O Mother, Where Art Thou?

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I bit off more than I could chew.

My family was suffering.

I was suffering.

I had to take a break.

 

Like many of you, I work full-time, have a spouse that I enjoy spending time with, and children that I adore. And like you, growing and preparing my own food takes a considerable amount of my “free time.” But I’ve always still had free time left over to enjoy my family — playing music together, going for walks or bike rides, fishing, or just “being” together.

And then there’s always been a little free time left to write this blog, too.

 

That is, until a few months ago.

 

My blog began to grow more and more successful, resulting in more and more requests for speaking engagements. I said “yes” to them all.

Meetings and programs to promote agriculture in my region began to take off, and more and more people asked me to step up, participate, and even lead in conversations, committees, and boards. I said “yes” to them all.

In short, my weekends and weeknights were quickly being consumed with meetings, conferences, and overnight stays many miles from my home. I was saying “no” to my family more and more.

 

Then, back in March, my blog was named a “Top 10 Gardening Blog” by Better Homes and Gardens. Most bloggers would jump on that opportunity by writing a flurry of new blog posts or initiating a social media campaign.

Me? I just stopped writing altogether.

 

I know that sounds crazy, but keep in mind that I never started blogging as source of income. I think it’s realistic to think that I’ll make more money in my current job as a medical school professor than I ever will as an average blogger (or I can be happy in my naiveté). Because I haven’t sought sponsors, advertisers, or used affiliate links to this point, I’ve made $0 from this blog to date, by the way. But I ENJOY it — I love the teaching, sharing, and the connections it’s given me to some really wonderful people, including many of you that regularly communicate with me here or on my Facebook page. Thank you for being here!

 

So if I enjoy it so much, why did I leave the blog for a while?

My daughters love the Berenstain Bears books, and have a particular fondness for one titled, “Too Much PRESSURE.” The once-happy Bear Family, content at one point with just doing nothing together, begins taking on more and more extracurricular activities, resulting in short tempers and hurried living. It becomes apparent that the Bears want to escape their “fun-filled” life as commitments begin to spiral out of control, but they feel powerless to do so until Mama Bear, normally the calm heart and soul of the family, collapses in tears (my daughters love this part of the story, for some reason). Papa Bear steps in with hugs and some gentle advice, and they all agree to limit their activities and get back to “doing nothing” together.

 

That Papa Bear can be pretty smart sometimes.

 

So that’s what I did. I stepped away from (almost) all of my commitments, and I started putting my focus right back where it should be — on my family.

So if you’re one of the many people that I’ve had to say “no” to over the past few months, I hope you understand. It’s not that I think your organization, cause, or meeting is any less worthy than others that I’ve worked with before, but it’s because with every “no” that I give to others, I’m saying “yes” to my little girls and hubby.

Mother's Day. My family took me "out to eat" in the Daniel Boone National Forest.

Mother’s Day. My family took me “out to eat” in the Daniel Boone National Forest.

 

So I’m back now, feeling energized, renewed, and EXCITED to continue sharing my gardens with you! I’ve gained more focus in what I want to do through the blog, and a sense of how I’ll be able to keep my life in balance while I do it.

 

And just in time, too — we’ve got Fall and Winter gardens to plan!!!

 

Best wishes,

Cathy

Hiking last week in Montana's Lolo National Forest -- thanks, Pa, for letting us tag along on your business trip!

Hiking last week in Montana’s Lolo National Forest — thanks, Pa, for letting us tag along on your business trip!

 

 

 

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