Sarah Mueller, the supermom behind EarlyBirdMom was nice enough to free some time and offer us a video interview. Transcribed to make it easier to follow, read on and find out more about how this busy mom started her blog, what motivates her (~hint~ it’s all about the people ~hint~), and how decluttering can take you a looong way. Ready to press play?
1. Let’s begin! Care to tell our readers a little something about yourself?
I am a single mom to 4 boys and we live in Pennsylvania. My youngest is 7 and my oldest is 18 so we run the gamut and we lead a pretty busy life, as you can imagine.
2. What’s the story of EarlyBirdMom? What determined you to start one and how has it evolved since your first post?
EarlyBirdMom is 4 years old at this point and I just started blogging because I needed something to do. I had just sold my previous e-commerce business, which was an online German language bookstore, and I was needing something extra to do.
I was homeschooling my kids at the time and I just really love writing and encouraging other women and so that’s why I started writing and it’s really evolved over time to be a place where I give encouragement and motivation and I teach people how to declutter their homes.
That’s where I’ve focused because that is the place that I’ve just seen the biggest impact and I can make a real difference for people.
3. What have you learned from blogging? How did it impact your life, and what motivates you to keep it up and running?
Well, I have learned that it is a lot of work, it’s a lot of fun, it’s amazing! I get to stay home with my kids, I can work, you know, in between the times that we have available, I don’t have to go to a full-time job.
What motivates me to keep it running is that I hear from people about the impact I’m making in their lives and it is just completely humbling and life-changing for me to hear what a difference I’m making in their lives.
They email me constantly, I’m getting emails from people, I have a Facebook group of over 40,000 thousand people and they are changing their lives through the things that they learn from me and that is, you just cannot match that. It is an amazing feeling, so that is why I keep going.
4. You blog, you’re a mom, you are an entrepreneur, how do you manage to stay organized throughout the day and make time for everything?
Well, I don’t make time for everything, I think that’s probably the first one, and the fact that we have decluttered so much from our home means it is really easy to keep up. And it’s still a lot of work with 4 kids and a dog and being a single mom, but that is a huge part of just getting through life. Life is easier when you have less stuff.
And then the other thing is that I have a lot of habits and systems in place to just help me stay focused and organized and when I’m working, I work, and when I’m not working, I try to shut down and put things away and you just have to be organized. Otherwise, you’re gonna drown, right?
5. Do you have any advice for our readers on that matter?
Really, I think, the thing that I see the most is that people are trying to do way too much. Like they’re trying to go to a million sports practices, they’re trying to decorate, they’re trying to cook, etcetera, and they just don’t say no to things and that is just a recipe for overwhelm, and frustration, and burnout and like, misery.
And I think: why do you do that to yourself? Nobody has said that you have to bake cookies from scratch, that you have to have your kids in all these activities. That is a choice that you make and if you say yes to that, then you are also saying yes to all the stress that this puts on you.
If you say yes to “yes, I want to decorate” and do that max for every single holiday, well, then you’re probably gonna be stressed out about storing the decorations and taking them up and putting them away and you know, all that kind of stuff.
But if you can just simplify and pair back, you’ll have time to breathe! And you’re gonna have more energy and that is so amazing, in my opinion, and I don’t understand why anyone would want anything else, right?
I understand that it’s tempting to go all in for all this stuff, but there is a price to pay and that price is very real, and that’s something I keep in mind all the time.
6. What do you most enjoy doing with your kids or what is your favorite family tradition?
We love being outside, so my kids love being outside, we love riding bikes, playing in our backyard, we’ve got a zip line, we’ve got a trampoline, swing set, like we just really love being outside, going to the creek, that kind of stuff. So we adore fresh air, and sunshine, and [we’re] trying to make the most of that.
7. Confession time: what do you consider to be your biggest parenting success?
That’s a challenging one. I guess [the fact] that my 18 years old, my oldest one, is in his freshman year of college and he has managed to save up over $10,000 and he’s about to buy himself a new (to him) car and I’m just so proud of him.
He has had a job for over a year and he saved his money and he is really really disciplined with his money and I am just so proud of the fact that he is able to do that. He’s got himself to work on time and he is just doing a really great job.
8. What helps you decide to post/not to post pictures of your children on social media?
I know that for some people, that is a really big deal for them, but it’s not really big of a deal for me. I just wanna respect my kids and if they are ok with me showing something, then I will share it.
If they don’t want me to share, then I’m not gonna share it and I don’t share a ton of pictures of them, but I guess they like it when I share their pictures online.
So I think you should just do what you’re comfortable with and if you don’t wanna share, then you don’t do that. But I don’t really see a reason to get all upset if people are posting pictures, it’s really every person’s choice on how they do that.
9. While it might sometimes be hard to find a moment for yourself, what are your favorite “Me time” indulgences?
I just love, love, love going to a coffee shop with a book and a cappuccino and just sitting and reading a book, and hopefully, there’s a fireplace next to, you know, next to where I’m sitting, and I just love to have that merry alone quiet time. As a mom of 4 boys, that alone time to not work is like, total luxury and indulgence for me.
10. Want to share your biggest achievement/what you are most proud of?
There’s so many! I mean, I’m so proud of influencing the number of people that I have managed to collect and there’s more, they come every day. Like I said, we have a Facebook group of (more than) 40,000 people, we have a thriving Facebook page that is even bigger.
We just, we’re doing so much to change people’s lives and I just can’t stop talking about that because it’s so exciting for me, so rewarding, and I love it.
And we were actually recently picked to be one of the Facebook alfa testers on a new feature that they just launched in June, and we were one of the first 10 groups to be a part of that.
We launched a subscription group and so that is now up-and-running. And not only was I part of the first 10 or 12 groups, but they actually picked me to feature, so my face was all over Entrepreneur.com and Good Housekeeping, and Forbes Magazine online, and USA Today so that was like super fun, mini-celebrity moment for me, so I’m really proud of that.
11. To wrap things up, do you have any advice you want to offer our readers?
Well, I would say slow down, pick your priorities, you don’t have to say Yes to everything, it’s okay to say No, and just believe in yourselves because, if you don’t, who else is going to, right?
I mean, you can do hard things, and I have to say, we can underestimate what we can do in a year, right, and we overestimate what we can do in a day. So when we’re planning our day, we think “oh, I can get all these 20 things done”.
In reality, we probably get only 3 or 4 things done, so we’re overestimating what we can do in a day. But, when we think about what we can do in a whole year if we’re methodical, and organized, and plan, we can get a ton of stuff done in a year. So, that’s my advice, and I hope that helps!