An Uncomplicated Life Blog: Reflections on 2016 and My 2017 Theme Word

Monday, January 2, 2017

Reflections on 2016 and My 2017 Theme Word

Looking back on the major events of 2016 and looking forward to a new year and a new theme word

Hey 2017, I've been waiting for you. A lot of people have complained about the challenges that 2016 brought, how it was a crummy year and they're excited about a fresh start, and I'm no different. Outside of the bizarre political landscape that 2016 saw (and will continue to see for four years), the horrific world events that took place, the tense race relations that escalated in the United States, and on and on and on, 2016 was a challenging year for me personally. I did a 2016 blog review here, but these are my personal reflections on 2016.

January came and I had a brand new baby. Learning to be a mom of two children under two was hard. Before Otto was born, I just had to meet the needs of one child before I could focus on my own. With two, it was like all I did was volley between the two kids and never had time to get to my needs. I lasted until February, when we hired a night nurse twice a week to get up with Otto and a part time nanny during the day so that I could actually get stuff done (including expanding this blog).

The moment we got home from the hospital after having Otto. My mom had decorated the house with welcome signs

I don't think I really got the hang of being a mom of two young children until the late spring. Then I found my rhythm of getting two kids in and out of car seats without my toddler running across the parking lot. I got preschool drop offs and pickups under control as I managed a baby, backpacks, nap mats, sippy cups and parking chaos. I learned how to grocery shop with two in my cart, and how to get kids and hundreds of dollars of food into a car when it's 115 degrees out. (Turning the car on to blast the air, getting the kids in, and finally the groceries was the successful order of operations there!)

2016 tested my marriage. It turns out, when you have two young, young kids, there's very little time to not only focus on yourself but even less to focus on your marriage. After a long day of bouncing between the needs of two babies, I had so little left in me I didn't want to put it into strengthening a marriage. Fortunately, we realized what was happening to us and took the steps to correct it. But if you think a baby will fix a relationship, you've got that entirely backwards, because holy stress.

Adding a second baby was TOUGH, but it did get better!

The end of 2016 really tested my passion for blogging. I saw so many bloggers fall into the nonstop sponsored post trend that I actually stopped working with brands for weeks. I struggled with making money versus having an authentic voice. And for the record, no. I don't think you can take nonstop paid work and still be authentic. Paid work doesn't work that way.

I expanded my Instagram but then got stressed out about how it was just a game of numbers. First the focus was on getting your follower account above a certain threshold to be considered a "success" and the year ended with nonstop chatter about engagement. Engage engage engage! Reply to every comment! Comment on others! Like photos in your niche! *insert eye roll and toy gun emoji here*

I got so sick of it, I contemplated shutting down my account. I compared myself to other bloggers and just felt depleted. I thought, "Yeah, if I had the money to hire a photographer, I'd be making the same money as ________ too! So and so doesn't have any kids, must be nice to have time to put on makeup and get designer clothes sent to you..." That's just a dark place to be. But I was trudging though some PPD, and spent a lot of 2016 in a grumpy, if not outright dark, place. 

As we transition into 2017, I'm filled with hope. My kids are another year older and are becoming more independent by the day. Everyone asks if I miss the baby phase, and I say no. I don't miss constantly being needed. I know some women thrive on that, but not me. I look at my kids getting older and gaining more skills, and am glad of it every day. They both get more personality by the minute and that is an absolute JOY. As they become more independent, there are more opportunities for my husband and me to focus on us again. That is also a JOY.

Finally figured out this mom of two thing

I have a mini-plan for this blog, and I'm excited to see what happens with it. 2016 got so competitive and weird that I saw a few of my long time blog friends up and quit shop. I'm forging on, but am done with the nonstop number crunching. If a photo only gets 50 likes, so be it. If I only make a few hundred bucks one month, oh well. I'm looking forward to blogging about things that bring me JOY again.

Every year I see memes saying that XXXX year was so rough and they're excited to see it go. I've never agreed with that until 2016. Reflecting back, it was a rough year for the world, it was a rough year for U.S politics and it was a rough year for me personally. But challenges bring opportunities for growth, and I'm so excited to concentrate on my word for 2017: JOY. You know what else is an absolute JOY? Figuring out the image sizing issue on this blog! Notice those big photos? Awwwwww yeeeeeeah *insert hands up emoji here* Happy 2017 y'all!


  1. When I was married, I didn't realize how much time and energy was getting put into the kids that we forgot about our marriage. So now with dating Brian, we always make sure that we take the time for us by either going on a date or just laughing at the stupid things. Lol

    Marriage is hard on top of raising kids.

  2. Thank you for your honesty with motherhood! I won't be a mom for some time, but I know it is going to be challenging. Here's to enjoying the little things and growing our blogs in 2017!

  3. I feel you with the comparison, especially on IG, Paige. It's rough. I have a friend taking my photos, but I always think about what kind of opportunities I would have if I could afford to hire a photographer full time. You are right where you are supposed to be. I've found as my blog grows, so do I, and it seems the same for you. Here's to a wonderful 2017 babe.

  4. I think a LOT of us are in the place you are with blogging (clearly from my post today - haha post twinsies). We both had different personal struggles, but I think 2016 was similar for both of us. Dramatic change to our lives, rat race, unrest, annoyance. I'm excited that 2017 is looking up already!

  5. I think that having kids definitely throws everything for a loop. When we went from 1-2 I felt it the hardest. 2-3 was much more manageable before the youngest turned 2 and became a silent terror :-) I'm glad you were able to figure out what you needed to do early on, it took me a while to realize what the problem was (giving everything to everyone but myself). I can't wait to follow your journey through 2017!

  6. I'm so with you! This year was just too much. I'm really trying to step back and remember why I started in the first place and find that happy spot again. I'm glad to hear your positive outlook on the New Year as well :)

  7. Blogging kind of fell by the waste side for me this year, especially on the growth factor. Mainly because of all the transitions we've had this year. But, I want to strive for authenticity on my blog. I doubt I'll ever make any money off the blog, but that's something I am coming to terms with.

  8. 2016 was amazing and so hard at the same time. Having a baby and adjusting to 2 kids is such a roller coaster of emotions; I am so with you there! Our year ended on a shitty note, so I was ready to look back and give 2016 a half a middle finger. I can't give it a full one; baby was the bright spot of the year. And totally agree with you on how the year ended in the blogging community.
    I'm glad you're looking forward to the new year and a new outlook Paige!

  9. You da real MVP. I couldn't even fathom taking care of another human when I barely remember to eat dinner myself most of the time. THANK YOU FOR THE BLOG COMMENTS. I get SO fed up seeing all the really boring sponsored content that lack any sort of creativity. Honestly, if a brand likes what you're doing, I'm sure they'll work with you. In the end, you have two ridiculously adorable kids on your instagram and that's what I'm there for... and essential oils

  10. you're fabulous. love how honest you are all the time. especially about having a kid and your marriage. i hate when people make it seem so easy or like it doesn't change anything. and i'm with you on the sponsored/paid stuff. i don't do paid stuff on my blog, but as for reading blogs that do, i agree that it doesn't stay authentic. even if the person thinks they are being authentic, what the reader perceives is a whole different matter.
    and yes to not comparing and worrying about numbers. preach.

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