When we reached out to our Day Designer community for our #welldesignedlife series, we knew we were tapping a resource of inspiring ladies, but we have been overwhelmed by the incredible levels of grace, determination, vulnerability, and authenticity that they have shown us. Today’s interview with Maria Gonzalez inspired us to remember to stop and focus on the things we do have under control when the “need to accomplish” list feels overwhelming. Keep reading to learn more!
Let’s start off with an introduction! Tell us about yourself. Roles you play and what you do.
I guess for starters I’m a born-&-raised Houstonian. Currently living here with my fiance and 2 year old daughter. I’m blessed to say that I get to work from home [though trying at times] + set my own schedule so that I can be with my daughter. I’m a professional organizer // designer. Basically I like to call myself a home stylist. My calling in life is to help those that need to turn chaos into function + beauty; transform homes into sanctuaries.
What accomplishment are you most proud of in life so far?
Other than becoming a mommy that has always been a dream for me, for sure right now is starting my own business. I am completely amazed that I took this leap because I am a pretty non-risk taking kind of gal. But the desire + need presented itself + have no regrets.
Tell us about your big dreams. Where do you want to go, what do you want to do, and why?
I’ll be real with you – my dream is to make enough money so that I can live the life I want, on my turns. Financial stability to me means freedom, peace + a life that I can fully enjoy with my family. I want to be able to show my daughter the world + provide her the life she deserves. Reaching this goal while sharing my talents with the world is a pretty sweet win-win for me.
What are some struggles you’ve faced in achieving your dreams so far? Have you learned anything from them that you want to share?
Patience is definitely one of my downfalls here. I can be patient anywhere else – the grocery store line, traffic, putting a very stubborn 2-year old down to nap – but with starting my business I have been anything but. I think it’s because I want it so much I can taste it, I can see it, I can even imagine what if feels like – it’s so damn real to me! I’m working on it to this day, but one of the things I have learned, just this week actually, is to be kinder to myself. I see my peers whom I admire + wonder “why the hell I’m not there” Comparing yourself to someone else is just the wrong answer. So I’m having to be patient and kinder with myself. Each morning I started to take a few minutes to just connect with myself, with God and let myself know that as long as I put my best effort out that day – then that’s enough. I think that as long as you’re honest with yourself + truly put your hard work in, your time will come – just like it has for your peers.
Do your dreams look different now than they used to? (5 years ago? 1 year ago? Yesterday?) If so, what changed about them?
I can for sure say that they have changed from 5 years ago. Five years ago I thought I wanted to be a principal interior designer at an internationally known firm. I worked for about 4 years trying to get to this goal, and each year getting more and more depressed. It took a huge toll on me. Again, not a natural risk-taker, so for me this was safe + secure. I knew I wanted my own company but the thought of doing it just terrified me. But I had to choose it’s either sacrificing my health and well-being and being “secure” , or being true to myself and a role model for my daughter.
If you could go back and visit yourself at any age, what would you tell your younger self? What kind of encouragement or wisdom do you wish you had at that time?
I would tell my 19 year-old self to quit being such a selfish brat – be smart + work hard. When I went to college I thought it was a total free-for-all. I was a silly, silly girl. Today I love to work, be productive, get up in the morning + tackle my to-do list. I wish I had more focus back then. I am definitely a late bloomer
What three daily things can you not live without?
Easy  coffee //  a kiss from my munchkin + my man //  my morning prayer
What is something you strive to be intentional about? How do you design it into your life?
Time-management. This is crucial in my life. I’m not great at it – agian work in progress here – I need order in my day. I need something that tells me this is what you do next. I have so much going on in my head – things to do , errands to run, projects I want to finally do. So when I’m done meditating/praying my next step is to get my coffee + my Day Designer 😉 + look over my schedule and things that need to be done that day. If I don’t take these 15 min I run around all day like a chicken with it’s head off.
How do you create balance in your life?
This is one I struggle with a lot as well. I try to give myself as much “me time” as I need. Sundays the laptops are put away, and I dedicate the day to doing an activity with my family or doing something just for me. My favorite is a glass of wine with a good book sitting on my patio.
What does your daily routine look like? Is there anything that helps you feel most successful at the end of the day?
Mornings I try to wake up about an hour before anyone. It’s my meditation time, time to check my planner with my coffee, wash my face/brush the teeth/get dressed, check/answer any emails. I have been trying to do yoga in the morning but honestly have been slacking as of late, and really need to implement that back in – like 15 min or so of movement really gets the blood flowing. Then it’s time to get my little one up for pre-school and get her ready and out the door. Then it’s work until 3 ish when I go and pick her up. She and I play for a while. I do some chores and get dinner ready. We typically have dinner by 630 [if I’m not running late], then its bath + stories + bed by 8. Sometimes I’ll work another hour then hang-out with my man + I’m passed out by 1030. Honestly if I have crossed out one thing on my list, I call that day a win. Maybe next month I’ll work on 2. 😉
What checklist(s) do you live by?
My Day Designer really does help to keep me focused throughout the day. I also love using FLYlady’s template as my Master List. It helps me organize what type of tasks I need to do on what day.
What do you wish you had more of in life? What about it makes it so special?
Time +money are obvious answers here, but if I were to dive in a little deeper into myself, I would actually wish I had LESS self-doubt. I think it would help me not to feel so “stuck”; I’m working on it though + do believe I’m getting better at trusting myself. Trusting in myself MORE would mean making faster decisions + enjoying more what is in front of me.
When I had my baby girl a little over 2 years ago I had a really tough problem with handling how to be a mother + how to excel in my work at the same time. I definitely fell into a depression + felt guilty all of the time. When I was with my baby, I couldn’t enjoy it because I kept thinking about how I had to get up in the morning + excel at work, when I was at work I felt guilty if I had to stay late for example to meet a deadline. Basically for a good year and a half or so I felt like no matter what I was a failure. My home was also never as tidy as I wanted. I would see these happy stay-at-home moms strolling around with their babies + think why can’t I just do that? Stress + anxiety were a huge part of my life. I would also wonder how my friends who were also moms + worked did it. But I was so afraid to ask or to even reveal what was going on with me because I didn’t want to seem like I was out of control. I went to therapy for a while, which helped a little. It helped with getting in touch with my emotions, + even helped me realize how unhappy not following my dream was making me. My therapist asked me: “if you are so unhappy at work why don’t you change it? what is it that you truly want to do?” It amazed me that I couldn’t come up with an answer. I had no idea what I wanted. After about a month of thinking about this question + wondering why I felt so unfulfilled in my life [I have a beautiful daughter, a fiance who adores me + takes care of me, family + friends, a paycheck] what the fuck was wrong with me? And just like that it clicked. I had to stop feeling sorry for myself + not just accept the circumstances surrounding me. If I wanted a certain life – a great income, hours I can make on my own so that I can come + go as I please, truly use my talent + creativity to help people – I had to make it happen for myself. I had to get the “what ifs” out of my head + turn them into “what is” So I had a long heart-to-heart with my fiance + family, which took a lot for me because I was afraid they’d think I had gone crazy to just up + leave my job to start my own business. But all I got was support + understanding. I have never looked back. Now I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard + I do still have days that I think ” oh no, what have I gotten myself into”. But then I re-focus on my goals in life, + know that I have made the right decision.
Do you have a life motto?
Work hard + be nice to people.
If you could share one thing with our readers, what would it be?
Always be true to yourself.