Confession time: I’ve been part time blogging for close to 6 years now. I have purposefully chosen to not go full time. And I have good reasons for doing so.
Why am I telling you this?
Because today I want to share with you the importance of saying no.
The importance of saying not right now.
The importance of respecting your personal limitations.
I love blogging. I have big dreams of one day being full time, of a blog providing a stable income for my family. I lay in bed every single night and think about all the things I want to share with you. I take hundreds of pictures every week and store them away to share later. For all this time, its been very much a hobby and that’s ok with me. Because I am trying to pace myself. I am trying not to burn myself out.
The reality is that at least once a week, in one of my mommy groups or blogging groups, someone talks about being completely burned out. How they pushed too hard and now they feel they might crack. Some of these woman actually end up in counseling or on medication. Of course, I’m not against counseling or medication if needed, but can we address how we women even end up in such a harried state? Wouldn’t it be better if we didn’t end up in that place altogether?
Moderation is key.
In my life today, I have a very attached 4 month old and I also have a 4 year old that needs a lot of interaction and input from me. I have major dietary restrictions that require me to hand prepare every single item that goes in my mouth. I have a part time nanny job and I have a small crafting business that I run as well. I have a home to manage, a husband to spend time with and a half dozen animals to take care of. I am currently taking an online oral care course in an attempt to heal some mouth issues. And in the midst of all that, I have to find time to sleep, shower, spend time with other family and also find some time for my own relaxation and needs. This means I only have maybe a few hours a week to blog.
Sure I could push myself, right? I could get up an hour earlier, I could stay up an hour later. I could put my kids in daycare (again, not knocking, just not my preference) and blog. I could maybe even see my mom every other week instead of every week. But I know myself. I know that I could do any of those things for a week or two, maybe three, then I would burn out. I would end up teary eyed. I would yell more. I would eat less. I would get sick more.
Would it be worth it?
In my life, today, no. No, its not worth it. I cherish my time with my girls. I like spending time with my family. I acknowledge the necessity of spending time with my husband or taking a hot bath for myself. Perhaps if it came down to absolutely needing the blog to put food on the table. Maybe if there was some urgency. But there isn’t. So I’ve come to the awareness that for now, I’m saying no to full time blogging. My family and my sanity mean more to me.
But maybe your thing isn’t blogging. Maybe its taking on the PTA at school, maybe its an extra job. Maybe you feel guilted into going to too many playdates or you somehow said yes to watching your neighbors child. None of those things are bad. Not at all. Unless they push you too far. Do you feel stretched? Worn out? Do you fall into bed at night feeling overwhelmed? Do you groan at the thought of waking up and doing it all over again?
Its time to prioritize.
There is a story I once heard about filling a jar with rocks, pebbles and sand. If you fill the jar with sand first (all the small stuff), then you leave no room for the pebbles and rocks (the bigger stuff). Its about priorities. Its so easy to get caught up in the tiny pieces of life and you turn around and have missed the big picture. You gotta put the rocks in the jar first, then the pebbles, then you can fill in the cracks with sand.
Sit down and have a hard conversation with yourself. Decide what is necessary. Then decide what is most important. Then see what else you can fit in. And if something doesn’t make the cut, then it doesn’t make the cut. Period. No guilt. No shame. You have to take care of yourself and your family. If that means little Timmy doesn’t play soccer this season and has to wait til next season, so be it. Have a discussion with your children if needed. If possible, give them some options. If soccer is really important to them then maybe they need to give somewhere else or go to a babysitters one day a week so mama can catch up on things. Maybe only one child can be enrolled in one sport at a time or maybe they all need to enroll in the same sport.
There are options.
But one of those options can never be pushing yourself to the limit. Never. You deserve some time to take care of yourself. You deserve a shower. You deserve a date night with your spouse (if you have one.) You deserve to take a few minutes to make yourself a healthy meal. You deserve sleep.
Don’t let the world tell you what you must do. Don’t get caught up trying to keep up with Mrs Jones who’s life look perfect all the time. Every person is at a different stage in life. Plus, you don’t know what she is outsourcing, like a maid or nanny. Maybe she has more family that can help. Maybe she is just one of those people that can run just fine on 4 hours of sleep. Whatever it is, she is not you. You are not her.
Just say no. Not right now.
This is simplicity living. This is breathing in deep and being at peace with yourself. This is exactly what the world needs more of. You can do it. I know you can. I believe in you.
Please feel free to reach out to me if you’d like to vent, rant or ask for help on how to do this. Maybe we can brainstorm together and come up with a plan!