When my good friend Esther asked me to be a part of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Skirt project she is spearheading, I immediately said yes without hesitation, not only because I will say yes to anything Esther asks me to do, but also because the idea behind the project: one of self confidence and the courage to follow your own creative path without fear is so incredibly relevant to me right now.
I’m not going to sugar coat it: this post has been a difficult one for me to write because the feelings and thoughts that have been swirling around in my head & heart for the last few months are suddenly pouring out, and I wasn’t quite ready for them! I’m at a transition point with knowing who I am right now, and it’s frankly catching me a little off guard. You may or may not know me in real life, but I’m not one often caught off guard, or without knowing what to do or say next. I’m a planner, I’m a researcher, I’m prepared…usually. And woah, right now, I’m anything but. I feel l like I’m walking on a literal line between two sides of myself, and trying to find what is the new me, now.
I had my children in my mid-thirties, and before then, for many years, my career was my baby. I worked hard with grit and hustle and talent and luck for many years, and I loved (almost) every minute of it. I was surrounded daily by smart, creative & business minded folks, both on my agency team, and our clients. That was me, then, and so much of me still thinks I am that person, even though I’ve spent the last six years as a full time stay at home mom.
We made the decision together as a family for me to stay home when we found out I was pregnant with my second son. We were in the process of moving away from Chicago for a new opportunity for my husband’s career, and the thought of two of us both beginning with new roles in a new city, with a 1 year old at home, and a new baby on the way – it just all felt like too much transition at the same time. Plenty of families do it all the time, but for us, it was the right decision and one we made as a family.
And so for the last six years, I happily dove head first into the “little kiddo at home” life. It’s beyond anything I could have ever asked for, and I feel incredibly grateful to have this special time with my boys. This is also me, then and now.
Within just a couple of months at home, I knew (and my husband did, too), that I needed to find a creative outlet. Something I could do to keep me feeling engaged and connected. Even though it wasn’t an easy decision to walk away from my career, I knew it was the right one, and surprisingly the easiest transition of all, I just needed to find something that would jive with my new life at home.
Enter Luxe With Kids. For the past few years, this website has become a wonderful grounding force, and an opportunity for me to create, write, and curate based on our own real life. It’s been a bridge when moving to new towns, and connecting with the local blogger communities has provided me with an instant welcome. (Bloggers are super collaborative and friendly, for real!) It was the perfect middle ground!
Yet, still, there is this nagging, internal struggle of choosing to stay home with my kids, but still wanting to pursue my creative passions. Even though I know an inspired mama is the best mama, I feel a little guilty each time I pull away to write a blog post, or get a sitter so I can attend an event. It’s good for them to see their mom doing what she loves and my boys squeeeeeeee with surprise and joy when they see me on television segments, so what is the deal with the mom guilt?
Just when I felt like we really had a rhythm down, my boys just started back to school with longer days than before, and I’m finding even more hours of the day that I can dedicate to projects, including volunteering at the kids’ school and philanthropic work. I’m exploring multiple options right now and trying to get a sense for what is the best fit for me and for our family. I just feel…a little stuck. I know who I was in my previous career, I know who I was as a full time stay at home mama, but now…in this new transition time…who am I? I’m feeling a little short on inspiration. There’s plenty to do, plenty I can do, but what do I want to do? Who am I, now?
I just recently went to my hometown, Chicago, for a weekend with friends. Chicago is where I feel like I left the last version of “me” I’m looking to rekindle with. We love where we live now, and we’ve truly enjoyed getting a chance to live in several different cities over the last few years, but I’m a Chicago girl through and through. I’m not going to say I figured it all out in one weekend, but I will tell you this much: taking that time to disconnect and be solo, walk around and just think, well, it zapped me a bit into realizing:
- Allowing myself to temporarily disconnect actually helps me become more present. This quick weekend away was a true luxury in so many ways, the most important of all that I returned to my family rejuvenated and grounded.
- Allowing myself to be unapologetically proud of the work I accomplish may help squelch the mom guilt for wanting to do it. It can be a yes AND situation, not a yes BUT.
I’m trying to be comfortable being somewhat stuck at the moment. I’m trying not to struggle against the quicksand too much, and rather just breathe. I’m freshly 40. I’m a mother, I’m a wife, I’m a sister and a friend and a daughter. A blogger. This is me, now. I don’t have it all figured it, but I trust that I’m where I’m supposed to be. This is my path, and thank you for being on the journey with me!
Speaking of journeys, this skirt has already been passed on to the next fabulous mama. Check back here often and I’ll be sure to add in all the links so you can follow it around!