Sunday, August 27, 2017

Maintaining Balance In Our Bodacious Dog Mom Life: Part 6. The Conclusion. You Can't Please Everyone. Don't Bother Trying.

This is my last blog column about how we've restored and maintained balance in our home. Prior to starting this 6 part series, I had no plans on how I was going to present it. There was no chronological order. I didn't draft an outline. I was uncertain if I could come up with enough to fill 6 blog columns on this topic. I gave it a whirl. I just wrote. And wrote. And wrote. It flowed.

Up until I wrote this series, I didn't realize just how many changes we've made over the past few years. It's quite remarkable from my standpoint. However, it hasn't been easy. At times, it's been horrible. Messy. People don't always respond well to change especially if it inconveniences them or you stop being at their beck and call. People can also get very nasty and try to sabotage you if you dare speak up and put your foot down.

We've been on the receiving end of that shit storm on several occasions.

We've also noticed that if there's an isolated situation with one person in a group, within a relatively short period of time, regardless of how professional you are when handling it, the entire group turns on you. If that entire group happens to run a business, well, you wave goodbye and take your business elsewhere.

There has been a considerable amount of trials and tribulations and growing pains. With each one, we've become a  little wiser. As the saying goes, you live you learn. The lessons we've learned have been vast and invaluable.

The biggest lesson we've learned is that you can't please everyone. Don't bother trying. It'll only be a huge waste of time. It doesn't matter what you do, how much you do, or how often you do it, not everyone will be satisfied. People will always find something wrong with what you're doing or not doing.

The critics, keyboard warriors, and internet trolls are everywhere. 

It's no easy feat to stay focused when the people around you are creating havoc and the drama becomes almost deafening. It's a distraction and if you don't keep yourself in check, you'll get caught in the whirlwinds.

We've been there too.

As time progresses, and you become wiser, the drama no longer phases you. Instead of getting caught up and participating in the bullshit, you'll find yourself standing on the outside looking in. Shaking your head. Sipping your cup of coffee or glass of wine. And walking away.

We're there.

Here's the thing. Your home. Your family. Your spouse. Your kids. Your work. Your health. The health of your spouse and kids. Financial stability. Your peace of mind. All of that is important. It should be a priority. When you start short-changing any of those, your balance will spiral downward very quickly. You'll find yourself barely keeping your head above water.

We were there. There was no balance. And guess what? No one noticed. No one cared. As long as we were doing and giving and running ourselves ragged trying to cater to the masses, that's all that mattered.

Lisa and I were the only ones who could make those changes and restore balance. We had to make those changes. We had to put our foot down. We had to start saying, "No." We had to be realistic. More so, we had to stop caring about what the critics had to say.

I know all of that sounds selfish and harsh, but when you make your way through the growing pains and the trials and tribulations, you get to that point. Your skin becomes thicker.

A while ago, we had a fundraiser for a couple in need. They had stumbled on hard times and were in need of everything from food to cat litter. By the end of the fundraiser, we had enough to purchase lots of food and most of the items on the list. We also had several boxes of items that people had donated. Our vehicle was packed solid. Unfortunately, while rushing around early that morning to get everything together and packing the car, we had forgotten to grab a couple bags of biscuit love for their pup.

We made the 45-minute trip to deliver the goods. We had a wonderful visit. During the visit, I mentioned the biscuit love we had forgotten. I apologized and said that if we had the chance, we'd ship a box. After an hour or so, we left.

About 2 months later, I get an email from this person asking if we had shipped a box of biscuit love for her pup. No, we hadn't. A few things had come up. They wrote back and said they wanted to ask just in case we had and it was a matter of the box not being delivered or stolen.

I was about to put them on our holiday biscuit list, but then I got another message. While I don't remember it word for word, the message let me know that they were still expecting the biscuits and "here's our address."

My mouth hit the floor. Before I had a full fledged reaction to this, I reached out to Lisa and asked if we had promised her a box of biscuit love. Immediately, Lisa said, "No." Then she inquired as to why I was asking. I sent her a screenshot of the correspondence.

Her mouth dropped to the floor too.

"Are you kidding me? We delivered a car load of food, household products, personal hygiene products, and pet stuff over 2 months ago. Why is she sending you a message now about 2 bags of biscuits? Seriously?"

We were both a little shocked and had several discussions afterward about the entire situation. And, we made the decision to not send the biscuits.

On another occasion...

Last year, during the late winter months, someone reached out to me about wedding cupcakes. By the end of the conversation, I was hired to make the cupcakes for their summer wedding. They were excited. I was excited.

We corresponded several times a week about the cupcakes and flavors and toppers and such for the next couple of months. I was trying my best to explain the difference between buttercream frosting and flavored frostings to accommodate cupcake flavors. Finally, I invited the couple to our home for a cupcake, frosting shot sampling. We set a date.

A week or so before the date of the sampling, I reached out to confirm the date. The reply I received back from them informed me that a few friends would be joining them for the cupcake and frosting shot sampling.

I asked how many and who. They replied back. 

I wasn't happy. I wasn't okay with this. When I told Lisa what had happened, she wasn't okay with it either. We didn't know anyone within their group of friends who they invited...except one. And that one person we didn't want in our home.

As quoted from the blog column I published about this entire incident...

"I replied back, several hours later, and explained the invitation was for the two of them only and why. Early this morning, I received a reply back. It was suggested that we could deliver the sample cupcakes to one of their friend's houses close by. Or, they could pick up the samples at our home. They wanted the wedding party's input on my cupcakes.

I didn't reply back right away. I couldn't. I was pissed. I was a little heartbroken. I was a little shot down.

Total what-the-Big-F-moment.

This evening, about 12 hours after their last reply, I sent a lengthy response. I let them know how I felt about them turning a personal invitation to a wedding-party-cupcake-sampling gala. When someone invites you to their home, you don't take it upon yourself to extend the invitation to your friends without consent.

Who does that?

I also let them know that apparently my intentions were misunderstood and, after much thought, I felt it best they find someone else to make their wedding cupcakes. I was not going to allow anyone to disrespect me, my wife, my family, and our home. And, I was certainly not going to spend the money or take the time to do something nice for people who had no regard to any of the above.

They have 2 months before their wedding. I made a couple of suggestions of who they could reach out to.

What I didn't mention, in my reply earlier today, was that our wedding gift to them was...cupcakes. We were going to supply the wedding cupcakes, all 200 hundred of them, plus a wedding cake,  free of charge. It was our wedding gift. From us. To them.

This was something I wanted to tell them in person.

Sadly, that never happened."

I haven't heard from them since.

These two stories are just a few out of many.

You can't please everyone no matter how much you try. No matter how much of your time and money you give. No matter the amount of effort you put into something. For some, they'll just want more. For some, they'll take advantage of your kindness. For some, it won't be enough.

And, when you put your foot down and speak up, they'll speak ill of you. They'll ignore you. They'll pretend you don't exist. Their opinion of you will be total shit and they'll make sure the people within their group feel the same way.

We've had to let it go. Move on. Accept that incidents like these, and others we've experienced, will happen time and time again. Not as frequent because of the changes we've made, but that doesn't make us immune to the critics.

Their opinions of us don't matter. We couldn't care less. Their opinions of us don't pay our bills or contribute to restoring and maintaining balance in our life. When they do, I may take them into consideration, but until then...nope.

I raise my coffee cup and wine glass to balance. It's an ongoing struggle but, we've got this.

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