The Practical Mom Guide

By Mar 10, 2011January 26th, 2015143 Comments

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It’s my pleasure to introduce Joy to you.  Joy is the former teacher, stay-at-home-mom, bibliophile and author of The Practical Mom Guide.

Tell me about the mission of your blog:

My mission when I first started my blog was to connect with other women, especially other moms.  I wanted my blog to have a positive tone.  I came up with “The Practical Mom Guide” because I think all moms do what they think is “practical” for their own families and that we should be proud of the choices we make.  We all want the same things for our children. It’s just the road to how we raise them that differs between all of us and that’s okay because all families have different needs.

When I was pregnant I was “that mom” who read all the baby books because I was determined to do everything right.  After experiencing motherhood first hand I learned quickly that there were a million different ways to do everything.  It was all about trusting my own instincts and doing what was right for our family even if others didn’t agree with the choices we made. As moms we can be our own worst enemies.  I know I was mine and sometimes still am even though I try not to be.

How was your blog “born” and how has it evolved?

My blog was “born” after my second daughter was born.  My first post was written shortly after she turned one month old.  While I was up late at night while I was pregnant I would visit blogs and read.  I have always loved to write but like many things after I graduated from college and started teaching full-time writing creatively fell by the wayside.

In all honesty, starting a blog was a way to exercise my brain.  I loved my daughters and I loved motherhood but I was feeling stifled.  I needed to do something that was mine (even if it was focused on motherhood).  Since becoming a SAHM I had tons of magazine articles and notes I wrote to myself about getting organized and everything else under the sun.  My blog was a way to get organized and to help get myself back on track so to speak since after having a baby everything seemed to descend into chaos.  I also promised my husband to get the bookmarked sites on our computer under control.  I thought that if someone else could use the tips and shortcuts that I was really writing for myself, great!

At first I didn’t write any “personal” posts and then one day I had been at my wits end and out came Is My Nose Growing.  I wrote it after I realized that for someone who values honesty that I lied to my daughter a lot (even though it was for her own good).  Now it seems that I write more personal posts than article or tip style posts and my posts are sometimes just about life in general and not just “motherhood” posts.  Of course, several of my latest posts deal with pregnancy since we are expecting baby number three.

I never realized how much I would enjoy blogging and how much I would love corresponding with other women online.  Above all else, I still blog because I find it fun and I still write for myself.  In many ways it has become a diary since I am horrible at actually writing in an actual journal (even though that was my New Year’s Resolution).

It looks like you have a section in your blog devoted to “savings”.  What is one piece of practical advice you can give us about smart money management?

I think one of the biggest lessons I have learned since becoming a mom is to sit down with your spouse a few times a year (we try to do it once a quarter) and look at where your money is going.  It doesn’t have to be painful or take a lot of time.  We just look to see if there are any services or expenses that we can eliminate to save money or if there is anything we want to add and where the money is going to come from.  We actually saved over a thousand dollars last year just switching our home and auto insurances when they came up for renewal even though our previous carrier had been the cheapest when we originally signed with them.  It pays to shop around when dealing with service providers you deal with.  Also, this is when we decide whether to put more into savings for future expenses that may crop up. For us, we’ve found that communicating this way helps us to avoid money arguments later on.

Favorite Posts:

Your Sister Is Not For Sale:  Joy’s daughter thought the new baby was an exchange.  For her sister.
Advice to a New Mom:  Excellent advice from one mom to another.
Growing Up Without Noticing:  A poignant and thought provoking post about the passage of time.

About Alina Thomas

Alina is a Northern Virginia wedding photographer based out of Leesburg, VA. She has a passion for arts and design, and strives to express it through her work. She is creative at heart and loves nothing more than sharing her knowledge in photography with other Virginia wedding photographers on her blog each week. Alina loves being a new mom to her first-born and spending time with her husband who helps her run her businesses. Please feel free to follow her on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Google+.