8 Lessons learned from my Blogger Mom

My mom has blogged for almost all my life. I remember being really little and going with her to the newspaper office when she pitched to be their columnist writing about coupon deals. I played with toys on the faded carpet while she talked to the guy in charge. I remember when he agreed. They built Mom’s first blog. It was bubble gum pink with polka dots. Little me thought it was beautiful, but Mom has definitely grown a lot since then. So have I. (bubble gum pink with polka dots are so not either of our styles anymore.) You see, there are some special things that come with being the daughter of a serious blogger. Our vacations always double as work trips. It’s standard to get paid a quarter to pose for a picture. I’ve also learned some pretty important lessons from my blogger mom and wanted to share them with you. Who knows? Maybe you’ll learn something too.

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8 Lessons learned from my Blogger Mom

Always Take Pictures

There are 2,123 pictures currently on my phone. I guarantee my mom has approximately triple that. Why? Because pictures matter. They jog our memories and record them forever. Always, always take pictures. On the blog, off the blog, pictures—snapshots of memories—have value.

Take the Best Picture You Can

Mom has also taught me to not settle until I have the best shot I can.

When I was in fifth grade, I went to New York City with my mom for her main job. Basically, this was a conference for other bloggers. On the way to the old Brooklyn brownstone where it was being held, our group of bloggers spotted a beautiful old building. My memory says there was an old cast-iron staircase spiraling upward and it just begged to have its picture taken. The next thing I knew, 11-year-old me and a bunch of women were bent down, the camera’s in front of our faces trying to get the best angle. 

On our family road trips, we’re always competing to see who can get the best pictures. Dad frequently beats Mom and then she sweetly asks to use one of his shots in her post. Every once in a while I’ll snap a good one too, but either way, I’m challenged to find the best angle I can to capture the moment. 

In the past few months, this same mindset has shifted to also be a challenge to find the best angle when looking at life. It’s been some difficult months for all of us, but we have a choice on how we look at it. Thanks, Mom, for always reminding me of this when my perspective starts to shift the wrong way. 

It Never Hurts To Ask

Mom doesn’t have the biggest blog in the world (believe it or not) but with it, the Williams family has been able to do some pretty amazing things. One instance particularly sticks out. When we got off the plane in San Jose, there was a literal paparazzi waiting for us. At least that’s how it felt. She’d contacted a publicity director at the airport and asked them to host us in exchange for media promotion. They jumped on board. When we got off the plane, there was an actual sign saying something along the lines of “welcome Williams Family!” along with a photographer with a big, flashing camera and a smiling woman that reminded me strongly of a corporate secretary. At that moment, I had a small inkling about how it must feel to be a famous person. Why? Because my blogger mom was brave enough to ask. Yes, she had the hard work and platform to back it up but she still asked. She was bold enough to pitch herself and the service she could provide as something the airport should invest in and they said yes.

San Jose Airport - Seymour

As a semi-introverted person with big dreams, that is so inspiring. I’d hate for fear to be the thing that holds me back. So like my mom, I want to be brave enough to call the right person or send off an email. It never hurts to ask. The worst they’ll say is no.

Free Stuff Aren’t Actually Free

When I tell someone what my mom does, their first response is usually something like, “Wow. That’s so cool you get free stuff all the time.” Comments like this make me want to bang my head against a wall. Sure, Mom doesn’t pay for this stuff in the conventional sense, but she definitely pays for it with time. Time is it’s own form of currency. Just because she’s getting all these awesome products to review doesn’t mean she’s kicking her feet up, eating chocolate, and not working for it. She does do those things but not when it’s work time. When it’s time to pay for those products, she’s striving to get the best picture she can with the ideal, portrait-mode, blurred-sky background. That’s not to say my mom’s job isn’t awesome. It is, but I’ve definitely learned from watching that even the most awesome jobs still take hard work on your part. Nothing is ever free. 

It’s the People that Make A Trip

We’ve met so many amazing people on our trips! From the bus driver taking us to the subway in San Francisco, to the waiters and waitresses at restaurants, it’s definitely the people that make the trips worth it. Mom constantly reminds me of that. She even wrote a post about it here.

Write Emails Like A Pro

The very first email I ever remember sending was to author Jill Osborne and it was all thanks to Mom. I had just finished a book Mom had got to review on her blog and third-grade me had absolutely loved it! I ran into the living room as soon as I finished it, heart still pounding from the climax of Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek, and gushed about it to Mom. She challenged me to contact the author. Whoa. That sounded so terrifying. I mean, my favorite author was practically a rock star to younger me. But Mom helped me craft the email. Since then, I’ve only refined those skills. I’ve emailed several authors for interviews and corresponded with various directors at camps. Still, I run each email I write by Mom, though now it’s more to catch typos than to ask where to start. This is a lesson that’s definitely stuck. 

Several years later, Mom even helped arrange an in-person meeting with Author Jill Osborne out in California!

There’s Always a Solution

Technology is amazing. It’s sure to make our lives easier and also sure to mess up sometimes. Mom never got a degree in computer sciences or web design, but she’s taught herself all that she needs to know to be a successful online influencer. She’s learned over a decade what she needs to format her post, design her site, and keep it running smoothly with updates and plugins. I’ve watched as she’s taken a draft of a post I typed up and dropped it into WordPress and then starts working at the HTML code. It’s absolute gibberish to me but then she clicks preview and boom, there’s suddenly a picture in my post. 

I’ve watched as mom researched and experimented until she found a solution to countless technological issues. I’m sure she has run into a few problems she hasn’t found the solution for yet, but she’s definitely shown me that nine times out of ten there’s always an answer.

Everything has a story

We’ve got the most random things in the mail. Cool, but random, and it’s always Mom’s challenge to see how she can tie that product into a story. It’s so cool to see how a simple product in the mail joins a few other products and suddenly there’s a post. It makes me look at stuff a bit differently when I know that anything can tell a story. 

These are only some of the things I’ve learned from my blogger mom. She has no plans of stopping any time soon so I’m sure I’ll learn a ton more! What are some things you’ve learned from your folks because of their occupation? I’d love to hear about them!

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One Comment

  1. Great column, Natalie! You are definitely following in your Mom’s footsteps. I will look forward to seeing more from you!

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