Hi friends. Do you miss me? Because I’ve sure missed you!
It’s been a rather quiet summer on the blog, and I feel like this chat we’re about to have has been coming for awhile now. I just couldn’t find the words or the right time to sit down and open up my heart into a blog post until now. If you’ve been around Love Grows Wild for any amount of time, you probably know that I am always posting new makeovers and projects from our little farmhouse at least a few times a week. In the last 4 1/2 years of writing this blog, I have rarely taken any time off and usually work 6-7 days a week for more hours of the day than I’d like to admit. It’s just so easy to do when you run your own business out of your home.
I stumble out of bed in the morning still in my yoga pants, grab a cup of hazelnut coffee, and head to my office, which is conveniently 36 steps away from my bed and only 15 steps away from the kitchen. It’s not a bad set up at all… I really have nothing to complain about! I start the day by sorting through my ever-growing inbox of emails and catching up with my Instagram friends (you’re following me on IG, right?). Then by mid-morning I get the itch to shut off the computer and dive into a project. Some days I’m moving couches and tables and lamps from room to room, trying to come up with a better design plan, and some days I’m out in the garage cutting up lumber and building a new piece of furniture that I refuse to pay 5x as much for in stores! And then there are the days that I find myself with a paintbrush and a bucket of white paint, singing to Rihanna at the top of my lungs while transforming a thrift store furniture find into the perfect farmhouse piece for our home.
At 3:30 when the boys get off the school bus I am always wondering where the heck the day went, and then I’m juggling 5th grade math homework and 1st grade reading assignments and cooking dinner all while making sure we’re headed out the door to football practice on time. Usually just before I pull into the parking lot, I realize that I’m still in the same yoga pants I slept in and have white paint covering 3/4 of my hands and most likely some in my hair too. Some of the parents just smile and laugh because they’ve somehow discovered my blog and know what I do for a living. The rest of them just look at me like I’m crazy, but it’s okay… I’m too tired to be upset about it anyway!
After sports practice, it’s a whirlwind of showers and bedtime stories and “you better not get out of bed again!” threats. I grab a mug of hot tea (or a glass of wine depending on how many people were staring at the paint in my hair that day) and head back to the computer to edit photos or write a brilliant blog post that I hope people will think is smart and witty and the most useful decorating resource they’ve ever come across on the internet. Blog, Sleep, Repeat. That was my life for 4 1/2 years.
And then this summer happened. I didn’t mean for it to happen… but it did. The girl that used to wake up thinking about her next project and go to sleep wondering if her book launch would be a success suddenly found herself wanting to skip work and spend the day at the pool with the kids. Or enjoy a late night bonfire under the stars on our farm with friends. Or just be STILL for a moment. I’ve always been one of those go, go, go type of people and rarely find myself wanting to just be still and enjoy the moment. I have too much to do, too much on my mind, too much that won’t happen if I don’t MAKE it happen.
This summer has been full of highs and lows for me personally… we buried a grandmother, went on our first family vacation in years, spent a lot more time with friends, and learned that marriage is not always easy. Actually, it’s really, really hard. And for the first time in 4 1/2 years, I allowed myself to slack off just a little bit. In the beginning of July, I had a full schedule of blog posts I wanted to create for you guys. Exciting, beautiful, inspiring things that I had been dreaming up in my head… and then life got in the way. We went out of town for the funeral and a week or two later left for vacation in Michigan. And then football started for the boys, and our life got even busier. And before I knew it, I had only posted twice in the last month, and I felt SOOOO guilty about it. How could I let almost 5 years worth of hard work just sit there on my blog and not keep hustling at it 24/7 like I usually do? Why was I craving so much freedom from the stresses of running my own business?
Slowly but surely I realized that I just. needed. a. break. For the first time in a LONG time, I opened my eyes a bit to all that I had been missing out on in life. Lunches with girlfriends that I always turned down because I couldn’t possibly get away from work for a few hours. Water balloon fights with my boys instead of squeezing in another photography session. Leaving on vacation and not bringing my laptop or checking my email every 30 minutes. I’m not sure whether I just became overwhelmed, tired, and lazy this summer or if I actually grew as a person and overcame some longtime fears of mine. But either way, I needed this summer. I needed to clear my head and my heart in order to come back to work full of drive and passion again. But this time… it will be different.
One thing I’ve learned about myself in 28 years is that I tend to have a little bit of tunnel vision. When I find something I’m passionate about, I put 110% of myself into it without realizing the effect it has on the rest of my life. I don’t want my kids to not have mom’s home cooked meals because she’s too busy working. I don’t want to miss out on amazing friendships because I feel guilty taking the time to nurture those relationships. So from now on, I’m making a promise to myself to work on balance.
So what does balance look like, you ask? Well for me, it means going to the gym at least a couple times a week. I’ve never been one to workout all the time, but lately I’ve found it not only to be good for my self-esteem and body image, but it is also a HUGE relief for stress and anxiety. I’m not sure at what age anxiety started becoming an issue with me, but I find it to be crippling at times. Running on a treadmill or lifting weights makes a big difference in my mood by the end of the day! Balance also means enjoying summers and holidays with my family and planning ahead on the blog so that I can do that without guilt. Balance is letting go of some control and letting a little bit of spontaneity slip into my life. And most importantly, balance is knowing that it’s okay to shut the computer off before dinnertime and take weekends off every once in awhile. I flew out to Atlanta just a few weeks ago for a blog conference with some of my dearest blog friends, and man… that long weekend away couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I needed reassurance that I’m taking my blog in the right direction and that taking time for myself is okay… or even vital to my success.
If you’re still with me after reading all of that… let me just say that I love you! Like I said before, I’ve wanted to sit down for awhile now and share my heart and my thoughts, and I hope I’ve given you a little peek into my world as a mom, wife, entrepreneur, and an overly-emotional, creatively passionate woman. I wanted to explain why posts have been few and far between over the last month or so and reassure you that I AM coming back!! If you follow me on Instagram, you probably haven’t missed me too much… I’m always sharing updates and bits of our life on there. (P.S. how do you like the new Instagram Stories? I think I’m going to love them!)
To wrap up this extremely long post, I just want to say that…
1) There is new content coming to Love Grows Wild very soon! I’m working on photographing our new entryway, finishing up some projects in our master bedroom, and even continuing the saga of our endless search for the perfect couch. Yep… the saga continues, folks! Thank you for sticking with me this summer, and I promise to reward you with lots of farmhouse goodness!
2) For all of you amazing women out there who feel like you have to be perfect and juggle it all, ALL the time… you don’t. If you neglect to take care of your own health and happiness, you won’t have anything left to give to the people you love most. You can’t pour water into someone else’s glass if your glass is empty… that’s a horrible metaphor, but you get the picture! Take time for you, let go of the guilt, recenter yourself, and decide what lies in the path ahead for you!
Chat again soon, sweet friends!