This is a sponsored post written in partnership with CROSS Pens for The Long Story Short
“So you used to teach but now you travel to Haiti, go to CES, and run races to fundraise for St. Jude?” a neighbor asked this weekend as we gathered for a holiday celebration. The perplexed look on her face said it all as wheels in her head were turning, trying to connect the dots between my former professional life and my current employment. After all, my career path is not the linear one I once thought it would be but how I ended up here is a very good question.
I’ve always loved to write but am an accidental blogger who fell into this nine years ago. Since then I’ve pursued my passion that blends my love of writing, background in technology and education, with current experiences in parenting kids in the digital age into a career. What started out as a hobby has led to incredible opportunities that I never would have had as a classroom teacher.
Let’s rewind, shall we?
Early on in my teaching career, I was on track to become a principal. It seemed like the next logical step after working as a classroom teacher and then training teachers in our school system how to integrate technology into their lessons. I loved the energy that came from working with kids, collaborating with passionate colleagues, and knowing that my job mattered. The idea of being a school administrator was exciting and yet scary at the same time but one I knew I was ready for. At least until I found out I was pregnant with Emily.
As a new mom who had worked so hard for the successes in my career thus far, I had a hard time wrapping around the idea that I was going to take a break from work to stay home with our new daughter. She meant the world to me and I couldn’t imagine putting her in the care of someone else to be a principal to hundreds of other children. Then again, I had never seen myself as a stay at home mom either.
“Don’t look at it as time away,” my husband said to me one day. “Look at it as time to pursue something else you might not have a chance to do otherwise.”
I stayed connected with colleagues in the school system meeting them for lunch just so they had baby time with Emily, kept teaching online classes for colleges and universities during her naps and at night, but also found a new community of moms who quickly became good friends.
Weekly playdates, meeting at music classes, sharing free kid-friendly events among our circle, and the occasional lunch out with our little ones in tow became my new norm. We talked about kid stuff. We talked about work stuff. We talked about a blogger named Dooce.
One day my friend, Jessica, sent out an email about her new blog and inviting us to check out A Parent in Silver Spring. As an avid blog reader and the mom always in the know about the local events for kids and families in the area, her new site was a treasure trove of resources for local families. I replied back with congratulations and an offer to help that was met with an enthusiastic “Yes, please!”
My task was to write about technology and education but in addition to writing about free parent education workshops and local libraries, one of my early posts was also about ice cream parlors. Jessica was a fantastic first editor who gave me free license to write as often as I wanted but also encouraged me to start my own site.
“You should start your own site,” she said one day over lunch as our kids shared a platter of Mexican food, her son enjoying the rice and beans as Emily reached for more steak. “You’ll be like Fraiser to my Cheers, a spin off.”
After saying I was content writing for her, a month later I found myself buying a URL, learning how to customize templates on Blogger, and starting Tech Savvy Mama in 2008 to share what I knew about technology and kids from my work in the school system.
Back then software came in boxes, PBSKids.org was one of very few well done sites for kids, and there were no smartphones, apps, and kids on social media. I wrote about what I knew and companies found me. In 2008 it never would have occurred to me that my hobby could become a full time job.
These days I like to say I have job security because of the explosion of devices, our connected lives, and having children whose social lives are tied to their smartphones, texting, and social media.
But once a teacher, always a teacher. I love educating my readers and followers through my site and social platforms. Speaking at events brings out the teacher in me, especially when I’m in front of students during Emily’s annual middle school career day. I wow them with the fact that I get to work with amazing clients like YouTube, visit the White House to interview Michelle Obama, take press trips to places like Skywalker Ranch, and get paid to do social media.
I encourage them to hone their writing skills because good writers can do anything, even create new career paths for themselves that they never knew were even a possibility in 2008.
I tell them that despite my tech savvy and love of all things digital, I always have a pen and a notebook with me to jot down notes. I encourage them to write a lot and write often about the things that they’re passionate about, just like I did when I first started Tech Savvy Mama and continue to do today.
I am telling my story about how I started blogging as part of The Long Story Short, a campaign for CROSS Pens about taking the next step. For me, there was comfort and security in staying with my teaching career while pursuing the path of the unknown was scary yet exhilarating. As a champion of the pursuit of greatness, CROSS celebrates the spark that inspires a passion, to the hard work and creativity needed to make it happen. The company recognizes that leaps of faith like mine takes courage and a lot of heart, but those who take this path are the ones who make their mark on this world.
To shop for CROSS pen to give as gifts to celebrate achievements and special moments visit their website.
This post is sponsored by CROSS pens and I received my pen engraved with @TechSavvyMama as part of The Long Story Short #WriteGift campaign. All opinions are my own.