It’s now been a little over six months since I quit my full-time job to try a whole new adventure. I thought it might be a good time to check in and share a bit about how things are going and some of the challenges/successes we’ve had. I can safely say, the life we are leading now isn’t exactly what I envisioned when I left my boring, yet stable corporate job. But as you may have guessed, it is much, much better.
When we decided to make this big change for our family, I will admit, I was going on a million cylinders. I had no idea how I was going to pull off the manic schedule I had set for myself (spoiler alert: I didn’t), but I committed to working as hard as I could to do it all. This is what my life looked like six months ago:
- 20 hours per week working as the head of marketing for Trent’s IT business (half from home, half in the office)
- 10 hours per week working on this blog, including posting five times per week using an editorial calendar, working with sponsors/guests, managing my advertising host, social media, projects with other websites and blog networking
- 5 to 10 hours per week doing photography and managing details of my photography business
- 5 hours per week working as the Research Editor for the website Design for MiniKind
- 2 hours (plus or minus) per week as a contributor to the Sweet Lemon Magazine blog
- Lucy in school five days a week, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Tate in daycare two days a week, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The math is a little scary. 47 hours of work per week, with 12 hours of week of childcare for my kids, which leaves 35 hours of work per week that I need to pack in to whatever free time I had remaining.
It didn’t go so well.
It got to a point where I would put the kids down for bed and would immediately rush to the computer, desperate to get everything done and meet all my deadlines. I was only sleeping a couple of hours per night on the regular, so my work got sloppier as I continued to slog through everything. By mid-March I was completely burned out. We had made this change so I could be with the kids more, and yet the time I spent with them was harried and miserable. I was always exhausted, stressed and never living in the moment. It wasn’t ideal.
It was around that time that I had lunch with another local blogger I had met at Alt Summit in January, and she mentioned to me I could probably cut down on the weekly posts. That sounded like a start, so I reduced my weekly posts from five to three. As time went on, I relaxed my editorial calendar, and started posting more like I did a few years ago, when I had a story to tell. There is still some sponsored content, and other items that must go up on a deadline, but for the most part, I completely ditched my blogging schedule. Now I usually sit down on Sunday evenings, think about what I will post that week and set up a loose outline so I don’t feel like I have to start from scratch. Many of my photos are only mildly edited, and I stopped trying to create designs that were so perfect all the time. Sure, the site isn’t exactly Pinterest candy anymore, but that’s okay. It was worth the trade.
I also cut WAY down on the social media portion of blogging. Twitter, which used to be my number one platform, is mostly used for quick updates these days. I rarely network there because it’s a time suck and that’s just time I don’t have the luxury of spending there. Ditto with my Facebook page. I am still really into Instagram, so you can find me there most days, but I have cut down on the “social” part and mostly just use it to record my life as I live it. Pinterest, poor Pinterest, is pretty much gone from my day. I’ll still get on about once a week to keep my items update and poke around, but I limit my time and try to be mindful of when I’ve been on for a while.
I read less blogs, which is sort of a bummer, but was definitely necessary. I started using Feedly (RIP Google Reader) to keep up on the websites I love and it’s worked out pretty well. I have noticed the trend of blogging less has seemed to spread throughout the blogosphere, so I don’t feel too far behind, as many other bloggers aren’t updating as often as they once did. I find myself much more drawn to personal blogs, as opposed to the design/product/photography blogs I used to read. I like reading people’s stories and hearing something I can relate to, and the blogs I’m still reading reflect that.
As far as my non-Crazybananas work, I still am working 20 hours per week as the head of marketing for Trent’s IT company. I’m loving the work we are doing there and feel like it’s making a real difference. The photography has slowed down exponentially since the end of my Go Mighty project in March. There are some big things in the works for that project, but they won’t get going again until around September, so I’m enjoying a little break. I have done a handful of personal shoots, but I’ve kept that number quite low on purpose, and mostly have only been doing shoots for close friends or family. In early June, I resigned as Research Editor for Design for MiniKind, which was a sad, but good move for me. While I enjoyed working with Erin more than anything, we both felt we couldn’t put in the amount of time / energy needed to make the work stand up to the level we wanted, so it made sense to amicably move on. I feel so lucky to have gotten to know Erin and will always be grateful for the opportunity she gave me. I also resigned from blogging for Sweet Lemon Magazine. But that was because I was chosen to be a contributor to the magazine itself (not just the blog) and I wanted to focus on that. My first article can be found in the last issue, and another fun DIY will be in the next issue (out soon!).
As for my life with the kids…it’s pretty sweet. Now that it’s summer, I have even less child care, but so far we’ve fared okay. I work when Tate naps, and still at night too, and we spend the rest of the time out having adventures or reading Harry Potter. I have worked more sleep time in to my schedule, which has made for a much happier and more patient mama. I am a classic over-achiever and perfectionist, so taking the time to step back has been really difficult for me, but the wealth of positivity that has surrounded me lately has proven that I’m making the right choice. Sometimes less is more.
Last year, in my Path Finder course, we chose a word that would be our “Word of the Year.” Last year, my word was “DISCOVER.” I so badly wanted to find out who I was and what my purpose was in this life. I was miserable in my career and was worried I’d never find my way out. I was going to discover my passions and make big changes. And I did.
This year I chose a new word. Granted, I didn’t do it until recently, but I think it will carry me throughout the next 12 months. This year, my word is “ENOUGH.” I am tired of feeling like I’m in a hamster wheel, constantly trying to do and be everything to everyone. Enough. I can’t post five times per week anymore and I can’t keep taking on new jobs. What I have on my plate now is enough. I cannot be perfect. I am enough. My work is enough. My life is enough.
And this post? It’s enough.