Is Your Flame Out, Too?

IMG_20140126_095115 I am thinking of taking a break.

From all of it.

Every single little thing except hugging my kids, attempting to make them eat food healthier than Doritos, and doing what I want with my free time.
Is that even possible as a mom? I think I might try.

You see, I had to leave that job I was in. It was painful, emotional, and yes, I feel like a failure.  But if burn out really is a thing and I if I can get it, I have it. It isn’t that I am frayed and singed on both ends. It is that I don’t have any more fire. I am burnt.  Completely out.

I struggled for years to accomplish, to make a name for myself, to be something outside of “mom,” and I think I am done now.  It has been 5 years of setting my alarm at 5:30am or working late at night, cramming computer time in between naps, making a to do list 5 pages long and constantly adding to it….and 90% of the items I add because I want to achieve, grow and, I admit, win.

And for what? Win at what?

This blog? Ugh, I hope not.

But what started off “for fun” has now become a source of stress these days. Now I want the badges. I want a check in the box for being published at all the major sites in my niche. (Seriously. I have a checklist.) And I get dejected and sad when a piece is rejected. Over and over again.  Rejection makes me doubt myself in so many ways. Primarily I leap to, “Should I be doing this at all?” Quickly followed by, “Try again. But do it better because if x person did it so can you…Believe!” 

But for what? Why do I need this validation?  What is wrong with me that I can’t just be peaceful and intentional?

Then I went and started my own business, which is a natural extension of what I was already doing. It was organic growth. Yet now IMG_20140216_163636 I am obsessed about growing it, becoming established, getting clients, getting blog posts done, making money. And for what? I need to let things happen as they will. This went from making sense to yet another way to convince myself I am not good enough it seems.

But listen up friends: it feels like we are all doing this. If I had a dime for every time I had to give a tight lipped smile to another parent complaining about their overwhelming to do list I would…well, you know how it ends. “Yes!” I want to scream and hug them in the same moment. Our overwhelming lists of self-created mess…

We dream big (which is awesome) but at some point our dreams turn in to crushing pressure, fear of failure, and constant, frantic, frenzied movement.

I spend my days timing down to the minute how I can maximize time to get everything done.

And what for? What do I get by reaching that magical 1,000 Twitter followers (honestly, I want to know – is there a Tshirt or bumper sticker or something)? Why is being the best, doing the most, proving greatness, needing recognition, Going Big or Going Home so necessary? I can’t be the only overachieving, competitive, motivated person out there.  Please tell me how you figured it out.

Yesterday, a rainy Monday where my 4 yo was proudly Star of the Week at school and we were recovering from a busy spring break, I realized I just don’t want any more right now. I don’t want to feel the need to achieve. I don’t want to feel as though during that 45 minute blissful period of naps/quiet time I have to rush to my computer to bang out an article, a submission, a blog post, a report, a whitepaper, or somehow make headway on my mission to be….great….recognized. In the words of my toddler, “NO! No, ME!  No.”

I want to get off the treadmill of self-induced overwhelming goals. Help!

I just want to be small and ordinary.  More importantly: I want to teach myself that I am good, no GREAT, without having to win awards or badges or publications.

Oh but if I don’t want to be great, is that ok? Maybe I don’t need to be the best at everything. Hell, maybe even anything or something.

Can I just post here to share love and life and not worry about the times of day I push to social media and if I am using StumbleUpon correctly? This blog is 1 year old. It is my emotion and my raw heart. It is here to share, to help others realize that they are not alone with their thoughts, and to connect to beautiful, strong, female writers that have a kindred spirit.

My business and my freelance writing career….it just might not be the time to shine…

I am flameless.
I just want to be for a little while.
I just want to be here right now: fragile, ordinary, with much less self-created stress. 

Is this possible?

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Allison Barrett Carter

Allison is a freelance writer who believes in a circumspect, mindful, and aware approach to living. Her blog is her space to share her journey and discoveries as a writer, mom, and wife in a modern world.

11 thoughts on “Is Your Flame Out, Too?

  • April 8, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Yes. Just a loud capital YES to this! You are right in my head space right now. I don’t mind sharing it! I feel like I’m on a wheel as of late. I keep everything going, but at what cost? A mediocre blog, feeling spread thin across social media, buried under email, to do list a mile long. Not to mention running a household, mothering and oh yeah, how about a happy spouse and healthy marriage? Let’s just say, after takin the temperature, everything is just lukewarm. I need to make some changes too–but I struggle with where to begin!
    Christine at More Than Mommies recently posted…Fill Up Your Cup with Kita from Kokoa Magazine: The Sunday SipMy Profile

  • April 8, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    I totally, totally hear you. I swear that getting off the blogging treadmill and really thinking about what my priorities were helped a bunch. You should write the list down and then send it to me via email. Sometimes it helps to get another opinion. When I first read this I wanted to say — don’t stop! you’re great! But then I looked at your publication page and realized that you are doing way, way too much!

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m still trying to find a balance. Plus I just moved and my whole life is up in the air and I keep randomly crying for no reason. I’m super happy in my new house. My family is wonderful. I have a good part-time job. I’m the saddest happy I’ve ever been. It’s so confusing.
    Deb recently posted…Reasons to Keep Your Toddler AroundMy Profile

  • April 8, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Yes, and I get so much of this. Especially in light of the last week & a half. The loss of my stepbrother changed my thoughts and perspective a bit. Plus left me a bit depressed and thinking where exactly am I devoting my time. We don’t get a lot of it.

    I’ve always said I wanted to keep blogging fun and that’s still why I do it. I refuse to succumb to the numbers and the “you must be XX to be great.” 😛 to those people. I just want to be me, enjoy my life and be real. Screw the numbers.

    Take a break. Enjoy your kids. Kindergarten is coming WAY too fast! These days are numbered :) Love you!
    Sarah @ 2paws Designs recently posted…Modern MannersMy Profile

  • April 8, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    You say “I just want to be small and ordinary.” I’m pretty sure you are anything but small and ordinary to your children. I’m struggling with some of the same feelings, and I’m trying really hard to be okay with where I am. I wish I had magic words of wisdom to offer, but I hope knowing you are not alone helps a little.
    Dana recently posted…April’s Luv ListMy Profile

  • April 9, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    I her you loud and clear!! I fell this same way so much of the time lately. I took on a part time job at my church in Feb. I though “It’s only 15 hours a week and some of those are on Sunday when I’m at church anyway. No big deal!” Well, it’s a very big deal. About that same time, I got myself into so many blogging obligations that involve other bloggers or reviews. I went from desperately trying to fill and empty blog calendar to struggling to find space to post the things I actually WANT to write. For the past three weeks or so, it’s like I am just furiously treading water trying o stay afloat. And, like you said, for what????

    So, this is like the post calling the kettle black, but my advice it to feel free to let it go a little – or a lot. I am trying to get through the commitments on my calendar right and, then, plan to take a big step back. It’s just not worth the stress or the burden.

    Hugs to you! Maybe, once schedules settle down we could even meet halfway between Greensboro and Chapel Hill for some coffee and some de-stressing! :-)
    Lisa @ The Golden Spoons recently posted…Tuesday Ten – What’s In My Car?My Profile

  • April 11, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Yes, Allison, yes, a thousand times yes! I wrote about this a week ago. Mine was much longer and meltdown-inspired, and I love the way you captured this experience so succinctly and perfectly. I too have “The List.” It all seems so pointless right now. I have wasted a lot of myself online in the past year or so, and though I’ve gotten a lot out of it, it makes me cringe realizing how far out of balance I’ve become. Love this SO much. Hugs, sister- I feel you.
    Stephanie @ Mommy, for Real. recently posted…Mommy’s Time OutMy Profile

  • April 11, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    I love this. I have discussed these same feelings with other bloggers and I don’t know why we have this need to “prove”. Sometimes I wonder if I am not just running this similar race to prove something to myself….because no one else really cares. It’s a depressing thought, but kind of true. I suspect there are many, MANY bloggers out there that feel the same way. I’m one of them. I’ve just given up on promoting my blog anymore….I have just decided that the time it takes is not worth it to me to sacrifice other things in my life. SO, my blog will have to stick around at mediocre for a few more years. And, I think I’m OK with that. Finally.
    Meredith recently posted…30 Minute Chicken Pot PieMy Profile

  • April 11, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    you have called the white elephant out! Why do we need so much instant gratification for our lives? I totally understand what your saying and it is a never ending roller coaster ride that we all have to learn to balance it or dismiss it! You really wrote exactly how I feel so wonderful to know I am not alone!

    xoxo, Tara
    Tara recently posted…The Styled MommyMy Profile

  • April 13, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Yes. It is possible. It’s just hard. I get off the treadmill and then get back on two weeks later, missing the social interaction of all those other bloggers in the universe. Or just a few.
    But I know. I am with you, I am doing the same thing. It’s all about why you started. I certainly didn’t start so I could spend less time with my son and stress out about writing. When writing used to be something stress relieving.
    Thank you for putting this into words!
    JenKehl – My Skewed View recently posted…Twisted MixTape – Hold It Up To The LightMy Profile

  • April 14, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    It’s no secret that my blog is 100% on the shelf right now. My last post is dated 2/24. It needed to happen. I needed to create space to get my business off the ground, which at the moment (next to my kids) needs 150% of my mojo – at least – every moment of every day. Not only can I not find it in my heart right now to write and promote. But I’ve also had to shelve following most if not all of my beloved friends in the blog world – with the occasional exception. That was painstaking and ridden with guilt as well – but necessary. For now. I love your honesty about writing about blogging. It can take over in ways that it should not have to. I think type A’s like us are particularly vulnerable. And by the way, I’m still waiting for my 1,000 follower on Twitter badge too. We can keep each other company in the meantime. xo
    Ilene recently posted…Maybe This Could Be BigMy Profile


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