Warning: Today's post is going to be a little different from my usual style. I don't usually write personal posts about my life choices, and why I do the things I do. I actually don't share much about myself and my motivations for blogging. That isn't what this blog is about. I try to write my posts from a "just the facts ma'am" POV. You wanna know how to drywall? Knock off some girl scout cookies? Put together a mantlescape for $0? I'm your girl. No fluff about it. But today is not going to be one of those posts.
Today I am doing a little reflecting, and decided I was going to share my thoughts with you, since honestly, it has a lot to do with you. Therefore, if a few personal confessions aren't what you want to read about, please feel free to skip this post. I won't be offended. And I promise starting Monday I will be back to sharing the nitty gritty details of my kitchen transformation.
Lately I have been in a funk, and want to get it off my chest, since it has been bugging me. The thing that pushed me over the edge was Kristi's post at Addicted to Decorating called "The Ugly Truth about Jealousy and Comparison" (which you should TOTALLY read if you get a chance.) She said a lot of the things that have been on my mind too. Kristi is another DIY blogger, who unlike a lot of other DIY bloggers (especially those who do large scale construction/renovation projects) doesn't have help from her spouse. There is nobody waiting in the wings to give her a boost when things get hard.
For Kristi, it is health reasons that prevent her husband from helping her as much as she would like (and she confesses her own need to control things,) but for me it is complete lack of interest and apathy by my husband. He is not, and never has been, a handy guy. He was like that when I married him, and I honestly don't want to change him. I have always been the one who jumped in feet first to a project, and I will always be the one holding the bag. HOWEVER (and yes, I am back-pedaling here a little) it would be nice to have someone there to hold the ladder when I am installing can lights in the ceiling or manhandling 6x8 foot sheets of beadboard in a 6.5x8.5 foot powder room. Sometimes, being on your own just sucks.
Now this is where my other confession comes in to play: When it comes to my blog, I always feel like I am not doing enough. I'm not productive enough, I can't come up with ideas which are unique enough or interesting enough, I can't network enough or keep up with the latest trends. I always feel like I could be doing better, especially in the world of blogging where you are only as "hot" as your latest project. I don't feel like I can keep up.
I know this is all in my head, since there are no blogger police out there regulating the quality and quantity of blog posts, but I still feel it. The self-induced pressure to be a successful blogger for no other reason than to make myself happy (since I have no aspirations of ever making a living off my blog.. I could earn a lot more going back to work at my previous occupation.)
I am well aware I shouldn't spend time comparing myself to all those bloggers who do have help behind the scenes. Those big blogs with thousands of followers and where every post gets dozens of comments. That isn't what my blog is supposed to be about. I should be proud of what I can accomplish on my own, and not worry if I can't crank out a new awesome reveal every other week.
Yes, I know that in my brain..
So why then do I still wish I could be more successful? I just can't help it! I wanna be just like them (because they are friggin' awesome!!!)
I get frustrated, and (I confess) jealous, of those other bloggers who have someone there to help with, and in some cases, to actually do some of the work for them. I know that not every successful female DIY blogger has someone helping her, the comments on Kristi's post prove that, but some days it seems like some of them must have an army of helpers behind the scenes the way they pump out projects like an episode of Trading Spaces. I look at blogger couples and think, "Wow! If only there were only another one of me, I could be twice as productive!"
Or would I?
Even those bloggers who work as a couple have commitments and pressures. For example, Roeshel at DIYShowoff admits her house is not always as picture perfect as it seems, and Alison at House of Hepworth, who often gets help from her husband Ben on her projects, got hate mail for taking a step back from her blog for the summer in order to spend more time with her kids. You just can't win.
Being with my kids is one the reasons I started working on my home improvement projects in the first place. After leaving my long-hours, high-pressure career to be a stay at home home, I wanted to contribute to my household by making my home a better place to be. I wanted to actually do something constructive with my time. Something that was satisfying and at the same time taught my kids that girls can hang out at the Home Depot or fix a faucet without having to wait for someone to do it for them. It was about feeling empowered and feeling useful.
Becoming a successful DIY blogger was an afterthought.
And if I had to do it over again, I would do it mostly the same way. I love what I have contributed to my family both emotionally and financially, by improving my home(s) and even increasing their value. I would still blog about all my projects, I would still go public and I would still join my first ever link party. I adore the DIY blogging community and all the inspiration I get from other bloggers out there. I feel like I get just as much as I give.
For example, I would never have come up with the idea for my most popular post if it weren't for an inspirational blogger who put it out there. If I hadn't jumped into it whole-heartedly I wouldn't have accomplished everything I have. Reading about everyone else's projects has inspired me, made me a better DIY'r, and given me the courage to try things I never thought I could handle. But it also has given me unrealistic expectations for myself.
The one thing I would change is
I would cut myself a break.
I am only one person. One middle aged woman, with two kids, a backlog of dirty dishes in the sink and pile of dirty laundry affectionately known as Mt.Washmore. I am squeezing in my home improvement projects while juggling the carpool line, potty training and getting dinner on the table. You are never going to see a fantastic $50,000 renovation, because we live off a single income so I can stay home with my kids. The budget is the budget and there are only 24 hours in a day. That is the real me.
So I need to cut myself some slack and maybe even step away.. because some days I am just plain TIRED. There are times when I have big plans and I just can't seem to follow though (can you say "Garage Reveal" anyone?!) but I am doing my best. I want to be a good great super awesome blogger and I want to post as often as I can, but some days I have to leave the blog behind and focus on my kids. I want to be creative and amazing and funny and humble, but some days are better spent fulfilling a three-year-old's request. My blog has become really important to me, but I can't let it define me, either as a success or as a failure.
I am more than my blog.
But I do want my readers to know that whenever you comment on a post and you tell me you like something I have done, I take it to heart. You have no idea how much it means to me to see my inbox light up with comments and emails.. you seriously have NO IDEA. I appreciate every encouraging word. And please know that when you talk about my blog, you are talking about ME! My projects.. since that is what they are: 100% MINE. And I am so happy to know you enjoy them, warts and all.