Someone recently asked me how I do “it all” – motherhood, a full-time job, a “thriving” blog, and home design.
My answer is simple. “I don’t.”
I messaged Kate Mundo, an amazing mom who is with her baby girl full-time all while growing her blog, to chat through her question. She and I have talked quite a bit about struggling with motherhood (and sleep regressions) over the past few months, and I wanted to know more about why she asked this question and how she felt as a new mom and blogger.
Kate gave me the ok share more about our conversation and the thing that really hit me is that she implied that my “it all” meant she was doing less and that is just not true. I asked Kate if she felt that motherhood wasn’t a job because she wasn’t paid and fortunately she agreed that motherhood is most definitely a job. Then I asked if she felt a salary defined a “job” and she said yes. Interesting, right?
So back to Kate’s question.
My husband and I are able to work because we have an incredible nanny who watches Margot during the week.
The Everygirl and The Everymom are thriving because I have a business partner and a full-time team of 9 (plus a few part-time employees and 25 or so amazing freelance writers) focused on content and growth.
My blog is definitely not thriving, but it’s nice to think that someone out there thinks it is. I love blogging and have been at it 12 years this month but it comes after my family and TEG/TEM. Traffic has been fairly steady but it’s not growing, and I’m very happy with where things are.
Then there’s my “decorated” house. I’ve shared my living room, kitchen/dining room, sunroom, and a peek at Margot’s room, which are all for the most part, done. Our bathrooms, bedrooms, office, basement, and Margot’s room are all unfinished, and our basement looks like an episode of hoarders. Bathrooms are being renovated right now and even though Conor and I worked on the design together, he ordered everything and is working with our contractor to get it done. It’s not perfect and I should share more of the unfinished rooms.
So like I said, I do not do “it all.”
There’s this belief in our society that success correlates with having it all or making a certain amount of money, but I couldn’t agree less. I believe that it’s about doing your best, doing something that fulfills you, and doing what works for you. It’s always been the case for me that even when things feel great, I’m generally struggling somewhere and that something has to give. There’s a constant struggle to put time into my blog or myself when I want to focus my time away from work on Margot, so I usually work on my blog after she’s in bed, but that’s my time with Conor, so I do what I can when I can.
It’s so hard. I’m guilty when I’m not with Margot and we’d lead a very different life but could make it work if I chose to stay home with her, but I love working. I also love my baby. I feel pulled in so many directions and there’s guilt for wanting to work, but I also cherish every moment I spend with Margot. I’m with her every single morning and evening, and our weekends are ours. I also work from home at least 2 days a week so I’ll get to spend a little extra time with her then, too.
The launch of Everymom, the purchase of my first home, moving from the city to the suburbs, and having a baby all happened in a 3 month period. I relied on my husband, my team, and my physical therapist to get through it. And then there’s the fact that no one ever asks my husband how he manages work, house projects, and fatherhood but that’s a whole other post for another day.
I’m really lucky to have a husband who divides parenthood with me but there is a lot more that falls on me and it seems that most of my “mom friends” feel the same way. It’s not a complaint and I love taking care of my girl. I pack her diaper bag, sit in the back seat on long rides, I’m always the one to sit next to her at restaurants, and she generally wants me when she’s upset. She loves her dad but I’m her mom, and I do not take that for granted. I have a husband who’s a GREAT dad. When Margot wasn’t sleeping well and wanted me at night, he was up with her in the morning so I could get more rest. He’s there for bath time and split most feedings and was by my side when she was super fussy and only wanted me. I am very very lucky.
Being a mom is a full-time job and I don’t think there’s a way to take on that role without some sort of help or support from a nanny, babysitter, partner, family, or friends. Don’t hate me for saying this, but I used to think moms made motherhood into a bigger (and more difficult-sounding) thing than it was and then I had Margot. I used to babysit and had such a good grip on the kids I watched so surely I’d be a pro at my baby. Ha. It is so much harder (for me, and most of my friends who I’ve talked to about this) than anything I’ve ever done, but it is also the most amazing thing I’ll ever do. I have all the respect in the world for moms who are with their babies all day, and for moms like Kate who are managing to grow her blog while spending every day with her daughter.
Figure out what matters to you and make the time to go after it. Whether that’s time with friends and family, working out, chasing a side-hustle, creating content, or volunteering, doing what you love and prioritize feeling fulfilled. Part of me has no idea how I get anything done ever, but I felt that way long before becoming a mom.
I also wanted to share something I was hesitant to post about, but this feels like the time to share since I had to give something up that I just couldn’t handle, and I’m still struggling with it. A few weeks ago, Conor and I made the very, very difficult decision for the rescue organization we adopted Tucker from to find a new home for him. We both felt awful about it and I ended up pushing the whole thing back a few times, but now that a few weeks have passed, we know we did the right thing for Tuck and for our family.
Tucker was (is) a highly anxious dog. He would spend hours a day barking and the board of our condo building almost voted to kick him out. Our neighbors hated us so much (yes, we felt terrible about that, too). We tried everything and spent so much money over the last 2.5 years trying to make things better. Boot camp, private and group classes, day camp, and even medication. He was just too much with a baby and as a new mom, because he was so anxious, I didn’t fully trust him around Margot which made me anxious.
I can’t stress how amazing I think rescue dogs are. Buddy is a rescue and an absolute angel. Any dog can have issues, and I’ve always had and will always have rescue dogs in my life. The error was that we were not told just how bad Tuck’s anxiety was.
The good news is that he’s doing well and his new owners have the time, energy, and space for an anxious dog, so we’re really happy to know he’s ok. The energy in our home is so different. Even Buddy seems more calm. It’s weighed on us, but we had to do what was best for our family and for Tuck, too.