Exclusive: Bethanie Garcia and Her Groundbreaking Blog 'The Garcia Diaries'
The Garcia Diaries has helped change the idealized version of parenthood so popular on social media.
Bethanie and her husband Anthony Garcia were high-school sweethearts. The Arizona couple got married when Anthony was 17 and Bethanie was 18, after she got pregnant with their first child. That was one of the most challenging times in their lives, Bethanie, 25, recalls. "[We] were on food stamps, we couldn't even afford our $500 rent, we had to get help from families. We couldn't afford groceries, we were on government insurance."
Writing was her therapy, and her blog The Garcia Diaries would become a profitable and successful platform that would help the family of seven get out of poverty. "I started The Garcia Diaries one day in the middle of the night. In 2014, I was pregnant with my second daughter and I was five or six months postpartum," Bethanie, who is Indian American, recalls. "I just felt that I needed somewhere to write down all my thoughts on motherhood and I needed a hobby. I'm a very creative person, so writing, photography, editing is my love language, and I needed somewhere to channel all that creative energy. I never could have imagined that it would be what it is today."
They now have a podcast of the same name available on Spotify, Apple, and YouTube, and the blog — which reels in lucrative sponsorship campaigns — allows them to live comfortably while enjoying time with their five kids: Brooklynn, 7, Harlym, 6, Deuce, 4, Bronx, 2, and Ellis, 8 months.
When she started the blog, she stayed home with the kids while Anthony, now 25, worked at a supermarket, earning $7 an hour. The young dad then found a higher-paying job as a technician at a communications company and worked long hours for over five years to provide for his family. He also invested in his wife's project, buying her a camera, computer, and educational courses so she would follow her dreams as a blogger.
Little did they know their blog would bring them so much joy and profit. "Honestly I'm shocked and amazed," he says of the blog's success. "It's just a blessing and it's amazing to be able to see her do something she loves. And also from a financial aspect, The Garcia Diaries has allowed me to step away from my job to be here with my family full-time."
Being a stay-at-home dad while Bethanie is the "breadwinner" made Anthony — of Mexican and Indigenous Yaki descent — a target for criticism. "In all cultures, but in the Hispanic culture specially, the man works, he provides financially for the family, and the woman stays home — cleans, cooks. And to this day, there are family members who ask, 'What do you do for work?'" he says. "¿Porqué no trabaja mijo? Those questions were never asked when I was the one who was working and Bethanie was a stay-at-home mom. I'm a better home-keeper and homemaker than Bethanie. I do better cleaning the house and cooking the meals, it just works out that way. It's not a role thing, or a gender thing. Bethanie is creative and her brain goes to these levels that I don't even understand, and she makes things happen."
Being honest, raw, and vulnerable has connected Bethanie with her growing audience. At first she tried to emulate the idealized version of motherhood she saw on other mommy blogs. "I started following a lot of other bloggers and it was white walls, white bedspreads, everything's clean and perfect, you don't post a photo of yourself unless you're dressed to the nines," she says. "I started wanting to fit in with that because I thought that's how I would make money. For a few years I did that and it was so exhausting. It was draining and I didn't enjoy being on Instagram or creating sponsored content because it wasn't authentic to who I was."
The breaking point came when she had a miscarriage in 2017 and she shared all her pain in a post. "I can't keep up this persona of 'everything is perfect and beautiful all the time' because it's not. That's when I completely took the veil off and said, 'This is who I am, this is what I'm going through,'" Bethanie recalls. That honesty made all the difference. "I never received that many messages or comments. Women were reaching out to me saying they had multiple miscarriages and had never told anyone."
Women also connect with her body positivity. "My body changed a lot. Before I had kids I was 115 pounds, an athlete, and through each child my body changed more and I got to the place where I hated my body. I was always trying the latest tea or fad diet. That was also exhausting for me, I was constantly trying to change and look better," she says. "Sharing my postpartum body was part of the healing process, saying, 'This is real, this is what a postpartum body can look like and there's no shame in that.' I didn't realize how many women would relate to that message, too."
Anthony admits he was a bit apprehensive at first about his wife sharing really personal anecdotes on the blog and showing her semi-nude body, celebrating her stretch marks. "Once I realized that it's her body, she can do and post what she wants. I just support my wife and so many women could relate because she is not picture-perfect, what you see in magazines or commercials. I saw that so many women were relating to her and messaging her. Not everyone is Kim Kardashian," he says. "I stopped being judgy."
The couple celebrates nine years of marriage and makes their kids feel proud of their multicultural roots. "Our heritage expands not only to Mexico but to India," says Anthony. "Our kids are so ethnically diverse. We are teaching them the cultures and that we can be proud of who we are."
He continues to be Bethanie's number-one supporter. "I'm grateful that I have a wife that planted a seed not knowing what the outcome is, but she had a vision," he says. "She saw what other people had accomplished and it inspired her to take risks, to put herself out there. Through my wife's vision and her creative mind and her awesomeness, we get to live the life that we do."