Thursday, September 18, 2014

Resources for Moms Starting a Home-Based Business {Guest Post}

Tips and resources for moms thinking about starting their own home-based business. Guest post written by Taseea Cruz of Ivy Kids, a SAHM who started her own business out of her home.

{Guest Post written by Taseea Lainas-Cruz}

Have you ever created something for your friends or family and thought to yourself "Maybe others would enjoy this as well," or, "Maybe I can turn my passion into a business"? These are the thoughts I had a year ago right before I started my own business, Ivy Kids LLC.
Prior to starting Ivy Kids LLC, I was an early-education teacher, and before that, a chemical engineer, but being a good mother was always my primary concern. After my second child was born, I had intended to go back to my teaching position, but that option turned out to be unavailable. Although money was tight, losing my job turned out to be a blessing in disguise. 

Staying at home to enjoy my children was the best thing that could have happened to me. It gave me the opportunity to watch them grow and learn each day—something I was unable to do after the birth of my first child and for which I had felt sad and a little guilty. Now I get to be there for every important moment. Raising children is one of the most difficult things you can do, but also the most rewarding.

However, trying to entertain two young children at home proved to be more difficult than I had expected. I had a limited budget and could not afford those great early childhood classes. I also became frustrated with the lack of developmentally appropriate educational games available for young children. As a result, I began creating my own projects and activities to keep my children engaged and cognitively stimulated. I wanted the time I spent with my children to be meaningful and not just trying to get the day to go by. 

I noticed that when the activities were based around a favorite book and characters, my children were more invested. I worked hard to create activities that would encourage problem solving, creativity, and critical thinking. 

I started making kits for family members and friends that were also staying at home with their kids. I received so much positive feedback about the creative, entertaining, and educational value of the activities that I thought I might try starting a business and sharing my kits with others. I started building the Ivy Kids Kits in my home and funded all the start-up costs with our savings. This has been a big financial risk, but I have so many people encouraging me and believing in the product, that it's worth the risk. I have now recruited other teachers (turned stay-at-home moms as well) for their expertise in developing the contents of each kit.

Starting a business as a full-time mom is definitely a balancing act. Setting up an efficient routine and managing time effectively are essential elements. Sometimes some daily tasks are postponed, like cleaning and laundry, but I just accept that. I am also extremely lucky because I have a very supportive family. Without my husband and parents’ help, I do not think I would have been able to handle everything. 

I feel that starting a business is like trying to complete a very complex puzzle with many pieces. There are so many details to think about, and every day there is a new problem to solve. I encountered issues that I never initially thought about when I first had the idea of creating monthly educational activity kits. For example, I had to find out how to start an LLC, how to trademark my logo, how to package and ship my product, how to collect sales tax. There are just so many steps involved from the initial product idea to an actual business launch. It has taken me a full year to launch this business, but I do feel as though I have learned a lot. 

One suggestion that I can make to other moms who may be looking to start a business is

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

When I Think I Fail As A Mom

When I Think I Fail As a Mom-the challenging days can make us feel that we are doing it all wrong. Overcoming those feelings of self-doubt can be done and you are not alone.
"Fall Colors in Nature" by adamr from

It was one of those days. My limit was reached by 10 a school assembly...with all 4 kids...and 3 were crying. Both babies wanted to be out of the stroller or held. My 3 year old kept asking me (every minute), "When are we going to go to the playground?" I was hearing 25% of what the PTA president was sharing. The thought, "My husband has it too easy," flashed through my head...a few times. 

That afternoon the cry fest occurred. Tantrum after whine after obstinate response. I think my children plotted to all melt down at the same time because it was just too much. I started telling them that-"It is just too much to have you all crying and upset at the same time." (I used a soft, calm voice, but my truth needed to be shared.)

When my 3 year old is crying over everything, I want to solve the problem...I view a tantrum as a situation that needs a solution, but often there isn't one.

I get overwhelmed with not knowing what to do: How to solve the problem of a 3 year old's emotional meltdowns? How to hold two babies at one time the entire afternoon?

My mind strays to self doubt: 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Why I Chose to be A Stay-at-Home Mom

5 reasons why I chose to be a stay at home mom. Did you make the same choices?

I chose to be a stay-home-mom based on experiences that I could not ignore. Before my husband and I were even married, we discussed how we would best care for our children if/when we had them. There is only so much preparation you can do to get ready for parenthood, but how we were going to care for our children was important. 

Maybe you had similar experiences that shaped your choice. Here are 5 reasons why I stay home: 

1.) My mom was home during the day when I was young.

2.) I was a teacher and caregiver in child care centers.

3.) Sibling interaction is important and not always accessible in daycare settings.

4.) My goal is to teach my children that caring for family is important.

5.) I want to live out my faith and values. 

My Mom was Home

My young years required me to be very independent from an early age. I was the oldest of two children, my dad worked more than full-time hours in the business world, and my mom was a part-time nurse. She worked (for pay) on the night shift and worked at home as a full-time mom during the day. (No, she did not sleep much, and no, I do not know how she did it!)

My mom was tired a lot since she would have to sleep some mornings while we watched (probably) too much television. No super-crafty projects. But, she was there. She was there to take me to many doctor appointments when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at 10 years old. She was there to sit at the clinic while I had procedures after she had been up all night working. She made every parent-teacher conference, and every sporting event. I knew that my dad working allowed her to be home with my brother and me. 

My mom always wanted to stay home. She wanted to JUST be a mom and wife. She and my dad also had life experiences that shaped their choices. They wanted my brother and me to be able to go to college without having to take on debt. It was their main reason for wanting two incomes, other than wanting to afford to live in a good school district. I ended up with student loans anyway. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Ultimate Baby Bottle Guide

The Ultimate Baby Bottle Guide FREE download. Everything you may want to know about finding the right bottles for your baby.

Do you bottle feed your infant? Considering bottle feeding or have a friend who is? This is the Ultimate resource for moms who may need to use a bottle to feed their babies! (Plus a giveaway* that you can use to purchase bottles or other baby items!)

My first child needed to be weaned off of breastmilk around 6 months old, so I bottle fed him for a time. The rest of my children were exclusively breastfed for a year each, but having some expressed breastmilk in a bottle now and then was essential to getting to doctors' appointments or a haircut! You never know when you may need to have a few bottles handy for feeding your baby.

I was asked to be a contributor to The Ultimate Baby Bottle Guide compiled by Adiri. I did not receive payment for doing this and the guide is a completely free download.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Super-Mom Kisses Perfect Goodbye

Super-Mom Syndrome is sent packing once and for all. This was a great post to test what is really motivating us to be the best mom I can be-that God wants me to be. Guest post written by Ginger Harrington at The Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide.
Photo used and edited courtesy of 
"Silhouette mom with child at sunset" by arztsamui

Super-Mom Syndrome thrives on doing all the right things to build the perfect family.

The wonder of holding my son for the first time quickly turned into fear at the thought of actually leaving the hospital--this is the fear that sets us up for Super-Mom Syndrome.
What if I can't be a good mom, was the silent question in my heart.

There is something wonderful and awful about the responsibility of raising children. Joy and terror can drive the most level-headed into a state of vamped up perfectionism. 

Wanting to get it right, quickly morphed into Super-Mom Syndrome.

I wanted to be a good mom. I wanted to honor God with my best. We used cloth diapers and I made our own baby food. I baked bread, read Bible stories, started my kids on chores and read books on discipline. I would have made my own Kleenex if I had thought of it.

All the while, I'd watch other moms, compare myself, and find fault with my efforts.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What A Stay At Home Mom Is Worth

What are stay-at-home moms worth? If we stay-at-home moms were paid for all that we do in our homes and for our families, we would make more than the average mom who works outside the home according to! On the days where you feel like what you do does not matter, take a look at this post. I have another gift giveaway for you too-read through to enter, because you are worth so much and deserve a little something special!

Monday, September 8, 2014

What You Did Not Know About the Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide

Answering your questions-What You Did Not Know About The Stay-at-Home Mom Survival Guide plus 3rd blog anniversary celebrations with giveaways every day!

It has been three years since I started this blog. For the next two weeks, I have gathered together some free gifts for you, asked some blogger friends to share their great wisdom, and I have a few posts that are very dear to me that I am ready to share with you too. I am glad you are here to join us! Happy blog anniversary and let's get started celebrating! Today I am answering your questions and offering up the first giveaway of the anniversary celebration.