August 9, 2010

business, family, Me

It was hard to find words to start this post, but this quote by Robert Brault pretty much sums it up…

“If you haven’t time to respond to a tug at your pants leg, your schedule is too crowded.” 

My schedule is bursting at the seams and the people who should be priority have been playing second fiddle. When I finally came to this realization it left me heartbroken and conflicted.  There are few things that I know for sure. Every since I was a girl I desired to be a wife, a mother, and work in the creative industry. Now that I have all three things I get asked all the time, “How do you do it all?” The answer is, “I just do.” But what I didn’t realize was that it got done, but at the expense of my family.

I recently was offered a position of a lifetime and it almost killed me to decline it. I know killed sounds exaggerated, but that is just how serious of a decision it was for me to make.  I’ve also been approached with offers of exciting, new design work.  Tempting as it may be to accept, I’ve also decided to stop taking design clients for a time. I appreciate you all believing in my work. I never take it for granted, but right now my family needs me more than ever. Surely you understand my position.  
I won’t be gone forever and will continue to write this blog. It won’t turn into a “Mommy Blog” though they may appear in a few post. It’s just that more of my time will be on these guys.  

What tough decisions have you made to obtain work/life balance? How do you feel about the decision you made?

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About Erika Ward

Multi-passionate entrepreneur, spokesperson, speaker, and philanthropist, Erika Hollinshead Ward worked in the design-build industry as an accountant before turning her passion for interior design into a successful business. Named by Atlanta Tribune as having one of the top design firms for two consecutive years, Erika is a highly sought after expert whose work has appeared in several media outlets such as House Beautiful Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, Fox 5 (Atlanta Affiliate), Huffington Post, HGTV.com and many others. Her influential voice in the home improvement sector has lead to marketing collaborations with leading home and lifestyle brands including Home Depot, S.C. Johnson, and Home Decorators Collection. Erika holds an undergraduate degree from The University of Georgia and resides in Atlanta with her husband and five children. With her sharp business acumen and design prowess, you can rest assured that she is one to watch as a voice for working mothers, women entrepreneurs, and interior design enthusiasts.

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  1. Tonia @Chic Modern Vintage Says:

    I've passed over some great opportunities for various reasons, a few I regret. I don't give much thought about those decisions much now.


  2. Sharon @ Real Estate Resuscitation Says:

    You'll never, ever look back and regret the time you are able to spend with your beautiful family. That is my prediction.


  3. L.Duncan@Home23DuncanBoys Says:

    Deciding to stay home after having TJ was the first "Big" descision I made. I couldn't continue to let someone else do something I felt like "I" should be doing. After my first two years home (and another baby), I really felt like this wasn't for me. I felt the need to go back to work. The need to be "MORE" But, Erika when you realize that the plans for your life have already been written in stone, you'll know that what you gave up is nothing compared to what you've gained! And trust me because I KNOW what you gave up;-)


  4. Rachel @ La Bella Bungalow Says:

    What a hearfelt post Erika. I think you'll look back and see that you made the right decision. It's so tough to balance all of these things and actually be GOOD at all of them. If there's anything you want to be really GOOD it, it's spending time with your family. Thanks for sharing this. I know I often feel the same way.



  5. Janell @ Isabella and Max Says:

    You know what you need to do, though these decisions can be very hard. I recently cut down on my design work, taking on only very specific work and while hard to say no, it has freed up time to pursue the work I love more and have time left over to spend with family and friends. Janell



    You will not regret your decision, bigger opportunities will come your way in time. You have a beautiful family, stay strong and continue to raise those glorious children.

    Love Lisa xx


  7. Renee@Modus Operandi Designs Says:

    They grow up so flippin' fast. I made made several career decisions at the expense of my older kids (now 20 and 19) and have missed a lot of things I wish I could have been there for.
    I have a 5 year old now as well and have decided to learn from my previous decisions and have done many things differently.
    I have a tremendous respect for you putting your family first. It's so important.


  8. Kim@Chattafabulous Says:

    First of all, Erika, your family is beautiful and well worth whatever sacrifices you have to make. There will always be work to pursue when the time is right. If you have had an amazing job offer in this economy, there will be something else down the road. God will put you where you need to be when the time is right! Best of luck to you and look forward to more excellent blog posts!



    I did take a sabbatical of 4 years to give my kids a great start, being raised by me instead of a nanny or someone else. Now that our family needs both incomes, my hubby is very supportive of my career and helps me a great deal.

    Lisa xx


  10. Mrs. Chic Says:

    I think your doing the right thing, first and foremost your family comes first – and everything else is just enrichment. That's the approach I've taken with my life, I can't please everyone – so I will be able a better wife and mother. The days your children are little only last a short time…


  11. Creategirl Says:

    I can hear your inner struggle as you write this post but also can hear the love for your family and how you know this is the right decision! There will ALWAYS be design work for such a talented designer like yourself so take the time you need.


  12. Jade @ Flip Flops + Pearls Design Says:

    You will never regret the decision to spend more time with your family when you might regret taking time away from them. It is a constant struggle for mothers…never enough time in a day! I believe you are an exceptional woman and I know you will be able to find balance.

    xo Jade


  13. niki.mac Says:

    I totally understand how you feel Erika! I don't even have children yet, but I'm already wondering how will I fit it all in?

    I make my relationship a priority, because I value it so much – and sometimes I don't spend as much time working on projects as I could on the weekends because I don't want him to feel slighted. Our time together is limited due to his travel for work, so I feel like I need to make the most of it!

    I know you'll find a balance that works for you – no worries! 😉


  14. dani@callitbeauty Says:

    i think it's amazing that you've made this sacrifice for your family, i think they will be all the better for it.

    i know my mom sacrificed her career to take care of us children and having dreams of my own (but no husband/kids), i still can't fathom how she ever made that decision.

    i know it's probably going to be hard for you at first, but i think your sacrifices will be absolutely worth it. :)


  15. Kerrisdale Design Inc Says:

    Erika, you are wonderful and this time with your family will be the best investment you could make!

    Just sent you an email but know how much I commend your decision! You're wonderful!



  16. Erika at BluLabel Bungalow Says:

    You all are the best! I sooo appreciate the advice and encouraging words from all who have dealt with work/life battles and won!!

    Just to clarify again, the blog will continue! So please stick around for updates 😉

    Karla, Thank you for taking the time and listening to your heart when writing that email. I will refer to it often as well as these comments to encourage me when the road gets rough.

    Again, I can't thank everyone enough!!


  17. Karen Davis - Karen Davis Design Says:

    Being a Mom and Interior Designer I totally relate. I only take on clients that live closer to my home and don't take too many at once.

    I wish you all the best and look forward to continuing following your blog!


  18. P.S. I love this... Says:

    Wishing you all the very best and know that you're decision was exactly what you needed to do, as design work will always be there but your children won't be young always.


  19. Tamstyles Says:

    My Erika..my Erika. It takes a lot to bow out on some of the things that you like doing. Or want to do. But at the end of the day. Your family comes first. As I have mentioned before. I stayed home for 5 years…and brached out to a part time job when my youngest started schhool. The things we do for our kids. I don't regret not working for one bit. The bonnd that I have with my son came from me being home with him…and actually being present. Versus my daughter who didn't get all of me until she was 3 and she started school at 4. My sister in law kept her while I worked. And she would cry when I would drop her off initially…but that later changed to her not wanting to go with me when I would go to get her. Crushing to me. I know your doing the right thing. I to had a dream job and the opp to make some big money doing certain events that would get me home past 2am. NO THANKS is what I said. What kind of mother and wife would I be strolling in a 2am. I have went on and on…..sorry but this topic get me in the heart. You are 100000% talented and I promise you that clients and anyone else will be waiting for when your ready. Do you and be happy with your decision. I am sure Chris has said the same in his on way offering support which says it all.


  20. Tina Steele Lindsey Says:

    I will just say I am proud you have the blessing of that beautiful family, and that they have you, and that together you are all so beautiful, and that is the only thing that matters.


  21. Kelli Flournoy Says:

    This was such a touching post Erika, and I'm sure it took tons of courage to write. You are making a wonderful decision and the lasting effects on your family will be of gratitude and appreciation for your sacrifice.


  22. Stacey Says:

    Family always come first. I am a new mom and decided to quit teaching so that i could stay home to take care of my baby boy. I have been teaching for 9 years and love it, but i couldn't fathom placing my baby in the care of someone else. Also, i am a military wife which means my husband is always gone. Sixteen months later and i am so happy i decided to stay home. No regrets…


  23. Erica @ Decorica Says:

    Oh, your family is adorable and I'm sure they are thrilled to spend more time with you now. Congrats, this is a great thing.


  24. charm home Says:

    You have such a beautiful family and they are so fortunate to have you as a mother and wife. Juggling your time and prioritizing is the hardest part of working for yourself I think. Good for you for realizing that work needs to take a backseat right now. Hugs, Cristi


  25. Michelle Says:

    Erika, you have to do what feels right for you in that moment. I've given up numerous promotions for my kids and I so don't regret it. You only get once chance to raise your family and it's the most important job we'll ever have. Last week for the first time, I dropped both my kids to high school, one is in 9th and other in 11th. I honestly don't know where the time went but I happy that I was able to spend the time with them. Enjoy your kids for as long as you can, because before you know it they're off to high school and college.


  26. So Haute Says:

    Erika – your priorities are certainly in the right place! Enjoy your time with your beautiful family & I'll be checking in to hear all your updates! Best wishes! xoxo


  27. Wande- Ladyee Boutique Says:

    I'm so proud of you Erika and your priorities are so in the right place. Your family's absolutely beautiful. Many Blessings!:)


  28. Redesign Diva Says:

    What you mean to say you are not SUPERWOMAN???…this is hilarious as you probably posted this before I sent you that email…^_^

    I completely understand and as others have said, take care of your family and the opportunities will be there.

    You are amazing and have true talent baby girl… I know I can wait.



  29. alison (semi-fab lane) Says:

    good for you! you were raised with great family values and you should be proud of that for sure! work will be there but your kids won't be young for long! have fun with them.


  30. Jenn @ Living Luxe for Less Says:

    What an honest and thoughtful post. Thank you for reminding us all about who and what should be most important in our lives. I think you are making the brave and best decision for you!


  31. Jack and Annie Says:

    You will never regret putting family first! Hugs girl!


  32. Dobbygirl Says:

    Tough choices for sure, but totally worth it. Family first! I left my great job in NYC to move to GA and start a family with my hubby – that was 3 years ago this month and we have a lovely 2 year old. I really cherish that I was able to do this, spending so much time with her has been fabulous. Good for you and with your talent, work will always be there, but your kids are only young once. Hugs to you!


  33. Hello Lover... Says:

    Good for you to make that decision now – so many people realize too late in life that their priorities were off and by then its too late to get that time back. I'm sure your family loves having as much of you as possible!


  34. karlee Says:

    If I had 3 beautiful children like you, I would have easily made the same decision:)


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