hunkering down to survive my life.

Have you ever been on a merry-go-round, in the very middle where things seem to spin even faster, closed your eyes and just held on for dear life?

Or have you ever been the egg during “don’t crack the egg” on a trampoline, holding your legs to your chest in a desperate attempt to not fly flailing into the air?

Or have you ever been in the car with someone who hit a turn too fast and instinctually grabbed for the door to hold on?

That’s me.

Hunkered down. Holding on. Curled up. Tight.

And what results when this happens are parts of my life slip away. Because when you are curled in a ball you can only hold onto so many things. You can’t hold it all so you let a few things slip away, slowly at first, and then as life spins faster you let a few more things go and a few more. Just so you can keep your grip.

Our marriage has been busy. On Sept 4th we celebrated (with a non-celebration b/c I was in Chicago) our fifth wedding anniversary and all I kept thinking about was how far we’d come. Two cross-country moves, lots of jobs, no money, three kids, etc. It was a lot. It is a lot. And I’m proud of how far we’ve come and excited with how far we have to go.


During all that time and all that stress (three unplanned pregnancies can take it out of you!) I had a smile on my face. And I was happy. And letting life move me and shape me and mold me and it was good. Like tall grass on a breezy day, life moved me and I swayed. Good.


The last six months or so have been different. Someone said to me today that my business has grown too fast and I think she hit the nail on the head.

Since the feature in PPA mag my business and thus my life, has been a whirlwind. And until recently I didn’t realize that I had somehow, in the midst of it all, stopped smiling and swaying and accepting the chaos. Instead I have been hunkered down. Dealing with it. Excited about it. Terrified by it. Letting it shove me and push me and kick me and exhaust me.

My life is not my own.

And I realized this because I have let some friends down. Like big time. And I hate that.

But the busier my life got the less things I could hold on to. I had to let things slip away. And you’d better believe it wasn’t going to be my kids or my work or my husband. And so my friends took the brunt of it.

Lack of phone calls, no emails, no texts, no social life at all really. Because friends could be easily let go. Unfortunately.

Of course my sleep was let go of first, followed close behind by my health and any thought of making time for exercise. Next came having a perfectly clean house and cooking dinner and keeping up with laundry. But friends came soon after.

When there are so many hours in a day you can only do so much. And for the last few months it was all I could do to keep up with Chris and the kids and the house and my work. And after all those things were happy and cared for I had nothing left.

And so, to my friends, ALL of you, I am so sorry.

I take for granted that you will be waiting for me when this season of my life is over and I can step down off the merry-go-round for a bit to go have a drink and catch up.

So last night I did just that.

I put the kids to bed, said goodbye to Chris, closed the computer and went to a movie with my best friend, Jessica. And it was awesome. And we vowed to do it at least once a month.

And the biggest blessing of my life? I hurt her and she was frustrated, but she actually was waiting for me. And welcomed me back whole-heartedly. And will hold no grudge.

So from now on I am going to force myself to slow down, delegate more to my assistant or Kim when needed (not that they both don’t do SO much already!) and learn to say NO.

4 sessions a week is about all I can manage without losing sight of all the other important pieces in my life. And those are almost booked solid from now until November (a few slots left so book quickly!).

And I write this because I think everyone has seasons in their life like this. And I think we all need a reminder that it is ok to jump off the spinning merry-go-round for at least one night! You can always wake up and hop back on in the morning!

But go get a mnt dew first! You’ll need it!

9 thoughts on “hunkering down to survive my life.

  1. I know exactly what you mean about hunkering down. I have arthritis and as much as I hate it, sometimes God uses it to make me stop. I seem to have flare-ups in the middle of the craziest weeks (like today), and I honestly think it’s God saying “whoa, Erin, slow it down a bit there sunshine.” :) I’m glad you enjoyed your time with your friend.

  2. Good for you for stepping back and taking notice… and making a change! :) I know just how consuming running a photography business can be (while juggling marriage, parenting and all the rest). I just built WORK-FREE days into my week (to allow for housework, friends & exercise) and I’m finding I’m actually MORE productive because I use my work days more efficiently. Of course, I also limit my sessions to one a week (for the most part) because I don’t know that I could do more than that.
    (((hugs))) to you.

  3. Jod, I am choked up as I read this…Because though my silly little life is a fraction of what yours is (1 kid vs. 3, 6 sessions vs 16), I get to feeling the exact same way. And I can completely FEEL your emotion here. And whether it’s the grey day, or the fall music I’m listening to, I am feeling particularly emotional about your post…

    I wish for you some peace… That the world will let you SLOW DOWN now that you’re ready to. Good for you. 1000 times over, GOOD FOR YOU.

  4. Oh, I am a bit choked up reading this. I started letting my friends go in 2001, when I was pregnant and no longer able to keep up with the fun social scene at bars and parties. I let go of them more in 2002 when my daughter was born and was such a challenging baby. And I let go altogether when the twins were born two years later, and I was working full time, mostly at home with them. I’ve hoped they’d still be there for me when things calmed down, and I told myself I’d be able to slip back into their lives once they started having babies.

    But here I am, still on the merry-go-round…

    Good for you for making some time to reconnect with your friend. I’m so glad she understands where your life is right now, and how hard you’re working for your family. You gotta hang on to that one — she’s a keeper!

  5. Oh Jodie, I know EXACTLY what you mean. I’m there with you, but I stopped it before I lost my friends. It is a good thing to say NO sometimes. Hard, but good. It was a tough lesson for me to learn both professionally and personally that I do not have to take every thing that comes my way. Part of being successful in this business is choosing what direction you will go, your priorities and the value of your time. You know these things already, but I just wanted to say that you are not alone. Hang in there my friend.

  6. Jodie, I think it’s great that you are slowing down and taking time out of your and your friends and family. I’m tired just reading about everything that you do.

    I only have 2 main friends right now. One I see every day at my day job otherwise I know I wouldn’t keep up with her and the other one.. we plan our once a month lunch dates on Sundays (even though some times they end up being 2 or 3 months in between). It feels great to just get out of the house and away from DD for awhile. To have a meal without having to rush for fear of a tantrum. And to just catch up.

    Most of my other friends have gone. Actually, thinking about it is just sad. There’s no reason why I couldn’t have emailed them weekly or so but I just forget. I forget so much these days that I’d be lost without my to-do lists.

  7. Jodie I completely know what you mean. It is HARD WORK to juggle the stresses of marriage, children, friendships AND a business. It is so hard to say no and to prioritize your relationships over your business needs sometimes. I hope you find some relief and some comfort in reconnecting with your friends.

  8. My sister-in-law works full time (as a youth minister), does volunteer work and has 2 children.. She carves out the third Thursday of every month for a girls night. No exceptions! It’s a good place to start (and more than I do). Seems like even that once a month routine would be good for the soul…. :)

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