Mommy Blogger Interview #7 – Ashley Spang

We can’t appreciate enough the sacrifice done by moms. They are always ready to go an extra mile to make sure the family stays at utmost priority. There are moms out there who holds an esteemed degree of education and were once a highly career oriented but still chose to stay-at-home to take better care of the family and kids.

Today, we welcome one such mommy blogger – Ashley Spang – for our interview series.

Ashley holds a degree in HR & Organization Management but for now, she has put career dreams on hold to primarily become a stay-at-home mom. Though, staying at home hasn’t stopped her to share her thoughts with the world and establish the identity online as a successful mommy blogger. On her versatile blog – GrowingSpangs – you can find her daily musings, dreams, her ongoing projects, dynamite recipes, sarcasm, family, hurts, and loves. She likes to be real all the time on her blog and doesn’t hesitate to share about her failures too.

Let’s get to know more about this self-proclaimed Supermom, Perfectionist, Partial Hippie, Budgeter, DIYer, Crafter and No Non-sense blogger right in her own words:

Name: Ashley Spang

Lives in: Just outside Minneapolis, MN, USA

About Her Little Stars: O is 2.5 years old

Where could we find you?

Tell us something about your life. How do you feel about it?
After becoming a mom, the blues never left. I came out of a corporate world that I loved, and became a stay at home mom – it was a very hard adjustment for me, as I’m not the nurturing type – I found my worth in my job.
A week after my daughter turned one, my husband lost his job, our only income. With his last check, I took a gamble and set up the bones of a blog from it. Initially, the purpose was to help bring in money, although I’ve never been good at having that be the focus. GrowingSpangs soon became a place where I could process the challenges and triumphs of motherhood, discover through my depression, figure out fun ways to play, and build a community of other women who crave the same. I write about things currently happening in my life, how I feel about them, and how I’m overcoming them. A year and a half later, I still write for the genuine comments from other mothers. In a world so connected by social media, time and time again I see the same theme – we are so incredibly lonely. My monetary goal with GrowingSpangs is to make enough to keep “”the lights on””, but I eventually started my own HR consulting business that gave me the joy of having a job, a compromise in my life, while also keeping our actual lights on in the house and our daughter out of daycare. I’m still working at it, but I find that discovering systems and compromises in life really help in finding the “”balance”” we’re all looking for.

What major changes have come into your life after being a mom?
I touched on them above, but hands down, it has been struggling with depression. There has been a lot of changes in the last couple of years, a lot of loss, and a lot of reflection. I left a job and people I loved, moved an hour away for my husband’s dream job, he later lost that job and delivered pizzas to keep gas in our tank, and I started throwing papers every night. That event really took awhile to get over, while having a child who couldn’t even walk. A couple of very important relationships turned difficult to navigate, and for a long time I resented being a stay at home mom, to be honest. I felt very worthless and lonely. My blog played, and still plays, a key part in reminding me how big of a deal my job actually is. As mothers, we are responsible for raising kids that will turn into contributing, generally likable members of society that will hopefully need minimal therapy, and that’s not a small order. My daughter deserves a mother who loves to play on the floor with her and sing her to sleep at night – writing and research has made all the difference from where I was, even a year ago.

How crucial do you think is a Mother’s role in parenting?
It’s critical, in many ways. From remembering appointments, teaching emotional understanding, to demonstrating how a woman should be treated, mothers play a key role in families. In the case of single or same-sex fathers, I think having a stellar example or two of female influence in children’s lives, and the same goes for the opposite cases for fathers, is critical for as much of a balanced childhood as possible, especially emotionally and socially.

What made you think to start blogging?
I had wanted to for years, long before I was even a mom or even married. I finally started it because I naively thought I could help bring in an income after my husband lost his job and we had a one year old. I continue to, even through blogging lows, because of the comments and emails I receive.

How do you get inspired to write? Your sources of inspiration.
I get inspired to write almost always from something that is going on in my life at the moment, although sometimes I write out of depression. As a mom, there are so many things to overcome, choices to make, and things to learn, that I’m never short on inspiration.

How blogging changed your world?
It totally changed my world. Aside from learning vast amounts of knowledge every week of the digital realm, I have processed a lot of choices and motives through writing. I’ve never been someone who can journal, and truthfully depression makes it so I can’t keep anything to a regular schedule, but blogging in the hard depths has pulled me out more than once.

What is the most challenging aspect of being a mommy blogger?
Finding time to invest in my blog. In order to get anywhere fast, one needs to spend full time hours on it. As a mom, my time is constantly split. Where other bloggers can create massive followings by pouring 40+ hours a week into their blog, I simply can’t. I manage social media when I’m waiting for a load of laundry to finish its last cycle or while my daughter is in dance class. Spending hours on a computer isn’t an option, and getting over the guilt of time sharing, as well as managing that time to maximize my many “hats” was, and still can be, a huge challenge.

Share your funniest yet cranky moment with your child.
She has the attitude of a 14 year old. The eye rolls and hand flips are rampant in that one. In her spare time, she loves to be the class clown. So, in moments when she spits milk out while laying on the couch and it goes in her eye as well as the couch, it’s tough to hold the laugh back. When I then explain to her why I told her to stop spitting milk out and she rolls said eyes and says “oOOoo kay mommy, ok.” I know it’s not the last time we’ll have that conversation.

As such being a Mom you are working for 24*7, how do you really find a #metime? What do you like to do in your leisure time?
I get up before my family does, which is a huge drag for the first few minutes. I’m a night owl, so it’s torture. Also, every so often, the husband will take her somewhere for a few hours, and I always have to fight the urge to take a nap – sometimes I even win that battle. In my leisure time I love to cross something off my to-do list, often decluttering something, while listening to a book on tape or music that has nothing to do with learning the color red or clapping if I’m happy and I know it. In my morning time, I’ll either work on the blog with a nice dark roast coffee, ponder the motives of God, or kickbox.

What aspects make your identity unique as a mommy blogger? (How you are different from other mommy bloggers?)
I think I’m unique in that I write about some pretty raw stuff. I’m so happy that there isn’t as much of a stigma about mental health that there used to be, but there are times I get an email from a mom who can’t believe I relate to her so much. I think we are all a bit lonely, often scrambling to make life happen, and making it all up as we go. I write to women who crave someone to know them. In our world of social media, we are so connected and so very unconnected. Social media is a pedicured view of those we know, and I know it often makes me think I’m crazy or failing. If I feel this way, I know there’s others too.

How do you evaluate blogging as a career option?
I think it can definitely be a career option, especially with certain niches. Personally, I haven’t found that sweet spot, and it’s not my blog’s focus. If I were a psychologist, however, I could sell counseling services on the side and use my blog to funnel that. Mom bloggers who have a beauty or fashion focus can easily drive affiliate sales. Success as a career blogger has a lot to do with how she sets herself up and how creative she can get within her niche.

What type of planning strategy do you follow for your blog?
Honestly, I don’t plan posts much, although I do post every week or two. They usually have something to do with something I’m currently processing. When I have an easier week, I’ll blog about an activity series I’m doing with the toddler, a DIY I’m figuring out, or some awesome recipes I tried, so I can post regularly. Since I never know when my mind will dive deep, I can’t commit to a strong schedule. All of my posts are over 1,000 words, so I instead make my goal be “at least one valuable post every two weeks”, often getting two or three in that time. As far as sharing strategy, I have used Tailwind, but I really like to actually spend time pinning myself as short spurts of “me time”. I do really like Hootsuite, and spend part of Sunday night finding great quotes and content from other bloggers to post throughout the week for me, interspersed with my own content.

Share your promotion strategy to get success. Which social media platform do you use the most?
I spend the most time in Facebook groups that are designed for sharing content and doing reciprocation. Although I used to go nuts and do all opportunities every day, I was soon spending hours upon hours mindlessly clicking through blogs. So, I focus on those that comment share, post to StumbleUpon, or blog post share, and I only do it 2-3 days a week. Otherwise, I spend a lot of time on Pinterest, as that’s where my readers mostly are. Between figuring out what pin images work best, to finding keywords to use, to pinning about 40 pins a day and managing a group board, it takes a lot of time. However, I love that I can do it little by little throughout the day and still see results.

Where do you get support on technical and non-technical issues with blogging?
I usually look to other bloggers first, there are some really great writers out there. I have asked a couple of questions on Facebook groups before, and when I was first starting, my hosting company was invaluable in untangling the initial mess I made.

Any piece of advice for a new mommy blogger.
Be patient. Results won’t be instant and it’s a lot of hard work. You’ll feel guilty because you could be spending time with your kids instead of doing brainless post sharing. Use your blog as a way to be a better mom – plan fun outings to write about, show of an activity you did on Instagram with your kids, let them paint your face so you can demonstrate this awesome mask you’re an affiliate for. Incorporate your kids somehow and compartmentalize your time as much as possible, and your guilt and frustration will subside. When you’re with your kids, be 100% with your kids. Although social media will pull you now more than ever, resist the urge and put it down for lengths of time and be with the people in front of you.

What’re the next milestones you want to achieve?
I have several milestones I want to achieve this year. As far as GrowingSpangs, I want to revamp my subscriber free resources, as well as start a YouTube channel. In my consulting business, my goal is to be able to go to my inlaw’s cabin every other week this summer, with enough interviews to do to justify my mother in law being grandma for a few days at a time. Working on the lake sounds lovely. Personally, I want to get several books read that have been collecting dust for awhile, as well as get my nightmare of a craft area and office sorted out.

Woah! That was some really invaluable information you have provided for our readers Ashley. We are highly thankful to you for taking out time to answer all our questions and provide so many tips to our readers. I am sure it will be an inspiration to many upcoming mommy bloggers and help them getting started in their new career.

Share or comment if Ashley’s tips and tricks helped you or going to inspire you. If you have any further question, feel free to pose a question to her in comment section.

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