Things are busy in Central New Jersey, where Liz Thompson works at a fitness center, looks after her four kids, and maintains her popular award-winning blog This Full House. She spoke with Life360 Now! about writing, The Brady Bunch, and why parents never sleep.
What prompted you to start writing the blog?
I started blogging in 2003—back before traffic counts and SEO ruled the earth—as just another way to connect with other moms, share stories and feel a little less disconnected with life on the outside, beyond all the poop and diapers. Who knew, right?
Was a very full house something you’d always hoped for or something that just came about gradually?
I am a first generation American. My parents worked two, sometimes three jobs just to be able to support our small family. So, my Grandmother helped to raise me and my twin brother. The rest of our family lived overseas. I loved watching shows like The Waltons and The Brady Bunch and—although now those television shows seem awfully cheesy—I remember hoping that I could also have a big family like that one day. My husband, however, comes from a large family (five kids). He’s a great partner and a wonderful dad, who didn’t take much convincing, really 😉
What are the things that inspire you to keep blogging? What are the challenges that come from being an active blogger and a mom?
Good question. I guess after all this time writing has become an important part of my life and I can’t imagine a day when I am NOT blogging about something. Yes, my kids are getting older, but that doesn’t mean I stop being a mom, or for that matter, a person. Although, the challenging part is still the same: trying to explain to some people in real life just what the heck a parenting-type blogger (like me) does and how anyone would find the time to in the first place. My answer is STILL the same too: I am inspired by the blogging community. I love meeting moms (and dads) from all walks of life and enjoy learning a little about myself, from reading their stories, as well.
Where do you find the time to write, work and raise four kids and do all that other stuff mom’s do? I guess another way of asking this is: do you ever sleep?
I manage a fitness center for women four afternoons/evenings a week, so I try to get all of my writing done while all my kids are in school during the day. Some days this actually works. Most times, I’m scrambling to get things done just like everyone else I know. My kids are growing so fast, so our priories are changing too (i.e. the laundry will NEVER be done) and I guess it’s like that with everything else in real life. It’s important that we (especially moms and dads) make time do the things that we like, or at least what we want to do too, right? Except, sleep. In my opinion, once you become a parent, you’ll NEVER get a good night’s sleep again. Sorry.
Many people have trouble opening up about their personal lives, but you do it effortlessly, and in such a relatable and funny way on your blog. Is that something that comes naturally to you? Did you have any concerns about how you’d be perceived on the blog?
I love to write. If you’ve visited with me (even once) then you know that I am clumsy, forgetful, easily distracted and try too gosh-darned hard to be everything to everyone and, more often than not, end up feeling like a horrible person/mother/blogger. There are people who STILL feel that way I’m sure. Aaaand I’m okay with that, because at the end of the day I know that there will be at least one person who will be able to relate. It makes me happy to know that a self-professed dork of a blogger (like me) perhaps helped make another mother look AND feel a little better about herself.
How did you get your family to buy into being written about?
My kids were eight years-old and younger when I first started blogging. Today, I’m raising two teens and two tweens and—although the conversation on my blog has changed quite a bit—I try not to write anything they would feel uncomfortable reading about… me either. They used to have blog names (Thing One, Thing Two, The Boy and Mini-me), but last year they asked me to start using their real names. Besides, Holly, Heather, Glen and Hope sounds much prettier, right?
If there’s a particular story I want to write, but I’m unsure about it, I’ll just ask them. Like, my middle girl (she’s 14) decided to let me write about her medical issues, hoping that it would help another family, or a kid, who is suffering from pilonidal disease. It sure helped me get through it, you know? My husband? After nearly seven years of imbibing in a little “online therapy” (mine, I mean) he’s okay with it, although I’m still not allowed to use his “real name.”
There will be a time when you have three teenagers under your roof simultaneously. Does this cause you as much trepidation as it would likely cause other parents? What else are you looking forward to in your professional and family life?
Not really. Once you’ve been bitten and all that. I know I’m very lucky, though and—although, our children don’t have to always like each other—the kids pretty much understand we are a team. Especially with my being away from home four afternoons/evening every week, they’ve had to learn to pitch in and actually enjoy cooking and helping each other with homework, mostly. However, the thought of having multiple kids, in college, at the same time…(shudder) …unthinkable, at the moment. Unless I get a really great writing gig, of course, but Disney first, since, you know, my kids ARE the only ones in the neighborhood who have NEVER been to Disney World.