Greetings everyone and welcome back to my Meet the Blogger Behind the Blog weekly series. We didn't have a post last week as I was running around crazy getting ready for my dad and sisters coming into town for our dad's birthday weekend. It was a fun and interesting weekend that is for sure. This week I would like you to meet 33 year old Teresa and her blog Embracing the Spectrum. She talks about what it is like to raise her autistic son which I think is awesome and hope that it will help other parents that might need her posts.
1. What or who inspired you to create your blog?
My blog is inspired by my autistic son. I decided after his diagnosis that I would spread awareness of autism, tell the reality of it, and bring hope to parents going through the same things we’re going through.
2. What is your #1 favorite thing about blogging and why?
Blogging is like therapy, but it’s also a good way to find a community when you don’t have time to go out and meet people in person. I have a busy life, but I have found so many people with children who have autism by writing this blog. I love that!
3. What main topics do you blog about?
I write about family, do book reviews on inspirational material, and tell our story.
4. When you’re not blogging, what do you enjoy doing?
I am a teacher, a mom, and I’m in grad school. If I have time, I try to make it to the gym. I need the endorphin's. I also read and watch way too much television.
5. What has been your favorite place to visit and explore?
I have the good fortune of living near the coast of North Carolina. I do not enjoy getting all sandy, but I do enjoy the view. Downtown New Bern is also a beautiful place and we love driving there to walk near the waterfront. The kids love watching the bridge go up so that the boats can go through.
6. Do you blog as a hobby or is it your job?
I’m in a kind of purgatory here. I don’t have time to really make it a job, but I do make a few bucks here and there on affiliate links. I would love to get more traffic, write more reviews on things I really care about, and at least be able to cover the expenses of blogging. Being a part of BlogHer and SITSgirls has increased my revenue some, but at some point I have to justify the cost of running my blog to my husband.
7. Where would you like to take your blog in 5 years?
Right now I get about 100 to 150 page views per day. I would love to increase that number…a lot! I’ve come a long way since the beginning, but it takes a while to get the word out there about your blog. The breaks I have during the school year are the times I really get some writing done. Eventually, I’ll have time to do more and get where I want to go.
8. What has been the hardest thing that you’ve encountered since you began blogging?
Writer’s block is a big thing for me right now. But I don’t think it’s so much writer’s block as writer’s denial. Raising a child with autism is hard and I try so hard to be positive that sometimes it’s very difficult for me to write. You would probably not be surprised by how harshly people criticize the parenting of those raising children with special needs. If you say one negative thing, it’s like people assume you don’t love your child. I’ll get over it one day. Maybe after I turn 40 and develop a thicker skin. I know how much I love my children. I don’t really need the affirmation of others, right?
9. From your experience, what’s one tip that you would give to a new blogger?
Networking is really important if you want to get the word out there about your blog. When I first started, I asked for advice from other bloggers, joined networks, increased social media participation, and linked up with other bloggers all the time. It helped! When I get done with grad school, and then National Board Certification, I’m jumping right back into it!
10. What are your top 3 must watch tv shows?
Oh my goodness. That’s a hard question. I do watch too much television. Let’s see… Of course, I’m super excited about The Walking Dead coming back, I love Shameless, and then it’s a toss-up between Modern Family and The Middle, but if The Orange is the New Black comes back, both of those shows might get kicked out of the running.
11. What is something about you or that you that makes you unique?
I am an autism mama that also has several years experience working as a special education teacher. I feel that I almost have a duty to share my knowledge with the world. And I will. I will.
12. Do you have a historical or currently living icon that you look up to? Why?
As a little girl, I always looked up to Amelia Earhart and pretty much any other strong female character. I’m a feminist from way back and loved reading biographies about the adventures of women who did more in their lifetimes than I can ever dream possible. When Amelia Earhart was a little girl, she and her sister used to take boxes and fly off of the rooftop. What I wouldn’t give to be so fearless!
13. What is the one blog post that you are the most proud of hitting the publish button on?
Since I speak from the heart most of the time, I have several. But most recently, I wrote a letter to my son on his 9th birthday. Though I read it to him, he didn’t really have a reaction, but one day he’ll understand what I wrote to him and hopefully feel my love coming through. http://embracingthespectrum.com/a-letter-to-my-autistic-son-on-his-9th-birthday/
14. What is your favorite season and the one thing that you look forward to during it each year?
I love Spring. I most look forward to regaining daylight again. The winter is hard for me because it’s cold and dark and if I don’t go to the gym, I don’t get much exercise. I’m so looking forward to warming temperatures (more consistently) and, most importantly, the return of the sun.
15. Is there anything else that you would like to share about yourself, your life or your blog?
Although I said it’s hard raising a child with autism, I have two children that are very different from each other, and I appreciate their differences. Both of my children are, in my opinion, awesome. I wouldn’t change them for the world, but I would change the world for them.