Thursday, September 24, 2015

Some real truth here

You know I like to get all honest and personal here on the blog. I love sharing our events and all the fun and new things we are doing over here. But sometimes, you just need to be real. There is more behind rosy Instagram pictures and Facebook posts.  I am not one for airing dirty laundry or even giving you a glimpse into every second of my life, but I do struggle with how much truth we should put out into the atmosphere.

The thing is- I am not perfect. Oh my goodness the farthest thing from it. I don't have the perfect life. My life is...complicated.

1. I am a wife to a man that has unwavering support of what I do and who I am. We have been through some trenches, we have figured out who the other is. We have changed our expectations. For example, after Ada was born, I expected Sam to get up in the middle of the night EVERY night because I had to nurse her- and it wasn't fair that I had to get up just because I had boobs. Did that happen? No - not at all. It just turned into resentment when I looked over and he was asleep and I was just beyond exhausted. It took lots of tears and talking to work through our expectations. Yes, I had to nurse, but he also had to be awake and able to work - every day. So, we made a deal that when there was a night that she just couldn't go back down  (which was often) we would take turns being up late and losing sleep. Because even though he had to go to work. I still had to be present, awake, and work myself. His needs were not bigger than mine- just different. I was able to sleep later, I could squeeze a nap in at least a few days a week. When Henry was born - I changed my expectations- and his infancy was so much more enjoyable.  It doesn't mean we are perfect. The Bradford tested us in ways we never thought. We clung to each other because there was nothing else to do. Owning a business is hard. Running a business is just plain selfish at times. Sometimes the business is the priority. Sometimes you have to schedule your life around it like it is a Diva. And marriage is hard enough when you are working through your own selfishness - add in a business and you sometimes have the perfect storm. We are a team - and yes, it takes work, but goodness I got a good one to work with!

2. I am a Mom. Sometimes I just have to tell myself that. Not that I forget because who can when you have a three year old yelling at you and a five year old insisting that she knows best? But, in this industry, there is so little support for those of us that have kids. It IS different. I can't throw my whole life into this. If I am going to miss bedtime Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, then I am not going to go to a network event where I will have to miss another night. I have to make so many choices and you never really know the weight of your choices until after the fact. Yes, I do get to "be home" a lot of the time during the day with them and I am really not complaining - but it just isn't the same as just being home. I am rarely not distracted, or shooting off an e-mail or text to a bride. I wouldn't change my choice to be a working mom half the time and a stay at home mom the other half. But, it does make life complicated.

3. I run two different - very different businesses. I think that is the most shocking to me, how different these two businesses are. They are not a like in any way other than we have brides and grooms. But, the decisions, the work flow, and even the accounting is completely different. We have been on a learning curve this past year and if you know me, you know that is just unacceptable! I don't want a learning curve, I want it to be right, right now. I want it to perfect right now. I want it to run seamlessly like a well oiled machine- right now. And it's not. C and D is like an old friend that you can rely on. The Bradford- well it's like that wayward cousin who you never know is going to show up and ruin Thanksgiving. It's stressful, exhilarating, but more than anything it's like a big puzzle that we have started. So far, the edges and borders are all put together and now we are working on the inside (the hard part) to make the picture complete.

4. Oh yes, and I have friends. Really I do! I see my best friend once every 3 months it seems. We meet up for breakfast, late night dessert, or we just wait out bedtime in pj's. We frantically catch up on each other's lives, talk about the kids, gossip, and just decompress. We rarely get to hang on the weekends and I miss a lot of birthdays. My other BF lives in Winston and I don't think I have been to single birthday of her daughter's. It is always the last weekend in September- aka- one the busiest day of the year! I hate it. I hate that I have friends that live just a few hours away and I never see them. Better yet, my best friend from high school literally lives 15 minutes away and I see her maybe once a year. We text, we FB, we try to make plans, but it never seems to get there. And it is me. I am the wild card. I am always busy, crazed, and always have something going on. Because if it isn't weddings, I am trying to cram in as much family time and "experiences" as possible. It is hard to be a friend when your life is so busy - sometimes I have to choose - is it the kids or the friend? Is it date night or girls night? No choice is right.

So - yes, my life is complicated! It is wonderful, but it isn't perfect - I don't have it figured out. I say Sorry a lot. I miss out on a lot. And that is my truth - I hate missing things. I have a serious case of FOMO.

I don't like to admit it- but it is true. And it so real and so frustrating. This past spring I had a very busy weekend and I started my Friday super early picking up flowers. On the way I got a text with a picture that Ada had lost her tooth. I cried. I missed the first tooth!

On the flip side, if I am home and I miss a networking event, I am so bummed and worried I could have missed a connection, or a new business relationship. I see all these people that just look like they have it together all the time and I just don't know how they do it.

Here lately, we have been looking long and hard at our advertising choices. Mostly just trying to make sure our money is well spent. We have advertised with The Knot for over 6 years! We get TONS of inquiries - it works for us. We have a decent niche and we see results. Well, lately I just keep seeing all these planners do these amazing things and see how busy they are and it makes me wonder- "how are they getting those clients?!?" So I start looking around and I see that a lot of them advertise with a competitor. I march straight to Courtney and say- WE NEED TO SWITCH!! In my normal Dana spaz of a self - I convince here in more or less words that this is what we need to do - it will be the difference! Always calm Courtney looks at me and says - "What needs to change? We are on a great trajectory. We have plenty of business, we love our clients, we are in a great place. What needs to change?"

I took a step back and looked - yes, we are in a great place. I, myself has been yearning to slow it down a little. So why do I want more? Why am I always looking at the person next to me and am convinced they are better, more successful, and they have what I need? Why can't I just be content? I think that is the world we live in. We always want more, need more, and sometimes it creates an ugliness inside ourselves that you never knew was there.

I am not an overly competitive person.  I don't do drama. I just don't have the patience for it. That was not the case in college. Going to an all girls school, there was always some element of drama no matter what was going on. "Oh my goodness- did you see her eat that bagel?!? She does not need to be eating carbs right now." Or "I can't believe she is already engaged! I mean, can't she just slow it down?" No matter what you were talked about. Don't get me wrong. I love/loved MC. It is one of the best decisions I ever made. And one of the reasons was the drama. I learned I don't like it. I don't really like to participate in it. I had my fair share of "instances" that I got caught up in. After being removed from it all - you realize how silly everything was - how pointless.

This year, we have found ourselves in the middle of someone else's drama and quietly excused ourselves out of it. It's not who we are. It's not what we believe in. When you throw yourself out there - you invite the criticism and you hear the gossip. No matter what- someone has something to say about you and you tell yourself, who cares? I don't care! Yet. when you constantly compare yourself, when all you see is the perfect and rosy on social media you start to get that feeling that you are missing out on something and you tell yourself things to make yourself feel better. "I could be that successful if I didn't have 2 kids." "I could have done that better." And in the end, all you feel is icky.

What does all this mean? I really feel like to change your perspective, and to change your thoughts, you need to change your actions. Sometimes the action comes first before your head follows. I want to start viewing my colleagues, and even direct competitors not as competition but as inspiration. I am starting a new blog series that celebrates other vendors. I see things all the time that I think are so inspired, and such great ideas. Or I worked an event where a vendor was just plain amazing. Instead of trying to compare myself to them, I want to celebrate them. We are starting a new series that does just that! We are calling it "Our Industry Rocks!" Frankly - our industry does rock. It is filled with amazing people and so much talent. I hope that you all can help by commenting, sharing, and celebrating with us!

Let's start ditching the fear of missing out on something and start looking at all that we are a part of!


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