Today, I’m going to be honest about something that’s hard for me to share. First, I’d like to preface it with this: If you know me, you know I’m typically smiling 90% of the time, and that I’m a bubbly, happy, positive person. I’m going to be very uncomfortably vulnerable here, so please be kind in the comments. This isn’t meant to be taken as a “poor me” post; rather, my hope is that if you can relate to any part of this, maybe someone can relate or can offer a bit of advice from her experiences.
I’ve been losing sleep lately about of lot of things that are out of my control. I really should be counting my blessings, which I do, but still… there are two things that make me flat-out lose my shit. One: Being ignored. It just reminds me of the mean girls in high school who would look at me square in the face while I was talking, and then would roll their eyes, turn around, and start talking to someone else as though I hadn’t said anything at all. Two: Not having any control over the outcome of something I’ve invested my heart and my time in.
As someone who’s always been very type-A (my parents told me one of my first full sentences was, “I do it myself”), I don’t cope well when things don’t go as planned. Last night, for example, as I was trying to fall asleep, I got so worked up about some of these things that my face and hands started buzzing, I got the spins, and I felt like my bed was tilting so much that I was going to fall out of it, and then I got a migraine and couldn’t fall asleep until 3 am. Sometimes I get so wrapped up with worry that I forget to inhale, and the my body reminds me, “Hey, you have to breathe.”
At a time in my life when I have so much to be thankful for—so many of my hopes and dreams have come and are coming true—I find myself zeroing in on the handful of things that aren’t happening as I feel they should; the things that have fallen short of my expectations.
(This is where my Instagram post left off… if you were reading my caption and wanted to continue.)
Want examples? For starters, our cat has peed all over the basement, I’m pretty sure we have a friendly ghost in our home because we’ve been losing power to one outlet after another since living here, and there’s this darn IG algorithm I can’t figure out, nor can I control.
No, but seriously… I’m running my own business out of my home, with my adorable, happy, and healthy one year old baby at my side—a baby we tried for years to have before we finally submitted to doing IVF, which was hell, but it was a success, thank God. I have four über talented decorators who work with me and in support of my brand to help me keep up with the never-ending stream of clients who want to achieve the Nest Out West look in their homes (and for whom I am very grateful!).
After doing this totally on my own for a little more than two years full-time, I’ve worked with 36 HAPPY and appreciative clients who have busted their butts to update their homes according to the decorating plans I provided. Last month, though, I had TWO clients totally ghost me and not pay their final invoices. I’ve followed-up, but haven’t received any responses from them. It bothers me because not only have I given up my nights and weekends to put my baby first during the day and then put together the deliverables these clients asked for, but also, I pay our wonderful nanny two days a week so I can stay caught up on business to-dos. And then two people who were always quick to respond to any decorating question I’d send throughout the process decided they’d rather not pay, and even though I’ve asked if they perhaps weren’t satisfied so I can make it right (if that’s the case), I still don’t get any responses.
Another example: A well-known interiors account was just getting her IG started around two years ago. She sent me many DMs, including one where she told me I was her role model. We’d share each other in our stories and build each other up as women do (I didn’t think twice about my account being three times the size of hers at the time—she had great content and I thought people should see it!). I shared my media kit with her that I painstakingly designed myself as an example that she could use when brands asked to work with her so she could monetize her content. I gave her feedback on camera equipment and photography tips, sent her pics of DIYs we did in our home and explained the process to her because she wanted to replicate them in her own home, and I encouraged people to head to her feed to check out those DIYs once she shared them in her feed.
Recently, I reached out to say congratulations on her astounding growth, and I asked if she wouldn’t mind if we shared each other in our stories again. This time, yes, it would clearly benefit me, but after all of the pages and pages of DMs between us where I shared advice and information with her that she asked me for, I assumed it would’ve been a no-brainer to her. My message was “seen,” my follow-up message a couple days later was also “seen,” and a full week later, she hasn’t responded …and there’s nothing I can do about it but vent. It might come across like I’m jealous and bitter of her success, but that’s not AT ALL the case. I just hate being ignored, and I thought this person might’ve had more integrity than what I’m seeing.
Aside from these things, motherhood is the greatest joy in the world. I now can say I GET IT to all of the people who have told me, “It’s a love like no other.” It’s also hard as heck to be a mentally and physically present full-time mom and, at the same time, be a successful small business owner. Add to that the fact that I don’t feel sexy in my own skin anymore because I have a herniated belly and my abs are separated down the middle (I’m 5’2”, 115, and Joe was a big baby!), when I used to work so hard on being in shape and having a solid core. I mean, it feels so vain to say this now as I write about it, but I was nuts about doing hundreds of sit-ups after every run. Losing that meant losing part of my identity, as awful as that sounds. I’m struggling with my confidence in my physical appearance and my lack of physical strength. Nobody talks about how hard it is to give up a life and a body you were 100% in control of in exchange for motherhood. On the flip-side, you are filled past the brim with joy when your baby wakes up from his nap and smiles at you like you’re his most favorite person in the universe. Is that why I feel so guilty when I work so hard to make my business successful? I honestly fall asleep thinking of ways to grow, market, and streamline my business. Add to that: thinking about the people who are ignoring me, and suddenly I’m experiencing uncontrollable anxiety for the first time.
A close friend of mine ordered a book for me—one that he also read. It just arrived, so I haven’t read it yet, but it’s for people like us who are used to having control over the outcomes in our lives. It’s about learning to let go of the things you can’t control and to focus your energies on what you can. After alllll of this venting, it made me think: There are people out there who have FAR worse problems than the ones I’m complaining about. People who are dying from cancer have to come to terms with the fact that there is nothing they can do to control what’s happening to their bodies. I now feel like an asshole for complaining about all of this, but at the same time, I’m not convinced that it’s mentally healthy to say one person’s problems are meaningless because another person’s problems are bigger. I think the biggest takeaway I’ve gained from venting out all of these thoughts and frustrations is that there truly is power in positivity. As difficult as it can be to ignore the things that are bugging you—you do want answers, after all, right?—perhaps it’s best to focus on the things that are going well in your life. For me, they are my super-supportive husband, parents, siblings, in-laws, friends, and clients. My sweet, sweet baby—although he can be difficult at times—is the greatest blessing… especially after we went through years of trying and then IVF. And so there’s one Instagram account who I thought was a bigger person than what she’s shown me; I need to let it go and focus on all of the other very special friendships I’ve formed with people who are in the same boat as me. The entrepreneurial mamas and creative souls with a passion for interiors.
In order to finally fall asleep last night, I said the Serenity Prayer. If you don’t know it, here’s the shortened version (so you can remember it and say it whenever you need to):
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
This morning, it was as though my mom knew I needed this… She sent me a daily prayer that was emailed to her. It went like this:
I have specific requests that may only partially fill the infinite needs and desires that are in my heart. I ask that You answer me not only for those requests but also for a greater reliance on You to satisfy the needs and desires that You have given me.
Please grant the prayers of all those who prayed this novena with me. Bless them with Your love and make them holy!
May I seek You with a sincere heart knowing that it will profit me nothing if I gain the whole world yet lose my soul.
So, help me to see Your good and gracious purpose in all my trials. Help me to see Your blessings in every day and help me to love You more.
Thank You for everything, Lord!