Getting real, I almost quit my blog I think that title says it all. But first, Hi everyone… how have you been? I have been MIA around this blog for a few weeks and have finally settled on the best way to explain it all.
The title of this post is true, I did seriously consider quitting my blog. Walking away from it, letting it all go. I do not have a crazy reason why, just life piled up fast and hard. Things got complicated and busy, a lot of “noise” was happening in my life and I had this overwhelming urge to quiet some of that noise. My blog came up as one of the easiest ways to streamline things. I feel I owe it you to explain this, I also think that others will be able to relate.
In December of this year this blog will be 4 years old. When I began this journey I had no long term plans, there was no end goal. I did not even know the possibilities, I simply wanted an outlet for this sleep deprived and lonely Stay-at-home-Mom. I had three kids ages 2, 3 and 5. I was needing something just for me, something that did not include me wiping noses, butts, or getting crayons out of a toaster. My love of decor was always there, and my love of writing came back in full force as well. A home decor blog seemed like a great little hobby for me, that I could do while my little ones napped.
In the past year this blog took off in ways I could have only dreamed of. Once my youngest started Kindergarten last year I was able to devote the bulk of my weekdays to this blog. I had fine tuned all that I needed to, invested in photo editing software, a good camera. I also knew how to utilize social media for my benefit. It all came together with hard work and three years of blogging experience. Writing, taking pictures, creating content, doing home improvement projects, and promoting it is what filled my days. I saw amazing growth and had some pinch me moments in working with brands and other opportunities. In fact, I have tripled my page views this past year to numbers I only ever dreamed of which meant my income was great as well.
All of this seems very conflicting to my previous statement of me almost quitting my blog. I am not sharing all of these highs to brag, just to let you know of the mind set I was in recently. In a years time all of my blogging dreams came true. If I had written a bucket list for my blog I would have been able to check off every item from it. I hit page view goals, income goals, large scale magazine features, brand collaborations.. it all came together beautifully. So why is that the time to quit my blog?
My success with my blog did not come easy. I spent at least 8 hours a day working on this blog in some capacity. Many dinner conversations were about my blog, the house (and projects we were working on) or tech stuff with my husband all overtook our usual knock knock joke banter and family giggles. Seeing what it took for me to get this far with my blog felt daunting. I did not see it as time well spent, in all honesty; I saw it as a sign of just how much more I would have to give to go further.
I am very hard on myself, I take the saying “we are our own worst critic” to a whole other unhealthy level. I am always looking to improve myself, do more, be better. This is the way I have always been, and while I have tried to lessen this I do think that a certain amount of push from within is a healthy thing. So in looking at my blog, reflecting on what I had accomplished I saw the success but focused on the next step. If I was able to achieve all of this, then I can certainly do more!
Here is the issue, and what made me put this blog on pause. I know when I started my blog I was an avid reader of other blogs, I made friends with other home decor bloggers. Seeing their journey, their crazy cool opportunitues seemed amazing. They were legit rockstars to me. I am not (and will never say) that I am a “big time” blogger, they are in a leauge all on their own. But my little ‘ole blog went further then I ever thought possible. Seeing what I had done, how far I had gone and knowing the realities of what it took to get me here was sobering.
To grow more, meant more of me. The “me” that I gave to my family, to our time together, to evenings walks after dinner, dance parties in the living room. The “me time” of listening to music just for the sake of listening, going to the movies, helping out in my kids school. All of it had slowly been snuffed out by this blog. I was seeing results with my hard work and I kept going, and a big part of me was loving every second of it. But I knew I had no more to give, and moving further up to make this blog become more felt impossible. It would mean sacrificing too much.
Once that self reflection started I realized what I had already given up. The things that were once mainstays in our life had been put on hold for the sake of this blog. Even now saying this rips me to pieces; I put my life, my family, my husband, and my kids on hold. For this grand and big idea of my blog becoming a success. The crazy part is I never had a clear line to what my blog being a success would be.
Knowing what it took to get this far with my blog and looking at the next step is what made it seem like too much. Of course I would want my blog to continue growing, which would mean more work. I need to incorporate videos, YouTube, maybe a pod cast. I had conversations with people about creating a product. It all was exciting, but not realistic, at least not for me. To do more and go further something more would have to give, and that something would be my family.
So this blog left a bad taste in my mouth, it felt like a bad word to me. Yes, it provided for my family but we had been a one income household for a long time, and this was never meant to pay our bills.
I stopped, I stopped everything with this blog. If you noticed, I truly thank you for being so supportive and a frequent reader. I thank you even more for still being here. The first week I stopped everything I felt great, euphoric even! I handled everything with our home, I handled my sh** as the stay at home parent. My kids got home and I was not stressed at the end of the day, I was 100% present for them. I realized how much this blog was pulling me down while it was simultaneously going up in growth. My plan had been to sit on the idea of stopping my blog for one week and see how it felt, then reassess how it would work.
Then life hit me with more set-backs in the form of my youngest breaking his ankle. He decided he should try jumping off of the top bunk in their bedroom. He informed me he did put down pillows first, so there is that. We have been in constant Doctors appointments, me running him all over. The first few days even required no weight for him on his broken ankle so we had to carry a 6 year old everywhere since the crutches were too big for him.
Within this time frame I also joined my kids school PTO, and committed to weekly volunteer work in their classrooms. All of the things I had been wanting to do when Dale and I decided that we would raise our kids with one of us home. Since I am not skilled with coding like Dale I became the stay at home parent while he brought home the money. Then somewhere in the mix of all of this I became all about this blog, and I did the bare minimum for my family. Yes, this makes me cringe. In dealing with my sons ankle fracture I felt this only reiterated that my blog had run its course, I could devote this time to my family and I was not distracted by blog timelines and collaboration deadlines.
In the past I felt proud of what I was accomplishing with this blog. I relished being able to have this, I built it from nothing and I had a legit career. Somewhere in this blogging journey I became a full time work from home person. I had such pride in that, but I never looked at what was needing to be put aside for this to happen. My plan was a few hours a day while the kids were in school. To maintain the upwards trend I was on meant more time bleeding into after school hours, weekend hours, all hours of the day.
So the simple pause and then forced break (because of a literal bone break) gave me time to breathe. To assess what I truly wanted. When I said I was half out the door with this blog is not completely true, I was done… figuring out an appropriate way to handle all of my content and images online and closing up shop. Really, I actually did quit my blog.
For about two weeks I sat with that plan. I gained back my sanity, calmed the noise in life, and was able to really enjoy the day. Then the pull happened. I was in love with decorating my home long before this blog and it is still the case. I would daydream of the renovations we want to do to this house. I realized that I would not get to take pictures, talk light fixtures with you all, share my excitement with anyone. No one else I know in real life is as obsessed with DIY and decorating. That little voice in my head chimed in of the blog being so much work though, my families sacrifices was too great.
I ignored the fact that I had pride in my work. I liked contributing to the household financially, having my kids see me have passion and work hard for something was a big positive to me. All of that still felt like it was not enough to justify what it took away. I felt guilt even considering my own feelings and pride for this blog. I was a Mom, there is no time for me! That is how it should be, right?
Then I got real about it all. I missed this blog. I missed my blogging friends, I missed daydreaming of decor, crafting, and also of feeling like there was something out there for me. Guilt or not that feeling of being part of this blogging world and having something to show for my work felt really good. I realized that sharing my ideas, my projects, crafts and decor is not a friggin’ job, and definitely not a hard job. I was the one making it hard. I mean…. we are talking paint, glue and glitter. Yes blogging entails so much more than that, but decorating my home is fun! I tried to be a professional, a legit decorator and marketing guru. I am none of those things, at all. That is what sucked up my energy and my time. Pushing into a category and label I simply was never meant to be attached to. I am not a pro and there is no shame in that.
Somehow in trying to make this blog grow I took the fun out of it. I focused on how far I had to go and not how far I had come. I am sure others can relate to this, even if you have never had a blog.
As fast as I was able to walk away from this blog I came rushing back. I knew though that I needed to rearrange my idea of this blog. The realities of time needed to have this blog make sense for me and my family was still there. I can still maintain this blog while maintaining what will always be number one; that being my family. I can keep the extra noise that this blog brings to my life very manageable. What it comes down to is cutting out the fight, there is no race, and there never was. I never had a finish line in mind. I mean…. we all have a crazy wish of being the next Joanna Gaines with her Fixer Upper show, but I also have been an adult long enough to know that life does not happen that way. I need to be ok with being just ok. Trim the to-do list, take away the idea of break neck growth and just share my ideas here.
Which is fine. More than fine actually. I forgot to take the time to be proud of my success, of my hard work. I also forgot to take a look around and see that life is nowhere near hard for me. I am so dang lucky to even have the choice of working or not. There is a part of me embarrassed to admit how much in my own head I got, how this privileged problem I have felt like too much. But it did, and this is my reality. Our life is hectic and busy on a good day. Some days I feel as if I am barely hanging on. Me having this blog will not compound that if I do it the right way. There is also something very reassuring that if something were to happen to my husbands job or a financial emergency happens my blog can be that back-up we need. Knowing I am helping pay the bills in whatever capacity feels really good.
I need to focus on what this blog was all about when I started almost 4 years ago. It was about me talking home decor with like minded peeps, and maybe helping a few other people decorate their home without breaking the bank. Yes, my blog is one of thousands…. but my voice matters too. My home is unique because it is mine, and that is value; just as your home and your ideas are valued too. I also can be realistic and see the many benefits to my hard work and making this blog be where it is right now. That is not taken away because I want this to be fun, it can be both fun and “worth it” to my family and I.
So this crazy long explanation on Getting real, I almost quit my blog is just me explaining where I have been. Why I disappeared and why I am back. I am back because I want to be, because I have earned a little something for just me, and because decorating my home is my passion. This blog does not have to grow more, in fact I am officially taking it out of the race. This is just me, decorating and sharing my ideas. I hope to connect more with you all. I hope to get a set blog post schedule so that I can plan ahead for when life bites me in the booty again and I won’t need to turn this blog off while I deal with things.
There will be some shifting of my standard blog to-do list, thinning out my usual blog work load. I have to be ok if this effect my blog in terms of traffic and income. I am ok with brands passing me up for opportunities or other blog collaborations, I am ok with saying no. I plan adjust to my new normal with this blog. I am sure it will take getting used to, and I might struggle with letting things go but I know that I want to juggle this. I need to make this blog work, not for anyone but myself.
Most importantly, I have had to admit that I have earned this blog. I deserve something just for me, to call my own. My kids and husband are my complete world, there is not enough words to describe how I feel for them. My day is spent running them to their activities, helping them learn and grow, becoming the best them that they can be. I am allowed that same personal growth. This blog, any future accomplishments or opportunities that it brings I have earned. I will celebrate, take the time to enjoy them. No longer looking at where else I can go, what that accomplishment can do to get further ahead. Just enjoying it in the moment. That is the quiet promise I have made to myself. Our house now a home is proof of what can happen with an idea, some paint and a willingness to try.
The willingness to try does not always mean a DIY project, but allowing a little success in our life. Allowing a little pat on the back. Also admitting that we all have limits and I need to relish the sweet spot of having a successful-ish blog and being there for my family. Getting real, I almost quit my blog was my freak out moment. I needed a lot of self reflection, fine tuning my blog plans, coming up with a more manageable blog routine…. and also getting to fill my life with my family. I have come to learn that my blog can be important too, and that is ok.
I am taking the pressure off of myself. I am not a professional decorator, marketing guru, photographer, or writer. In fact the only thing I can claim to be a professional at is being me. That is it, my claim to fame… I am the best me and as of right now that includes wife, Mommy, friend, daughter, and blogger. Having all of them fit into my perfectly imperfect life is the definite sweet spot!