1:54 pm

      Hi Lara,

      Yes, this work-life balance thing is tough for everyone, I feel. Starting a business is a herculean task that was probably best not taken on by me. :-)

      All the best,

  • rayna September 13, 2012, 7:35 am

    “And instead of striving to be a great writer, I strove to be a good mother.” And that’s when I reached for a tissue. My, you hit a nerve. Lovely, lovely post, Amy. Thank you.

    • Amy September 13, 2012, 1:53 pm

      Oh dear, sorry for the tearjerker, Rayna! I’ve been there, and I’m sure I’ll be there again. As long as I can still feel, I can heal myself.

      Take care,

  • Stacy S. September 13, 2012, 6:08 am

    Amy — I have to confess: I found your blog close to a year ago, when I was looking for information on how to establish a simple home budgeting system after coming off two years of having one crazy (and expensive) situation after another reek havoc on our simple, frugal life. (…potential blog about that to come?…)

    And, though I loved what you wrote about (…being a fan of the simple, frugal life myself…) I always sensed that all of the shows, articles, etc. made you a bit hypocritical. (sorry!) But, even though I thought that, I still reposted some of my favorite articles of yours — starting out with such statements as, “I have a love/hate relationship with this blogger. I doubt she is living as slowly as she claims — but still good advice all the same. Enjoy!”

    So Amy, you have officially redeemed yourself. And though I questioned how simple your life was, it was always evident that you were truly committed to your beliefs and the great advice you give to so many.

    P.S.: Please don’t feel the need to reply to this post — use that time to write about other great tips…or read a good book! ;-)

    • ks September 13, 2012, 10:11 am

      I thought the exact same thing.

    • Amy September 13, 2012, 1:51 pm

      Thank you Stacy (and ks) for being so honest. I didn’t realize the extent that I was getting off track, or at least, I justified it by saying that I had to make all the time and work pay off.

      I appreciate your willingness to say how you really feel (felt). It helps me understand who I was and who I want to be.

      Thank you,

  • Kathy September 13, 2012, 5:08 am

    Good for you, Amy. This was clearly a very difficult decision to make, but you explain it so well that it seems obvious. I think the hardest thing about being a mom is that there’s no book with all the right answers inside, and so no matter what we do, we always wonder if we’re choosing the right thing. But you’ve completely convinced me that you’re doing exactly the right thing! I’m actually about to go in the other direction, applying for a “real” job after many years of part-time PhD and post-doc work from home. I want to try being a “real” engineer after all this time invested in getting the qualifications for it, but will my daughters suffer? Is almost-4-and-a-half old enough to be four long days without mama? Am I being selfish? I hope that once I get where I’m trying to go, I’ll have the certainty that you do that I’m doing the right thing. These life choices are hard!

    • Amy September 13, 2012, 1:48 pm

      Hi Kathy,

      Good for you for going for your dreams and utilizing your skills to support your family. There are a lot of upsides to “real” jobs; as I said earlier, natural structure is really important, which is lacking when you are starting your own business. Plus I’m sure your time together will be more quality when you’ve spent some time apart.

      Best of luck!

  • Holly September 12, 2012, 11:36 pm

    Amy, I completely loved this post. As a blog reader it is refreshing to hear the reality of blogging for profit/ noteriety. I have personally stopped reading several blogs because it just seems that there is always a product to promote. As a working mother, I totally get this post. Our families are so precious. The time we get with our kids while they are young goes so fast. Just being with them and listening to them is by far one of the best things we can do for them.

    • Amy September 13, 2012, 1:46 pm

      Yes, just being with children and listening to them — you are so right. Hard when there are so many distractions and adult preoccupations. Focused attention is hard, isn’t it? But who was it that said, anything that is worth having is not easy?

      Take care, Holly

  • Jacqueline September 12, 2012, 11:25 pm


    I will always be a loyal reader of your blog.

    Thank you for giving us all a moment to pause and re-evaluate what is important.

    Our time is worth so much.

    I am really happy for you and your liberating decision.

    • Amy September 13, 2012, 1:44 pm

      Hi Jacqueline,

      Yes, our time is worth so much. They say more than money because once time is lost, we can never get it back.

      Wishing you the best,

  • Jennifer Ott September 12, 2012, 11:22 pm

    You are amazing! And I admire you for choosing what you know is worth your time and energies…

    • Amy September 13, 2012, 1:43 pm

      Thank you, Jennifer! The choice was not hard; living it every day might be.

      Take care,

  • Noelle September 12, 2012, 11:14 pm


    You always seem to be right on the mark!!! Wow you always keep it real, and that is what we need. I tried my stint in blogging and I just could not keep up with the demands, It was very rewarding, and I enjoyed it, but I could not live life and blog it about it too. Since I had made the decision to stop blogging, I had been second guessing myself and wondering why I couldn’t keep up and so many others could!!??!! Life is tooo fast, a vapor………..enjoy your time with your beautiful family, believe it or not, you are going to be sending them off to college sooner than you can imagine!! May God bless you and yours and thank you for all your wisdom!!!! I will always be a loyal Frugal Mama fan!!!

    • Amy September 13, 2012, 1:42 pm

      Dear Noelle,

      Don’t second-guess, I feel sure you made the right decision! For all the reasons you said in your comment. Because the biggest question is, as you say, how can we live life and blog about it too?

      So glad to hear from you,

  • Jenny September 12, 2012, 10:35 pm

    Amy, this post is a masterpiece. It is so true that we get so stuck on our life’s tread mill that we forget to do the life energy math. Being a courageous master of your own destiny, after it has slowly spun into something good but not great, takes a lot of strength and wisdom.

    I can’t wait to get to know these cool women who are going to be joining Frugal Mama, and soak up their clever ideas. I look forward to enjoying the life energy that will be woven into your new writing projects!

    Hurrah! Hurrah!

    • Amy September 13, 2012, 1:39 pm

      Hey Jenny!

      So true about the treadmill; inertia pulls us forward and sometimes we even get trapped by spending associated with our earning.

      Thank you for cheering for me all along, sister!

      Love, Amy

  • Juanita September 12, 2012, 10:10 pm

    Powerful post! You aren’t alone in choosing simplicity in your career. It is however, tough to do and stay focused on the most important when our cultural views of success are measured in terms of promotions, contracts, etc. and not in what wonderful people we may raise. I’ve been on the fence about this myself recently as I chose to take a simple , however busy, job (3 years ago) over what I could do with my degrees in order to leave at 5 and dedicate as much time as possible to my kids being a fulltime working mom. On one hand, I feel strongly that I need to work even less because I am still constantly exhausted yet on the other that cultural norm pops up every now and then and urges me to make a “career”. A post such as this and chatting with similar minded friends ground me in my quest. Thanks a million and best wishes in your journey.

    • Amy September 13, 2012, 1:38 pm

      Dear Juanita,

      You are so right about the accepted ideas of “success.” You can’t measure parenting and many other jobs with numbers, graphs, pageviews, or raises. It’s hard not to fall into thinking we need those things when everyone else seems to be pushing us in that direction. It’s hard to know what deep inside we really want.

      I hope you continue to find what’s important to you,

  • marci September 12, 2012, 10:01 pm

    Amy, thanks so much for sharing SO much honesty & insight! I remember your kindness when I was debating how to balance my life, family and babble – you were so generous then and i never forgot your kindness!

    • Amy September 13, 2012, 1:35 pm

      It’s good to hear from you, Marci! I remember that crazy time too, and I hope you are doing well. Take care,

  • Mandy September 12, 2012, 10:00 pm

    I have been amazed by what you have been able to do at your home and then blog, as well, and I understand your reasons for slowing down and enjoying your children. I love to read your blog and this one really touched me. I have recently realized that I cannot do everything since I have started nursing school. I have let some things go for now, delegated others to my husband, and am letting my 3 oldest children help with certain chores around the house. But I now feel like I am able to get my studying done and enjoy each of my 4 children more than before. I wish you luck in finding what will click for you and your family. mandy

    • Amy September 13, 2012, 1:34 pm

      Hi Mandy,

      Yes, I believe that when we have other occupations and passions, it can help us be happier people and therefore better parents. Even asking your children to help is a great example of how being busy mom can be a plus for everyone.

      My “occupation” verged on obsession sometimes and, because there was no set structure, it was hard to contain. I have a new admiration for 9-5 jobs because of the inherent structure and boundaries, which are good for everyone.

      Take care,

  • emily young September 12, 2012, 9:33 pm

    Amy, I can’t even begin to tell you what a wonderful decision you have made. Your children are only small for a short amount of time. I recently read a book that I think really speaks to all you are dealing with. It was my favorite book I have ever read. The title is One Thousand Gifts. If you get an opportunity check it out on Amazon. There is a video on there about the book. I really feel like you would love it. I wish you continued success in all that you do. You are a very talented woman but more importantly clearly a wonderful mother. Enjoy every moment you have with your beautiful family. xx. Emily

    • Amy September 12, 2012, 10:15 pm

      Hi Emily,

      I just went over and checked out that book you suggested. It sounds right up my alley. I need to say thank you more often, to notice the beauty of the little tiny things. And to write them down. All this busy business stuff has given me an excuse not to. No more excuses, right?

      Thank you,

  • Clare September 12, 2012, 9:18 pm

    I am so pleased for you Amy! You won’t regret your decision. As someone who has done something similar in my ‘real’ life over the past few months I can tell you your little people will be so appreciative of your decision! (But I can also tell you it’s not easy slowing down and it’s easy to substitute the things you give up for new busyness…I can’t watch it now, I’ve just got to do these dishes…oh, wait..!) I admire your authenticity :)

    • Amy September 12, 2012, 9:55 pm

      Hi Clare,

      I totally hear you about filling the time with more busyness. I’m all about getting things done, so sometimes I have to force myself to stop and smell the flowers.

      It can take incredible amounts of will to do what is right (for each of us). But if we want it badly enough, we can do it.

      Wishing you too strength,

  • 20016 September 12, 2012, 8:32 pm

    I have tremendous respect for you for being so honest about blogging and about staking out your priorities. Thank you. Your blog is terrific–please keep it up as I find it inspiring!

    • Amy September 12, 2012, 9:52 pm

      Dear Fellow D.C.er,

      Thank you for your vote of confidence! I’m not leaving, just slowing down. :-)

      Take care,

  • Leslie H September 12, 2012, 5:03 pm

    Wonderful post…inspiring to me and my blogging aspirations…It’s about living, and choosing the important, the valued, the eternal.

    I think some refining in my thinking is in order…

    Thanks for being the catalyst.


    • Amy September 12, 2012, 9:51 pm

      Dear Leslie,

      We all have refining to do; I’m afraid I will be refining my whole life. No Ghandi here. But it’s important to say that we have looked clearly at the issues and we have done our best to make decisions with our eyes open.

      Keep going — I’m there with you,

  • Reid September 12, 2012, 4:44 pm

    The thing about print publications–a bit of a bittersweet thing–is that there are so few of them, and fewer all the time, that there is more cache to being published in one than online. There are really a lot of blogs out there! Many of them are terrific, but the supply well outstrips demand. And, as you say, individuals’ blogs are competing with collective blogs and publications that have ad sales and promotions departments. I mean, try competing with O, The Oprah Magazine. O has its own iPad app, for goodness sake. I really think you’ll be more satisfied writing less frequently on topics that interest you the most. And maybe holding back some writing from the blog to try to pitch to a print publication you very much admire–Whole Living, Real Simple, O, and The New York Times Magazine all publish personal essays, for instance. I imagine they pay decently, too.

    • Amy September 12, 2012, 9:46 pm

      Dear Reid,

      Coming from a print editor like yourself, these perspectives are even more valuable. I’m afraid what you suggest is probably necessary — holding back on the blog so that I can write longer, more intense pieces. Which will require more self-discipline since there is no external structure or deadline, and which will require significantly more effort to publish.

      Perhaps the best — and the worst — thing about blogs is that anyone can publish. I love how it’s helped me find my voice, find my mission, and my tribe. But the proliferation of blogs makes competition for readers’ attention even fiercer.

      Thank you for your sage words,

  • fan in the 22301 September 12, 2012, 3:59 pm

    Letting go and minimizing my commitments has been one of the best decisions I have made for myself and my family. I hope you find the calm and satisfaction you most definitely deserve!!!

    • Amy September 12, 2012, 9:37 pm

      Hey there,

      Minimizing commitments is a great way of putting it, because we all have commitments. It’s easy to say, “Yeah, sure,” and then wonder what to do when the calendar gets too crowded.

      I am a fan of saying yes, but when things get too busy, it’s important to focus on just the most important. Like J.D. Roth says, accept only the things that make you say, “Hell, yeah!”


  • Gayle September 12, 2012, 3:48 pm

    Amen, Amy. I support your decision 100%. And I look forward to catching up in person soon.

    • Amy September 12, 2012, 9:35 pm

      Dear Gayle,

      I’m so pleased and reassured that you agree. Thank you for weighing in. And yes, in the name of slowing down and connecting more, I need to see you and that cute baby.


  • Stephanie September 12, 2012, 3:35 pm

    You know, I was just ruminating this morning on my frantic drive in about how moms really cannot ‘have it all.’ You do have to pick the things that are really important to you. I have to pick and so does every one else. It looks like some of the others don’t have to but no one can do it all and do it all the way they want to. Having it all . . . what a pack of lies that is. Good for you for taking a stand to live your life.

    • Amy September 12, 2012, 9:33 pm

      You said it, sister. So far, I haven’t seen anyone passing out bionic pills, so having it all must be an illusion. Sure, there are people who really passionate, energetic and driven, but even they are making choices along the way.

      Thanks for sharing your vision,

  • Stacy September 12, 2012, 3:07 pm


    I have been reading your blog for a month or so now, and have loved so many things you have written. I have read other slow/frugal living blogs, and am often surprised about how many activities the writers seem to engage in in the name of “slowing down”. I am in awe that you would let go of the reins of so many projects in order to more fully see and appreciate what is important to you. In doing so, you really are a paradigm of slowing down, spending less and getting so much more out of these few short years with your children. Kudos to you for your bravery and your honesty! My hope is that you can one day turn all of your posts into a book and that its success will give you the success that your writing deserves. In the meantime, try to relax and enjoy your new “free” time!

    • Amy September 12, 2012, 9:31 pm

      Dear Stacy,

      You are so right: what an irony that bloggers like me can get so busy writing and promoting our writing about our lives that we rob ourselves of a life worth living.

      My husband was saying that it was probably a blessing that I didn’t make that much money, because maybe then we wouldn’t have had the courage to make this decision. But since it was the simple living and the family time and the writing that were my goals — not starting a business or getting rich — it was really not a hard choice.

      What was surprisingly hard in our 24-hour, fully-connected culture was being able to step away from the momentum and turn off the noise so that I could see the big picture.

      Thank you for your very kind words,

  • Jen @ Jen Spends September 12, 2012, 2:56 pm

    When you’re in the thick of things raising a family, it’s hard to imagine that there will ever come a point when there will be time (and money) for other things. But there will be. And you’ll be an even better writer because of your life experiences, and because you won’t have the emotional baggage of regret. I tend to have a “now or never” attitude about things, like I’m running out of time. Ironically, I’m probably speeding up the clock every time I stay up too late or spread myself too thin. It’s not worth it. Sometimes I like to amuse myself by thinking about the income I have given up and considering it the price I have paid to enjoy my son’s childhood–he is, by far, my biggest luxury. I’ll have time for lesser luxuries later on.

    • Amy September 12, 2012, 9:22 pm

      What a beautiful line, Jen: My son is my biggest luxury. I’ll have time for lesser luxuries later on.

      Thank you for the reinforcement: like you, I often think that if I don’t do this or that NOW, that the window will close. I am happy to give up (at least some of) the urgency of the Internet, and I think that alone will help me be a better person.

      Take care,

  • April Vernon September 12, 2012, 2:11 pm

    I have really been considering how seriously to take my blog & how much time to devote to it. Thank you so much for sharing this. Thank you for your honesty and your dedication to doing what is right & what is profitable in the ways that really matter.

    • Amy September 12, 2012, 9:16 pm

      Hi April,

      I’m glad there was something in here that you could take away. The fact that there are almost two million blogs out there means that it just gets harder and harder to make a profit. I hoped that sharing my experience could save someone some needless pain and suffering.

      Take care,

  • Ebony September 12, 2012, 2:05 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story…you provided a lot of food for thought. I write a blog as a creative outlet (I am in a social science research training program professionally), but have considered putting more effort into making money from it. You have shown me that the “pros” of that may have unintended consequences. Best wishes in pursuing your non-blog writing–I agree that your writing is very enjoyable to read. Hope to see your pieces in print soon!

    • Amy September 12, 2012, 9:12 pm

      Dear Ebony,

      It’s great to hear from you as a fellow blogger and person interested in social issues. I like how you highlight the surprise factor of this experience — we tend to think that ‘pros’ are thoroughly positive. But even ‘pros’ can have their ‘cons’!

      Thank you for getting in touch,

  • frederickmdmom September 12, 2012, 1:58 pm

    Your integrity is so commendable and I admire you for taking the risk of honesty…. how rare to read about the realities of not only blogging, but building a sweet family and rich life as one or both partners pursue extended training in a service profession. I guess I identify, as a mother to two small children, wife and psychologist also building a practice after a decade plus of training, like you, I am always mindful of my wish for balance and the realities of compromise and time…..yes we all only have 24 hours and we have to make our very own private choices about what we value most…best wishes to you.

    • Amy September 12, 2012, 9:09 pm

      Dear Frederick MD mom,

      I am heartened to hear that you identify so much with our situation and the questions we grapple with. I like how you say “our own very private choices about what we value most.” Even though my confession was very public, it only shows what one person chose. We all must arrive at these values conclusions on our own, but the important thing is that we arrive, sooner or later

      Take care,

  • SarahButtonedUp September 12, 2012, 1:46 pm

    Thank you for writing such a beautiful, honest post Amy. I would say that many working moms, beyond simply the blogging set, feel the same way you do about the constant tension between career advancement and focusing on what really matters: our relationships. I know it’s something my professional friends and I have struggled with since our babies were in diapers (and maybe even when they were just twinkles in our eyes).

    Congratulations on making a conscious effort to slow down.

    I agree with Alison – you have an absolutely wonderful voice. I also happen to think that you are focused on an important topic that will only become MORE important as our parents age and we are sandwiched to an even greater degree. Simplicity and frugality give us the freedom to focus on what really matters — and yet, ironically, can be difficult to achieve. So I do look forward to your eventual magazine articles and continued tips. I know they’ll be great.


    • Amy September 12, 2012, 8:59 pm

      Dear Sarah,

      I had a feeling that the balance part of this post would strike a chord with so many mothers, even if our jobs were completely different. And I thought it was interesting that, even without a so-called job, the tension is still very much there.

      And yes, you are so right: one day our parents will need us in a real way, and it makes sense to keep some space open to be able to step in and help when that time comes.

      Thank you for your words of encouragement and wisdom,

  • Lauren September 12, 2012, 1:45 pm

    Amy – what a beautiful and inspiring post! Thank you for being so transparent!

    • Amy September 12, 2012, 8:55 pm

      Hi Lauren,

      Absolutely — I felt that it was necessary to share the real story, because so many people wonder how someone is doing it “all,” or how easy (or hard) it is to make money from a blog.

      Take care,

  • Alison @ L is for Latte September 12, 2012, 12:47 pm

    Amy, thank you so much for your honesty in this post. For 99% of people, even talented and disciplined writers like you, blogging as a profession is incredibly demanding without being incredibly profitable. But you have a wonderful writing voice–I have no doubt you will find a path that will make you more than enough money to renovate your basement. :)

    • Amy September 12, 2012, 1:07 pm

      You are so sweet, Alison. It was a very difficult but necessary post to write. And I am touched that you believe in me enough to take the time to write.

      I will continue Frugal Mama, but my voice will be a little more in the background. I need the mental white space to have deep thoughts, and blogging, as you know, can fill in every crevice.

      And yes, I will reach out to editors once I have an essay ready. It’s my goal, and while I have to balance it with the rest of my life, I am definitely not giving up.

      Thank you again,