9.05.2011

On ambition...


So much for relaxing. We took everything out of the mudroom and painted the floors this weekend. No amount of cleaning or air fresheners seemed to help that room...it smelled like a huge old wet dog until yesterday. I'm happy to report that it now smells more like a wet chihuahua than a wet great dane. We also swapped out the kitchen light, painted the bathroom, bought a dryer (we'd been clotheslining it), put the screen door back on, and sewed a nap mat for EZ E. We got a lot done around here and PRH and I are really pleased about that. However, getting a lot done around here sometimes means that we have to say no to things and saying no can lead to conflict. Saying no often leads to people teasing about me being "pushy" and "bitchy" and a "real taskmaster". Does it ever bother me? Yeah, it does. Perhaps that's their point? I don't know where I'm going with this and I'm not trying to whine. This is just an issue that's bothered me for a long time, one that's gotten worse since we've started this renovation project. I'm ambitious and driven and, frankly, I don't like feeling as though I need to apologize for that. Do any of you (women or men) ever feel the same? How do you handle it?

UPDATE: Thank you all for your sweet messages. This issue is definitely not leading to conflict between PRH and I...we're great! Luckily, he and I are very much on the same wave-length, particularly in terms of our renovation project. :)

21 comments:

juli said...

I agree. Ambition and drive are virtues, not something to apologize for. Your house looks great and I look forward to all of your before and after pictures. Good luck with the remaining renovations!

Ariel said...

I would have to agree, and as we are in the process of moving again (which we have done 10 times in 9 years, and I feel like I should be able to say what I want about that thankyouverymuch!) I get looked as very bitchy and as having my "panties in a wad", but that is just the flip side of being strong and not submitting when you know in your heart you are right, or even if you aren't sure. I fought my husband hard on the house we did eventually end up getting, because I knew it was right for our family. We have to do it all, as moms, spouses, superwomen, and all around handy-gals. It is tough but I would not have it any other way. Congrats on the downgraded dog smell. xo

Jeanette said...

Most people prob'ly see me as lazy over driven! I like to see things finished & in a timely manner...but I wouldn't be considered driven or pushy (except my kids when I'm on them abt getting their room cleaned). You know what, people's opinions will be what they r no matter what u were like. If you are driven to get things done & settled in the new home (& why shouldn't u be, no one wants to live in crud/smell) they will criticize u for being "pushy, driven, unrelenting, bossy. Yet, if u let it go...u would be "lazy, dirty, uncaring" & prob'ly considered a bad wife/mother!! Just be who you r, take ur q's from PRH & the kids...they will let u know when u being too over the top for them to enjoy being around. Everyone else?!? Who cares! (they are prob'ly just jealous of how quickly u have made that old farmhouse so beautiful for your family)....nah! To them I say!! :-D

Cindy Meyers said...

You are a driver! I am the same way and there is nothing to apologize for. Everyone appreciates a driver when the job is done.

Abby - Bright Yellow World said...

First, the house is looking amazing!!!

Second, I know exactly what you mean. Until last week, I worked seven days a week (and did so for six years), so I was always saying no to social things. People have endlessly given me a hard time about it, saying that I'm choosing to work rather than have friends. And, to a certain extent, they're right. But making the choices that I've made will allow me to pay off the end of $38,000 in debt next month, and that makes my life a better place.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, either. Basically, I hear you. And yes, it still hurts my feelings. But in the end, we're doing what is right for ourselves and our families, and that's the thing that really counts.

Hang in there!

Juli M. said...

Whew, that's hard. While I understand your point, not everything can be done on an old house at once unless there's money growing on those trees out there in your orchard! ;) We have an old house (built in 1932) and I had huge ambitions for it. My husband makes pretty good money but that money goes to feed 3 kids and a wifey who loves to shop, albeit thrifty shopping! Little things happened here or there for the 1st yr or 2. 2 yrs later, just when I was considering selling everything we own just to finance the renovation, the bonus was earmarked to turn our sunroom into an office and gutting the master bathroom which was in such disrepair that we closed the door for those years and mosquitoes nested in the drain! It was bad. Now, we have a useable space for an office, a bedroom for our son (which was the office) AND a renovated but made to look old bathroom (despite the must-have jetted tub! *wink* My greatest indulgence!) 6 years later, my husband has changed every single light fixture in the house and I have painted nearly every wall. I swore the heinous pink fleur de lis engulfing the downstairs bathroom was coming out the first week. We laughed, remembering that comment, when I peeled it off nearly a year later. The truth was not that I wasn't ambitious enough to conquer it right away. I needed to live in the house for at least that long to figure out how the house's style (does that make sense?) Just 3 months ago, we FINALLY pulled up the kitchen floor. We have lived with ugly 80's cracked tiles for as long as we could handle and had saved up the $5,000 it would require to re-tile. It is such a relief & looks so pretty! Now, all we have left to do is to refinish the floors and we're considering selling & moving (to another old house, of course!) LOL! Ah, the joys of owning an old house that sucks up all of your money & time! It takes a special person willing to stand up & say, I'm willing to live with the quirks of an old house rather than the conveniences of a new home b/c I love it! Those old houses are such a labor of love- enjoy the process.

Handbags*N*Pigtails said...

I think Ariel hit the nail on the head. No matter what, people always feel the need to say SOMEthing.
Stick to your guns. It doesnt matter what anyone else says. You're doing what you have to right now to get that house in tip top shape...whether they understand(or like) it or not.

sweetcheese said...

I once heard this interesting story on NPR about the language women use. Even in this enlightened post-women's rights age, most women still use words like "maybe," "I think," and other qualifiers while they talk. I have a sneaking suspicion that you are simply more evolved than most and you speak like a motivated adult who cares about taking charge of their life. If less people would be all judgey about these things, I think more women would get used to saying and doing what they want. [I'm sure this also applies to many men--I was just thinking about that particular story I heard.]

teachygreen said...

I say go listen to "Don't Rain On My Parade" and remind yourself that there is nothing wrong with going after what you want!

You're an inspiration!!

Emily A. said...

Driven is good as long as it's not pushing other people's goals aside to promote your own. It's all about balance and knowing when it's time for everyone to take a break. :-)

emily jean. said...

This is something happening a lot to me lately too.
And while I don't know the kind of people putting you down, I do know that for me, its usually the friends and family who are not artists/DIY capable (and instead usually pay for services that I can accomplish better, faster, and obviously cheaper on my own.)
I think since they think I'm doing this work and choosing when to do it, that I'm choosing my work/projects instead of them. But, they don't comprehend the wildfire nature of the bursts of inspiration and energy that come to me! They think I can choose when its time for me to get things done. And, its not like that. So, I just have to remind myself that they aren't coming from the same "DIY and loving it" mindset, and that they feel left out and need love or else they wouldn't be acting out or hurting my feelings on purpose. It can be frustrating, but only you know what works for you, and if you feel like explaining it to the naysayers:)
Your progress is so admirable!

tinyparticlesoflight@blogspot.com said...

I had to laugh while reading this because that is so ME! My husband and I laughingly refer to my often spontaneous organizing and whirlwind projects as "manias". Today I was in a mania about re-organizing the kitchen (including alphabetizing the spices, hello!) To be honest if I don't maintain a balance regarding these manias of mine I can become VERY uptight and bitchy, etc. but for the most part doing the things I enjoy with strong gusto brings me a lot of joy. (That includes looking at my neat and tidy spices when I'm done.)

xo
Cortnie

Belle said...

I think if anyone is going to get house renovations done then they have to be driven and tenacious. I wouldn't worry about what people say.

Elise said...

I, too, have a hard time ignoring other people's comments on what I do, how I do it, how intense I get, how long I work in the garden/yard, how we spend our money, how little we socialize, etc. It is all hard to swallow. Especially when the comments come from dear friends and family. I wish that I had advice for you but truly, it's hard to ignore/disregard the comments. I love my life and I am very comfortable with the way that I live and the way that my wife and I create and "just be" in our home. I know that the rest shouldn't matter. We get through these types of comments by always supporting each other and encouraging one another. Sending you and your hubs smiles and I am loving your new home!

Kersey Campbell said...

Wow, you guys are on a roll! Can't wait to see it all!

skirtastop said...

I LOVE your ambition and love seeing your house coming together so beautifully, so quickly. We live in an old house too and I know what it means for something to drive you CRAZY to the point of distraction. Late nights and "saying no" are sometimes just what have to be done! Keep after it, no apologies! The other thing is, motivation can wane after awile. Gotta take advantage of your "spurt" while you can. :)

Jen Craun said...

Welcome to our Summer. Not only has the seldom help of friends been discouraging, the criticism has been off-the-hook. The outside of our house is HUGE, and doing full paint removal is sort of a big job, that responsibly, we should obviously wrap up before Winter comes. Is it so terribly to want to focus a bit?! :) And people often respond in total disbelief that it is ACTUALLY a consuming project...like we've really been stealing away some time secretly on an Island somewhere...

The farmhouse is looking gorgeous, and if you guys are making it a home for your family, that's a PRIORITY. Saying No, means you are saying YES to something else. Often something better/more important...

Sara said...

I am the same way, and I've found that since I've accepted it I've been better about being self-aware enough to know how it affects people I care about and make sure it isn't in a negative way. I happily admit that I can be pushy and bossy because I am ambitious, but I've had to work on avoiding being overly critical and controlling ... but I don't apologize for my nature.

Holly said...

I get comments at times about my industriousness, the amount of things I hand-make, the array of foods I might prepare for a party--all of which I do because I love to do it but there is an undertone of me being some sort of psycho-homemaker-Martha-wannabe. It used to bother me more but I just decided to be over it because people (friends, families, people you hardly know...) will always have an opinion about who you are and how you operate in ways that are different than them. They may not get it and frankly, I do not need them to--I just go about my business, doing things the way that I do and my husband still jokingly calls me hurricane Holly for all my flurry of activity-but with him, I know he appreciates who I am and his opinion is one that matters to me.

So, keep on being who you are Abby--I personally find your drive admirable and I love to see it. Everything you do always looks fantastic and to me, on your blog, you never come across as anything other than authentic with a great aesthetic.

Eva / Sycamore Street Press said...

I know what you mean. It particularly bothered me when I first started my business, but now I'm getting used to it and I think my friends and family are used to me being so busy, too. I just look at all you are getting done with this renovation with two kids in tow and I am amazed and inspired.

d.ambrose said...

I am not sure if you have tried this or not but my mother used to do this when she couldn't get smells out of a house. She would boil water with peppermint oil in it. It works really well. I am allergic to all household air fresheners so I use this technique several times a year to freshen our house but it is good for embedded smells and horrible lingering smells too, it also clears your sinuses.

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