the nitty gritty

This is going to be a lengthy one...
Long time no blog.  I have attempted to post so many times, but its been so long since I've done a real post and a lot has happened.  I used to post all the time and I felt connected to the blogworld.  Then life got crazy busy and I started doing sponsored posts (which I am grateful to have had the opportunity) but I never felt like I could totally use my voice and I learned I don't like to have my voice edited... I just began to feel disconnected.  And then there is Pinterest and Instagram.  And everything you can possibly make or imagine is already on a blog somewhere.   I felt stale and like I had to force out some amazing idea or project.  My life wasn't a perfectly staged Inst-photo, and I didn't feel like making it one.  In fact it was a mess.  So I just didn't do anything.

As I've mentioned in the past I have always struggled with balance.  Juggling career and family.  I have always had a ton of energy and would just steamroll through.  People would always comment on how much I was able to get done, and I took it as a compliment, a strength.  At some point I'd hit a bump and realize I was spread way too thin and have to reassess/ freak out/ get overwhelmed and work through it.  I knew I could do one thing REALLY well, but having ADD kind of kept me in a vicious cycle of starting one thing and then saying "yes" to five other projects.  I would thrive off the chaotic energy, I still do.   I remember back in high school and college how I would have a project due, and I would wait until the last minute.  The eleventh hour was when I did my best work.

But a couple years ago shit hit the fan and I just burnt out.  It has taken me a long time to even talk about it because I really felt like it was a defect, that something was wrong with me.  A few years back I was running Overlays, a household, designing for clients,  running a blog and training for half marathons.  It was crazy and I was stressed out and overwhelmed beyond belief.  But I kept pushing and not saying "no" to anything.

The whole reason I started Overlays was so that I could work from home and be with my kids.  Instead I was sitting in front of a computer doing CAD and answering emails while they ran amuck.  I would take time to do things with them, but I would be thinking about what I needed to do and I wasn't present in the moment with them.  When they would go to bed, I'd get back on the computer.  My husband also felt like he was on a back burner.  It sucked.  I cut back on clients.  I cut back on training.  The blog suffered.  But I still felt like I could do it all.  I'd watch all these other women doing it, so it could be done.  Right?

I was wrong.  Things just got worse.  I was miserable and cranky.  I had always lived by the motto "Do what you love", and I pretty much was hating what I was doing.  I was in autopilot on a computer screen.  I didn't feel creative.  As a girl that would change her wall colors three times a year,  I felt stagnant- and I had no time to change my wall color!  I wound up selling the majority of my share of Overlays to Cheryle my business partner.  Her kids were grown, so she had the time that I lacked.  Shortly after that I just sold it all off.  I was done.  Part of me felt like a flake and a failure that I couldn't stick with it, and part of me still does- I'm not sure that will ever go away.

After the dust cleared I was left to pick up the pieces around my house.  My husband has been amazingly supportive and patient through it all.  He is a much more logical and practical person, thank god for that.  He keeps me grounded.  I realize the time I lost with my kids I cannot get back, and worst of all my youngest son is on the spectrum.  I have huge guilt over losing such an important developmental period of time in his life.  I am doing my best now to make things right, but I am always going to wonder.  

I struggle with my ADD everyday, more so now that my youngest has been diagnosed with it as well.  I feel like I'm the worst role model for him- like the blind leading the blind- since I can't even figure out how to mange myself.  The bright side to this is that it is making me be more mindful of my actions and behavior.  Both of my kids are very creative, so my biggest fear is that they turn into eleventh hour whirlwinds.  The eleventh hour only worked for me when I had no responsibilities and was single.  Kids and a husband aren't too keen on me pulling an all nighter.

So emotionally that's where I've been.  I am slowly getting my mojo back.  I have gone back to taking on clients and designing, and of course I still find myself saying "yes" too often and taking on one more than I should.  I'm in a weird space design wise.  I think I've been oversaturated by design honestly.  I took a lot of time off from blogs and Pinterest to try to figure out what I really like.  It is really hard to do that when you are constantly being bombarded by imagery and color.  We are in the midsts of a kitchen renovation at the moment, and I'm going all white and neutral.  If I decide I want color I can always add it later.  Right now I'm enjoying a white blank space and having things simple and not busy.  Very opposite from the norm.  I've even taken down most of my huge inspiration board in my office.  I just need uncluttered at the moment.

I've done a lot of soul searching over the past two years trying to figure out what really makes me happy and what I love doing.  I love creating.  I love making. I love the whole process and how excited it makes me.  So I plan on doing that.  I have missed this blog, and sharing stupid shit and harebrained ideas with you guys.  But I seriously could not do another post without writing this one, because every attempt at a "pretty" post just felt empty and fake.  I want to thank you guys for reading this, for following me on this blog and for being my sounding board for the past 6 years.  I'm not sure what the direction of this blog will become... I'm by no means ending it, just changing gears a bit- I am just going to post when I have something to talk about or show you.  I don't want to post just for posting sake.   I will be back soon with kitchen renovation stuff.  Thanks again for listening.

xo
Danika

32 comments:

Jess said...

Long time reader and fan who just wanted to say that this was brave and I give you big props for letting us in on what real life is like underneath the social media veneer, and for listening to your gut to learn what will be best for you and your family. You're incredibly talented, and I look forward to tuning in to your next moves and wish you and your son all the best.

Anonymous said...

Danika, fellow designer here and a male. I think you're brave and talented. When my sisters started having children Mother said... you have them for a short time, try to be with them. They will always remember who answered their questions when they come home from a Brownie meeting. That needs to be you, not a caregiver. There is time in the future to make your millions. Your chidren just want your time. I applaud you! We'll see you soon enough. Now stop reading this and go read to your children.

Anonymous said...

There was so much meat in this blog post that I don't know where to start, but mostly wanted to say it's just nice getting to hear from you again. Life is such a roller-coaster! The past is something we can learn from (learning to say no is a great lesson), but beating ourselves up over past choices does absolutely no good.

Good to hear the mojo is coming back, I look forward to any ol' blog post that comes! Thanks for getting back in the game! Being there for your family is always the most important, and that includes you - so keep doing whatever makes you happy.

Once again, thanks for the blog post, you were always one of my favorite bloggers and you've been missed.

Renea Sinisgalli said...

Danika I always looked forward to your posts...YOUR posts, the ones where we could see the chaos that doing ctazy, awesome, creative projects does to your house. One room looks awesome but the rest falls to shambles (including the kids) while you plug away at the lastest idea. I loved it bea=cause that's exactly how my house was/is. It made me feel like I wasn't completely insane for alwyas having messes and endless projects going on. You are not alone in your feelings!

Lizzie @ Living Pretty said...

I love your blog posts, and I honestly don't think it would be jarring if you just started posting again when you have stuff to sharE, even when you haven't posted for months, but that's how I blog and I'm sure I'm not a great source of advice on that one! Still, don't stress out, you've got your priorities down now, and that's impressive. I'll definitely look forward to hearing more when you get to it :)

christy said...

Thank you so much for your honesty. It feels good to know I'm not alone.. As a designer/ decorator and mom of several little kids I can relate to just about you're saying. I secretly wonder if I'm crazy, but I also know that if I don't design I GO crazy. But I always feel torn and like nothing's getting done well. Thanks again for sharing.

Kiki said...

Thank you so much for sharing this, I can relate so much on so many levels and as a follower of so many Work from home moms who make/design, this has been the most honest, authentic and inspiring story. Find your true self and stay true to you

Anonymous said...

Good for you! "Who you (really) are" is what makes this blog interesting and unique from all others. If I wanted to look at perfect vanilla reveals, I'd go haunt Pinterest (I'm not that into Pinterest). Honest writing, about real life, resonates and hits the jackpot every time as far as I am concerned. So, you GO GIRL! Enjoy and be who you are. Just be honest and share who you are and how that all happens, and we will be delighted to come along with the ride anytime we are invited!

remademod said...

From the moment I discovered you I have thought of you as a bit of a creative soul mate and always been over the moon to see "Gorgeous Shiny Things" pop up in my mailbox.

This is how I have described you on a pin:
"Danika Herrick, of the awesome blog GORGEOUS SHINY THINGS, and one half of the brains behind O'verlays, is an evil genius....maybe just a genius."

You are clearly OFF THE CHARTS talented, smart, and a loving (and worrying) mother and wife. At some point, all of that giving to your family, your fans, your clients, YOUR MUSE all at once becomes too much.

Take a deep breath and take care of you. Your Mojo is in your blood and it will be back 3 fold once you have some distance and clarity. We are all behind you!

Rebecca Fuller said...

I hear ya lady. Oh do I. This past year has been a huge struggle for me as well, I took a huge step back to refocus.

I don't think I ever recovered from the snow this February. My daughter is starting kindergarten and my son is 3, they were so used to me just staring at my laptop all day it became a very sore spot with my husband "when are you getting off the computer?" 'But, I am trying to work?" Something had to give.

Design will always be there, new fads will come and go. You can give your self permission to take a break and just focus on family (and yourself) and not feel guilty. When you 'feel' it again, you'll know.

I should start a North Shore Designers support group, where we all can get together with some wine and vent. xo

-becky

nigel said...

I'm happy to see you! Yours has always been one of my favorite blogs. Best of luck to you in whatever you choose to do.

Anonymous said...

It's was really nice to read your post. Glad that you are figuring a way through the madness that is motherhood and sharing it with us all, honesty is something that is always appreciated.
Good luck with getting the balance right for you and your family.

Barb Cutler said...

Thanks for your honesty! It's all really, really hard.
I do miss your fun/crazy posts, and look forward to whatever lies ahead for you. (But whatever you do, PLEASE show us your kitchen when it is finished!)

Julie said...

Thank you for your honesty. It's so refreshing. I was a reader before and I'll be a reader again. No matter what, it is hard to balance kids, a husband, a blog, a job, and whatever else is going on in life. I tell people it's not so much a balancing act as it is a juggling act. I'm trying to keep all the balls in the air and while some are soaring high, the others are falling all over the ground.

Nicole said...

I've always thought you are insanely talented, and now I have even more reason to love you. In this world of perfect images capsulated in Instagram posts and Pinterest pins, I value what is real, authentic, and honest even more. Thanks so much for sharing your genius with all of us, to whatever extent your life circumstances and comfort allow. The blog world and Internet are a better place because you are on them!

danamerrillstyle said...

I echo the many kind and thoughtful sentiments expressed above... You are a wonderful creative force, and it is nice to know you are also human. :). Thank you for voicing what so many of us are going through as mothers, entrepeneurs, designers, and creative people. It is hard, it is impossible to really do it 'all' without something dropping away. I've missed your wit, humor, and gorgeous creativity in motion. I'll look forward to whatever you choose to share going forward. Take care of yourself, your family, and your creative soul and spirit! Xx

heather (love your space) said...

I was thinking "welcome back," but this is the thing about blogs: they are ever changing, as are we, and you never really left. Post when you want, about whatever you want, if it works. I think this post just goes to show that your readers (jncluding me!) will still be there. I for one am glad to see you here again, and wish you luck in the never-ending struggle to find that unicorn: "balance".

Jessica Davis said...

Danika - Just checking in. That is so great that you are taking a break to recharge and reset. I think we all need it. I run the same risk of spreading myself too thin and thinking I can do it all. Good luck with everything!

My O'verlays said...

Love ya always! xox

Anonymous said...

Super honest. I've been thinking I want to get back into the work force but every time i think about it one of my children seems to get sick. Like now. I don't want some stranger raising my children so I've stayed home. I guess that's the right decision. I don't believe in quality time it's just being there all the boring time that counts I think. None of us can have it all and it's such a bummer the women's movement said we could. or made us think we should and are losers and boring if we can't do it. Anyway, my girls are coughing...

Anonymous said...

I just commented a minute ago but will add I think you were doing the hardest thing of all - being self employed at home. I'm an older mother of young children (I'm 54 with 12 year old identical twins - not Ivf) As a single woman working in nyc for most of my career prior to getting married I was so angry and frustrated as over and over again I watched and was expected to cover for my female co workers (several different jobs so different women) who were working mothers (lying for them that they were at business meetings when they were at doctor,etc. ). Their husbands were so proud for how hard they were working as they were always out of the house. The office thought they were such great mothers - I watched them play their husbands off their bosses. And I had to pick up the pieces as a single woman (frequently canceling a date to take a meeting). I was the one working hard doing multiple jobs supporting my fellow women! Ha! You are honest and also, working from home, can't play anyone off anyone else. And that's the truth of the matter. Nobody can do it all so don't beat yourself up. You are just honest. It's not your ADD or whatever.

And just FYI they say it's way more important to be around as your children get older so relax. All any child Wants is their mommy and daddy anyway. ��
Please don't publish this as it will make women mad. Not PC but I don't particularly give a rat's ass. This is just for you!

Anonymous said...

I just commented a minute ago but will add I think you were doing the hardest thing of all - being self employed at home. I'm an older mother of young children (I'm 54 with 12 year old identical twins - not Ivf) As a single woman working in nyc for most of my career prior to getting married I was so angry and frustrated as over and over again I watched and was expected to cover for my female co workers (several different jobs so different women) who were working mothers (lying for them that they were at business meetings when they were at doctor,etc. ). Their husbands were so proud for how hard they were working as they were always out of the house. The office thought they were such great mothers - I watched them play their husbands off their bosses. And I had to pick up the pieces as a single woman (frequently canceling a date to take a meeting). I was the one working hard doing multiple jobs supporting my fellow women! Ha! You are honest and also, working from home, can't play anyone off anyone else. And that's the truth of the matter. Nobody can do it all so don't beat yourself up. You are just honest. It's not your ADD or whatever.

And just FYI they say it's way more important to be around as your children get older so relax. All any child Wants is their mommy and daddy anyway.
Please don't publish this as it will make women mad. Not PC but I don't particularly give a rat's ass. This is just for you!

Dianne said...

This was your best blog post ever!! Thanks for being so real. None of us can do it all ADD or not. Looking forward to whatever and whenever you post. Hugs!

lonelybaker said...

Brave woman, take your time and find your balance. We're here, rooting for you.

Unknown said...

First of all, you are a creative BEAST and I cannot even comprehend your energy level. I remember when you turned laminate counters into "Carrera marble" and I was like, "WHAT?!" As far as the home-vs-work debate goes, I kind of avoid extremes like "strangers raising my children" because unless you're turning them over to someone you don't know 24/7, that seems a bit dramatic, no? We're all doing our best and some days it will be perfect, and most days it will be kind of a mess, and that's just the way it is. In the meantime, I can't wait to see what you will do next. Thanks for your honesty and willingness to pull back the shroud of blogger perfection. I'm a huge fan.

Anonymous said...

Good for you. I'd rather see fewer but meaningful and interesting posts than filler. And besides, your family and your health are very important. Take care of them first as the blog can wait.

Luke Thomas said...

I had taken your blog off my regular rotation because of lack of posts. (No big deal, everybody has dry periods.) I decided to check in again because I've gotten some great holiday inspiration from your work before. (That gold grasscloth room is still one of the most amazing things I've ever seen on a blog. I covered my former apartment's dining alcove in dollar store wallpaper based off of it and all my Thanksgiving/Christmas guests were blown away.) All that to say, I think there's a lot of us who are happy to take what you're willing to share, when you're willing to share it. No pressure.

Also, while ADD doesn't run in my family, depression and compulsion does. I've watched my mom struggle with it my whole life. I don't feel damaged by seeing her struggle. It's made me more compassionate and aware with myself and others. Please be kind to yourself and be well.

Anonymous said...

Danika - I just found your blog. It's AWESOME! Thanks for sharing so honestly. We think we can do it all and find ourselves burned out, overwhelmed and feeling like we just can't summit that mountain. I am learning that too in my life. Working full-time at a very demanding corporate day job and running a full-time staging business for the past 8 years. Taking a break is good for the soul and a good reminder for all of us trying to 'do it all' - it's sometimes just not worth the drain physically but mostly emotionally. Sending you my best!!!! Thanks!
Barbara from NC

hilaryful said...

Love you! I think your are due some down time....change is good. ...remember those magazine pages we stuck all over our house at 123? Well that can mean many things. Color...design...ideas...perspectives..change is good babe xoxoxoxo

Leisa♠ said...

Life's dirty secret for women: Ain't such a thing as balance! I think the best we can strive for is have family time each day. For us it was dinner--swimming/ball etc on weekends. We did not try to stuff too many activities in. We were always home with our kids on the weekend. No babysitters (maybe 3x). Instead of cultivating balance, cultivate mindfulness. BE with whomever you are with (kids, husband, work)and do not be distracted by other thoughts. This practice will vastly improve the quality of the limited time. I see another commenter has stated that she had to cover for working moms...well, not once did anyone have to cover for me. (IN reality no one could given my position). In general enabling bad behavior by 'covering' can only lead to being taken advantage of and all of the attendant feelings. I'm the parent of adult children now. Man, do I love saying that! My kids grew up to have a good work ethic; are compassionate toward others; and are independent. But you have additional challenges with your child. I too can work from home...it is always there. Sigh...Hope youv'e come to tenuous grips at the very least. I appreciated seeing your painted chair post...and they look fabulous painted!

Tee said...

You're a favorite of mine and still very inspiring to me! I hope you and yours are having fun, creative and taking time to breath!

Maryscott OConnor said...

I just found this blog. Assuming since its been a year or more since this last post that you haven't yet found a way to get back to it... And that's FINE.
I ran a successful political blog for five years and burned out, hard. My followers mostly found me again on Facebook and often try to encourage me to go back to blogging... But it just doesn't fit my life now. Maybe someday, but not now.
Point being (oh, and I'm also on the spectrum - Aspergers), you owe no one but you and your family. Do what works, when it works.
I hope you return... But if you don't, I hope you're living well and happy.

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