Browsing Category

Thoughts

Family Thoughts Working Mom

Thriving vs. Surviving

October 12, 2017

I’ve taken an unintentional hiatus from blogging and frankly a few other things in life because of my schedule the past few months. For the first time in probably 15 years, my workout routine has been relegated to twice a month spin or yoga classes, and I’ve definitely suffered from it since exercise is such a huge stress reliever for me.

I’ve felt a shift the past few months that has led to some big life changes, most notably me quitting my full time public relations job that I’ve had for nearly ten years. I’m currently working on a contract basis through October to finish out some projects and help my team transition then I’ll be closing the door to that chapter of my life.  What got me here? Well, I can attribute this decision to a couple of things that have happened over the past few months or longer.

New job for Ben = single mom half the month. In May, right after we got back from Maui, Ben started a new role (same company) which meant he was heading to Midland, TX for two weeks out of each month. This was a huge shift for our family, one that I knew would be hard for me and even harder for Braden, but I just didn’t realize how challenging it would really be. I am so, so thankful that Ben is a hands-on dad. We are both in the thick of it every day, tag teaming childcare, bedtime routines, pediatrician appointments, dinner – really everything. To have your other half taken out of the mix half the month is a shock to the system. For me, as a working mom it has been extremely hard to balance school pick-up and drop-off every day, dinner, bedtime with a toddler who recently made the shift to a big kid bed, etc. I’m sure this sounds like everyday life for many so you might be thinking I just can’t hang. But, I have self awareness to know that I was just getting more and more overwhelmed and was reaching my breaking point.

Braden just adores Ben too, so it was tough trying to explain to him on a daily basis that daddy wasn’t coming home for a while. We got him an airplane to show him that dad flies out, and we facetimed at least once a day. While those things helped, Braden still wanted his dad’s presence and that was something I could not give him, which left me stressed, frustrated and emotional, which then led me to be short on patience with him. This became a vicious cycle where I was becoming a stressed out mom that wasn’t being there for my family in the way I wanted to be. I didn’t want to be counting down the minutes until bedtime every night so I could have a mere 30-45 minutes of personal time a day. I started to feel really guilty that I was feeling this way and the guilt just started eating away at me.

I went to the lake in South Carolina last month, and I finally finished The Magnolia Story, the book by Chip and Joanna Gaines I started reading several months ago, but never quite got into it enough to finish it. I can read multiple books when I travel, especially on the plane so vacations are always great for me to catch up on books that have been on my reading list and I do recommend reading this one! One thing Joanna did talk about in the book was getting to a point of thriving versus just surviving. I was definitely surviving as a mom, and that was just not good enough and knew I needed to change something. My job is pretty demanding. I lead a team of great people, but I get pulled into a lot of different directions and usually work more than 40 hours a week, often bringing my laptop home to answer/catch up on emails or edit/review work people have sent me that I couldn’t get to during normal business hours since I’m in a ton of meetings. Jumping online after Braden went to sleep most nights left me mentally and physically exhausted. I realized work was the one thing I could control in my life so I decided leaving my job was the best thing for me and my family. I know I wanted to continue working, but I wanted something that gave me the flexibility I needed and realized that was working for myself. I have been approached for consulting or freelance work quite a bit over the years but never felt like I had the time to pursue it. It’s pretty common in my industry of PR and marketing to work independently. I think I was scared to take this on, but honestly, I know I am great at what I do, and I just sort of needed to take a leap of faith. So, I’m branching out on my own, offering PR and marketing services to brands and companies. I’m excited to start this new career adventure and am using the next month to try to get organized and learn as much as I can about starting a business.

Another huge reason I left my job was because it was adding to my stress level in a way that just wasn’t healthy for me. I became very anxious and really had trouble sleeping. It just kept getting worse and worse which impacted other aspects of my life. I didn’t have the energy or patience to be a mom to a sassy little toddler, and I became a wife that complained so much to my husband. I started to really hate that about myself. This wasn’t all work related – it was just one of the many layers that was causing me to NOT thrive.

People say it all the time, but the time when your kids are young really passes by quickly. I can’t believe I have a three-year-old. I want to be a present, happy mom that enjoys every day, and I need to be present more than ever since Braden is totally going through the threenager stage, testing us all the time lately. I have certainly had happy moments the past few months, but the stress was taking over, and I just couldn’t do it anymore.  I wanted to stop keeping my head above water. I want to thrive again so I can expand my family one day and be the best mom and wife possible.

People who know me in my day-to-day life know that I lost a baby last December pretty late in my pregnancy at 22 weeks. I mentioned it here, but didn’t talk much about it on my blog or social media. It was so devastating for me, and it really changed me. It’s hard to articulate just how much. I find myself looking at the piece of paper I have with her small little handprints and footprints and the jar with her little ashes, and it just hurts my heart to think about what life could have been with that baby. I try not to dwell on this too much because it’s obviously not productive or healthy, but I do often think about her and our little family of four I could have right now. It makes me realize how much I do want another baby, and I hope that happens for my family again one day.

This is getting really quite long so I appreciate you reading if you’ve gotten this far! Bottom line: I am making life changes that put me in a place to be thriving not just surviving. We only get one life and I want to live it fully and authentically.

So, what’s next for me? I’m focusing on myself a little. I am hitting the reset button so I get to a space where I feel inspired again. I’m not rushing every day to get some place when really the only place I truly want to be is at home with Braden. I’ve enjoyed leisurely mornings, making breakfast and not fighting traffic. I’ve only been doing this for a week, but so far I’ve really enjoyed it.  I’m learning how to navigate life as a small business owner with a flexible schedule working from home. I want to blog more as it’s been a fun creative outlet for me. I’m focusing on getting back into a workout routine again, so I feel good and less stressed. I know there are certain things I’ll miss about my job. I have a great team, clients I really love and get to interact with some smart marketers that have taught me so, so much the last ten years. Most people at work have been overwhelmingly supportive of this step I’m taking, and I’m so grateful for that and those people in my life. But, I know it’s time to do my own thing.

I’m not sure how it’ll all pan out, but I’m excited for this new adventure.

More soon,

LL

Family Thoughts

An unexpected family update

December 5, 2016

I’m sharing a message below from my personal Facebook page. I wasn’t sure how to share this info. as it was something that caught me totally off guard.

I wish I wasn’t writing this right now but I felt like it’s needed not only for me, but also for all the people who have always been there supporting our family. Ben and I are heartbroken right now, as we’ve lost the baby girl we were expecting. While we didn’t know her, we felt like we did & we were so excited to find out we’d be giving Braden a sister. It has been an unexpected, devastating experience to be in this situation after being more than halfway along in my pregnancy. It may seem odd to some that I’m sharing this on social media but both for Ben and me, it’s emotionally exhausting repeating this news over and over again so sending an email or via SM is just the easiest thing for us right now.

While I may not be able to respond to every call, text or message from everyone, please know both Ben and I appreciate your kind words, prayers and support. 

I’ve had so many people tell me they follow along on my blog, so I feel that I would be inauthentic by not being honest about something that has impacted my life so greatly. When I shared the news that  I was expecting, never did I imagine I would be in this position now. It pretty much knocks the wind out of you and it’s hard to articulate right now because it still feels like I might wake up one day to find out this isn’t actually happening since it’s still so fresh.

Thanks so much for your support. I’ll be back soon.

-LL

Family Thoughts Working Mom

August Rush

August 31, 2016

Not sure what happened to this month. It’s definitely been a whirlwind. There isn’t much of a point to this post, but I felt compelled to write it.

Why did I even start a blog to begin with? Because I really like to write. I have a lot of respect for bloggers because it takes a lot more time than I think people realize to plan and write a post and develop or shoot photos to accompany that post. Right now, I just haven’t been able to carve out the time to do that. I want to make time.  I know the blogs that I like following the most are ones that have more writing vs. images. That’s just me, though. I’ll get it together soon. Promise.

So, all I have for you today are words. Mostly jumbled up thoughts really. A lot has been on my mind.

I’ve been experiencing a lot of guilt lately. Mom guilt, that is,  because my work schedule has been insane the past couple of weeks, and I’ve missed more moments at home than I care to admit. The time I have  before work or after work is precious. I don’t work out as much as I used to because I spend that time playing, reading and smothering Braden.  But the leaving early and getting home very late and eating three meals a day outside of my home has really started to get to me. The guilt has been getting to me. I’m hoping to balance that out and get back into a better routine. This week has been better, but I feel like I’m recovering.

August has had some great highs but also some extreme lows.

My beautiful baby boy turned TWO. I can’t believe it. I just love him more and more each day. I celebrated my 11 year anniversary. We didn’t do anything particularly amazing to celebrate, but I’m okay with that. With the house building and work, things have been pretty jam packed so moments when we’re just at home with Chinese food and a Redbox are pretty amazing. I’m thankful to be at this place in life with a true partner.

Speaking of…

I have major appreciation for my hands-on husband who has really picked up the slack at home while I’ve been working a ton, especially the past two weeks. He’s a gem, and I’m very glad to have him by my side to be my sounding board, secret keeper and pretty much everything that balances me out.

Part of the blur that is August is that we lost someone very important to us. A close friend lost his battle with cancer. It’s made me think a lot about things, and it has pretty much broken my heart for his wonderful family. Cancer really sucks. I don’t know what else to say about it, except that it just really sucks, and family and friends are precious.

Tomorrow is a new month. A fresh start. I’ll be back with more. I promise. Maybe it’ll be light-hearted, or maybe it’ll be random thoughts again. I hope you’ll come back to read more.

LL