We had the good fortune of connecting with Alyssa Ast and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alyssa , how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I’ve always had the luxury of being a stay-at-home mother; however, while changing diapers and washing dishes, I’ve also worked as a professional writer and author for the past 12 years. Although I’ve always had a passion for words, I never expected to make a career out of it. While sitting at home during nap time, I decided to submit a short piece I’d written to an online publication. To my surprise, it was accepted and published. This was the moment that sparked the fire behind my career. Initially, I only wanted to make enough money to buy a box of diapers every month, but things quickly snowballed. It seemed like overnight I was feeling the pressure of looming deadlines while raising 4 small humans. I felt fortunate because I could do what I loved while raising my children. For years, my work went with me everywhere so I could attend my children’s practices while knocking out deadlines. I had a perfect balance of being heavily involved as a mother while also taking my career to heights I never thought possible. One day my children were reminiscing on moments throughout their life and they would ask me, “You remember that?” I would smile and say, “yes,” but the truth was, I didn’t remember. I remember the day and where we were at, but I didn’t remember any details or any conversations. Instead, I remember what article I was working on, the weight of stress fueling my anxiety, and the panic of not getting everything done. My perfect life wasn’t so perfect. I blinked and my kids grew up. While I was physically there, I wasn’t mentally. When I was with my kids, I always thought about work. When I was working, I always felt guilty for not being there as a mother. I thought I had balance, but I was missing out on the few short years I had left with them. As much as I liked success, I like remembering my children’s lives so much more. I realized jobs come and go, but your children are only there for a few short years. You can always find a new job, but you can’t replace time with the ones you love. It’s hard balancing life as a stay-at-home mother while also running a business from home, but you need to stay focused on what matters at the end of the day.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a very socially awkward person, largely because I can’t verbally communicate what I want to say as well as I wish I could. Instead, written words have always been my outlet. Deep down, I always knew I would be a writer; however, I always thought it would involve fiction or journalism. I never expected it to lead me to the small business sector. Although I enjoy many genres of writing, online content is where my passion has led me. I love helping small businesses succeed because it’s more than just a storefront. There is a family behind that business’s name. I am fortunate because I’m invited into a small business and into their family to help them accomplish their American Dream. As an SEO writer and online marketer, it’s a lot of pressure fostering a business’s success because there’s a lot at stake. Not only the business, but also mortgages, college funds, and savings for retirement. With so much at risk, it drives me to ensure that business thrives to protect their very livelihood. It’s very rewarding to make such a difference in so many families.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Living in a small community, there aren’t too many exciting places to visit out here; however, being next to Historic Route 66, there are a few cool spots to checkout. If you head to the downtown area’ you can browse many small, family-owned shops and look at the old buildings. You can even head to the old park to check out the time capsule and steam engine. No trip is complete without visiting the Power House Museum. If you’re brave, you can take a hike through the haunted Slaughter House Canyon to see if you can hear the old widow cry for her husband and children. If you’re up for a short drive, Oatman is a nice western town where you can mingle with the local burros or watch a shootout. Spring is the perfect time to visit to catch all the wildflowers.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the support of my husband. Every crazy idea I’ve had, every enormous deadline, and every big opportunity, he’s been there to keep me level-headed with his encouragement. Not once has he ever said anything negative, even when there were some pretty big risks involved. He’s been my biggest supporter. Words can’t express my gratitude for his help, patience, and ability to always make me smile when I’m stressed.
Chicken Soup for the Soul (for the 2 books)