As you read in my last blog, in August 2018 I had narrowed down my options and decide to take action on my side hustle journey. https://thesidehustlejourney.com/2019/04/25/narrowing-down-my-options-and-getting-close-to-taking-action/
I had decided to brand myself The Ordinary Mom and start a closed Facebook group. I wanted to make sure that I could own that name so I knew I had to buy the URL ASAP before someone else did. I didn’t know if I would do anything with the website at this point but I wanted to have the option to create a website at a future date.
This is where the rubber starting hitting the road and I had to start spending money to move forward on my side hustle journey. I had asked several folks and listened to several podcasts on the best way to buy a URL and build a website and had narrowed the options down to:
I decided to go with WordPress as it seems to be the platform that many web developers use so my thinking was that I didn’t know at this point whether I would ever want to build my own website or pay someone else to build it.
The first thing I had to do was buy the URL www.theordinarymom.com. At the end of August, family went on a weeklong trip to LA and I was going to meet them on the weekend due to work conflicts but that meant I had 4 nights at home by myself. For a working parent with 3 kids, 4 nights at home alone is a true luxury. I could have spent those 4 nights binge watching Netflix but instead I decided to focus the uninterrupted time on my side hustle.
I bought the URL for www.theordinarymom.com for $18, the personal plan (which was the medium of 3 plans) for $48 and a private registration for $8 (which I took to mean that my personal details would now not be published). Because I bought the personal plan, I got a credit back for the cost of the domain and the private registration so my cost was $48 total. I then went back and purchased the G Suite for another $50. G Suite is a bunch of apps from Google but the reason I bought it was to have an email to match my URL- i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org.
My running total was now $98. To sign up for your own WordPress account, click here: https://wordpress.com/alp/?aff=13401&cid=2093430 (FYI- this is an affiliate link and I’ll make money if you sign up).
Now I was ready to create my closed Facebook group. I decided to call it The Ordinary Mom Parenting Community. I had never created my own Facebook group so this was all new to me. My whole motto for this journey is to “launch and learn” so I went to my personal Facebook account and just decided to try it.
In Facebook, there is a tab up top called “Create” so I clicked that and saw an option to “Group”. It’s easy to do. You just create a name and add some people from your Facebook contacts. You can label it as public, closed or secret so I created a group called The Ordinary Mom Parenting Community. I launched it on 8/22/18 and invited 226 people from my regular Facebook page who I knew where parents. I tried to think of what picture would best capture the fact that parenting is hard and we are not always perfect (nor should we strive to be).
I remembered the photo shoot that my awesome cousin and professional photographer, Nicole Wickens, had done the Thanksgiving before when we were in Austin visiting family (see her website at https://www.greendoorphotography.com/). I remember the photo shoot vividly– it was hot and there were fire ants. My then 5 year old was not pleased with either the heat or the fire ants and was not being very cooperative. I used one of the pictures on my regular Facebook page of all 3 smiling kids.
I kept going back to what I thought was a terrible picture of my kids because the older 2 were jumping in the air but the youngest was on the ground, looking grumpy with her arms crossed. When I saw that picture for the first time, I cringed but my wife loved it. She said it captured a real life moment that wasn’t photoshopped or staged for Facebook. When I was thinking about what picture to use for The Ordinary Mom Facebook page, I thought of that picture and realized it was perfect.
It was exactly what I was trying to convey with my Facebook group…parenting is hard and we don’t need to try to be perfect and neither should we expect our kids to be. I uploaded to the picture to the Facebook page and it was perfect (see the photo at the bottom of the blog).
I then starting working on how I wanted to describe the group. The words real, honest and vulnerable came to mind so I created the following to description that I posted:
“We all want to be extraordinary parents but, let’s face it, more often than not, we are just ordinary. And that’s ok. There is nothing wrong with ordinary. The ordinary is the good stuff. The hugs after your child has been a hot mess, volunteering in class at school, or seeing your kids play together just minutes after they were throwing punches. Parenting is hard. The hardest job that I’ve ever had. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love my 3 little rascals, even when I’m too tired to think.
This community is for all parents (Moms, Dads, Stepparents, Foster parents, Grandparents etc) of all backgrounds to share struggles, experiences, ask for advice/give recommendations or just vent about a hard day. No one gives you a manual for this stuff, we just have to figure it out as we go. And sometimes we make mistakes. And we cry. And we make our kids cry. But that is real life. You don’t have to have a fancy degree to be a parenting expert. We are all experts in this field because we are parents and we are always learning.
So share what you know or be honest and admit what you don’t know and ask for help. Tell about how your kid just threw a tantrum in the grocery store (again!), barfed on your nice clothes as you were just walking out of the house or how you are struggling to pay for all of the extra expenses that come with kids. Or tell a joke that your 6 year old just made up. Just be real. This is a community for all parents. Except haters. Haters need not apply.”
Here was my first post:
“3 things I find challenging:
1. Lack of sleep (for years!)
2. When a child likes your spouse better and admits it (ouch- I’m going through this now with the little one liking my wife better and it’s hard)
3. Getting parenting advice from people without kids (can you see my fingers in my ears as I’m nodding and smiling?)
3 things I love:
1. When they want to climb in bed and snuggle with you (I know I should send them back to their room but they are so cozy)
2. When you pick them up from one of their many activities or school and their faces light up when they see you (ok, maybe just the youngest one at this point)
3. Being someone’s Mommy. It’s big job but an awesome one that I’ll do forever.”
I got just the reaction I was hoping for. In the first 11 days (until the end of August), 24 people had shared their 3 things that they find challenging and 3 things they loved about parenting. Others had responded and/or liked their posts. I was thrilled with the engagement that I was getting but it was like starting a fire from kindling, sometimes it burns bright but never takes.
Some folks had invited friends and I finished August with 251 members– up 25 members from kicking it off 9 days before!
Stay tuned for the next blog when I try new things and work on engagement and even change the name.
Check out the current Facebook site and just fill out the parenting questions to be accepted: https://www.facebook.com/groups/837809649676605/about/ (spoiler alert- I ended up changing the name to The Ordinary Parent Community because I thought it might be perceived that it was only for Moms since I was The Ordinary Mom).