A Deep Breath.

Yesterday I let a thought into my head that I have not entertained in my nine years of blogging.

“I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Through sharing my personal struggles and occasionally train-of-thought kind of posts about my life I have come to expect criticism, because in no way do I assume that we all see life from the same angle nor share the same experiences.  However, someone saying that they hate orange and blue together is very different than being called a selfish, unstable mother and being told you don’t have a right to struggle with caring for an infant if you suffered infertility.  I had no idea how much I could be affected by comments from strangers who don’t know me. How vulnerable I was in this area. But yesterday I sat in my car and cried.  I allowed a handful of negative comments  in a sea of support to make me doubt my convictions, life choices and abilities.  I let them make me want to quit doing something I love and have loved doing for so many years.

Shame on me.

Shame on me for giving someone else that power. Shame on me for allowing some hypocritical jerk to make me question a decision I have not doubted for ONE SECOND since Henry was conceived. I do not blame those people for hurting me, they clearly have their own life issues fueling their rage,  I blame myself for allowing them to do so. Motherhood has made me so much more vulnerable than ever before (and the lack of sleep certainly makes the soft spots all that more tender when bruised). Should I stop sharing as much personal stuff to protect myself? Maybe.  But nothing truly great has ever happened from being cautious and scared off by criticism.

As one reader smartly said in a comment, just because my “hard” is different than your “hard” does not make it better or worse. Just different.  In no way would I fault a woman for knowing she is best staying home with her children the same as I wouldn’t fault someone for deciding they want to be an astronaut. Both are really hard jobs and an individual life choice based on passions, interest, abilities and finances.  How could I ever make that decision FOR someone else or shame them for making it for themselves? Hey you, why the hell are you an astronaut? I don’t like astronauts, I think you should have been a hairdresser! You suck!  Sounds pretty ridiculous, no?

Because I put so much of myself out there personally and don’t maintain a strictly professional stance on this blog people think they know everything about me.  Some feel like we are friends (which most of us would be in person- hey girl) and some feel like they know enough about me to criticize deeply.  The drive some people feel to be mean on the internet is something I will never understand.  I don’t get what one gains personally for taking someone else down in that way.  It’s becoming a new psychological phenomenon that I assume will only get worse in coming years.  And that scares me- not only because it will keep people like me from creating forums of discussion like this for fear of bullying and attack,  but also for little Henry and what his interactions will be like online when he’s older.

As I was rocking that sweet (sometimes frustrating) baby to sleep last night my heart hurt and was full at the same time. I love him more than I ever imagined and want to give him everything, same as any mother.  But I was sad wondering if I was doing enough for him.  And then I had an epiphany- I want the world for him, but I want it for me too. And that does not make me a bad person.  The happier and more fulfilled I am, the better a mother I will be.  I want to show Henry through my actions that women are fierce, formidable creatures capable of anything and deserving of respect.  I want to show him that with hard work you can accomplish anything.  I want to show him that kindness is always the better path.  I want to show him that bravery is not only found on mountains and on the battlefield, but also in exposing your weaknesses to others in search of a common ground.

And I want to teach him that the internet does not make you anonymous and that although it may seem like a virtual reality game, there are real people behind those profiles and screen names with real feelings that can really be hurt by your words. I venture to guess that if some of the mothers who left especially vitriolic comments yesterday found their children writing online to a peer in that same manner they would not pat them on the back and tell them they were proud of their behavior. Just a guess.

All that said, I have taken a new look at my schedule and personal needs from all of this emotional upheaval.  And I’ve made the decision that starting Monday I will be cutting back my posts to Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  My plan after Henry was born was to stick to that schedule for a year, but I felt such responsibility to show up daily for my readers and felt such a fear of missing out by stepping back that I came back full time too soon.  So for the foreseeable future, that will be my schedule. Fridays will still be fashion and Monday and Wednesday will continue to be a mix of design and yes, some mom stuff.  And no, that does not make this a mommy blog, it makes it MY blog- just as it’s always been.  If you want design tips and advice without a personal angle, best to look elsewhere.

And to all of you who offered such wonderful advice and support and always seem to lift me up just when I need it- thank you. I love you. I will not let the shadows crowd out your rays, I promise. I am growing from these experiences and hopefully that will make me a better, more content person and better blogger too.

Thank you,

Erin Gates

 

 


451 comments

  1. I am touched and inspired by your work and your challenges, and was delighted to see that many people took the time to offer their support for you. Everyone has challenges and makes choices about how to handle them. Unfortunately, there are always those among us who swoop down like a vulture to spew their negativity on anyone who has the strength or willingness to share experiences openly. The only way to exist alongside these people is to witness their attitudes and approach and then to move past them. Their opinions should not shape your opinions about yourself.
    As a mother of a 28 year old daughter who chose to quit work and raise my daughter, I also suffered the slings and arrows of “friends” who did not understand or support my decision. I viewed my choice as just that- my decision, and I have never regretted it. The choice is yours. Make the ones that support what you love and value.

  2. I am a long time reader, but I don’t think I’ve ever commented. Erin, I just want to commend you for your honesty! I just had my second child (11 days ago!) and it is so amazing and special and HARD! I, too, am a working mother and sometimes feel like I am being judged for not being home with my kids 24/7, but that is what works for my family. I am glad you are coming up with a blog schedule that works for you and I wish you love and sleep!! You truly inspire!

  3. OMG…people are crazy! You have a wonderful blog from a fun point of view. Keep it up! And take whatever time or rest you need. I’m a mama too and totally GET IT! It’s the hardest job in the world whether you work in or out of the house!

  4. Much love! I know you are rocking this motherhood thing and this career thing. This is hard stuff, and we are all doing the best we can.

  5. Hey girl! First, I’m in love with your blog! And whether you decide post 3x a week or once a week – I’ll happily take whatever you give. I don’t understand why women feel the need to tear each other apart rather than raise each other up. Like the saying goes “Whoever is trying to bring you down, is already below you.”

    Side note: Goop creator, Gwyneth Paltrow takes a month off her blog in the summer every year. And I know she has a team now, but even with the team, she still takes a month off.

    #FamilyAlwaysFirst

  6. Erin,
    In my head we are TOTALLY friends. I had my son about a month before you had Henry and your struggles have been and are still my struggles. Your beautifully written blog posts have kept me afloat and made me realize that it is not just me and I am not a terrible mother. I think you are fantastic for maintaining your honesty, for giving us the ugly and the good of motherhood- because there is ugly and good in every moment of life. I also appreciate that you are deeply committed to your own personal and professional development. I want to be more than just a mom and I am figuring out how to accomplish my goals every day. I wish you the best and know that I am just another reader who adores this blog and thanks you for your voice. Oh hey girl!

  7. As someone going through a fertility struggle now, please know that your blog is a positive and inviting place for me to visit each week. You are strong and are living YOUR life. Feel your feelings, and don’t let these cyber bullies get you down. It’s noise and you should only be paying attention to the positive music in your life. You are a strong and creative person. Don’t let these silly people get you down.

  8. Good for you, Erin. You are pretty awesome. And the fact that you were in tears is a good thing–you are sensitive and caring and a nice human being. When your readers attack you, it hurts. True you don’t know them, but they read your blog, so they are supposed to be “your people”. They don’t have to read what you write so, if they do, they ought to be respectful even if they disagree. Anyway, I’ve got your back and respect you a ton for all you do and for putting yourself out there. My husband, three kids, and I are moving to Newton this summer (from SF). I’ll be on the lookout for you around town! :)

  9. I have been a regular reader but have never written until now. The first year of each of my children’s lives were the hardest of my life and I made the decision to become a stay at home mom. This decision was right for my family and my sanity at the time but has had far reaching effects on my personal happiness. My unsolicited advice is to continue to do what you are doing (but extend the sitter to at least 6pm and have her cook) because it will get easier and you will be a better mom and happier person as a result. I love this article about what a stay at home mom had wished she knew. I think will reinforce your choices. http://www.vox.com/2015/2/12/8006733/stay-at-home-mom

  10. I do not generally comment, though even though mine will be a small voice in the sea of support you have on this point, I felt compelled to add it. The blind judgement and tearing down of others is what has curbed my internet activity down to a small handful of blogs – yours being one of them. I love the mix of content, and that I never know what you’re going to post on today. While I can’t relate to every aspect of your life (I am not a new mom, nor even an old mom so I could never be so arrogant to chime in on this point) and maybe we don’t share the same viewpoint always, I admire your bravery in putting it out there – asking for help, hoping it will help someone else – are we not all in this together? While I will miss your everyday posts, congratulations on taking the silver lining from this situation to set some new boundaries for yourself and preserve some more time that can and needs to be spent on other priorities now – we’ll still be here. Perhaps those who take issue with your honesty and bravery will take this opportunity to seek out other Internet entertainment where they’ll find less of that. In the wise words of Pinterest: Rudeness is the weak person’s imitation of strength. And P.S. – I love orange and blue. Thank you!

    1. You have captured my thoughts exactly. The arrogance and downright vileness of some posts makes me limit my exposure to social media. I read it to be uplifted and learn, which Elements of Style does. Erin is wise to cut down on the frequency of posts if that is what fits better in her life today.

  11. Wow, you have a lot of comments to read so there’s a chance you may not see this but as tough as we think we are, online comments do hurt and they are rude. And especially when it’s something that questions us as moms. I hate to say this but this will continue. Not only online but in real life too. Even people you thought were friends will make smart comments about working vs non working moms. What is important in life is that you and your family are happy. Your post the other day hit home. We want to do it all, believe me I still am convinced I can but we can’t. I will never forget a comment made from the CEO of Stella & Dot while at a conference. She said something along the lines of no I am not at every school function and making baked goods for the class but I am there when it counts. This has stuck with me and I’ve started to learn to say no. I recently read a blog post about another blogger reevaluating her life and where all her time is being spent and she decided to close up her shop and just focus on blogging which makes her happy. Life changes and we never know what it’s going to hand us. So doing what works for you and your family is your decision. It will change as years go on. As the kids get older your running around more trying to get them from school to practice or meetings or wherever it is you need to be. And then you’ll need to readjust your life again. Hang in there. You’ll find what works for you and I wish I had advice for ignoring online haters but I don’t. They just have too much time on their hands which they could share with some of us, right? We’re all doing the best we can.

  12. Hello – Just had to comment – I loved this post – good for you! I have to admit that I left a complaint comment years back when I felt like you were out of touch with the economy of the times by talking about your parents beach house and lake house (in 2008 when the economy tanked). While before I liked reading your blog for most of the content, I didn’t feel like I could relate to your lifestyle (boarding school, lavish vacations, wealthy parents with more than one luxury home). Nothing wrong with any of these things – I respect that people work hard, and should live the lives they can afford and have earned. But I just couldn’t relate.
    Fast forward to now and although my kids are all teenagers – I remember the struggles I had and feel like you are now in the same playing field as the rest of us struggling parents. Women should support mothers no matter what their choices are. I live in the Bay Area (California), and companies are now giving parents extended paid family leave. I worked for a company that had employees in Texas and I was appalled that the pregnant office manager was not going to get anything from the state while off on maternity leave. As the HR Manager, I advocated for a disability policy for Texas employees and she was able to receive 8 weeks pay while she was out (not full pay, but better than nothing).
    I don’t understand why women would begrudge other women’s choices in parenting, working, staying home etc. We should all support bringing up healthy, well-adjusted kids! And it will get easier (until the teen years anyway!)

    Robin

  13. Obviously writing about your personal life on a public blog opens a door for criticism of your personal life. It gives people an opportunity to be nasty. I don’t understand how that is a justification of their behavior. We have the opportunity to be nasty in EVERY interaction we have on a day to day basis. Having the opportunity for a certain behavior doesn’t excuse it.

    I have never posted a comment, but as other people have said, mean comments tend to stick with us more than the supportive ones. I wanted to add my voice to the much greater number of people who support you and appreciate your candor and honestly about such sensitive topics.

    I truly believe talking openly about our issues is the best path to being healthy and happy individuals. Sometimes all you need to know is that other people are out there struggling with the same things to find the strength to conquer them.

  14. Hi Erin

    Totally in support of you as a mom, and a working mom. I would advise taking some of your precious off time with henry and finding a local playgroup or moms group. You will be able to talk to other moms, while getting to spend your time with henry. These friends can be your community and allies for years to come.

  15. “And then I had an epiphany- I want the world for him, but I want it for me too. And that does not make me a bad person. ” Thank you. This will be on repeat in my head. You continue to lift up women and acknowledge that being a living, breathing person is complicated.

  16. I tried to comment earlier, but my blog reader broke. Argh! My very long post that was not saved boiled down to: 3 posts a week = sad for us. You putting yourself, family and business first? Keep kicking ass. You’re an inspiration!

  17. Erin. I am a physician in Los Angeles, in my late 30s. Have struggled from infertility myself, love fashion and love design. It’s been so fun reading your blog and I have found you to be an inspiration. I never leave comments on blogs :). But I feel compelled to tell you that you are a warrior mom/woman and you should never let anyone tell you otherwise. Haters will be haters – just ignore them. Continue to be your wonderful self. Henry is lucky to have you as his mom.

  18. You are hands down my favorite blogger and I would be devastated if any one (or more) bully could keep you from continuing to inspire and enlighten us. Stay strong Erin and stay witty. We love you for who you are and I look forward to continuing to receive your words of wisdom on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Thank you gf!

  19. I am late commenting, but I am a long-time reader who also struggled with infertility and is now a working mom to 4 year-old twins. I can’t understand why people have to be so judgmental and cruel. I work be because I like it, am good at it, and it makes me happy, which in turn makes me a better mom. And just because we went through infertility doesn’t mean we can’t have parenting struggles, and it also doesn’t mean we have to stay at home and spend every minute with a child that we are incredibly grateful to have. I often think that people who post mean and judgmental things are unhappy with their own choices and lives. I love your blog Erin, and 3 days or 5, I will continue to read it, and support a fellow ambitious,successful, working mom. :)

  20. Good for you! I always love your content, but you come first. Go love on that little guy, get a pedicure, and give the crazies the middle finger.

  21. I’m just catching up on all of this. Wow. I am so sorry that some people feel the need to be nasty. The only thing I can say is that it has to do with them – it’s their “stuff” – there’s something in their own lives that’s bothering them and instead of dealing with these feelings/issues, instead they express it by personally attacking others in an effort to relieve their own stress.
    Erin, you are freakin’ awesome, girl. I admire you so much. I have every confidence that whatever you decide to do, you will come out on top, and things will be fine. And Andrew – you totally rock! I wish both of you all the best.

  22. Thank you for everything that you do for your readers! I read your blog everyday and bought your book because your writing is entertaining, your talent for sharing design and fashion makes me feel that my aesthetic goals are attainable and your human approach makes me feel more normal. You inspire me– so much that I am brought to tears writing this and I want you to know how much I appreciate what you do and what you have to say! I wish you well on your journey and I look forward to reading! Mrs. Gates, you rock!

  23. Dear Erin,
    My goodness, I am taken aback by the rude comments people have sent you. I’m just now catching up on your blog and am sickened by what some gross minority said. How dare anyone talk to a young/new mother like that? It beggars belief. I love how vulnerable and open you are. I learn a lot from your blog, both about design and female issues. I can’t get through the mean comments, and I truly hope you didn’t read them all.

    I hope you will focus on the positive comments, which are the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY. That gross minority ….they are eaten up with their own insecurities and anger that have nothing to do with you. It’s sad, they are sad and I guess I will leave it with an old fashioned, bless their hearts!

    Although I don’t know you, I certainly believe you are stronger and better than all that!! I’d give you a big glass of wine and a hug if I could!!! Keep working and do the best you can and stay positive. When that fails, pretend you’re Beyoncé!!! That’s what I do!!

    Big Love to you and yours! Hold that gorgeous head up high!!!

  24. Erin,

    I work full time with two little guys (the second born a week after yours) and the way I think about it is – when you have a child, you do not cease to be a person yourself. You are not simply a vessel to bring a child into the world and care for it. You have your own identity, needs, ambitions, drives. You can fulfill those and still be a great mom, and Henry is going to grow up knowing that women can kick ass professionally too. Yes, sometimes I definitely feel like the balance is off in my life and I have occasionally wondered if my second baby thinks my nanny is his mother, but: after the birth of my first son, I took a part time job so I could spend more time with him, and then that job (a university fellowship) ended and I had six months as a stay at home mom – so I have the luxury of being able to say I KNOW that is not for me. High fives to all the moms who enjoy staying home, but it just wasn’t for me. I remember one day my husband came home from work and I was sitting on the couch crying – thinking, all Ive done all day is wonder if this little person is napping correctl, and are the intervals at which I’m feeding him right, etc etc and I was like – how did I get here?? I’d be a crazy person and a depressed person if I stayed at home. I’ve got stuff I want to do in the world! I LIKE working – its a huge part of my identity and I get a huge amount of satisfaction from it. I also know beyond a doubt that my boys feel loved and cared for (which is not to say they don’t sometimes cry when I leave in the morning).

    Anyway, its a real struggle (for working moms and I think probably for stay at home moms too – parenting is just plain hard at times) but you have to just stand in your own truth and know that its right, and make the tweaks necessary to feel good about it MOST of the time, because its never going to work 100% of the time.

    And as for the nasty comments – I can’t even imagine what motivates someone to do that. Maybe you should have someone read your comments for you and delete the mean ones – theres really no reason for you to read that bile. I know you don’t need sunshine and puppies in every comment, but someone who feels the need to lash out at a new mother who is being honest about her struggles (struggles that almost everyone feels) is just twisted in some sad way, and its not necessary to indulge them.

  25. Dear Erin,

    I’m sorry I come late to this! I hope you can read my note.
    I had a busy week, and I wasn’t aware of all of this week’s nonsense until I read Fashion Friday. When I read some viperine comments, I felt torn. I actually couldn’t continue reading them, I coundn’t take that toxicity. I am so sorry youhad to go through that, because as another reader said, in my mind we are TOTALLY friends! That’s because your blog has been among the constant “elements” I’ve had during the past 7 years in the midst of a lot of ups and downs and unexpected changes -and many challenges. It’s this sensation of, “Oh, I’ll read the nice girl’s blog, now I’ll get a breather and disconnect”.
    People have been mean to me too, and with a logical explanation. You know, I’ve sometimes been the dog waiting by the door who people kick the dog because he’s just there totally trusting. He’s happy, and he’s trusting. My question is Why? whyyyyyy?? why? Why would anyone want to add insult to injury? Why would anyone come to us with their righteousness and take your pain as a teachable moment? I’ve been through this and all I can say is this that all of those words are THEIR problems! They are full of hatred and pain and they want you to feel miserable too. They just want to spread the shit around! You may ask, “but I was already feeling like shit!”. Yes, but you are sunshine embodied, Erin, you are a fighter and we all know that you’ll get through this, and it will pass and you’ll learn and adapt to all of it, and you’ll continue to shine, your light wont fade. The thing is that your soul won’t chip, and you won’t feel happy when others go through what made you feel pain. You’ll feel for them and want to help them, right?. Well, all those other wicked people (because they are, and it took time for me to accept they were REAL evil rotten people out there) hate themselves so much that something in you reminds them of *their* vulnerabilities, and inside, they hate the fact they were once hurt like you, and they fucking hate that. So the solution is just squashing you, silence you.
    Therefore, that successful lady with a successful husband, 2 successful dogs, successful babies and successful help 24/7 , whose telling you to shut up, is really struggling and feeling miserable and she hates that about her. Because she feels she’s not allowed to suffer, because successful people aren’t allowed to be hurt, right? So let’s successfully repress pain, because verbalising pain is bad manners. NO. So you come and break the rules and break free, and you just ruined all that repression it too so much time and energy to create. AND that is THEIR problem and not yours. I feel sorry for her.

    Erin, I understand and acknowledge your pain, and I’m sorry you encountered these evil people. It’s sad, but the world is full of them. And what I find even more sad, is that we can see them on the internet more clearly, but they are also working in the real world, they are hiding behind hypocresy. It’s been like this always. The internet, I guess makes us more aware of them because it is easier for them to troll without having a face. That’s why we have to stick to the poeople who love us and not worry too much if rotten don’t like us, why would we want to please the devil? Stay away, dear Erin. I’m trying to do that, and it’s hard.
    They live on their own hellish microcosmos, and they want to suck you in. Don’t let them do that. Their words and actions have nothing to do with you… it’s all about them and how much they hate themselves. Don’t let them fool you, don’t fall into the trap.

    I just want to send you love, Erin. Lots and of LOVE. I consider that you are my friend, and I’ll continue to send you love, because your blog has been a continuous source of comfort to me over the years. Beauty is of great comfort to me. I want to extend that to you. I’ve learned about American Women, and I’ve been able to connect with my students in a better way reading you.
    Go ahead and go back to your peace, and accommodate everything so you are provided with peace. Peace and flow and forgiveness to oneself = okayness and, a LOT of creativity. I wish you more success and more of all the great things that you already have.

    Also, ANDREW rocks! GO Andrew!! ;) oh my God, you are the best!

    Much love,

    Luzma

      1. Oh, and I forgot to say that I kind of like/appreciate the 3x week idea. Sometimes I want to comment but I’m so caught up with work that I don’t have time, and then I fall behind. And I feel that my comment will be lost. I think with a day off I’ll be able to catch up without falling behind, you know what I mean? I think there is a good thing for us overworked readers as well. I love each and every post, and I want to be able to read them well. I’m also happy you’ll keep Fashion Friday!

  26. I absolutely, whole heartedly, understand your pain and frustration. I have been criticised in every mommy decision I have made and my daughter still loves me, runs to me when she’s in need, calls out for me when she has a bad dream and amazes me everyday. I wouldn’t have it any other way. She is my first priority, but sometimes, I have to think of the long run. I often cry on my way to work (thanks mom guilt, you rock!) but I want the best for her and the only way I am going to do that is to give her a strong moral compass, education and teach tolerance. Be her role model. Be everything I can give her, because that’s all I can do.
    I really don’t understand this need to shame other moms because they march to the beat of there own drum, or don’t have a certain brand of bum cream. We don’t need a license to raise kids, there is no manual, what works for me may not work for you, but heck, if we all came together once in a while and realised we all did something pretty amazing by growing these little people in our bellies and unionised, we would be able to beat anything life throws us, together. It’s a sisterhood I would be proud to be part of.
    Keep up the good work Erin. Your honesty and bravery to share your struggles should never be a reason to doubt yourself. We all have struggles and weaknesses and all deal with them differently. I bet you have helped more mommys who are suffering in silence, or anxious about there own issues, than those who feel the need to be negative and rude. You’ve certainly helped me with some soft furnishing choices and your son is making me seriously broody (no, not just yet, my hips just can’t take that yet!) so I’d gladly stand shoulder to shoulder to you in the face of trolls and keyboard warriors any day of the week.

  27. How awful that you had to be subjected to that terrible abuse!
    You inspire me daily-I love reading your REAL mommy moments and its truly so refreshing on comparison to the saccharin mommy posts all over the internet.
    I am going to miss your daily posts :)

  28. I am a stay-at-home mom and somehow I still managed to sit in my car and had a good cry (a few times) during my first year with each baby. I was sleep-deprived, confused and frustrated. I don’t have your excuse/reason of owning a business and having to deal with deeply cutting comments. It’s hard, period. Hang in there and ride it out somehow. It. Will. Get. Better. My kids are now ages 8, 6 and 5 and every single day is filled with laughter and joy. These impossibly hard first years are worth every tear.

  29. Um, so hey girl. MAN I’m sorry that happened and MAN I can imagine that stings, but please don’t ever stop putting yourself out there. I’m a wee blogger and designer, and you are my hands-down favorite funny business lady to look up to… your insta posts make me snort, business prowess totally inspires me, and blog is one of the only ones left I read cuz it’s constantly full of goodness. I can scarcely function at work when my dog has a headache, so I cannot imagine juggling my business with a child. Sending you big fat high-5’s and long distance hugs from San Diego. I think yer kickin ass. xo, Stephanie

  30. Hi Erin,
    I’m coming out of the woodwork to respond to this one. Please do not stop posting just as you have been. Your open, thoughtful and personal posts are meaningful to many. I am constantly amazed at the cruelty of some on the internet. Who knows why they need to be unkind. It’s not helpful. What is helpful, is your posts. My child is grown, but I remember the exhaustion of raising a child and working full time. People going through what you are currently experiencing need to know that they are not alone. You are amazing. Try to not let the few get you down.

  31. Oh I’m so sorry people can be so cruel and thoughtless. ? Being a momma is hard. Period. My kids are 6 and 8 and I had tears over this today. Many many tears. I love my job (dental hygienist). And while I wasn’t sure when I got married if I wanted children, I said (and my husband completely agreed) that I wanted to work very part time (1-2 days a week) or not at all if we did. His job is very demanding with lots of travel. It goes against the grain of my personality to spread myself thin…I like to pick a few things and do them to the nth degree. Extreme, croissant making from scratch stay at home mommyness or nothing. We had kids. I was a stellar stay at home mom — I discovered that though I lived my job, I was born to be a mom. Then my husband developed psychological problems and refused to treat them. It became a safety issue…and now I’m divorced. And I work full time and hate it, because I’m spread too thin and I can’t have a perfectly clean decorated house (hell, I can only afford IKEA now ?), bake from scratch, and volunteer for the PTO. I can’t be there when they get home from school. I wish I had tips for balancing it all. All I have is — 1. Jesus 2 .Cutting back on things (like you’re doing, blog posts 3/week instead of 5) and 3. Friends 4. Antidepressants 5. Coffee. Exercise is not on my list because I just can’t . Thank you for being real, and for recognizing that you hard is hard. Does it have some element of privilege and house as you noted? Sure. But it’s still hard.

  32. Wow – what an amazing post. I don’t understand the type of people who sit behind a screen and judge and are vile to others. It’s disgusting! I applaud you for wanting the best for your son, and for yourself, you are a true role model!

  33. Hi Erin,
    I’m reading your blog from several years. Four or five, but it’s my first comment.
    Where I live is not uncommon to be working mom.
    You can have pay leave for first 2 years and third year is unpaid but you can return to your previous job after that.
    Money issue or not many moms decide to return earlier, because they understand that staying at home is not for them. They feel themselves unsatisfied and this is not good for the child.
    We don’t judge them.
    I don’t have children and don’t know if I’ll ever have but I know that i can’t be stay at home mom.
    I’ve seen many of my friends, staying at home become more aggressive and nervous. I’ll be the same.
    Yes it’s difficult but it’s the right decision for you. And you don’t need to explain it or to be apologetic for it.
    You don’t owe anything to anybody in this internet realm.
    If anybody is unsatisfied it’s their problem. They can find other blogs or places to be.
    It’s your blog. And being personal is what made it yours.
    I’m glad that you found your way. And that you will remain here.
    Thank you!
    Alex

    P.S. sorry if I made some mistakes. English is not my mother language :)

  34. Good for you Erin! You deserve everything you want in life, and nothing less than being happy with not only your family, but you and your passions and pursuits as well.

    Don’t let other people who just HAVE to pour their opinion all over you and try to bring you down succeed. They have their own issues to deal with, and at the end of the day really has nothing specific to do with you as a person or your desires/goals, but in what they are lacking for themselves.

    Your blog is amazing, and I have enjoyed reading it and being inspired by it for years now, but felt compelled to reach out after reading this post to tell you what an amazing job you do, to keep up the good work, and to continue taking the world by storm!!

  35. Erin!

    I’m feeling all the feelings about this post…
    We live in a world of perfect. Perfectly photographed social media images help weave a narrative of impossible to achieve perfection. Everywhere I look everyone else seems to be doing it all and having it all….effortlessly! Perfect is boring and unachievable. Thank you for being an open and honest voice that cuts through the perfection! Thank you for stopping the madness! Your honest voice, imperfections and struggles are your greatest strengths! Reading about your hopes, fears, challenges and joys (especially throughout your Motherhood journey!) taught me so much! It takes COURAGE to tell your story and share your creativity that way you do every day. I have this quote pinned up in my office, sent to me by a friend after I experienced a similar situation:

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. “ – Theodore Roosevelt

    Shortly after hearing that quote, I stumbled upon Brené Brown, who uses the quote above in her teachings as a researcher and storyteller. Brené had this amazing thing to say:

    “If you aren’t in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.” – Brené Brown

    Please don’t listen to those outside the arena! Please continue to show up and share your stories and inspirations. I admire your decision to step back and cut the number of weekly posts. Bravo for recalibrating your time and priorities at this point in your life to gain some balance. The myth that its possible to do it all needs to end, thank you for not perpetuating it!

    By sharing your talent and creativity with us over the years, you’ve helped me discover my own style as I’ve navigated the design challenges of my first apartment (shared with several roommates!) to my now 4th apartment in Boston (shared with my soon-to-be husband!). While your posts read like a conversation between girlfriends sharing ideas and inspiration, I doubt many people realize just how much WORK goes into each post. Thank you for your labor of love. I am so appreciative of your strong honest voice! I look forward to seeing what new designs you have in store for us!

  36. You ROCK!!!! I LOVE your blog and would be heartbroken if you stopped! I bought your book and think it’s fabulous! And I think some people are better mommies for working, esp. doing something they love! Keep it up!!! THANK YOU for your generosity in your blog! Thank you for your fearlessness! Thank you for putting yourself out there! YOU inspire me!!!!

  37. How great you are making choices to take care of yourself and family! I love the blog and am just happy to have it as it comes. You’ll be missed a few days a week, but I know what you do produce will be better when you’re doing it on a schedule that works for you. Hopefully that schedule also allows time for you to pick out what stars should wear to awards shows too ;)

  38. I read your article and with most I chuckled and smiled (not a mum)…Have not been back here since because there was so much vitriol I thought…with the comments below what I thought was just Erin being Erin and it was nice to see and hear…I was actually shocked at how vile some people can be and as readers of this blog I would assume it is because you lover her work and the personality that comes across…If you do not then best perhaps to go some other place where you can relate. Keep doing what you do Erin…I am based in London and I wake up to a little chuckle every morning…Now it will be three times a week, but still grateful. Stay Blessed

  39. Erin,

    You bring joy to so many people. Many of those people just need a breath of fresh air in their hectic days and the ripples that creates will come back to you forever. Don’t let bullies disturb you. The ripples they create will come back to them too. Take time to enjoy your son, your family and the wonderful world you designed for yourself. Enjoy!

  40. Hi Erin,

    Though I never post on your blog, I will today-Feeing very compelled to say good on you & way to go!

    Thank you for being brave enough to share who you are & also take a stand for remaining a thoughtful & courteous individual online, in person, or otherwise.

    I wish there were more bloggers, social media mongers, journalists, and commenters taking a public stand on this very issue.

    Kidos to you & wishing you rest and restoration!

  41. Look–I know you mean well, but re-read your own comment: “And I want to teach him that the internet does not make you anonymous and that although it may seem like a virtual reality game, there are real people behind those profiles and screen names with real feelings that can really be hurt by your words.”

    Your readers are real people–and they have feeling that can be really hurt by your words.

    I enjoy this blog–it is fun–but there are many, many times in which you are extremely insensitive. While a reader might have said that everything is relative–your “hard” is not the same as someone else’s “hard,” just different–is it really relative? If you have a baby, and a job, and a husband who owns a business, and a nanny, and come from a family with wealth–are the difficulties which you face mostly self-imposed? If so, then your “hard” is different from the “hard” faced by those who have problems that are not self-imposed.

    People with problems that are not self-imposed really are interested in design. They may take the few scraped-together moments that they have between working three jobs, taking care of sick parents, taking care of children, and being sick themselves–to look at an aspirational blog like this one. When they find whining (and there was some a couple of posts back, as well as in this one), this is likely to set off those very tired, very over-worked, oppressed people who never had the chances that you have had in life. If people respond in a nasty way–then you did, in fact, probably provoke it–just as we often find that the children who are being bullied probably did do something to provoke it. The victims of bullies are, in fact, often bullies themselves.

    On the Internet, you are not in the comfortable company of the well-to-do who share your self-imposed woes. This isn’t a country club–and, no, people are not your friends.

    There is an affliction called “affluenza”–PBS ran a television special on it: “an epidemic of stress, overwork, waste, and indebtedness caused by dogged pursuit of the American Dream.” The cure is, as you note here, to find a better balance. In this case, perhaps it would involve not rubbing the problems of “having it all” in the faces of people who have next to nothing, through no fault of their own.

    So, if you would like a bit less nastiness, try understanding that you might well be provoking it through your own behavior. I don’t begrudge you the lovely home, and the lovely child, and the nanny, and the husband with the business, and the job with the flexible schedule–and all those other things that I do not have and never will have despite a life of very hard work getting an education that might even be beyond your own. But, I would probably get pretty darned irritated if a person who had all the things I wish I did then started to complain about how hard it is.

    There are over half a million people–largely female, largely white, mostly middle-class (truly middle class, not just the people who aren’t astoundingly rich)–who are now dead for no good reason. This is an increasing problem which has actually lowered the lifespan of middle-class women on the whole. They drink themselves to death, they do drugs to dull the pain, they simply stop taking their medications and succumb to easily-curable disease–and this is not in small part caused by spending too much time on Facebook and on blogs like this, seeing people living a life that they cannot even aspire to . . . and complaining about it. If even you are not happy, then what do you think they will feel like? Second-hand affluenza can be fatal.

    So, anyway, my main point is to ask you to be a little more conscious of what you are posting. When people who are hurting strike out, you might want to consider what it is that you did to provoke them rather than just complain about them being “jealous” and “bullies.” It might be best to save complaints about your life to a comfortable circle of the well-to-do and not to share it more broadly with people who are coming here for a glimpse of the life that they do not have and never will.

    And, counting one’s blessings would not hurt.

    1. I can appreciate what you are trying to say, but I think you are using false logic. From the very beginning you brought up the “one person’s hard is different than someone else’s”. But then dismissed it as not relevant. I fail to see how it isn’t. By your current logic, no one in the western world should ever think about complaining. Including you (which you did when saying you worked as hard, are probably better educated, but less fortunate). Anytime anyone of them starts to feel bad for themselves, they should think about the starving kids in Africa. But that is emotional suicide. Everyone has problems. Erin has a blog. One she has always been very open on…so these posts are not new or out of the blue. And she has every right to say the things she is saying. And people have every right to disagree. But when the comments begin to diminish her experience with life or challenge her personal parenting/life decisions with ugly comments, then that is not something we should “allow”. It is a very big problem with people. Those who feel privileged enough to force values upon someone else and judge them without having anywhere near the background to do so. Just as you have here…suggesting that Erin doesn’t count her blessings…when in fact she counted them right in front of you and told you that it doesn’t mean everything is all roses.. That is the bigger issue here…not Erin.

  42. Well done and well said, Mama!!! You have to do what is right for you and your family; Period. Looking forward to continuing to check in on M, W & F. Be gentle with yourself and enjoy! :)

  43. I dislike social media. I dislike dealing with social media with my teen, young adult boys who value likes, opinions, praise, criticism on their dang social media accounts. My 23 year old just went through a bad break up and told me what he dreaded most was changing his media profile pics! I dislike social media!

  44. Screw those people! I struggled with infertility too and I always felt a bit sad knowing that when I finally did get pregnant I would feel like I couldn’t complain or that it couldn’t be hard. That I would always have to feel just so HAPPY that I finally got what I had waited so long for. I had twins in Dec and went right back to work because I love my business and because it helps me feel like MYSELF during this crazy first year of motherhood. And also because I want my sons to see that you can be successful if you just work hard, and that women are strong powerful creatures who deserve respect. You’re doing an amazing job!!

  45. this post has stuck with me. i had my 1st baby at 21 (she’s 26 now), and how i wish i’d had a resource like this to read then. you are rad and mean people suck. was just reading emily henderson’s account of her trip to Aus where she recounted it like it really was. and one idiot posted a shitty comment inferring they were happy that the henderson’s vacay didn’t go as planned. i hope you have put this incident squarely in the rear view mirror! keep going. your blog is awesome!

  46. Thank you for your constant strength and honesty. I am not a mom, but I have used your story and words to inspire me to fight my own battles whether at work, in my marriage, and through life. I hope you do whatever is best for you and your family, but I so appreciate you and your work.

  47. All I know to say is that YOU. WILL. MAKE. IT and….you will, in fact, DO GREAT! I remember being at this stage and venting to my Mother in Law about feeling overwhelmed and anxious and just KNOWING that I wasn’t giving anything (my work, my baby, my husband or myself) 100% or even 50% for that matter. My sweet (very wise) Father in Law (who I didn’t even realize was listening) said “you will do great! You will do great because you don’t know how to do it any other way” You (ERIN) don’t know how to do it any other way so you will do GREAT! There are tough stages that later seem like they were easy and there are tough stages that you don’t even remember later. You’re absolutely right…my “tough” is not the same as your “tough” and that’s ok. It doesn’t make either of ours worse or more triumphant to overcome. Here’s the thing…I don’t know many women who weren’t filling their 24 hours with really busy, great and important things before they became mothers. That baby doesn’t come with a bonus of 6 extra hours in the day so we all…no matter what we were filling them with, have to figure out how to add the great joy (and task) of raising a precious child into the same 24 hours that we were definitely FILLING before. Andrew sounds like a fabulous and supportive teammate and you will both find a groove that works for all of you and Henry will (from now till forever) be the highest priority in the “groove.” Hugs and all the support to you and your sweet family! You GOT this and you will do GREAT…because it’s the only way you know how to do it!
    *in other news…my 9 year old went to school today in no less than 6 different shades of blue/green. Not a SINGLE item matched or complimented his “ensemble”…My husband had “approved” the outfit and I was THIS CLOSE to nixing the whole situation…I was sort of getting hives about all the colors (and this was not the good kind of lots of shades of green…they straight up clashed)…furthermore, he was wearing athletic “slides” with his favorite Keven Durant basketball socks…so let’s just be clear…this is socks + sandals= no bueno….but…ya know what….his clothes were clean, they fit him and they were “school appropriate” and most of all…HE LOVED WHAT HE WAS WEARING….he WAS ROCKING IT! and…ya know what else…it’s a random Tuesday and it’s school and….this is where I backed up and shut myself up….because there was no time to change and because I was not in to hurting his feelings (or my Husband’s for that matter) this morning over an outfit on a random Tuesday….This is a compromise…not a HUGE one mind you but a compromise none the less and it’s these little tiny compromises (that don’t really hurt anyone) that, together, allow us to make it all work…. :)

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