mama & baby | livelovesimple.com

The past few months have thrown me completely off balance. With spring, everything comes alive and it is beautiful. We break free from the oppressive chains of a northeast winter. Life gets busy. It’s a natural — and wonderful — cycle. But this year, it’s been different. It’s been too much. In my efforts to make the most of the warmth I had been waiting on for so long, I hopped aboard a crazy train. I’ve been juggling like an insane circus clown. Family, friendship, photography, business, social media, blogging, gardening, cooking, cleaning, the list goes on.

My to-do list is freakish. My spirit is suffering. Even when I do something “for myself” (rarely) it’s a mad dash. There is no retreat, there is no quiet. Even the thing that I’ve always loved — my walks with Roman in the stroller — have fallen to the wayside.

mama & baby | livelovesimple.com

mama & baby | livelovesimple.com

I’m certain that most women (and maybe men?) can relate to what I am feeling right now, or at the very least, have felt this way at some point in their lives. Pulled in ten thousand directions. Exhausted. Unsatisfied. I am doing so many things, that instead of greatness, I end up with a lot of junk.

My calendar for June is bursting at the seams. But, there is very good news up ahead. July is a blank slate. The only thing written on my calendar for July is a 5-night seaside getaway. Perfect. And, it’s going to stay that way.

That’s right. I am not accepting a single engagement in the month of July, save for photography sessions. I will not make plans and I will not accept any additions to my workload. I am going to dust off my New Year resolution, and make it my top priority to honor my promise to take care of me in the second half of this year.

mama & baby | livelovesimple.com

mama & baby | livelovesimple.com

In life, we are always holding something. We might be holding a whole lot of useless junk — and juggling it like a loon. Or, we might be holding something beautiful, something that shines. The trick to holding something that shines is that you can’t be afraid to put the other stuff down. You have to be willing to drop some things so that the one great thing can become everything that it is capable of becoming.

That’s where I am headed now. I’ve mentioned it casually, but this is me saying it officially — the frequency with which I post here is about to change. I’ve been thinking a lot about where I want to be in five years — personally and professionally. I haven’t hashed it all out yet, but I have decided that I want to make photography my career. That means that some things will need to take a backseat so that my career in photography can truly shine. I will continue blogging. I have a bunch of sponsored posts and featured posts lined up for later this month, but come July I imagine that there will be a shift.

I am not saying that I am going to drop everything and focus solely on photography. That is silly — I am a stay-at-home mother to a one-year-old and honestly, 90% of my day is devoted to wrangling him. What I am saying is that I need to restore balance in my life. I need to manage my household, my relationships, my passions (which will always include this blog), and my business. And I need to do all of this with a bit more grace than I have been doing recently. I have been so overwhelmed that many times I’ve done nothing simply because I didn’t know where to start.

mama & baby | livelovesimple.com

mama & baby | livelovesimple.com

From here on out, I am going to be kinder to myself. I am going to keep far less on my to-do list. And I am going to keep my calendar as empty as possible. I want to make room for adventure and spontaneity — two things which don’t work well with a packed calendar or a long to-do list.

Many thanks to my friend, Erin Galardi, for the beautiful photographs in this post.


“Shine” is the June writing prompt of The Mommy Blogger Collective. In addition to a monthly writing prompt, the collective hosts a monthly blogger featurette. This month we are featuring Christina of Mouse in Your House. A few words from Christina — At Mouse In Your House, I’m bringing you stories about being a working mom, quirky family lifestyle trends, frugal living, DIY ideas and the talented people who make life something amazing. I hate getting bored and occasionally use Mouse In Your House to ask people very personal questions that I would, otherwise, never get away with. My goal is to find chicks and gents doing something cool and inspiring, which could lead to a feature about a family who took the year off to travel the world one day and the next day’s post could be all about how to dress a stylish toddler. To qualify for a feature, I need only go, holy moly that is frigging awesome….and you may even get a long set of questions for our next Q&A. That’s the way I roll. And P.S. I LOVE budgeting and it has taken over our lives in the past. We recently graduated from living in a 400 square-foot apartment to a 1,400 square foot house in my beloved small town of Knoxville, Tennessee. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+.

/// The Mommy Blogger Collective /// Christina, Courteney, Dena, Erica, Erin, Gillian, Katie, Misty, Nicole, and Renée. ///


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16 thoughts on “Shine // some thoughts on balance”

  1. Ahh yes, my kindred spirit, Dena, I see we are in similar places in life… AGAIN! I can feel exactly the disdain you’re feeling, and “appreciate” it for all that it does to help change and mold a person. Hang in there, take some deep breaths, it seems like you’ve got the right idea (no engagements). You’re going to feel great after this break 🙂 xo Crista

    1. Thanks, Crista. We’re only two days into the month and I’m already struggling with it — but I am determined!! <3

  2. Dena those photos are beautiful! You are glowing in them! I often feel as if I’m juggling 100 balls as well, sometimes it feels like their all going to drop. I hope you enjoy some “me” time! xo

  3. A perfect metaphor – indeed, I relate to this so much. Took me about five years to get there, though (or 20?). Suce I’ve let go of the stuff that was weighing me
    down things have gotten much better elsewhere in my life 🙂 xoxo

  4. I can relate to this pretty majorly right now. Especially the part where you say that some days you do nothing because you don’t even know where to begin. Those are my most frustrating days because at the end of them, I feel so unaccomplished and like I’ve sunken even deeper into my hole full of things to do. And because I have so much to do and I have so many ideas of what I want to do (not just what I need to do), the shortage of time to do it in means I don’t. I fail. It’s a constant cycle and it’s frustrating. My strong suits are most definitely NOT shining right now and I need to work on that. This summer is going to look different for me, too. I’m not working at all! And, Mia is going to a daycare (very part time). I’ll probably post about it all at some point, but I’m just so looking forward to having time to finally accomplish goals and tackle projects that have been put on the back burner. I, too, want to use my free time to dive deeper into photography. I haven’t advertised at all for my business and I’d love to be kept busy with sessions and editing again. Good for you, keeping next month free. Hopefully you’ll find the time you need, then. And in a random note, I just noticed we both used the saying “fallen to the wayside” in this month’s prompt post, unintentionally. Cute. And your photos with your little man are so sweet. You two really do shine together 🙂 -Misty

  5. These photos… wow. THEY ARE GORGEOUS. I want photos just like this of me and my daughter! You look so beautiful 🙂 Hopefully July is much more relaxing for you!

  6. Dena – You spoke for so many mothers here, I do believe! So many days I feel like I’m being pulled apart. I have the best of intentions do to so many things complete so many projects, but the rest of the day just gets in my way. Thank you for reminding me to SHINE as I move through life, honing in on what’s most important! And I’m SO glad we had the opportunity to meet in person. I’m so happy you love the photos, and I LOVE those you took of my family! XO

  7. These photos are so wonderful! I loved reading this post and hearing about your current hopes and goals! I love your blog and I love when you open up and share things like this with us! Can’t wait to watch you grow.

  8. These ARE beautiful pics! You look lovely and Roman is adorable, as always.
    Do what you need to do to restore your balance. Nothing else really matters in the long run. 🙂

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