Less stuff. More you, mama.

I could hear that little voice saying, “No, you are doing it all wrong.  You are giving them more stuff, but less of YOU.  You are what they want, what they need, mama.”  It had been there, tugging and pulling at my heart for a few months when Brynlee was born.  I had become a work at home mother and there is nothing wrong with that, but I had let the “work” become more important than the “mother” and that is not okay.

03 kc photography
photo credit:  Kayla Cobb Photography

I didn’t quit my job to stay at home with my firstborn over 5 years ago to be saying things like, “No, Mommy can’t play right now.  She has to work.”  Those words usually came out with a long sigh and full of frustration.  Every day, the delivery man (as my kids call him) would bring something new and add to my work load.  Shiny, fun toys, expensive gear, things we probably wouldn’t buy or could not afford, and I would smile and show the kids our delivery of the day.  Within days (sometimes hours) the new would be worn off and I would once again hear that voice saying, “You’ve got it backwards.  Less stuff. More you, mama.”  We could get by without the extra money and we definitely didn’t need the stuff, but my pride.  There’s that word- pride.  My blog, my work- I took pride in it.  Pride isn’t necessarily always a bad thing, but in this case- it was.  As a mother, we need something to be proud of, but what I’ve finally learned is that I want to be proud of the mother and the wife that I am.  I want those things to always come first and not “in just a minute” but now.

Brynlee Jan 12 Giddy FB

When Brynlee was born with PRS, everything came to a screeching halt.  I had no choice but to pull out of campaigns and let those deadlines slide.  What!?  It’s Holiday Gift Guide time, don’t you know!?  What I found is that letting it all go and focusing on my family- that was freeing.  The load that I had put on myself (no excuses, this was totally on me) was heavier than I had realized and my children were paying the price.

04 kayla cobb photography
photo credit:  Kayla Cobb Photography

Years before I became a brand partner or a review blogger, I was a teenager sitting behind a computer pouring out words because that was the only way I could get out everything I was feeling.  Ten years and 3 kids later, that is where I feel the push to return.  Just with a few extra pounds and less angst.  This isn’t to say that I will never share products or brands with you all, because I absolutely will.  I love partnering with brands that I genuinely love and I enjoy being able to give back to my readers through giveaways, but those partnerships will be less.  Way less.  For the last 5+ weeks, I’ve written for me and I’ve shared our family and that just feels right.  The blog deliveries have all but stopped, I’ve deleted all but one new campaign that has come my way, and I don’t feel overwhelmed with work.  Not once have I said to my children, “Just a minute.  Let mom work right now.”  Not a single time.  But you know what?  When I sit down at the computer, my kids will say, “Mom, can you do this…. when you finish your work?”

blessed mama

Oh, my heart.  How wrong I have been.  They think that they come after my work.

Never again.

I am so, so sad that Bryson and Bella think that way.  I could easily cry buckets over it, but I won’t.  Instead, I am thankful that my eyes are opened and we can move on.  From now on, work will come after the children.  I can see God working through Brynlee’s diagnosis and though it feels like our world was flipped upside down, I’m fairly certain it’s just the opposite- everything is falling into place.  As it should be.  A hard lesson, but one that this mama desperately needed.

It’s time for the kids to wake.  It’s time to connect feeding tubes and suction our her trach.  It’s time to eat breakfast without worry about all of the “work” I need to finish today.  It’s time for cartoons and cuddles.  It’s time to take pride in being a mama and know that being a mama and wife- that’s enough.  More than enough.

My cup overflows.

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Comments

  1. Crying before 9:30am… new record! ;-)

    Whitney, you are such an inspirational woman. Thank you for this post. I know that I need to do the same (I work from home full-time), but my weekends are family time. Turn off the computer, silence the phones, and just be present and be with them. I’ve let that slip and recent conversations have had me questioning if I could give an hour or two each weekend to work… no. My kids need their mom. I need my kids. My husband needs to see me, and be with me. So thank you. I’m going to hold on to that belief that my weekends are mine, not for work.

  2. Rita Hawkins says:

    Whitney, you’ve got it right! I have been following your posts since your precious baby girl was born, and I have seen how God has been working in your, and your family’s lives. You are such an awesome mom! And your children are so blessed to have you for their mom! I know it’s been hard, and heartbreaking at times, but you have held onto your faith, and everything’s falling into place just like God meant for it to! As you know, children don’t stay little long! Before you know it, they’re grown and out on their own, so now is when they need you most. So glad you realize how precious this time with them is, and I know they are soaking it up! And, by the way, they are 3 of the most adorable children I’ve ever seen! Brynlee is flourishing now, gaining weight and looking so healthy & beautiful! And that is awesome! Prayers are being answered, and for that we are so thankful! God is so good! Please keep posting your story!
    Love & Prayers,
    Rita

  3. We have decided to focus on our content this year. It has been a lot of fun so far … the balance will come.
    You are doing great!

  4. Best post EVER!! So proud of you not crying a bucketful and looking into the future instead of the past <3 I read an ebook about blogging without selling your soul and I think you have been a wonderful example of that. Anything you endorsed, I truly felt I could rely on. Having said that…I am looking forward to all the wonderful, heartfelt family updates and truly appreciate you sharing with us and opening your heart to all of us and being a shining example of all that a wonderful Mother is. This will be YOUR year…your FAMILY's year. Love you lady!! <3 PS still amazed to hear such amazing words of wisdom from someone so young. Thank you!

  5. This is exactly where I was this summer. I was tired of being so stressed about deadlines all the time. I wanted to be completely available and present when my children were awake. It has been such a load off. I still post a couple times a week, but not every day like I used to. And guess what? My blog numbers have gone up instead of down.
    You’re a wonderful mom! Your kids are so lucky to have you!

  6. Thank you for sharing your thoughts so honestly! I spent 4 years building up my blog and doing product reviews and giveaways, but I eventually experienced burn-out and realized that it was more work than it was worth as well. I think I felt like it was making life better for my kids but you are so right – they would rather have YOU than anything. I loved sharing my thoughts on the things I reviewed and I really had a blast doing it, but once I started homeschooling I knew I would have to cut down. I do a lot less in the way of reviews and giveaways now, and it is definitely freeing! I actually have time to write those fun, personal posts I didnt have time for before. It is rewarding, and I like my blog more, too! I will be looking forward to reading more about your kiddos and hearing your thoughts in the future. :)

  7. Charity L. says:

    Good for you. And your family. I love reading your blog and look forward to seeing how God will continue to work within your life.

  8. You have a beautiful family and your beautiful words about family coming first were inspiring. Thank you for sharing and the pictures are adorable! :)

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