life. right now.

I’ve been debating whether or not to post this. I decided that I would because this is real. This is me. The blogs I follow diligently have real women behind them that reveal more than just the ‘tip of the iceberg.’ The pretty package tied with a bow that a blog can showcase is an edited version of real life. Certainly it is real, but it is not everything. There is always more. I am attracted to the “more” that lies behind the pretty package. The struggles that surely, every mom feels.

This is the conversation that I cannot get out of my head:

guy at godaddy: So I am looking at your site. You are a designer? No, you are into fashion. Wait. You are a photographer? What exactly is your blog about?

me: Yeah, well. It’s a little bit about a lot of things. Creativity, pictures, style.

guy at godaddy: So, let’s start here…What are your 2 year goals? And then your 5 year goals with this site?

me: Now that is a great question… [insert loooong pause here]

Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking and priority re-evaluation. Never before in my life has there been any question about my personal and professional goals until now. My personal goals seem to completely outweigh any professional goals & I am trying to be ok with that. No longer can I tell you what my booking numbers or marketing strategy goals are for the next fiscal year. No longer does it really matter. I never started this business for the money, it was always for the joy & balance it provided. Right now the balance is out of whack. & I need to fix it.

My current goals seem to go something like this: raise a happy, kind, well behaved child. make sure my husband knows I love him. keep the house clean. keep the floors clean. don’t forget to feed the dog. empty the cat litterbox. plan healthy meals. shop for meals. make meals. get out of the house. every. single. day. have meaningful relationships. take a shower. get dressed. pull it together. keep it together. be creative. when I can. quit using the word NO so much. read a book. keep up the positivity. go.to.the.gym. NOW.

welcome to my life.

During a recent road trip my husband & I had a conversation about my role in our family. He talked about a surgeon he works with that runs around saying he is 100% Dad. 100% Surgeon. 100% something else I can’t remember. Can a person be 300% of anything? Is it realistic to think that you can do everything & do it well?

My husband married me, in part, because my #1 goal (after accomplishing my corporate career goals, of course) was to be a wife & a mom. Those two jobs mean the world to me & I don’t take any part of them lightly. With the demanding hours of his profession, I don’t get much of a husband and I manage this entire household–top to bottom. He is currently in the middle of a research year, so he is around a lot more often, which has given me the freedom to work. This has been a blessing & has opened my eyes to my limitations. I seem to be learning a lot of lessons these days.

I have started to get really busy. I am seeing what I am capable of & just how much work this business is. I love it. I LOVE having my own company. I love the work, the art & the brand. I am a perfectionist & nothing is overlooked. BUT, (there always seems to be a “but”) this comes at a cost to my family. Is it worth it? Is it giving me more balance or less? I adore success. I crave success. I need it to be happy. But right now, I think I need to change where I seek to achieve it.

I have no idea what this next year will bring. I have a feeling I will not be booking any more sessions beyond those that are already on my calendar for a good long time. I have no intention of putting my camera down, but where does that leave everything? I told myself a few months ago that now just might not be the time. You were all so incredibly supportive & it meant A LOT to me. At the rate I am going, I fear I will raise a child who thinks it’s normal for her mama to split her time between her family & the computer and that just doesn’t sit well with me. This little girl needs me, because more often than not, I’m all she’s got. I need to be an example for her & I am not so sure I am being a really great one right now. As my business & my blog are both growing & getting more attention, it seems so counter-intuitive to press “pause” just as things are ramping up. But that is just the way it is. Maybe the pause will open new doors. (This blog gives me a lot of encouragement.) How’s that for looking on the bright side?

I have to say that I really have come to love blogging. My passion for photography will never go away, but clearly, that is not the only thing on this blog. So, if I give up booking sessions, will you still come to read? I don’t know. I hope so, but without being a “working photographer” will I lose credibility? I have no idea. Do I care? I haven’t decided. Does getting paid to take pictures make me more of a photographer than taking pictures just for fun (but with just as careful an eye & the same exact skill set)? Not sure. Without “work” I would have more free time for my creative hobbies, which would likely result in more of those being shared here with you. But do you care? I don’t know. Do I blog for me? Or for you? I think it is somewhere in the middle. For some strange reason, it helps to get my creative projects off my chest and out in the world. It frees up my brain. Weird, I know. I LOVE the positive discourse amongst women that I have found here. But where is this all going? Does it have to go anywhere…or can it just BE what it is? I am pretty sure I get to make that decision. I am not sure why it is such a hard one to make.

I am going to make a suggestion and don’t be mad. Why don’t you just put the business on hold until our kids are in school?

But what about the investment, my camera, lenses, software, all the money–

What about it? Are you going to take pictures of our kids?

Yes. Of course.

Well then it was worth it.

[images taken by the amazing Michele. I am SO grateful to forever have these family moments frozen in time.]

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Hi! Hello! I am Shawna, the founder of Styleberry Blog. This creative corner of the internet has become a learning haven for moms and creatives, offering a warm and encouraging nudge to those who wish to be better and do better, but often don't know where to start. From Decorating to DIY to Diapers and Paleo-ish Dishes, I strive to make the complicated simple and empower women to take action beyond their personal comfort zone. I subscribe to the Shine Theory & so strongly believe that we shine when the women around us shine and mutual support—lifting up instead of tearing down--will always be the culture here. Are you in? I hope so! Beyond the computer, I run Styleberry Creative where I work with clients to create low fuss, high function spaces that are pretty and practical in San Antonio, Texas and beyond. I LOVE making a house a home. My own studs out renovation is now complete and I am now back to working with clients. Please don't hesitate to drop me a line if you'd like to work together! I hope you’ll join me on this fun new adventure! Xo.