New Year’s 2016 my only goal was to simplify my life. I had found myself with a lot of anxiety and constantly stressed. I was learning to juggle life as a first time mom, running a photography business, keeping up with our home, trying to fulfill my responsibilities at church (teaching early morning seminary, for those of you that are lds), and searching for time to be a good wife. I was so overwhelmed and worn out that my sweet husband too often was left with my cranky attitude lashing out at him over nothing.
I have never been one that could handle a lot on her plate very well. Maybe some people think I have it all together, but, surprise! I don’t (or maybe it’s not a surprise, lol). As a photographer, I was very active on social media. My feeds were full of other photographers, female business owners & “mompreneurs”. They were inspiring and supporting one another in the spirit of community over competition – which the world totally needs more women empowering each other instead of cutting each other down. BUT. I constantly saw the word “hustle”. Good things come to those who hustle. She has that girl boss hustle. Last name hustle. First name always. Every day I’m hustlin’. Hustle. Hustle. Hustle!
Ok. I get it. You absolutely have to work hard to make your dreams come true. No doubt that is truth and a positive message to get across. Always striving for your best or better is a good thing.
Though suddenly I hated the hustle. I was tired of being tired. I hated the pressure and mentality to do and be everything and be awesome at it all (as a mom and female in general). That if we are going 50 mph all the time with little sleep and functioning off of caffeine – that is a successful woman who gets a lot accomplished! A lot of women feel that and strive for it. And I’m not saying it doesn’t feel great to get 20 things done in one day – But I wanted some calm in my life. I was tired of getting caught up in comparison of others’ seemlingly “well-rounded” lives. Having my own photography business was always my dream, but then I had a baby and the hustle to stay on top of everything and keep clients happy and pampered and still be a present mom and wife on top of many other things was so overwhelming. I felt like I was half-assing so much in life. “The hustle” left me exhausted and cranky and was it worth it? Does life have to be so fast paced all of the time? I guess if you want it to be, sure.
My mom’s favorite quote is “less is more” and suddenly that rang so true to me. I wanted less. I wanted to simplify my life. I wanted to be present for my son and not be trying to work while he’s tugging at me for my attention. I wanted to have quality time with my husband and not be so busy and tired that he got my cranky leftovers. I wanted to not constantly have a looming cloud in my head of all the things I was behind on. And I wanted to slow down and take time for my well-being and for the well-being of my marriage, family, and home life – both physically and spiritually.
I took my 2016 goal to simplify seriously. After recognizing what mattered most to me, I shelved my photography business and quit booking. The extra income, though nice, was no longer a factor that mattered. We made things work and today I am home with my two babies having just them and this home life to worry about. I use the word “just” lightly there – Life is still hectic sometimes, that is expected – but I feel like I have more room to breathe. I can focus on my children. I can be present. Our marriage has grown SO much from time better spent together. And maybe it’s lame to some people, but I was actually able to have an amazingly successful vegetable garden last summer because there was time for it. We even still have homemade spaghetti sauce in our freezer because of the crazy amount of tomatoes we grew! (go back and see my garden post HERE)
You know, I don’t want this coming across as “you should quit your job to be happy”. That is just one step I took since I was drowning in the hustle of my every day life. It was not healthy. A huge part of my seeking simplicity wasn’t just cutting out my business, but finally learning to say “no” – to others and myself. I don’t need a Pinterest perfect life. I don’t need (or want) something scheduled on my calendar every weekend. I didn’t have to say “yes” to everything. There were so many details of things that I stressed about being close to perfect that really didn’t matter at all! And other things like getting rid of Facebook (over a year strong!) and decluttering the house – like getting rid of SO MUCH STUFF! – actually really did a lot to help me. I even got rid of Instagram for a few months to really be able to focus and enjoy life without being so plugged in to what everyone else was up to. Less is more, folks. It really is.
Everybody handles stress loads differently. Some may even thrive in the frantic chaos. But today, although my to-do list is still long and aspirations many – and we have two kiddos instead of one – I am grateful for the room I have given myself over the last year to breathe. To be present with my babes and wonderful husband. And to live life more simply than I used to.
A constant reminder to myself: Who said you have to do it all? There is a time and season for everything.
^^nothing like my sweet babes to make me happy^^