Last Thursday, I had a mini-meltdown.
I called my friend, Mandy, in tears. I told her I was failing. That in every area of my life, I was failing those around me. She made a light-hearted comment that made me chuckle. “Sometimes, Jenn, you’re expectations are too high. Your kids are alive and you’re still married. Sometimes that IS success.” And its true. The expectations I have of myself are high. After all, women all over the blogosphere and in Twitter and Facebook Land can do it all, why can’t I?! Mandy and I laughed over the “failures” of our parenting and when I hung up with her, I felt good that at least I was a bit more normal than I thought.
But knowing myself and knowing that I’ve been battling some feelings for a couple of months, I knew it wasn’t just high expectations that were plaguing me. I blubbered to Jon in the kitchen later that night, my stress and anxiety at an all-time high. “I can’t do it all,” I complained. “I’m drowning! Something has to change!” And it was in that moment that Jon said, “Ok, so change it.” And with those four words, something clicked.
Things are going to change.
When I started Munchkin Land Designs in 2009, I had NO idea it would turn into this. NONE. In fact, the first couple of years, work was steady. Not crazy, just enough to bring in some extra income during the month. I got to meet some incredible women and form some amazing relationships with clients. Then this past January, something happened and suddenly I was scheduling designs four to six weeks out. And the orders kept coming in! I had my first taste of feeling overwhelmed.
In the spring I raised my prices, thinking it would help things slow down. I thought that life would return to normal and I could catch my breath. Little did I know that it would have the opposite effect, and now I’m busier than ever.
**Let me clarify here. I am not complaining about being busy. I feel very fortunate to be able to do something that I love, from home. I realize that I am doing what some women only dream of doing.**
However, somewhere along the way, I’ve lost focus. I am not the mother I want to be, I am not wife I’m called to be. Friendships and other relationships have suffered because I am so busy… all of the time. After parent-teacher conferences last week, I realized that I have to have to a more active role in Devyn and Hudson’s academic lives. Not only is the need there, my desire is to be there. Present, active, intentional in my relationships with them!
From a professional standpoint, I’ve lost the ability to connect with clients on a personal level. I’ve lost the personal touch that I like to give to my clients. And I want it back! I need things to slow down, I need to offer my clients more than what I’ve been giving!
As I’m fleshing out the changes, I can tell you two things are being changed immediately. I’ve removed the ability to access my emails from my phone. I will only be answering emails when I am working. I love my clients, but there’s no reason I need to be answering emails when I’m doing homework with Devyn or reading books with Ashlynn. I don’t need to sit at a picnic table, sending an email, while the Littles are playing on the playground. I removed it last week and I can’t begin to express the weight that was lifted in doing so. It was a good move.
I’m also going to be taking less clients during the month. I realize that I may lose clients because of this and while I’d hate to have that happen, I realize that some clients will need someone who can meet their needs immediately. And I’m ok with that. Some important shifts have taken place in the past couple of months and I need to refocus on my family, my friends, my relationship with God.
I’m terrified to hit publish on this post. Because then I’m laying it all on the line, with potential clients, with current clients, with friends, and with family. But I need the accountability. I need to be honest with myself and with you. This place has always my online journal, and I’ve never shied away from being real, raw, and honest before. I’m not going to start now.
It’s a time to refocus. The changes are going to be good, and even if change terrifies me, I know this is right for me at this time.