Do you ever wake up feeling tired of playing nice? I don’t mean with your family and friends, but with all the outside demands and requests and the self imposed shit.
Since I made the decision to stay home 4 years ago, I have been wracked with guilt and worry over contributing to the household income. I turned to my blog; the writing; the photography; and the crafting, in hopes of it becoming a sustainable way to make money. For a while it works for us; I feel enlivened and hopeful; I don’t think twice about the time, money, and energy spent because in an ideal world it works out beautifully and profitably. But then the requests for more stuff and free stuff start to roll into my inbox. I extend myself out into the world in hopes of catching a break only to find the truth; everyone wants something for free and the internet is flooded with talented writers, artists, photographers, and crafters trying to make it. The reality is that it is going to take more time and effort than I can give at this time in our lives.
Now I love writing and taking photographs and offer it to my friends for free because it feels like a win-win (and it is). I have written essays and articles for magazines and book projects for free because I believe in them and it builds my “portfolio”. But I recently read an article on how to price your photography work and a light went on for me. The question “How little are you willing to take per hour to spend time away or be distracted from your family?” stuck with me. Artists work hard and I applaud anyone who is paying the bills by doing it. It is not for the faint of heart. It can be a fickle venture.
It is true, I love making pretty things; I love a good project, in fact, I NEED a good project or I get bored; I love writing; I love giving my time and efforts to friends because we can’t always afford material things and it feels worthwhile. I appreciate sincere and grateful folks writing and asking to use my photos and words for their own projects; it is flattering, it really is. But it becomes tiring when the only requests are for free stuff and volunteered time and efforts. You cross into the territory of being taken advantage of. When that takes you away from your family and home time you can become resentful and stop working from a place of sincere generousity.
This morning I woke up feeling drained by it. There is a fine line to walk, and I have written about this line before. Long ago, I used my blog for a brain dump. I look back on many of those blog posts and cringe, but it was simple and I made a lot of meaningful contacts that remain to this day. I love blogging, but I sometimes tire of playing nice. I have painted myself into a corner and it is my nature to balk and rebel; that is when I go quiet here.
So I will offer up my writing to publications with a pure heart. I will continue to do pictures for friends who may not be able to afford it otherwise or simply because they are friends. I will write about our days the way I see fit. I will continue to be honest, because honesty is my favourite. The thought of writing without concern for comments, stats, “impressing” potential clients, writing prospects, or income is oh so liberating, I must say.
I hinted earlier in the week that I keep coming back to the truth that my time is better off spent saving us money rather than making it. I can plan our meals and make as much as possible from scratch. I can focus on being a homeschooling mama who sneaks veggies into our favourite foods. I can plan a pantry and fill it with food from our own garden. I can keep our finances in order and hang laundry to dry. I can keep the home fires burning, love and teach our children, and know that this is enough. I am aware that this isn’t for everyone, but it is for me and it isn’t meant to be insulting to anyone who chooses differently. Even on the longest of weeks, leaving my kids to work in the real world doesn’t appeal to me at all. I can be a new age homemaker, a radical homemaker if you will, and leave the guilt on the side of the road.
Are you starting to understand why I am the feather of “feather + anchor”? I don’t think I am quite as flaky as I appear in this space, but I am aware my ideas and direction do seem to be tied to a feather in the wild wind at times. I am constantly thinking, analyzing, and processing. I will have full blown conversations in my head and then blurt something out to Mike expecting him to know what I am talking about. I can assure you my head is a busy place where everything is carefully weighed out, though it may not appear that way to an outside observer.
Things to remember in 2013:
I am enough
My work is important
Spend less money and more time
Eat these young days up
Stop apologizing for who I am and how I do things
Repeat the sounding joy
And of course,
go gently + be wonderful