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.