Minnie Sinha: Hi, everyone. This is Minnie again with a brand new episode of our podcast, uSpeak. Today, I have a guest to whom we all, especially women, can relate. Many women among us are stay-at-home moms, taking care of our children, our home, kids’ education, pursuing healthy lifestyles, and so forth, not forgetting to take care for our husbands, partners, and loved ones. How do we do this? It’s never easy. And if you think you are constantly juggling these chores and need some help organizing, then you would love to hear from our guest today.
Besides being an expert on this topic, she is also a blogger and freelance writer and the founder of the Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide. I can’t wait to talk to her, so let me welcome Jaimi Erickson. Hi, Jaimi.
Jaimi Erickson: Hi. Thank you so much for having me.
Minnie Sinha: You are most welcome. And so, before I start asking all sorts of questions, I would like to know who Jaimi Erickson is and what her dream was while growing up.
Jaimi Erickson: Oh my goodness. Well, currently, I am a homeschool mom and a military wife and a blogger, like you mentioned. My current life is very much tied to what I wanted to do when I was growing up. I took some different turns to get here. But when I was a child, I wanted to be a teacher, so I would hold little classes in our basement playroom, and my brother would be my student, and I’d have my little board and lead him through a lesson. And then, that led me in college to pursue teaching, just that natural drive to teach and create and be a teacher. So, I worked as a teacher before having my children, and now, I teach my own.
Minnie Sinha: Okay, so you homeschool your children?
Jaimi Erickson: I do. I do.
Minnie Sinha: Good. Good for them, and good for you. So, where did you – so how it all started when – when was this, when you had this little seed in your mind that, “I’m going to be an entrepreneur, and I’ll start my own business”? So, when was this? How did you come up with the idea for a business?
Jaimi Erickson: Oh, sure. Well, before starting my blog, I actually worked as an elementary and preschool teacher. I had a couple different classrooms, a morning class and an afternoon class, so that really gave me a lot of array of behaviors and personalities to teach to, which is always helpful to keep in mind now as I teach parents through my blog how to be their children’s first and most important teacher. But even going back a little further, I always in my classrooms, I had to keep a budget in mind when creating learning activities for children in my classroom, and then, I carried that forward to my own children as well.
I really wanted to share activities and encouragement to moms that would be accessible to anyone. That was really important to me. And actually, just going through the process of trying to encourage a few friends who were at home with their children and not really feeling fulfilled with the tasks on their plate. I had another friend come say, “You know, you always find joy in this. Why don’t you start a blog and encourage moms because you always seem to have those words of wisdom or suggestions for taking those moments where you’re not sure what to do next with your kids and turning them into quality time.
Minnie Sinha: Okay, so when did you write your first blog? When was that?
Jaimi Erickson: Back in 2011. I actually launched it in September of 2011 and just started sharing little learning activities and encouragement for moms.
Minnie Sinha: Okay, and so before you started all this, did you work – so you worked as a teacher before, right? So, from teacher, you started your own blog, and then that’s how it started, right?
Jaimi Erickson: It did kind of follow. I didn’t intend to, but shortly after my second child was born, I was a stay-at-home mom, doing learning activities with my oldest to keep from getting bored at home, just to use that full day, turned it into quality time. And a few friends of mine were not feeling like being at home with their kids was fulfilling, so I wanted to encourage them, just to really show them that they were doing a lot, being home, raising their families, and just wanted to give them ideas to use to feel more productive as moms.
So, that’s when the close friend of mine happened to suggest when we were just talking about this that I start a blog, and I really had no idea what a blog was at the time. I didn’t read them, so I did a little research and just kind of learned as I went along and jumped into it.
Minnie Sinha: Good, okay. So, would you like to tell me briefly, what is this survival guide for stay-at-home moms, and then we’ll talk in detail about that.
Jaimi Erickson: Sure, so the Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide is my home base of my writing and blogging business. It’s really a one-stop shop for moms. That’s my intention is that it’s sort of a complete guide, a place that moms can go for a variety of topics related to motherhood and homemaking and organization and sort of all those tasks that get clumped into the season of being a mother. So, my mission started with a desire to help moms who were wanting to be home with their kids but were not really understanding how it could positively impact their children.
So, the blog is so much more now. It’s research for mothers, parents; preschool teachers are a large contingent of my readers too. My tagline is, “Staying home with your children and joyfully surviving it” and I believe that we can work through the challenges of parenting and being moms and at the end of the day, look back at the intentional actions we took in our homes and with our families to really feel joyful about the big picture of it all.
Minnie Sinha: Okay, so before I ask you what specific things you offer for them, I just wanted to briefly tell you what we do here at TCI because most of our students are women, and I’m sure many of them are moms. So, we have an online training program in general transcription, and we have a job board matching transcriptionists and translators with transcription companies with their unique requirements. And we also have quiz and accuracy assessment tools for someone to test their transcription skills. So, I am sure many of them are already moms or future moms who would love to know what specific things you offer for them. So, when they come to your website, what kind of help you can provide them?
Jaimi Erickson: Absolutely. Like your lead-in mentioned, motherhood encompasses a lot of different topics. So, my blog in particular is this one-stop shop of tools, resources, tips for mothers to use with their children. I actually really love being creative and kind of taking the skills and activities that I did as a teacher and making them accessible for mothers so that they can have resources and encouragement for really utilizing that time at home in creative ways. So, just talking about the website as a whole, there’s free printables to use. There’s organizational tools to use, just when it comes to cleaning and meal planning, even just de-cluttering and living a simpler life.
And then, we talk about topics of parenting, talk about developmental stages of children and really teaching parents that they are that first and most important caregiver and teacher in their child’s life and empowering them to see the possibilities of building that relationship with their children.
Minnie Sinha: Okay, so if any mom is lost like how to help their children, you can guide them. You can give them all sorts of ideas like how to be a organized mom and then how to take care of your children. And especially also, I saw that you offer help for all the home-related things, right? Not only moms, like if it’s someone is just a wife and how to take care of the home. So, there are many tools on your website, I saw, so not only moms, but as a woman in general, what their need are, right?
So, what activities you have for the children? I know [inaudible] [00:10:11] organizational skills for women, how to take care of that, but what is for how to take care of the children, right? If you have infant, toddlers, preschoolers, so what kind of activities they can do. So, you can guide there also, right? So, can you tell me those?
Jaimi Erickson: Absolutely. Like I mentioned, prior to staying at home with my children, I was a teacher, and quite a few different schools that I worked in were in lower income areas, childcare centers that were in the city didn’t have a large budget for purchasing supplies and curriculum, so that really forced me to use my creativity to use the supplies that we had on hand and create the best learning activities for the kids in my care. So, I actually love this form of creativity, where you use what you have, and you turn it into something that is meaningful and useful. It’s low-cost but high-impact.
So, when I was at home with my children, it was natural for me to create activities for them to encourage their learning and development with my background, but they’re also activities that could be created simply. It doesn’t take a crafty mom or a Pinterest perfect parent to create these things. And since I started sharing them on my blog when I started it back in 2011, the activities really are by far the biggest draw of online visitors. Looking at my page views as a whole, those pages, the activity resource pages, are the main reason people come to my site. It’s really all about helping parents use that time with their children to be intentional at home.
And so, even working parents, parents who work outside of the home or work at home, summer vacation time frames are a big time of year when all kinds of moms and parents of different backgrounds are just looking for resources. “What can I do with my children while they’re home on summer vacation,” or those holiday breaks throughout the year. So, you know, it’s just about intentional parenting.
Minnie Sinha: Ok, and they are for all ages, right, starting from infant, toddler, preschoolers. Do you go any higher like middle schoolers or high schoolers? Do you have any activities for those also?
Jaimi Erickson: We do go all the way up from infants on up to school-aged kids, and then a few of my homeschool learning units, that I just started getting those published, are starting to incorporate even older ages, like junior high and high school age as well.
Minnie Sinha: Okay, so anybody can – okay, let me ask you, what is your business model? So, how does it work?
Jaimi Erickson: Absolutely. So, I follow the advertiser affiliate marketing structure. I offer sponsored posts. I have ad space within my posts. I do include affiliate links to products that I have used and recommend. I also recently just launched my shop on the blog, so creating products, tools, and resources for mothers, parents, and teachers to use to gain balance and joy in motherhood is really my focus.
Minnie Sinha: Okay, so and then the rest of the stuff, like all the resources, it’s free to everyone? Or do you have any sort of subscription? How does it work?
Jaimi Erickson: There’s about three different levels of access that people can have. So, the blog does have completely free resources, easy access, no subscription needed. I do have an email subscriber perk that I offer where when you do subscribe to the blog by email updates, you do get access to a larger collection of free resources, so it’s still not a paid level of access. It’s still free. It’s just popping in your email to sign up and get access to updates immediately and the additional level of free resources and printables. And then, of course, the shop is another access point, and those are for-purchase products, so it’s nice to be able to offer multiple levels so that no matter someone’s lifestyle, budget, they have access to tips and tools that they may need.
Minnie Sinha: Okay. So, how involved are you with your clients, and what kind of support do you give to them?
Jaimi Erickson: Sure, absolutely. So, my readers and the moms in my online community are my main focus for developing the ideas and creating the tools and tips that I share, for sure. They’re my focus. Everything that I share has the purpose of reaching them with the tips and resources that will ultimately help them succeed in finding their own joy in the season of motherhood. So, when it comes to concrete ways I stay in contact and support my readers, I seek out their feedback regularly through my emails and interact daily with them actually in my Facebook community for moms.
The group is called, “Stay-at-Home Moms Share Together”. And that is another community that anyone can access and get even closer personal communication and connection with other mothers that consider themselves stay-at-home moms looking for community together. So, it’s really important to me to hear from the moms who are reading my blog and online articles because they are the mission. They are the ones I wanna help. So, knowing their needs on a daily basis, a variety of intake methods, like Facebook posts, my emails, and replying back to everyone who reaches out to me really matters. That’s my focus.
Minnie Sinha: That’s good. And so, when have you grown the most in your life, and what caused that growth?
Jaimi Erickson: Oh, wow. So, I’ve been in different seasons in my life, but since we’re primarily focusing on my blog and stay-at-home moms, I faced one of the biggest challenges of my life when I had my twins. So, I had two children and then went to four children when I had a set of twins. And as a mom who had a lot of health challenges, it really forced me to set priorities and shed a lot of unnecessary focus points from my life. Time is limited, and you have to get down to what is necessary and the tasks that really need to be done at the moment.
So, I had to learn to do what mattered most each day and did not have the same time to take on extras. So, ultimately, it was a great path of growth to know that we really are each made for a purpose and that when we hone in on our strengths by shedding some of those extra things that might be distractions more than strength-based tasks that really don’t matter in the end. And once we kind of hone in on focusing on strengths and taking one step forward every day, we really can grow in exponential ways.
Minnie Sinha: That makes sense. So, moving on to my next question, so like you said that one can also shop on your website. So, what do you sell?
Jaimi Erickson: I have printable worksheets for creating activities at home. They’re usually linked through the blog posts, so there’s always a description of what to use it for, and then that would be the access point. I also have a guide, a few guides, a couple of guides, actually, for meal planning. It’s the newest section of my blog and business, which is really exciting to offer. So, I tell my readers that so many resources and tools that I create, I keep completely free for them. So, then, there’s this next level of items that take more of my heart and time to create, still with the intention of taking what I have found success with in my life in raising my family.
My shop is a platform to take what I’ve turned into tangible or virtual tools for other mothers and offer it at the value that it really has for them. So, I offer a meal planning guide with months of recipes to help moms take the stress out of meal planning. I also have started adding learning tools, like printables and patterns for making some of the learning activities. And my guide for hosting a playdate was written with the introverted moms in mind because all moms gain from community, but for some, learning how to make the first move to create friendships can be hard.
So, that guide is really a labor of love for the moms out there. I also have two books I’m currently working on right now. One of them will be a book about all of the school choice options that we have as parents, and the other is more of a self-help guide for moms discussing making solid, real friendships in the season of motherhood. That is such a challenge when we’re taking care of kids and home and spouses. So, making friends is a real need for so many moms, and I wanted to share some ideas and encouragement on that topic.
And then, in addition to those two that we will be launching, I’m working on a toddler guide. So, this one, I’m gonna withhold the topic, just to save that for when it’s ready to launch, but overall, I really want my shop to be a go-to site for helpful resources that are tried and true for mothers.
Minnie Sinha: Sure, sure. So, regarding all the meal planning, so how did you get the ideas? Did you try some of the recipes, or you just went with the easy-to-make meals, so you just picked those items to add in there? How did it work, or how did you come up with that idea?
Jaimi Erickson: Sure. So, it’s actually a combination of both. They’re actually creative meals that are very easy to make, and even kids and whole families can make them together. There’s nothing really complicated, but they are quality, healthy meals, and there are nine weeks total of meals, all set up, ready to go. It’s a really handy guide. So, you know that your No. 1 getting all – your meal planning is done for the week.
All you have to do is click through and write down the ingredients you still need to get from the store, and there’s actually a printable organized shopping list template included in the guide that you can just print off, and it’s organized by section of the store, so it’s nice and easy, and there’s not a lot of zigzagging and backtracking when you go through the grocery store, which obviously will save time when you can just get through each section in a straightforward manner. The guide is meant to kinda be rotating, so you have nine weeks to work with, and then you can kind of go back and have your favorites again.
So, there’s enough variety, but it’s consistent. And obviously, every family has different tastes and different dietary needs, but these are recipes that are verry adaptable to that, which I think is very helpful with all the different diet requirements and restrictions that are pretty common nowadays.
Minnie Sinha: Okay, good. That sounds good. Actually, nine weeks is a long time, and that –
Jaimi Erickson: Right?
Minnie Sinha: Yeah, and I’m sure there are many – after nine weeks, you can always rotate them, so it will seem like you made something new. Well, good. I like it. Everything is organized, right, on whatever people are looking at need your help. Whatever it is there, they can just get it in an organized way. I just love that part. I can’t wait to see your home, how organized you are there. That’s a big, big, big chore, right? And it cuts down on the timing. If you do it in a smart way and in an organized way, anything. That cuts down on the time, right?
Jaimi Erickson: It’s true.
Minnie Sinha: Yeah, I’m so glad that you are there for all these women to help them with whatever life throws at them at home, especially at the home front. So, all right. So, I guess we can ask you a few fun questions. I have a few minutes left, so let me ask you, what is the craziest thing on your bucket list?
Jaimi Erickson: Oh, my goodness. That is actually a very present, soon-to-happen item on the bucket list. So, I tend to be kind of a not very spontaneous person, as you can tell with all the focus on organization and planning, right? So, it takes a little effort to be a little bit more spontaneous. But my husband and I are actually looking at buying land and renovating an old farmhouse coming up. So, that’s a big task that we are looking forward to and planning on and all of the mysterious things that can happen in that process will force me to be more flexible and spontaneous, but that’s the biggest on the horizon right now.
Minnie Sinha: Yeah, whatever planning you do, it will take you by surprise. It’s like, “Oh, this thing I was not expecting.” It is really very crazy, and I wish you all the luck, and I’m sure you will end up having a beautiful place there. So, okay. So, my next question will be where would you go if you could teleport anywhere in the world right now?
Jaimi Erickson: Oh, goodness. Right now, I would probably go to a tropical island. What mom is never wanting a vacation, right?
Minnie Sinha: Of course, of course. Beach always sounds good, right?
Jaimi Erickson: It does. It does.
Minnie Sinha: Okay. And what food could you not live without?
Jaimi Erickson: That is a tough one. I have a lot of favorites. I guess I’ll have to go with [audio cuts out] [00:25:44].
Minnie Sinha: What was that? You cut out.
Jaimi Erickson: Oh, sorry. I was saying yogurt.
Minnie Sinha: Yogurt. Okay.
Jaimi Erickson: It can be breakfast. It can be lunch. It can be a snack. Versatile.
Minnie Sinha: Oh, good. Good, I am also a yogurt lover, so good. It’s so healthy, right? Filled with all yeah, probiotic. Okay, all right, then. Jaimi, it’s nice to talk to you, Jaimi. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me and share your insight and incredible journey and all the tips and all the skills, resources. So, before I let go of you, please tell my audience how they can find or connect with you.
Jaimi Erickson: Absolutely. I am on Facebook as the Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide. That’s my blog’s name as well, the Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide. And I’m on Instagram and Pinterest, so definitely go to thestay-at-home-momsurvivalguide.com, and everything else will be linked there.
Minnie Sinha: Perfect, all right. So, I wish you continued success with all the books and your future endeavors, whatever is there, and well, let’s be in touch, and I wish you all the success. So, thank you, and bye bye.
Jaimi Erickson: Thank you so much.
Minnie Sinha: Thank you. All right, everyone, I look forward to our next installment of uSpeak. Please share this with anyone who may find it interesting. Also, please check out our website at www.transcriptioncertificationinstitute.com, and remember to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. See you next time. Bye.
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