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.
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.
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.
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. ❤️
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. 🙌🏻
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. 🙂
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!