Happy (belated) 2019, friends!
(Let’s pretend like it’s a totally normal thing to publish a new year’s post on January 21, ‘kay?)
If you’ve been hanging out around here for a while then you may have noticed two things in 2018. First – I barely published any new blog posts. And second – 2018 was kind of a gong show at my house. (Unshockingly, the two are related.)
There are big things on the horizon for 2019. I want to share all the fun details with you (big dreaming convos make me giddy), but first, a little reflection on what I learned in 2018. (Um, a lot.)
Follow me on a quick jaunt down memory lane, will you? The fitting prequel to 2018 was in October 2017 when I gave birth to our fourth child. It was a failed homebirth and a crazy-long 47 hours of labour, both of which really threw me for a loop. (Everett’s birth story Part One and Part Two here.)
We also pulled our oldest kid (9 years old at the time) out of public school because (longer version here) it was not the right place for him. That happened in December, when Everett was 2 months old.
By the time 2018 rolled around, though, I was mentally psyching myself up to get back into working and writing consistently again. I hadn’t done much writing in 2017 either, to be honest, due to a Celiac Disease diagnosis, followed by severe pregnancy anemia. Nonetheless – I felt hopeful that if I was patient, I would eventually settle into a good rhythm – four kids, one a newborn, one homeschooling with neurological differences, two in public school, a home-based business, and me. What could go wrong? Ha.
One Sunday afternoon in January (a year ago exactly to the day I’m typing this), we went skating as a family. I was helping to support one of my kiddos in staying upright when all of a sudden my legs went straight out from under me. A random kid had fallen and slid on the ice right into the back of my legs. I went down like a rock, landed on both wrists outstretched on the ice.
My carefully constructed house of cards (that “good rhythm” I was optimistically aiming for) came tumbling down. I was carried off the ice while trying not to outright sob – both from the pain, and from the “this can’t be happening, I have a 3-month-old baby” panic that was swirling. When we reached the hospital it hit me that I make a living via typing on a laptop, and a fresh wave of panic set in.
I was in full-on meltdown mode at first, I’ll be honest. However after two solid months of being basically useless to anyone I realized that I was actually still earning a full-time income thanks to the years of work I’ve put in to this blog. With so much gratitude – I’ve been earning passive income through my archives for years, and I continue to do so.
One day after I got my arms back (literally the next day), our household got hit with the worst flu I’ve had since I was 17 years old. I was terribly sick in bed for a straight week, and exhausted for two more. Days after feeling back to 100% from the flu I came down with a raging case of mastitis, which was evidently the cherry on top?
We trepidatiously tiptoed through summer and enjoyed the sunshine thoroughly. I still hadn’t found that rhythm with working and writing, and instead essentially ignored the fact that I was still a business owner.
Honestly – I think I’d been on the edge of burnout for years, and breaking my arms gave me the excuse I needed to just play hooky for a really long time.
I continued to earn a full-time income by maintaining the essentials on the blog’s social media, and publishing every few months or so. I joked that I was worth a LOT of money hourly since I was barely working but still earning thousands of dollars a month, but deep down I was feeling an anxious pit in my stomach every time I thought about how I was going to move forward with my blogging career (that I love) and my mothering and homeschooling role (which I also love).
My blog continued earning passive income, however it was stagnant. I didn’t have the passion, drive, or energy for it that I once did. I saw next to no new growth in traffic, subscribers, or followers, and I struggled with a total lack of motivation and inspiration.
I even seriously considered walking away altogether, but every time I thought about doing so I felt deeply sad. I took that as a sign that it wasn’t the right move.
Since we don’t believe in doing things the easy way, we decided to also homeschool the other two kids starting in fall of 2018, which means all four kids are home with me now.
Once we made the decision to be all in with homeschooling, I decided to give myself the fall as an adjustment period, and just take everything easy. I continued to barely work, while still feeling mostly overwhelmed with the idea of how to thrive in both roles.
In mid-October I went to step over the baby gate into the den where Everett was playing, and my foot got caught. I lost my balance and fell to the ground with my foot caught on the gate then slamming to the ground. Three hours at urgent care, an X-ray and an air cast later, I came home with a minor fracture in a weight-bearing bone in my big toe. Thankfully I was only in the air cast for two weeks.
After three broken bones in 2018 I figured surely that had to be it. Nevertheless – you know what they say about those who assume. 😉
In early December, 14-month-old Everett was practicing his walking in our den with a sibling when he stumbled and fell down. Obviously he had done exactly that dozens of times before but this time it was immediately followed by a terrible wailing. Long story short: he broke his leg with what they call a “toddler’s fracture”. He healed amazingly quickly, though, and was in a cast for just one week!
I broke both arms plus my right foot. Everett broke his left leg. Perhaps we can move on now that we’ve covered all four limbs?
So. Here we are, at the beginning of 2019. I’m hoping for lots of things this year, not the least of which is NO broken bones.
Now, with all of that heaviness behind us, I want to take a little bit of a different approach and do a fun review of 2018, list-style. Here we go!
Awesome Stuff in 2018
Earned – a full-time income from my blog, despite taking much of the year “off”. I estimate that I worked maybe a few hours a week, on average.
Grew – in resilience. I also grew a pretty killer vegetable garden for the first time, and impressed the heck outta myself.
Learned – that blogging & online entrepreneuring is the BEST career ever, and that a blog/website can chug along on survival mode for a really long time and still earn a lot of money. I’m always amazed by this.
Became – a stronger version of myself – both physically and mentally.
Decided – to homeschool all of our kids starting in fall of 2018.
Started – exercising regularly for the first time in my entire life. I did a Spar challenge with Chris and our good friends Ryan and Steph (I won $63! Yessss!), which gave way to a brand new personal challenge for 2019 – check that out here.
Received – a TON of help from some incredible people when my arms were broken. When I mentioned my accident in my neighbourhood Buy Nothing group, I had people I had literally never met before bringing dinner to my doorstep. Neighbour-friends came over to fold my laundry, play with my kids, and did weekly Costco runs for me. I could never possibly repay them, but I’ll work on paying it forward.
Reflected – on which big changes I needed to make to my business to have it be more authentic to me, as well as more successful on a business level.
Changed – I decided to let go of all contributing writers and just publish my own writing. I felt like it was important for me to reconnect with my audience personally, and get back to my roots of writing and sharing from my own life. I don’t regret this decision at all, despite the fact that my skating accident was within weeks of the last contributor post, resulting in large week/month-long gaps between publishing new content here.
Implemented – a killer new system for household chores + kids. It involves zones, rotations, checklists… and it’s working AMAZINGLY well. Love it.
Accomplished – crushing our $12K credit card debt. Now moved on to a few other debts, and planning to be debt-free in 2019!
Stayed – consistent with a new budgeting habit, which was an incredibly life-changing addition to our lives.
Published – not a lot, but some really great stuff. In case you missed it:
- Bulletproof Milk Recipe (The Magical Concoction for Preventing Kid Meltdowns)
- Lemon Poppyseed Scones Recipe (Gluten-Free)
- 3 Practical Tips to Help Kids Eat Healthy Foods Without Drama (guest post)
- 7 Healthy Ways to Manage Stress (Before it Makes You Sick)
- Cocoa Peppermint Whipped Body Butter DIY
- Everett’s 47-Hour Labour and Birth Story, Part 1
- Everett’s 47-Hour Labour and Birth Story, Part 2
- How to Start a Successful Backyard Compost
- The Stress-Free Approach to Baby-Led Weaning
- The Budgeting System that (Truly) Changed My Life
- 6 Ways to Promote Healthy Gut Bacteria in Pregnancy and Newborns
What Didn’t Work in 2018
Well, obviously, being sidelined so much with health issues was a real drag on accomplishing much, but 2018 actually allowed me the space to reflect on some big picture stuff. I think that my lack of progress forward (in business, mainly) goes deeper than broken bones and sickness.
I’m a 4w5 (enneagram) and an INFP (Myers-Briggs) and I’m very prone to over-dramatizing my inner thought world, while neglecting to take action in the real world, on a practical level. I’m not a Type A personality, that’s for sure.
The healthiest state for someone with my personality is to adopt the habits and tendencies of a type 1 in order to balance out the dreamer tendencies. (Side note – Chris just so happens to be a 1, whom I learn from daily. And conversely – his weaknesses are my strengths. It took a good 14-15 years but we’ve finally learned the humility of learning from one another instead of being annoyed at our differences.)
What does a healthy Type 1 look like? Well-organized, efficient, focused, high-achieving, and conscientious.
Some of these traits are things I’ve developed over the years on my own as I’ve intuitively known that working on these areas ultimately feels super satisfying.
However, for 2019, I feel like a new chapter is starting with a lot of major transitions behind me. More below on what I want this new chapter to look like.
What I Wish I’d Done More of
Writing. There were excellent reasons galore for why I didn’t, but I missed being in my element. Writing makes me feel alive, and I very much hope that plenty more of it will happen in 2019.
What I Wish I’d Done Less of
Scrolling Facebook. I have FB friends I care about plus specific groups I find immensely helpful – and yet – the endless nature of a FB newsfeed started to drive me NUTS in the worst way. The iphone’s new “Screen Time” app shocked me into action when it revealed the embarrassing stats on how much time I was truly spending on my phone, with much of that time being social media. I have lots of excuses (legit helpful stuff happens in some of my FB groups, I did a lot of sitting and nursing a baby in 2018, it’s so easy to keep in touch with far-away friends…) but it ultimately boils down to this: continuing that level of social media consumption will prevent me from reaching my Big Goals in 2019, so it had to change.
I created a new FB account with zero friends and only the handful of groups that I use most. I turned off all group notifications, and I made that account the moderator of the Red & Honey Facebook page, which I need for my business. I had Chris change the password of my regular FB account, and logged out. For the first week I would find myself tapping that icon or going to facebook dot com without even thinking about it. When I came to my fresh, new, “lonely” account and it gave me a little jolt to see the same day-old post from one of my carefully curated groups – I realized just how automatic “checking FB” had become. My brain wasn’t even thinking about it. Scary.
Surprisingly, I don’t miss it. I get Chris to log me in whenever I want, but I log out immediately after so I can’t just mindlessly check in. I have some fine-tuning to do, but I think this new situation will be very good indeed.
Word of the Year for 2019
With all that being said, you might be able to guess my word of the year for 2019. There were lots of great candidates, but the one that really stood out to me the instant I heard it is FOCUS.
I wear a lot of hats (wife, mom, homeschooler, business owner, writer, neighbour, friend…) and at times that can be totally overwhelming.
My intention for 2019 is to conscientiously and methodically assess the nitty-gritty required for my Big Goals, and stay laser-focused on moving toward them. I’m learning to go slow and steady, as opposed to a huge burst of energy followed by dropping off into daydreaming and distraction.
I intend – in all areas of my life – to FOCUS on the small steps that will move me toward my important Big Goals.
Big Audacious Goals for 2019
- Publish 20x (5x per quarter)
- Grow my email list (I have never put much energy in this part of my business which was totally dumb on my part. Fixing that once and for all in 2019.)
- Go through two short business e-courses I’ve purchased, and put them into action.
- SEO audit (Scheduled for May 2019. The implementation will likely take months.)
- Have my first $10K month in gross revenue. (This is a vulnerable one to put out there. Inevitably there are those reading who thinks that’s a crazy-big amount of money, but there are also those reading who know how limitless blogging can be, and would have expected me to be earning far more than this already. Personally, I feel that my business is way under-earning for its potential, partially due to my lack of focus.)
- 250 workouts (follow my progress on instagram).
- Dump sugar & deal with my candida.
- Tackle organizing my digital photos. There are over 24,000 photos on my phone alone. *shudder*
- Declutter a few more areas of my home (this has been ongoing for several years, and I’ve made great progress. I’m a big fan of Marie Kondo’s advice.)
- Crush $10K in line of credit debt (it’s already down to $8800 and it’s only January 21!), then work on paying off the van + saving for a few ‘wants’.
- Continue to solidify the good habits we’ve been cultivating with the kids + chores. (Finally found a system that works really well.)
- Continue to find our groove in homeschooling.
- Love and embrace the home we’re in, while also making big decisions about whether or not to move to a bigger house with a big property out of the ‘burbs.
- Grow another vegetable garden, and learn more about flower gardening.
Top Ten Posts Viewed in 2018
Unsurprisingly, these are all from the pre-2018 archives. Nonetheless, they’re worth noting. These are the all-time fan faves here at R&H:
- Why I Stopped Using Coconut Oil as a Skin Moisturizer (over 3.4 million people have read this post since I first published it!)
- How I Had My Shortest Labor Ever – Thanks to This Natural Technique
- The Ultimate Strep Throat Remedy (If You’re Brave Enough)
- 40+ Legitimate Ways to Earn Money as a Stay-at-Home Mom
- How I Use Mind Mapping to Help Declutter My Brain
- Your Search for the Perfect Chili Recipe is Officially Over
- Too Good to be True? An Honest Review of Norwex Cleaning Supplies
- 100 Healthy Snack Ideas (Real Food-Style!)
- How I Healed My Infected Finger Without Antibiotics
- How to Stay Clean Without Showering Every Day
And that’s all I have! Whew, that was a doozy of a post, but I think I was long overdue for a good verbal spillage.
I hope your 2019 is going amazingly well. I’d love to hear from you below – what did you learn from 2018? What are your intentions in 2019?