After a six-week long break from blogging and social media in general (okay, except for the occasional Instagram post of course… because who can live without that ?! lol) I am finally, FINALLY back here and so unbelievably happy about it !! After what feels like ages of product related posts, I am going to do something different today and celebrate being back by writing about some other topics close to my heart and soul – work life balance, parenting and mommy guilt. But before I get started (an believe me, I will !!), let me say something else first – happy 1st of September, friends !
Wow, I can’t believe that summer is almost over but like every year I am so excited about everything the month of September has to offer… September, with its back-to-school excitement, its beautiful foggy mornings, its gorgeous colors and smells, has always been one of my most beloved months of the year ! But before I get carried away any further, let me tell you about my summer away from blogging, what made me temporary abandon my workaholic ways and most importantly, what I took away from it…
As all my fellow working moms out there will probably attest to, being a working mom is not an easy task under the best possible circumstances but being a self-employed mom who is working from home is a different challenge altogether. As a professional photographer and blogger, I work mostly from my little office nook at home (while desperately trying to ignore the often chaotic household around me) but while I thoroughly enjoy the flexibility and freedom my work provides, it’s also at times a bit isolating.
After three years of pretty much non-stop blogging, I recently realized that most of my daily social interactions were taking place online, my lunch often happened in front of the computer (if it happened at all) and there were countless days when I didn’t even hear the sound of my own voice until the kids got home from school. Between the countless hours I spent editing photos and feeding the many social networks every blogger is compelled to use, I was not only mentally exhausted but also started to develop this nagging little feeling that I had somehow failed to find the balance I’d always promised myself to maintain.
As if that was not enough to worry about, for the first time in my life I had school-aged children and there was a six-week-long summer break ahead of us – double yikes !!! Like many other parents, I can’t help but constantly worry about balancing my own professional ambitions with my responsibilities as a mom… The prospect of spending six weeks with my two little rascals at home (since summer camps are unfortunately still a foreign concept here in Germany and my husband was unable to take time off from work) while trying to juggle my work load at the same time was just not very appealing and it really got me thinking…
During past, shorter stay-cations with the kids, I had always tried to squeeze in my daily work load as well but had always ended up not only horribly stressed while feeling terribly guilty about not being able to give them my full attention but also not handing in my best work !! So this year I promised myself to come up with a better solution and give something else a try. A nice, long e-vacation was in order and while my husband lovingly teased me that I would never be able to pull it off (since for the past three years he had shared his home with a craaazy person who was answering business emails on her iPhone at midnight – while in the bathroom, no less…), I am happy to report that not only have I survived it – I have also learned a thing or two about myself along the way ! 😉
Let me begin by saying that while the last six weeks where by no means a walk in the park, I am well aware of how fortunate I am to be able to afford the luxury of just not working and spending this large amount of quality time with my kids instead ! The hardest thing about those weeks (apart from entertaining two rambunctious kids 24/7 during what felt like the Monsoon season, aka summer in Germany) was not being able to write a single blog post. As a writer and generally creative person, my head is always full with ideas and every day I found myself developing some new concepts or writing new posts in my head while being unable to actually write them down (or in my case type them). While that was frustrating at times and the guilt over all the work just sitting there and piling up on me pretty much increased every week, it was still a pie-eating-contest in comparison to the stress levels I had experienced during past stay-cations, while trying to juggle both the kids and my work !!
Instead of forever checking my phone, answering emails at all hours of the day, chasing the next story or working on another photo assignment, I had time to actually relax my mind as well as my body. I spend much needed mommy-guilt-free time with my two sweeties and we did many fun things together ! I actually sat down and read some really good books and I enjoyed three healthy family meals every single day. Time away from the incredible fast pace of social media slows down quite a bit and for the first time in months I had the leisure to just daydream and let new ideas take shape. All that mental exhaustion and the blogging-fatigue I was experiencing before have been replaced by a new surge of energy and creativity and I am so happy I took the time to recharge my batteries !!
My beloved first of September is a perfect day for a fresh start and no matter how happy I am to be able to dive back into my work again, I strongly intend to keep this summer’s lessons in mind and will try to balance my daily life more carefully from now on ! This being said, it’s lunch time – so I’m off now and will enjoy a healthy, yummy, home made lunch, far away from my computer and phone ! 😉 I hope you enjoyed reading about my summer and I would love to hear about your summer and your thoughts…
(images: bridgee for littlestarblog)