WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
How I am (kinda) keeping my life in order as a bookstamom and how you can too (probably).
Hey everyone. I am Kallie. I’m a married 28 year old mother of twin 3 year old daughters and two weiner dogs. I’m an artist, a bookstagrammer, Night Worms blogger, musician, and all around badass. People ask me all the time, “Kallie, how do you do it all?” or “Where do you find the time for all that?” Well, I've been asked these things enough that I decided to write out step by step instructions to how you, too, can have it all. Don’t worry though, guys, it’s totally easy and won’t require much effort on your part at all!
This is me. Great hair, makeup done, in actual clothes. That is what I look like most days!
- Have perfect kids and be a perfect parent.
This is an easy one guys. If you want to have time to read and take bookstagram pictures, just make sure that you can squeeze in some photos and reading while your perfect children are studying quietly while they learn their 4th language. Since your kids are perfect, you will never ever have to yell at them or hide in the pantry while you shovel a kitkat in your mouth so you can have 4 seconds to yourself. You definitely won’t have to distract them with Blippi for 20 minutes so you can take a few book photos. You definitely don’t need to stay up too late to finish a book after your kids have gone to sleep.
- Get a full 8+ hours sleep every single night.
You need to be well rested to make sure that you can work on those commissions without also playing that “can you find something red game” with your kids, make your kids all those balanced meals that definitely don’t include dinosaur chicken nuggets and to make sure that your house is spotless IRL and not just in photos.
- Speaking of a clean house, make sure your house is always squeaky clean.
This is another easy one that requires minimal effort. Never go to bed with a mess, definitely don’t wait to sweep or mop until there is an army of dinosaur figurines calling the cave under your couch home, and make sure that you clean every room of your house every single day. You definitely wouldn’t just take book photos with the mess just out of shot, right? LOL that would be bonkers!
- Don’t forget to be a social butterfly!
Definitely make sure to see your friends outside of the book club you guys are in that meets once per month. It’s not hard to take a sliver of ALL OF THAT FREE TIME that you have to get ready and leave your house, since baby sitters are so easy to find, and go see your friends. You definitely will have more than one day every month to see other adults.
- I don’t even have to remind you to be the perfect spouse.
You definitely have time for a date night. You would never just leave little notes on the dry erase board on the fridge like a freaking captain's log to let your S.O. know that you still think they have a nice butt because you definitely have time to see them every single day all the time.
COME ON, GUYS. WAKE UP.
This is what I actually look like on most days. I am wearing pajamas and I am on my third day of dry shampoo. I don’t even have all of my piercings in my face.
Being a bookstamom isn’t glamorous, even if we make the photos appear that way. I do have some ACTUAL tips and tricks that I use to not feel like a complete train wreck 99% of the time. I’m not saying that these work for everyone, but they work for me and my family. So here is how I *make it look like* I do it all. But trust me, I don’t do it all. A lot of days, I don’t even do anything.
This is Charlie. AKA Monster #1 trying to play blocks with my books.
Okay so first, my kids are wonderful and beautiful, but they are also tiny and loud monsters. They like to take my reading glasses CONSTANTLY and they hate cleaning up their thousands of dino toys. Sometimes I yell and sometimes I let them watch tv so I can have 5 seconds to remember that I am something other than a stay at home mom/ work from home artist. Before I had kids, I was *one of those* people that said, “OMG I’ll never let my kid watch those toy videos. Only educational stuff.” Or, “My kids aren’t going to have those processed foods, we’re going to only eat whole and healthy foods.” You can stop laughing now because I know that I was a giant dumb dumb for thinking that. It’s all fine in moderation. Yea, Karen, my kids can have fruit snacks sometimes, it’s okay. They love youtube videos and it took me a while to convince myself that IT IS OKAY for my kids to watch tv sometimes. I know that my kids play and like books and puzzles. They do things other than watch TV is what I mean. It took me a while to come to terms with the fact that it’s okay for that to happen. Any parent that says I’m a bad mom can go comment on their parenting Facebook group about it because my kids are rad and smart and IDC what any Susan has to say about how I’m raising them because it WORKS FOR US.
This is Frankie. AKA Monster #2 stealing my reading glasses for the 90th time that day.
That’s exactly my advice for reading with kids. FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. I do most of my reading after my kids go to bed. I’m one of those lucky fast readers and I don’t usually fall asleep while I read, so that is what works for me. I can, however, squeeze in reading when my kids are awake when I get out their kinetic sand. Kinetic sand is rad and I am actually really salty that I didn't have it when I was a kid. I got this kinetic sand, 2 bags of pink, and 2 bags of purple. I put them in these to help contain the mess. I also bought these sand toys to play with. Yea, I use Amazon Prime for everything. I don’t have time for stores and Amazon has everything. My kids will play with these little kinetic sand kits for quite a while. It’s awesome to have this option when I really want to finish a book or I want to edit a book photo.
(Top) A photo of my shelves you might see on my insta.
(Bottom) THE REALITY.
Next on my list of being the perfect bookstamom is sleeping. I am really terrible at sleeping. It’s like sleeping is an ability that I should have been able to master by now, but it’s the same for me as saying the word “Worcestershire.” I can try really hard and I do alright, but I’ll never be one of those people that can just do it confidently. So I do the best I can and then just drink a lot of coffee. Maybe you don’t drink coffee, that’s fine (weirdo) just find the thing that works for you. I always have iced coffee in my fridge (I have something really similar to this) and I NEVER go to bed without setting my coffee pot up first. My kids are normally great sleepers, but sometimes they decide to wake up at ungodly hours for no reason at all. It’s moments like that, in the wee hours, when I can barely open my eyes but my kids are suddenly Olympic level acrobats, that I am so grateful that I force myself to set up the coffee pot before I go to bed. Lack of sleep and mass amounts of coffee WORKS FOR ME.
(Top) A book photo you might see on my insta.
(Bottom) THE REALITY.
Number three on my “how to be a fake perfect person” list is keeping a clean house. *cue laughter* I have two toddlers. My house is literally never clean. There are dinosaurs everywhere. Somehow my kids have sticky hands 99% of the time even though we just cleaned them. It’s just what toddlers do. What works for me is to have secret places for toddler toys so my house *feels* clutter-free, but if you go to the wrong angle, you see the mess. Basically what I’m saying is, keeping the clutter OUT OF MY SHOT, works for me. I also use my house as a backdrop for my photos. One, so I don’t have to have a bunch of props laying around, and two, because I think I have alright decorating tastes and I like taking pictures of how I have decorated. Keeping kid's toys hidden from my eyeline and keeping clutter *just* out of frame WORKS FOR ME.
(Top) A book photo you might see on my insta.
(Bottom) THE REALITY.
Next up, I have to say that I am NOT a social butterfly. I have a group of friends (who also happen to be in my book club) and I don’t usually see them in person unless the book club is meeting. My husband works and he works A LOT, and with the price of child care these days, I usually stay home. And that WORKS FOR ME. I talk with my friends a lot through text and this book community that I’ve found has honestly helped me so much with not being around grown-ups for 90% of my day. My friends convinced me to finally start a real deal bookstagram account just over a year ago (thanks guys, love you). I have always been a reader, but they were the ones that finally made me bite the bullet to make the account. Then Sadie reached out to me and told me about Night Worms and offered me a spot on the blog team and it has been full speed ahead ever since. I have found my people, my community. Having them behind me every day really helps me when I need a reminder that I don’t have to be going out to have caring friends and that I can make meaningful connections to people online (looking at you guys, fellow Night Worms bloggers * I'm not crying, you are*). I’m assuming that you know about #bookstagram if you’re reading this article, but if you don’t, click here. This community is massively supportive. This community WORKS FOR ME to help me stay in touch with the part of me that isn’t just a mom.
As I said, my husband works A TON. I am a very lucky person to be able to stay home with my kids and take commissions as I choose. I recognize that. I also think that my marriage is one built on WHAT WORKS FOR US. We knew before we had kids and before we decided that I would stay home with them, that things would be difficult, and that our couple time would be dramatically lessened. Are there times we want to strangle each other? HECK YEA. Are there times we argue? Duh. But my husband and I know what we want out of our lives and we know there are sacrifices that need to be made to get there. We still try to have a daily check-in, and we spend our off days together as much as possible. That doesn’t work for everyone, but it WORKS FOR US. Also, we really do leave notes for each other on the whiteboard on the fridge. I don’t have any fun links to share with this one. I just want to make sure people know that I don’t do everything myself. I have help sometimes from someone who loves and supports me and I’m not afraid to ask for help from him. If you need help with something, you should ask someone to help you, it doesn’t make you look weak or dumb. It takes courage to ask for help. Even if it’s asking your husband to take your kids on a walk so you can read those last few chapters. You just have to do what WORKS FOR YOU.
IG Stories can seem too perfect, too.
There are a few more things you should know about being a bookstamom. One is that I take, edit and post all of my photos from my iPhone. I quite literally do not have time to switch back and forth from my phone to a camera to a computer or a tablet or whatever. That’s too many things to keep track of and too many expensive things for my kids to break. I bought this to make taking photos easier since I don’t trust my kids’ artistic photography skills just yet. I use the Halide app for up close focus photos. I use A Color Story to edit every single picture that I take. I use Bazaart to do some more photoshop-y things. I use Filmm if I am editing a video and A Design Kit to make fun story templates. Both Filmm and A Design Kit were made by the same people that made A Color Story. Some of these things cost a small amount of money, or some of them have in-app purchases. But since I don’t use a ton of fancy equipment, I don’t mind those few costs that much. Think about buying a few filter sets vs. buying an entire camera. That $1.99 doesn’t seem so bad now, no?
I am not trying to say that everything on the internet is fake. A lot of it is real and a lot of it is honest. But I do actually get asked a lot how I'm able to get all of these things done, like reading and reviewing, or how I can be a super mom. I just need people to know that I struggle to get things done and that I am not a super mom, even if I would love to have that title sometimes.. I love to read and review books and I make time in my life for the things that I love. I just hope that by sharing the reality of being a bookstamom, I’ve helped someone out there find something that works for them to make time in their lives for the things that they love also.
So go figure out what works for you and send me any other tips you might have on how to get more hours in a day!