Motherhood truly changes everything, doesn't it? In today's episode, I interview the incredibly talented and successful Tamara Kelly from mooglyblog.com. She is a mother of three and shares how she went from dreaming of owning her own psychiatric practice to being a stay-at-home-mom to now a successful blogger. She also shares her incredible weight loss story of how she lost 100 pounds in just one year!
Tamara Kelly is the designer, blogger, author, and owner of Moogly, at Mooglyblog.com. On Moogly, Tamara shares her original free crochet patterns and craft tutorials, top-quality video tutorials, giveaways, annual Crochet Along, and so much more. Tamara is currently working with Red Heart Yarn, is an OttLite Brand Ambassador, has four crochet classes on Craftsy, and has published “Quick Crochet for the Home” with Interweave Publishing.
You can follow Tamara and Moogly by searching for “moogly” or “mooglyblog” on any social media platform, including Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram!
Links in this Episode
- Tamara's book, Quick Crochet for the Home
- Tamara on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/
- Tamara on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/
- Tamara on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/
- Tamara's Crochet-A-Long (CAL)
- The Merry Messy Moms Show Podcast Hub
Listen here on the blog, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts!
In this inspiring episode, Tamara shares a story to which so many of us mothers can relate. How we start off our adult lives with dreams of a career and find that motherhood changes our dreams quite dramatically. In Tamara's case, she went from dreaming of being a psychologist and having her own practice, to being a stay at home mom at the age of 25. Even though she loved her role and was very happy to be a mom, she did feel quite lonely with postpartum sadness. She turned to crochet for connection and fulfillment, which eventually led her to start her blog.
What started as a small website where she shared crochet patterns with friends and family, has turned into a huge success – crochet books, conferences, speaking engagements, online crochet classes and more! Her business success also gave Tamara the courage and confidence to lose more than 100 pounds, and has given her family the gift of having two parents who work from home and can spend more time with them than ever.
From Psychologist, to Mom, to Crochet Blog Empire
Growing up, Tamara has a bachelor's degree in psychology and wanted to be a psychology. She went to Indiana State University. She's always been interested in how peoples' minds works.
Started off thinking she was going to have a big fancy psychology practice, clients – the whole deal. But life happened – marriage, kids. She had planned to go back to grad school, but by the time her kids were old enough for her to go back to school, her heart was no longer in psychology.
At that point, she had started crocheting and got a lot of encouragement from friends and family to start a blog because she'd been making things for them as gifts. Her youngest child was going off to preschool, and they needed some more income. They had just enough money for her to play around with it and see if she could make it work as a business.
Her Husband had Computer Skills
Fortunately, her husband, whom she'd met back in college, had experience in videography and graphic design so it all just came together to start her business! She had always wanted to be home with her kids so it worked out really well to be able to stay at home. Her youngest was in preschool, so she had only four hours a week to get to the yarn store and work on a pattern. It wasn't much, but as moms we are used to getting a lot done in a short amount of time!
How She Chose the Name Moogly for her Blog
Whenever her daughter would step on anything wobbly, she would say, “Ooo, that's so Moogly!” They have no idea where she came up with the name but it became a family word they all used when they felt off balance.
The Rise to Blogging Success
When they first started, her husband was working four jobs, and she was doing three little part time things. They were doing whatever they could to piece together an income for their family.
When she started her blog she really had no idea what she doing and wasn't into computers or the internet. She relied on her husband to really take care of the technical details.
How She and Her Husband Run the Business Together
The blog has been very successful and two years ago, in 2016, her husband was able to quit his job and work full time with Tamara on the blog! They are able to have lunch together, go grocery shopping together and they really do get along well and enjoy this lifestyle.
He does the video editing, filming and all of the technical space on the blog. She designs and creates and they have their separate roles and even office spaces in their house so they have their space, even though they work together. This helps to keep the peace so they each have their own specific roles in the business.
It is really more than a full time job doing the crochet designing, the actual crocheting, the blog, website, answering questions and responding to emails. More time spent on the computer than playing with yarn!
The blog started small, and now she travels and speaks at crochet events!
Tamara really thought she would stay anonymous, that her blog would be small and she'd get just enough to make ends meet. She just wanted to make some money and some pretty things!
She has just followed the opportunities as they come along. She didn't really have strong ambitions when she started.
She has four Craftsy classes and has even written a book, which she says was a ton of work. Work she enjoyed, but it was very time consuming.
She does more Facebook and YouTube lives as an ambassador with RedHeart Yarn, which was a big step out of her comfort zone, but it has been worth it!
Banishing Fear and Believing in Yourself
She says that some of the biggest risks she's taken professionally have yielded the biggest rewards. It has taken courage on her part to take the risk and believe in herself. One such risk last year introduced Moogly to a whole new audience – knitters and many of them became interested in crochet because of Tamara and it ended up being the most profitable thing she did all year!
She talks about the imposter syndrome – that soon enough her audience will figure out that she's just a regular person, “it's just me, I'm not all that great.” That fear mindset can really kick in if you let it and can cause you to take opportunities that aren't right for the family, the brand, yourself or to not even recognize opportunities that are perfect for you and they slip away.
Her Kids Like to See Their Parents Working
She says her kids have liked to see them working together and having their parents home more often. They enjoy seeing them really going after their dreams and can get a good taste of what it's like to be an entrepreneur and also be able to take care of the family.
She really did enjoy the first 13 years of being a stay at home mom, though, and is so glad she had that quality time with her children. She does miss some of that one on one time she used to have with the kids.
But what she loves is that her kids get to have a lot more time with their dad and they are much closer to him than they used to be. She had the diapers, the breastfeeding, the potty training and now he gets to drive them places and be a chauffeur! She is home less than him because she travels quite a bit for the blog, so he is actually home more than he is.
She does crochet in the evenings and weekends so that she can hang out with the kids during those times. She does her computer work during the day when they're at school and finishes up around dinnertime.
She does love to travel and feels her job with the blog is really exciting! Her children are homebodies so she's able to fulfill her wanderlust, adult, professional time away.
And they are both able to be there for their kids when they have an event at school or activities.
We love how we can make money doing what we love and still be home for our kids. The internet has allowed moms to really be able to work and be there for our kids.
Weight Loss Journey
All three of Tamara's babies were 10 pounds or more and the weight never really came off. Crocheting and working online obviously isn't a physical activity so her lifestyle at the time wasn't helping her to be active.
But the good thing is that even though she wasn't in denial that she needed to lose weight, she also wasn't letting it bother her. When her kids were younger, she would stop herself from doing certain activities because she thought she was too heavy. Or she'd tell herself, “when I'm thin I'll do that.” As the kids got older, she decided she was no longer going to let her weight keep her from living her live and enjoying it.
As her blog grew and she started doing classes online through Craftsy, her desire to be more healthy grew. Then about a year ago, a switch flipped and she felt ready to tackle it.
No Special Diet – Just Counting Calories
She didn't tell anyone but her husband and got a free app to support her called Lose It. She counted calories and it wasn't easy. There were no miracle creams or wraps, no pills or even special diets. Just counting calories!
After a year, she had lost an incredible 100 pounds! She feels really good and has a lot more energy. She has noticed at crochet conferences she can walk the floor with much more ease and feels good while she's there. She hasn't worked in a regular exercise routine yet, so the weight was truly lost with changing her diet.
She remembers being slower and more tired and having the weight off has been enough motivation to keep it off.
It took time, persistence, and sticking to it. She ate what she wanted to eat, just less of it. There were several plateaus where she didn't think she'd keep going, but she got back in the game and kept on!
When she happens to come across an old video when she was heavier, she is really surprised to see the difference.
Adjustments after losing the weight
There are still mental adjustments going on since the weight has come off. A big change was that she was constantly changing sizes during that year and it was difficult and costly to be shopping frequently and buying clothes for her new shape.
Another thing that surprised her was that it changed some of her relationships. She had some friends who were used to her being a certain weight and wanting to lose their own weight and it was hard for them to see Tamara succeed as they are struggling.
Looking back, she doesn't think she would've been able to lose the weight when the kids were little because it really helped for them to be able to
Her Confidence Grew with the Blog and it Helped her Lose the Weight
Moogly gave her the confidence to lose the weight. It helped her to believe that she is worth it! That she is worth spending the time, energy and money on herself. She had a hard time justifying to herself that it was okay to buy food just for herself that would help her reach her weight loss goals.
They are 16, 12 and 11 and do not eat like an adult should be eating since they are growing and need more calories.
One of her mantras was, “I am not a trash can!” Which to her meant that it wasn't her job to finish her kids' leftovers. She released the belief that it was bad to waste food and decided it was better for it to be in the trash can than for it to be in her!
Her Weight Loss Affected Her Daughter
Her daughter, who's 16, has been able to see her mom lose the weight and grow in confidence. Tamara loves that she's been able to see her run successful business, so much so that she could hire her own husband! And to have her dad home during these critical teenage years has been priceless.
The process teaches your children to take care of themselves, that you're worth it!
She was very careful to never call herself fat, or put herself down and criticize her body in front of the kids. That's one of the reasons she decided to do it quietly at first and eventually, when the weight loss was significant they took notice. She quietly made better choices.
It was a big day when her 12 year old son hugged her and said, “Mom, I can put my arms all the way around you now!”
How her Blog Created a Community
It brings women together from all over the world, especially with her Crochet Alongs. When she first became a mom at 25 years old, she got really into the motherhood.com message boards and loved connecting with other moms there and learning about pregnancy, childbirth and child rearing.
She took up crocheting because she had some postpartum sadness with her first child and she felt really lonely as a new mom. Crocheting helped her deal with the sadness because she was able to start a complete a project, which as a mom, we all know it feels like projects are never done! She likes to check things off a checklist, so it was one thing that she felt like she accomplished and could be creative. Ta-da! It's done!
She got onto the website, Ravelry, and saw people sharing patterns going back and forth and wanted to start sharing her own patterns, and that's how her blog was born!
She hires 24 designers a year to design one square of a blanket and has a community of crocheters that make two squares a month. By the end of the year, they have completed a blanket together!
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