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Our Worst Critics... Lessons from Mama

This week is all about the mamas and I just so happen to have the very best one and she also happens to be the most amazing business partner here. We divide and conquer based on what we enjoy doing so that means you  always hear from me on the website and any posts.

But, my mama has always been the most amazing designer. She has the best instinct, great taste and her “can do” attitude makes her able to conquer anything (including moving unmovable furniture multiple times). She has taught me more about design and making a home beautiful than any class or course I’ve ever taken and it’s not just about paint and patterns and textures.. It’s much more than that. So let’s take a little trip down memory lane for a lesson with Marilyn

Do you remember those glorious days in the 90’s when Waverly had all the coordinating wallpaper, fabrics and everything? I can still remember the hunter green and white stripes and coordinating florals she picked out for our kitchen. Stripes on the bottom, the perfect solid hunter green paint above the chair rail (expertly mixed at Porter paint only) with the coordinating floral wallpaper border up top. There may have even been a balloon valance over the window. It was really 90’s perfection and she did it right. And this is not with  an ounce of sarcasm or joking. It was the perfect kitchen of those times. We loved it. She seriously hit it out of the park.


And then one family member walked in and said “Stripes and flowers!?!?!?! I would never put those together!” She was scandalized and hated it. There was no “wow, you did this yourself?” or “How creative?” And it’s stuck with me for 30+ years.

I’m sure we’ve all had those times we’re so proud of things and one little negative comment takes the wind out of our sails. Sure, what we’re creating is for us but when you pour blood, sweat and sawdust into something you want others to at least be proud of it or acknowledge your efforts.

There is always a difference between constructive feedback and just being overly opinionated. We can take the constructive feedback and use it to our advantage (comments like ‘Have you ever thought about moving ______ here?” Or “you know what would take this over the top awesome?” Those are great and those people are usually our biggest fans and are invested in what we do. They’re proud of it too and want to be a part if it. 

But it’s those overly opinionated people that get under our skin. Honestly, we can’t do much about them. I think the stripes and flowers scandal taught me to not really care as much what others thing of my spaces (hello black ceilings) because my mama didn’t really care. So I find it easier to zone out the critics that don’t matter but what about the one that matters, you can’t get rid of and you can’t shut up.

The one that says “why can’t you finish _____?” Or “good grief! How are your floors always dirty and can do you even know how to put away laundry?!?!?” Do you know this person? My guess is you live with her too.

Yep, it’s you. It’s me. It’s all of us. We can be much too hard on ourselves about all the things. The things we don’t get done, the things we can’t do right, the things we forget when we fall asleep watching TV at 7PM. We are our own worst critics and I find that most of us spend too much time concentrating on all the things that we don’t do right and not enough time celebrating the wins we have all day. Every day.

Did you leave that project right in the middle? Yep, but it was because someone wanted to go for a bike ride and that was more important at that moment

 Are you floors dirty even though you and Roomba try your best? Yep, but it’s because of the feet that come in and out to play and grab snacks and giggle

Did you leave that basket(s) of laundry for another day(s)? Yep, but it’s because that baby needed snuggles and she won’t be this little tomorrow

We cannot do all the things. Never. Some of us are better than others (I’m on the really bad list) but we’ll never do it all and our homes won’t ever reach “perfection” so stop being your own worst critic.

My mama has always just done her thing. She’s never claimed perfection. She just gets her stuff done and doesn’t listen to any of the critics. Her Waverly  days are long behind her but she can still mix some patterns, create beautiful spaces, move the immovable and make everyone feel at home and what more could we want?



PS there was no drama about the “stripes and florals.” It stayed up for a long time, the family member was not excommunicated and was still loved and probably has zero memory of the wallpaper let alone the incident. But I do think of it often because if you’re mean to my mama I’ll never forget 😜


PPS I’m also not always as kind as my mama or I learned from that lesson and if someone reacts negatively I’ll say “do you live here? Nope? Did I ask you to pay for ____? Then does your opinion really matter?” I know, I’m really sweet like that 


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