Andrew was away the past two days and so I have been trying to juggle work, blogging, taking care of Henry and the two dogs- oh, and myself (not really- cereal for dinner!) And it’s not working. I am blessed enough to have a nanny here from 8-4 but yet it seems like it’s not enough time to get everything done I have to do. Like this blog, all my client work, writing the second book (have not even been able to start yet), designing my home collection, managing my business. Oh, and being a good mom. And not neglecting my two fur babies. And managing to not leave the house in breastmilk stained sweatshirts and slippers with hair so full of dry shampoo I look like George Washington. On five hours of (interrupted) sleep. Oh,a nd I almost forgot- my marriage. Now if that ain’t telling….
Basically, my current schedule feels like trying to staple Jello to ceiling. Impossible.
I read this article from HuffPo the other day about how it sucks to have it all, and it totally resonated with me. I totally agree with her, I’m leaning in so far I’m falling flat on my face. But what gives? What possibly could give in this scenario? My business? No. Book? Nope. Blog? Not a chance. My lifelong dream of having my own line? Hells to the N-O. Time with my baby? That’s a negative, Ghostrider. The answer is nothing can give. This is the life I chose and it’s a very privileged one at that, but that doesn’t make it easy nor make me sometimes wish another path had worked out instead (and had I been on that other path, I would have dreamed of this one so there you have it, folks). Women struggle every day with crazy responsibility, two or three jobs, childcare and finding time to breathe and make sure they don’t just flip out from the pressure of life. I know my stressful situation is a dream situation for many, I do. But it’s still hard and I’m grasping at a solution to make it more manageable. Because right now I feel like I’m getting everything “done”, but not to the level that I want to. And I’m not taking good care of myself, which I know is a recipe for disaster.
You can only outsource so much too before you start feeling like “what was the point of having babies/pets if I don’t get to care for them?” And while I certainly struggle with guilt regarding being away from Henry so I can work- I do know I’d be a crappy stay at home mom. This is basically a scientific fact, one I knew before I had Henry- but it still doesn’t make me feel a twinge of shittiness. And while we’re at it, let’s just all agree that superheroes don’t wear capes- they are single parents. I mean, seriously. I have a very helpful husband who does more than most (while also running his own business)- I cannot even fathom how single moms and dads do it day in and out. I bow down.
I know many of you are in the same boat, and pardon my total train of thought post here, but what are some of your tips on staying sane and managing a crazy busy life?
It’s really, really hard!…. I admire you for handling everything!
Erin, keep doing what you do best, which is being you! I love your blog because you are open and honest and authentic. Even though you and I have very different lifestyles, I admire you deeply. You don’t judge others. As a matter of fact, the person you are hardest on is yourself. I don’t understand where all the hate is coming from in the comments. Why do women judge each other so harshly?!!!
For the life of me, I simply don’t understand it. You aren’t hurting anyone. So, Erin, please, try not to let others hurt you by their mean spirited words. Keep sharing your talent with those of us who appreciate you. And if you choose not to, do it because it is what you want and not because some very small people have bullied you into it.
Thank you for being brave enough to share your true feelings. I, too, have an amazingly blessed and full life. Know what? Sometimes it wears me out completely! Don’t let those cranky-pants comments get you down. Some people just suck. Luckily we have inspiring people like you to admire. You’re a great wife, a devoted mom, spectacular designer, and all-around amazing woman. Keep up the good work.
Oh my goodness. First of all I have never posted on a blog before EVER but I feel I have to say something. Erin I absolutely love love love your blog it is my absolute favorite blog out there. I am a mom of two children ages 6 and 2 and I can totally relate to your posts about motherhood and careers etc. and all the emotions women have after giving birth. It has been wonderful to hear another women’s perspective as I have shared some of my feelings with friends who are also Mommys and it is so relatable most of us have all had the same experiences and most do not feel they can tell the truth about how they have felt during this time period. I applaud you for being honest with women and not pretending that this is all so easy for you. Because i know from experience it is not. Please do not listen to all the nasty people who felt the need to criticize you More people need to be so forthright and transparent. It is so necessary !!!!! Keep on telling it like it is because people need to hear it!
Just throwing out a big, old hug and some extra encouragement. Cut yourself some slack. Being a working mama is HARD, and there is no easy, perfect balance <–That only exists in moments, by the way. Breathe. Prioritize. And know that this too shall pass.
If someone is down or in trouble, then you help where you can. It’s a simple principle that should be applied to anyone who is old or young, rich or poor. Erin opened herself up to the world wide web for help. For the few who took the opportunity to pass judgment on whether Erin had the right to have this problem, you kicked her when she was down. Shame on you.
About “having it all.” Well, if you want to do yourself one BIG favor…just forget about that . Anyone who “has it all” probably isn’t doing a very great job at most of it. There is a book I read last summer called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown, and I bet you would really like this book. I picked up the title from another blogger and decorator/stylist, and it is just what anyone who is a people pleaser trying to do it all needs to read. I know you are really busy, but if you read it, I think it might help you. Have someone read it to you while you’re blogging or breast feeding, or whatever, it is like a big ahhhhhh and aha for people trying to have it all!
PS I love love your book! I have a bunch of pages marked that I keep going back to, and especially love the pages with your favorite paint colors!
“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” Cassie and Molly, pack your sunscreen.
Erin, your son will greatly benefit from watching you and your husband “engage the world,” even when –especially when–you are hanging on by the skin of your teeth, and yet you pull through. What life lesson could be more powerful?
I don’t think we do our children a favor when we completely shield them from life, or when we focus all of our energy on them. I think that one of the reasons we have so many selfish entitled people in this country is because Mom dropped everything for 18 years when baby was born. Then her whole life and all of her energies were absorbed into that child. He became the center of her universe, and he was raised to believe that he is the center of THE universe.
It’s good to pursue your life work/works alongside your family. My dad started taking his kids (and now grandkids) to work with him when we were toddlers. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, but she was very involved in the community and in volunteer work, and she hauled us along with her. I remember doing political campaigning with my mom when I was still in elementary school, and I learned so much by doing so.
Your son knows that you love him (and if you love him, it will be impossible to hide it…. We know when someone truly loves us). You will be doing him a favor by maintaining a vibrant life and including him in it. Just think of all he will learn….. Is already learning.
Btw, there’s so much research out now chronicling how having working moms benefits children. Just google it.
Keep changing the world, Erin. It’s never easy, but you are called and equipped to do it. Try to get some sleep, though, girlie!! Everything seems worse when you’re overtired.
Anxiety sucks and lack of sleep sucks. You can have it all Erin and you don’t have to apologize for wanting that.
You are asking for advice so here it is. This is a time management issue. You’ve already cut back on blogging — good start. I am not going to pretend I know your situation or finances beyond what you’ve shared so maybe this advice doesn’t fit. I am being firm but don’t take it personally if it does not apply!
You will need to spend money to make the time to make money.
Take a hard look at your finances: Hire out on some necessities: longer care for H, therapy for your dog (not kidding on this — it is affecting you more than you realize, likely), moms on call for sleep training, Blue Apron for dinners. They may seem like extravagant necessities but cut back on coffee out, lunches out, date nights out (you can still have date night in), etc. Maybe you don’t have time to work out now but make the time for sleep, vitamins, therapy and 15 minute breaks at work for fresh air.
Take a hard look at your work: Delegate, delegate, delegate. Let go of some things that your perfectly capable employees can do. Now’s the time to let them lean in while you can look into other things like book, home line, etc.
Take a hard look at how you are spending your time at home. Get off social media. Or stay on but do your Erin Gates stuff and then get off. It’s a rabbit hole! What can Andrew do to help more? What can you do to help Andrew? Work together to achieve your goals.
Be firm but gentle on yourself. Some things on your list can wait. Really look at how every hour of your day is being spent and stay on track. Ask for help from those around you. Be patient. Achieving all of this will take time. Just look at how long it takes you to get out the door with a baby!
wow. some of these comments make me speechless. What’s the point of being so cruel? Really, where is the delete button when you need it? Erin, please, please don’t take their awful comments to heart. And Andrew, thank you for your thoughtful replies. Trolls, indeed.
Take care of yourself, sweet girl. I’m a working mama of two and I can relate. The first year is so very hard. I’m also perplexed by the hateful comments – would these horrible women teach their kids to treat someone the way they are treating you, now, in this difficult moment? It makes my heart hurt: for you, for them and their families, for the world. Believe me, this will pass. Get the help you need and be kind to yourself.
Every time a woman chooses to share her authentic experience, whatever it might be, I believe the world becomes a better place. Thank you for sharing yours.
So sad that women and not all women, feel the need to pull eachother down. Why can’t we just support one another and be there for those moments you feel that you will never get through.it is the hardest job. Be kind tomorrow it could be you. Enough said.
I’m not sure why motherhood elicits such strong responses, but as a mom to three boys from a teen to an 8 year old I’ve definitely seen it for many years. One thing you do have to look forward to is nothing stays the same. It’s good and bad because the moment you think you have the hang of this parenthood thing something changes. Not only do I have three boys, but I work full time as a nurse auditor and part time as a designer/stager. Oh, and my husband is out of town more than he’s home. But, when I’m able to have a nice dinner with my family like I did tonight (at our local country club because I don’t have time to cook), give my son the golf lessons he wants, and then spend this weekend doing fun things with my kids I realize they are going to look back and say they had a great life. Everything will be fine in the end. Just make time for those precious moments and savor them even if they aren’t every day.
People are miserable assholes, ignore those people. You absolutely inspire so many women out there and we all look forward to reading your blog!
I have to say I grew up going, “I’m not going to have kids, I’ve always wanted a great career and that’s what I’m going to focus on.” After reading your blog, it has totally shifted the way I think and I’ve realized that, if I decide to, I could totally have both. It’s not either or like I’ve always felt. You are wonderful and inspire me with each of your posts. Ignore the jerks- the rest of us love reading your posts. Especially the posts where you share your raw feelings. It is so incredibly brave and I’m sure that it has helped more people than you could even imagine!
Wow, I can’t even read some of these comments. Such hateful people. I am a working mom in sales and cover 3 states so I spend the night out quite often. I have a 2.5 year old and another one on the way. My husband is a successful football coach who’s schedule is insane, but somehow we make it work. I fully intend to keep working after my 2nd child too and you know what, it’s because I want to. I love what I do and I don’t want to quit, even though it takes me away from my child(ren) at times. But it’s okay!! Do what you love and everything will fall in place. You are in such a tough moment right now with Henry’s age, figuring out the mom thing, breastfeeding, trying to balance work, but I promise it will all get better! And a mom is a mom, no matter if you conceived easily, had to have outside help to conceive, adopted a child, etc. You are raising a child in a loving environment and that’s ALL that matters. Ignore these haters!
Just catching up these posts today, but ironically, the other day I was thinking, ‘I wonder if she’ll cut back on blogging, she’s got a lot on her plate right now.’ And then you bared your soul. Brava for baring your soul. You’ll figure all this out in due time, in a way that works for you and Andrew. Just run your own race, and do what works for you, screw everyone else! Wishing you the best!
I rarely ever comment, but I just wanted to add my voice to the sea of your supporters here. Moms have it tough. There is guilt no matter what you choose, but be assured that you’re doing it right. You love Henry, and that’s what matters more than anything else in the world. It will get easier, and then it will get harder again. Motherhood is a cycle, as soon as you get used to something it will change. I think it’s awful that mothers think they can bash other moms. Instead of ganging up on another person, we of all people, should be supportive of each other. No one knows another persons struggles, but what we need from our fellow mom’s is a pat on the back, not a kick while you’re down. I applaud you for your success. You’re doing just fine.
Oh and I have a Henry too :)
Erin, I have enjoyed your blog for some time and have never commented on a blog before. I was so pissed to read the negative comments posted and had to join in now and thank you for always being you. Please don’t let the awful words of some silence yours. I too struggle with anxiety and so appreciate your openness, honesty, witty humor, not to mention design sense! I love your book and have given it to friends who say how much they love it and now love your blog. They refer to you as my “friend”, which I think is hysterical as I don’t know you personally. I’m jealous that your blog and others were not around way back when I was in the thick of my early motherhood years, boy could I have used it!
My story is different from yours and some others who have commented, but bottom line we are all mothers. I always wanted to be a mom and have a big family. I was fortunate enough to not to have to return to work and chose to stay at home with my 3 beautiful boys. One may think what the heck would she have to complain about, but of course I did… she has a glamorous career and fun business trips, friends at work to socialize and go to lunch with, a pay check at the end of the week to validate her work to name a few. And then there was the damn guilt for being able to stay at home as well as feeling inferior to moms who “have it all”. To many I know those sound absurd…
I’ve learned that no matter how fortunate I may be, and how petty my struggles may sound to some, I have the right to have them. This does not make me a bad or inferior person. And I’ve also learned, I do “have it all”, my all, which is what makes me, me!
My oldest son is 18 and off to college next year. I’m proud to say he’s an amazing person. Would I have done anything different? At times, maybe. A burnt out mom is no fun to be with. I too hired help to get out for a couple hours to refuel and come back a better person. (and then felt guilty for it…) In retrospect when my boys were younger maybe I should have done that more, as well as found more outlets to help me be a more rounded person. We live and learn. And I’m still learning…
Please remember Erin, for all the negative commenters out there, you have so many more virtual friends who have your back. You are doing an amazing job at being YOU! Thank you for being so real, I wish more people were.
Keep up the good work! Cute little Henry will look back and be so proud of his mom :) Can’t wait for a new post, whenever you get to it!
I have to echo what a lot of others have said. It gets better. The first six months are intense. They’re exhausting, and especially when you’re a first-time parent, they can feel very scary. But it will get better; it’ll be easier by a year old, and much easier by two. There will always be new challenges, but it will get easier to balance all the goals and hopes you have competing for time right now.
So for now, let a few things slide. It’s about letting dishes not get done right away. Or (if you can afford it) hiring a house cleaning service for a little while. Or letting some of the details/communications for your work be handled by your team, or putting a longer deadline in place for your 2nd book. The main thing is to make sure you stay safe and healthy, Henry stays safe and healthy, and that you and Andrew make a little time to maintain and tend to your marriage and relationship. For those moments, lean on grandparents. Every baby benefits spending time with his grandparents, and you don’t need to feel guilty going out for a date night when Henry is being adored by his grandparents.
So, to recap: It gets better. Let some things slide now. You won’t have to let them slide forever.
Hugs and support from this working momma…
wow! just read a smidge of some of the comments……I had a feeling things would heat up….great for you for sharing and hope you forge on – it’s a battle- I don’t have the demands of a career and am home full-time – and it’s a struggle for me even with all this time up my sleeve. We also had infertility coupled with my chronic fatigue so having children and mother hood was pretty much all could have on my plate. But we are also crazy to put ourselves through constant remodels of our homes and moving frequently which doesn’t help….but through the chaos the kids do okay. My eldest is 11 now and was just accepted to her choice of middle school/ high school . Her letters of recommendations were so wonderful to read. To realise that despite never feeling like I quite got it right, and never quite getting to every last detail of what my ideal of what motherhood should be my daughter has blossomed. These early days are tough- and boils down to sleep deprivation quite simply. People say that first year goes so fast. I beg to differ- I think I was awake for that entire year! Best wishes….and as a blog reader thank you for your continuing work- selfishly I ‘m happy you somehow get it all done!
One day, Erin, in a few years’ time – when you’ve caught up on sleep, Henry’s eyes light up every time you walk in the room, your new book is sitting pretty on the shelf (and everyone else’s shelf, come to that), your blog is going strong, and Andrew’s support is still unwavering – you’ll look back and smile, and know that the vitriolic few are merely specks of dirt that if scattered into the Grand Canyon, wouldn’t even begin to make a dent. Please don’t let them change your day. Pour a lovely large glass of wine, laugh at their ignorance and shake ’em off. You’re doing brilliantly… in the words of Miranda Priestly, “That’s all.”
Erin, I’ve started writing this comment 10 times, but it becomes such a rant, that I’m just going to say, for the great majority of us (99.5%), we love your honesty and vulnerability as much as we love your design sense. Do not let people’s serious negativity/personal unhappiness, effect your sense of self. Your blog can entertain us, teach us and touch us. And it does this in such a wonderful way because of who you are. (You just need some sleep – and it will come soon!)
Enjoy your baby! They grow so fast, mine will be 13 next week!!!
You are doing the best you can. It will all work out, you will shift and weave until it feels right. Then, everything will change and you will shift and weave again. It is a PROCESS. There is no right way to do things. You do it the way YOU want to do it, even if it takes a while to figure out.
It’s so hard, but you are doing it! Good Job.
My thought is that when you put yourself out there and ask a question, you have to be prepared to hear responses that may not be what you want to hear. Everyone has their own opinion and that is okay. I think we all have to do the best we can for ourselves. No one knows better than you what works best for your family and/or you. The most important thing is that you have no regrets.
I love your sense of humor. The dry shampoo comment was hilarious- just the other day my 13 year old daughter asked me why my hair looked so white…My kids are all teenagers now but I still remember the post baby fatigue, trying to make work “work”, and shaking my head at how mean women can sometimes be to each other. You are talented at what you do and thanks for sharing some of that with us.
it’s all relative and those that don’t see that are ignorant assholes. being a mom is HARD for ANYONE no matter what your income, job, lifestyle, etc, because no matter what any of the factors were BEFORE you had a baby, It changes EVERYTHING!!! i became a mom 6 months ago and i was not prepared for how much my life would change. and i have so much help from both sets of parents. i loooove my son it goes without saying, but man… there are times when i feel completely overwhelmed and long for the days i could watch 15 hours of Real Housewives without interruption. ( i can’t stop writing..) Any new mom is entitled to feel overwhelmed no matter what level of help she’s getting, you’re still the mom and have to adjust to a new full time job in your existing life. I can’t imagine how bad of a place someone must be in to feel motivated to write these types of things to a fellow woman, and a fellow woman who (if you’re a mom) you know is at her most vulnerable. you should be supportive. ps – is someone forcing you to read erin’s blog against your will?
Reading some of these messages people felt obliged to leave is well– maddening! I think all women, whether your are a mother or not, should support one another. Because at the end of the day you never truly know what someone is going through.
When I ordered your book and received it in the mail, I read it front to cover in a day! And your personal essays are what I loved the most! Of course your design aesthetic and style I love as well. But what makes you so interesting and talented to me is your willingness to open up your home, life and family to those readers and fans who genuinely care!
I completely understand your hesitation about outsourcing care for your baby and fur babies. But I’m also a firm believer in its takes a village to raise a family. If you’re fortunate enough to have help with a nanny, dog walker, etc- then you have every right to that. And if you want to have an open and honest discussion about it on YOUR OWN BLOG- then go for it! I suppose “Cassie” has the right to her own opinion, but perhaps she completely missed the point and understanding that his blog is your own personal space as well.
I grew up with a very busy, working mother of 3. She traveled several days out of the month- sometimes a week at a time. Her home was immaculate and her kids were taken care of because she sought out help- just has you and your husband are doing. And I know that she did everything for her children and as an adult now I appreciate her so much for that. And I know that Henry will too!
And currently I am playing Auntie to my little 2 year old nephew for a week or so so that my wonderful brother and his wife can go on a dream vacation out of the country and know that their kiddo is in good hands. I’m proud to be a part of the village and offer and much help and support to my family as possible.
Your talent, ambition, and drive can and will co-exist with being a great mother and wife. Keep in mind that you’re still a new mommy and adjustments to this new life will take time. Take care of yourself, keep kicking ass, and forget what jerks on the internet have to say. You’re doing great!
Erin – I think a lot of women have said all there is to say, but – haters gonna hate. :) Haters are also going to pick apart every sentence you write or list you make and try and tell you what it means about you as a person. When really you’re just writing your thoughts, and venting a bit (as all parents need to do sometimes), and reaching out to your community for words of advice and wisdom from those who have done it before you.
PLEASE, please don’t take one ounce of the negativity and let it make you feel like you are somehow an inadequate parent. For the love of god. This is the danger of blogging, and of the internet in general. And while people will argue that you put it out there so you should take whatever you get back – you don’t need to take ANY of the nastiness. Shake it off, girl. Write your book. Run your awesome business. Take care of your baby(ies), and your husband, and yourself. Some days will suck. And some days will be awesome. That’s parenthood. And that’s life.
I have worked since each of my kids were 3 months old, using a full-time (AWESOME) daycare/preschool (which I pay handsomely for). And my kids are well-adjusted, happy, and see me being promoted and loving my job and being happy, AND being a good mom and wife – which is all I can wish for them as they grow up! You are awesome. Don’t let the haters ever make you think otherwise!
First of all, you are a beautiful person inside and out, and don’t ever let anyone’s internet comments get the best of you! Second, thank you for posting about the issues that every mother, or father even, faces each and every day. We are blessed that we live in a society where women are able to make the choice to have a career, be a mom, and walk around in our own choice of fashion without being covered head to toe. We need to be supportive of each other , always, especially as moms, and not be so judgmental. It pains me to see all of the negativity from other people, let alone, other mothers. The struggle is real for everyone, day in and day out. We are each on our own journey, and people need to respect that. Each of our decisions in life are not for other people to make. When I start having some of those same overwhelming feelings of life imbalance, I always recall something that a wise person once told me: You can have everything…just not all at the same time. So, put one foot in front of the other and keep on keeping on. And relish in the fact that you’ve motivated people to write (or type) their feelings…negative or not, you’ve inspired and evoked an emotional response in people; something to which every true artist aspires! ?
Damn some of the people commenting are sooo rude. Thumb thugs! As a working mother soon to be divorced I understand your stress. Do you have more help then a lot of moms? ok sure. It still doesn’t matter one bit. Trying to balance it all is still so difficult. Best wishes to your family.
Being a mom is so vey hard! Every new mom has had the very same thoughts as you so don’t worry. You will get through this!!! Here is my advice…every morning before you jump out of bed or start thinking about the many things you have to do that day take a few minutes to be thankful for what you do have. If your”to do” list starts creaping into your brain push is away and focus on all the positives. When your baby starts sleeping a little more make that 1 minute 5 minutes and then 10 adding a little mediation or prayer. This will help balance you throughout the day! Give yourself permission to take a few minutes for yourself !!!
This comment thread is ASTOUNDING.
Erin – I have 2.5 month old twins conceived via IVF. They spent the first month of their lives in the NICU. That month required more patience, grace and energy than I knew I had….until they came home – ha! We have almost AROUND THE CLOCK help (20 of 24 hours), I quit my job and guess what? I’m still drowning. BECAUSE THIS IS REALLY HARD. I literally don’t know HOW you’re doing it. How anyone does it.
Does this make me an asshole? Maybe. But I keep telling myself it’s not forever. I won’t have this much help forever, I won’t need it forever. It makes me feel less guilt, less shame about it. It enables me to think things will get easier.
I can only imagine what a day is like for you. You’re such a high achiever. Do what you need to do to make it through this moment.
Please don’t stop posting about Henry, or your life. Don’t let these hateful fools get you down. They’re so jealous they can hardly stand it.
I’ve been thinking about this since reading it the other day – one other comment for you: anxiety + sleep deprivation can be a really dangerous cocktail. I didn’t know how to tell my husband that I was losing it after our first baby was born – countless women have done this before us, right? we can handle it too! I really just wanted someone to step in and save me. Don’t be a hero – it might be good to throw some money (if you can!) at the problem and get help so you can get some sleep.
M, here. I commented early and then have been watching the other comments out of curiosity.
I am so dismayed by some of the negative comments. Not for what they say – there’s so much ugliness on the internet and so much judging of other parents, so that part of it is old news. People like Cassie and Molly are just coming from such a different place from you, Erin. The awful things they say are a reflection of THEM, not you.
So it’s not the substance of their comments that has me bothered. Rather, I’m dismayed because I know that negative comments (whether in the virtual world or the real world) have so much more ‘stickiness’ than the positive ones. You’ve gotten some great support and suggestions here, and I feel bad that it could be the negative ones that use up some of your energy and mental space.
If it were me, and my blog, I would actually delete them. As I tell our kids, there’s no free speech protection at the dining room table, so don’t bring your ugly to supper.
You are doing a great job and you are doing important work. Here’s the wonderful thing about commenters like Cassie and Molly – their ugliness remind us how important beauty and comfort and warmth are in the world. And YOU are contributing to all of us having more of that.
All the best. XOXO
“there’s no free speech protection at the dining room table, so don’t bring your ugly to supper.”
This is awesome! Mind if I borrow it for our home/life?
I have not read all the other very insightful, helpful comments (this by the way is that designer/mom with a fellow Henry toddler in the household). I struggle with this daily, but now with three kids (baby just turned six months), I can see that everything is passing. Soon your little Henry will figure out sleeping through the night. And when I say “soon” that could be in two to five years, or within the next couple of months, regardless, “soon” comes faster then we realize at the present moment. Once you start to sleep again, it will help you establish more of a routine. Once that happens, you just may (just may, whatever is meant to be for your beloved family) try for another child. And so the cycle continues. But know that the days are long, the years are short. You will look back on these days and remember how hard you loved, how much you extended yourself to your passions, you gave your all. You are completely fulfilled to the point of overflowing madness, there are just not enough hours in the day to simply pluck the hairs out of your chin (that could possibly just be me). I keep remembering the words of one mother with seven kids who gave advice on how she functions. She said she approaches everything with as much simplicity as possible, otherwise you will be swept away in the chaos of life. She approaches everything with as much practicality as she possibly can, despite this not being her natural inclination. When she finishes one task, she says to herself “I did it! ok, now lets move onto the next thing”, she doesn’t allow herself to contemplate the entire day all at once in order to minimize the exhaustion and stress. Today you will be writing books, juggling clients projects, changing a diaper and striving for that qt with Henry. These are the days when you and Andrew will be each other rock, and each other’s trampolines. These are the days when all you’ve been through as a couple shows just how much you’ve been preparing to become teammates in life. I’m ranting because your thoughts are my constant thoughts. Now it’s 9:15 at night and I’m working on my own design projects and have successfully all three kids are sleeping at the moment. That will last for another hour or so if we’re lucky. God bless you Erin!
Erin, I love that you are vulnerable and honest on the blog, and that we get to follow your experience as you build your design empire. It’s so neat to have an inside peak into your journey, and to learn and dream alongside you. I’m a long time reader, first time commenter, and just wanted to chime in some support. I think perhaps some of these comments are coming from people who read this and were triggered by you, your success, and your options. Maybe some had challenging times and feel a little jealous (hence the remarks about sucking it up / not complaining)? Instead of owning the emotions this stirs up for them, they spit back vitriol. That’s really unfortunate, and it seems like you have a lot on your plate, so I hope the comments don’t add to your stress or stop you from being as honest and open as you have been. This blog is about your unique journey – please continue to share it! :) Sending a virtual hug.
I look forward to visiting your blog everyday, especially when you post about Henry and motherhood considering I have a 4 month old son… It’s comforting knowing I’m not going at it alone!
I don’t have any advice to give; I’m actually here for the comments in the hope of shedding light on my similar situation :) What I do know is that Cassie and Molly are cruel and frankly I feel sorry for them. We as mothers should support and empower each other because as we all know, motherhood is no walk in the park.
I applaud and respect you for speaking your truth… and think your husband is the sweetest ever! I don’t think there’s a sure fire solution to finishing balance in life, but if you’re a kind person, you’ll get by fine.
Hi Erin (and Andrew too).
The negative response you received made me profoundly sad. Enough so to leave my first ever blog comment anywhere.
Congratulations on your beautiful child.
Congratulations on the success you’ve had in life.
Congrats on your fine fashion and design sense and the readers like me that have stuck with you a long time because of it.
Congratulations in what seems – through the lens of a public blog – to come across as a strong marriage with love and care and support for each other.
Balancing is incredibly difficult. For everyone.
I think that you can know that your struggles are not the same as a single mother working two jobs and still feel your heart rent in two between the pull of a passionate career and a profound love for your family.
I, and many of your readers, take a lot of comfort in reading your honest and open expressions of your emotions and the anxieties you’ve had in life, and the challenges you’ve overcome, and I hope you don’t censor yourself because some stranger thinks that having a strong support system and some luxuries means that your feelings are invalid.
I am a successful software executive. I have two beautiful children. I have a husband I love who deserves my attention and who supports me making space and time to care for and love myself too.
Career. Kids. Marriage. Self.
On any given day, I am doing possibly one of these things very well, two of them ok, and one not-so-much :). Some weeks, all systems are nominal …and some it feels like everything is on the very precipice of doom.
My thoughts on this struggle are that I try to think of myself as a constantly correcting system. I TRY to know that my worst mothering days are still ones in which my children are well-adjusted, happy and know they are loved. I try to know that I have built enough credibility in my career that if I have a mediocre presentation performance because I went to my kid’s play instead of preparing, I’ll make it up with a better performance next month. I have loved my husband enough in my life that he will forgive me when I act like a crazy person and that he’ll be patient for next week when I’m all calm snuggles again. I try to remember that 5 extra lbs are this months’ frustration and next month’s victory, and that every new week holds the possibility that i might start meditating (0 success, 19 weeks and counting).
In other words, expand your timescale of judgement. I don’t think that you choose your priorities once in your life. And Moms who choose to work don’t make that decision once, they make it every day over and over again and keep trying new methods of attack. And I don’t think we are ever fair or balanced on a given day or week. But over time, I bet you’ll do pretty well. And I bet Henry will always feel so lucky to have you as his mother.
Last thing. It should be a rule that though shalt not judge a woman (or self) in the first year of motherhood. It is so very hard. And it does get better. Promise.
This is so well written. Erin – take note of this and ignore the haters. Stacey knows what’s up.
How lovely and articulate. And true!
Not sure if I’ll ever stop being flabbergasted at the way some people think or act, especially towards someone who is hurting or fearful.
My prayer for you, Erin (and Andrew!), is that the love energy coming your way will always be felt over any negative.
I don’t have children, yet, but I still found this comment to be so incredibly lovely and inspiring and the back rub I needed, if you will, when even considering what my life/career/etc. will be like when we do decide to have children. I’ve often worried about what it meant for me from a career standpoint and I always find it so encouraging when so many women come together to give each other virtual hugs, pats on the back, and the, ‘I totally know you feel, we are in this together, and this will get better.’ Thank you for posting this, Stacey!
Erin, you beautiful, beautiful soul. Chin up girlfriend :) <3
Thank you for sharing your kindness, wish more women were like that.
Beautifully written, Stacey. The last paragraph especially. It is so hard the first year. Erin, you will get through this!
This is so good. Thank you for taking the time to write it.
Wow. This was so lovely. Thank you so much for writing this. I think your comment will be my fuel to get through the rest of this week (month), which has been rather challenging in my household.
I don’t have the time (hah!) or energy to read all the comments so I bet someone already said this but it’s so frisking obvious that there is no such thing as having EVERYTHING. You can have a LOT of things at the same time, but there will always be SOMEthing you like to or wish to do that you simply can’t at that point in time. So you figure out what absolutely CAN’T give (being a mom would be one for most but, hey, not all and that’s ok too) up right now and then build around, knowing that there will be things you’d LOVE to do but simply can’t right now. I think the secret is to do to the point where you still enjoy everything you’ve committed to and not feel guilty or pine away for anything that didn’t make the cut. And later at another point in your life, you will pick up and try those other things. Like ,maybe you don’t do a furniture line until Henry is a couple years older, etc. saying “not right now” isn’t saying “never,” it’s saying, “not RIGHT NOW.” I have three darlings 4-12 and am a full-time working mom with some side hustles. But when I tried to do that when #3 was a newborn, I nearly killed myself and the rest of my family trying to lean in and “Do It Allllllll!!!!!!” Impossible.
*freaking, not frisking !!
Long time follower, never posted. I’m an emergency medicine doctor, happily married, mother of two young boys and two dogs, and recently built a new home. I’ve had lots of the same thoughts and feelings that you have. I don’t have all of the answers, but making a list of priorities, communicating your priorities to your husband and finding out what his priorities are, outsourcing what you can, and taking things day by day will help. Nap when you can. Have your groceries delivered if possible and get an Instapot (the newest fave of all of my physician mommy friends). I would also say dry shampoo but sounds like you’ve got that one covered already! Hang in there, put one foot in front of the next, and things will get easier.
(some time I need to send you some pics from my new home, your blog has been an inspiration!)
This is so good. It’s so hard and people don’t realize how much work it takes to “have it all”.
Hey EG! Asking for the help you need seems pretty vital right now. Do you employ a competent and capable design team? Can you entrust your employees with the important tasks of making major design designs on your behalf? Have you thought about taking on an intern (paying them via college credit) and having them help with the tedious stuff like specifications, drawing revisions, contacting vendors, placing orders, collecting samples, or running errands? That might lighten your work load considerably, especially since the “glamorous world of interior design” is most often 20% design, and 80% project management. After all, a big part of being a good leader is developing others so that they can lead fearlessly in your absence.
As for your blog, are there any trusted blogger friends that can guest post for you every now and then? Or maybe you can post less often. I’m sure that your readers will completely understand, and gladly cheer you on for taking more time for your family, and for yourself.
As for your book, have you talked with your publishers about your looming deadlines and/or spacing out your due dates? I’m sure they want another New York Times Best Seller, and will probably do anything (including giving you some extra time) to ensure that they get it, while not burning you out in the process. And regarding everything else, know when to say “no”, or at least “not right now”. :)
I don’t necessarily think it’s wrong to vent, for everyone is fighting his or her own unique battle. But learning how to see the silver lining in what you might consider a gray cloud, and putting yourself in the mental space to find solutions to your problems, allow you to grow into a more well-rounded individual. You’re just having growing pains… while trying to grow your empire. But an empire is never composed of just one person. Find people you trust, people who respect and value you (and your brand), and ask them for help!
Think of all of the successful women entrepreneurs/mothers that you admire. I’m sure that they didn’t do all by themselves. Consider writing a list of all the things that are pressing you at the moment. Beside each, write the steps you can take, or people you could ask to help make them better. Take it one step at a time. And remember, the world of “having it all” definitely wasn’t built in a day. Best of luck to you.
Great and PRACTICAL advice!
Hi Erin – After reading some of these comments talking about “outsourcing” your childcare, I felt bad about being a working mom, so I can only imagine how you felt reading them. There’s no need to shame people for their life choices. We’re lucky to have the lives we life but that doesn’t mean they’re not hard at times. So ignore all the mommy war posts on here and extend your nanny until 6 one night so you have time to do something for yourself.
I, too, have a little one at home, who came into my life after years of miscarriages and infertility treatments. I also have a busy, lucrative career and a spouse with a busy, lucrative career. We have a nanny and cleaning people and two dogs. It is indeed exhausting and overwhelming at times. The difference between me and you is simple: I’m not tone deaf enough to bitch about my blessings on the Internet. I suck it up, remember how much better I have it than the rest of the world, and power on. Good luck. You sound like with your attitude, you’ll need it.
Amen, Cassie, amen. Thank you for being so real and speaking the truth that so many hear deny to see.
Wow, that was mean! I work full time, too and have three boys. It is hard! I don’t have the resources to have a nanny and cleaning people. I do that all my self. Thankfully my husband cooks. Not nice, girl.
My goodness but you are actually an extremely nasty person and you come across as bitter and twisted. Don’t follow this blog for goodness sake!
Cassie and Molly… You two are pretty high on your horses aren’t you? What does it say about you that when you read about someone else’s struggles, you feel the need to criticize? I wonder if you are both sitting behind your computer screens scoffing at all of the people who would rather support and encourage, rather than tear apart with bitter words.
Cassie, your comment was so hateful and uppity, that it made you sound like a goober who doesn’t even deserve a response.
Molly, perhaps you should think about why her post is “dastardly offensive” to you. Is it because you are a better mom who has never had struggles? Is it because you somehow believe that your struggles with less help and money involved makes you a more supreme being? What a bummer that you think that someone’s personal blog with open comments makes it permissible to say whatever you want in return.
Erin, I say this to you. Your blog has been a blessing to me for years. I have struggled with anxiety, depression, and am currently going through infertility. People are not often open about these topics and feelings. Your honest words and thoughts have been the quiet and calm for me in my storms. You will never know what comfort your posts have given me. Thank you.
Cassie, you radiate jealousy. Interesting that you point out your “lucrative career, ” nanny, cleaning people, and dogs, as if to portray yourself on par with Erin . You set yourself up as successful and then shoot your poison dart of judgment in a pathetic effort to diminish her and thereby elevate yourself . I bet for just a second you relished a rush of adrenaline, imagining you had scored an impressive blow. Poor Cassie, you are too weak to realize you dropped your mask of success, revealing instead the face of a petty, needy bully. Smug vitriol always veils crippling inferiority. I hope you find a measure of security and peace to engender kindness rather than venom.
Well looks to me that you kinda just did bitch about your blessings on the internet Cassie. But that’s non of my business…? **sips tea**
You’re a jerk!
That wasn’t very nice of me, was it? You probably think you’re a wonderful human, and I have no idea what you’re like as a person. Which is exactly my point. You made a judgement without knowing a person. When you don’t have something nice to say about a person, keep it to yourself.
Yay Andrew!! I of course don’t know you or Erin, but I have thoroughly enjoyed this blog for a good couple years now. I read it because it is so refreshingly honest. Anyone else who feels compelled to (a) read it in order to (b) complain about its contents is nuts. I deeply applaud your support of your wife and feel sorry for people who think its appropriate to bash either of you. Hats off to you sir.
Cassie, you are one nasty woman.
Cassie, what a shitty person you are, ha! Wow I mean, good for you that you have it all and never look in the mirror and think, what in the actual fuck is happening? Oh you meant you have those feelings but never share them with anyone. Whatever you think you’d accomplish with this only made you look very very small, with a very minuscule voice in a sea of us shouting encouragement for a Mama who is trying her best, who’s experiencing all the hormonal ups and downs of becoming a Mother for the first time. Someone will always pull the #sanctimommy card, guess it had to be you! Congrats, you and Molly look like total bitches.
#sanctimommy Love it. Spot on. Erin – I have a 3 & 5 year old (and we’re expecting #3 in about a month). While some people are superhuman, I’m bringing my solid “D-game” in every part of my life right now (on amazing days, people might catch a glimpse my “B-game”). Stay passionate, and do what you need to do to maintain your health and your sanity.
Right on Lacey. I’m so thankful I didn’t blog about how difficult a time I was having after giving birth. The wolves smell the distress and come to tear you apart and eat you alive.
To all the mean spirited people who tell her to get over herself. Please remember Erin just had a baby. Her whole life has flipped upside down. When you have a child, your life takes on a whole new meaning and priorities shift. This is what Erin is experiencing. How about give her some love and encouragement. Tell her things you did to cope and manage your time better. Tell her the things you had to “let go of”. Postpartum is not a time to tear a mom down or criticize her for the great decisions she made in life and is able to have a dream job because of those decisions.
Thank you Andrew for sticking up for your wife. You are a true gentleman.
You are my favorite.
It is so sad to see some of these comments. I really don’t understand people like “Cassie” who are so successful and happy that they feel the need to submit a hateful comment. What is it with people now? When did it become ok to tell someone you don’t know how they are living their life wrong? When did you learn to kick someone when they are obviously down? And yes, Erin is airing her raw emotions on her blog…as she has always done. It isn’t different from every other time. She doesn’t hide anything because that is who she is. But by all means, jump in on that you brave soul. As I just told her, the people making these comments are the ones who need the help. At this point I find it more fascinating than anything. Why some people feel the need is beyond me. And do they really not see the irony? It is delusional. For the people like Cassie, think about what you are saying to someone you don’t know and then ask yourself why? You can think she is whatever you want, but why do you want her to know how you feel? Why do you think anyone cares? Does it make you feel better? These are questions you may want to consider. For me, I am going to go hug my wife as she is a wonderful mother, wife and woman. I can say this confidently because I know her well. For those of you who have said things that are supportive or add to the discussion, thank you…we need more of you in the world.
I’m so glad Erin has such a great husband ! You are a cheerleader(and I’m sure it goes both ways because I hear her being yours all the time) and that’s exactly what a spouse needs most. Life doesn’t come with a manual. We are all different and one life (style) does not fit all. Input from readers should only be given if it’s a constructive comment, because after all, we are our own worst critics and it’s a Huge blow to find out there’s someone out there that can be harder on us than we are can be to ourselves. No way, nobody needs that. Just shake that comment from Carrie off !! We all know it was a shitty thing to say plus she missed the point.
So, I for one will keep reading because I want to hear what Erin has to say. I stumbled on Erin’s book at the library by chance and only meant to look at the pictures and return it. But after reading a page or two here and there I realized this writer was someone special, different, and pretentious free !! Hard to find combination.
Ordered the book for myself.
Molly, but f you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all please. Keep your nastiness to yourself.
Team Gates! You two are the best. I just love you for being a good partner for our girl Erin. <3
Well said Andrew. I have been a fan of Erin’s for a long time, her book is one of my favorites and I was thrilled with the arrival of Henry. I found her post on Having It All honest and compelling. Then I read today’s post and teared up. Why anyone would put Erin through that kind of torment is unthinkable. Thank you Andrew for coming to Erin’s defense so beautifully and strongly.
Holy shit, Molly! This is some hateful stuff. 5150…really? I’m assuming you don’t have children. (whew!) Upon rereading I am picking up on the deep, ingrained jealousy in your words/post. Words like “opulence”, “entitled”, etc that’s code for “I want what you’ve got.” I’m not going to play in the mud with you, but sister, I think you’ve aired some real rage here. May I suggest you see a therapist. Bless.
Molly – You’ve completely missed the point of my comment and Erin’s post. It is clear you already have your mind made up and a chip on your shoulder. If she is so maddening to you my suggestion would be to start reading blogs of people you like and start living a happier life. And it is “Ciao” not “Cia”. That’s a government agency .
I hate to point out the obvious, Andrew, but your wife is the one who aired her dirty laundry sprinkled with a massive dose of arrogance for the world wide web to see — and comment on. If she wasn’t “strong enough” — which it would appear she is far from it — to handle others’ feedback, she should have used some common sense and disabled the commenting feature. Do you have any idea how enormously entitled your wife sounds in her post? There are thousands of mothers reading this blog who make do with much less opulence and hired help. Think about that for a moment. No really. I’m waiting…
Now that you’ve had a moment to realize how dastardly offensive her words seem to a good many of the readers here, might I suggest you encourage your wife to get the help (‘cuz girl can’t have enough help) she needs and maybe reconsider venting her every broken nail to a public who has just learned to wing it and get things done. Erin seems to be a very fragile young woman, and sometimes using the Internet as their BFF or Dear Diary isn’t all that smart or uplifting.
Now go hug your wife and take away her privileges for the night. It’s either that or a 5150 Hold could be in her future. Sometimes when we love someone, we have to tell them the painful ungarnished truth. And the truth is, she needs to focus on being a mother and not the Internet sensation she’s dreamed up in her head. There’ll be plenty of time for that when Henry’s in school.
I’ve never posted to anything that I’ve read online, but now felt compelled. I have a successful career in the arts, two children, and a husband ( and a dog).
At times I’ve felt completely overwhelmed, and like I wasn’t doing anything as well as I’d have liked . I applaud your wife for being open and honest about how hard it can be. I breathe a sigh of relief when I read such honesty, and it reminds me that all we need to do is keep showing up and doing our best.
I have an extraordinary life, and have had opportunities beyond what I could have imagined. My children have gotten to witness that, and be part of it, and I hope that it makes their lives richer, and will encourage them to pursue their dreams.
I’m so very grateful that my mottos haven’t been to “suck it up” and “power on”, as Cassie expressed. I feel like I would have missed so much, and not been emotionally present .
Thank you again for sharing. I’ve never read blogs, but will start reading yours now.
Being a parent is incredibly demanding, especially being a working parent. And being a working parent of an infant is an added layer. Honestly, having just come out of this myself, I can tell you in about 3 more months, everything will change – you really are in the most challenging phase as far as infancy goes. Everyone who is at where you are now is treading water, trying to survive in the deep end. You feel like your world has been turned upside down. I don’t think you need to revamp your entire life, you just need to figure out some ways to tweak things just enough to make it through for a little while – in whatever form that takes and in whatever way you and Andrew are comfortable. I feel like I can tell you with certainty that my mid-summer, it will already feel different. Then, summer will end and all of a sudden, you’ll come out of it and its fall and Henry’s first birthday will be just around the corner and all you will be able to think about is that you did it, and you can’t believe a year has passed. I promise. The one phrase I heard consistently across the board while I was pregnant and in those early month’s after my child was born was….”Enjoy it, it goes by so fast”. I kind of got sick of hearing it, because time felt like it was creeping along. But, the first time you do a real cleanout of Henry’s clothes, you fold away and store the newborn – 6 month items and start reaching for the 9 month onesies and pants, it will start to hit you, just the enormity that the time really did fly and you might actually have forgotten some of the details of how hard it really was because they will have been overshadowed by so many beautiful, fun and loving moments with Henry and Andrew. Its strange how it happens but it does. But you have to go through it – its sort of right of passage. I think others who have been there would agree with me.
Thank you for acknowledging the amazingness of single parents. Shortly after I had my child, I wondered how on earth single parents managed and then I realized that they did it because they had no choice not to do it and once you realize you are all you have, you rise to the challenge. Its certainly motivating.
Also, is it possible for you to go on day dates with Andrew? My husband and I started meeting for lunch during the week (we didn’t work too far from one another) and it helped a lot just to have that little bit of time during the day to reconnect and not stress about hiring a sitter for an evening or extending the nanny for the day when we had already been away from our daughter for hours. Just a thought if it works with your situation.
Yes, totally agree! I have two kids, and my daughter is now 20 months, and while at 6 months, things got better, I am now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! Perhaps the thought it not that something has to give, but maybe something can be postponed a bit.
I took time off when my son was born and I’m glad I did. I love working, but my job is TOO stressful to have done it all during the first 3 years of my son’s life. YOU’RE A SUPERSTAR! I am the type to overschedule, take on too much and there is NO way I could have handled a baby or toddler while working. I would have gone insane. Things got better when baby started sleeping through the night. I sleep scheduled him (Baby Wise) so that happened at 8 weeks luckily. I would say after 6 months (after I stopped breast feeding), things got easier because there was more to do with him and using formula made my life simpler. He’s 9 years old (and an only child to this 36 year old) so I can definitely say things get easier… but each age has different challenges.
PS: Follower of your blog since the beginning!
It’s a struggle to juggle work, kids/family and your own free time. I don’t know all the answers, but did have to learn how to say no. You are going to be pushed and pulled in a million directions in the next couple decades. Find your priorities and stick to them.
Nobody can “have it all” somebody is suffering if we try to live this way.
Simplifying life is very challenging but is the only way to have a healthy relationship with ones spouse and children. You have to decide what to give up to make it work best for your family.
I can look at your life (even with its obvious stress) and feel envy that you can afford such beautiful clothes, expensive vacations, nannies, luxurious home furnishings etc but then I remind myself I CHOSE to live simply so I can be there for my son(s) and my husband. Until I am ready to give up play time at the park, dinner together every night, and going to bed together I have to live simply and cherish our times together.
Many friends that have raised large families tell me they look back at the time there kids were young as “the best years of our lives!” It is so hard for me to believe with the loss of any alone time, the financial and social stress that comes with raising young kids on one income but when I’m laying down at night and feel sweet little arms wrap around me and a little voice say “good night mommy I love you” I know that what they say is true.
“Simplifying life is very challenging but is the only way to have a healthy relationship with ones spouse and children. You have to decide what to give up to make it work best for your family.”
Please note that when I repeat the word simply later in my post I’m not saying that is the way you HAVE to simplify your life. Just what I had to give up. I was just trying to say that “having it all” is not reality.
Long time reader, first time poster. Solidarity, sister! I have 2 under 2, a very demanding career, and a husband who is a surgical resident (and rarely home to see the kids during the week). My words of encouragement: 1) It’s all about day-to-day survival with juggling a baby and a career. As long as there are no major tragedies in the day, call it a big success and move on to the next day. 2) No matter what stage of life you are in, the grass is always greener. So try to enjoy what you are doing now (even though most of the time it sucks) and be proud of yourself for getting up every morning and getting shit done, even if it’s not pretty.
Also, women need to support each other!! It makes me so angry/sad that there are women out there trying to push each other down. Life is hard – whether you have children or not. We are all in this together! Hang in there, Erin!
I read your blog post this morning and it’s been in the back of my mind. As the working mom of a 2.5 year old little girl with another on the way, I can tell you that I’ve been there, I am still there periodically, and I’ll be there again when I have another infant on my hands. It does get better as your kiddos get older, but I think every mother struggles with “having it all,” or feeling like they are excelling in every part of life. I often feel like I’m not the best mom, or wife, or employee, or person that I could be – in trying to do so many things each of them is bound to suffer a little bit. But forgive yourself, and know that you are doing your best, and that your best is good enough. Take things one day at a time, and focus first on those things that need your immediate attention, or have pressing deadlines. Thinking about the entirety of your situation is bound to leave you overwhelmed and helpless. Similarly, prioritize those things that matter most to you, and cut out those things that you realize really don’t matter much at all. Outsource where you can. Be thankful that dry shampoo was invented. :-) And sometimes cereal for dinner tastes AWESOME, and requires very little cleanup. Just know that you aren’t alone, and that you’ve got so many others that are rooting for you!
Yikes to some of the comments…But since this is a public blog you knew some would come, and some would bring the crazy.
I have a 6 month old and a 3.5 year old and I’m in the thick of it…. I’ve been back at my full-time job for almost 3 months (also a job that I love) and MANY aspects of “my life” (at least my life as I knew it with only one child) are suffering… But it’s temporary.
I remember feeling the same way with my first, and then things got better!! You’re still very much in the early stages, Henry is SO little still, your NEW NORMAL will get back to a better place for you soon, just give it time. :)
I’m a mom of two (3 year old and 3 month old) and one of my resolutions last year was to stop taking so many things on. And I’m not talking about the big things (family, work, school) that you’ve already noted above. I’m talking about the smaller things I would take on that would pile up. It made a huge difference for me, and allowed me to spend more time with my family and focus on what was most important. Also outsourcing is key ! Have things delivered. Amazon Prime is a necessity. Cleaning lady as well. And know you’re doing a great job no matter what – being a mom is so so so hard but so amazing and worthwhile!
I answered above, and I mentioned time management. I’ve been thinking about this post a lot. I’m not sure why since I have never commented before today. LOL Anyway, this is a pivotal time in your business and brand. You’re no longer in the start-up phase of your business. You’re actually doing it. It’s happening. It requires two completely different mindsets to start a business vs. sustain a business, and many people have a hard time making this shift and transition. You now employ a small group of people whether or not you expected to be doing such. You are their leader. So when I mentioned time management, I guess I really meant that maybe it is time for some professional development as a leader of your small company. Even if you aren’t quite “there,” this might be a good next step. It may help you learn to spend your time on the parts of your business that you are really passionate and prioritize your projects for maximum impact and enjoyment. I would guess that you’ve already done this to some degree, but you may need to take some next steps.
I’ve been a self-employed mom for much of my entire adult life. When I began to trust and delegate and see myself as the leader (not a manager! No one likes to be managed.) of the people who helped me in my business and at home, I was more content and I made more money too.
I could never attempt to tell you how to make it better, BUT I will say that it gets easier. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. That baby stage (ESPECIALLY with the first) is nuts, your whole life seems in shambles. He will become easier, you will sleep, you will find a rhythm. One day, not too far from now, you’ll wake up and realize that you’re finally able to breathe a little. Promise.
Erin, I have my own design firm in portland, OR and just had my first baby 7 months ago. My two dogs (one is only 14 months old) and my husband and two teenage step sons make my life so similar to yours. I have felt everything you described – to. the. tee. What you should know is that you will see a dramatic difference in the coming weeks. Henry will get a schedule and you will get more sleep. Sanity will follow. Put a few things on a very temporary hold and use the mom card. It’s okay and people expect it. Slow down as much as you can so you can speed up later otherwise you’ll have BurnOut. That is a real thing. Love yourself. Rest and breathe. It does get easier. xo
I am late to this post but I will say this. You are an honest, funny, brave, talented, intelligent woman that has beat anorexia and has been blessed to have a miracle baby. In addition you have a husband and a supportive family and successful business. So many wonderful things are happening for you and that is fabulous but I agree with some of the other comments, if you do not slow down you will get sick, physically or mentally. At the end of the day the most important priority is you, your son and husband, obviously you work comes next, and all of the other things you listed. Perhaps talking to your therapist will help get some perspective and ideas on what you can shift? Perhaps as many others have said just asking for a different deadline would help.
What I will say is this, the time you spend with Henry and your husband is precious and sacred. I am sure that Henry will be proud of you whatever you do, but the things kids remember the most is the time they had with you. I am sure that there are many readers that would say the same.
No lecture, just a thought. I also would like to say that I do not think many of the ladies commenting here are criticizing you, I think they are just venting, or perhaps they are offering what they believe to be an honest opinion. Often times when we put ourselves out there we are surprised at what comes back at us, the good, bad and the ugly.
Be well, we are rooting for you.
I could have written Elizabeth’s comments. I am older and wiser.
The family has to choose the priorities. If it was just about one person it wouldn’t be family.
I gave up the fluff, went for the relationship building with my husband and babies. I did this with as few of the financial excesses as was possible.
You can vent but you must have a better strategy to wake up in your family with joy in you heart.
Oh, my God! I just feel the same. Thank you all for the great advice. This post is just what I needed. I was about to breakdown Thought I was alone in this.
Ok, first of all know that you are in the thick of it right now — months of little / broken sleep makes you CRAZY. I’ve done it with three babies and I swear each time around that time I thought I was one bad day away from a 5150. It will get better!! When Henry starts going 11-12 hours a night (it will be soon), you will feel like a new person. Every day will be a freaking dream compared to what it is now.
Now for the work stuff…I’m also a lady business owner mom trying to “have it all.” For me personally, I took a hard look at my limited time and how I wanted to spend it. I decided that I really only had time for direct money making work activities (apart from the self-preservation necessities like exercise, coffee with a friend or the occasional mani). I mean, I guess that’s kind of the point of it all anyway, though sounds weird to say out loud. So, I stopped blogging since I wasn’t making as much money from it as I was from actual client work. I am not suggesting you stop altogether because I’m sure it’s a part of you now to wake up and give us great content, but we wouldn’t fault you one iota if you needed to post every other day, or work in guest posts. I felt like I was letting my readers down, but in the end…I was feeling beholden to people I didn’t know (I know you KNOW US but you know what I mean) and that was taking time away from my little people, in my house, who need me more.
A nice byproduct of having such little time, it makes it soooo easy to say no. I used to suck at it but now am pretty good. Or maybe my grouchiness never recovered from all of that sleep loss :)
You will get into your groove, whatever it may be. And we’ll be here for whatever capacity that may be!! Xoxo
I agree with CSB about prioritizing: it sounds like you have time for Henry and whatever pays the bills right now, not much extra. The good news is you have options! Either hiring more help at work (for social media marketing including the blog, the more mundane pieces of the design work, and the preliminary design work work for the new lines) or putting all of that on hold until Henry is a little older. You are talented and charismatic, there will always be more opportunities. Are you so sorry you asked for this advice yet??? ;)
So now EOS is a mommy blog. I’m sorry, but this post is oozing with arrogance and privilige. Sorry if you were offended by “negative” comments, but as a working mom with a lot less support this is a slap in the face.
Grow up Pam! For goodness sake, take your jealousy elsewhere.
You are being exactly the thing (myopic) that you criticize her for.
Hard is hard, period. My sister in law has an autistic child and what she went through when my niece was young was something I would not wish on anyone. Then I met a single mother of autistic twins. (My sister in law is married with only one child.) Does the existence of this other woman, whose circumstances are more extreme, make my sister in law’s life easy or her struggle less valid? No. Hard is hard.
Erin, you mention that you have to work due to financial reasons. I guess when you have a high standard of living, that may be the case. However, as a mother of 2 grown children, you won’t remember having those “things” and they will not seem important at all in retrospect. You mentioned Henry will be proud of his mother because of your accomplishments. He most certainly will, but if he remembers you stressed out and maxed out with little quality time for him the effect is diminished. My intent is not to kick you while you’re down, but to shed light on a subject that many overlook during youth. You do not get to postpone childhood nor do you get a “do-over”. Best Wishes!
I haven’t read all the comments (just some), so I’m sure you’ve received lots of advice. Something has to give or you’re going to end up hospitalized. Delay your book, it can be done. Stop with having a blog post every day and posting on social media. Set some boundaries. What if you worked T, W, and Thursday? Monday and Friday’s are for spending time with Henry and getting things done around your house. Write/design fabric line during naptimes. Being a parent to an infant is a struggle for anybody. Lower your expectations of sweet Henry. He’s only 4 months old!! Focus on what matters most (your family I hope), say no to “opportunities”. Ask yourself, “Six months from now is this really going to matter?” I think some of the comments you read as negative were expected when you wrote the post because the post comes across with some arrogance to some. You were asking for advice so you had to expect that, right? Especially for mothers who are trying to juggle it all as well? I also commend single mothers. I couldn’t do life without my husband who is so helpful. I’m not in your shoes……I don’t have my own business, book, fabric lines, etc. but Lauren Liess and Erika Powell are both designers with families. Have you thought about reaching out to them? Both seem to handle things with grace. I’m sure Erika has had tons of opportunities come her way (like a book, show, etc.) but has said no because in this season of her life she’s raising small children. Best of luck!
Pay attention to moments of peace – Henry’s smile, sharing a laugh with your husband, a great song on the radio, a spectacular sunset, the joy of being creative at home and at work. You may not get everything checked off your to do list, but remember to celebrate all the little victories. As a mom of two please take it from me, you will find a new rhythm!
We are what we pay attention to. When it feels overwhelming, look for joy. I promise it will be easy to find.
I thought I would offer some practical tips I’ve picked up along the way. My son is almost two and didn’t sleep through the night until 8 months. My husband and I thought we would never have a normal life again but things have gotten sooooo much better (though we are due with #2 in 6 months – eek!).
1. If you can, extend childcare until 6 even if it’s just 1-2 nights a week
2. once Henry is a bit older see if you can find a gym with a “kids club” – that has been a game changer for our Saturday mornings
3. Outsource! Favorites include amazon prime/subscription, instacart, meal service deliver, dolly
4. Optimize your own sleep environment – we got a king bed, fancy pillows, blackout curtains, and our own sound machine (the dohm!). Have never slept better
5. Night nanny for a few nights if you can afford it, sleep train as soon as you’re comfortable (buy a nice bottle of wine :))
6. At 8 months we left my son my with my parents and went away for 4 nights. Dreamy. And we also each did a boys/girls weekend separately with friends during the first year.
7. Now that my son is older we get our nanny to come at 6 on a date night so we can hit the gym before going out to dinner or a movie
8. My husband and I trade nights to be home during the week so that the other can either work late if needed, go to the gym or run errands. Doesn’t always work but helps to share the load.
9. Get an exersaucer! We got one around 5 mos and our son loved it. It’s gives you 20-30min to be hands free while you cook dinner etc. they are hideous but you only need it for a few months (plus easy to buy used).
10. Summer makes everything better. I loved coming home after work and taking my son to the park or for a walk. You get to spend time together, fresh air and some light exercise all at once.
I know some people would never do some of these things to give up time with their kids but my POV is that happy parents make for happy children. My son is the happiest little guy ever and we make sure to spend quality time with him since quantity is hard.
And like everyone says, it will get easier. 6 months was a good turning point and also 12 months. Hang in there!!!
I haven’t read any of the comments so my apologies if I’m a broken record, but highly recommend the book, “All Joy and No Fun”…I found it so cathartic, really resonated with the bipolar nature of being a new parent, which was easily the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I adore the realness of the writer’s voice, I feel like it would validate the chaos in your brain which doesn’t that alone get us halfway there? Just feeling heard and acknowledged and supported and not like a selfish jerk for not loving every single moment? I am like every other mother in that I am completely obsessed in love with my child and yet there is no denying that life is exponentially harder having become a parent. You can add the cliche “but it’s so worth it” and “but they grow up so fast, enjoy them now!” all you want, though I personally find those phrases so off-putting and smug, but it doesn’t change the fact that IS very effing hard and simply admitting it can be like taking a half a Xanax, just being allowed to own that life is NOT instagram like those adorable (but fake) mothers told us. :)
You’ll get it girl. Build up the shame callouses now because those broads don’t let up. And let me know if you figure out how to do that.
I worked full time as a nurse when I had both my girls and nursed. The sleep deprivation was killing me. I was pumping during the day at work and nursing in the evening and at night. My old fashioned pediatrician said while it isn’t recommended by the young new Drs, before you put baby down to sleep, give them a pumped bottle of milk and mix it with a little rice cereal. Start at a small amount like a tablespoon and work up. Can I tell you this saved my life. The girls started sleeping in longer stretches like 4-5 hours before waking up. My girls are now 9 and 12 and very healthy. Try this and see if it helps. I could never do the cry it out thing. It seemed cruel to me but I know we all view this differently.
A full nights sleep will help with managing all the tasks that must be completed each day. Balance is hard at any time but it gets very difficult once you introduce little pumpkins to the mix. If you haven’t already and can afford to, have meals delivered or see if your nanny could help with light housework, laundry, cooking. I never had any of that and I wished we could have afforded it at the time. Best wishes!
I think the first step is acknowledging that it’s hard and that it is okay for it to be hard. There are never, ever enough hours in the day. Everything cannot possibly get done. Life with a child and a job and a house and everything else means that everything will be less than perfect. I am a single mother by choice of a 3 year old son who had years of infertility treatment to finally have my son at 43. I work full time and there are days I look around (like this morning for instance) my house and see a mess and everything I have not accomplished in the few hours I have at night that are mine because I vegged in front of the t.v. too tired to fold laundry or put away toys. In the moment that I start feeling bad, or ‘less than’ I remember to be grateful to have such problems and to remind myself, the if a messy house and doing slightly less than I can do at work is the biggest problem I have, well, I’m pretty lucky. I also remember the words of Erma Bombeck who at the end of her life wrote a wonderful column about how she wished she had worried less in her life ; invited folks over with a less than neat house instead of not extending the invitation; about putting the top down on a convertible and not worry about her hair; to live more and worry less.
You are so blessed Erin-(-and it does come across that you know this). Your worries are worries we all have and all have to figure out. Always remember that every day, if you are lucky, you get a new opportunity to try again. You are doing just fine!
And seriously, think about having guest posts every so often. Or posting on a regular schedule, but not five days a week. Or monthly review of the best posts of the last month. Or once a month, run some old columns as “throwback days”. I’ve personally loved your co-workers posts of their must / lust lists. And we all love when Andrew guest posts. I’m sure other readers have more great ideas on how to lighten your blog load.
On the rest of your life, try to simplify everything that can be. I have set menus each week which I keep re-running ( try this now before Henry starts eating meals with you and only wants macaroni cheese for every-single-meal-with-no-vegetables-touching-his-food). Obviously a cleaning service once or twice a month to clean house. While we know you love clothes and see it as an expression of your style, maybe for now, just a “uniform” you put on every day and save your creativity for your job.
While I’d dearly love to read your next book (leopard print spine perhaps?), I can wait but your life and Henry and Andrew can’t.
Best wishes surviving “having it all” .
I’ll add one small comment as someone who struggled with infertility and then was blessed with three children. I appreciate my kids but just because it took awhile to get them doesn’t mean I have to forfeit the very human emotion/reactions of occasionally complaining, getting frustrated, and still wanting “me” time. Mother’s who didn’t become mothers so easily still deserve to be treated in the same manner as everyone else. I hope anyone hoping/praying to become a mom gets her prayers answered AND gets to experience ALL the elements of parenthood; good, bad and in between. Let’s be compassionate ladies! We’re all living in better conditions than most of the world.
I’m a mother of 3 and for me it was learning that ‘having it all’ didn’t mean ‘doing it all myself’. Make a list of everything you do, identify the items you struggle with or don’t enjoy doing- get help with those . For me it was laundry, grocery shopping , cleaning and preparing meals. When I took those off my plate (a beloved housekeeper from care.com), I was suddenly able to manage my world with a sense of enjoyment. A full day at work without half thinking about what’s for dinner. Being fully present at home with my kids. That was my personal discovery. Hang in there!
Why do moms judge and Shame other moms? Regardless of being a working mom or stay at home mom (which I am out of choice ) life is very hard with babies. You survive as best as you can. It’s comforting to hear other women’s stories to know that you aren’t alone, you aren’t s failure, and things will get better. Stop being assholes people.
Being a stay at home mom is very very hard especially after being a kick ass lady boss. There is no break… It isn’t a vacation, and I often wonder if it would be easier on me if I were working. Grass is always greener. But you do what YOU feel is best for YOU. Everyone else out there can continue to judge I guess? Have fun with that.
I’m a full-time working mom with a 6 and 8 year old. I’ve been there. You’re not alone. Try to remember that. I won’t repeat all the comments that I agree with, but I will add one thing that helped me: If you’re going to judge yourself, only do it once per day for that day only. What did I do well today? Where did I suck, and how can I do things differently tomorrow? Did I give enough to everyone else, but need to try to carve out a little time for me tomorrow? Did I not get enough time with my children, so I should try to get up a little earlier and give them a bit more focus. Etc. One day at a time helped me not feel like a tidal wave was crashing on my head. It felt manageable. And, another thing…I think I have the happiest, healthiest, most well-balanced children, and there were certainly lots of days where I sucked. So, clearly, muddling through, I still did pretty darn well. You will too! It’ll be okay!
This is good advice.
Stop it now – you are going to have a panic attack. There is not one person the planet who would sit back and say I have a 4 month old and I have it all. 4 month olds suck the life out of you. No wonder you are frustrated. It likes shoveling before a snowstorm….
Do the best you can right now, let some things slide, use the infant at home excuse. (I have a 6 year old and still say that) In a few months he will start moving around and will be more tired. He will sleep better, the sun will come out, birds will start singing, you won’t hate people as much or crave drugs as much. Then when he is about 9-12 months you can start ramping it all up. Or have another baby…
Erin thank you for posting such an honest insight into the daily struggles of working moms! As a mom of three teenage boys and a fellow designer I agree with the comments that you can have it all, just not at the same time. I walked away from incredible design opportunities while my boys were little. No project can ever give you the fulfillment or joy that you will share with your son or husband watching Henry grow. As my boys started school I was able to dive back into design work and I can say I never regret a day that I chose to be with my young boys at mommy and me class versus a design project.
You are incredibly talented and we all admire your work. Believe enough in your work and reputation to know a shift towards your son is well deserved and the next amazing project will be there when you are ready to jump back in full time. It took my son telling me ‘mommy you are always working and never have time to play with me’ for me to reset my priorities. I hope you will listen to your heart and see the breath of your work is so amazing that you will ‘have it all’ , just at different times in your life.
A mama-to-be here. I just want to say that despite how you might be struggling right now, you’re still a huge inspiration to me (and I’m sure to your other readers)—not only your career accomplishments, but also your openness and honesty about the hard work and passion you put into your business, your marriage, and motherhood. I’m cheering for you!!
I feel for you immensely…You are an uber-success at what you do, and that’s very hard to even think about walking away from, or letting fall to the wayside. However, you went through a shit ton to have that gorgeous babes. So now how do you choose? I feel like you can’t, you don’t choose -you actually no longer have the luxury of choosing, right??? It’s just your life now. That’s how I feel at least. I heard Christiane Lemieux say in a talk once, “yes, you can have it all, just not all at the same time” and just think that’s the case at this point in life. This is a phase, a stage, where everything seems super ridiculously hard. But if I’ve learning nothing other than this after having three girls, it’s that it is a stage, and before you know it, you’re out of it and on to the next. And you nailed it by the way with the leaning in reference! I was just talking with someone about how I kinda just resent that whole idea. Yes, sure it’s fantastic that all those brave women before us open up the world to us, but the world just expects waaaay too much of us now, and oh by the way, make it Pinterest perfect please??! So, I while I have zero answers for you, I try and find time every day to take a stroll outside, look forward to at least one fun thing a week, and at least be in a good mood each morning to give proper hugs and kisses to my kids. After that, it’s all fair game! ; ) You love what you do; you’re really brilliant at it, just try and be realistic about what you can accomplish in a week and learn to say no…
Maybe take time off of social media. Period. When I had kids there was no such thing to keep up with. Just family, and a job if you weren’t a stay at home mom.
From one perfectionist to another… Remember how much you’ve already done in your young life and remember how much you wanted little Henry. Promise no more advise. Peace.
It’s funny, isn’t it? It’s so obvious that if your life is 100% full before children, something has to give when you add a family. It’s not as if childbirth also clones us. Yet we soldier on and assume we will “figure it out.”
But we don’t. It is never figured out and it’s why I “leaned out” to be home with my family full time. It was terrifying and heartbreaking in some ways, but I knew that when I looked back on my life I would not wish I had worked more. I would almost certainly wish I had soaked up more time with my children.
Over the years I have added work back to the mix in ways that fit with our family life. My career will never recover but I knew that going in. I do SO appreciate the work I do now, and as my children head off to kindergarten and third grade next year I am looking forward to starting a new season.
Put your priorities on paper and make sure you hit the top one. Fit the rest around it and say “no” without fear! I think being brave and confident enough to do this is the true mark of having arrived.
Sleep train! Life gets soooooooooooooo much easier when your baby consistently sleeps 11-12 hours a night. You’ll feel like you can move mountains. And all the other advice is good too, but the sleep is HUGE.
Thanks for keeping it real.
This too shall pass! Sleep deprivation is horrible & makes everthing hard. I wish I could come give you a hug, push you into the shower then your cozy bed & I would take Henry & the dogs out for a long walk in the fresh air so you can catch up on sleep.
I know it’s hard to do but cut yourself some slack right now & take care of yourself.
Everything else suffers if you don’t. Hang in there xo
I’m just going to say it because I know a lot of y’all are surely thinking it…
Suck it up, buttercup.
And be thankful that God allowed you to be a mother to Henry. Or any baby for that matter. You’re quite selfish, and I’d say He thought you were pretty special to orchestrate the whole ordeal.
My husband and I are coming up on our 20th wedding anniversary (I’m 46), and we’ve been going through infertility treatments for 13 of those. We’re not onto the process of adoption. And I would give up my PR career, all of my fancy (and career-catapulting) industry pow wows, my obsession with Barre, vacations, 6-burner Wolf stoves and all the marble countertops in the world — hell, I’d even commit to driving a God-forsaken mini-van IF IT MEANT I COULD HOLD A LIVE BABY IN MY ARMS AND — and this is big — TAKE IT HOME WITH ME.
I would give up the world. But never my marriage because that’s first after God Himself. Just to be where you are, Erin.
Everything else if there’s enough of you left over at the end of the day. Eventually there will be because in time, you’ll find your groove with the people who mean the most. When a little time opens up, squeeze in something else, but never at the expense of the top four.
You’re farming out the caring of your baby for most of the day and you likely have people who clean for you. Count yourself blessed and get on with being a wife and mother.
I hate humblebrags. Especially from women who think they’re such special snowflakes. You are privileged. Quit your whining and put your big girl panties on.
Ellie, you should ask God to forgive you for the hurtful and disparaging words you have used to attack a women who is currently in need of your prayers not your condemnation.
WOOOOOOW. For someone who “hates humblebrags” you sure managed to do a hell of a lot of it in your comment. You’ve got a lot of nerve to sit there writing about putting God first in what might be the most hateful comment I’ve read on this post. Why don’t you take all that judgment and burn it over your Wolf stove.
Ellie as a believer I am so sorry that you are going through a difficult time with infertility but I would kindly ask that you leave God out of your comment because frankly it’s not something He (a loving merciful gracious patient God) would say. He’s never asked me to suck it up. He’s only asked to have faith. There will always be people out here in the blog world that have more but in the same vein there are plenty with less. ( a lot less) But any frustrations should be unloaded on the God you serve and not a blogger. I don’t want some big philosophical discussion but I do want you to know that your post isnt lining up with putting Him first in your life…if the order of priorities you gave Erin is also your own. I hope you will find peace and a beautiful unfolding in your desire for having children.
I absolutely LOVE Erin’s honesty, and all her thoughts in this post resonate with me – all of them! I work (and want to), and I feel some guilt about the various outsourcing (I appreciate everyone’s comments supporting the various outsourcing – delivery, housework help, etc.). I do believe my working is the best option for my scenario. Not only do I enjoy my job, but while I love my babies, I crave time away from them, as well.
I mirror BV and Leigh’s thoughts. As a believer in God, I cringe to read Ellie’s “dis” while claiming God first. Ouch. That type of rude wording does not represent my picture of having God first.
I also feel for your heartache, Ellie. I know it must be extremely hard to go through the infertility process for so long.
As others have said, just because someone’s heartache is different or less extreme doesn’t mean that their difficulties are not real and painful. Say that you are going through unsuccessful infertility. Does that mean that someone who has it worse (someone with infertility AND who has lost all her belongings in a fire, for example) can say to YOU that your pain is insignificant? I bet that your pain is still very real and acute. Just because someone has it worse, does not mean that your pain is invalidated or shouldn’t be talked about. I would imagine, Ellie, that you want your pain to be acknowledged and believed and that you feel it’s worthy to be talked about/supported. In fact, by mentioning your struggles here, I think you believe your struggles are worthy to be talked about/supported.
I, for one, was not thinking that. You may hate humblebrags, but I hate people who lecture others about God and His plan. Any therapy before a job. Really?
I’m sorry for your fertility troubles, I can’t imagine that pain. BUT for someone who places God at the top of her priority list you sure have a lot of judgement and lack of empathy towards someone else who might be struggling. There is NOTHING wrong with Erin wanting to continue pursuing her career dreams, AND still vent about the struggle associated w/ exhausting balancing act that is parent hood. No matter what you think you would do if you had a child….the reality can still be different/surprising or more challenging than you thought. I know it was for me. Is she still more privileged than 98% of the world, myself included? yes. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t allowed to share her feelings of being overwhelmed by the juggle, on her own blog! I hope you are successful in your adoption process, and I hope when you realize that despite your best laid plans, it still has its exhausting, soul crushing moments, that someone else shows you more christian compassion than you are showing here.
Ellie- Your assumption that I can just give up my job is wrong. I HAVE to work, there is no choice there financially. Luckily, it’s doing something I love and want to keep doing. But going through infertility does not mean you can never have a hard time with your child and vent about it. I never would have scolded someone the way you just scolded me when I was going through it.
I sympathize with your struggle and hope your adoption is successful, but please think twice about kicking other women when their down. It’s so unkind and hypocritical.
Well, of course there is a choice there Erin. You don’t have to live in the fancy house with the designer handbags and clothes and jewelry and brand new cars and and and…you could choose to live differently on a different budget and not work. But you don’t want to and of course that’s ok so I’m not shaming or judging you because I also choose to live at a certai. Level which requires two income to sustain. And the rest of my family shares that choice and so we make it work. But there is absolutely a choice and to say there isn’t is dangerous for you (if you feel you can never choose something different for yourself, you risk staying on a treadmill that you may one day wish to get off and it puts you in an unhealthy position I feel) and for your husband, son, and any future kids. You CHOOSE to live the way you live and have certain material comforts. Which necessitates two incomes. But it’s a choice. Remember that and own it and do let anyone else choose for you. No shame.
Well said Erin!
I hope you get to bring your baby home soon. <3 Your reply made me tear up. I agree with your response too.
Erin, I suggest looking at your time management skills. It may be that you are not utilizing your time and your outsourced help in ways that help you make meaningful progress.
Ellie, my baby comment and feeling teary comment were meant for you. I might have been unclear in my response.
ETA: We’re NOW onto the process of adoption. My bad. Very. Early.
One day at a time. One breath at a time. You cannot look at it as a marathon, but as a sprint. Put one foot in front of the other. I am an owner of a business that we started when I was 8 mos preg with child 2. in the past 4 years I had child 3. Life has been like a hurricane. I liken it to swimming in the deep end of the ocean without a paddle or a life jacket. I am a better mother with a job. I love my children with all of my heart and soul. But in everything we need BALANCE. I would not have treasured my time with my kids if I stayed at home full time. Having a job sets an example for my girls. Having a job gives me relativity, self awareness, conversation other than kids with husband and so much more. I disagree with the posts that tell you to stay at home. I see a trend of depression in mothers that have stayed home and now have empty nests. Their relevance, individuality, etc. is gone. They are bored to tears. And yes you must aim to spend at least 3 days a week, even if it’s an hour or less to do something that is for you and you only. Again, life is about balance. One day at a time. You will struggle. You will mess up. You will not look perfect every day. You will cry. You will not always win first place but often times we don’t need an A+ to pass. But you have to give a little to get a little. Work hard and play hard. Don’t forget to do what you love and you can love your children, your job, husband, yourself all at the same time. If you weren’t struggling that’s when to worry. And the craziest thing is that when life slows down, you will miss the craziness.
Meant that you have to look at it as a marathon,not a sprint. Pace yourself.
The answer is…there is no answer. What you are feeling continues and there is no end…but how amazing is it that we get to do all of these things?! You are the only one that thinks you aren’t doing it well (I think the same thing of myself!) But these are our times and we just need to hold on and enjoy!
When I had my first child and went back to work, I wished I could go part time and really struggled with wanting to stay home with my son and not being able to. One day
I just accepted that was the situation and was happier after that. Now all these years later, I am very glad that I did not give up my career and I am sure I was just as good a parent as any stay at home mom. Just enjoy it, you are busy and have a wonderful life. Focus on the positive,
I did sleep training with all three of my babies and it saved my life and marriage! Everything just seems more bearable when you’re sleeping a solid eight hours a night, it’s so much easier to be nice to everyone around you too! It’s a tough three days but if you start on a Friday, it’s over and you’re through the worst by Monday. So much easier when they’re younger too. You’re doing a great job, hang in there! X
any working mom feels your exact same sentiments. being a working mom and nursing for a year was one of the hardest (and most rewarding) things I’ve ever done. the 1 recommendation I have: if you LOVE your nanny, you were never feel guilty leaving your child with them. My nanny was built to watch babies – that’s what god put her on this planet for. She is better with my babies, than I am. No shame in that.
bump the nanny’s hours up to 6pm and have her start doing your laundry and dishes. even if you pay a bit more, viola…your quality of life will be SO much better. and it’s not for forever. happy mom = happy baby.
oh and that lack of sleep thing. t hat’s real!!! my husband and I drove each each other crazy when we weren’t sleeping. you will come out of the fog too:) good luck.
wow you have a lot on your plate currently and it is so inspiring to hear you say that it’s hard because that’s the reality of it and that’s what you have to accept. Although I do not have my own children our house to run I do recommend taking just ten minutes a day where ever you are (could be while you are on the toilet haha) to just breathe and drop your shoulders and say I can do it, one step at a time. you can do anything just not everything
First of all – I may be repeating some comments – I did not read any of them! (sorry)
I actually am impressed with all you are accomplishing at once! I don’t personally know anyone who could do all of that really well , all at once. I have read that you CAN have it all, but not all at once. Don’t kill yourself! Most people never write a book, and some (as you have dealt with) can’t ever have their own baby. BUT! Having said all that, if there is anyone who COULD get all that done….it’s probably you! :) Proceed as though success is inevitable….the world is your oyster, and Henry is the pearl.
Right after I wrote the above, I went to FB and read the following quote from a new dad…”There are very few things in life as simultaneously intimate, peaceful, and stress reducing as rocking a baby to sleep.” I would give anything to do that with my late son again – enjoy that part as much as you can! :)
Everyone with kids is in the exact same boat. You have the flexibility to set your schedule and be selective of which projects you work on. I’m finding it difficult to sympathize. Mission accomplished on your attempt to humble brag and get validation from readers.
Sleep training. It won’t change anything on the to do list, or any of the feelings you’re having, but you will be able to deal again. I remember this time so vividly and sleep training changed our life at the time! We did it at 4 mos…and I was at my wits end. Changed EVERYTHING. Ferber. 3 nights. Done.
I wish I could offer some advice, but I think you’ve already got over a 100 pieces of advice to sift thru so I’ll just say that I love you and your straight forward and honest way of interacting with your readers. Whether it is sharing your thoughts on having it all and “falling flat on your face” or sharing your thoughts on interior design or best yet, your opinions on the red carpet, it all makes us enjoy and appreciate you more!!
If I were in your shoes I’d deliver the book late. As a writer I can say that people do it all the time (at least in fiction, where many of my friends work, and film, where I work, though not so much in TV, where deadlines really are unmovable since the show has to go on the air). The sky doesn’t fall. Perhaps you can discuss it with your editor and see if they can adjust the publication schedule so that you have more time? Might not work, but worth a try.
I feel ya! I’m in this same stage right now, still trying to get the right balance down. Remember, what works for others may not work for you and vice versa, so be sure to heed any advice with a grain of salt.
A very wise woman, who had children, and successful job as a lawyer, said to me, “you can have it all, just not at the same time.” That certainly helped me understand how to reset my life and focus on what really mattered at that particular time.
The baby stage was the hardest for me, even with a lot of really good help. I agree with the “outsourcing” comments. It’s easier than ever now with so many delivery services. This is not a time to feel guilty. You need to take care of yourself first so you can take care of your baby and husband, and of course your business as well. It will get easier as your baby gets older and you become more physically independent from each other. Honestly, with all that you do, you really need a great nanny and then several reliable babysitters as well. Best of luck!
I realize my post will garner much HATE. I will admit I have not read all the posts here….but, of the 60+ I have read not ONE person speaks for your son. What does Henry want, deserve or need?
You mention a privileged life.. Will Henry care about your next remodel project? Your next book? Or would he prefer to spend 8-4 with instead of hired help? It’s a few years until he starts school. They go by SO fast and you cannot replace them.
I am sorry you feel so triggered by not only my own comment but, the comments several other women have expressed. To say you are “disgusted and infuriated” by such comments seems extreme. Maybe you are truly conflicted and the opinions expressed by others hit a nerve. I guess what I wanted to say was.. My son is now 20, his birthday is Nov 13th and when your son was born I had a connection. My plan was to go back to my design career. He has Autism. That was the end of that idea.
We struggled financially BIG TIME! but, I had NO choice because not only did we not even have a clear diagnosis, his behavior was so extreme we knew childcare was not an option. So we CUT back…It was a bitch! but, we did it and we made the sacrifice. Not because I am better than others or think I am, but because we had no other options.
Today, he is doing better than we had hoped. I hope you find some peace within yourself in whatever road you choose. But please remember you do have a choice. It’s not all black and white.
Erin has every right to be infuriated with your comment because, to be perfectly honest, it was ridiculous. It sounds like you really struggled to give your son the best possible life, and that’s wonderful, but you implied that she should give up her career, hopes and dreams to do what you did and stay at home taking care of her son. Frankly, that’s just classist, since a large majority of women do not have that luxury to begin with. But more importantly, Erin is able to best parent Henry when she is happy and fulfilled, and for MOST women, happiness and fulfillment come from more things than just their child. Strip those other aspects of life away, and you are stripping away things that can help her to bestow life lessons, knowledge, and the best parts of herself to her child.
It sounds like you had quite a struggle, but Erin’s struggle is not your struggle, and you have exactly zero right to place judgement on the decisions she has made.
Do you not consider that I have to work for financial reasons and the privilege I speak of is that it happens to be at a flexible job that I LOVE instead of for someone else? Insinuating that my son is not a priority is disgusting and infuriating. My son will be proud of my accomplishments and I know that being a working mom makes me a better mom. Maybe that isn’t the case for you, but that doesn’t give you the right to shame my life choices.
Erin, I did not comment on why you work, or any sort of privilege or accomplishments. Of course your son is a priority, but you listed him at number 6, not me.
Guess what – I am a working mom at a business my husband and I own and have built over the last 15 years. I have my MBA degree that I paid for myself with loans. My husband has business on the other side of the country, too, where is he works 7-10 days a month. That has been the case since way before the babies were born. So yes, I know what it is to work, and be the sole caretaker of an infant and a toddler. Back in the days of having 2 children under 2, I went to work I already felt like I worked a full day. I’d be up with the baby feeding, up with the toddler. I didn’t wash my hair. Who knows what I ate. It was exhausting. I didn’t work out for who knows how long.
We have been blessed to have been successful enough to have our child attend private school & the other to join next year for kindergarten. We work after the kids go to bed. We work on weekends. My husband will come and spend some time with the kids, and then work again. When we go on vacation, we answer emails – always. I make my choice to do what I do because of the wonderful gift I have of flexibility. I am able to be a room parent for classroom parties during the day. I LOVE my flexible job at a business I am proud to own.
There are many parents at my child’s school that make different life & career choices. They drop off the child at 7:30 am for pre-school care, and may pick up as late as 6 pm. Many are doctors, lawyers and executives who want that for themselves – and that is fine. They are providing for their families. Maybe they don’t work as much in the evenings or weekends – I don’t know. But I do know that they are often unable to attend the aforementioned classroom parties that I am fortunate to be a part of.
As I write this, my four year old has been up 3 times since going to bed & may be getting sick. My husband is out of town this week. Tomorrow morning, I will get myself up, my 2 children up, feed them breakfast, make 1 lunch, and take them to 2 different schools. And then the day begins. And, I feel blessed beyond belief for the my life, my 2 children, and my flexible crazy job and life.
Again – how do people do it? By making choices – and it sounds like you need to make the choice of adding more hours for your nanny or getting into a daycare center.
One time my son came into my office at 9pm after nightmare, in his diapers and pj’s and said “Mom, are you home?” because I would try to work while “caring” for them and sometimes have a deadline/conf call and say “I’m not home”. Flexibility can be deceiving. Your flexibility exists when you have back up. I think it’s reasonable and realistic to plan for back up and support services as if you were unavailable at home like an “office” worker – 7am to 7pm sitter coverage for instance. My husband and I both juggled sales jobs with home offices and thought we could tag team kids but then I was in my home office from 9pm-midnite. I was not performing well – just crossing things off list, exhausted, out of control and frustrated. If you can swing that, great.
I’m a working mom, also working for myself at a job I love. When it gets hard, I try to draw on how proud I am of my own working mom. Friends have asked why she isn’t around to help more with the baby and I am SO proud to say that she’s a university professor working on issues like hunger and food supply. I feel like my life has been richer for the experience of seeing her work hard, struggle, excel at a challenging career. That’s life for a lot of people. Also, I go to a free support group for working moms that meets at Dedham Health and Athletic twice a month in the evening (run by Beth Israel but you don’t need to have any connection there.) Babies are welcome and it is really nice to brainstorm face to face with other moms about various issues. Hang in there. This is hard!
Well said Stacey! Most of these things on the to do list can wait. You do have to prioritize. We remember moments, memories; NOT THINGS!
Erin – you list 6 items of importance to you – & being a mom to your longed after, IVF miracle, infant child is last on the list. If that is the case, then own it, and move on.
I say this as a mom of 2, ages 4 & 6, who can not believe that it seems like yesterday that I held my just birthed baby and cried with happiness. My baby will enter kindergarten this fall – how did this happen?!?
If you can not afford more than 8 hours of private care, then do a day care where you leave the child 9 to 10 hours. There are thousands & thousands of parents that go back to work after 6 WEEKS, to a full-time, non-flexible position, and put the child in day care. How many of us know of 2, full-time working parents that have 2 or 3 children that do this?
How do people manage, you ask? Accept that you, after 35 + years, you no longer have the luxury of thinking of just you. You can not just decide to go to the gym on whim on a Saturday morning, or sit and read the paper or peruse the internet. Accept that some things are not as important as you think they are – whether that is the picture perfect house or picture perfect instagram.
Or you accept, that you want what you want something different, and you get hire help. That is how.
You absolutely can have it all, and you have worked hard for this life you have created. But you don’t have it have it all right this minute. If you read what you wrote it is clear that you have too much at this moment. Create some space for yourself, without fear that opportunities will dry up if you don’t seize the moment right now. You are so talented and hardworking, your future is bright!
Move some of these deadlines out a bit and buy yourself the one thing you need desperately right now, which is sweet time. Trust that these great opportunities that you’ve worked so hard for will be there when things settle down.
Best Wishes sweet Erin,
I couldn’t have said it better. Perfect response. Sometimes our dreams can shift a bit in order for it to all fit. My dreams haven’t gone away but have been tweaked to fit the here and now. Life changes after becoming a mom. It’s one of the hardest transitions there is. Certainly the hardest I’ve encountered. But when I stopped trying to make this life as a mom look like my life before, and accepted the changes, it started to get btr. How about a night nurse one night a wk so you can get some real sleep?
8-4 help not enough help as you can already see. Most career moms have back up until at least 7 in addition to full/part time housekeeper. They simply have no choice if they want to sustain themselves, their careers and their families.
I think of hiring help and spending $ on time-saving services as “buying a piece of my life back”., send out the wash, have regulat cleaning service and support your local personal chef who’s trying to get their buiz going-everything you can manage to NOT Do and schedule regular date nite. Wear your clothes an extra season, lease a less expensive vehicle, stay in less expensive vaca places…go to supercuts. Lower your standards in less painful ways to make space for the actual experience and enjoyment of the good stuff. Easy to say. Hard to do. I look back and laugh at the time I sent 19 loads of laundry to wash/dry/fold!! Thought I could do it all! Good kuck-its an adjustment period and its intense. You’ll get there-cut yourself some slack??
Here is how you do it- it’s not about having it all, but having enough. By this I mean, don’t worry about prioitizing a certain part of your life, but understand that there will be give and pull in each area. For instance, date night out in a cute flirty dress may now become delivery pizza and Netflix in Jammies. Henry may have to let a day go by without a bath, and your fur babies may have to settle with cuddling with you while you work on your book or during your “night in” with your husband and that’s ok! The world will not end. And breakfast for dinner- as a mom of three kids under 2 years old- i can tell you it’s fine- it’s called breanner!
The only place where I will urge you to be careful is when it comes to you- you need to do that thing which helps you ease the stress of the day, and helps you step out of yourself. For me it’s reading, for others cooking or painting or planning of just plain vegging in front of the tv for 30 minutes. Taking that time- EVERY DAY – is very important or you will go crazy. Not every other day, not once a week, not when you can, but schedule it in EVERY DAY.
Learning this new juggling act, I think, is the HARDEST learning curve of motherhood. It made me wonder what I did with my time before I had kids! And that’s ok too, because as others have said here, time flies when you have kids, and you’ll have more time on your hands before you know it.
But until then, remember you aren’t alone in this, enjoy everything you have. As long as everyone in your house, including you, is happy and healthy, you are already 99% successful. And that’s good enough.
Ok — HMB has said so much good stuff. I will add that having kids is the most humbling thing I have ever done. Ever. I too, struggle with being the mother of 2 young kids, running a design business, working on a book, maintaining a blog, marriage and as of two weeks ago, a new puppy. Recently I went to a yoga class and my wise teacher talked about how we ask of ourselves what we would NEVER ask of anyone else — that the expectations we have of ourselves is often so insane, that if we asked another person to do what we ask of ourselves, they would never talk to us again!
So — when Sunday night comes, I make a huge list of what I want to do, and then I highlight what MUST BE done that week. There’s a big difference. As you’re coming to realize, you cannot do it all. So now you begin looking at your to-do list with a different perspective. Identify 2-3 things that have to get done each day. What can wait? What can you DELEGATE? (I know…for us type-A’s it’s hard to delegate, but new mantra, “Done is better than perfect!”).
Finally, be gentle and compassionate with yourself. I often imagine myself as the little girl version of myself to illicit the compassion I would like to have towards myself. I promise that little girl I’m going to be good to her and take care of her.
You’re figuring this out…and growing as a person. The first year of motherhood was my most challenging year of life. I PROMISE it gets better. And you will be better and stronger on the other side of motherhood. Hang in there….and ask for help. Oh — and coffee…lots of coffee! xo
We have a lot in common. Thanks for the advice, too. xx
I second this comment! I know it’s hard but everything doesn’t have to be perfect. That’s what I have learned.
And also – I feel like once Henry is a little older you won’t feel as guilty because he will be having fun with other kiddos and on play dates. Just enjoy his babyness now and enjoy your work too!
Thank goodness for great husbands – i couldn’t work like I do without my husband doing so much to get my daughter to and from daycare. I agree – single parents are amazing and deserve a Medal of Honor.
Also, sorry about the ramble, but outsourcing is so important when you can do it! It makes you a better parent for sure. Don’t feel like you are doing anything wrong by doing this. You have worked hard for your success precisely so you can provide for your family in the best way possible.
Years ago I saw an episode of Oprah about women having it all, and Oprah said, “I think women CAN have it all; they just can’t have it all at once.” As a work-from-home mom of four, I think of this almost every day as I shift focus and priorities from day to day or hour to hour, it seems like. Sometimes some things have to give, and that’s okay.
Erin – Mother of three, full-time professional, wife, sister, daughter, friend, sometimes volunteer here. So much good advice today. Bottom line takeaway for me: You are not alone. We all share the struggle with the juggle and I hope that comforts you. There is no magic answer someone has or a way of doing something you are missing. Make sure you are being true to what makes you happy and it makes the juggling act easier and a choice not a chore. If one day something that was making you happy is not (I am talking work, projects, etc. not family obviously…) stop doing it and regroup. It is a must. Having it all means making it through the day and getting up tomorrow to do it all again. That’s it and that is success! Also occasionally for me it means having all of the bag of milanos in one sitting. Cheers to you.
I consider myself lucky to be a career-oriented person in the fashion world, director to a staff of 12, sister, friend, wife, and a mom of 2 (including an infant that -sometimes- sleeps through the night)… I have resigned myself to be ok with a little chaos, aim for a loose schedule in regards to feedings/naps/bedtime, and expect that some days will just be crazy and other days I will feel like I have accomplished something.
Outsourcing a home cleaning service, having groceries delivered, and Amazon prime have also been a lifesaver in many ways.
And honestly can we all agree to stop saying “have it all”? We’re busy. Who isn’t though?? Everybody’s busy. It’s ok. I’ve been overwhelmingly busy both with and without kids. I don’t know! I feel lucky for everything in my life and would rather life be a little busy and chaotic sometimes than not have the things I have in my life.
Like is it really a big deal to resort to cereal for dinner some nights? Do you really need to start on that book project right now – during a time when you are overwhelmed with other projects and a spouse who is away? Probably not the best time to even address such a thing.
Life is easier when you prioritize more immediate projects, delegate the things you can, and the creativity needed for things later on will come when there is a little bit more headspace.
Erin – this post really hit home for me. I have a 7 month old boy and went back to work full time when he was 3 months and have been constantly trying to figure out the balance. When I work all day, the time between getting off work and going to bed is what I call “Survival Mode” where I essentially try to squeeze in all of my mom/housewife duties into a couple of hours. Sometimes I feel like I’m rocking it and sometimes (lots of times) I get overwhelmed by everything on my To Do Lists. When I first went back to work, I had a meltdown every couple of days. Then, it became once a week. Now I’m at about 1 meltdown a month. I don’t think anything has gotten easier, but I think my perfectionist self is getting better at cutting myself a little slack. I’m not going to suggest you cut anything out of your life because this is the world we working moms live in – you CAN’T cut anything out! But lowering my standards for MYSELF has eased some of my stress. I loved the article about how Having It All Kind of Sucks, and I re-read it often to make myself feel better. Even that article doesn’t offer any solutions but it does help knowing we aren’t alone, and the author explained my feelings better than I had been able to. Good luck. Henry is adorable, and try cutting yourself some slack!
My daughter is 8 months old, and I feel the twinge of shittiness all the time! Basically, we decided that this phase of life is just going to be a little bit of the best and a little bit of the worst. One random thing that really helped for my family: I asked my husband to go to work early on Tuesdays/Thursdays so he could leave work early and pick up the baby. (I normally do drop-off/pick-up from daycare because he works an hour outside of town). I can do whatever I want on those evenings… work late, work out, etc. It’s glorious!
Also–ditto to single moms. I work for an organization that supports single parent homeless families, and that reality slaps me in the face whenever I’m feeling particularly beat down!
I’m a full-time lawyer married to a full-time lawyer, and we’re the parents of two boys, ages 4 and 6. I think I’ve said here before that when it comes to work and family, “balance” is a verb, not a noun. All of us trying to balance both can be sucked into thinking about our approach to the balance as a big issue that requires a major over-arching choice, i.e., in life in general, am I going to prioritize work or family? But really, the balance we strike emerges from a series of smaller decisions we have to make everyday, i.e., this morning, should I be the mystery reader at school, or show up on time to the important work conference where I’ll make good connections? (This is a real-life choice I had to make just this morning.) The daily nature of the balance is both a blessing and a curse. It means we’re confronted with it every single day (and therefore face moments of guilt every.single.day), but it also means we don’t have to feel pressured to make some giant life choice right this second, and stick to it forever. Just got back from a long work trip? Take the morning and be the mystery reader! Wrapping up a spring break vacation where you were supermom? Sit in the front at the work conference (and hell, treat yourself to a latte stop on the way)! Working the balance every day is exhausting, but I also think it has a silver lining: kids put your career in perspective, and a career puts your kids’ needs in perspective. Keep on keeping on, superwomen!
I have no suggestions other than to just keep paddling. The other is to remember that Henry basically needs food and love. If you are feeding him and loving him, he’ll be great. Now is not the time to be stressing about tummy time and visual development with the right books and .. God, I don’t even remember what else you are “supposed” to be doing at that age. Come to think of it, food plus love was basically all my husband needed to be happy too. = ) You are doing a great job.
I have been a long time reader and love every post.( I am sure there will be negative responses to this but in no way do I mean this negative. ) I understand your wanting to do it all because it all means so much to you but I also remember all of your posts on your struggle to be a mom. I don’t think any of us (mothers) will ever look back and think we should have worked more. The blog readers (myself included) can wait, the book can wait, etc. But, sweet babies don’t wait. They grow in a blink ( I am figuring that out … I have a 14 month old ) Take help when you can and take care of yourself but love on your baby and your hubby. All the best to you….you are doing an awesome job balancing it all….I tip my hat to ya!
THANK YOU so much for acknowledging single parents in this post! Seeing my mother raise me completely on her own makes me acutely sensitive to posts like this. I really appreciate that you recognize that people all over the world do this without a better half (and usually on a significantly lower income).
I don’t have my own children yet, but reading your post made me feel for you and see my future self in your interrupted perfectionism – an affliction I already feel frequently – without a baby! You’ll get through this – you have a support system. Be vocal about the assistance you need. This is not a cop out – it is survival.
“Interrupted perfectionism”- perfect way to put it!!
I think it’s just going to take some time to figure it out for you. I have two little guys and after each was born it took time to figure out how to juggle it all not feel like I was failing at something (or many things) every day.
Forget about figuring it out during the first 6 months; that’s survival mode. You have to seriously cut yourself some slack. Don’t give up on your dreams, don’t quit what excites you…but cut yourself some slack. Seems like it’s time to change some deadlines, maybe cut back on the number of clients (not dramatically, but a little), put things in perspective. You can do this. You just need it to feel less like a sprint and take it more like a marathon.
And every time I feel like a hot mess and things are falling apart it’s clearly time for a mommy night out. There’s nothing so rejuvenating as sharing a glass of wine with my girlfriends over dinner and commiserating and laughing together.
And to be clear, any time my husband is away for 1 or many days and I’m flying solo…it just ain’t pretty. He’s a big part of my sanity, a huge help at home…he’s the other half of our team. Couldn’t agree more about the single parent – I bow down, as well.
So let Andrew come home, take time to decompress, schedule dinner/drink(s) with your girlfriends, and exhale. You got this!
Erin, each one of the things you list are all pretty major in themselves. i think when you add in from a pre-baby BUSY life an actual baby life turns upside down pretty fast. On top of that, crazy hormones and no sleep add to the mix to make post baby 6 months pretty hard. Maybe you don’t have to choose to give up some things, but just put on hold. i remember thinking, can i live without the possiblity of…..(fill in blank) with the major stuff in your life. If you can live without for a month then put that on hold to clear your plate. Maybe your blog is twice weekly – would free up time and i can guarantee you wouldn’t lose any readers. Maybe book is just put on hold for 6 months till you can feel more control on things. All of these things are amazing in their own way but can be miserable when mixed all together, hence, not having joy in any of it. it’s just life sorting itself out and even harder for someone is normally really in control – again, hang in there and trust your gut on what to do.
This is probably the least of the challenges, but I have found that if I sprinkle a little cocoa powder on my dry shampoo, it prevents ‘george washington head’. You don’t smell the cocoa/chocolate at all.
sigh. Been there and came out the other side. I was an IT Project Manager for many years and at the end of the day, I had to approach my life as though it were a difficult project. The bottom line is that you always only have 3 choices – 1) reduce your deliverables, 2) add resources, or 3) extend your timeline. That’s it.
For me, I did some of all 3 to get thru my days, weeks, and months. Reducing my deliverables – meals became super simple and pretty lame. Breakfast was a cereal bar. Dinner was often rotisserie chicken and salad, day after day. Hair went up in pony or bun. Makeup became a bronzer and mascara. Adding resources – I sent a lot of clothes to the dry-cleaners that did pick up and delivery. I outsourced all yardwork and hired a maid 2x a month. Extend your timeline – at work I built buffer time in to most of my tasks and honestly, no one noticed but me. If something would normally take me 2 days, I’d give my self 3. I stopped hilighting my hair so I didn’t have to hit the salon so often, especially since I was wearing it up so much.
Lastly, I stopped saying my life was “SO busy” and said it was “full”. It was all of my choosing and I needed to remind myself that I get to pick and I get to pick what, where, when, and how. I forced myself to do some prioritizing.
ps – When they sleep better so many other things fall in to place. You get some evening time back because you aren’t so exhausted.
Gurl! I feel ya! It’s so hard, right! My kids are now 9 and 11 and it’s been a long road. I would echo some of the previous comments. Becoming mommy sometimes feels so overwhelming. Being Daddy is an important job too.
– As Henry gets older, let your husband be a dad without you there is to swoop in. Allow him to thrive in that role. Lesson learned for me, the default parent thing is real and eventually mom is doing EVERYTHING!
– Ruthlessly attack your to do list. Evaluated everything on the list and say no a lot.
– If you want to keep working and doing thing that give you joy, you have to put that first sometimes and put your son first other times (and your husband). It’s not all important at the same time. If you have trusted child care, that’s the best!
With little kids, the days are long and the years are short. You’ll figure out your balance for your life and don’t listen to the judgement of others. There are a million ways to raise kids and it doesn’t all have to look the same. And yes, even if you work, you are raising your kids. You won’t miss any milestones and he’ll love you tons.
I have been contemplating your question all day long . As a working mother of 2 grown children – ages 22 and 17, I feel compelled to reach out to you – I would really like to give you a heartfelt hug!! Having it all – what a concept!! I so desperately want to convey in the most compassionate tone possible – stop beating yourself up.
You are on a journey of self discovery – Motherhood – and it takes time for the enormity of this life changing event to sink it. Just like any other skill, it will take time to master – and as you adjust – you will readjust your expectations of “Perfection”, and reorder your priorities and come up with some crazy time-management techniques – like breastfeeding while doing laundry and vacuuming – don’t ask. Just be patient with yourself. Coming from a type A personality – it’s not easy, but possible. As my mom used to say – “Everything is going to be ok.” Her mantra of hopeful optimism would carry me through and if that advice didn’t work I would fall back on my mother-in-laws wisdom – Everything changes!! Good and bad – it sounds simplistic but when I was lamenting the nights of no sleep, I felt hope knowing that before long “things will change”– and my babies would sleep through the night — and I would be ok. And as for the Good – that means when you are in a very smooth patch – be in the moment – enjoy your blessings — your husband, your baby and your family – they are truly the most wonderfully miraculous gifts that you have to hold. Both of these women are now physically gone from my life, but their words and love continue on.
I absolutely adore your voice and your design sensibilities – Thank you for sharing so much of yourself – I feel very honored to be a part of your journey.
I dont think anyone can tell you what you are capable of……only you know the answer . We all manage things differently……… just know its a long road and please pace yourself. My husband always says, “Life is a marathon not a sprint”.
You can bring your baby to post natal yoga til they crawl. I did this weekly for 6 months. Saved me! Baby rests on his back on one of those wool blankets at the top of your mat with a couple of toys scattered around. You do yoga, stopping when he needs you, but you do yoga. I’m SURE they have such classes in Boston.
Also: I taught my husband how to properly fold laundry, how to put dinner on the table by 6, how to give baby a bath. I realized I was not holding him to the same standard I would were he a woman. That’s just bs. I didn’t walk into my first lawyer job and have someone say, we’ll let poor performance slide since you’re a woman.
You are deep into the baby trenches, and it is very hard! It is difficult to take a long-term view at this point, but I promise you that it does get better over time. That being said, there are always challenges of one kind or another in life. Maybe it’s trying to “do it all” now, maybe later it is an aging parent, or a close relative struggling with cancer, or even a deep personal disappointment. I don’t think anyone would fault you for putting your blog, or your book, or even your business on the back burner for a while. One of my favorite design bloggers stopped blogging for a few years after she had her second child and is one blogging very very sporadically now, and another favorite blogger who just returned to blogging after a year’s hiatus explained that she needed to take the time to help her oldest child through the college admissions process. We understand!
Some things that may or may not have already been mentioned, from my perspective as a working mom to two young children 27 months apart “back in the day” and now an even busier stay-at-home mom to two middle schoolers and two dogs:
Outsource everything you possibly can! Or just let it go!
Schedule a weeknight evening for yourself once a month (or more often if you can swing it)–go shopping after work, take a yoga class, meet friends for dinner.
Find friends who are similarly in the trenches. Maybe that is a weekend playgroup where you can vent with other moms, maybe it is one of those workout classes where you push Henry in a stroller (I did one called Stroller Strides years ago), maybe it is even an online parenting message board or two (this was my saving grace when I was stuck at a desk for 9+ hours a day –may sound weird but I made some really great online friends with babies/kids the exact same ages as mine and we even took a girls trip together after getting to know each other online for several years)
Hang in there!
[…] mom-in-law sent me this blog post today from on of my favorite bloggers, Erin Gates, on her struggle to figure out just how she is supposed to “have it all”. How do […]
((Hugs)) I think we’ve all been there in some shape or form. I too remember feeling intense respect and awe for single parents and parents with multiples at this stage. You’re in the rough patch. Honestly staying afloat is all you can do. You are working on crappy sleep…you are human, not a robot. You need to give yourself some slack. You certainly don’t have to drop any of your plans and dreams but why do you have to do it ALL at once? I’m sure most of your blog readers would perfectly understand if you took a summer break from us. Hang on. Seriously, a year from now this will feel like a distant memory.
You’re amazing and I pretty much LIVE for this blog and your work. You can do it. And sneak naps. Naps are magical.
Even when kids do not work out for you, you cannot have it all at the same time. Outsource everything you can afford to. Make choices at work, what has to happen, what can wait, what I can give to someone else to do. Maybe the book (its about kids and decorating, right) will be even more fabulous once you have lived it with a Henry who is walking and touching everything? Maybe your staff can plan out blog posts for the month (or quarter) and you can delegate some posts to them (I really enjoyed the post last week with their Spring finds lists). Maybe your line of products can be strategically sequenced so that you have time to think and ready your operation for production. A good friend who would have been a mom role model had a good approach: focus on what’s the important to you and some of the work goes away automatically. Hang in there. You are doing great!
Erin, you poor thing, my heart aches for you. I laughed when I read “Lean In” – without around the clock help and a spouse who works from home (on work that doesn’t involve client calls or deadlines) it is just not possible for women to lean in to both motherhood and a full time career. Decisions and choices – some really hard ones – are the only answer. Either that or a much larger staff. I hope you can get some sleep soon. :(
Accept that you really can’t have it all – not at the same time. So, something will have to give – but only temporarily. Sometimes, it’ll be job-related…..sometimes it’ll be time with your husband…..sometimes it’ll mean time away from Henry. Balance is all about being able to shift when necessary. It doesn’t mean that you have to give any of it up. It just means that, at times, work will get closer to 100% than other areas of your life. Other times, Henry (or Andrew) will need you more and you’ll say “to hell with work today”. It will get a little easier when you get past the baby years (and they really do go fast). But, when Henry’s 9 or 10 and you’re adding travelling sports to the mix, you’ll want to pull your hair out again :) But, I suspect that, without some of this chaos, like many of us, you’d be bored. And, keep in mind that, as you’re working hard to keep all of the balls in the air, you’re teaching your son about hard work, resilience, coping skills, setting priorities. That’s important stuff! BTW….if his pictures are any indication, little Henry is not feeling the least bit ignored. Hang in there. This is part of the working mom job description. Some days you’ll want to quit. But, if you ride it out, you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish.
I think you are doing great Erin!!! Hang in there. I’m 37, mom of two girls (8&6) and I chose to stay home. I wish that I had pursued my career and juggled working with having children. Now I feel a little out of the loop when it comes to the professional world and am struggling getting back in there!
Once Henry starts sleeping through the night you will feel so much better. It seems like the impossible dream right now, but it will happen. And when it does all of this will be worth it.
I agree with an earlier suggestion to take up grandparents on sleeping over at your house. If they can cover a night feeding or two you will feel like a new person!!! Good luck. Just try to cut yourself some slack!
I truly sympathize, Erin, but I do think you need to make some choices. You can eventually ” have it all,” if that even is such a thing, but not all at the same time sometimes. I would suggest putting off the book for a year, and getting help with either the blog or your design work. Think about what is most time-consuming or draining that you could outsource affordably–grocery delivery instead of grocery shopping, a neighborhood kid to walk the dogs, etc. And realize there are times that it is the worst–like when your husband is away, a child is sick and you have 3 deadlines–but then it gets better. Really, it does … but you have to take care of yourself in the meantime. Sleep is really important to your perspective and ability to cope. All I can offer is that I have helped 4 different top interior designers write excellent books, so I am here to help with that if you need it! I know you don’t have time, but when you do, you should read I Don’t Know How She Does It. It will make you laugh through your tears … Hang in there xxx
Sometimes it helps to say, “what can I do today?” instead of putting things like “writing a book” at the top of a to do list. So daunting if it comes after pick up groceries. I have two kids (8 and 5) and a full-time job along with my husband and we both travel for work, but you have to realize some days you are a rock star at home and some days, you are a rock star at work, but you are rarely going to be both. That is totally okay. And I completely agree with the outsourcing. Other than the human contact which you need to fill up your own cup(babies and husbands and friends), I always say, if there is a service, I am using it. Shamelessly.
Advice I received from a mom of four (as I am now): LOWER YOUR STANDARDS. STRATEGICALLY. You have been successful because you are a perfectionist. Be smart enough now to choose where that’s just not important. She used towels as an example – who cares if there are clean ones all the time? My kids reuse them for a week and are all happy, well adjusted, and clean. Outsourcing is great too, but pick some battles to deliberately give up on, because they just don’t matter. Think about what you’d want your eulogy to mention, and focus on that – your family, the best aspects of your work, and give your attention to that. Don’t let the rest rob you of attention/time/sleep, it simply doesn’t matter.
Exactly! Something suffers when you try to do it all. The key is to spread the suffering around so that nothing suffers too much! hahaha… Seriously, the perfection thing will make a person more miserable than just about anything I can think of…. you have to learn to let go a little if you want more happiness and less misery.
I like the eulogy thought. I recently attended a funeral of a family friend whose children all got up and spoke. One of the most profound things his daughter said was that she always knew her Dad loved her… but what she cherished most over the years was how much he liked her… how he wanted to spend time doing fun things with her and her brothers and sisters because he just liked hanging out with them….and they liked hanging out with him, too.
I’ve since tried to make sure my kids, my husband and my dad know that I’d rather spend time with them than anyone or anything else in the world. I don’t ever want them thinking they were second to anything…..
I’ve been having this identical conversation with my husband and colleagues for the last 6 mos. My husband’s career has recently taken off, which is so great! But it shifts more of the home stuff to my shoulders (we’ve always had a 50-50 partnership). I also just returned to work about a month or so ago after having my 2nd (born 3 weeks before Henry!). I feel like I’m epically sucking at being a wife & mom because I’m always stressed, at work because I’m unable to do the job the way I used to/still want to, and at taking care of me because I’m not. My colleagues said make peace with doing the best I can, and that’s enough, but I have to say, I don’t know if I can. Thanks for this post. Good to know I’m not alone (but sorry things also suck for you)
There is nothing I can really add that has not been said before. But, it does get easier. I have a 3 and 5 year old and things are so much better than they were even a year ago. Agree- yes, outsource as much as you possibly can. It is a short term (sort of problem) to get you through the really really hard first few years. Prioritize your relationship with your husband- you are in this together. Nothing tests a marriage like two screaming children, no sleep and a lot of chaos….you are in this together! Finally- the mom friends- a blessing and a curse (sometimes). Surround yourself with mom friends (or non mom friends) who totally understand that you are different than them. Ones who will offer advice when you ask for it, be honest with you about their struggles and show you a fun time when you need it. A mom friend once told me that she loves our friendship because we both just put our “hot mess” out there. We don’t try to make it seem like we have it figured out. Guess what… no one does. Yep. Some days I feel like I am slaying this working mom thing . Other days I am BARELY making it through. The biggest thing- give up the guilt. This my friend takes a bit of time. But, is possible. Sometimes my kids drink non-organic milk because it is what the convenience store down the street sells and I could not get to Whole Foods. Sometimes when my husband is traveling I bribe them with an M&M to get them out the door so I can get to work on time. But- my kids know I love them, I keep them safe, and we have kick ass dance parties in our kitchen. Hang in there.
I think that the only thing you can really do is to focus upon prioritizing tasks/family each day. I have two boys (5 & 2) and I also have my own business. Some days my focus is on planning & pursuing activities as a family. Other days, it’s on work stuff. The “to-do” list always a million miles along, but I try to be realistic about what I can accomplish today versus what can done tomorrow, or in a few weeks…. It’s so important to also take of yourself and allow yourself time to decompress and breathe. I’m a much more engaged parent when I have “me” time. Yes, your kids are only little once, but life doesn’t stop when you have children. Just put one foot in front of the other and you’ll make progress, even if you don’t see it in the moment.
I’m a perfectionist and a friend once told me that my 80% effort is better than most peoples 100%. In your case, I’d say your 50% is better than most peoples 100%!!
Maybe pick three days to write your blog instead of 5. As long as we know what days you’ll be posting you won’t lose readership.
Your feelings so resonate with me, and it’s so hard. It cycles – it gets easier, then it gets difficult again, then it gets easier. Just hang on and do whatever you need to do to maintain your sanity. My kids are now 8 and 6 and I don’t understand how that happened…they were JUST BABIES 2 seconds ago! Life is busier now with things like sports, volunteering at schools, helping with schoolwork, planning playdates, scheduling summer activities, etc. It doesn’t end…until they are grown and gone, and then we perhaps we will find ourselves missing the chaos. That said, my lifesavers have been finding time to workout (in the early mornings is the only time I can fit it in, but it makes me feel SO much better and gives me the energy to not feel like I’m trudging through my day, but actually conquering it). Also, regular date nights with my husband. Schedule a sitter to come in Friday nights at 7 (or whenever Henry sleeps). He won’t miss you…he’ll be sleeping. Go out, have a fabulous meal, people watch, joke and reconnect with Andrew. It’s not only good for your marriage, but it feels good to have that adult interaction and connection. Or, my husband and I used to have our nanny stay with the kids late on Fridays and we’d head straight from work to “Happy Hour” for an hour or 2 before heading home to the kids. It was always fun to hang with all the “singles” and observe, while we caught up with each other too. Whatever works with your schedule…just make it routine and it will eventually become a habit.
Christina’s Friday Happy Hour suggestion is a great one. We’ve done that a few times (should do it more) and it not only gives you one on one time to re-connnect but really starts the weekend off on a fun note.
This is really small, but try listening to the “Happier” podcast when you’re in the car. I’m on maternity leave wth my third before I go back to work full time and I’ve been binge listening to it. It has great little tips for leading a happier and more productive life and many have really helped me in the insanity that is being a working mom of 3.
Also, to the best you can, try and not multitask too much or you may end up feeling like you suck at everything. When you’re with the baby, try and be with him 100%. Same with the book or client work . Doing multiple things at the same time can make it feel like you can’t get any done to your satisfaction.
I have 2 under 4 and I struggle with finding the right balance for everything. I know it sounds a bit selfish, but what helps me the most is thinking of ME and my mental health first. If I am having a bad day, my entire family is having a bad day. I take an hour each day to focus on me – either working out, meditating, watching TV, reading a book, whatever makes me content that day. However, when my kids were under 1, it was a little bit harder to find that balance of “me time”, because they need you so much. The first year of parenting is the worst (for me at least). Your entire life/routine has changed and finding the new you takes time. You’ll find the right balance soon. Things will fall into place little by little… it just takes time… Above all remember to breathe.
Couldn’t agree with this more! With a four year old, a six month old and my husband and I both working full-time, we learned quickly that ME time every single day is crucial for everything else to work. Whether it’s to take a break and binge-watch a favorite show or (even better) going out for a walk, take some time for yourself. If my husband and I aren’t feeling healthy (mentally or physically) then we know our work and our family will suffer.
It is SO damn hard to carve out that “me” time… trust me I know… but it is so necessary! Schedule that in to your day, just like any other meeting. And just like all the other mamas said, it will get easier! Let go of expectations, say no to things that aren’t absolutely necessary to your family or your work, and feel absolutely no guilt about saying no.
Hang in there! You will come out the other side of this! And just know that there are millions of other mamas trying figure out how to do it too. We’re all with you!
Asking for help is not a sign of failure either… We all need help…
Oh my dear, you need rest. My children are grown now, but I remember all too well the fog of exhaustion and overload.
You need to protect your health and energy level or you will not be able to sustain yourself and enjoy your family and work.
Instead of saying that nothing can change, delay or defer at least two or three things on your list. It is a sign of exhaustion that you feel that nothing can be fixed.
Ask for help to figure it out, right now, from your husband and either close friends or family. Ask today.
When you have just one or two small solutions that you find with the help of your loved ones you will feel so much better.
I quit my job and have never regretted it. My kids are 14, 12 and 8. If you can do it financially, and won’t regret it, you should. Or, figure out a way to scale it back–don’t take as many projects. A word to the wise–families get busier as kids get older! And, one person can only do so much. It takes an army to raise kids today. Personally, I wanted to be part of the army! So if you can give up some little luxuries, and won’t have any regrets, that is what I would do. You would have more time to blog for sure, stay in the design world and stay current. One last thought that a friend of mine with four young kids including a set of twins told me “I am doing the best I can, and that’s pretty good!”
This is quotes from powerful women about having it all. Their answers are all you can’t… not at the same time. http://apracticalwedding.com/2015/04/feminist-quotes-having-it-all/
Things do get easier when the baby gets older. The first year with my first was just a haze. I remember very clearly the burning feeling in my eyes from having such little and totally interrupted sleep. I remember feeling overly emotional about everything. And I remember the night the baby slept through the night but I didn’t. And I remember choosing to do it all over again with a second child. It’s a short period in your life, it’s ok to slow down a little bit.
Not for everyone, but having an au pair– extra hours, last minute hours, dog care, date nights– it is all possible for $1500/ month all in. You need the space though.
And occasionally they total your car and you have to get a new one. We are getting our 4th in June and I’m dying without one now.
Considering an au pair. Assuming you used an agency, care to share which one?
Cultural Care Au Pair– we had Au pair from 3 months on…
Not sure if you saw this blog post by your fellow awesome blogger and design superstar Emily Henderson, http://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/the-first-four-months-with-two-kids?_sft_category=advice+my-family
but it might make you feel better…. and I LOVED her comment, which while I know Andrew is great, really resonated with me “I’m a firm believer that every person and company should put family or personal lives first, and that men should “lean out” instead of women “leaning in.” Wow…. that shouldn’t be mind-blowing, but kind of is….. good luck and hang in there. I remember when my son was a toddler someone saying not to fret over what your child ate in a given day, but rather to strive for balance over the course of a week — maybe if you broaden out your mental timeframe, you’ll feel better.
I feel similarly, and I don’t yet have kids, which makes me question how I’ll handle everything when that happens… fur kids, job, side job, side job #2, husband, sleep, eating, dressing oneself… It’s kind of terrifying how 24 hours in a day just doesn’t add up to enough time to take care of everything. I love that you have a nanny, so you can at least be around Henry even if you aren’t hands on with him the entire day – I’m hoping that will be our situation (me working from home with a nanny) in the future.
Until moms can figure out a better situation, I vote training the fur kids to be assistants. You know, making dinner, running errands… ;)
I don’t like the term. “Having it all” because it implies some blissful state where you are managing to be both the kind of mom you always wanted to be ( present, patient, fun, nurturing) as well as a career woman with big dreams and meticulous attention to detail . The fact is being a mom with a career is a messy, chaotic, tug-o-war where everyone wants a bigger piece of you. The solution? More hired help cause “it takes a village” is not a meaningless cliche. And for those of us whose line of work simply doesn’t earn enough to afford that, we learn to exist in this crazy state with the satisfaction that we are doing our best and doing more than most :)
My child is almost 5 and I still struggle with this daily. My word of advice – outsource everything you can, except the things you value the most. I outsource my grocery shopping (Blue Apron and Peapod), I outsourced my cleaning and laundry for a long time (my nanny did it), outsource your yard work (landscaper), hire a dog walker (so you can just cuddle/play at night). Have your assistants dream up blog content/topics, and you just write the prose (so it’s still in your voice). Remember this: in today’s world, it’s MUCH more normal for Henry to have a working mom, than a stay at home mom (so don’t compare yourself!). And the chores and the blog won’t leave, but children do – so spend time with Henry! This will literally be a lifelong balance, so just accept you can’t do it all – once you do, you will be SO much happier!
you have to just have faith that it will all get better and IT DOES! you will look back when your son is 16 and say – I don’t know how I did it….BUT I DID. Just put your feet on the floor each day and realize that will be the hardest thing you will do every day!
we have all been in your boat but TRUST us it gets better and you have a wonderful support group to help you through it.
Years ago when my first was Henry’s age, the article below really helped me. Generally, my philosophy (as a 30 something with a demanding job, husband with a demanding job and two kids) – outsource absolutely everything you can. Cut way back on any product purchases and invest instead in services that will help you. Ask your nanny to grocery shop, find a night nurse if you can afford it (we did 2 nights a week until our baby slept through the night – so expensive but so worth it), find a gym with childcare, develop a roster of babysitters. And cut yourself lots of slack. Once Henry starts to sleep through the night everything will get way easier.
I hear you!
In my opinion, having it all is overrated. And having it all, is not having it all, all at the same time or doing it all, all by yourself. Prioritize and delegate, delegate, delegate!
“Life is a journey, not a destination” – right? Hang in there!
If you are lucky enough to have grandparents who would like to spend alone time with Henry, take them up on it. I have been so blessed to be able to give my son and his lovely wife some time together by watching my grandson overnight. They miss him but come back rested and feeling great Might work for you too!
I also wanted to echo that if you need to do less on the blog, y our readers u ndrestand. I would really miss your posts but if that is something that can give, go for it.
Erin, your post has resonated with me so much I’m about to cry here at my desk. My daughter just turned 1, and I was also just promoted at work (which I am excited about but also makes me want to cry since there’s more work and expectations, and now other people rely on me.)
My only piece of perspective, since I am a few months ahead of you in mommy time, is that the really hard infant months and no sleep do get better as your child gets older. Every 6 weeks should get a little easier with the sleep. As other moms have posted, I would try and put on hold any thing that can wait a few months or a year.
Hang in there!
My perspective at 56 having raised three children and being married for 30 years. Put your children and your husband first. Make your family and a calm home life your most important goal. Everything else comes after that. Then you will have your answer.
I think this is great advice. She isn’t saying quit your job, just think about what is most important to you in life. A good reminder for everyone, even for stay-at-home moms like me! Yesterday I was trying to get to a certain stopping point on a project by the end of the day. Yet when my 14 year old son suddenly asked whether I wanted to go to the park with him — this happens pretty much never anymore — I dropped what I was doing and headed to the park to watch him climb some “epic” trees that he had discovered over the weekend with a friend.
A good friend of mine used to come home from work and immediately wash her face and change into her pjs so she could be totally relaxed and comfortable and physically transition from work to home. She said it helped her have calmer evenings with the kids when they were younger. I always have thought this was a great idea!
Would you tell a man to put his children and wife first? To make his family and a calm home life HIS most important goal?
Just to clarify, the baby stage is easier in that you can outsource things and they’re not as aware as say an older child. The baby stage is infinitely more difficult in terms of lack of sleep, feeling like a dairy cow, inability to find time to exercise, hang out with friends, shower. That part does get much easier. They eventually sleep through the night and usually start sleeping in and you can drink a full cup of coffee or glass of wine uninterrupted. Hang in there Erin. I agree that I check your blog every day and more than any other blog I read but would be more than supportive for you to take a break and pick right back up if you decided to return as I’m sure most of your followers would.
Yes I would. Obviously people have to work. Work is good and it’s how we support our families, but I put my husband and children first and I encourage my husband to put me and our children first. People are and will always be more important. I worked in a nursing home and never heard one person say they wish they had worked more, male or female, professions across the board. Every single person with way more wisdom than I, and I’m assuming you have, (assuming the majority of Erin’s readers are younger) said they wish they’d spent more time with their families and realized that trumped everything. Yes, People work hard for their careers and you probably have too and it would never be an easy decision to give any of it up but I think the people saying put your family first are just trying to give wisdom from their experience. My husband did take another job because he wanted to do well in his career but also be able to give his absolute best to being a dad as well which his previous job made it hard to do. He missed stuff and wasn’t willing to continue doing it. Honestly the baby stage is easier. It’s hard when they’re 4 and can say you were the only mom or dad not at the pageant, party, etc. I agree with the statement that you can have it all but not all at once. This isn’t a feminist thing. I think all parents should put their families first.
When rereading my post I feel like it comes across as an argument but it absolutely isn’t meant to be. Just sharing my two cents on what I’ve learned from conversations with women who have been there. I understand modern parenting is different but from my experience, people don’t reach the end of their lives and regret time spent invested in their marriage and families.
I agree with Stephanie! Make your husband your partner. The good news, Men are different today and willing to take on lots of “home making” jobs.
Yes, mine are grown and it went crazy fast. As much as you love everything you’re doing, you love your husband and Henry more, and you don’t want to look back with regret. You will have time before you know it to write your book , etc. Enjoy that little boy now. He will only be little once!
I disagree with this. Yes, it goes fast but every older Mom that tells me this makes me feel lees than or that I’m doing it wrong.
Your career is mega important and something you’ve worked your rear end off for. It is equally as important. You need identity outside of being a Mom. Your designing will be there when the kids are in school or older and busy with their own thing. You will thank yourself for the times you hung in there today.
Also, VERY healthy for young boys to see their Moms fulfilled by their work outside the home. I gave up.my art to focus on my boys and I relish being home w them but I do feel I’m missing out on my own development. Keep going! You are doing so much better than you know!!
I’ve been there with 3 kids under 4, work travel, starting a business on the side. Always rejiggering, rethinking, reconfiguring. Today I am filling out Kingergarten reg forms for my youngest 2 (twins). I can’t believe I pulled off working with wee ones whilst navigating a career change and life but looks like I made it to a big milestone — all 3 in school all day and out of the baby stage. I would say the takeaway is that you can have it all but never ever all at the same time. One day at a time you keep problem solving your way through and it keeps happening… Sometimes you have to “unchoose” your way through the tougher times. Like unchoose” having the best clothes or house. “Unchoose” having your kid go to the bday party or “Unchoose” baking the cake or going to the work event at night… It gets easier or you care less over time. Mothering usually gets less physically demanding pretty quickly. You know the part about the wine, the coffee, the dry shampoo, the cleaning lady…the mental part is hard and takes time as it just keeps happening and being ok you become more relaxed and let more go… Hang in there! Aim low and go slow when you can!
There will be days when you can’t see the forest through the trees and it signals needing to rejigger. Or “unchoose” as Angie said. What youve described is the great challenge of modern parenting…and it’s why we need community and support systems. It’s hard for EVERYONE.
I found it a great gift as I no longer had time/energy for gossip, drama or general bullshit of any kind. It’s liberating to “unchose” white noise I don’t need in my life to focus on what’s important. And priorities can change constantly: weekly, daily by the hour! Give yourself permission to be flexible and to not have everything perfect while you’re finding your feet as a Mom. It will take time! WE are with you.
Thank you for having the courage to bring this up, it’s a problem most of us have, though not many woman speak of it. It will get somewhat easier when the kid(s) get older. Delegate as much as you can and there is no need to be perfect. I think it is helpful to have a tiny bit of time for yourself , even if it is just an hour a week – don’t work or walk the dogs, just do something you enjoy, if possible away from home. It helps to recharge the batteries and see it all from a different angle. A stressed -out Mom will have a stressed child and probably a stressed-out husband. About the Blog: I would still like to read on if you were taking some time off. You have a unique voice – best of luck!
On my return to work from maternity leave, I read a life changing book called ‘the power of full engagement’. I have been preaching about it ever since. Highly recommend.
Hi Erin- I know EXACTLY how you feel! High-pressure job that requires a lot of travel, 2 kids, marriage, just finished my master’s degree in my “free” time , and I like to maintain some semblance of a hobby and social life… Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning, but then I think “what would I give up?” and, like you, the answer is “nothing.”
I have found that the following, perhaps twisted, realization really helped give me some perspective: It started when I pondered my husband who is equally wrapped up in the stuff I just described (as he shares this crazy-busy life with me), and I became aware that he doesn’t succumb to the guilt-trips or moments of panic like I do. As a matter of fact, he’s like most of the men I know in that sense… which has lead me to the conclusion that, unlike me, they just don’t overthink it. Of course, that’s easier for men than women! I’d wager that the majority of male fortune-500 CEO’s have kids, and have probably NEVER had someone question their ability to run a company and raise children. Yet, this was the topic of endless public debate for Marissa Mayer (and other successful females). So, with all of that doubt about our abilities to be successful parents and career people, NO WONDER we overthink things! Since men obviously don’t have to deal with the societal pressure and doubt in regards to their ability that we do, I’d wager that makes it easier to stay mentally even-keeled and accepting of one’s busy station in life. Given that the benefit of lack of societal pressure and doubt seems to be less stress over one’s ability to balance a career and parenthood, (exhibit a- my husband and pretty much every other guy I know… ) I just pretend that the outside pressure and doubt don’t exist. Every time the questions creep in (“am I being a bad Mom/ Employee/ Friend?”) I tell myself to shut up, quit overthinking things and then I puff myself with false confidence that quickly becomes actual confidence, (funny how that works) about my life choices and ability to deal with their demands on a daily basis. I rationalize this by reminding myself I have no decent reason to get overwhelmed or doubt myself because my husband does all of the same things as me and he sure isn’t worrying himself like that. And, finally, I recognize that I most likely only worry myself with those questions because of archaic, stupid societal pressures, so I should just pretend they don’t exist. In lieu of overthinking, I focus on what I love about each thing I do, accept that it wont be perfect, and try my hardest to enjoy the beautiful day-to-day chaos. I’m not saying I have it all figured out and I never get that drowning feeling anymore, but when I can shut out my tendency to overthink, most of the time, I do truly enjoy having it all.
Never judge things when your spouse is away. You have to handle it all, are more sleep deprived than normal and lonely. I have two dogs, two kids and a husband who travels weekly. Those days when he’s out are exhausting and never ending. Just try to get through them. I know this doesn’t solve your general life problems but just something to remember.
Great post! Yes, you may have an ideal work situation, but it doesn’t mean you can’t struggle with things and vent about them! I’m a first time working mom of a 9 month old and I totally get what you are saying. Sometimes it helps me to realize I’m not the first working mother, people do this all the time. When you know you are not alone, things get easier. And sometimes if I’m really stressed, I’ll let myself be a little late for work and drive out of the way to my favorite coffee shop and just enjoy it. That and take out really helps.
When we opened our first inn the first piece of advised I received was do not spend your time on things that bring in the least amount to revenue that you can hire someone for. Spend your time where you will get the most results. It was great advise because no one can do it all. You already know that taking caring of yourself is priority #1 because if you don’t everything will fall apart. Maybe because Henry is so young and motherhood is new to you, you need to push a few things out. As others have said your readers and clients are very supportive and will wait. Try to take a little time and decide what is most important to get done now. Maybe you need to hire some extra help for the next few months I would bet there are college students looking for intern work right now. Only you can decide what is right for you but don’t be too hard on yourself you have a lot on your plate right now. You can have it all but maybe not all at this moment. We are all cheering for you!
On the “outsource, outsource, outsource” tip: I am not a mom (yet, hopefully) but I read this article yesterday and thought I would 100% do this if I had a family:
$100 plus cost of groceries for a professional chef to come in weekly and make you 4 meals for 4?? (Or, since it’s just you and Andrew eating real food, 4 dinners and 4 leftover lunches.) Yes please!
And I think I speak for a lot of your loyal readers when I say we wouldn’t mind a Monday-Wednesday-Friday blog schedule, or to wait an extra year to read your book. Good luck and virtual hugs!
The funny thing is, you are actually getting many other women just like you through the day just by showing up….
The struggle is real, but don’t be so hard on yourself. Some days I feel like I’m doing a good job juggling it all and other days, a total failure. What has worked for me is not focusing on “having it all” (IMHO, an impossible standard because even if you do, it’s because other people are watching your kids so you can work, a housekeeper, etc. So YOU don’t really have it all, you and your team have it all. And God bless that team! One woman cannot be all those things and Virginia Slims did a huge disservice to women with that ad campaign) . I strive for balance- my personal balance of family- work-marriage-and ME. And don’t forget, tomorrow is a new day, always.
You’ve got this!
These feelings come in waves, and honestly everything seems a lot harder when you haven’t slept.
Are you inside my head?!? I am also a working mom . Mine are now 4 and 1 and trust me it gets easier!! Once you are able to get more rest and have more of a routine you will look back and you will not even remember what this is like. You have to prioritize and my other advice is to prepare for the day the night before. It makes for a less stressful day.
You got this! Be proud of everything you’re doing.
There’s a sign that reads, “Around here you can things cheap, fast, good – but you can only pick two”. I think that applies here.
There’s always going to be something that has to be relinquished, even if it’s for a few years, months, or just minutes.
My mom worked full time and our house was spotless, but I wished she would’ve spent more down time with my sister and me. She’s amazing of course and we had great childhoods, but I keep that in mind with my own. Yes, the laundry may pile up occasionally, and sometimes I have to force myself to leave emails til later, but I’ve never regretted the extra time I’ve given my kids, husband, or fur baby. And now my mom gets that.
You’re doing your best, Erin! I tell myself that I’ll do what I can and leave the rest to God. It’ll all work out:) Promise. Xo
And when do we get to hear more about your home line??
There are some great comments and advice here! This might not be what you want to hear, but I am glad you are human. When you had the baby I was thinking “she will probably just nail this working mommy thing too” (at the time my 3-year-old was probably ripping up a client’s wallpaper samples and floor plans). And you could totally fake it if you wanted to…thanks for being real! I agree with the meditation advice…5 minutes a day, changed my life. Calm.com. Also….SHOWER. Every day. Don’t wash your hair, that’s just crazy. But showering made me feel a bit normal each day. If you are already doing that, you are ahead of the game.
I know my comment isn’t going to be the most popular one by any means, but that’s the joy of blogging right?!
Your problems are GOOD problems to have! There are so many people who are struggling to put food on their tables and pay their heating bills, all while working full time just to make minimum wage. Look at Flint Michigan. Those poor people don’t even have CLEAN water and sadly, they live in this country. Their kids have irreversible damage that could have been prevented. Think of these poor refugees who are fleeing their countries because they are afraid of their lives and their children’s lives. They literally have NOTHING, not even food to feed their children.
I totally get feeling overwhelmed, it happens to us all. We have SO much and it’s easy to get caught up in feeling like we have to do it all. Just remember there are people who literally have nothing and would kill to be in our shoes.
I agree Adrienne, it is a luxury to have first world problems. Still problems that keep you up at night, but not life or death problems.
I have three children 5, 3, and just turned 1 and although its only gotten harder with each child, my happiness level has increased 10 fold and I have been able to let go of more and more things I used to think were “the most important.” Our Pastor once did a sermon on “your legacy” and what it taught me is how I want people to view me after I am gone…sounds morbid but it allows me often to “reset” my expectations throughout the day. i.e. Is it more important that my child says, “Mom always gave me hugs, kisses, and played ball with me” or that other people say, “she always had the cleanest house.” As others have mentioned, try to look at your priorities and organize your day based on them. Your doing great Mama!!
You are definitely not alone…I am in the same boat and I find that something has to give all the time. The “trick” is that it’s never the same thing, so when all is said and done, all of the things in your life are on an even playing field because nothing is giving or getting it all. It’s always a balancing act though, and I don’t think that’s ever going to change for any of us. I find myself wishing that I could just stop worrying about being great at all of the things and just appreciate what I am being good at in that moment. Also, my husband and I have a saying when things get tough (always). If someone asks us how things are going, the response is always, “we’re wearing clothes!” At least we don’t screw that up LOL.
Here’s what I concluded after returning to my full time job (attorney) after having my second baby: sure, you can do it “all.” But the trade off is that there ‘s no possible way you can do it all well (which is a really hard conclusion to reach when you’re a perfectionist, sigh). :/
This is just a hard, hard phase. A cleaning lady and ordering my groceries online (Peapod, Roche Bros.) definitely helped. You may want to try one of those meal delivery services (like Blue Apron) to take the guesswork out of cooking. You’re not alone though – when their daddy travels, my kids know that they are having breakfast for dinner! :)
My life is not nearly as busy as yours but the one thing I found to help when feeling overwhelmed is regular therapy. I know it seems like a lot to sign away another hour a week but it’s truly helpful. It has helped me with motivation, time management, stress management and so much more!
Also, have you considered hiring a personal assistant? I imagine having another set of hands could help you feel like you have a better grasp on everything that needs to be done.
Hang in there girl, you’re an inspiration!
I wanted to add one more piece of advice – Adderall! It’s a miracle worker. ;o)
I feel your pain! It’s not easy have a career that fulfills you and that you love, but also a family that you would die for. I have a full career and 2 young children and a husband that travels alot for work – as they say, it takes a village. You have to surround yourself with help and not feel bad for asking. Also, your son right now is very young and 100% dependant on you. As he gets older and a little more independant it gets much easier. Its hard to get anything done on a few hours of sleep! It will get better in a few months, hang in there!!!
Erin, this reminds me so much of where I was a few years ago. Meditation. 20 minutes a day for yourself. Learn from someone. Or try headspace. And if you’re thinking, 20 minutes a day, yeah right. Then welcome to the practice, you are ready to begin. This practice does not “take away.” It adds to your life in abundance. You will filter the clutter and approach work, motherhood, marriage with clarity and purpose. You will be present and give Henry the gift that he wants more than anything, your conscious attention. There is no other way I know of. ;) I teach meditation and would be happy to answer questions.
Oops wrong web address
My kids are now almost 5 and 7. I took some time off from work to be with them and I am so happy I did. The time where they need you so much is really so short in the scheme of things. Eventually they will be in school and then doing activities and busy with lives of their own. This is already happening with my kids and they are still young. My advice would be to prioritize making time with your baby now while he is little. You don’t want to look back on these moments and regret that you missed so much. Obviously all parts of your work is important to you but you need to focus on the elements that make the most sense for now. Whether that be client work, the blog, merchandise etc. whatever is most important financially and from a satisfaction standpoint. You are super talented and great at what you do. All those opportunities will still be there for you in the future. You have many years to keep building your business and growing. So while there probably is a feeling of urgency to do it all now I would focus on choosing the most important facets of your business and doing those really well and also making yourself, your son and your marriage priorities. You can always make new opportunities for work but if you screw up the other 3 those are harder to fix. Remember it is a marathon and not a sprint. You have many years of being a business woman, a mom and a wife ahead of you so don’t feel pressure to do it all at 100% all of the time. It’s not possible and you will burn out. It’s going to require some tough choices but in the end you will be much happier. And remember the choices are temporary. As your son gets older and his needs change you will have more time for work and will feel less guilty about it. That is really only a few years out. Good luck!
I couldn’t agree more. There is nothing more important in this world than your baby and your husband. Nothing. I know it’s a cliche, but they grow up so very fast. Your job will always be there, his childhood won’t.
I couldn’t agree more with this. You’ll never have this time back with your baby. Never. All the other things will always be there.
Get happy with the idea of “Done is better than Good.”
Perfect isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and nobody is expecting it of you.
We all love you irrespective of how you look, whether your bed is made, what you’re wearing, when/if another book is out, what you make/eat/pickup/takeout for dinner, whether you or your staff are posting on the blog daily/regularly/ever, if your house is clean, or what’s in your instagram feed. And I’d bet dollars to donuts so does Mr. Gates.
– and wine. Lots of wine.
Some days it’s enough if everybody’s fed and all the humans are dressed. The rest can wait for another day. Or week. Or month. Or maybe you’ll get to it next year.
Fed, clothed, sheltered. You’re doing your job.
Erin. I 100% hear you, I have been there. I remember when my first was 8 months old, and I was crying to my husband – “I have everything I want, why am I so unhappy?!?!”. Now mine are 8 years and 11 years, and it’s so, so, much easier. I also own my own business and am in a client-based industry, so I really do know where you’re coming from. So here are my tips for moms in your stage:
1 – Try to remember, you are in the very hardest stage for kiddos. Not that it’s not magical and wonderful, but in terms of just the backbreaking work of it, you’re in the thick of it and will be there for a little while yet. But it gets so, so much easier. Every milestone makes your working-mom life more achievable. When they can get themselves dressed, make themselves a simple breakfast, etc. So even though it is 100% of your life right now, it really is only a stage and the hardest one at that. It will not be this hard forever. And not even for that long.
2 – Prioritize sleep. Easy for me to say, since mine sleep through the night, right? But at least once or twice a week there will be times when you have a choice of sleep vs. something else (glass of wine with a friend, ‘just one more’ Netflix show, answering a couple more e-mails). Right now, always choose sleep.
3 – With work stuff, it helps if you can think of these as foundation years, not peak growth years. You’re still laying a foundation for your career. You don’t have to complete everything in the short term, because you’re still building a business that hopefully will be there for you in the next 25 years. So as long as you’re doing things that help you build the foundation for a strong business, you DON’T have to do everything that will lead to growth right this minute. Growth can (and will) come down the line. When opportunities come to you, ask yourself – does doing this help me build a strong foundation for my business, or is this project a “chasing growth” project? It can be hard to distinguish, but if you can give it some thought I think you will find that the chasing growth projects can wait a year or two.
4 – Charge more. I know that sounds a little crazy, because you don’t want to scare off clients or deals. But right now your time is your most valuable commodity. And so anything that takes you above a certain number of work hours/per week SHOULD cost more. Just by way of example -(and I know it’s not nearly this simple, this is for illustrative purposes only), let’s say you charge hourly $200/hour. And you have enough work to consistently keep you busy for 30 hours/week. But along comes an opportunity you don’t want to miss, but it would add another 15 hours to your week. That last 15 hours is really, really valuable to you, so you should charge more for it. That 15 hours should be charged at $350/hour. (Again, I know that’s not really how your pricing and income work, I just mean to be cognizant that as you have less time, the value of it goes up, and therefore the price of it should also go up. Also you are amazingly talented so please don’t discount your value.)
5 – Outsource everything you can. Have your nanny do all laundry, not just baby laundry, and have her fold and put away. Have her do daily grocery store runs – it’s a great outing for Henry, and having her go 3 times/week will completely eliminate that chore from your weekend. If you have a housekeeper, increase the frequency of visits and add things you wouldn’t have thought of before (not just routine cleaning but also deep cleaning, silver polishing, etc.). Outsource more admin tasks at work to the extent you can. Anytime you start to do something (at home or at work), think to yourself, is this something I could pay someone else to do? A lot of the time the answer will be no, or yes but I don’t want to, but I think you’ll also find some opportunities to free yourself up.
6 – Prioritize your relationship with Andrew. It’s so easy to become ships in the night in this stage, but really view each other as partners. Focus on how thankful you are to have each other as you go through this life stage together. Have each other’s back.
These are the most important things I can think of as I look back on those years. I just can’t emphasize enough it really does get easier and start to click into place. I so appreciate your talent and great eye and the fact that you’re willing to share it with all of us. XOXO
This advice is so good. SO good.
As the mother of a 16 mo old, this is the very very best advice! Thank you, M! I’m already seeing that it does, in fact, get (much) better. And #6 was (and is) a hard one but I never regret hiring the babysitter and setting aside time for my husband. It is a struggle as I feel any moment not at work should be spent with my daughter, but I have to acknowledge, as others have mentioned, my marriage has to come first. Usually a night away also includes a pep talk from my husband that I’m doing better than I realize, and I think that kind of encouragement is something we can all use as it goes a long way!
Erin, she is 100% right–I agree about the outsourcing most importantly. If you have the resources, outsource it ALL. Think about how much your time is worth! I needed to hear this today, too! Thank you so much, M :)
Wow!! What an amazing comment! Thank you so much for sharing and you can bet you’ve helped anyone that reads this, not just Erin.
Mine are 7 and 4 and this was incredibly helpful! Life and motherhood is complex and messy – these kinds of discussions and self reflections are vital!!
As a mom of 3 kiddos 6 and under and more of a career than I ever could have bargained for, this is the best advice! Thanks for sharing this! Just last night I had to say no to my husband on the “one more netflix show”….because I NEEDED to sleep, even though I would have rather stayed up with him and watched one more.
Such solid advice here……thank you!
WOW! I have a 4.5 year old and 1.5 year old and just took a screen shot of her comment. What sage advice every Mama should read…daily!! Thank you, M, for taking the time to pen such an honest and encouraging response that so many of us are (clearly) moved by.
Amazing advice!!! I too love #3!
This is the best advise ever – for really anyone, even if you don’t own your own business. So wise!
#3 by M – That is fantastically wise business advice. Clearly and beautifully summarized. As a mom also building/growing a business, I thank you for your input.
This probably isn’t exactly what you want to hear, but it was my truth in also working in a highly competitive workplace my first year of motherhood – just hold on for dear life. It will get easier. Like so so much easier. They start sleeping which is basically like getting half your life back, then nursing fades away and you are almost the same person you were before (you are now always a Mom, but that is better than anything). I felt like I won the race at my son’s first birthday and it really truly got so much easier (probably started that way around 8 months). It’s still so much more than taking care of just yourself, but it’s something that feels manageable and also easy to have lots of parts of the life you used to love as well. Good luck and hold on tight!! You will make it!!
I totally agree with this. I know it starts to feel like this moment right now will be the rest of your life ( I blame lack of sleep!), but kids change so fast in a matter of months. Just triage your issues now- figure out what has to stay on your plate this minute and what can slide for a few months or be outsourced short-term. I find that my balancing act is always changing depending on what is happening in my life on that day or week. Reminding myself of that fact helps me give myself a break on doing too much take out food or missing work for a sick baby or whatever else I feel I am failing at. Hang in there!!
First, let me say… you are NOT alone. I’m a working Mom of one (6yrs old) with an incredibly supportive husband. Everything you are concerned about… been there. I leave the house at 5:30am and return at 7pm; my husband (who is in the same field) gets home 30 minutes before me. We both have guilt about not being there more for our daughter. My advice to you… take care of yourself first and foremost. By saying this I don’t mean you are the ultimate priority… but take care of you, and don’t feel guilty about it. Your health and mental well being is the cornerstone of it all. Second, delegate. I tend to be a control freak (type AAA+) it took me almost 6yrs to learn to let my husband take care of some things.. laundry, grocery shopping (gasp), putting our daughter to bed…. a tiny bit of “me” time goes a loooonggg way. Take a yoga class, catch up on work, sit and have a glass of wine and watch a show you’ve DVR’d (if you are like me… you have a list of recorded shows you haven’t seen yet and are running out of space) Just take a deep breath and unwind as best you can. Third, prioritize and be realistic about it. You obviously know what tops the list… heck, if you skip a blog now and then… we ALL get it, we’ve ALL been there… throw up a “One of those days, back tomorrow, pray for my sanity”. Being a mom, and wife, and career woman, oh, and YOU is not something you figure out overnight. Unfortunately the balance takes some time. You’ll know when it isn’t working and need to adjust, and you’ll have this great sense of peace when it is. If there is anyone that can figure it out.. it’s you. I have been reading your blog daily for years… hang in there, make the priority list, have reasonable expectations of yourself and share responsibilities when you can. Until then… there’s wine, coffee, and hair ties :)
I so appreciate your honesty. I’m a mom of two toddlers and struggling with having it all. I decided to scale back on work, friends and exercise. I still do all three but less frequently. I decided that my boys will only be small once and I don’t want to miss time with them. I still work (50 hours a week) but I say no to more travel and try to work from home. It’s been hard but like you I consider myself very lucky !
Wine. So much wine I have nightly conversations about how much is too much, and then keep pouring. Motherhood is a beast, albeit a sparkly one.
After having my second baby, a wise friend told me the key to doing it all was to lower my insanely unrealistic expectations. I pretty much laughed in her face, then continued on causing myself stress trying to do it all until one day I collapsed in a puddle of tears and cried “uncle!”. She was right….. You can’t do it all or have it all at the same time. Life is a long road and sometimes there are detours and setbacks for a reason. Listen to the universe telling you to slow down a bit. You are amazingly talented– the work and opportunities will present themselves again, and you’ll be at a better place to receive them. Hang in there, Sister!
Thankfulness. Focus on that instead of how hard it is. It’s easier said than done – it requires training your mind and having mental discipline – but it’s amazing how much of a difference having a good attitude makes, and how much of a difference focusing on our blessings instead of our circumstances (which are fickle and change by the day) makes.
Best advice I received: go to work, come home, and snuggle your babe. Do nothing else! Don’t cook, don’t make your bed, don’t stress about not making it to the gym…those things will come back with time, but for now, you have to be gentle with yourself and give yourself time to adjust.
I understand how you feel… when my kids were babies I came to the conclusion that ‘Having it all’ really meant “Having to do it all” and I kinda freaked out. I felt so much pressure to be a good mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and employee.
If you can’t give anything up, you might have to resort to just slowing things down. One less blog post a week, push back the due date on your book, etc. As Henry gets older (and starts sleeping better!) it will get easier, I promise.
Two things that can help: 1. schedule down time for yourself. Actually put an hour on your calendar to relax; and 2. hire help whenever you can. Cleaning service, laundry service, grocery deliveries, take-out, etc.
Best of luck. :)
I echo what every one else is saying. Basically, you can’t have it all done perfectly at the same time. You may need to prioritize and put some things on the back burner until you can give them your best work. As to which things those are – that is a personal decision you and Andrew will have to make. And outsource everything you can! EVERYTHING.
its the beauty of being a mom. shi* gets real and will never be the same. your duties never go away and the demands from you keeping on coming. Everyone has their own story. How do we all keep it together? we live minute by minute and hope that we can keep our shi* together without completely losing it (which happens). then you look into your babies eyes and all is okay (for that minute). drink more coffee, drink more wine, realize that you won’t sleep for a while (as you listen to your husband snore), and keep on whistling while you work.
UGH….from a mom of two beautiful babies under two.
Hey girl, First of all you ARE doing a great job! I know it may not feel like it but you ARE! Greg and I always said if you got two, TWO things accomplished in a day with a newborn it was a win. We counted loading the dishwasher as one and starting it as the other-lol! Yes, seems silly, but lower the expectations, hard to do with a Type A (I get it, I am too) but I had to. We’ve got 2 under 5 and I own my own biz too. I also have luck breaking my day into chunks. I set an alarm (Clean kitchen 30 mins) when the timer dings, DONE, move on. Is it all done, sometimes yes, sometimes no, but I’ve got other things to tackle. Next alarm (work on design & sourcing 2 hours) when timer dings, DONE. I do not answer the phone during this time unless its daycare or hubby emergency. It goes to voicemail so I can work! The return phone call chunk is when babe is napping. I find if I give myself chunks of time I can concentrate, not feel pulled and actually cross something off the list instead of having it all falling down around me. Just a thought. Something different works for everyone. And some days nothing works. Do not beat yourself up, it’s a hard job, yes, it’s a privilege many don’t get but it doesn’t make it less hard. Sending love and hugs, and I wish wine. XO
I’ve been a loyal reader since 2009 and if you put out a book in two years or five years I would still buy and read it! You and your work will always be relative to your readers so don’t worry so much about striking while the iron is hot. I want to love your next book as much as I’ve loved the first and that means you will have to enjoy writing it.
You are not alone! Thank you for being honest about how hard it is — because it really is. so. hard. Something I try to remember in those moments of insanity are “We can do anything, but not everything.” Some strategies that help me manage a full-time (and then some) job, a crazy long commute, a toddler who tantrums constantly, etc are: outsourcing as much as possible; I’m lucky enough to have someone else clean my house, and it’s a small but significant thing. Using commuting time as “me” time (as sad as that sounds). Making hair appointments, eyebrow waxes, other small self-care things totally sacred. I make the appointments and stick to them. It’s easy to let those things slide, but so important to find those little moments just for you.
It is very tempting to think that your current stage of motherhood will last forever. It won’t. As a friend told me, you need to expect that the first year after a child is born you will not be at your best in terms of work. It doesn’t feel good to give less than 100% t o your work, but it won’t last forever. Trust me. Your child must always be your first priority. The rest will still be there when he grows up a little.
I recently read an article in which Randi Zuckerberg said you can only have time for three of the following things: work, family, sleep, exercise, friends. She was specifically referring to working at a start up, but I find it so applicable to being the mom of a toddler. I can work full time, spend pretty much every waking minute otherwise with my family, and sometimes get decent sleep. I rarely socialize with friends (especially the childless ones), and I never work out, save for a yoga class every few weeks. My house is always a disaster, we eat frozen pizza for dinner way more often than we should, and I haven’t had a date night with my husband since December. It’s not ideal, but given our circumstances, it’s the best I can do. My daughter is almost two, and it’s pretty much taken me her whole life to accept that.
I read this article too and totally agree – i can work full time, spend time/take care of my family and get sleep but I never exercise anymore (other than taking toddler for walks) and don’t socialize much unless it involves play dates with my friends who have kids. And…I’m okay with it because i’m only going to have my daughter at this age for a short amount of time and my most important friends aren’t going anywhere. They are all in the same boat anyway. I outsource a lot – cleaning help, lawn care, meal delivery services – but I’m TOTALLY fine with that and have just come to accept that prioritizing and outsourcing are the answer.
My other piece of advice – grandparents. My Mom does more for me than I could possibly deserve. So Erin – if your parents are willing to chip in and help, take them up on it!!! Also, your readers will completely understand if you need to slow down and post less or take a break. We support you and your family is most important.
It’s so hard, you must make yourself and your husband the top priority. I have been there. Your baby will grow up and be out on his own and your career will always be there, you’re very talented. There is only one YOU don’t feel like you are going to miss out to someone else because they aren’t going to take anything away that YOU have. I would put your book and line on the side, you will regret not doing your best now. If you burn out this early you won’t be good at any of the things important to you in the future.
You can do it all, you just can’t do it all at one time. Figure out how you are going to stagger the work and what you can outsource.
“Stapling Jello to the ceiling” – Honey I feel ya. I feel like we are taught we have to have it all with a big happy smile on our face. Some days I feel like I just need a cry or a good bottle of wine. I feel like as women we feel the most pressure especially with the idyllic social media personas. Keep doing you… you are doing great!
I think it’s just a hard/busy time in your life and that’s okay, but self-care is also important. Outsourcing as much as you can that doesn’t have to be done *by you* is crucial. And closely examine whether things really need you to complete them or if someone else could handle it. Examples: meal delivery services, help around the house, a dog-walker (not that you shouldn’t spend time with them, but it might feel like less of a chore if someone else were exercising them), etc. Also re-examine the timeline of things—obviously you WANT to be doing all of this stuff, but maybe client business (or your book) needs to take a back burner right now. You have a lot on your plate! Your success won’t go away if you don’t handle all of these projects while you have an infant at home. :)
I like Justice Ginsburg’s comment about being able to have it all, but not all at once (for women and men). You can probably do all of these things, but not all right now. Or, at least, not to your standards. I know you feel you need to take advantage of the wave right now, but life and parenthood is a marathon, not a sprint. I took several years off after my second son was born (yes, I know how fortunate I was to have the choice), but I struggled mightily with losing my professional identity. I have recently started a new career, which I never would have dreamed was possible during my time at home. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t have done it differently. My point is that there are opportunities out there that you can’t even imagine right now. So saying no to something now, may actually lead to something that much more wonderful.
You could just take some time off and not feel guilty about it. I took 4 years off, and found myself in the same exact place. People will wait for you and your voice.
Sorry, you wanted advise. I think the thing I try to remember is that I think I’m a better mom because I love my job, and I’m busy enough that I appreciate (most of) the time I get to spend with my kids, even if I spend most of it trying to convince them to wash their hands and pick up after themselves. I try to make my time at work as efficient as possible so that I can jet out at 5:30 and make pick-up every day. Sometimes I even succeed.
Best of luck. If you figure it out, let me know.
You can’t maximize everything, that’s for sure. So if there’s nothing that can give, then the thing that has to fall away is your desire to do it all perfectly. You’re managing a lot! You can do it all but not at high high level. And that’s okay. Just don’t add a baby goat to the mix.
I totally understand what you’re going through!! Do you ever feel like running outside and just screaming from the top of your lungs? Or maybe it’s just me hmm. I love your blog and please don’t take this the wrong way but maybe posting something everyday is a bit too much right now, I read your blog every single day and enjoy it very much but being a 1st time mom with everything else on your plate maybe an extra day off on blogging can be helpful .