Confessions of Perfectionists: Finding Contentment and Peace in the Home and Life You Have

Disclaimer. This is going to be long. And contain lots of words. It just will. So grab a cup of coffee and get comfy. There are some good confessions in this post and maybe you’ll relate.

If you missed it, right before I left for Relevant I released my first ebook, NOT a DIY Diva. I haven’t really had much of a chance to talk about the book, being that I was rushing to get out of town and all! But the response to it so far has been encouraging and life-changing for me. It is great to find kindred spirits.

I’ve soooo appreciated the notes, messages and emails I’ve received and posts I’ve read from women who have struggled as I have to come to a place of contentment and peace with where they are in life. I will share a few of their emails with you today.

My story and journey to overcome perfectionism and find authenticity started long before blogging, but this issue takes on new meaning in blogland! There are many people who struggle with what is “enough.” Even if we don’t share what we are really thinking, the feeling of overwhelm and the struggle for contentment is not unusual!

Life probably isn’t going to be perfect for most of us (and if it is perfect, it might not be that way forever!). The older we get, the more we realize that reality! Imperfection is supposedly chic these days, but yet, do we really embrace that idea in every way? Or are we still striving for contentment and acceptance through perfection, even in our imperfection?

Some women just smile and nod and pretend everything is OK behind the closed doors of their pretty little houses and behind the scenes of blogs, but for many women, life at home REALLY is not perfect. It isn’t the fairytale they dreamed of and there are real struggles to find contentment.

It is tough being a good mom and keeper of our home and living up to our own expectations. It is challenging juggling our to do list and balancing priorities. It can be discouraging when our home, life, husband, children or blog doesn’t meet up to our ideal and we can feel discouraged with what we have.

Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by ideas and inspiration and feel pressured to do more or spend more in order to “keep up.” Sometimes the overload can leave us curled up in bed unable to accomplish anything.

Being online can be like having ADD, inspiration is everywhere and you just don’t know where to focus any more.

I received an email from a young blogger who told me:

She goes crazy one month accomplishing those DIY projects around her house on a self-imposed crazy deadline, and the next month she basically passes out from exhaustion. She is desperately in need of finding a rhythm for her life so she can enjoy the journey!

She revealed the trap she sees online:

The bigger my blog gets and the deeper I get into this world the more I see the ugly side of it.  You know the side that is driven by money, stats and jealousy?

Another reader wrote to me saying she “feels productive searching for wardrobe ideas, craft projects and recipes online and cataloging them for future use.” Until she realizes she hasn’t finished a project in her own home in months, her house is a mess, she has nothing in the house for dinner and her kids have been on the computer all afternoon. Then she feels “defeated, discouraged and disappointed” with herself.

I have thought many times over my four years of blogging that this job was a dream come true for me! And it really is! I am blessed in many ways. I can say “this is my job” and therefore I can do more to decorate my home. How fun is that? And I can justify spending more time blogging and fixing up my home because, well, blogging is how we are able to support our outside ministries. The more I do, the more I blog, the bigger and better my business can be! That gives me a great excuse, right?

finding contentment

Yet, it is often the justifiable respectable good things and reasonable excuses that pull me back to discontent with my life.

While it is true, this is my job, and it couldn’t be a better fit for me and it definitely provides for our needs, I really have to try hard to not let my “job” lure me into a perpetual state of discontentment or put me on a constant mission to have the perfect home, accept more opportunities I don’t really need, create the perfect posts, set up the perfect holiday or live the perfect life. I don’t want my “job” or “hobby” or neighbors or comparisons or whatever it is at at the moment determine my success or failure as a woman, as a mom or keeper of my home.

That is another perfection trap I can fall into.

It is a fine line between what is right to do to support my family or charities or grow my business or simply to do what I enjoy, and what is the wrong message to send to my girls about what it takes to be content in life and what my priorities are. Gulp, it is not easy getting it right.

One blog writer sent this message to me:

While I have loved writing this blog and putting together my design business, the stress is immense to make it all work, while still being the perfect wife and mom.

A blog reader confessed:

Even though I enjoy reading all the blogs and you all feel like friends to me, I shut down my computer feeling kind of depressed sometimes because I don’t have that kind of time or money. I know they are just bloggers trying to give the best ideas, but it is hard to not compare yourself to their greatness when you can’t measure up.

I received another note recently from a reader who was encouraged by the ebook:

Melissa, you have helped me more than you could imagine. Your words have given me moments of inner peace. This feeling has been foreign for so long. I want to thank you, for now I can begin the process of living true to myself…Thank you so much.

I don’t have it all figured out yet. Obviously I love finding inspiration online and don’t feel it is all bad, I REALLY LOVE IT! But I do use the techniques and suggestions that I shared in my own ebook to refocus myself on what matters when I get sidetracked by the lure of shiny things I think I need to be doing!

By allowing myself to spend time getting distracted by many things that are not priorities, I’m by default saying NO to things I could be doing that are more important to me. I want to say YES to what matters and NO to what doesn’t.

What are you going to say YES to TODAY?


You can find the ebook, NOT a DIY Diva, here.

NOT a DIY Diva: How to Create an Authentically-Inspired Life in a Pinterest World


My new ebook, NOT a DIY Diva: How to Create an Authentically-Inspired Life in a Pinterest World is born! It is now available as a pdf download! {faints}.

This book is a new and pretty compilation, revision and repackaging of some favorite posts from the past four years on the topic of authentic living at home.

Who is it for?  Read the full disclosure so you understand what to expect. And then maybe read the endorsements if you need further evidence that this book is what you want before you buy.

First, a little back story. I started blogging here at The Inspired Room about the topic of authentic living at home in July of 2007. It was my passion then, and is my passion now. That is one of the best things about blogging. You get to share YOUR passion with the entire world.

I had so many people along the way who encouraged me to keep going with my blog, stay the course, and keep on sharing. I’m grateful. You all know who you are, the list is very long or I’d name every one of you sweet people. This online community I’ve been blessed to be a part of is supportive and encouraging.

Let’s admit it. It is common online to feel pangs of jealousy or competitiveness. It is all too easy to become discontent and discouraged at times with who you are and what you have to offer in this world. Whether you are a blogger or not, most of us know what it feels like to be discouraged about our own homes or level of creative or homemaking ability, or even our blogging success!

This book is about embracing your authentic style and way of living at home so that you can be content, even in this “perfect image” world we live in. I know first hand it is so freeing to choose to grow to be who I am instead of trying so hard to be something I am not.

That is what I would like to strive for online.

I enjoy building an authentic community of women who are committed to growing in who they were made to be, women who are committed to creating authentic homes for their families,  and women who can cheer each other on for making those tough choice to NOT be amazing — to choose contentment and authenticity over  perfection.

I have so many people to thank on this project!

First of all, MUCH credit goes to my editor, Sarah Parks.

OH MY GOODNESS. I gave her a MESS of words and random posts and she made sense of my tangled ideas. I’m sure she is cringing right now reading this. Anyway, she treated this ebook like it was her own and poured time and energy and creativity into it. I am grateful.

Along the way various people poured little bits of themselves in to this project. I know it is just a little ebook, but still, I’m grateful.

  • I was encouraged and taught many things by the awesome Amy of Blogging With Amy.
  • Deanna, for her help including providing many years of laughing about pink poodle purses.
  • My interior design student daughter, Courtney, who graciously opened and read 50 bazillion versions of this book.
  • My husband who never questioned the time spent on this project. He brought me coffee, meals, chased dogs around and drove our son to and from school every single day so I could finish this book.
  • My son Luke who never once complained when I was working on my ebook. Again.
  • For the special (in)courage girls who went out of their way to encourage me to do this.

And last but not least, so grateful for my daughter Kylee (above) who painstakingly made me new buttons and banners and designed this ebook to be the pretty little book it is. She also came up with the clever title. So proud of my girl! She is a new blogger too, so welcome her to blogland!

I’m looking for authentic living kindred spirits!

I hope you will delurk today so we can chat a bit in the comments and find fellow kindred spirits, I’d love to hear your personal story or testimonial about seeking authenticity or contentment with your home, life or online. 

A few comments may be chosen to be featured in an upcoming post on struggling for authenticity! You will be contacted for permission first, don’t worry. If you have a blog be sure your blog name shows up in the comment link so I can link your comment back to you from the post. Also, chosen comments may go on a “kindred spirit” page on

Want to leave a comment but don’t want to be quoted? Don’t worry. You can still leave a general comment! 


Most of all, grateful for YOU. The readers of The Inspired Room who have read to my thoughts and pondered my ideas and have encouraged these words to jump right into this ebook! And to those helping to promote this book, I adore you. xoxo

You can download NOT a DIY Diva right now! It is a PDF download and will be delivered right away to your email inbox. It is just $3.99, about the price of a cup of coffee! We aren’t quite ready to have the ebook on yet for the Kindle or Nook, but we are considering it. You can visit NOTaDIYdiva. com for more details on the book including a sample page from the bookendorsements, buttons, affiliates and disclosure statements.

NOT a DIY Diva is on Facebook! Come say hi! I’ll have cookies!

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