A few weeks ago, one of my kids came in and sat down across from me. She didn't say anything, she just sat there.
I was drinking my first cup of morning coffee, so I wasn't real talkative either, so it was all good...except that several minutes went by, and she still didn't speak. She just sat...and looked at me...and fidgeted.
I was mildly curious.
I've been a mom for a very long time. My husband and I had two natural children, then we became foster parents and we adopted 8 more. Our natural kids were teens at the time, and the new kids were stair steps in age from newborn to age 9.
Raising 10 kids was a whirlwind, roller coaster time of life for all of us. Nine of my kids danced, (which is how this dance wear business got its start...but that's a story for another day.) For several decades, we had fun...we had heartache...we were SO blessed!
Now things have settled down.The kids are grown and I spend most of my time alone in my sewing room, creating custom dance wear that I sew... with my own kids in mind.
And now one of those kids was looking at me.
Normally, I wouldn't have thought much about it, but this is a girl who is never still, these days. She is always either going to somewhere or coming from somewhere. She never just sits. But this time she was sitting...and staring...and the silence was becoming deafening.
Well...I wasn't a mother of 10 for nothing! Over the years, I've learned some important truths:
1. It's always good when your kids wait until the morning caffeine hits your blood stream before they drop a bombshell in your lap.
2. They never wait.
3. If your child is having a hard time figuring out how to say what they want to say, be patient, don't ask questions because:
4. If they are struggling too much, it probably isn't something you want to hear, anyway, so you might as well just postpone the agony.
So I waited.
Finally, when she'd been staring at me long enough that I was beginning to feel like Moby Dick washed up on shore...she spoke.
"Mom, your website is boring."
I couldn't help but think, "Wow! That could have been worse!"
"I work at a dance studio, Mom, and if I were looking for dance wear online, and I landed on your site, I wouldn't stay long enough to buy anything. Your dance wear is cute, but your website is outdated and boring. You need to change it. You need more social media stuff, and better photos, and most of all, you need a blog,"
(A blog? I thought.)
"Everybody has a blog, now, and you need one. It will bring in business! I don't want to hurt your feelings, Mom," (Hence the aforementioned fidgeting) "I know that you worked really hard to build your website, but I have to tell you the truth. It is boring; you need to modernize it. And... you need to start a blog."
(A BLOG! She'd said it again.)
"You've been around for a really long time, Mom, (Thanks, kid) and you have a lot to talk about. That's what a blog is, ... it's talking to yourself only writing it down. I'm just trying to help you, mom...if you want business, redo your website and start a blog. Just sayin'....."
And with that, she hopped up and dashed out...back to being her normal self...on her way to....somewhere.
By then, my coffee was cold, so I got up and got more. I thought about what she'd said, and I realized how hard it must have been for her to tell me that.
She had watched me struggle to build my first website, and she knew I was proud of it. I can work magic with a sewing machine, but I am not particularly savvy with computers. However, my budget had dictated that I needed to do the website myself, so I taught myself how. With the help of a template and a few books on ecommerce, I taught myself enough to build what I thought was a pretty good online dance wear store.
The problem was, she was right...it wasn't getting any business.
My Etsy site was doing well, but this website...www.dancemomsdancewear.com, was just not bringing in business. I had blamed it on my paltry SEO skills, but maybe she was right. Maybe the people who did find my website were not buying from it because they were bored!
So...I rebuilt my store.
If you've been to this website before, you know that we have a whole new look. I found a new template (that my daughter approved of) and rebuilt everything...new format, new pictures, and yes....it had a place for a built-in blog.
So there I sat...looking at the huge, terrifyingly EMPTY place for a blog.
Where do I start? What do I write about?
If I were selling cars, I could highlight a different brand each time, or talk about the history of cars, or the things that make it go....the best tires, the engine, etc.
But I make dance wear. Custom dance wear. What do I talk about? Spandex? Elastic?
The books said that I needed to "speak to my target audience." Ok...that would be dance moms.
But even though I spent many years in those trenches, I am not currently doing time in the studio...those days have passed. I have stories, and memories, and I sew for kids who dance every day, but as far as knowing current trends in the dance world, I am not an expert anymore.
Then it dawned on me. Yes, my target audience is dance moms...but what is a dance mom? She's a MOTHER! And that is something I can certainly relate to!
I was a dance mom, but I was also a foster mom. a homeschooling mom, a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, and an adoptive mom.
I've been the mother of boys, and girls, and dancers, and singers and scholars and athletes. I've mothered kids who were gifted, and kids who had special needs. I've mothered kids who were cherished from the time they were placed in their mother's arms...and kids who were abused and neglected before coming to us. I've raised kids of all shapes and sizes and a rainbow of colors.
And now, I am even the mother of kids who are themselves, moms...and dads.
As I thought about that, I realized that having a blog might not be as insurmountable a task as I'd thought. It might even be fun...maybe even therapeutic.
And since I am still alive after all my years of motherhood, (a point my daughter had so graciously pointed out) ...my experiences might actually be an inspiration to other moms who are in the trenches, living it now.
So...that became the plan...this blog is going to be about being a mom...and my target audience is....moms.
I won't always write about dance. (Although I'm pretty sure that my posts that don't specifically include talking about custom dance wear and being a dance mom will not help my google ratings)...
My posts will all be about motherhood.
I plan to write about whatever aspect of being a mom comes to mind, while I'm alone with my thoughts. I spend a lot of time in my sewing room making dance outfits...and if my daughter is right, and being a blogger is just "talking to yourself only writing it down," then this might work
So... whoever's out there, please tell your friends...then go grab a cup of coffee and get comfy. I'm going to tell you about my experiences as a mom....
But hang on tight.....it's going to be a wild ride!!!!