With a 4-year-old son and twin 18-month-old daughters, Heather Tomoyasu should barely have time to write a grocery list. And yet she is a prolific blogger and vlogger, as well as a publisher and social media manager. Most of her work is accomplished when her children are asleep.
Primary among her projects is her popular blog, US Japan Fam, which she describes as a “bit of a mish-mosh.”
“You’ll find the child and mommy-related product reviews and giveaways; honest, helpful, humorous personal pieces about raising twins and being a mom of three; and insight into our life as an interracial, international and bilingual family in New York City.”
Heather also founded and runs Bay Ridge Families, which produces publications to help residents of her Brooklyn neighborhood plan family activities. And she writes for other publications and manages her own and clients’ social media accounts.
Clearly, she is told, she must be extremely organized.
“I feel so far from organized it’s overwhelming!” she responds. “I have a to-do list on my computer that just keeps growing. No joke, I just checked, and it’s 32 pages. How?”
But she offers some advice for others with seemingly endless to-do lists.
“I try to keep the urgent items on the first page and highlight anything that must be done that day. I keep appointments on the computer calendar that syncs with my phone, and have several lists going on for work.”
That work began when Heather moved to Japan after college to teach English as part of a Japanese government-sponsored program. She wrote a private blog to keep friends and family back in the U.S. up to speed on her adventures in a new country and culture. Fortunately for her, and her readers, she loved everything about her experience, extended her teaching contract for a year, met the man who would become her husband and kept on sharing stories from her life.
“I started blogging as a fun way to feel connected to the rest of the world when home with my kids,” Heather says. “I’ve been playing around with different avenues, seeing what I get a kick out of doing or making—recently Instagram and YouTube are my favorite mediums—and seeing what leads to more followers and engagement. We get daily comments on the street by friends and strangers, always so curious about how we do it, so it’s fun to share bits and pieces of our lives with everyone—whether it’s providing a laugh, a helpful tip or simply a break from their own reality.
Relatability is at the heart of Heather’s blog
Motherhood is not easy, she says, and portraying it as simple would be doing a disservice to the hardworking moms who comprise her audience. She also keeps it real when she posts a review on her site.
“I hope people will find helpful advice about products they’ve been looking for or wondering about, knowing that even when one of my posts is sponsored, it’s always 100 percent my honest opinion. If I don’t like something, I don’t put it up on the blog.”
She likes Sneakz Organics, however, and has featured it several times, even hosting product giveaways. She praises the lack of GMOs and gluten, the use of natural cane sugar over high-fructose corn syrup, and of course the vegetables.
In her first review, Heather wrote, “The real question is, though, how do they taste? In a word? DELICIOUS! My toddler cannot pick a favorite, he loves them all. ... My personal favorite is the chocolate, but all three are really great—creamy and sweet, but not too sweet. I was also pleasantly surprised that the strawberry had a very mild color—obviously not full of artificial coloring.”
Today she says, “I don’t give them to my son for the veggies but rather as a treat. And the fact that it has veggies and protein in it makes me feel better about that treat not being junk. He doesn’t get any other drinks in a box, so it’s really special. He loves it!”
And she loves blogging, so much so that she suggests other parents do the same, even if it’s for fun and not financial gain.
“Even if it’s private, jotting down your feelings like a digital diary in a blog or creating montage videos for kids’ birthdays are a great way to record life. I love looking back on the videos we’ve created, watching my kids grow, knowing they will be able to get on YouTube one day and find their own videos from when they were itty bitty.
"One of my favorite pieces is the stop-motion video I made with my son throughout my pregnancy with the twins. It wasn’t easy to make, but has been such an amazing keepsake.”