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On Motherhood

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make…Pumpkins?

Beginning to slowly take down the lemon-y love decor that defined summer around the house for us this year, and it’s like a therapeutic reminder that seasons change…as do seasons of life. 🍋  Scrolling through some shots of our home in fall from last year (see below), and it has me ponderin’…

For many reasons, I’m extra sad to send my oldest two babies away to school this year.  Last year around this time, I was in full-on “get started” mode with my biz, and I was sort of ready to get rolling into the routine the school year brings.  As you all totally know, in order to start a new thing and succeed, time and brain space and moments and energy are required…and then some.  So much of ME went into the starting.  And you know what?  THAT part, I do not regret nor feel any real guilt about.  We strive to teach our girlies to pursue their dreams and try the untested, and I am proud of what I’ve accomplished (with help!) this past year.

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However, the fact remains that, by default, I missed a bit with them over the course of the previous school year, and, as every working parent does, I feel a bit of working-Mom guilt (rational or no…) over trading time with them for time to pursue my own creative dream.  SUCH a mix of feels, I’ll tell ya.  😉  If you’ve ever had to split your time and feels and brain space between being Parent and being Dream Chaser or Working Parent, you’ll totally get me.  

Anyway, without boring you with a bunch of behind-the-scenes details, I’ve sort of hit a fork in the road with my business, both interiors and e-design as well as the business of running a large Instagram account and blog.  I’m no longer in Start Mode; I’ve started and, after a LOT of work, it’s all up and running with legs of its own, despite my clunky, awkward first year of figuring things out.  😉  (BLESS YOU ALL for being patient with me!!)  And now?  Now comes a decision.  If I wanted to, I could take things to a very large next level with my decor/design biz and also with the blog/social accounts…but that would require hiring people.  Without giving all the personal deets, I’ve hit my ceiling on how much I can do on my own while still feeling peaceful about how much time I’m giving away to it.  It’s either hire a team to help me move all the things to all the next levels and spend even more time away from the fam, or…redefine what “successful” looks like in my season right now.

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I was talking with my lifer-friend Katie the other day (and I know she’s a lifer, because the friendship survived those awkward “finding ourselves” years in our twenties as brand new moms who knew everything after doing it for five minutes.  🙄😂  We were precious).  She made such a good point that with any kind of entrepreneurial biz and/or social media biz, there is no end.  There is no ceiling.  Once you reach a certain status marker, you just start looking towards the next in this never-ending cycle of never ending.  It’s kind of exhausting to picture rarely feeling satisfied or like I’ve hit SUCCESS, instead always chasing that next mile marker.  In some ways and during certain seasons of life, that is such a fantastic way to drive creativity and originality.  And, on the other hand, if it’s not your season for the mile-marker-pursuit, it can leave you feeling wanting and tired and burned out if allowed to get out of check.  I speak from experience.

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Thus, the proverbial fork in the proverbial road for ol’ Stems here.  Some might cheer me on in the choices I’ve made, while others will shake their head…but can I tell you something?  Without trying to sound all sassy and z-snappy and defensive, I couldn’t care less, to be totes honest with you.  I’m the one living with the decisions I make, I’m the one with the quiet, still moments resting my head on my pillow at night, going back over and over the laundry list of choices made throughout the day, the week, the month, the year….my choices, my laundry list, my conscience.  And ZERO of my choices have anything to do with your choices.  If they are the same, cool beans.  If they are totally opposite, big pile of whoop.  Couldn’t care less.  As my newest Cotton Stem shirt says, you do you.  And let’s cheer each other on while doing it. 🙌🏻

And…my choice?  I’m stepping back from “success” or at least how I previously defined it, anyway.  A lot of this stepping back is personal and private for only me and my people to know about, but on the biz side, stepping back looks like the new banner I added to my site announcing that Cotton Stem is full up on clients for the remainder of 2017.  I can’t take on any more.  It looks like saying no to a certain huge, flashy project that would have 100% garnered praise, recognition and advancement in my career, all the while zapping away my margin, my quiet and plan-less moments.  I want some of those back.  I’ve missed those over the past year.  Stepping back looks like turning back towards a more quiet life.  I’m an introvert and a homebody with a small circle of close people.  While so extremely fun and with opportunities and friendships beyond compare, growing a social media account sometimes leaves me feeling overexposed, 100% by my own doing. I need more quiet for my brains, my private nature.  The term “a quieter life” keeps popping into my head amidst all this.  Stepping back looks like not being glued to my phone, iPad, computer in order to answer every single question instantly as they come in from the thousands and thousands of buddies I interact with each day on social channels.  I just can’t.  It’s just little ol’ me over here, little ol’ Erin with the tired thumbs.  Like Becky with the good hair, only sore thumbs, instead.  😉  I can only do so much, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that the kind ones with full lives that extend way beyond a screen will understand.  ❤️

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PHEW.  While it might seem like such a small blip on the radar of “Things That Matter,” it sure feels good to tell y’all, to say it aloud and speak it.  Things change, seasons of life fluctuate, and my definition of “success” will probably alter many times as I grow up.  😉  I feel zero true guilt about anything I’ve done thus far, but…I’m a big believer that when you hit a moment of accountability, you are certainly responsible for what you do with your choices after.  I’ve hit that moment, and I’ve made my choice.  Whatever your beliefs, mine include what I call “nudges” from God: those moments or series of moments where you just KNOW He’s trying to get your attention.  It may make zero sense to others (or to ME at the time of ye ole Nudge 😂), but…it’s what I do after said Nudge that I’m accountable for and for which I will answer.  Personal beliefs.  🙌🏻

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Anyway, this is a time of great change for me: change in direction, change in myself, change for my kids, change of season.  “I LOVE CHANGE,” said no Erin Kern ever, but I’m thinking these are some good ones.  It might be the end of a happy and full summer, but I’m pretty confident what’s coming next will be just as sweet.  Time to take down the lemons and make room for pumpkins, change the season, turn turn turn and all that.  I’m ready for fall and all that it brings, even if it means my babies head back to school tomorrow. 😥 It’s not going to be easy, (most change isn’t, annoyingly enough 😏 ), but I’ve decided to change with the times.  Lemons to pumpkins.  Stepping out of my introvert comfort zone and signing up to be a helper in my daughter’s class, pursuing a handful of brand new friendships that require vulnerability and time, a few changes coming for our family dynamic and routine, and a few fun personal and Cotton Stem-y things coming on the horizon I’m excited to share with you soon.  🙂

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I appreciate your listening “ear” and your support, whether our lives and choices look the same or not.  I’m cheering y’all on in your pursuits and choices, and I can’t thank you enough for making this blog a place where I’ve come to feel safe enough to share these pretty personal things with you.  That’s because YOU GUYS are awesome, and I’m keepin’ ya.  🙌🏻❤️  Can anyone relate to this strange fork in the road I’m facing?  I’m sure I’m not alone in my fork-i-ness over here.  Ha!  Appreciate ya stopping by, and I’d love to chat with you in the comments as I can! Hugs, buddies!

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  1. Sue says:

    Oh YES I understand completely. So much of what you wrote resonates with me and it is great that you are choosing what feels right to you. I have a lot of respect for you stepping back. In a world of more, bigger, better it is refreshing to see someone choosing calmer and slower. Even if you just blog once a week or so, I’ll be here 😀

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      I really appreciate your words, Sue. I feel a bit like a weirdo for going a bit backwards, but it feels right for right now–thank you for the encouragement!

  2. Areeba adnan says:

    I totally agree – it’s such a tough business to balance all the things and make sure there is time for self care, reflection and also to have all the energy to give to your loved ones. I’m also in a similar season where tough choices at home are definitely dictating my “yes”es – and a part of me is happy with saying no. Also, I’m so happy for you for your success! But when I see other bloggers, like Katie said, there is no limit.. the brand partnership opportunities, magazines etc they will just keep coming because of your talent. But your time with yours kids and family won’t come back. So good for you, for deciding what is best for you and not letting others defining your success. Lots of hugs for you, sweet friend.

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Thank you for sharing your own experience with this stuff, Areeba, and for the kind words! Appreciate you being a buddy from the start!

  3. Mara says:

    I totally understand where you are coming from! Life is hard and we only get one, we all have the same hours but spending those hours the way you want and doing what makes you happy is the most important. Chances and opportunities will come and go but your babies will only keep getting bigger, soaking it up is something I need to do more too. Thank you for the insight and I hope that this change in season brings you and your family all the joy ❤️❤️ You are my favorite person to follow and I just love how real you are. Hey Erin, you do you!

  4. Laura - lewbeck says:

    Erin-yes all the way to all of this. I’m so proud of how you’re doing you….it encourages the rest of us to do the same. Anazyhiw “you do you” is appropriate for so much! Thanks for sharing so much yet me also being an introvert (actually I’m an extroverted introvert….fancy I know 😂) And keeping things private for you. 💛💛💛

  5. Laura - lewbeck says:

    Ugh….auto correct is the worst. I love how half my comment doesn’t even make sense🤦🏼‍♀️😂. You get….I’m cheering you on💛💛

  6. Jen says:

    Always love your vulnerability and the integrity that you bring to social media. You do you so very well! And I love watching you do it on your own terms with your beautiful family front and centre. Thank you for continuing to let us in!

  7. Pam says:

    Good for you!! I so admire you doing what’s best for you and your family and not letting the world tell you what to do. I look forward to all your pictures, stories, and blog posts but as a mom myself it’s wonderful to see you spend more time with yourself and your family! You go girl!

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Thanks so much for that, Pam! Really, it means so much that you guys are so encouraging. More than y’all know.

  8. Chelsea says:

    I think this is the epitome of ‘you do you’! I also think it’s the most selfless decision! I know opinions are like booty holes and everyone has them… but there’s mine! It take a tremendous amount of courage to put yourself out there, and it also takes a tremendous amount of courage to not only know when to step back, but to actually do it! 👏🏻 Thank you for being rave enough to share this with us! I know you are not alone in the way you feel!! Mom guilt is the realist thing!

  9. Sarah says:

    Erin,
    I’ve said before how I truly admire your drive for balance in life. As someone who at one point owned an online shop (although not nearly as busy as I’m sure you are!), I totally understand the need to have that “quiet life” again. I longed for nights just hanging with my babies, reading a book, and I have no regrets about choosing that (and I’m so blessed to have been able to!). Work will always be there for someone as talented as you are! Much love!
    Sarah

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      You are always so uplifting, Sarah, and I’m glad to have “met” you early on. And yes, the quiet life thing is what I miss, and I’m glad someone else gets that!

  10. Kathryn says:

    Thank you for posting such an honest view on what life looks like as a mom who has a dream.

  11. Toby Simpson says:

    Erin, first of all, you are just adorable! My 2 girls are 23 and 20, so I can most definitely confirm that to step back and slow down will bring so much joy to your lives. You don’t want to look back when they’re the ages of mine and feel like you’ve missed out. Congratulations and keep going with those Nudges! I truly absolutely love your blog and insta stories and your style. God bless!!

  12. Abbie Battley says:

    Erin I’ve only recently come across your blog/Insta account and firstly THANKYOU for being an inspiration and a beautiful person
    It takes a lot to do what you do and that’s only the parts we get to see!!!
    As a Mumma of 5 under 12 and 2 small businesses run completely by me I understand your fork in the road!!
    I too took a step back 2 years ago and took the path most wouldn’t of she I had my 5th baby
    I’ve used that 2 years to get a lot of personal things done renovate our home be there for my children and a wife to my hubby
    Only you know what is best for you and sometimes a detour in our lives is very much needed so as not to burn our selves out!
    God bless and enjoy your new direction
    Sending love from Australia 💕💕💕💕

  13. Kelly cox says:

    The most important thing is to honor God in all you do. Your sweet sweet spirit is glorifying to all you follow you. I’m a mom of 4…23,22, 9 and 8. Cheers to you for learning while your babes are little! Keep the main thing … the main thing!!! You go girl!!!

  14. Kris Carrig says:

    I feel at home on your blog, and while I have grown kids and have been able to stay at home raising them because of my own home business, I know and still know everything you’re saying. Thank you for sharing and keeping us apart of your loop. I love your writing ❤️ Thank you!!
    ❤️ Kris

  15. Monica says:

    Wonderfully and perfectly said Erin!!! I have just gone through a “change of season” myself and had to take a step back. Trust God, He knows what He’s doing! I had to break some of the over doing that I was doing! I’m embarrassed to admit I cried while doing so but it has truly been the best thing ever!!! While decorating our homes and for others
    is so fun and something I so love to do, it’s my family my family that truly makes my house a home! It’s those moments that you can never get back that will be memories you and your family will carry in your hearts for a lifetime ! So you keep doing you, Erin, and we will keep loving you for it❤️👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Hey, no shame in a good cry! I’ve had quite a few recently over all this, and I totally respect your choice, too!

  16. Lacie says:

    ERIN!! You are so amazing. I love how you write these blogs. Everything is from the heart. So often we get so caught up in doing what sounds amazing and lose sight of the plan God has for us. Proverbs 19:21 is coming to mind. I pray you find peace and joy in this season of life. I’m praying for you girl!

  17. Luz Garcia says:

    I so enjoy your IG and all that you share. I am 100% proud of your choice to slow down. You already know how fast kids grow. You never get back a day that passes and regrets suck! Go volunteer in your child’s class and do all the things God is laying on your kind heart. “You do you!”

  18. Ally Z. says:

    This post speaks to me on so many levels. Recently, I made a big decision to leave my corporate job that I worked so hard to get, to be more present in my life. I always thought I’d be the girl to climb the corporate ladder, wear fancy business suits and make lots of money. But when I got there I felt like I was missing something. My husband and I don’t have kids…yet and my work required immense amounts of travel – only being home two days a week. I knew I was missing out on so much even if it was just a night at home watching Netflix or being about to go get brunch on the weekend together. Long story short I made a decision to leave my job and go back to school to get my Masters Degree for school counseling. It’s something I’ve always thought about but always pushed to the back burner. We may be in a way different position then we thought we’d be at this point but I know it’s for the best and I can tell you we are much happier. All of this to say, I’m so happy for you that you’ve made a choice that is best for YOU. Soak up all that family time as much as possible. Thank you for always being so genuine and honest and sharing your true self.

    Also, sorry for the novel of a post but I figured if anyone would understand long captions/comments it would be you ;).

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Oh girl, I love me some long comments. 😉 Thank YOU for sharing your own journey with this, and I totally understand sort of feeling crazy for going the opposite direction from “success” in order to find that peaceful life. I’m right there with you!

  19. Savanna says:

    Oh girl. I feel ya! I recently got those “nudges” from God and I stepped back, slowed down and realized how much time I was missing with my family. It’s rough but God knows the plan. I’m happy for you and excited to see all that your plan has in store!

  20. Mary Allison says:

    Your bravery and confidence in your decision is inspiring! Thank you for always being real, kind, and doing you even when the world tells you otherwise. I’m in my twenties, growing a business, and dreaming of the days when I’ll have that many clients…so it’s really cool to hear you be humble and do what you have to do for yourself and your family! We love and support you and thank you for being a light in this social media crazy business world!

  21. Allie says:

    I am excited for you! What a wonderful and and loving decision. Just think of what you are teaching your girls by still “doing you” but still keeping your family your priority. I love watching your stories. As cheesy as it sounds you are such an inspiration to me. I am in the baby having years which puts my hopes on pause for now. I hope one day to do something for myself like you have. Keep doing you!!

  22. Jenny says:

    Erin- I hit my fork in the road last fall. I realized that life is just way to short to miss out on the little things. I decided to take a step back from my job as a case manager for children and adults with disabilities. I remember feeling that if I didn’t stop and be present what good was I bringing the people I was trying to help? What good was I to my family who waited tirelessly for me to get home late at night to give me kisses and read them stories before bed? I have never been more thankful than I was to begin the process of stepping back and taking control of my life again. I had many people tell me that I was crazy for giving up so much. BUT when I finally signed over my last case that I resigned from on January 3 I felt a sense of peace wrap around me and carry me forward. You are BRAVE for taking control and knowing what is best for you. I have no doubt in my mind that you too will be thankful for your decisions. You are an inspiration and I can’t wait to see what you have planned in the future!

  23. Erin says:

    Erin, your honesty and realness are only a couple of the many reasons why you have so many followers. We’ll be here when you are, even if it’s only a few minutes here or there. All that matters in the grand scheme of things is your happiness and your family’s. Enjoy those years! As I, myself am learning with two littles, one starting Kindergarten, it goes so fast. Best of luck, with all that the future holds for you and your family!

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      You have no idea how much pressure your kind comment takes off of my shoulders. Self-imposed pressure, but pressure nonetheless. THANK YOU.

  24. Jennifer Marshall says:

    Oh, Erin! I 100% percent understand & support your decision! About a year ago, I decided to go back to work part time after staying home with my twins for 12 years, and after a year of juggling, I made the decision to walk away & stay at home again. I just didn’t feel like I was being the best version of myself to my family, and they ALWAYS come first. I love your expression of YOU DO YOU because you are the only one who truly knows what’s in your heart & what’s best for you. Cheers & hugs to a new season! xoxo

  25. Joan Emery says:

    I’m so Very Excited for You !!!!!! My Boys 22 & 23 yrs. old now, I knew I wanted to be involved as much as possible and my Husband their Dad felt the same way, in the lives, school, Boy Scouts, Church!!!!!!!!That was our Family Plan when we got married before the Boys were even born !!!!! 💙💙. We are so very Blessed for the decisions we made and We never have looked back when We Made those choices over 25 Years Ago this Year. Love ❤️ You Buddy and IG Sister 💖💖

  26. Teri Fisher says:

    Love ❤️ your honesty 😊

    In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path! If they truly are little nudges from God…then it’s never going backwards! Trust your instincts and the blessings will still come your way in just the way you need!

    Family first always Erin!! Press on…I always look forward to your sweet posts and fresh, inspiring ideas 👍

  27. Lindsey says:

    Love your honesty Erin!! I’m a working Mom & I totally get this❤️ Can’t wait for my You Do You tee to arrive cause that’s exactly what we should all be doing😀
    Lindsey

  28. Laura says:

    Good for you! These kiddos we are sre intrusted with won’t be little for long and if stepping back is what is best for your family then high fives all the way around. I stepped away from a job I loved years ago when our second child, who has special needs, had some health issues arise and it was the best thing I could have done for our family and myself. Enjoy your babies and still run an awesomely successful business all while staying grounded…as you tell us your buddies all the time “you do you”….oh and those pumpkins in the dough bowl…ah-mazing. Love your blog and that you allow us in to your world…thank you.

  29. Veronica Villarroel says:

    I also am an introvert by nature and have been tested to come out of my comfort zone on several occasions. I have reached as I say a fork in the road and having to decide which direction to take, and sometimes my decisions have been about other people but deep down inside I learned to loose within myself and listen to my inner voice and be happy with my choices which include my immediate family and leave the other noise behind. Thanks for sharing your story and realize that there are people who are going through a similar change of seasons in their life and I know finding a kinship with your story makes it relatable on so many levels 🌻🍂🍁

  30. Melissa says:

    You are truly incredible, Erin! Thank you for sharing this post and most importantly–thank you for following those God nudges. I truly believe that when you listen to those whispers from HIM you will be truly blessed beyond measure! You keep doin’ you! And from all of your buddies, we adore your real-ness!

  31. Britt Zacc says:

    This really spoke to me tonight and what’s more, it was a great reminder to listen more to those God nudges. He has the best plan for our lives and when we listen and obey, He works for our good. I had the same feelings today of entering a new season as both of my “babies”, ages 5 & 7 will be in full day school. I have some design projects that I’ve agreed to take on and this was a great reminder to go slow and keep what matters most in the forefront. Thank you for your honesty and I’ll be praying for you!

  32. Ashley says:

    You have done an amazing job with everything you’ve started! Your gifts and talents are so incredible and the Lord has used you to help and encourage others along the way. BUT…that in no way means you have to continue doing it all the same forever and ever. Family is way more important and when the Holy Spirit calls us to follow a new direction, that’s what ya do 😉 proud of you! Our babies won’t be babies forever! Love them while you can, and soak up every minute that you can!

  33. Angel Taraila says:

    I think what have accomplished is extraordinary and you should be very proud. As a momma of four (two I gave birth and two steps….FYI blended families are so so so so soberly hard) I know the tug of war your heart feels. Looking back on some of my “jobs” nothing in this world compared to going on field trips, being a Girl Scout leader, contributing to all the holiday parties, tball, peewee, big league, swimming lessons, etc. not once have I regretted that (ok. There was that ONE field trip that I nearly lost it but that’s another story). Mostly it was the joy in their faces that it was their mom that was there. It was their friends that fought over who was going to be in my group (I always ended up with more kids because the teachers knew I didn’t take any crap and was a veteran chaperone). Here I am and my baby girl is 16 going into her junior year and my oldest step has three baby girls and one starts kindergarten this year. Those are your greatest accomplishments because as the saying goes people never say in the end they wish they spent more time st the office. We get one chance to be heroes to our kids even if they are 16 and pissed at you for making them clean their room 😂

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      I love this. So much! And I love the part about your kids’ friends wanting to be with you–that’s what I want! I want our home to be a place where all the kids can come and feel at home…which means MY kids will want to come here, too. 😉 Thank you, Angel!

  34. Kelli B says:

    I’m going through this myself as I finish a nursing degree but realize I also don’t want to be away from my baby! You do you, mama bear! And yay for following your heart on the right choice for you and your family. 💕

  35. Good. For. You.
    This path that you are on, is all about the journey, not the destination. And you are so smart (and brave) to stop and choose the path you want to take. You know what makes you happy and no one in instaworld can tell you otherwise. But here’s the thing. You have all the time in the world. As you slow down now to be with your family and have more peace of mind, you may change your course in a few years when all of your girls are in school. You have time my friend. Maybe ten years from now you will follow up with some of those really big opportunities out there. I have a feeling they might just be even bigger and better then! I am so happy you made this choice. You know it’s the right one!❤️

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      You are a gem, and I’m keeping you. Thank you, Leslie! I kind of wonder what things will look like when they grow older and aren’t home during the day, and you are so right–that might be a season of “doing” more, but now….now is for stepping back. Appreciate your kind words.

  36. Cindy says:

    Right there with you. I think as relateable people we draw lots of interaction {so fun but also so exhausting} . I love doing Stories on IG… but then sometimes dread the response. I know going into fall I’ll be once again reevaluating social media and what will work best. Thankfully my introverted daughter Maddie is on this journey with me now, and she is tenacious with her time and intentions. She keeps me honest… and said the same as your friend. There’s never an end to the hamster wheel of IG. I’m hoping that not pushing forward doesn’t mean going backward… but it might, and I’ll need to be ok with that. Thanks for plopping your sweet heart out here.

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      You (and your very smart daughter) are so so right. Hamster wheel is a perfect descriptor, and I don’t want to burn out. You get it, Cindy. Thanks for reading and relating. Trying to explain how much work goes into IG and blogging is sometimes hard, so I appreciate your perspective as a peer!

  37. Emilie says:

    Girl, you do you! No one will ever be able to replace your time with your babies and reverse the regret for not obeying/listening to your nudges. God has a way of shifting things back into his order for our good. This is for your good girl. For the good of your family. Your obedience will bring about a success that will bring peace, joy, and all things that make your heart smile. ❤️ Blessings!!

  38. Brittany Wingard says:

    This is amazing and you are smart for realizing it! Your ‘followers’ will support whatever you decide and truly wish you happiness. Life is too short! <3

  39. Lynn says:

    Erin
    I love that you are chasing your dreams your way and doing what’s best for your family. I have never understood when women judge each other for their own personal choices. You are right at the end of the day you answer to yourself, your peeps and God.

  40. Kristi says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart (always!)! You are by far my favorite Insta-buddy. I’m so glad you are following Gods leading in your life. Blessings on you and your family.

  41. Rebekah says:

    Hey Erin! 🙂 I don’t personally know you, but I’ve been following you for awhile now and I can’t even tell you how much respect I have for you in this decision. In a world where so many people are striving after personal success and glory, you’re choosing the opposite for all the right reasons. So encouraging to see another mom (I’m newbie to the mom club with a 5 month old baby boy) listening to those “God nudges”. You are SO INSPIRING to me. Thanks for sharing your life with us and encouraging new moms like me. <3

  42. Melissa says:

    I did this after 4 years of being a team beachbody coach. With 8 kids, homeschooling, running a hobby farm, selling a house, renovating a house, potty training twins… the list goes on… I just hit my ceiling. I was done. I know you’re not DONE per day, but stepping back. I wish I’d stepped back before I hit the proverbial wall and could no longer go on. Another year has passed and it’s the best decision I’ve made that never once have I regretted. I’ve had more time with my kids and been happier than I’ve been since 2012. You do you and we will do us and that’s how our world turns. God bless, girl!

  43. Lydia Bauer says:

    At 61 and my hubby retiring in a couple of months we’ve had to make some life changes in preparation for the next phase of our life. After a lifetime of raising our family, foster parenting, adoptions, our kids are now adults and for the first time in almost 45 yrs. we are free to do as we please. I am reminded of the movie, Failure to Launch, my fear is my hubby will want his own room with a fish tank, lol. I worked much of our married life but also spent time as a stay at home mom. The tug and pull of trying to be everything for everyone but also trying to be true to yourself and your dreams are a constant balancing act. So do what you need to do that balances you and makes you feel at peace. In a world that demands instant accessibility through social
    media and our phones makes me crazy. I still do, turn off my phone, I don’t answer back instantly to a text or VM if I am busy. We still have the power to turn the world off when we need to and not feel guilty about it. So best wishes for a great new season!!!!

  44. Kim says:

    Yes, yes, yes! Following nudges from God will never steer you wrong! Thanks for sharing your heart! Blessings in your new season. I’ve enjoyed following you so much. Go enjoy your family!

  45. Anne Boron says:

    Congrats Erin,
    I am also a decorator/stager who came to the same conclusion this year. Many don’t understand bc my business is expanding at rapid speeds. So much that I was losing time to take care of myself. I managed to always take care of my family while putting my own physical, mental and emotional health on the back burner. I’m so at peace with my decision bc life is too short. You do you!!
    Blessings,
    Anne

  46. Shelley says:

    Erin,
    Your little people are THE very most important people in your life and in the blink of an eye they won’t be so little 😢so slow life down and soak in every single moment you can. I for one am just so thankful for those gentle nudges💕🙏🏻A mother’s hope is to see her children grow up to be happy, healthy and successful at what they love❤️ If we achieve this, NOW that is TRUE success!! They are very blessed to have such a sweet mom!! ❤️

  47. Areda says:

    Love the way you are acknowledging God’s nudgings….. Enjoy your family and friends, time is something we never get back

  48. Michelle Fox says:

    Erin, I applaud you, BRAVO!!
    There is NOTHING more important than family.
    I lost my mom to Alzheimer’s Disease not long ago… I lost my best friend.💜
    That is how you want your sweet girls to think about their mama. It takes sacrifice and diligence to nurture that loving relationship.
    God Bless you and your family. 💗

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Oh, I’m so very sorry for the loss of your mama. It sounds like she loved you so, and I appreciate you sharing this with me to encourage.

  49. Jill says:

    Oh girl, I feel like those were my words almost two years ago! I had a very fast growing IG account and two very fast growing girls. I had to slam on the breaks to stop and cherish every moment with them and my husband. We just dropped our oldest daughter off at college last week. (Sniff, sniff) I’m so happy I got to have quality time with her. My youngest has four more years at home before she leaves for college. Gah! It will be here in the blink of an eye. You are wise beyond your years and I love your love for your sweet family!

  50. Michele says:

    Erin you are surrounded by love and support. As one of your older fans, I’m so proud of you for listening to the gentle nudges the Lord is giving you. He knows your heart better than any of us do, and He is your BIGGEST fan. Find the quiet again. When you’re ready to come back full swing, if ever, we will be waiting with a cup of coffee in hand excited to hear what’s new! Until then, peace be with you. ✌🏼

  51. Ashley says:

    I literally just made the same announcement & shared my heart on this a few weeks ago on my blog!! And for me it’s been such a good change. I actually worked in my garden last week & did projects that I love to do but never have time to do anymore. It’s good for the soul!! Enjoy!

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      No way! I think something is in the air with all our community over there…we all just need a breather and a pause. Proud of you for doing YOU, girl.

  52. Lucy Mavis says:

    Hi, Erin!

    I’m newer to your IG & blog BUT can appreciate your fork-ish road. Your vulnerability is amazing. As an omnivert myself, I can relate to being nervous about being vulnerable with others. I too am a close knit friends kinda gal. Thank you for being so forthcoming with your decision. Your friend is incredibly wise – there is always some new goal to accomplish – the shy is the limit as they say! Proud of you for listening to your God nudge. 😊 Blessings to you & family. Looking forward to keeping up with your future endeavors.

    A fellow Jesus girl,

    Lucy

  53. Thank you for always sharing your heart! I’m a first time, stay at home momma to an 8 month and not many of my friends are at the marriage/baby phase of life yet, so I truly admire your perspective and look up to you in so many ways💗 Always follow those God nudges and He will always lead you in the right path!

  54. Areda says:

    Love the way you are acknowledging God’s nudgings……Enjoy your family and friends, time is something that we can’t get back 🙏

  55. Briley says:

    I think that’s completely awesome. And actually my maiden name is “Cotton” love your name choice! 😉 invest in those beautiful girlies and show em’ Jesus.

  56. Danelle says:

    Totally get it. My wife and I had a very successful store front for almost two years and to be totally honest, we were miserably stressed out 99.9% of the time. We ended up walking away and selling everything including our home and lived in a tiny house for over a year. We’ve since moved into a way bigger home but still lead a very low key life and are completely happy with it. We all get to our cap and just as you say, “your season” may not be now. BUT, watch out when it is time for “your season” because it will all be waiting for you. when you are ready.

  57. Emily Oldham says:

    Kiddos seem to make the proverbial forks in the road wider and more frequent, but our families are so worth it. I so enjoy your bolg and IG. I love seeing the fam and hearing your thought about things. It feels like chatting with an old friend 😘. I hope you are able to rest in the peace of your decisions and pursue YOUR dreams. Joy, peace, and much love to you dear friend. You are a rockstar!!

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Hugs back to ya, old friend. 😘 Appreciate the encouragement from someone who has seen me in real life, warts and all.

  58. Jen Lepley says:

    Enjoy your babies & family. The time surely flies by. (Mine are in high school & middle school) Sometimes pushing pause is all we need. That’s the beauty of life, we can take our own path. I love watching your stories & following along. Best of luck.

  59. Michelle McLeod says:

    The “nudge” is in fact a very real thing. I feel ya. I actually waited to pursue my dream career until my boys were grown enough for me to feel comfortable divin all in and dividing my attention. I applaud you for your decision. They are only “littles” once. ❤️

  60. Marsha says:

    Erin, I’m so glad I discovered your IG account a few months ago. I love how transparent and real you are with your followers. I think it’s awesome how you are following those nudges by God to “do You”. At the end of the day, following Him is what’s most important anyway. Prayers for you as you focus on what’s most important in this season of your life. Hugs from Florida!

  61. Karen O says:

    Erin I totally understand everything from missing those moments the guilt and wanting to hit those success milestones and the nudges from God. I wish you all of the best and very happiness I know you will find joy peace and happiness! My babies are 26 and 25 now and what I would give to have some moments back it went so fast. May God continue to bless you!

  62. Colleen says:

    I’m considerably older than you (and think you’re darling) and so, have a couple more “forks” under my belt and I’m here to say that the beauty of the journey lies in the fact that you can always make the next|another|different|fun|right|wrong|decision. Life is so…. amazing! much luck, peace and love on your way.

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Oh I love that. All the forks in all the roads. Lots of opportunity. Thank you for that perspective, Colleen!

  63. Natausha says:

    Girl! You are awesome. YOU DO YOU. I understand everything you said to a T. Seasons change as does life….. You got this!🍋🎃

  64. Morgan says:

    Yes, step back, as far back as you need to, lady! Each season is “short”- (the rotten ones FEEL like they take forever and the wonderful ones feel like they go by in the blink of an eye- where is the fairness in THAT?! Ha!)
    But I think it’s a great example to step back in faith. God made you and trusting Him to help nudge you to realize your limits, just shows an example of choosing His choices and not the world’s choices (hustle, going to the next level, etc.). While your business, Instagram, etc are great blessings and definitely things you have got great talents and been given gifts for, your family is also a big one and balancing them is so important!

  65. Lisa 😊 says:

    Erin. Erin. Erin. … I applaud what you are doing. I have had a similar situation with my “tiny” cookie business. My adventure, making cookies, started with baby steps and with a snap -of-a-finger I was running so fast I lost sight of my family, friends, HECK my LIFE. I, with a heavy heart, stopped running. Although I stopped …..it doesn’t mean I don’t know where I put my running shoes. 😉
    Do what’s right for Erin…
    Blessings!
    Lisa Stites

  66. Trish Washam says:

    I can absolutely relate except at a very different fork in the road! My “baby” turned 20 this year and started her junior year in college and I am finally letting go of the “I need to be completely available to my kids at all times” phase and finally pushing back some fears of stepping out for my “second act” and looking to go full time back to work again.
    I don’t regret one.single.(sometimes hard).moment of being a stay-at-home mom while my kids were growing up even though it felt like my brains were going to mush and the world was passing me by and you know what?, I still have PLENTY of time now to do those things with no mommy guilt and a sense of satisfaction that I have no regrets. It hasn’t been easy, but I am glad that I stuck with what MY heart was telling me to do for MY situation and I also respect my “working mom” friends as well. It’s all a personal choice. You listen to your own heart and pulse of your own family and there will be plenty of time some day to pursue things that just might have to be on hold for now. We lost a 22-year-old son 5 years ago and I am grateful every.single.day that I was there when they all came home from school and summer vacation, etc. Even those hard years when it felt like all my “working mom” friends were smarter and more acomplished than me, I am glad that I stuck to my own family’s pulse and didn’t let myself get distracted.
    You keep doing YOU, smart girl! 😉

  67. Nancy says:

    Love you friend! While not a Mama, I do know you won’t get this time at home with the kiddos back. You Do You!!!! I’m hoping you’re not completely leaving me…(us) 😉 you’re such a bright spot in my day. Supporting you as you take this fork, don’t look back.
    Xoxo

  68. Erin Herren says:

    This is a hard, hard lesson I too have learned in the last year. Solidarity, sister. For what it’s worth, I think you are doing the right thing. The right, hard thing. You’re choice – and I totally respect that it’s yours – is the one I wish I had made in my first year of marriage, and one I am committed to making as I have my first baby. I am learning from your obedience.
    There is an admirable bravery in your choice that I think a lot of us wish we had. And, while I’m over here chomping my nails in anticipation of your change – from one Erin to another – soldier on, warrior. Fight for those babies and fight for your sanity. Jen Hatmaker says to “let yourself off the hook” and find your balance – your balance is different than mine, and different than hers. You do you and let yourself off the “but what am I giving up?” hook. LOOK AT WHAT YOU GET! Those babies! That quiet! I can’t help but think about the clients you do have this year and the devoted, excellent attention they will now get because you’ve made the brave choice to not do too much.
    I SO appreciate your honesty, integrity, and grit. I’m with you, sister.

  69. Rachel says:

    I love this post. You do you is a great motto and I actually say it all the time. I so enjoy what you do and I love the inspiration you put out there for us. I totally get the nudges from God. I have been talking to my friends about doing me the way I want to authentically. I feel like we get caught up in looking at others and forget that we are pretty cool all on our own! I feel like God has been trying to say that to me for a while now and I am glad you were brave enough to say it. I hope this next phase for you is sweeter than you ever thought possible.

  70. Ashley Rednour says:

    Those nudges often scare me but at the same time excite me!! I have found out all too well that it means big change is coming and even if it’s bad God always makes miracles out of messes! Praying for you in this new season of your life! I have enjoyed being apart of your world!

  71. Laura Bridgewater says:

    Good for you Erin. God has big plans for you. But your kids are only little once. Women especially, kind of get to have the best of both worlds. Most have a career when they’re married and young and then if you want and are able, some of us get to stop working outside of the home and raise our children. And when they go off to college we get to kind of have another career again if we choose. You could be the Garth Brooks of interior design! Lol. He took time off to finish raising his kids and now he is bigger than ever!!! Lol. 😂😂

  72. Joni Goodmanson says:

    No matter if you blog and Instagram once an hour or once a year, I always want to hear what you have to say! Happy for you that you knew change was necessary and that you are moving forward with it. This isn’t easy and I admire your insight and your honesty, with us and with yourself. Choosing more time for family is a decision you will never regret.
    Hugs, Joni

  73. Girl, I have bought three pair of shorts, a dress, and three rugs since I found you on Instagram. That’s only in the last month! My hubby, for one, will be very glad you’re stepping back. Lol. Go and enjoy your girls! You have a lot of people rooting for you! We’ll still all be here for you if you dip your toes back in the water! Promise! Big hugs to you, swert Erin.

  74. Kate says:

    Totally respect and understand where you’re going with this. You do you!

  75. Lindsay says:

    You are precious girl!! So unbelievable relateble and brave!! Cheering you on in your choices and pursuits with your family. The Nudges are real and never lead you astray. Hugs from Indiana! 💕

  76. Angie Ostler says:

    I totally and 100% can relate! I found myself coming to this fork in the road about a year ago. I had been doing Instagram full-time and collaborating on products and I just literally was working it full-time and missing out on so many moments and time with my family. I hadn’t grown too big in a year, but big enough to realize things were getting even more busy. I took a huge step back and it was the best thing I ever did. Of course I’m still finding myself wanting to make even more changes and pull back even more because it still continues to take up more time than I would like, but change is a process. I’m proud of you and kudos to you for following your heart and for following God’s plan for you! It takes a very strong person to say no to the recognition of the world and say yes to the quiet or sometimes nonexistent thanks from children.

  77. Lindzie says:

    I struggle with this daily and I think I always will. I am a full time mommy and I also have a full time career in law enforcement. And I’ve always said that the most important thing to me is that when my children are grown they will think to themselves no matter how busy our mom was she was always there for us and always put us first. That is my #1 goal in life 100%!! And in my humble opinion that IS SUCCESS….being a good mother and wife. So cheers to you for stepping back and I look forward to continuing to following along. Do you girl! 😉😉😉

  78. Julie says:

    I love your un-apologetic attitude Erin. It’s refreshing to see someone who has success online but still finds a way to keep her family life private and a priority. You share your life and personality and let us get to know you, but protect the ones you love in both what you share and your time. I love gathering inspiration from your blog posts and past design clients as I slowly work on updating and decorating our home; I’m especially loving the book art installation!

  79. Tricia says:

    You are a smart and talented young woman and wise beyond your years. I think you made a great decision. I come from the ‘women’s lib’ years when I first started my career as a teacher 42 years ago and of course I thought that being in the work force was the thing I should do. Especially since my husband was was still in college and we needed my paycheck in order for him to finish school. Then of course my girls were born within the first 5 years of our marriage. Don’t get me wrong, I will never regret my years of teaching because I did get to touch so many lives and I enjoyed every minute of it. I did have to make sacrifices though as far as my family was concerned and the best thing about being a teacher is that I was home whenever the girls were home for holidays and summers. My girls grew up to be caring, talented, beautiful women in spite of my career. But now, in my old age, I look back and wonder what if I had stayed home. Would things have been different? I even had a chance at one time to be a stay at home mom and I put it to God . The message He gave me was to keep teaching. Now looking back through the years I see why He gave me that path to follow. Anyway, I didn’t mean to ramble on , your choice to follow your heart is the best and bravest choice because God put it in your heart. Children grow up so quickly and you will never get that time back. So make those memories now. You will have plenty of time to follow your other paths when your kids are grown.

  80. Regina says:

    I really love your words. I’m glad you’re having the courage to say no to some things for what is better for you right now. I have an online shop that is successful and a full time job and I long to have online success like you and many others. But i’m also an introvert and hate feeling exposed…this reminds me that even with all the hardwork to get online success its not sustainable on the solo. You sure make it look easy peasy tho! So much love. You do you girl!

  81. Girl, I have bought three pair of shorts, a dress, and three rugs since I found you on Instagram. That’s only in the last month! My hubby, for one, will be very glad you’re stepping back. Lol. Go and enjoy your girls! You have a lot of people rooting for you! We’ll still all be here for you if you dip your toes back in the water! Promise! Big hugs to you, sweet Erin.

  82. Christine says:

    I read this and thought man look at the Buddy Army sending you a giant hug right back. I’ve so enjoyed following you and learning with you. Your honesty and genuine light really inspire me. Stepping back & finding balance is brave. Keep doing you and we’ll keep following. 🙂

  83. Robin says:

    Your post was beautifully written, and obviously (given all the comments above!) well received.
    Life is a balancing act, for we Mamas, and finding that balance takes a nudge, a tweak and a little bit of soul searching now and then. Thanks for being your usual honest, transparent self in the process. It helps us all to know that we can relate.
    Here’s to time, slowing down and raising our beautiful kids! Xx

  84. Dobie says:

    Oh Erin, you are not turning in the opposite direction from “success”. You are turning in the direction of true success. We should all be striving to be a successful human beings and that has nothing to do with bigger ,better business trappings. Godspeed dear girl.

  85. Have you read Joanna Gaines book? She speaks of how when her first little shop was doing its best, she felt that nudge…the nudge God gave her to step back and focus on her family…to trust HIM with her dreams. And she did! She closed down her little dream shop and trusted God with her dreams and look what He did! Im sort of in the same boat. Im feeling God nudge me to step back from my work (serving those with disabilities) and move into the blogging world and give my family more time. Im not sure what He has in store…but I intend to obey and hold on tight for the ride 😉 Praying for you and cheering you on! <3

  86. Piper says:

    Erin,
    You do you!!! So proud of your success and look forward to hearing what you’re up to each day. But often I wonder how you’ve been able to do it all. Good for you for keeping it real with us and doing what feels right for you right now. We’ll all be here cheering you on in whatever direction or choices you make. We’re your tribe 💕💕

  87. This is the main thing that I admire about you, Erin. You put God and your family first. No matter what. If a huge opportunity came my way, I’m not sure I could be as level headed about it as you have been. I am taking notes here… I’ve lost sight of what truly matters regarding my Instagram page. Always changing the larger numbers. But that isn’t what matters. This is what matters. Relationships. Support. Encouragement. Community. Thank you for teaching me to slow down and keep focused on my beliefs and Jesus!! ❤️

  88. Lisa says:

    Well good for you! Nothing more important than those four babies of yours! Believe me, you’ll blink and they’ll be grown! You are so gifted! God bless you and thst adorable family of yours!

  89. Katie says:

    Good job listening to the God-nudge and doing what you’re being called to in this season. It’s not always easy, but I believe God blesses us when we do as He calls us. Enjoy the special time with your kiddos. Thanks for blessing us all with your Erin-ness! 🙂

  90. Tisha says:

    You know I’ve always made mother hen comments to you. I’ve had a genuine concern. I’m proud of you and your accomplishments. My kids are 27, 23, 10 and 10. The eldest lives a million miles away in CA. Spend as much time as humanly possible bring class mom, etc. because after you blink, they’re gone. You’re so blessed to have four babies and they are so blessed to have YOU for their mama. I think paying attention to the nudges is very wise ❤

  91. Amie Cullen says:

    You are someone who truly inspires me. Especially in motherhood and how you handle the changes in seasons. I’m a young mama with a toddler boy and a baby on the way. It’s so incredibly comforting to have mamas like you who have come before me to shed wisdom and light on this journey. Excited for you and will keep you in my prayers as you move into this next season of life!

  92. Elma says:

    Good for you!! God has blessed you with four little girls and stepping back and focusing on them and your hubby is fantastic!! Enjoy this break and enjoy this precious time!

  93. Brenda Webb says:

    Erin,I appreciate your remarks and your decision. Since I am a friend of your mother in law, you can figure I’m way past that kind of decision in my life. However, I so clearly remember that crossroads in my life and I’m not sure I always made the right decision. I will say that God gave you those precious babies and they need you and what only you can give them. I started my teaching career at age 40. I still had a great career and now I’m enjoying retirement. I could not have given my job the attention it needed if I’d have had little ones at home. I found out long ago to heed the Lord’s nudges and He will work out the timing. I admire the decisions you have made. It’s hard. Really hard. But He has a perfect plan for you if you just listen. I think you’re doing that. I will keep you in my prayers and here’s to a great school year!

  94. Melissa de la Haye says:

    Erin, I only found your Instagram and blog a few months back. I always appreciate your insight and thoughts. A SAHM, and beyond, are being redefined right now. Life doesn’t look the same as it did for my mom or memaw. Hearing how others think, do, approach is always helpful. Even if we do different things. I’m a mom with a 3 & 4 year old and one on the way. I’m still looking for me beyond mom, but even in this season I have to remind myself it’s building blocks. Firmly place ones will lead to so much more good in the future. No matter what the blocks are, doing what is right for you, your family, your now is so important. It’s the blocks your tomorrow will be built on, and theirs. As always, thank you so much for sharing and the best to you as “you do you.”

  95. Meg says:

    This post is a blessing to me! Thank you for writing it so well and truthfully. I walked away from a pretty successful online business about two years ago. It was more than I could do with three kids, home schooling, and all the other things that come with them getting older. I was so sad at the time, but didn’t regret the decision. I miss it some days and wish I had had the ability to just step back and keep the fun parts like you are doing! But those “nudges” are a big deal to me, and I find that when I ignore them things get ugly. 😂😬 so I’ve learned to listen to my nudges and to ignore what others think about my decisions. I’m glad we get to keep getting small glimpses into your life. So very excited for you and all the peace that comes with the harder, but better-for-you, decision. Love love love you!

  96. Ashley says:

    Can you still post videos of the cat?! 😂 On a serious note, I love everything about your social media/blog. I seriously feel like you and I are twins separated at birth (except I curse). We are like the same person (same sizes and all). 😊 I stay at home with my son and it is the most challenging and rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I’m busier now than I ever was when I worked full-time, and you have 4! I get it. It’s hard being a mom and making these life decisions. Being an adult is hard, do what you gotta do, and we’ll all be here waiting!

  97. Denita says:

    I’m about 99.99999% sure you will never regret this decision. Bravo, kudos and all the high fives for making this (and countless others, I’m sure) tough decisions and then bravely putting it out there into the universe. Lots of women.. people need to hear this and be encouraged to do the same. Balance is soooo hard to come by.. way to be an incredible example of “you do you”!

  98. Kristin says:

    Erin,
    This particular post meant so much to me after I read it. My best friend and I (of 20+ years) had a falling out last November and just last night we spoke on the phone for about three hours talking about the changes in the both of us, since our childhood years. We are in two different stages in life and have completely different lifestyles. We both agreed to start a new beginning with our friendship and see where it goes. With all this hate in the world, it meant so much to me to talk to her again. I don’t think we’ll ever be what we used to be but I hope we can be something better and healthier in the future. Thank you for your words about the seasons that change. The last year has been that for me. My three year old is also starting preschool next month, so I think I will be a bit teary eyed once he leaves me for the first time. I bought the “You Be You” shirt after I read this post because a lot of what my friend and I were talking about last night was how important it is to think of yourself before pleasing others. You can’t make someone else happy if you’re not happy yourself. Thank you and good luck with whichever direction you go. You will always have my support.

  99. Eva says:

    Good for you! Choosing what is best for your family is ALWAYS the right decision.

  100. Michele says:

    Erin ,
    Life is short ! We have to live in the moment. I have 3 older kids 20, 18 and 15 . And I remember their first day of kindergarten and two of them are off to college 😬😥❤️❤️. What I am trying to say is you do you ! You are amazing at what you do I love your IG stories that make me smile ! Your blogs are uplifting. But if they are only once a week so be it ! It’s your life ! Thank you for letting me in your life 😊 God bless your family !

  101. Ruth Cleaver says:

    Good for you Erin! I completely understand, I stepped down in my career to go part time. And then I just took the whole summer off with the children. I just went back to work this week 🙁 as the mother of teenagers, I know I won’t ever get that time back and although I’m enjoying this new “season” with my teens I would give anything to go back to when they were little! Lots of love to you! Erin is my favorite name, it’s my daughters name xxx

  102. Christina says:

    I only wish instagram was a thing when I was raising my five little babies. Well said my friend! Your a sweet encourager to all mommies struggling with all seasons mothers go through. Keep up the uplifting journey Gods blessed you with. My career was on hold while raising my family but I always tried to soak up each day with them. They grow up way too fast and then you find your little nest empty. Now my oldest are having babies of their own and tell me how much they appreciate how they were raised 😲. I did not see that coming…truly blessed by it. I see them using the same parenting traits as my husband and I did. What I’m trying to say is your girls are learning how to be parents by watching you and your husband work as a team to raise your sweet little girls. One day you will reap the rewards of putting your family first. Enjoy your little blessings from above because they don’t stay little for long….Bless you sweet Erin ❤️

  103. Lynndee says:

    Yay Erin! It’s all good. All the seasons. Thank you for sharing your beautiful journey. I get so inspired by you. Thank you lovely.

  104. Melissa says:

    Remember “You Do You” !!!! Be that room mom enjoy!!!! Make the choices that are best for the awesome family you have. Looking forward to see what new doors are opened as you are nudged❤️ Thank you though for all the laughs, smiles, & tips!!!! You are a true genuine woman Erin!!!

  105. Tara says:

    I always feel like I shouldn’t comment because I truly think of your old blog and I know you are sick if hearing it…. Tonight I want to because for the fist time I felt like you were truly the Erin that I fell for so to speak. I loved running across you and seeing your success. I used yours and Lauren’s blogs to redo my wardrobe and to do me so to speak and have had so many ask what I did this summer and my answer was totally ake care of me. But then I found myself scrolling by. I loved your photos and ideas etc but something was missing for me. Something that I kept comparing to Superfluties that I used to read after Glamorous Life of a Housewife and then on to The lady from TN I think it was (man I wish I knew how her husband was, if I recall that right). I know you became an interior decorator blog etc but as much as you told me to do me I admit I didn’t believe you were doing you, authentically. I am humbled to think you sat back and did you without a doubt in this post. I guess you could say I trust you again and feel like my “friend” is back not just another business blogger. Anyways, I have said too much I am sure but just know your words have made an impact from day one, your stories were read from day one and affected those who were honored to read them and they are remembered all these years later. You define your own success but to me this is the greatest step of it. I look forward to your future posts and getting to know you again as you choose the fork that best fits your life now. And I am off to try and figure out that darn blog.

  106. Lori Hart says:

    Awe Erin! You are not going backwards, you are definitely moving forward! Listening to Gods nudges is always the right decision! You are wise beyond your years and I love following you! I’m also a momma of 4 (grown babies, 3 boys and 1 baby girl)! Be with them…you will never regret💗🙏 hugs from Tulsa💕

  107. Regina says:

    I loved you already but now even more! I so respect your decision to step back. I believe we only know full speed ahead. Good for you for knowing how to push the brakes! Thank you for sharing your life and always keeping it real! You tha best!! 😘

  108. Sarah says:

    Hey Erin!

    Love your post this evening! It takes a lot for someone to open up about those things that people put so much “shame” on. I’m pretty new to your blog but I have to stay you have become seriously one of my favorites! As someone who leads a very busy life, I think it’s awesome and are really excited for your new journey! While I don’t have babies yet,
    working for yourself puts so much pressure to “prove” that you can do it. But I totally commend you for that!

  109. Kristi says:

    Seasons change and God nudges us to do what He has called for us to do in each and every one of them. It’s always for our good and there will be such sweet reward as you walk in obedience to where He’s leading!

  110. Sarah says:

    Girl, I’m proud of you. It takes a lot of “stuff” as my dad likes to say to stay true to yourself in the midst of overwhelming success and to know your limits. Whatever you can give to the biz will be 100% you and that’s what everyone loves. Stay true girl. 😘

  111. Nina says:

    “I know without a shadow of a doubt that the kind ones with full lives that extend way beyond a screen will understand.” is a powerful statement. It makes me rethink growing my social media bc I know there is some crazy behind the scenes drama that comes from a large following. It also makes me mad that despite all the love people have for you no matter your choices, some folks are determined to make you feel less than. I’m gonna keep on keepin’ on but thanks to you I will always remember to do me 🙂

  112. Katie says:

    I loved reading this. In the end, your time should be filled doing what you love. It’s hard to say no, but sometimes “no” is actually saying “yes.” Good for you!

  113. Kapri rosesandbelles says:

    All of these comments have been so refreshing to my soul. After a week of feeling like the world is full of people looking for the #hustle and looking out for their number one, it’s nice to read about people who appreciate a life of being cherished by ones family and not by the world. I chose being a mom over dental school to many a people disgust that I would “waste” my brain like that. Then I had an opportunity to make it big in direct sales and woke up one day and closed everything up. My husbands job is demanding and supporting him at home while he works hard for us is not lessening my womanhood as some may think. I choose it. I’m there for my kids. Some days I start to regret not being a dentist and then I think of what me working full time would mean to my children and how fortunate I am that I can financially stay home with them. A leader in our church once said, “In the end, if you have not chosen Jesus, it will not matter what you have chosen.” If if someone doesn’t believe in God, I still think this can speak to them. If you haven’t chosen to be true to your highest priority, it won’t really matter what you have put your energy into. So refreshing to see a successful person choose the unpopular choice. Go you.

  114. Beverly says:

    This is why I enjoy reading your blog, following you on IG, and watching your stories. You are real! I admire you for re-evaluating your priorities and placing your family first. Like you said…there is a season for everyone, and your season right now is allowing yourself time to spend with your littles before time escapes. I’m new at my biz and I too struggle with balance. Balance is the key because after our kiddos have grown and moved on… there will be grand babies 😊 I wish you all the best ❤️

  115. Kelley says:

    Totally respond and admire what you’re saying! I agree that when you feel a “nudge,” it’s up to you to act on it accordingly. Whichever direction it takes you. Motherhood is a is a funny thing sometimes, in that the seasons within seem they can change as often as he wind 😉 These ol’ IG buddies will be here, but those babies sure don’t keep. ❤️

  116. Julie says:

    Good for you! Growth lives outside our comfort zone. You looked at your comfort zone, tossed it a lemon, and said thanks for the memories. Congratulations…and thankfully you ain’t leavin us!

  117. Linda Flores says:

    I love that “you are doing you”. That’s what’s it’s all about! You know what’s best for yourself and your family, and even though you are at a high peak with your social media acct and business, you realize what is too much and have brains to step back and slow down…that’s admirable!!
    I’m on the opposite side of that spectrum. I put everything on hold to raise my kids…even my career! I stayed home for 21 years with them, and now, in a month I will be sending my 18 year old baby girl to college. My last one to send off!! I guess it’s time to reignite my fire!

  118. Andrea says:

    I’ll always remember the article I read from Joanna Gaines about closing her first shop. She said that as she was closing the door the last time, she was sad, but God said something along the lines of, ‘if you trust me with the small things, I will use it for big things’.

    As a mom-preneur, making these choices can be really difficult. But, making the choice to put some business things on hold to cherish the time with your family is not ever something you’ll look back on with regret. Keep on listening to those nudges mama-you’re a good and faithful servant.

  119. Erin,
    I am so thankful for your heart! It’s not too often you see super successful mamas put their families ahead of their potential “success” and it’s so refreshing ❤️ God is so good and his nudges are so easy to shrug off because he is such a gentleman and won’t push. Praying for you and yours… your one of my favorites to click on Instagram and watch. Thanks for being real. My oldest is headed to kindergarten this year and I’ve had to make some similar decisions to yours concerning the time I place on my small business… they need us… “Proverbs 31:25-28 KJV
    [25] Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. [26] She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. [27] She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. [28] Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. …
    … holding you up. Stay in His hands ❤️

    Growing in grace,
    Marianne

  120. Anna Marie says:

    Yes! Good girl! That’s all I have to say. Prayers for you in finding balance.

  121. Vicky says:

    I think you are doing the right thing for you & your family. Growing your business in your own time frame. You are and will remain one of my favorite people / instagrammers/ inspirations because your real. You balance it all with love even on the hard days. You keep doing you!

  122. Kelly says:

    Erin I love that you are listening to those nudges! Thanks for being vulnerable and transparent….always! I know that isn’t always easy. I love how you always put your faith and family first and take risks. I will pray this new season is what your heart is yearning for!

  123. Stephanie (Woloszyn) Mora says:

    Oh Erin! Although years separate the good ol’ days and now, I still feel your honesty as so refreshing. Good for you for doing what those nudges tell you. Our God has a plan and I have no doubt that with Cotton Stem you will continue to touch lives and make crazy ladies laugh and inspire creativity in and around the home. I have no idea what 2018 brings for you, but I certainly wish the best. Being an entrepreneur has its ups and downs and I’m glad that you have a supporting group to help you keep your eyes on the prize that matters most to you and your family! Take care old friend.

  124. Karen Jacobs says:

    I love your honesty. You are an amazing woman wife mother and friend. I love all you have to say on home decor ,fashion, family or whatever is on your mind but most of all I love your giving heart.

  125. Tiffany says:

    I truly believe you will never look back on life and regret putting your family first. Doing that can mean different things to each of us but you know what’s best for you and yours. You’re children grow up so fast so make the most of it!

  126. Ivy says:

    Trust your gut. So cliche but so true. Internally I’ll be bummed if you’re not in social media as much lol. Without getting into the story, i remember a client of mine talking about when her and her husband had to make a big decision and one of their friends put it all into perspective by simply stating they would never regret a certain thing while the other they may. You will never ever regret the extra time spent with your family. The other option of growing your business to a point of sacrificing that time you could. Those babies will only be little once and you will never regret choosing to soak that up more.

  127. Amy McGilvary says:

    🙋🏼 Fellow introvert here. My circle is small, and I like it that way. I give 100% to my circle and that can be exhausting. I learned my limitations and became comfortable with who I am, that was a good day in Amy-land. So I feel ya, at the end of the day you have to do what is most important to you, and nothing else matters. You clearly love your kids and it is beyond admirable how you put them above the almighty dollar. As a homeschooler, I spend almost every waking minute with my kids and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Well, some days I might trade an hour for a massage, but I digress. Keep on keeping on, and always “do you”, because at the end of the day you are right, not a single one of us sit awake and think of your life choices. I have my own lane to pay attention to 😉. Full support from this introvert, I hope your life is abundantly blessed and you are fulfilled with all of the gifts God has given you. Much love from a huge fan.

  128. Jenifer says:

    I know that this is just another comment, but,
    I am very proud of you. What a difficult time and decision to make! Your daughter probably won’t remember that you slowed down your pace. She will remember that you cared enough to be a ‘room mom’!
    Mine are grown and gone, with college degrees, careers, and they are starting their own sweet little families. I look back and I know I did a good job! That is the most important job ever!! Good for you and especially good for them. 💗

  129. Lisa Arredondo says:

    Erin,
    I was so blessed to be home with my boys who are now MEN 22 & 24 and married! God will truly honor your decision to listen to him and to put your family first. I did want to have things I liked to do while raising them and definitely was able to be flexible with small jobs so that I could always be there for firsts, hurts, sickies, after school snacks, sports, etc etc etc. I realize not everyone is able to do that but if you can-DO! They need their mama (and daddy!)in elementary, middle school, high school and even now in so many ways although different ways as they grow. So happy for you! I love your blog and IG. Your genuine love for what you do and for others doing them (😊) shows and it is done without competition negativity. Blessings from Bend, Oregon!
    Your friend and fellow~
    introvert ✅
    tall gal ✅
    Jesus lover ✅
    ❤️Lisa

  130. Sam Griffin says:

    Oh my. THIS🙌🏻 I get it. I am a busy hairstylist in a busy town with not enough hours in the day. I have a hard time telling people that I can not accommodate them after my normal working hours. Inevitably, I do accommodate them and then the guilt hits me when I come home after 8:00 PM to an empty dinner table and there it sits…. my napkin and my fork. Dinner has already been eaten by those that I love and once again, I missed it. My son is 12 and I feel like it’s a race against the clock to soak up as much time with him because let’s face it… teenagers get weird😜 I look forward to your stories every single day (Well, except Sunday’s… you know the drill). Thank you for this powerful reminder that almost always, success will linger but the time spent with our loved ones is passing with each minute. Thank you, Erin. I freakin’ love you Clark Kent.

  131. Stacy says:

    Hi Erin, I know what you mean about success and always looking for the next marker…. I work in a corporate environment. Every year at the beginning of the year, company targets get set. Then your objectives get set, with goals that have to be met within that year. Then you have regular meetings – how are you performing in line with these goals? I have the same meetings with each of my team members reporting to me; how are they performing in line with these goals. It. Is. Exhausting! Anyway, I admire you for having the courage to look back at everything and make these very difficult decisions. I say courage because it takes courage to say to people that your definition of success may not be the traditional corporate view of success and you are going to ensure that you work towards your own definition and not that of anyone else. I wish you everything of the best and can’t wait to see how your Cottonstem moves and adapts with the changes you make. Oh, and sorry for rambling -you might be able to tell that I’ve been having my own thoughts in my own life about these things 😉

  132. Vicky says:

    Love, love, love you vulnerability and honesty. Nothing will ever fulfill you like time well spent with your girls and hubs. You will be more proud of this decision than your number of followers, likes or business ops. Proud for and of you!!

  133. Jennifer says:

    When you put God and family first everything else falls into place.
    I can speak from experience having 2 grown kids , they are only little once and at a blink of an eye they’re grown. So enjoy your kids while they’re little .
    I was a stay at home mom and never regretted it despite the rude comments I would get sometimes.
    I hope God blesses you and your family in everything y’all do.

  134. Erin Allen says:

    Oh sweet Erin! “”Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word…” and His word says, “He is ABLE”!!! Able to do more than we can ask or imagine. Good on you for heeding the spirit leading!!! God is beaming at the sight of your faithfulness! 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

  135. Lynn says:

    although we will be missing you… we totally understand your sentiments Erin. we actually admire how you juggle and bqlance your schedule with four kids, family time, your bznz, the social media IG stories IG posts and blog to reply to among all others. And yes you definitely need time for yourself and your family… stepping back is not bad at all…that’s why me myself i’ve kept my account private coz i can’t handle the overexposure… sometimes when i have some idea or motivation started, when i overexpose myself, the motivation dies down thus i want to save some part of me private to keep my sanity as i am easily affected and very much vulnerable especially with social media influence. We wish you good luck in your decision and may the Lord continue to bless you and your family! we still hope to see posts from you every once in awhile but not actually on a daily basis where you feel like you are obliged to the public to posts and reply or to have something new everyday for the public to look forward to. You have a life of your own, a family, and yes self care quiet time is very much important…. so you can come back and give more to those you love. You need a vacation from social media. Thank you again Erin for all the courage to share everything to us, thank you for all the inspiration, thank you for being you!!! 🙏❤️🙏

  136. Kelli says:

    From one introvert to another, I am so happy for your choice in forks. 😉

  137. Faith says:

    Check out, “The Best Yes” book by Lyza TerKuerst. It was a book that was assigned during one of my life groups at church–good for all the busy mamas and busy individuals in general who have an overwhelming schedule and want to be the best you and feeling the need to always say “yes” but learning it’s ok to say “no” in order to be our best. It’s a great Christian book. We all need a break; we aren’t robots even though it would probably be easier if we were battery operated 😉
    Here’s the link http://thebestyes.com
    Love you, Erin!!

  138. Deb says:

    So proud of you. “I call you and Natalie (from vintage porch my friends to my husband) you will not regret following God’s nudges. So excited to see what he will do next!!

  139. Denise says:

    Don’t ever feel guilty for stepping back to spend more time with family. In the end that is all that matters. Those girls will be grown before you know it. Blessings to you and your family.

  140. Michelle says:

    The time you have now with your family you can never get back…You will never regret time well spent. There will be a season to pursue YOUR dreams but in the meantime enjoy making THEIR dreams come true. Blessings,

  141. Verla says:

    I am always so impressed with your ability to express yourself so honestly and clearly. We don’t see a lot of people being “real” anymore. Thank you for being willing to break down the wall of perceived perfection. Watching “you do you” has always been inspiring because you make everyone believe that doing themselves is good enough. Blessings to you and your family!

  142. Amanda says:

    Thank you for being honest and putting yourself out there. It’s not easy for us introverts. I can’t even bring myself to do an Insta story. I took am starting a small business with a full time job and three teenagers. I’m deciding what I can take on and still fulfill my dream one project at a time.

  143. Kathy says:

    So VERY well said, Deary!

  144. Lisa says:

    Dear sweet Erin,
    You have been such an inspiration to me! I left a huge design career promotion to rebalance my priorities at home and I never regretted it! Now that my son has graduated from college (last year) u can explore new horizons! You always inspire me! Thank you for giving yourself to us in your cute and stylish ways! Blessings to you and your journey here…you’re a super star and God has used your talents in mighty ways! I look forward to seeing you continue to blossom! xoxo Lisa

  145. Vanessa says:

    Erin, I cheer you on no matter what direction you go! From the first day I saw your account, I knew you were a special talented one, and I’ve loved seeing you in action this year. Those Nudges are good though and I’ve also faced those, so I feel I can relate. Let’s raise our Rae Dunn coffee mugs ☕️😂 And cheers to a new season. 💓

  146. From a Nonny who knows…only because I’ve been there done that, you are amazing! I marvel at your confidence in being able to stand up and so no. I’m sure the temptation of growing your business and blog were/are there and what human wouldn’t feel good about people being proud of and loving your work?! But, you listened to that nudge I call The Holy Spirit and He is well pleased. I wish that I had listened to someone wiser and older and to The Holy Spirit’s nudges when I was a young mom. But I thought I knew it all. Yeah, right. There may be another opportunity down the road in all this for you. I sure hope so because you are talented and well loved. When that opportunity comes, run with it. But for now, rest easy. You are doing the work of Jesus in your family. Well done gone and faithful servant. Angela/Lovebeinganonny

  147. Kim says:

    Look at how much you’re supported, admired and LOVED!!! Your biggest cheerleader is the Lord and He gives you all the support you need and sprinkles your life with little cotton seeds to grow wherever He takes you. Obedience brings blessing, so you do you girl! We’re cheering you on 🤗👏🎉🤷

  148. Jenny Nerenberg says:

    Hey Erin, I don’t know you personally, only on IG, but I have so much respect for you. Hearing God and listening and then being obedient are hard thing to do. God calls each of us to do different paths in life. Some listen and others have a harder time. Like me haha. Anyways, my kiddos are all in high school and these younger years of your girls will fly by. You will find the right balance. You seem like an amazing mom. I have never worked outside the home. And sometimes I think ok, I’m doing it. I’m gonna go back to work. Do something with my major from college and Every. Single. Time. God shits the door. It’s almost laughable. He reminds me daily that my time is here. In the home. Of course, everyone is different. “You do you”!! And someday my time will be to work and pursue another dream, other than trying to be a great mom and wife! Hope this morning wasn’t too bad for you!! Much love and prayer to you and the family!!! ❤️

  149. Jenny Nerenberg says:

    Shut not Sh_t. Good grief lol

  150. Mary says:

    I think you have made a very wise decision for you and your family Erin. Having lived a little longer and been down some busy roads in my career path with young ones myself, I know all to well how the guilty Mom complex plays out after many years of lost time. You can’t get those years back!!! Good for you for feeling it and recognizing it after only one year. Nothing is worth giving up these precious years with your children. I stayed home with my kids until my oldest was 12 and my youngest was 9, and I still feel like I’ve missed too much; and I’m in education so I’m home with them during breaks and summer holidays. I wish you all of God’s blessings. You do an amazing job with your business and represent yourself well. You inspire me!!!

  151. Jenny says:

    Erin! Thank you for beeing a true inspiration, for sharing your life, your style and for your non-stop positivity. Peeking into your stories and blog is the higlight of the day. I really admire you and your ability to take a step back to see what matters most to you and your loved ones at the moment, wish you all the best.

    Hugs from Norway 🙂

  152. Meg says:

    Amen sister friend!

  153. Diana E. says:

    I recently found you on IG and then found your blog! Do what is right for you and your family. I personally think it’s a great decision!
    If people complain, let them know they need to worry about their own circus. You have yours covered! (My knew motto is “worry about your own monkeys in your circus, I’ve got mine covered! lol)
    I did the step back years ago when our son was young. One of the best things I ever did, for all of us.

  154. Maylynn Young says:

    This is great Erin, I wish I would have slowed down in my career but I chose to go further and missed out on so much family time😕 You are doing the right thing, I wish I could have read this 15 years ago, I’d totally would have slowed down. Be with your babies as much as you can, they grow so fast. I have two adult daughters and my baby is 14, I’d give anything to go back and spend more time with them. You go mama!!! 😊

  155. Stephanie Schell says:

    Yes!!! I love this! I’m a semi new follower of you and your brand and am loving it! One of the things I love the most is your strong sense of self and accountability to God and your family, not the internet or “fans.” That’s so so wise. I recently received a nudge to leave my job to stay home with my littles again and I’m so glad I listened even though it was and is scary. I know the Lord is honored by your trust and following of Him. Thank you for sharing! 💖

  156. Angie says:

    Doing what is right for you is courage!
    I’m one of your ahem “older” followers with a totally different lifestyle; however I love your take on life plus design and personal style.
    I’ll be pleased to follow and read if and when you do post. Got your back girl!
    Also a fellow introvert!!!
    Hugs Angie

  157. Sherrie Grimm Logan says:

    If anyone understands, it’s me. I’m a retired hairstylist/master instructor and former salon owner. I was so passionate about my career! I, unfortunately, was never able to have children so , I dove in head first and reveled in every single day. My hours were long, my clientele was through the roof and it was such a ride. It allowed my husband and I to live such an amazing life. We travelled, dined at the best restaurants, bought a gorgeous home, the car of my dreams .
    I had the most loving and supportive family. By that ,I mean my husband, my daddy and my mommy! They encouraged me throughout my career and I felt so blessed by God, for picking such amazingly beautiful parents to bring me into this world. The year’s flew past, while I was living this, dream come true life, that I had been blessed with.
    Guess what? One day, I realized that my parent’s had gotten old and their health was breaking. They moved in with my husband and me. The doctor appointments were a daily event, or so it seemed. My schedule was brutal and it tool all I could do to keep up. My husband was so wonderful. He helped as much as he possibly could, picking up the slack, for me.
    This craziness continued for several years. U finally, cut my hours, then eventually closed my salon and went booth rent in, part time.
    Within, a year, I needed my second neck surgery. I was to return to to work in 10 weeks. My mom became ill and my dad had already been in the Veterans Center in Claremore for 4 years, which was another thing that demanded my time. She entered the hospital and passed away, within a few days. My Daddy, followed her to Heaven, one month later.
    So, forgive me for this lengthy post…I promise you, it’s so condensed. Just wanted to, in my own way, in my own words, let you know that I support you, 100%!
    Life gets away so quickly! You have made your decision and now, you have 4 little precious humans and a very loving and supportive husband who need more of you. Continue doing what you can and want and love to do, but…just in a different way. You can have it all, now that you have set your priorities. God bless you!❤

  158. Sue says:

    OMG and I just found you! First, I want to say “you make me smile” You have a real and sincere talent to touch people. Second, I want to say “good for you” your talent and what you have from inside will always be there but those kiddos and family are a gift that need you and speaking from experience the time goes “WAY TOO FAST” Enjoy your decision, you’ll never be sorry.

  159. Sherrie Grimm Logan says:

    Erin,
    I just needed to be vulnerable to you, like you were with us. Forgive myvtyypos, as I became very emotional and forgot to make corrections. Also, meant to thank you for being you!

    Sherrie

  160. Lauren says:

    Hey Erin,
    So often in my life, if I just listen, God is pointing me toward the right decision. My husband and I made a big decision for our family last year that will affect my kids for the rest of their lives. We were trying to decide whether we wanted to build a forever home in a small town, rural community (on family land, hence why we can never sell) or move to a community in a larger town where there is more to do, more shops, bigger schools. It weighed so heavily on our hearts and we felt a lot like you do now. We made the opposite decision from so many of our friends who have decided to move to the city. We wanted a slower paced life. The house is almost done now and we’re moving in next week! I can’t say it was an easy decision, but I know soon we’ll be getting that slower paced life. (I hope!)
    Your blog and design have been such an inspiration to me and I’m thinking of starting a blog too! I find myself at a fork in the road again in terms of that decision. It’s really admirable that you’re taking the road less traveled. Success isn’t always measured by moving up, up, up! I think you made the harder decision of the two, but listening to your little nudge will be so worth it!

  161. Autumn says:

    You do you girl. I really enjoyed this post. I’ve been following you on Instagram for some time but I’ve slowly started to migrate to your blog. Words of wisdom in this post!

  162. Kimberly says:

    Dearest Erin,
    I am older than you with my kids now 20 & 23. I was a SAHM, but in my heart, my passion was to write, is to write. When my kids were young, I found a whole writing world online & had people to share my writing with although it brought no income into the home. All my time, but no income. Oh, sure I was “networking” I suppose, meeting other hopeful writers, learning about the self-publishing world, but I also remember my little daughter coming into my room as I sat at my computer, trying to write that last thank you or finish up that last chapter of my story. She would be in tears, calling me and at 20 she still remembers thise times. I think she was 4 or so ar the time. There is always guilt and I don’t regret sharing my writing with some very great “strangers/friends” online. I’ve completed a novel, so perhaps those people might be interested in this season of my life even though, I stepped away & my kids school years became my focus, their grades, their outside activities. My daughter was valedictorian of her high school class & my son is studying for his PhD in astrophysics all expense paid. Also the introvert in me had easily stepped back from her writer’s dream. You have accomplished so much, can clearly move forward when the timing feels right to you. Your kids quickly grow & soon they’ll be loving lives of their own, becoming, creating, contributing, all because you were there. Balance is the key and I find with my little account, it takes far more time than I can decote. Though you & I do not connect as often as we had in those beginning days, I really think you are a very kind, lovely spirit & I am happy to have met here in Decor Lalaland. xx

  163. Kimberly says:

    Gah, forgive the errors. should have edited!

  164. Keri B says:

    Good for you Erin, as a stay at home Mom of 3 the only person who can figure out your real needs is you…you gotta do you girl…and your girls will only be young once, enjoy this time…it will go fast and then you can fill your time a different way. Xoxo

  165. Linda Andersen says:

    Oh Erin! I’m proud of you! You are making the right choice. You won’t ever get these times back with your precious family. You do what you need to do and phooey on those that don’t like it! Btw you have the most beautiful babies!!! I’m glad you aren’t getting rid of “us” I would miss you.
    Love and hugs,
    Linda

  166. lisa laudato says:

    sending you so much love and peace as you navigate to what comes next for you, erin. xo

  167. Cindie Vaccaro says:

    You do you better than anyone. You’ll do you even better when your heart listens to God, you follow His path for you, and you let Him watch your back. So I say to you, Erin, well done. Well done.

    “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (TLB)

  168. Maureen Logue says:

    I love following you and your honestly and openness; I find it interesting that you say you’re and introvert! I’m happy that you’ve made your decision to step back. My 5 “babies” are grown and finished with college, and I can tell you from personal experience that it goes far too quickly. I was fortunate to stay home with them when they were little. We weren’t ever financially wealthy, but we made it! I painted furniture; I had a baking business; I did various things from home to help bring money in but my focus was on our family. Now, many years later, I am working at a job I love…..painting, woodworking, helping others transforms their homes. It took me awhile to get here, but I am thrilled that I was a part of raising 5 young children who turned out to be responsible, caring adults. That is my definition of success!
    As you say, you do you!! That’s all each one of can do. I can’t wait to get my shirt, by the way. Thanks for showing us all the power of giving, also. I’m happy to be a very small part of that.

  169. Lacey says:

    Oh, Erin! I am soooo thankful you wrote that post! I spent 6 years doing what I loved to do and being successful at it. At the end of the day, my babies suffered because of my “success.” I was so fortunate that I got to make a change. While I miss my old job, I love being with my kids more. I had to look on the inside and ask myself what is more important. Kids…family…ALWAYS.

    I had to fill out a intro slide for my new job. One of the questions was, “What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?” I wrote, “You do You.” Truth. If you can’t lay your head down at night and sleep soundly knowing good choices were made, then something needs to change.

    As you said, you are making these choices for you, but I stand with you, 100%! As always, thank you for always being real and helping others to see they aren’t alone. ❤️❤️

  170. Krista says:

    Erin,
    You do you, girlfriend. I can most definitely relate to this fork-i-ness you speak of. I was faced with a fork in the road of life about 6 months ago when I had to go through a custody battle. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make but I don’t regret a single second of it. I went with my gut (you know that feeling that you get as a mom when you know you just have to stick with it?), it was the right thing to do. Thank you for engaging and inspiring us creators and moms, and for giving us quirky girls with weird planning habits 😉 a feeling of togetherness and friendship and for giving us a place to gather and share ourselves with you and each other over this past year. You are so genuine and such a good person, like the down to the bone type of good. It’s refreshing and I’ll walk with you 100% down whichever road you take. I think no matter what it will take you great and wonderful places. Much love to you!! <3

  171. Kelly says:

    wow… I feel like your post was my nudge. One of many, but one of the loudest. I’m at my own fork. My daughter has some significant disabilities, and my job requires me to travel A LOT. I love my job, I love occasional travel, but it’s become overwhelming. We just learned she’ll likely need one minor and two major surgeries in the next year. My career provides most of our income and right now all I want to be is a mom… thanks for making me feel a bit more empowered.

  172. Sheila Irwin says:

    Erin,

    I just had to stop in and shout out a comment (and an “Amen” to you)! I respect and admire you even more for doing this. As a mom of three who are older than yours, all I can say is, they are little for SUCH a short time (as you obviously realize).

    Some other IG moms and I talk all the time about IG and blogging and how it takes up so much time – and I’ve said many times I’m SO glad I didn’t have this when my kids were little. It’s a hard thing to navigate, and still have time for your marriage and your family. Good for you for realizing that! And Erin, you’re still young! Maybe in a couple years, when they are older, in school all day, or even in middle or high school, you will have more time and they will need you less. You have to work when it feels right for you, and the work will come again. You are so talented, and personable that you would be a success no matter how long you step away for.

    So although I know you didn’t need my approval, I’m giving it!! 🙂

    Sheila
    xo

  173. Mindy says:

    Love you. You got this! So very proud of you and your heart. ❤️

  174. sharon comly says:

    Hi Erin, I’m new to you (to Cotton Stem) and while only have a small IG account so far (@houseonheatherfield) with plans for a Blog in the future, I can imagine it could swallow so much up! And, so many things can! I respect and appreciate the incredible example you are setting for all women everywhere. We truly can’t do everything and do it well! My children are almost grown but I constantly have had to “push away” those things (even seemingly good things) that would take away from my time with them, and my husband, and time to be quiet; the things God said are a priority in my life. So thank you!

  175. Hi Erin! Been wanting to read this post but being overworked as a designer/decorator (South Africa) I did not find the time. There seems to be a bigger reason for this….
    Yesterday (a non working Saturday … or suppose to be!) I reached breaking point after a morning client consultation lasted into the afternoon. The result was I completely took my exhaustion out on my innocent family .. who could do no right yesterday. I told myself something has to change. Reading your post this morning felt like something I was writing & helped me come to some important decisions. People will suck all the air out of your creativity IF YOU ALLOW THEM (and this is never intentional — we just work in such personal spaces). I love what I do BUT boundaries need to exist. Thank you for this post. It helped me revalue myself/ my family time/my business. Enjoy your fall as we enter spring xxx

  176. Barb M says:

    Hi Erin,
    I have been following you for some time now and love your personality and you are so strikingly beautiful!! I’m surprised you haven’t had companies calling you for modelling jobs!
    Anyway, after reading your blog post about the hard decision you made in your life at this time, I must tell you how much respect I have for you with your decision. From my experience as a stay-at-home Mom (until my two girls were in their high school years) – you will not regret your decision.
    I have NO regrets of choosing to make my family priority over everything else. The overflowing memories of being there for my girls is a treasured gift to me. You only get one life here on Earth, so do what your heart is telling you and all things will fall into place.
    Blessings to you and your family.

  177. Kelly says:

    I honestly think that’s wonderful news for you! Enjoy your babies as long as you can and take advantage of your situation to make memories. Do what only you can and enjoy that for now. Life will continue to change and so will you. Unfortunately, my situation didn’t allow me home a lot while my kids were little. I’m still trying to make up that time now at their ages of 18 and 12. I enjoy watching and you sharing what you do and will continue to do so! Good luck!

  178. Ryan says:

    Your IG account is one that I constantly check in on for inspiration and just to look at pretties. You are always so honest and YOU in your stories…yours are ones of the few that I don’t tap right past 😂 I think having a following like yours is one that many including myself (just starting out) strive for. But I think the somewhat “negatives” or stressors are the things that few of us think of when it comes to that success. Hearing you talk about those and how you are redefining what success means to you is very inspiring! Love the blog and can’t wait to see what else you have in store for this fall!

  179. Angela Morero says:

    OH man! I just found you and this awesome community and you are like number one! So I will miss your post but I always wondered how you balanced it all especially with your husbands schedule and 4 babies. But there will be so much time later when your kids start taking off on there own journey. Will be looking for things to fill your time and look at that you already have something!!!

  180. Lynn says:

    Does that mean you won’t be on Instagram stories anymore? I keep reading your post and trying to process the information. I think I. sadden by the news and can’t really coupe with what your saying. Not that I don’t agree with your decisions…I totally understand. I’m just going to miss you if your completey gone from stories.

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Oh no, no way! I’m saying I’m going to back away from some of the larger design clients/projects I was taking on. As for social media, I just need to give myself grace that I just can’t answer every single email and DM, etc. It’s become overwhelming (in a good way!), but I need to be more present with the fam in that area. I’m not going anywhere, just shifting gears! ❤️

  181. Andrea says:

    Erin, I just wanted to say that sometimes in life you need to be selfish but selfish in a good way. selfish to benefit yourself and your family, selfish to allow the time for friends, home life and just for your own sanity. It is brave to acknowledge that life is just becoming too all consuming, and honestly you are doing whats right for you in the here and now. As a
    cottonstemer come lately I want to say that I love coming to your blog, and actually set up an instagram account just to get a bigger fix of everything cotton stem. I will continue to follow whenever and however you decide to go forward. Love from Ireland (see how far your inspiration and enthusiasm for what you do has spread, you alone made that happen, so be very proud of all your accomplishments.)

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