{at this moment: spring break}

You may have heard me mention that the kids are off from school this week for spring break. Playing on that theme, and since I seem to be breaking rules this week, I wanted to share a rare family photo moment. Rare because I don't normally share family photos here and rare because it's a small challenge to get our whole family into one photo. As I look back through this blog, my role as mama and wife gets buried a bit. However, that's me in that photo as mama and wife, and that role is 100% of who I am outside of this blog. It's a full time job (as many of you know) and utilizes all of my resources. There are so many ideas I have for this space and my creative self, but my role outside of this blog pulls me in the other direction. I find myself in quite the conundrum as I try to honor this creative outlet and nurture my creative interests while embracing the gift I've been given to stay home with my kids. Just the other day, I was telling a friend that I'm desperately trying to work my way back to a MWF post schedule, but two per week seems to be the magic number right now. At the same time, I think about all the time I spend on this space and, if I'm being real honest, I sometimes think whether the time I devote to this blog might be better spent working on a worthy cause or for an inspiring business. This space is a labor of love, for certain. And I am still in love with it. 

Here's the other thing, I feel as though the story I want to share here has gotten watered down. I know why. Fear. Fear that it has already been said, fear that no one is interested, fear that I might offend someone, fear that I will be seen as a narcissist…Fear. It's a tricky and risky thing to put all of yourself out there. Even sharing a family photo here has me fearful. Let's just say self-promotion isn't my strong suit. I would much rather highlight and promote someone else. As my husband advises: People want to see and know more about you, not the filtered version - The real you. Hmm...

I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with all of this except to say that I have to believe my feelings aren't novel or unique, and I thought they would be worth sharing.  Like kids in school, perhaps sometimes we need a spring break in order to get perspective. I'm curious, have any of you grappled with any of these feelings? How do you ensure you're living a life worth sharing while maintaining a blog? Do you struggle with how much to share about yourself? Have any of you ever taken a break from your blog or toyed with the thought?

Anyway, I'm not going anywhere anytime soon, just doing a little free associating here. I suppose spring break has got me thinking that I want to live more. As always, thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. I appreciate you guys, a lot.

Some required reading that has been helping me sort through these feelings:

*Found via Not Merely Living. Thanks, Mere!

30 Send Me Your Thoughts:

  1. Oh Theresa. How do you know what is going on in my mind so very completely? I've really been grappling lately. There have been some big technical issues with my blog that I can't seem to get past and in the midst of all of that I find myself wondering too, am I doing what I'm supposed to be doing? Is the blog doing what it's supposed to be doing? Has it run its course? Is it time to let things go? I'm not sure what I'd do if I didn't blog, but I don't know. I love my blog, but I have a lot of the same fears as you.

    What I do know is that I love this space of yours, and I always come away from here inspired. And your husband is right! More you! More you! I also believe that time spent in creative endeavors that mean a lot to you make you a better wife and mother and all around human, so do feel that time in this space is time wasted. Not one bit. Your being here makes the world a better place for me, at least. ;)

    I can't wait to go read the posts you've linked to. Right now, I'm trying to operate along the lines of doing what I love and letting the rest take care of itself. We'll see what happens. Thanks so much for writing this and for sharing that photo of your beautiful family. XO

  2. Beautiful family photo and very stylish I might add!

    I definitely struggle with those same exact feelings of how much to share, so you are not alone.

    Blogs started out as journals to document ones' own experiences, opinions, and observations but somewhere down the line things got a bit watered down and we started writing about what we think others might want to read and trying to figure out how to gain more followers. So now the blog is no longer about the writer it's about the readers and what we think they might like and I think that's how we lose our voice our "true" voice.

    We seek out these articles and classes to teach us how to create a successful blog and what topics to write about and I'm not sure that that's such a good thing anymore because once again it's someone else telling you what's successful and how to do things. I shouldn't have to pay a boat load of money for someone to tell me to be my true self.

    So my goal is to try to cut out all of that noise and get back to documenting my life, my opinions, and my experiences... for myself. We go back and read through our paper journals to see what our state of mind was at that moment and that's what I want my blog to do for me (with a few added bells and whistles of course).

    Claire Vivier does a beautiful job of keeping things really personal while documenting her travels, her life, and her successful handbag business and it seems so effortless because she's being herself and you can tell she has fun doing it.

  3. erin//suchsmallstepsApril 3, 2013 at 7:37 AM

    Just from the comments below (and I'm sure more to come will be similar) it seems like many of us are struggling with this these days. I definitely share a fair amount of my life, my kids, etc, but I am wondering what my purpose is in blogging. Is it to share and document my family life since I don't keep a journal? If so, then I shouldn't care what readers want to read or don't want to read, or what my traffic is. But it's tough to spend time, money and effort on it and then not care if it's read or not. It's also tough to ignore the constant messages we hear of what to do, what not to do, how to grow, etc. I'm having a moment of identity crisis, I guess! Also, if I'm really honest with myself, my end goal was never to be a professional paid blogger; it was more to use my blog as an outlet that would lead me to other things- writing opportunities maybe, or jobs, or even just friends.
    Anyway, I do love seeing more of YOU! And I suspect those are the darling Madewell shoes I've been eyeing- very cute :)

  4. Thank you for writing this. I feel the exact same way. It is always so scary and hard for me to try to translate my life to the page or to share photos of myself. It such a tricky balance for me because my blog inspires me all the time to live more fully and more thoughtfully, but then I have to make sure to allow time for myself to live it! Blog/Life balance is so hard! I love, love, love the photo of you an your family, and I love your writing and your candor. Thanks so much for sharing this. You are not alone!

  5. Christine DinsmoreApril 3, 2013 at 8:29 AM

    oh theresa! i just wrote a blog post last night in which i said self-promotion isn't my thing, at all. i said a lot of things and so i decided to wait a day to post because i have fear too. it is scary putting yourself out there, i hate it sometimes. but what i love is when people do. and i try to be one of those people as a "lead by example" sort of thing because i think everyone should be themselves and stand by that. i like picturing people in real life, people want to relate. and because i read mostly design and lifestyle blogs the variety of their lives is what keeps my attention. i like design but i like a good balance between that and the human side. especially in a place where you can literally layout your own design and edit everything about yourself. those big blogs that people love, i really don't read them that often. not because they don't have great house tours but because they never ever talk about themselves beyond their awesomeness. i just don't buy it and it bugs me to no end. but then there are the over-sharers and i tend to stay away from that even more so. so, yes, it's tough finding that balance as a blogger! i don't want to be guilty of either ; )

    but honesty, it is brave and a lovely thing. but it's so much easier to see how okay it is for others than yourself. why do we do that? so silly! but you are off to a good start because this is so honest and i'll bet people continue to respond because your husband is right. people do want to see more of you!

    and speaking of which, you are gorgeous! and your whole family is gorgeous geez! and i love your shoes, the green pants (want!) and your husbands whole ensamble, very fly.

  6. You and I always seem to be on the same wavelength. We must telepathically speak to each other. Well, I can honestly say that you're one of the reasons I keep working on this space. I like that we met each other and continue to support each through this medium. So, thank you! I believe when you advise that time spent on creative endeavors makes me a better wife and mama. I should carry that message around with me everywhere. xo

  7. Tori, I could give you a big hug. Beautifully said and written. It boggles me that this very simple goal of cutting out the noise and getting back to documenting our life is difficult to remember at times. I found another post by The Fresh Exchange about her decision to reboot her design business and one sentiment in particular caught my attention: "What it all came down to was that we are not inspired by the time we
    spend behind the computer but by the time away from it. This means our
    most inspired moments as creatives have not come from the content we
    consumed online or from the design community; but from living,
    traveling, exploring, and experiencing. We realized we want to build a
    business that encourages life, change, community, gorgeous design work,
    and collaboration." I suppose I want more of this in my life and for all of you. But, yet, I'm still hoping and needing all of you to visit here, once in awhile (i.e., sit behind a computer). Therein lies the rub.

  8. That's a fab photo T, your two little mini-you's are gorgeous. Your little man is the spit of his daddy isn't he? Very cute and although it's uncomfortable for you, thanks for sharing it with us.

    I expect you have ruffled a few feathers with this topic. Yes, I totally get how you feel. Why do we blog????? Self promotion - eugh! Why are we so good at talking up others so well but when it comes to ourselves we are totally rubbish, right? For me, writing for our new blog is refreshing but difficult getting into a regular rhythm, finding the right tone and things to say, it's feeling a bit jarring at the moment and then on top of that thinking about Bright Space and I get a tinsy bit guilty for not keeping that going too.

    Why is it we think that others won't be interested in what we have to say? I think we find self-promotion a bit embarrassing.

    Your husband has good advice, we all love hearing about the real you as equally as your informational posts and you need not fear, we will come and read no matter the length between posts. Have fun on your spring break just 'being' with your family. Life is too short xxx

  9. Exactly. Everything you said. My goal was never to become a professional blogger. My goal...My hope has always been to parlay this outlet and discover what is that I really want for myself. It seems the things that I wanted for myself before kids has morphed a bit after becoming a mama. I've had to slightly change my course. In addition, I needed to find a tribe to help me through this process. I've definitely accomplished the latter. In the end, if I ever walk away from this blogging journey having met and known all of you then I can honestly say that it's been worth it. (PS~Get the Madewell sandals, they're so very comfortable.) :)

  10. Thanks, Mere. The article you shared (via Twitter) was the catalyst for this post. I've been grappling with these thoughts and feelings for some time, but that article gave me the courage to share. I also find Megan Gilger's candor and writing very raw and inspiring. I agree that living life and then taking time to document that life for blogging purposes is a tricky balance. At what point do we allow ourselves to just be present in that moment? I do have to say that blogging has encouraged me to try things in life that I might otherwise not have tried, and it has lead me to all of you. Those two things alone are wonderful takeaways, for certain.

  11. Christine, please publish it. I will read every last word. Full confession, I couldn't sleep last night thinking about this post and even thought about running downstairs to delete it. These types of post always leave me a little wobbly in the legs. But, then. I wake up in the morning and see all of your amazing comments and I'm assured that I'm not alone in these feelings, that most of you are grappling with some of the same issues, and it's all worth it. What you say about finding that happy medium between awesome-sharers and over-sharers, it's definitely a fine line, but one to strive for. I never want to be a constant Pollyanna or Debbie Downer. I guess the goal is to be human. PS~Thanks for your wonderful compliments. Now, you're just making me blush. ;) xo

  12. I'm so happy to have found your blog! I'm also a mama of 2, trying to balance blogging and being a stay at home mommy. There was a period of time when I did 5 posts a week. It lasted 6 months and don't think I can do that again. Anyway, you and your family are picture perfect!!


  13. Hello lovely Theresa, beautiful lady that you are! I have to say I can't get enough of seeing photos of your pretty face. I remember feeling the same with Lauren. It's so nice to see what someone looks like, I always want to know I wouldn't walk past someone in the street.

    I have been blogging much much less because I just had to accept that as much as I love it it wasn't driving me forwards and it wasn't a priority. I'd be focussing too much time on it and letting things like coursework slip. It was a hard decision but totally right and I feel much more relaxed about it now. I try to write once or twice a week but have given up beating myself up if I don't. I'm also finding it increasingly difficult to find time to comment on blogs (I still read every post my favourite bloggers write) which makes me feel so bad as well.

    I think we all suffer from worrying that we come across as narcissistic and also for making out that our lives are perfect. I'm sure I come across like that sometimes. But I think when you know the person, you know that it's just them talking about things that make them happy and that they just don't want to devote time and energy writing about the bad stuff. I mean, who wants to hear about my boring day job sat in an office?

    Re the sharing, I took some great advice from Rita Konig who used to write a style column for Vogue. She said that she imagines she is writing a letter to a friend. That works really well for me and I think it helps one to share more, but in a sensitive, comfortable way. Blogging for us lot I think is about friendship, not professionalism or careers. We've all made friends and are important to each other and that's how we should speak to each other I think.

    Annie xx
    PS I love your husband's buttons and T has almost the same outfit that Arthur wore at our wedding, except that his jeans were red.

  14. I have been thinking a lot about Megan's post too. So much "noise" about how to be bigger and better and more, more, more. Tiring!

    I've been thinking too about what I would have if blogging fell away - and that has helped me focus on friendships and photography and writing and life. I think tats why I've started my salon evenings - I want some tangible experiences beyond the screen.

    Live first, then blog. It should add to our lives, not take away.

  15. Joy | Frock FilesApril 3, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    It's so much fun to see your whole family in one photo! And how beautiful you all are -- on the inside and out.

    I've been thinking about that word a lot since diving into MCM -- fear. It does such funny things to people. I know that I become a really big weirdo when I'm feeling fearful. I create excuses, feel unsettled, attempt to place blame, berate myself. And in the end, whatever it is I'm afraid of just isn't worth all that energy. Come what may, we have our loved ones and our lovely friends, all of whom really know who we are.

    Just this past month people kept asking what my goals were for the blog. I had a hard time answering that one. And then I began thinking: if I don't know, why the heck do I put so much time and energy into it? This was a struggle for a couple of weeks, until I realized that I do it because I love it and because, even if I'm not always crystal clear on what I'm working toward, it's something that I love and that's completely my own creation. That goal is getting more obvious as I give it more thought, but I'm at peace with the fact that goals, too, shift and morph over time.

    Have I told you how grateful I am that I have you to talk to about these things? :) Sending wishes for a restful spring break.

  16. Nooo, I don't want to ruffle feathers. :) Well, I for one am enjoying reading about your new venture - the process and the journey. I think the tone you and Kelly use is perfect. I can relate to how you might be feeling about Bright Space. That was your space for so long and where we all found each other. However, in order to make a real go at your new venture, you probably needed to let something go. Like you, I will follow wherever you decide to share your voice. Thank you so much for the kind and encouraging words, Sam! They mean a lot to me. xo

  17. I do think about this A LOT. Sometimes I'm just tired. Sometimes, I want to make sure that I'm representing myself, my thoughts, every spectrum of me accurately and fairly. Because I find that even if you don't think an idea / emotion / opinion is popular, because you've said it, you may have just started something new.

    I'm glad you shared a picture of the family. And your husband is right - we do want to know about you, the unfiltered you. If your blog / experiences / perspective were the 'same' as everyone else's, you wouldn't have all of the loyal followers that you have today. So write / post what's true to you and what makes you happy. Once it doesn't make you happy, it becomes a chore or a job, neither of which I think any of us need more of.

  18. Aw, when I first started my blog, I posted five days a week for a solid year. I look back on that time and remember how much stress I felt. I really admire and am in awe of people who post five days a week because I know how much work they're putting into it. Thanks for popping by, Jiye. PS~Love your style and blog! I love what you wrote on your About page, "This blog helps keep me and my passions alive and that actually makes me a happier, more fulfilled mother." So very true.

  19. Annie, thanks for your amazing comment! We've been on this blogging ride with each other for over a year now and I'm so very grateful our paths crossed. I also had a difficult time taking a step back, but when I finally made the decision to do so, there was a weight that was lifted off my shoulders. I can see myself revisiting again and again to read all of these nuggets of wisdom and to remind me why I blog. I really do appreciate Rita Konig's advice and I'm glad you shared it. When you approach writing as though you're talking with a good friend, it can only result in something that's wholly personal and touching. Sage advice.

  20. You're absolutely right, Sandra. "Live first, then blog." I think you are really on to something with your offroad blogging. Forging and nurturing blogging relationship/friendships offline is the key ingredient to making all of the hard work feel rewarding. I've done a small share, but I think I need to do more. Thank you for the reminder.

  21. I'm so grateful for your comment. I wrote that paragraph on "fear" and I didn't even think about the MCM teachings. Bernstein speaks at length about watching out for fear's sneaky ways and it really is such a drain on our energy. I chuckled when I read, "...I become a really big weirdo when I'm feeling fearful." Amen to that. I think you're doing an amazing job with your blog. You can tell you pour your heart into it and that there's a lot of love there. Keep doing what you're doing because you're doing a wonderful job. The feeling of gratefulness is 100% mutual. Thank you for letting me share my fears with you when I needed it. xo

  22. Gosh, where to begin! First of all, what a beautiful family you have
    and how right you are to cherish them above all else. It's also so, SO
    good to see you - really see you - after years of trying to piece your
    face together in my mind from the little profiles and blurry headshots
    of old. :D

    "I'm curious, have any of you grappled with any of
    these feelings? How do you ensure you're living a life worth sharing
    while maintaining a blog? Do you struggle with how much to share about
    yourself? Have any of you ever taken a break from your blog or toyed
    with the thought?"

    Ahem. *blushes*

    All I can say is that
    I'm a private person and always will be. That said, I like to think that
    I'm honest enough on my blog (without being too indiscreet) not to be
    perceived as having The Perfect Life. Who has that and what is it,

    My blog is my creative outlet and (though not even
    meant to promote my business as such) therefore very, very important for
    my wellbeing - despite recent appearances to the contrary! :D

    believe that it makes me well-rounded and a better
    mother/wife/designer. I cringe just typing the dreaded "P" word. Not my
    style. At all.I'll never forget the day I posted about news of my
    impending launch. A regular reader commented that she'd had no idea
    that I had a business. :D

    You are much, MUCH wiser and capable
    than you think, missy. You'll figure this out and what's more, you'll
    pull it off with aplomb. xoxo

  23. "Once it doesn't make you happy, it becomes a chore or a job, neither of which I think any of us need more of." So, so very true. I recently pinned this quote, "Nothing is worth it if you aren't happy" which perfectly echoes your sentiment. It's so easy to get caught up in keeping up. However, more often than not, we need to take a step back to assess if our actions are matching what it is we really want for ourselves.

  24. Thank you so much for your comment and boost of confidence, Chi! I think you serve as a wonderful example of someone who knows when to take a break (and not berate yourself) and has a solid perspective on the reasons for blogging. I'm constantly inspired by your journey and the way in which you see the world. xo

  25. What a lovely family you have! And you guys looks so stylish too!

    I have been struggling with my blog lately as well, I am going through a little bit of a rough patch in my life but it is something I can't talk about on the blog. Unfortunately it consumes my every thought and at the end of the day I am too tired to work on my blog, so the last few weeks I haven't been writing much or even read others. And at the end I started missing the community of you guys, the interaction with people on their blogs as well. We'll see where this road ahead will take me...

    Honestly I prefer reading blogs written by a human and not an always perfect person, or at least one that never lets you glimpse behind that perfect facade. I think all the ups and downs, struggles, experiences good or bad are what makes the person. Share what you feel comfortable with and it will translate into your posts!

  26. You know, I've been having the same internal debate with my own blog. Of course you know. I do owe you an email, after all! ;) But yes, like you said (but less eloquently, since it's late and I'm not as good with words as you) I've been debating now for a while what I'm doing with my blog and feeling like I need to be doing something bigger and more noble. That's actually a feeling that's seeped into the rest of my existence, actually. What I'm most afraid of isn't oversharing or undersharing, it's being embarrassed. I don't want to look back at my blog in a few years the way I look at my livejournal I kept in high school: with that awkward cringing head-shake. But who knows, maybe I will. Because I've been shamefully materialistic and shallow on a public forum for the last 2 years. Sometimes I think about just stopping. Maybe I need a little spring break, like you? Thank you, as always, for the thought provoking topic. I'm sorry it took me so long to respond, I wanted to give it a long think and then Disqus was giving me problems. I'm here! I missed you. xo

  27. Your family comes first. If you need to post 2 times a week to be the
    mom, wife, daughter, etc. you want to be, so be it! The part that
    bothered me was that what you post here is "watered down". So what if
    someone has posted about the same thing. In the same way I cannot teach
    like anyone else, no one will see the world exactly as you do. Just be
    true to your art/creative inspiration/joy.

  28. The Fans say MTW! Si se puede!

  29. First I think I need to address your b/w pants & yer shoes...gorg lady!! I went through this at the beginning of the year. I took a small hiatus to hit the refresh button (but I'm realizing I hit that button even more so now). During that time I took the time to really hone in on what I wanted to talk about, what I was missing from my blog, and what I didn't want to share. My rule of thumb...don't share anything negative that can hurt someone's feelings (excluding my post about my dumb boss =P of course)...cuz it'll hurt you more than the person that you write about. So I never ever write about my personal dramas w/ family & friends...its not polite and very very rude...plus, I don't want to be known for that. And as much as I talk about my family and the girls, I keep mum about A LOT. I need to maintain a bit of sanity, and keeping parts of my life private, gives me that. I think I put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to posting everyday tho. I have a lil' schedule I try to keep (to make sure the blog runs smoothly every week), when I miss a day, I kinda freak out...only in my head of course...and that's where my conundrum comes in. I don't want to feel like I'm obligated to post...but in a sense I have to. I've also been trying to take more "me" breaks throughout the week...to gain perspective on things, to carve out time for creating...but as you know, "me" breaks are hard to come by w/ 2 lil' ones. xo

  30. Aww, I love this photo! And I finally got to really see how you look like! Beautiful mama, beautiful children, and beautiful family!! Great post. :)


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