Moms Know Moms Day 36: Tracy

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family life?

I am a wife and mommy who stays at home to be there for my family when they need me. My hubby of 18 years and I have 3 daughters and 1 son. We also have two dogs and 4 bunnies. Although my hubby isn’t thrilled about the bunnies I love having them. I would say we are your typical family of 6 in most ways. Loud and messy and sometimes chaotic (ok most of the time when the kids are home and awake it’s chaotic!!).

What’s the name of your blog/website? What is the significance of the name, and how long have you been blogging?

My blog is called 181ReUp and I started it in October of 2012. The name came from my upcycling efforts. You take an Tracy Denim Skirtitem and turn it around 180degrees then add a bit too it = 181, Recycled = Re and Upcycled = Up. Simple when it’s broken down 🙂 I am a sporadic blogger and tend to blog in fits. Like I take pictures of all the outfits I’ve created over a month’s time and add them to the blog all at once.

For many, sewing/crafting is a big part of who you are as a person. Why is “creative expression” important to you and how has it affected the quality of your life?

Creative expression is very important to me because I truly believe it helps keep me sane. Not only does creating something from start to finish give me a sense of accomplishment but those moments when I’m sewing are calm moments for me. Any other stressful things going on in my life are forgotten when I’m at my sewing machine. Lately I have found that creating something with my kids rather than just for my kids gives me a very nice feeling. I ask them questions about color and style before I create a piece, or sit down and look at pictures of outfits on the internet before I design. By including them I make sure that they are happy with the end result and that makes me happy.

Working inside or outside of the home (or running a blog or website on a part to full time basis) can be especially tough because of the difficult choices we have to make with how to divide our time between work and family. Have you ever felt guilty about the choices you’ve made, and what advice would you give to someone struggling with those same types of feelings?

Yes I have felt very guilty at times! In fact I used to design digital scrapbooking kits and run a scrapbooking freebie blog.Tracy Antique Trailer Papers I gave away a digital freebie a day for over a year. The main reason I gave up digital scrapbook kit designing was guilt. The time it took away from my family just became too much for me. My advice to other bloggers would be to go with what you know in your heart is right. It was a very hard decision to say goodbye to 5 years of designing and all my customers and especially the ladies I worked with online but it was the right decision for my family.

If you’ve transitioned from hobbyist to business woman, what made you take the leap? What has been your greatest challenge? What has been your greatest reward?

I’ve done the opposite and transitioned from business woman to hobbyist. My greatest reward has been the freedom to decide when I post and what I post about. Now it’s my blog to do as I wish on instead of a business with rules and obligations.

Tracy Fabric BasketFor most moms, multitasking is synonymous with motherhood. What’s been your biggest personal challenge with juggling so many things? Have you found a way to stay balanced? If so, what are some of your strategies?

My biggest personal challenge is keeping my home clean and organized!! Without a doubt this is the area in my life where I have always and will always struggle. For me I have found that giving myself some rules has helped insure that my house stays manageable and I stay guilt free. What I mean by this is that I say to myself “Ok Tracy get the dishes done and the current load of laundry folded and put away, then sew”. It’s helped me so much to be honest about what my family needs but also what I need as a person to stay mentally healthy.

Finding the time to mother AND craft or sew can be a big challenge. How do you carve out time to create? When Tracy Flower Shirtyour children nap or are at school? Or have you found other ways to “sneak in” some time?

Usually when my children are at school is when I sew. After school is kid time and the evenings are hubby and I time.

What’s the best mom advice you’ve ever received?

Do what’s best for you and your family. Sometimes you just can’t fulfill an online obligation but life happens. Be honest about it and most other people will understand and respond positively.

In terms of family, career and motherhood, how do you define success?

Tracy Fall JacketIf my family and I are happy then I believe I am succeeding as a wife and mother. Being happy is so important in this life. It can be hard and can be work to keep everyone happy and also keep myself happy but it is my job as the wife and mother so I do it with a smile.

How has being a mom changed your life perspective?

Wow that is a big question. Being a mom changed everything. 18 years ago my whole world changed and suddenly I had to think of someone other than myself. It was the end of being truly selfish. As a mom we have to consider so many things and I think this allows us to see other people more clearly and respect their life choices. We are forced to consider more angles and I think this helps us to see the world from more angles. To be more accepting of others. Teaching my kids kindness is definitely something my husband and I both put at the top of our parenting list but I don’t think it’s something we thought about before we had kids.

Line-2Tracy, thank you for sharing with us today.

You can find Tracy at 181ReUp, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Join us tomorrow for Day 37 of Moms Know Moms and our interview with Melissa from Sew Like My Mom.

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