I had an entirely different post scheduled and ready to go for today. But something prevented me from sharing it, because this poured out of my heart this week instead. So if you are reading this now and this blog post speaks to your soul, I would love for you to let me know. I have a feeling that this post was written specifically to one of you reading today, that one of you needs to hear exactly this.
We all need to have a little less hustle and a lot more grace built into our days, particularly if you are a creative business owner when it comes to blogging, social media, and thinking you need to be doing all the things. I hope this post absolutely encourages you today.
In early March, I challenged myself to a crazy busy work schedule. The biggest challenges being how much I blogged and how much I posted on social media. (in saying this, I am a one-woman biz, so I still wear all of the hats … someday I want to have an assistant, but for this season in my life and business, the timing just isn’t right yet). Last year, I would blog maybe once a month if I was lucky. This spring, I decided that because I love to write, blogging two times a week was feasible, doable, and wouldn’t be stressful at all.
On that same note, I challenged myself to post on social media 1-2 times per day, Monday through Saturday. Snap a photo, edit it, caption it, hashtag it, engage with everyone as much as possible. Easy peasy. I mean, that sounds simple enough, right?
While keeping a full design calendar with my amazing clients I get to work with.
And raising two kids at home with me.
And running a household. Meaning do all the cooking, the cleaning, keeping up with the endless amounts of laundry, every single bit of it. I can definitely do it all. I can completely hold it together, and succeed at doing all the things. I mean, didn’t you know I’m superwoman?
(are you catching the sarcasm yet??)
I am not complaining about my responsibilities at all - please don't take this post that way. In my mind, that was simply a great way to plan blogging + social media for the rest of this year, because I have plenty of content to share, I only needed to create a schedule which contained the time to do it all.
But you know what? In the eight weeks since this schedule began, running at this pace has become so tiring. Setting blogging + posting goals this high for myself has been quite interesting to see myself try to do, learning how to find time to do things into every single pocket I have throughout the day has been amazing, but it also has been exhausting. Absolutely exhausting.
So today, it stops. And I’m saying no to more of the hustle, and yes to giving myself more grace. A lot more grace.
Instead of saying yes to doing more, expecting more of yourself, filling up every single second of spare time you have with other things, what can you say no to, that you can choose to fill your cup up with something else?? Something that will fill your heart with more joy, that perhaps has nothing to do with work?
I have two kids who are currently 2 and 4, and at home with me every day. My primary worktimes are first thing in the morning, during naptimes, and late in the evenings. So basically, whenever they are sleeping, I am working. Skipping a naptime work session to let myself do something for me is unheard of. Reading a book or sipping coffee on the back porch before everyone is awake first thing in the morning instead of writing the next blog post? Also unheard of.
But you know what? That simply isn’t the way that I want my life to continue. I want the work that I create to be so loved for the people I get to work with, and I never want something that I do for my work be something that I just do because I feel like I have to do it because everyone else is.
I have a really hard time not setting really, really high goals because I see a lot of other women who are business owners, some moms, some not, seriously kicking butt and doing SO many amazing things. I find that I compare myself to them - thinking
“Whoa. She blogs five days a week. How?!”
“Whoa. She works with 30 design clients at a time. How?!”
“Whoa. She shipped 374 orders this week, look at all of those on her front porch. How?!”
Where the truth that’s in that is this. I am not them, they are not me. My story is not theirs, their story is not mine.
I believe that we all have been put here on this earth to share our gifts with other people. Our specific gifts were chosen by God for each and every one of us, and we all have specific people in our lives that he has placed with us, whether if it is for a lifetime or a very short period. And the people in my life are not the people in her life. Just like the business that I run is not like the business that she runs, and the kids who call me mama are not the same as the kids who call her mama.
What I’m trying to say in all of this, is don’t compare your life to theirs. Just don’t. It will only let that ugly, awful, terrible, no good comparison monster rear its ugly head and will do nothing for your soul other than bring you down.
Her life is not yours. You need to just be you. I personally can not stand the phrase “you have as many hours in the day as Beyonce.” Because we do, but I am not her. I am simply me, doing the best that I can, with what I have, in this moment in my life. This moment is the one I can never get back, and I intend to use my time wisely with it.
Look at what you want your life to be like. When you’re 85 years old, do you want to look back at when your kids were little and say “man, I was busy. I worked every time my kids were sleeping, I never allowed time for myself, I was tired all the time, but hey. I got those two blog posts up every week, and posted on Instagram every day.”
Or, do you want to look back and say “man, was I busy. I worked so hard when I knew it was time for work, but allowed myself to fill my own cup too. I worked my heart out but made time for fun too. I planned out my days so that I knew how much time I truly had to spend working with some white space too, how much time I truly had to focus on things, and could devote 100% of my attention to my business at that time without overcommitting in too many areas at a time. I spent my life being a good wife, a good mom, and a good business owner, who focused on prioritizing what was really important in the ebbs and flows of life’s different seasons.
So here are some things I am choosing differently in the days ahead.
I will choose to work hard for my clients and goodness gracious create amazing things that I know they absolutely will love for years and years to come, but also choose to turn work off at the end of the day and focus on making memories with my family.
I will choose to take my kids to the park instead of popping in a movie for them while I work away beside them (edited to add, this doesn’t happen every day, but it has happened … and this blog is a no judgement zone).
I will choose to spend time with my husband after our kids are in bed, watching our favorite show or sitting on the back porch talking amongst the stars, instead of choosing to sit next to him on my laptop doing just one more, one more, one more thing.
By me being brave and sharing this publicly instead of keeping it to myself, I feel like it is because someone reading this post today is in this potentially exact same position, and knows in their heart of hearts they need to change too. Is that you? If so, I encourage you to evaluate where you are and what you’re doing - is all of the striving and the sweat and the stress and the tears to do more, be more, get more done, and build more really necessary in this season that you’re in? Or do you need to take a step back and reevaluate where you can spend your time the best? Do you really need to blog five days a week and post to Instagram 15 times a week? Or can you let some of it go for a while? Can you create a schedule that works with your life instead of creating a schedule based on what it looks like Suzie Q is doing, so that means it should work for you too?
Look at what you do within your business, and figure out what it is that you can scale back on that will still let you love on your clients in the best way possible. Figure out what isn’t working, and what you can do to change it. Perhaps you can hire someone to help, or simply let yourself be okay with not doing it all right now. And then, most importantly, schedule time for yourself. Because you can’t fully pour into others if your own well is running on empty.
In our businesses, we will succeed by doing what we are best at, and your clients will come to you and see what you’re amazing at simply by you sharing as you go along - chances are, they’re not going to hire you solely because you’re sharing new content and posting to Instagram and Facebook every day, they’ll simply scroll to read and see your past work and catch up with what you’ve shared, when you have carefully created the time to do it. They won’t hire you because you blog all the time. They’ll hire you because it’s apparent that you love what you do, as it will be reflected in what you do share.
With that said, going back to what I said in the beginning and taking my own advice. I will from now on only be blogging once a week, with the loose plan being consistently on Thursdays. But if it’s the day before or the day after or if I need to skip a week due to priorities with my clients or my family, I will not get upset with myself about it. I will still post to Instagram as I feel inspired to share amazing in progress and completed designs, but I will not let myself feel bad for skipping a day or two. That’s just silly. Instead, I will choose to write content that stirs my soul, and hopefully this post will inspire those around me to do the same - because by saying no to doing as much as I can literally squeeze into my week and creating more white space in my hours surrounding of the days instead, I’ll be saying yes to making a happier version of me, who will look back and be more satisfied with the life I created for myself and with our family.
I will choose to work hard when it’s time to work, play hard when it’s time to play, and try my hardest to make as many days of my littles childhood one where memories they have are days filled with laughter and toys and games and park dates - not through the sound of the typing of this mamas fingers on the keyboard. I am saying yes to designing a happy life for all of us and taking better care of myself.
I will choose to say yes to filling others up, while choosing to fill my own cup up too.
And that sounds pretty amazing.