A few weeks ago, I was discouraged. I was running on caffeine and racing against a crazy deadline. A deadline I had set on myself, nonetheless. I felt like I was swimming against the current, or like a huge wave of discouragement. I was trying to “keep up with the Jones'” to make others happy.
You see, I was in the process of switching my site from one platform (Blogger), where I was extremely limited about what I could do to another platform (WordPress) that I can do whatever I want because we control how things work. (Without getting all technical, we were switching to WordPress and were basically starting with a blank piece of paper. We, mainly my husband, had to build every.single.part. of this site.) I told myself I was going to have everything done and switched within two weeks! While we were building the new site, only a handful of people knew we were working on it. I was afraid of making too many changes at once, and knew I couldn’t just stop posting deals to work on the new site. Since I hadn’t made enough money to hire someone to help me part-time so that I could focus solely on the new site, I was getting up around 4 AM each morning to work before the girls and my husband were awake.
Each morning, I got up and worked in the quiet of the morning. . . for an entire 30 minutes. It never failed that one of the girls would wake up for some odd reason. After getting one settled back down, I would get to work another 15 minutes before the other one was up. Looking back now, it’s quite comical; however, it only added to my discouragement and frustration. I felt like every time I got one step ahead, something happened to put me two steps behind.
I still kept up with the regular posts on the site, while designing the new site. Then I had two people unsubscribe from my Frugal Finds of the Day email. I took it as a direct rejection of me, and more feelings of discouragement rose up in me. I cried (literally) to my husband asking him, “What is wrong with me?! What’s wrong with my deals??” My husband looked at me, and very wisely said, “I don’t know.” He knew if he told me “Nothing is wrong with you.” I would say, “There must be or this wouldn’t have happened!” thus causing more tears. (Smart man! 😉 )
Since two people unsubscribed, I was so discouraged that I stayed up until midnight or later each night working. I felt that I had to find the best deals, and match up ads or else I would lose more people. I felt like I had to do all of this. I mean, the owners of the big sites managed to home school their kids, make organic food, and still run and keep up with a successful site making six figures a year, so I should be able to do the same right?? Wrong!
My husband told me, “Megan, I thought when you started this that one of your goals was to make it different? You can’t make it different and try to be like the other sites at the same time.” I replied, “I know I did, but why would people want to come to this site if I don’t have the full match-ups, can’t get the ads early, and don’t have everything the big sites have?” He gently told me, “Because you’re different.”
God used my husband to remind me that He shaped me to be me. I was trying so hard to be what I thought others wanted me to be. I was trying to keep up with the Jones’, or in this case the other big sites. When, I’m not like them. I’m not the mom who makes organic recipes, work on fun “Pinterest” projects all day to send with my child to school, or have a spotless house while I home school my kids*. I’m not that site making six figures a year with a full time staff that works for me. Instead, I’m this mom. . the one whose kid is coloring on her mac and cheese 😉
I was trying so hard to be what I wasn’t to the point of working 20 hours a day for two weeks straight. I was trying to keep up a facade. I was afraid of failure, and was afraid of losing more readers if I couldn’t keep up the site like nothing was going on while creating the other. It’s exhausting and discouraging trying to be something/someone you’re not just to make others happy! Since then, I’ve changed some things up over here at Frugal Finds During Naptime. I’ve had an amazing response from the look and feel of the new site with the changes. I know this is what I’m supposed to be doing with my life-helping other women learn how to save money so they can stay at home with their babies and children.
As moms and women in general, I think we spend far too much time, energy, and effort being who we are not for a variety of reasons. I think social media has distorted how moms/women are supposed to be, look, act, and do. I think we put far too much pressure on ourselves to be a certain way. We have lost site of the fact that we are all different. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. Just because you don’t make a homemade birthday cake that looks like that awesome one you saw on Pinterest, attend every school function, serve as president of the PTA, make homemade cookies for the new neighbor down the road, or cook the perfect turkey for Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t make anyone view you differently. It makes us think others view us differently, but the reality is, we are putting the pressure on ourselves. Imagine how much different our lives would be if we used the same amount of energy we put into being who we are not into being who we are.
I have been going through and trying to “de-stress” different areas in my life. I’ve been evaluating whether I do certain things because I think I’m supposed to do them, because it’s a necessity to keep our household running, or if it’s just something I enjoy doing. I have found I have far too many things in my life I was doing because I thought I was supposed to do them. Once I took the pressure off myself that I didn’t have to be a certain way just because of how I thought I should be based on social media and my own fears, I felt a huge relief! Will you join me in taking off the mask of who you think society says you should be and just be real? Let’s be real together. Let’s show our kids by our actions that it really is OK to be different, and be true to ourselves.
*This is not a post against those of you who home school. I actually admire those of you who can. God did not shape me to be able to do that, and this is just how I came to the realization that I am not like those of you who can. 🙂