My entire house is still asleep. It won’t be long before I have to push away from this space and start in on all the tasks that I cram into this one-hour shorter day. I’m already feeling behind. I think I’ll pour a second cup of rocket fuel, you know so I can fold laundry faster. And right after that I am going to crank out a meal plan, shop for said meals, mend a stuffed bear, refill the bird feeder, plant the 3 plants I purchased over a month ago, fold more laundry, schedule a birthday party, wash all my son’s Lacrosse gear, write that last thank you note, finish up Tuesday’s post for mortal muses, call my mom back and let’s not forget taxes are due next week. Commence heart palpitations.
I forgot what weekends were like. In the space between ending my first blog and starting this one, I worked. A lot. I had an office, a commute and a company to run and I thoroughly enjoyed what I did. When my daughter arrived in the Spring of 2006, I was prepared to go on hiatus for a long time. I made it three years with the prior baby Super B. Three years seemed to be enough time for me before I felt that itch to return to work but this time was different, I wanted back immediately. I suppose the colic and general fussiness was a huge motivation, either way I found myself knocking on the door to HR, which ironically was in fact my door. I think I just showed up one day in my prepregnancy suit and announced I was back, ignore the small lactation device under the desk. I earned enough money that I could afford a nanny and wasn’t that the American dream, or so I thought. I handed off the 3 month old, showered in peace, dropped my son at school and went to work. I would change into gym clothes at my office, make my 5 pm trainer appointment and just barely make it to after school care which closed at 6pm. We would swing by and grab take out if our nanny’s mom hadn’t cooked something for dinner. I would snuggle with the kids until 9 o’clock, taking the youngest with me to bed. Working parent equals late bedtime. Eight hours later it was time to do it all over again and I did.
Happily on some level
After 3 years my job began to evolve into something entirely different, I was now just doing one thing, sales tax management. It was tedious and uninspiring. I was offered the chance to travel overseas to China to attend a tradeshow and facilitate our first face to face meeting with one of our suppliers. I loved it but hated leaving my family for 10 days. I remember the “countdown until mom comes home” calendar on the fridge. I told her I was visiting Hello Kitty and that I would bring her home presents. I realized soon after my home coming that I was deeply unhappy. I had this void within and no amount of shopping was going to fill it. Six months later my sole responsibility of tax management was handed over to a company and I was free to go.
My days were now filled with the expectation that I would take care of the kids, clean the house, fold the laundry, shop for groceries cook three meals a day. I began searching the internet for recipes and landed on The Pioneer Woman. I thought to myself, where have YOU been all my life? A woman who was not only cooking daily but also managing a ranch, a brood of home schooled kids and a blog. The pièce de résistance? She also took killer photographs. Sign me up, this is what I want to do, and for the next six months I poured blood, sweat and tears (and every penny I had) into this here blog. I bought fancy camera equipment, expensive web templates, hired a developer and ordered my first batch of lux moo cards. Needless to say I was not living comfortably within my purse.
When the well runs dry
Caught up in the sheer excitement about finally doing something that was creative, I failed to realize that I had broken Seth Godin’s number one rule.
There were the conferences, the giveaways and expensive camera gear. I was slipping backwards back into debt. The plan had been to monetize the blog but that ended up proving to be (for me) equal parts selling out and swallowing pride. I just couldn’t pull the trigger so I expanded my photography and filed a DBA for modchik-photography. I spent the next two and a half years, buying even BIGGER lenses and volunteering my services. I thought this is the only way I am going to be able to find out what it is I want to shoot. I was wrong, the only thing I discovered was what I didn’t want to shoot, which seemed to be everything but food and rock stars. Duh. What I do know is that by sticking to what I do love, mobile and Polaroid, someone from Disney discovered my work and I was hired to be a part of their Tumblr project last fall. Now if that was a steady gig, I probably wouldn’t be writing this, instead I would be cleaning lenses or taking stock of my film inventory.
Sometimes you just need a new game plan.
My therapist spelled it out for me long ago. Go back to work, get a steady job, pay off your debt and see if that doesn’t help your situation, if anything at the end of the day when the debt is gone you’ll have something you have never allowed yourself, choices. And that issue of clutter? Wanna bet there is a correlation between the amount of debt and the amount of clutter? Trust me on this one, there is. In the past year I have been able to reduce my clutter and debt by a third, and consequently some stress. But it was not enough. We had been living well beyond our means for some time now and it was decided (you can read into that one if you want) that our budget was not going to cover any of my debt. Gulp. This all happened as we were entering the most emotional spending time of the year, Christmas! Lord help me. I dusted off credit cards to meet the demands of my spending. Here was my temporary plan, use grocery money to pay off credit cards and buy groceries on credit cards that had balances on them, you don’t even want to know the interest rates. I was pretty sure Suze Orman was going to flush me out and send me to credit rehab. Had I lost my friggen mind? Yep. I kept telling myself, whatever it takes. Never accounting for all the money that I was spending I was in for a painful lesson on budgets and using cash. My debit card was being declined almost on a weekly basis. I decided no amount of film, new shoes or blow outs was worth this and I typed the following into my browser.
That day I responded to one ad for a local company who needed a book keeper. Interviewing on the phone through the worst flu I’ve had in a decade, a short week later I was officially employed with a great group of people who also happen to be in the business of fashion blogs. Bonus! Is it fulfilling all my creative dreams? Maybe not yet but it will. I promise the post I write the day my debt is completely paid off will be a sweet day of victory and champagne will be involved. I have no idea when that day will arrive, I hope I’m still blogging by then. I have a goal but I also have a teenager who needs a car and a soon-to-be 7 year old who recently discovered the joys of clothes shopping. I know, don’t say it.
So now you can see why weekends feel so hurried now. I savor the opportunity to sleep in but rarely do I ever go more than 30 minutes. By the time I have reoriented myself to the fact that I don’t have to be out the door in an hour, I start to think about all that I have to get done and the fact that I have 48 hours to do it. Make that 47 this weekend.
You won’t hear me complain about being a homemaker again.