I ran across a thought provoking conversation on the Clickin' Moms forum the other week. A photographer I highly respect posted a question to get people thinking about what it means to be a success. Does it mean you're getting paid for your work? Or is it something else? How do you define success and how do you know when you've attained it?
She meant it in terms of photography but I read between the lines and have applied that question much more deeply. This is something I've given a great deal of thought over. Not just in the last week or two, but over the last several years. Once upon a time, I was a working woman. Now I'm lucky enough to be a stay at home mom to two beautiful little girls that I cherish. This was a choice I made (along with full support and agreement from my husband.)
Even though I'm 100% on board with my decision, I've still internally struggled with that cliche mommy battle between finding value in the work I do as a sahm and wanting that feeling of success that is more easily defined for a working woman.
You might remember this post. I spend a lot of time thinking about and writing for this little blog. I'll be the first to admit my readership is not that big. I don't get paid a single penny by anyone to do this. I do it for myself as an outlet and it is something I enjoy greatly. But is that enough? Is it ok that I spend time writing instead of cleaning or some other house maintenance/child rearing activity?
It took this year's Photo Day project for me to finally answer that question. As I was looking over the projects that were submitted by you, my friends and readers, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was looking at photos that might not have been taken if it weren't for my encouragement. There were some absolutely priceless memories that were captured at least in some small part because of me. I may not have reached hundreds of people, but at least 10 families that I know of now have everyday memories captured because of me. And at least half of those ladies taking the pictures had the courage to share them publicly, some for the very first time ever.
I think that's huge. To me, that's success. I'd rather reach a smaller audience in a more meaningful way than have a larger audience that just skims over and ignores my postings any day.
The inspiration you've given me this month has lit a huge fire. In the next couple weeks I'm going to share some of the behind the scenes things I've decided to do because of that fire. I don't have everything figured out yet and there will be plenty of stumbling around as I get it worked out. I might fail grandly but I'm excited to share those fumblings with you.
Thanks for lighting the match.