Behind the Blog with Jen Mackinnon from Practical by Default

Jen Mackinnon is a fellow homeschool blogger who is also a working mom. She writes her blog to help working parents find balance while juggling all.the.things. Today, I’m delighted to chat with her about exactly how she balances everything!

Jen MacKinnon from Practical by Default talks about blogging, homeschooling and working full-time

TKM: First, tell us a bit about Jen Mackinnon.

Jen: Hi, I am Jen. I am a coffee drinking, book reading, hater-of-dusting mom and wife. I have two teenagers (a boy age 15 and a girl age 13). I work 4 jobs at this moment and have been juggling working and homeschooling for 10+ years.

TKM: When and why did you start blogging?

Jen: I started blogging because I felt alone. I was so tired of being the “only one” working and homeschooling. My friends meant well but they weren’t in the trenches day in and day out.

My working friends told me to put the kids on the bus to make my life less hectic.

My homeschool friends suggested quitting work to make life easier.

Since neither of those options works for my family, I needed to find a way to balance it all. I knew there had to be other moms out there just trying to do what is best for their families. So I started blogging and launched Practical By Default in January 2016. Turns out I was right 😉 I wasn’t alone.

TKM: How did you come up with your blog name?

Jen: Naming things have always been a struggle for me. I am the least creative person I know. The pets have been named by my husband or kids. We have Max (short for Maximum Destruction, yes the MonsterTruck!) who thankfully has not lived up to his name. The cats are Queen Cleopatra, “Cleo” for short. Along with Beans. We also had fish named Bob and Baloney (don’t ask!).

I knew a name was important but I kept drawing a blank. My husband always jokes about how boringly practical I am. If I am going to do something it needs to either save me time, money or make my life easier. He jokes I am practical to a fault—or by Default. Thus the name: Practical, By Default. It is who I am in every sense.

TKM: Do you have a blog schedule or do you post when you feel like it?

Jen: Oh dear! A schedule would be awesome but honestly, I write when I feel like I have something useful, fun, and of course, practical to share. I write at least once a week but more often than not 4-5 days a week. Everything I share either will help you do one of 4 things:

  • Solve a working homeschool mom problem
  • Homeschool your child with confidence and fun
  • Save time and money
  • Provide encouragement, inspiration, and support

And sometimes I hit all 4 in one post! 😉

TKM: What is your favourite part of blogging? Your least favourite part?

Jen: My favorite part of blogging is connecting with those on the same journey I am. I have a wonderful community of Working Homeschool Moms on Facebook that I love to hang out with.

My least favorite part of blogging is how easy it is to feel “not good enough.” Self-comparison is so easy when you see or read what others are doing. It is something I struggle with. I would say the mental aspect of many people not knowing how much work, time and effort you put into every single blog post can be hard. Along with the emotional roller coaster that can happen every single day.

TKM: What advice would you offer other bloggers?

Jen: Do it your way. Really. It will be okay. Just like homeschooling, there is no one way to do this thing. So do it your way, make mistakes, learn from them and have fun.

TKM: What is your favourite social media platform and why?

In my personal life, I don’t use social media. I had to learn what these platforms are and how to others use them. I just joined Facebook when I launched my blog. Although there are many things I dislike about the platform, it allowed me to create my Facebook Group and do Live videos which are a blast, even though I hate cameras! (Ha!) So I would need to go with Facebook, with Instagram and Pinterest coming up next.

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