4 weeks ago
March Q&A: Our House, My Role at Anecdote, Being Single in my 30s, and Motherhood
I answered a few questions on instagram last night and wanted to elaborate on a few and answer the remaining ones here. Today I’ll be talking about being a working mom, my role at Anecdote, some more house updates, and difficult family dynamics.
Sorry if I missed this but what exactly is Anecdote and what’s your role?
Nothing to apologize for! I’m glad you asked since I’ve never really elaborated on my role and have a full-time job with The Everygirl/Everymom, and wouldn’t want anyone to think I am successfully working three jobs and functioning. Anecdote is a furniture/art/decor store located just outside of Chicago in La Grange.
I am one of 5 founders but my day-to-day role is pretty minimal, so all the operational credit really goes to everyone else. My husband and I invested in the company but he’s been a lot more involved in the day-to-day and is usually there a few days a week as are the other partners.
I’ve brought in a good amount of site traffic via my blog and helped with social (we are at 10,600 followers since October!) and a few partnerships with some big bloggers. I’ve taken a lot of photos for the site and social, too. There’s definitely value in all of that.
The Everygirl Media Group is my job and I feel like I’m at capacity with work, being a mom, and attempting to blog in the most part-time way, so I do what l can, but the hours just aren’t there for me. I also love Anecdote and am so excited to watch it grow, and help out when and where I can.
How are you liking your new living room rug?
I love it! We haven’t spilled anything on it but it’s so soft, doesn’t shed very much at all, and the tone is so warm. I linked to everything in our living room in this blog post.
What’s left on your list of house projects?
Once our console arrives, the living room needs a few small accessories (pillows, baskets for toys, etc) but it will be done. Our bedroom needs a fresh coat of paint (the white reads blue – no idea what color it is but it is not good) and a rug, and it will be done. Our bath is waiting on a window shade and then I’ll shoot it! The baby’s room is a disaster but I ordered a crib and mobile, and am ordering her glider next week. You can see my plan for her room here. I decided to wallpaper our powder room and will share the wallpaper I chose as soon as it’s done! We’re also adding some IKEA cabinets to our laundry room / basement to make the space a bit more functional and are putting a pantry in, then that’s it! Ready to sit back (ha) and enjoy this house with our girls.
How did you prepare yourself mentally for moving to a new city alone?
This was almost ten years ago so I’ll do my best with this one. I was really emotional the weeks leading up to my move, but I didn’t do that much to prepare. I’m not sure there’s a way to prepare for any drastic change since you never know how you’re going to feel after it happens. I often get asked how I prepared for Margot or how I’m preparing to go from one to two, but short of buying a few things, there’s just no way to know what to expect. I’ve found (this is just for me, of course) that if I go into something without expectations but a very rough plan or a few ideas, it’s bound to be more successful.
One of the first things I did was get out and find my regular spots. A coffee shop, yoga studio, learn the grocery store isles, find places you enjoy and can frequent that start to feel part of a routine. Reach out to anyone you know who might know someone in your new city. Having a few plans
How is your relationship with your sisters given your strained relationship with your parents?
I have to tread so lightly with questions like this because it’s not just my story to tell, but will do my best. I am my mom and dad’s only child. My dad doesn’t see any of his children. My sisters are technically half sisters (we all share a mom and they share a dad). My dad has been out of the picture for most of my life, so there’s never been an issue there. Things with our mom are…complicated since I was always the target from a young age. My sisters have been as supportive as possible and I know they feel for me. They are both wonderful humans and we are all doing our best. We talk and text pretty much every week and they came to Santa Barbara from LA so we could spend the morning together. So I’d say it’s as good as it can be, but I still struggle with my place in our family and it’s hard feeling like an outsider, but that’s not on them at all.
I’m six months pregnant and not close with my parents. Did you tell yours about your pregnancies?
I told the one parent I have access to and it did not go well either time. The first time hurt but I got over it, and the second time was much, much worse. I shared my news and was told things my brain and heart can’t process. It felt like the “right thing” to do, but sometimes I feel like I’ll never learn. You have to protect yourself. Ask yourself why you’re sharing the news. Are you likely to get hurt? I basically walked into a burning room the second time and don’t know why I do this to myself.
I’m feeling guilty for being a working mom. Give me all your advice.
A mom actually messaged me on instagram and said the following (which really resonated with me). We had a great chat this morning and I felt so much clarity and so understood. “We both have broken backgrounds. It’s not the time spent with our littles. It is them being in a secure home where they know they’re loved. We are there consistently and a few hours a day vs all day doesn’t change anything.”
No one has ever put it quite like that, and I realized that so much of the guilt I feel is wrapped around me trying to be there for Margot when I never really felt secure or supported. This guilt could take over whether you have a job outside the home or not. I grew up in a very volatile household. My parents hated each other and made sure I knew it. I was a pawn and a target and did not feel secure. Children go through so much worse than I did, but there was a lot of damage done.
But back to the whole working mom thing. Look at why you feel the way you do. It’s all about the quality of time and not the amount of time that we spend with our kids. It’s about showing up, telling them they’re loved, supporting them, and being there for them. My parents weren’t really invested in me, but a few hours a day and some security would have been a game-changer. Margot has that 5 days a week and we’re together all weekend. She knows that I am here for her no matter what and it’s clear to see how safe and loved she feels. That is everything.
How did you know you weren’t meant to be a stay at home mom?
With anything, you have to do what feels right for you. This is not the easiest thing to share and I hopefully won’t get any grief for it, but I don’t think I’d enjoy being home all day. I LOVE Margot more than anything. I also love what I do. Would I feel differently if I found myself going to a job I hated? I’m sure I would. We rely on both our incomes, so we could make it work but things would have to shift a lot, and that’s not something I really considered, but again, loving my job and team is such a huge part of that. Timing, finances, and doing what’s right for you and your family are everything. If something ever happened and my girls needed me to be home, I’d do that, but we are all doing well right now. Margot is thriving with our nanny (they have the sweetest relationship) and when I’m with her I’m with her. There’s still a lot of guilt but my answer to the previous question makes that guilt feel a lot more clear to me.
Advice for choosing between more family income vs being a SAHM? Goal is to eventually work from home.
This is a deeply (deeply) personal topic and I am in a very unique situation. Due to how well things were going with The Everygirl and the fact that we had just launched The Everymom a few months before I had Margot, I couldn’t ever have imagined walking away. The goal is to continue to grow The Everygirl Media Group, and as an owner/founder, I am just so invested. I also love what i do.
There are so may factors to consider. Bills have to be paid and someone has to watch your kids, so if staying home is something you want to do, I would sit down, make a budget, and see what’s realistic. If you want to be home with your children and can make it work, I do believe a lifestyle change is worth being at home with your children. You can always make money, but you can’t always get that time back. Figure out what will you walk away with after paying for daycare or a nanny. Money will never be more important than family, but again, it comes down to what you can afford and what you want to do.
Advice on being burned/betrayed by your last two (female) bosses who you sincerely trusted?
I haven’t been betrayed by a boss I’ve trusted but but had this happen with people I trusted, so I can relate on some level. Learning to trust after being hurt isn’t easy. In my case, signs were there with the people who betrayed me. In the end, business is business for some people and as tough a pill as that is to swallow, you have to know that not everyone is like that. If you’re really struggling, I would talk to a friend or therapist (I recommend therapy a lot but it’s so helpful). I’m not sure how helpful that was.
How did you stay positive while single and in your 30s when everyone else was getting married and having babies? How can I handle being single better?
Is anyone “good” at being single? It’s such a roller coaster and is so hard. I want to tell you to enjoy this time but that isn’t always reality. There were times I felt desperate for a relationship and times when I loved being on my own. In the end, I had to find happiness in the day-to-day because I found that when I felt like I really needed someone, it never worked out. In my 20s, I convinced myself that if I wasn’t married with a baby by 30, life was over. I met Conor at 33, got married at 35, and had Margot two months before turning 36. Not at all the timeline I hoped for, but it worked out so perfectly. I had some time to travel, grow my career, and figure out who I really was. The times when I was happiest, I embraced where I was and the freedom that came with it. That’s not to say there weren’t hard / lonely days because those existed, but not comparing and seeing this time as a chance to grow personally and do things you maybe couldn’t do as easily if you weren’t single can be helpful.
Does Margot have Conor’s last name or is it hyphenated?
She has Conor’s last name. I took my maternal grandfather’s last name since my dad was not a great parent. since we were really close, and Margot is lucky to have a great dad, so I was happy for her to take his name. I did keep mine and have no plans to change it.
Did you take Taking Cara Babies sleep training course? Did it not work? I know how much you struggled with sleep.
I did take it and the course itself was great. It worked so well for all my friends and some bits and pieces worked for us. Cara was so helpful (we got on a call or two) but Margot struggled. She would get worked up very quickly and escalate to throwing up all over herself, so letting her cry (even for a minute) was not really an option. She also cried for hours at night, so it was just a tough time for all of us. We believe she had colic or something wrong, but never figured it out. It took Margot growing out of that and then following those tips to get her to sleep, and it did work. This blog post might be helpful!
Thoughts on push presents?
I say this a lot but you have to do what’s right for you. If it’s in your budget and sounds fun, go for it. I would never judge someone for getting a push present or a tattoo or for skydiving, but those things just aren’t high on my list. I got pregnant easily, had an easy delivery, and was just so grateful to have a healthy baby at 35, so I genuinely didn’t feel like I wanted or needed anything, and felt so lucky to have a healthy baby. The sentiment of something to commemorate the moment is sweet but Margot was that for me. Conor and Margot gave me a bracelet for my birthday, two months after she was born. It was really sweet but also unnecessary.
My second pregnancy ended at six weeks, so this time around, I feel even more grateful for a healthy baby, especially at 37. I just keep envisioning Conor walking into the hospital room with Margot, and our two girls (sisters!) meeting. That’s all I want or need. I’m not sure anything will ever top that for me.
Would you travel to Europe with a toddler with the Coronavirus threat?
I would not travel to Europe with or without a toddler. I also avoided anywhere that might have Zika even though it was probably unlikely that I would have contracted it. Just doesn’t feel worth the risk.
Any dream vacations/bucket list places on your list for the future?
So many! It will likely be a while (years) before we take any big trips. I didn’t grow up traveling so there’s a lot I want to see and do. I’ve been lucky enough to squeeze in some pretty amazing travels in my early 30s. Paris, Argentina (Buenos Aires and Mendoza), Portugal (Lisbon and Porto), Italy (Tuscany, Florence, Rome, Amalfi), Denmark, and Iceland. Loved and would recommend every single destination. I’ve never been to Spain or Amsterdam and both are high on my list. Greece, London at Christmastime, Mexico, and Thailand. I haven’t explored France outside of Paris so I’d love to do that, too. Have I mentioned that I love traveling?
If you have any additional questions, please leave them in the comments below!