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Friday, February 1, 2013

Work will always be there

Right now, I feel like I'm getting the chance to start over.

When Brenna was born, my world stopped. Caring for her last year, especially because she was seriously ill several times and hospitalized several times, became my only job. I stepped away from all other hobbies and work last year, except for running my photography studio on a minimal basis and copy-editing the Springfield Business Journal one weekend a month. 

I am a worker, and so it was rough. I was feeling bitter and angry and disappointed and unsettled. Brenna seemed to have health problem after health problem and I felt like I was drowning in hospitalizations and doctor appointments and medicine...and stress.

And then somehow, slowly, things got better. Brenna got better, and I got better. And now for the first time since her birth, we're actually looking forward instead of worrying in the present.

Now I'm getting to start all over, to choose what to spend my time on, to choose what matters most to me right now. Not only did I realize that work and activities will always be there to come back to...but now I have an intense clarity about what my priorities are and what my passions in life are.

2011 was a crazy year. I was in my third year of business at the studio, I was taking on whatever freelance writing and photography assignments came my way, I was pregnant and working what felt like nonstop. At least two or three times a week, I'd drag Connor to my studio around 5:00 and transfer him to Evan when he got off work so that I could meet a client, missing dinners at home. I'd be concerned with checking emails and meeting deadlines constantly, and I'd turn down pool and park invitations because I needed to be freshly showered for client meetings. Then on the weekends, I'd run off to several photo shoots. It was exhausting but exhilarating too and I felt so proud. I had really built a business from the ground up.

I never want to do that again.

I never want to put work before my family and my happiness. I'm so glad I had that experience...and then I'm even more glad that Brenna came into my life to teach me about priorities.

Last year, I put the vast majority of my commitments on hold.  I wasn't happy about it, but I knew that my family needed me and they were my first (and pretty much only) priority. This year, God is presenting me with some opportunities for "me time" again. And I'm choosing now to get involved with the things that I truly want to be involved with, things that I am passionate about, and not just the things that came my way that I felt obligated to say yes to. 

It's incredibly fulfilling....and it's even more exciting to me to know that I won't ever lose sight again of the best part of my life - my husband and kids. That I'll always strive to pursue my own goals and passions but that I won't let it interfere with my most important role as a mom and wife.

I read a quote the other day from author Karen Salmansohn: "What if I told you that 10 years from now, your life would be exactly the same? Doubt you'd be happy. So why are you afraid of change?"

I realized I would be happy if my life was the same. (Of course, I really hope the kids are in school by then :) ) If I'm getting to be a mom to two beautiful kids, to be Evan's wife, to be writing about things that I'm inspired by, to be using my creativity through writing and photography, to be volunteering in some capacity and making a difference in others' lives...and if I'm feeling this content and fulfilled and inspired in 10 years...yes, I'll be extremely happy.


  1. I look forward to reading your stories everyday. I was in the NICU doing clinical work when Brenna came over from Memorial.

    You and your family are absolutely inspiring.

  2. You are so right. I have recently said, I wish I had treated my kids like I do my grandkids. IE stop and smell the roses. Spend more time with them and less on things that seemed important at the time (like cleaning laundry work) Life is a learning experience and you, Evan, Brenna and Connor have inspired me and many people. I am sooo proud of your family and what you have accomplished in this short time. Love yous!!!!!! I told someone at work that you two have taught me to be a better person. They said you are a good person. I said ohhhhhhh no I have learned so much from Brenna!!!! I am so much less judgemental. When a negative thought enters my head, I think of baby girl. God is at work.

  3. I think the sum of this post should involve a bit more gratefulness for Evan's contribution to the family. Maybe Evan also doesn't want to put work before his family and his happiness, but he does - so that you don't have to. It's hard to be the breadwinner.

    1. Evan and I are a team, and we both have roles - he is grateful for what I do in our home and the work that I put into running our household and managing our money, and I am grateful for the work that he does outside of the home. Evan actually doesn't put his work before his family or his happiness - he is there when we need him to be, and he is happy with his life both inside and outside of the house. We both make equal sacrifices for our family and we support each other completely.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Anonymous, if you had read any previous posts, you would see that Courtney credits all the work Evan does, both at work and at home. Your comment is unfair and ignorant. I stay at home with our 4 children aged 3-11, and my husband works long hours as a doctor. We work equally hard at our different jobs: by staying home and doing the vast majority of the running about with the kiddies, I enabled him to work the hours required so that he could further his career, which meant a larger salary, which allowed me to stay home with the kiddies. See how it is all connected, Anonymous? It is not a competition to see who works harder or has the most stressful job. We appreciate and support each other, and it works for us. Lovely post as usual, Courtney.

  4. Anonymous, that was horribly rude. Stay off of Brenna's site if you don't have anything nice to contribute.

    I am a huge fan of your blog & look forward to someday reading your book.

  5. Don't know why people feel the need to post something judgmental after such a beautiful and heartfelt post, Courtney! You always give Evan credit for all he does for your family. You have taught me to be a better person too. I know thousands agree with me. Please keep writing and sharing. You and your family are such an inspiration ! Happy Friday!

  6. A troll is a troll is a troll. :) It does seem that your world went from worrisome, sad, and bleak to bright and happy relatively overnight! I think George, isn't that his name?, played a big part in that! I love the pic of you and your little man. I am a sucker for mother/son stuff since having my little man. So glad your life is all in order now and you can be truly HAPPY and SUCCESSFUL as a wife and mother! :)


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