Bring in a creative industry with both photography and blogging, I follow a lot of other creatives on social media. Most of the time I really enjoy it, because it provides a constant source of inspiration. Every once in a while, though, I start falling into the comparison and “what if” track.
I have always been a dreamer. I used to daydream a lot as a kid, dreaming up scenarios about what my life would be like in the future. Now, as a mom and a small business owner, my daydreams are more like brainstorming sessions.
In the realm of dreamers and creators there are always a few phrases floating around that are meant to motivate:
She believed she could so she did.
Don’t quit your daydream.
Be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons.
I like all of these quotes. In fact, I have all of them pinned in some fashion on Pinterest.
You know what, though? There are many times I feel these thoughts directly contradict my first job of being a mom.
Being a stay at home mom was a choice I made over a year ago and I haven’t regretted it for a minute (even though there are days I wish I had an office to escape to). With that being said, I also made the choice to follow a dream I had and pursue something that makes my heart sing. Most days, though, I’m not feeling like a flamingo when I am fighting the temptation to let B continue watching Daniel Tiger after she’s already watched two episodes while I shower and put on makeup for the day…at 10am. It’s pretty hard to work on my dream when the baby needs to be fed, the toddler is bored, the house is a disaster, and I haven’t eaten yet.
And when social media is easily accessible at my fingertips, it is easy to feel like I’m not doing anything right. The transition to two kids has been anything but easy. Most days I go to bed feeling like I failed my girls in some capacity and praying that I do better the next day. Every time I take a step forward in photography, I feel like I take two steps back when it comes to reaching a new audience or continuing to improve as an artist.
Yesterday I was feeling especially defeated. I was trying to figure out what to say on the blog today, or rather how to say it. Those not very helpful words of encouragement kept popping up in my head, until a new phrase crossed my path:
Remember why you started.
This made me stop and think. Why did I start?
We started a family because we were ready to share our love and wanted to welcome new life to the world. I started the adventure of being a stay at home mom because I knew I would be much happier spending my days singing the ABC’s than I would auditing financial statements.
I started a photography business because I love making people feel good about themselves and showing them just how beautiful they are. If I go more than two weeks without a session (paid or personal), I start to feel antsy and stale.
^photo by hatch photography
I like this phrase because it acknowledges that the life of a creative is not always beautiful or picture perfect. It’s messy and frustrating. And in those moments, when you feel like throwing in the towel, it is important to remember why you started. Because whatever you are creating is worthwhile.
Another thought that has helped me in the past is trusting God that you are where you are supposed to be right now. It emphasizes intentional living and man, that is super hard for me. Yes, there are days where photos need to be edited and blog posts need to be written, but most of the time those things can wait if family needs to come first. Today is a great example. This blog post should have been ready to go this morning but after some shifts in our schedule and several episodes of Daniel Tiger’s snow day later, it is finally going out this afternoon/evening. I’m not bitter about it, but I finally stopped fighting it and just accepted the plans God laid out for me today (which included a routine blood draw for me and play time at grandma’s, so lots of fun for the girls today).
I almost titled this blog post “the cost of dreaming big,” because I have been feeling like I need to choose between dreaming big (and executing to make those dreams a reality) and my children. It’s a struggle, but I am learning slowly but surely that I don’t have to choose between both. My path as an artist might just look a little different than others.
Whatever you may be struggling with, friends, I assure you are not alone. Keep on creating, even when you feel defeated or frustrated or like it isn’t any good.
Remember why you started.