If you and I were sitting down in my living room cross-legged on the couch, sipping coffee, wearing lounge clothes, and chatting about life, there’s a good chance I might open up to you and tell you about the crossroads I’ve been feeling with my blog the last month or two.
So welcome to my living room! Let’s have a one-sided conversation (for now). 😉
Bloggers all go through “funks”. I have a nice little community of bloggers that I’ve gotten to know throughout the last five years, and it’s simply inevitable that “burn out” happens. It comes and goes, and everyone handles it differently. Some pull the plug immediately and throw in the towel, some take “blogging breaks” for certain lengths of time (either announced or unannounced), and some power through their funk wearing a mask so that followers don’t know they’re struggling.
For a while I thought I was in a funk, but after seeking council and talking with some friends and loved ones, I’m realizing that I’ve come to a pivot point (thank you Chelsea for this spot-on term). I’ve been writing away in this space nonstop for five years this month, and I’ve realized that I was at the point where I needed to take a good, long look at my present, my future, my goals, and my lifestyle, and figure out what kind of role Whimsical September is going to continue playing – if any.
After briefly considering that maybe my season of life as a blogger had come to an end, I quickly realized that losing this site would be akin to the death of a friend. I can’t fathom not having this site to come to when my fingers are aching to share something new.
But here are the issues I’ve been having:
Time has been a struggle. For years, I would wake up at 5 a.m. and get right to work until the girls got up. I would then work every free second I could during the day, and then I would fire up my computer again after the girls were in bed to blog a little bit more. I loved this so much, and this worked for my family for a long time.
But now I’ve fallen in love with a 5 a.m. workout class and my family’s morning routine that follows. We have found an amazing daily stride from 4:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. (I’d love to share it with you sometime), and I love it. But there goes two hours of daily morning blogging.
I also only have a few mornings a week where both girls are in school, and though I’d love to say that those days are completely reserved for blogging only, I also find that I fill that time with doing things that are easier to do without my kids – random deep cleaning projects, various appointments, kid-free coffee or lunch dates with friends, etc. So in theory, I should have 11ish weekly hours to plug away on blogging, but it simply hasn’t been that easy.
And then there’s nighttime. I used to love putting the kids down to bed and relaxing with Jamie on the couch while we both worked on separate tasks. For years he had Army work to do, emails to go through, phone calls to make, or “get out of the Army” tasks to complete, so he would tackle all of this a foot away from me on the couch while I blogged.
Now, Jamie’s evenings are totally free and he’s not on his computer or phone anymore, and I find that I don’t want to be either. The last month or so has been amazing because we’ve watched so many shows and just hung out together, and for the first time in a long time, I’ve realized what it’s like to truly just relax in the evenings away from my phone and computer, and I really, really dig it.
So there goes 2+ hours every evening that I used to blog.
And then there’s the issue of boundaries when it comes to sharing about my children.
For years, people have asked me if I have limits for what I share about our children, and my answer is always “OH MY GOSH 1000% YES.”
Since Hadley was a baby, I have had my own set of boundaries and “compass” to follow regarding what I share about my kids visually and verbally. I could write a whole post on what those boundaries look like, but in a nutshell, I never, ever want my kids to be upset or embarrassed by anything I share here. In fact, I strive for this site to be something they appreciate, enjoy, and are proud of down the road.
But as they’re getting older (and as I’m getting older too), I find that I’m becoming less and less comfortable sharing about our lives day in and day out. So I’ve had to deeply reevaluate and revise my upcoming content ideas and my boundaries (regarding my kids) to make sure that I’m comfortable and happy to be sharing about whatever I’m sharing about.
Also, the behind-the-scenes work has been a hefty load the last year or so, and I haven’t done a good job balancing it.
On my blogging to-do list, writing new posts often happen last, since I usually sit down and use my work time to respond to emails, comments, messages, and more first. It’s been frustrating to me lately that I could work on blogging-related tasks for three straight hours without ever opening a “new post” tab.
And on top of it all –
Our lives have made/are making a huge shift. My husband’s career is different, which allows us way more family time than I’ve ever had as a blogger. My girls are getting bigger, and I find myself scrolling social media less and less while I’m with them. I can’t think of the last time they saw Mommy working on her blog in front of them. I’m constantly in the car running here, there, and everywhere… and then let’s just add a newborn to the picture soon. 😉 Blogging is wonderful because it allows me to self-schedule and march to my own beat, but sometimes during hectic times it would be nice to have someone who I’m held accountable to to show up and get ‘er done.
Basically, I have been battling the concept of wanting to do it all. I want my gym time, family time, friend time, etc. etc. etc., but I want to work/blog too. And there just isn’t enough hours in the day to have it all, so this is where it comes full circle lately, or rather the aforementioned crossroads. If I can’t do it all, what do I give up, what do I rearrange, what do I alter?
What to expect going forward –
I LOVE THIS SITE and writing about things that are entertaining, inspiring, or that just offer a bit of empathy and “I see you”. So, I’m not going anywhere. 😉
I am going to strive to write a new daily rhythm that incorporates ample time to write three to five posts a week, with a little bit of time to do the back-end blogging work too. I believe this will take about 16 hours a week, so I am going to work over the next week or so to carve out those 16 hours from my schedule and stick to it, knowing that I’ve intentionally set aside those hours for blogging (and that everything else will have time carved out for it too.)
I am going to prioritize writing more here, and may be on social media responding less. My blog is my bread and butter, so I don’t want to continue putting new posts on the back burner while I’m spending time in my inbox instead.
I am going to shoot to have a new post up for you most weekday mornings. A lot of people say that reading my site has become part of their morning routine, and it makes me sad to think about how little content I’ve been putting out the last two months for you. I know I’ve lost some of you, but I’m going to strive to win ya back! 😉
My mission –
When I tell others about certain accounts or blogs they should follow, I’m always able to summarize them well. “Oh, you should follow this certain person because she has the best travel tips!” or “You should follow this girl because her healthy recipes are the best!”
It’s bothered me that I’m not sure how one would quickly describe my site and/or suggest it to others. So I got to thinking, “How would I hope they describe Whimsical September?” And I think it’s this: “You should follow my friend Erica from Whimsical September because she’s your super average mom of three kids who shares all kinds of stories about living day-to-day as a women in today’s society.”
And if that’s too much of a mouthful, you can just say that I’m a big dork who isn’t afraid to embarrass herself, and writes about everything and nothing at the same time.
When I look at my 50+ blog posts topics tucked away waiting for me to type about them, it’s hard to group them into just a few categories. I’m not much of an expert on anything except for how to be a morning person (go to bed early) and how to kill a bag of Sour Patch Kids in record time (just sit, open, and thoroughly enjoy their perfection), but I do know that I like sharing bits and pieces of my life here. I’m aging right along with this blog (I’ll somehow be 31 on Saturday – oy…) and with a lot of you who have followed me for a long time (thank you!), so I say we just keep it up! Thanks for sticking with me!
Hi! I’m Erica, and I absolutely adore sharing my life on this website with you! I come here almost daily to blab about all of the things related to being a regular wife and mother in today’s ever-evolving society. I share about our new home, what’s on our kitchen table, what we’re hanging in our closets, where we’re traveling to next, my crazy 5 a.m. work outs, how I make time for girlfriends, our faith, and much more. We always have a lot of balls in the air and somewhat thrive on the chaos. I believe in the power of story-telling as a form of inspiration and entertainment, so I’m here to do both! I was born and raised in north Alabama and recently re-planted roots here again after my husband transitioned out of the Army (he is now in the Reserve and it’s going so well!) I’m a super proud mom to three little girls (ages 7, 4, and 1) who seem to be the stars of the show around here (for good reason – they’re pretty great!) I’m so glad you found me and are here reading! I hope we can get to know each other here on the blog as well as Facebook and/or Instagram. xoxo