d9a2a64b0b577942c770dc4d451df9c5This morning I woke up without the tethers of a regular, steady job, and instead of feeling enthusiastically excited about open possibilities, I felt unsettled and anxious. After writing for Disney Baby and then Babble (both Disney subsidiaries) for the past 3 years, I felt it was time to move on. I am staying on as a freelance writer in their bureau team, and am able to pitch and possibly publish up to 3 articles a month for them. While this amount of flexibility is ideal, the thought of no longer having a steady paycheck make me nervous, as it always has. Art is the ever-supportive husband and is always encouraging me to have faith and believe in myself, and my ability to weave together opportunities for myself, seemingly out of thin-air, but the security of steady work is something I have always found comfort in. It is what has always drawn me back to working for someone else, even if I wasn’t personally invested or thrilled with the work.

I learned so much in my time writing for Disney, and grew a lot not only as a writer, but as an online writer in such a public space, which I came to find out is a completely different animal than just writing a personal blog. I did not come to this decision lightly, but I did try to come to this decision differently than how I usually make my decisions about work, since becoming a mother. For too long I have been unable to be objective about the way work and mothering intersect, and while they are of course interminably related once a woman gives birth, for once I tried to separate the two and just look at the work I was doing there, as a separate entity than my work as a mother. What I came to acknowledge, finally, was that I was burnt out. While my role at Babble had only been for the past 18 months, I had been writing at that pace and producing that type of content for almost 3 years now, writing upwards of 20 articles a month at one point, and 8 at the minimum, without ceasing. At the end, especially as I tried to get my health in order these past few months, I felt like there was little space left to do much else other than churn out content and try my best to run my family. Countless texts and emails from friends and family began with, “I know you have so much going on…but.” I needed to clear some space for myself, my family and friends again, and my blog here, and that meant letting Babble go. I tried to cut my workload in half, but unfortunately that wasn’t an option. I’m happy to have the opportunity to stay on in their bureau team. ce830959e0e208ce965546c300a46494

So now what? Well, I would love to post more here, and add more meaningful content. That’s a big priority for me. I feel like finally, after doing this blogging thing for almost 7 years, I have some things figured out, and have a clearer idea of the direction I’d like to try. I’m not making any grand proclamations, but I have some ideas which I hope I can make work out. I hope I can have the confidence and stamina to make them work out, is what I should say. I’m also thinking that maybe I’ll become one of those people who have their drawers and cabinets neatly organized, I may get back to keeping a check register as well as a balanced checkbook. I may volunteer at the school more, as the kids love having me there. I may even clip coupons and go through our cable, phone and insurance plans, seeing where I can cut back and tighten things up. All the things we say we’ll do and try to do, but never seem to have enough time to do. I wasn’t making a ton of money atBabble, but I’ve always been set into a tizzy when income is decreased, as I’m sure 99.9% of the American population is. I already let our babysitter go as well, a decision I was sad to make, since she’s been with us for almost 8 years now. She’s pretty much a part of our family though, so we will keep in touch and I’m sure use her for the occasional date night. 2cef84afb00b1070ec25df95697c88a4

I’ll be 39 this year, and some days I still don’t know what the heck I’m doing with my life, other than trying to be a good mother and wife. Since all the women in my family who preceded me never really had the opportunity to at minimum, figure out their true purpose or calling in life, nor did they have any chance to actually pursue their dreams, the thought seems like an almost indulgent luxury. Something only afforded to women with trust accounts and authors with big book advances, encouraged to eat, pray and love their way towards enlightenment. Most days lately I just want to live simply, other days I want to create and leave my mark. Perhaps 2015 will be about discovering what I really want and can reasonably achieve, without all the mind clutter of having to continuously pump out words. I’m going to try my best not to jump into creating an Etsy shop or start any new businesses, something I’ve been infamous for when I start to get nervous about income and filling my constant need for busyness. I want to continue to do things but in a much more calculated and thoughtful way, not because I’m afraid to say no, afraid of missing out, afraid of getting left behind, afraid of not being busy. Can anyone else relate? I hope so, and I hope I don’t sound like some spoiled flatulent boob. I guess I should also stop worrying about what others will think, as I’m sure someone will think I’m a boob no matter what, and I should not care so much.Clementine-Daily_quotes25-1024x607

So here’s to new beginnings, endings and all that other stuff. This year, may I discover what I really want to be when I grow up, may I be there for my family in all the most important ways, and may I be the kind of woman okay with not being constantly busy.

What would you be if you could do or be anything? Are you doing what you dreamed of doing when you were little?

Image credit: 2 & 4 Clementine Daily, 1 & 3 From Up North

  • Jenifer

    I think raising happy children is leaving the most amazing mark on this world!!!! I quit working 10 years ago when I had my first. At some point I’ll find something post child rearing but for now it’s all about the babes. We’ve all gotta do what makes us feel good and makes our family happy!

    • Andrea Howe

      Yes! Of course Jennifer, being a mother who raises happy, functional children is one of the greatest marks we can leave, and a task I don’t take lightly. Part of what makes me a happier person though, which in turn makes me a happier and better mother, is to work in some capacity, no matter how small. I wish I wasn’t this way and was wired differently, but I love to work. Now to just find work I really love 🙂

      • Shoshana

        This. Exactly. No need to apologize for it.

  • Petra

    I think everything works out and falls into place as its supposed to. As you stated, your family and your health absolutely come first.

    On another note, I’ve quietly followed your blog for a handful of years now and have always enjoyed it. I must say that you’ve really come into your own and established such a strong sense of who you are as a blogger in the last year or so. I have confidence that this is going to allow you to make room for NEW opportunities that align more with where you are now. Good luck on this new chapter!

    • Andrea Howe

      Thank you Petra, for your kind comment. Yes, I agree, this past year I feel like I finally found “my voice” and what I wanted to put out in the world. It took many years to get there, but happy where I’m settling in. Now, to stay there and be open to those new opportunities I hope will eventually come and all fall into place. Thanks for reading through the years. XO

  • Andrea

    I love “may I be the kind of woman okay with not being constantly busy.” It’s hard to do here in Southern California but like you I’m trying. Best wishes!!

    • Andrea Howe

      Yes, Andrea, it is so hard to not be so busy here in Southern California. So much excitement, temptation and pull to do this and that. Trying hard to stay focused, a constant challenge for sure. Thanks for leaving a comment.

  • Brianna

    Our pastor gave a New Year’s sermon a few years ago on how we glorify busy-ness. He said you can ask anyone how they are, and just about everyone will reply with “busy busy” or “I’m crazy busy”. It’s so true how trying to stay busy can hurt our meaningful relationships. Just struck a cord when I heard it then and again now as I read this. Great article!

  • its something I’ve struggled with since I quit my job 11+ years ago, as well. However, I’ve recently learned to say no and it.feels.good.
    Of course, to get there, my husband had to basically have an intervention and let me know that I can have it all, but not all at once because I was losing my shit. And I was.
    Have I figured out what I want to do when I grow up? Nope. But I do know I am incredibly lucky to have the luxury to not have to work. And right now, what makes me happiest is to make sure that my house is run efficiently, my kids are taken care of and dinner is on the table every night.
    Funny how we are all wired different…but awesome too.

  • Tracy

    Hi Andrea! I love this topic, especially as I am expecting my first and I’m trying to decide which direction I’d like to take after a short maternity leave. I’m like you – I want to work in some capacity, but not sure my heart is in my corporate job. Any advice on writing for/getting in the door at Babble? I’d love to know more about how you got started with writing for a larger platform. Thanks and best of luck with your new possibilities!

  • You should not care so much, we are all boobs, especially in the first world. I care too much too. You described me to a ‘T’. Definitely afraid of getting left behind or missing out, scrambling to make an etsy shop and start so many little businesses I’ve lost count. People ask me what I do and sometimes I just give them one of the things I do – oh I’m a web designer I say. Sometimes I give the people the whole gamut; the list : web design, virtual assistant, shop owner of digital and print goods, scrapbook supplies distributor, actress, blogger, what else? I’m probably forgetting something. They look at me like I’ve lost my mind. Reading “The Best Yes” is helping me. I want to choose 1 or 2 things and focus on those and family. But I can’t choose. I’m not ready yet. I’m so proud of you for being able to choose and make those first steps! Congrats!

  • Megan

    I really had to stop for a moment and think about this. I think I would be a philanthropist for the Red Dress foundation or another organization I can really connect with. Or a blog writer… but it seems there are so many out there these days. Mostly, I would slow down, really breathe and take time to cook yummy things and love on my family.