Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Maintaining Balance In Our Bodacious Dog Mom Life Part 2: It's Okay To Say No.

Both 2014 and 2015 were our busiest years with Bodacious Biscuit Love. It was also a time when we had the greatest amount of exposure. People knew us. They loved us. I was continuously getting messages and emails about fundraising events and opportunities to get our name out there. We had people from out of state reach out to us with biscuit requests for their rescue pups or a local animal organization they supported or volunteered for. And, much to our surprise, a local business owner who had recently won Cupcake Wars wrote to us asking if we'd like to set up a display at their bakery. Our biscuits also made it to the Villalobos Rescue Center where a few of the pups were treated to our fresh baked yummies.

Villalobos Rescue Center is featured on the popular Animal Planet Show, Pit Bulls & Parolees

At the time, we were donating Bodacious Raffle Baskets to everyone who reached out to us. During the Summer months, we participated in events every weekend. If someone ordered a few bags of biscuits and didn't feel like paying for shipping, we'd make the drive to deliver them. We launched quite a few fundraisers to assist local shelters and rescue organizations. Some of these fundraisers involved getting a free bag of my homemade chocolate chip cookies if someone donated a bag or several cans of pet food.

During those 2 years, we also hosted a total of 4 Bodacious Yard & Bake Sales at our home. These were rather large events that involved weeks of planning. In the days prior to the event, we spent over 16 hours baking biscuit love. The day before the event, I spent over 12 hours baking goodies for the bake sale table.

And, also in that 2-year span of time, our family got bigger. In 2014, we fostered and eventually adopted Sophie. In January of 2015, we fostered Lobo. In February, we adopted him.

On top of all of that, we had our work, family life, and everything between to contend with. 

That's a lot. Our life was beyond crazy, exhausting, and overwhelming. Lisa was spending a few hours each day after work delivering biscuits and Bodacious Raffle Baskets. I was at home baking biscuits, preparing for events, putting together the raffle baskets, taking care of our kids, keeping up with housework, making homemade meals for our kids, and completing most of my work on the overnight.

Most evenings, on the way home, Lisa would grab some take out. We'd have a quick dinner, enjoy family snuggle time, and then it was time for me to tuck Lisa and the kids in for the night.

On the weekends, we'd spend one of the days at an event and the other day recovering. A lot of times, Lisa attended the events alone because of the distance. We couldn't leave our kids home alone for that long. The nearby events that we were able to attend together, we brought Lobo. He didn't do well at events so that didn't last long.

This went on for almost 2 years. In late Summer of 2015, Lisa and I knew we needed to make some serious changes. We desperately needed to restore a sense of balance. Up until that point, the balance in our home was pretty much non-existent.

Lisa and I had conversation after conversation. We put everything on the table. In the raw. No holds barred. We vented about who and what was pissing us off. Our frustrations. What we needed to do away with. What needed to change. Our budget. Everything. Instead of coming up with a lengthy solution for each and every aspect, we came to a simple conclusion.

We needed to learn how to say, "NO."

No, we can't travel an hour one way to deliver 4 bags of biscuits because you don't want to pay for shipping.

If you'd like to pick up the biscuits at our home, you're more than welcome to.

No, we're not able to keep our display at your location because of the 4-hour commute.

Thank you so much for the opportunity and the awesome experience. It was a pleasure to meet and spend a little time with you.

No, we can longer participate in your event because it's an hour and a half away and that's too far and too much work for one person.

We appreciate you reaching out to us and giving us the opportunity to participate in your event.

No, we're not spending $26 on shipping to send a box of biscuits to your favorite local rescue group in California.

If you'd like to pay for the shipping, we'd be more than happy to fulfill your request.

No, we're unable to make 3 Bodacious Raffle Baskets for your event and travel an hour from our home, during rush hour, to deliver them.

We'd be more than happy to donate 1 raffle basket and set up a time for you to pick it up.

No, we're not able to provide several hundred dollars worth of biscuits and homemade chocolate chip cookies for your fundraiser this year.

I'd be more than happy to promote your fundraiser on my social media streams and help out in that area.

No, we're not hosting another Bodacious Yard & Bake Sale.

It's too stressful for our kids and with changing work schedules, we just don't have that amount of time to commit to such a large event.

The list goes on, but you get the gist of it.

In October of 2015, we hosted what would be our last Bodacious Yard & Bake Sale. Last year, we participated in a single event. Whiskers In Wonderland. It was our 3rd year participating in this event and it's our favorite. We'll be there again this year.

We implemented more changes in the Spring and Summer of 2016. You can read about those in the following...

Part One Of The Bodacious Biscuit Love Evolution - The Good Stuff

Part Two Of The Bodacious Biscuit Love Evolution - The Not So Good Stuff

The Bodacious Biscuit Love Evolution - The Not-So-Etched-In-Granite Conclusion

Since then, we've made even more changes.

Several things happened after we slowly, and sometimes not so slowly, rolled out the changes.

The first, we restored balance to our home life, work life, family life, and our Bodacious Biscuit Love mission. We shifted our focus to helping local pet parents and animal shelters in need. We also pulled all of our out of town displays. Currently, we have one display and it's 5 minutes down the road.

The second, we greatly reduced hundreds of dollars of unnecessary expenses per month. These expenses include but is not limited to, gas mileage, ridiculous shipping charges, vendor fees, take out meals, orders made and shipped that went unpaid (people "stiffing" us), and the outrageous cost of giveaways.

For this to make sense, you have to keep in mind that we've always run partially out of pocket. We still do, more so now, especially since pulling all but one of our displays and sharing our Bodacious Biscuit Love Peanut Butter Dog Treat Recipe.

As our family got bigger, and the cost of living got higher, we needed to get this under control. We did. Successfully.

The third, and not so pleasant, most of our "fan club" disappeared quickly. Prior to walking away, they had a few derogatory remarks to throw in our direction.

"You're being selfish. There are so many animals in need."

"We're busy saving animals and taking them to and from appointments, you can't expect us to have time to pick up a raffle basket."

"You can't take a couple of hours out of your day to deliver biscuits? You suck."

"Making the trip to pick up a single raffle basket isn't worth it." 

Again, you get the gist of it.

The last thing that happened? We realized it's okay to say, "NO." It's okay to put your foot down, have boundaries, set limits, to be realistic, and to put your home, family, and well being at the top of the list of priorities. We also learned that these are the fundamentals of restoring and maintaining balance.

Sure, you're probably going to piss a lot of people off by doing this, but that's okay too. You're not responsible for how people respond to the changes made or how much they're inconvenienced by these changes.

Lisa and I are responsible for our home. Our jobs. Our kids. Our family as a whole. Our well being. The bills we have to pay every month. Our health. The health of our kids. Maintaining our budget. Making sure that everyone within our home is happy, healthy, and well taken care of. In order to have balance, all of the above has to be a priority.

And, we've made it our priority.

The rest has fallen into place. We're still baking biscuit love every week. We're providing biscuits and other supplies to pet parents in need. We're still helping out our local shelters when needed. We still have a biscuit room filled with apparel, leashes, toys, treats, collars, blankets, and other miscellaneous stuff to make Bodacious Care Packages with when needed.

Our family has also gotten a little bigger.

Life is good. Not perfect. Perfection sucks and is not attainable despite what people believe. Life is still crazy busy. However, there's balance.

That makes all the difference.

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