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Merry Christmas From The Hendersons

Merry Christmas from the Hendersons. I know this photo is blurry, but it so accurately sums up our lives right now – both in the clarity of the photo and our body language. Birdie wants to get down to certainly do something on her own, with ‘I CAN DO IT’ on repeat in her head. Charlie is doing a super hero move, despite no bad guy in sight. And Brian and I are alive and laughing through it.

This year was busy, which is a great thing obviously, culminating in the 3 month holiday wave (nay, tsunami) of sponsorships (of which I’m VERY proud) and events (which perhaps were unnecessary but fun). After months of going non-stop, last week hit me like a wrapped holiday-brick in the face, with my usual high energy and positivity being- well, challenged. At one point I said, oh ‘this is why weird celebrities check themselves into rehab for exhaustion.’ Having an anxiety attack during one of the busiest weeks of your life is REALLY bad timing. I didn’t want to say anything at the time because I didn’t want any sponsors or clients thinking that I wasn’t going to give it my all or that I couldn’t handle the work load, etc., because the truth is I can, and did (with huge credit to my amazing team for helping me produce content and to Brian for definitely doing more than his fair share with the kids).

At one point, near the end, I realized I hadn’t had a true day off in about 5 weeks – with the weekends being self-induced work/shoots (did I really NEED to shoot the DIY’s for Charlie’s superhero themed birthday at 7am on the Sunday of his birthday party?? Did I really need to have that fake ladies holiday dinner? But it’s all such good content that, yes, we needed it!!). I broke down. Got a lot of cuddles from Brian and my kids, and once again resigned to hire more help in 2018 (which sounds like a simple solution but more help means more people to manage/disappoint…. but if anyone knows a good high level COO or high level Social Media Creator/Expert please spread the word).

Emily Henderson Christmas 2017 Lifestyle9

Plus I have two small, super dependent kids who really, really like my attention. Often in the middle of the night and always in the morning when I’m trying to leave for work. And when we shoot at the house, boy does it get very complicated (because of this they are both going to preschool 9-2 starting in January to help them avoid the chaos that is often my job at our house). But I WANT to give them attention, I’m obsessed with those kids and while I often want a 5 minute break every 15 minutes, I really, really love spending time with them being their mama. The 6am – 9am and 5pm – 8pm job of parenting is 100 times more exhausting than being in front of 3 cameras and 62 people. Those 6 parenting hours + the 8-9 work hours add up to be manageable at best.

I know I’m not alone, and none of this is bad, or any reason to pity anyone here. As my friend Robyn told me yesterday, the holidays are super, super hard for moms. You see, it’s the time of year when you are your busiest at work but all you want to do is set aside time for traditions, service, and making those very special memories while your kids are young. I know you older moms will be thinking ‘calm down, they won’t remember, you are doing great’, but it’s more for me than them. You start the month with all these holiday dreams full of joyful kid-filled events and near the end you realize that you didn’t do any of them. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m happy to say that this year the gingerbread house did get built (albeit early, over thanksgiving), the sugar cookies did get baked for the firemen/policemen (but never delivered, yay, let’s here it for parental follow-through!), we made it to Descanso Gardens (but realized it’s less for rowdy toddlers than we had assumed but had fun cocktails with friends), and after canceling our big holiday party due to the above exhaustion and anxiety (lucky for me I had been too busy to officially invite anyone anyway, ha), we will have some family over to enjoy the decor when we get back from our Portland trip (where we’ve been since Monday welcoming my parents home after a 2 year international LDS mission). We made it to see Santa yesterday morning, after waiting in line for almost 2 hours in the 20 degree cold.  In my first draft of this post I listed all the things that I didn’t accomplish of which I had planned, but then deleted it because by rereading all of this I realize how much of a crazy person I sound (and am).

My drive to hit all marks in life is both noteworthy and exhaustingly unnecessary. I didn’t predict I would be this person. And yet I don’t necessarily want to change.This is me. I live to work. I’m driven, motivated, and when I’m ‘slow’ I just create more work for myself. The only thing I love more than my job is my family/.

But real quick: If I were a guy I would surely take a back seat on the parenting front and rely heavily on my spouse to be the lead parent while I support us and capitalize on the fact that I’m at a high point in my career. Lucky for me Brian is amazing and has definitely tried to get me to do this, but ….

Emily Henderson Family Christams 2017 3

But I’m not a man. I’m a MOM. 

And as a mom who is also the main supporter of the family I’m again reminded that trying to be amazing at both roles is impossible and just results in you disappointing yourself – a feeling that produces even more stress and exhaustion. But that’s just what we do, right? It’s self-induced because we are natural caretakers and incredible multi-taskers. And mostly because, despite how much we love our jobs, we really, really want to be GREAT moms. I brought it up with my girlfriends last night (all of whom work a lot). I said, ‘things may have been easier for families before so many women took on full-time jobs. Roles were defined. Jobs were clear. Everyone knew everyday who was in charge of what.’ Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting going back in time, nor would I consider giving up my career. Modern life has just gotten, often unbearably, complicated. Women are taking such a dominant role in the workforce; the advantages given to our children, our culture, our society, and the world because of this are incalculable. But the nighttime scramble of who is going to make what for dinner, the leveraging for ‘me time’, the 15 hours a day (between both roles) where we’re ON end up taking a toll on life, marriages, and our health.

Emily Henderson Waverly Modern English Tudor Holiday Gathering Party Patio 182

Once again I manage to take a ‘Merry Christmas from the Hendersons’ post and turn it into some large macro comment on the state of the modern family. Let me be clear, I HAVE MY DREAM JOB.

But of course the minutiae that comes with every job is still hard work, of which you don’t necessarily see, nor do I want you. Part of my job is the aspiration without the stress, and while it can be stressful, most of it is fun AF. But when a lot of your jobs culminate in bookings in one season, it doesn’t matter how much you love your job, because you do… it doesn’t matter how enthused you are by every opportunity, because you are… it doesn’t matter how excited you are to produce, shoot and write each post… because you ARE. It’s like celebrating your birthday 16 nights in a row. It’s like going to vegas for 5 days (3 is the general max). You don’t want to complain because you have nothing to complain about.

But you are allowed to be tired.

I wouldn’t change a thing. I knew it was coming  and I’m so proud we made it through (again, with so much help). This isn’t a ‘I want to slow down post’ professionally because I don’t. I love moving fast, producing a lot and when things are naturally slower in the winter is when I naturally create even more work for myself because I love to work.  Could I use more tools to help manage the chaos? Sure. But suggesting to slow down at the peak of our year is like asking a sprinter to walk the last quarter mile. Its just what we do, and in a lot of ways its why we love what we do. But yes, there is a sweet collapse at the end. 🙂

Life is so good – so good I could cry. I know I’m one of the luckiest people on the planet and I have no plans of squandering that time with complaints or negativity. But I also know that part of my success is telling you how I’m feeling and thinking, and sometimes that involves a level of realness that can be perceived as ungrateful. It’s not. I’m so grateful. But if you were looking for proof that someone can be grateful and tired at the same time, I’m it. Perhaps there is a sponsorship or spokesperson opportunity for that role?



You (my readers) are my conscious. You are full of the best advice. You have been a mom longer than me, and a career lady with more demands. You have tried to balance marriage, work, and kids longer than I have. And yet, you know me really well. So I guess I needed to chat… with you.

Thank you for listening.

Today will be the last post of 2017 on the blog so that I can shut things down and spend time with my family. To celebrate the year.

Thank you for another great year. Thank you for reading sharing and engaging. Thank you for being smarter, kinder, and full of better advice than me.


Cheers, from our family to yours, whatever your family looks like.

Emily Henderson Family Christams 2017 2

Because let’s face it – life is a SNOW SHOW.  But we’ve been through this blizzard before, and in 2018 I’ll be ready to ski through it. RIGHT?

In short: Happy Holidays, From The Hendersons 🙂


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263 thoughts on “Merry Christmas From The Hendersons

  1. Love the work you do!! You produce more content than any blog I read – and I would not be disappointed if you cut back on your posts. I’d still check in daily, (while I drink my coffee in the AM), and I’d be delighted to read 1 or 2 posts a week.

    Enjoy your life! Your followers sure do 🙂
    Merry Christmas!

    1. This! Posting on an enforced schedule is what has been the doom of other blogs (YHL comes to mind). There are blogs that post a couple times a week or when they have content and are still beloved by their readership (I.e. Chris lives Julia). You work for yourself and have the freedom to make the decision to do less. Everyone will still love your work.

    2. Totally agree! There is so much awesome content here and I often enjoy re-reading posts because I often miss something the first time round – Girl, your posts are DENSE. That’s a huge compliment but seriously there is so much there! I also, in decorating our first owned house (YAY!) have routinely turned to posts I’ve saved for guidance. Cheers to my favorite design blog and my fave actual stranger but feels like a personal friend, Emily!
      PS – this post was awesome because as a working mom with some serious guilt I broke down a few days ago and needed this dose of solidarity.

      1. Thank you Emily for all the beautiful content you and your team are creating, but I agree with the comments above, maybe you could reduce the amount of post so you ain’t going crazy trying to meet every scheduled. I’m sure all of us will keep reading your blog everyday.

        Happy holidays!

    3. Agree 100% with Molly! I’ve been reading your blog since Secrets from a Stylist and often think how the HECK are you doing it all now? Obvs you have peeps to help but I’m still amazed how much content you’re doing these days. I love it but wouldn’t be offended if you didn’t do quite as much. As a loyal fly on your wall for several years just want to say how cool it’s been to see you grow, personally (BABIES!) and professionally and I wish you ALL the best in 2018.

      One of your virtual BFFs,
      XO Leah

      1. Thanks, Leah. We enjoy the content creating so much (even the sponsored ones). Excited for January where we are back to normalcy just like everyone else, right? xx

    4. Totally agree. Much love to all that you are and all that you do. This is the story of my life. I want it all and work 24-7 to make it happen. Its exhausting BUT I can tell you, the kids get older and you can talk to them like grown up people…and they see you-the real you because you let them. It’s powerful. And amazing. And you realize being a strong and modivated and passionate person is teaching them so so much more about following their own dreams and aspirations. Happy New Year!

  2. Happy Christmas Hendersons. I really appreciated your post so much, Emily – I am also the breadwinner for my family in a less glamorous job – environmental consultant. My job has a lot of stress, a lot of travel, and I have to produce boring content (reports) that don’t always fit within a 9-5 work life. Let me tell you everything you said in the post resonates with me so much with three little kids at home. Wishing you a peaceful and precious holiday season.

  3. As a working mom of two children, ages 1 and 3, who’s going through a rough time I completely empathize with everything you’re going through. This holiday season, I did not make snickerdoodles for the neighbors. The nanny took them to see Santa and made cutout cookies with them. But, yknow what, we had a dance party with Christmas music when I came home from work last night. My three-year-old had the red tights she needed to be color coordinated for her school Christmas party. And the other day, when I was crying, my one-year-old offered me her binkie out of her mouth. The lesson of 2017 for me was to take the small victories where I could find. I think I’m doing some things, definitely not everything but some things, right. And I think you are doing lots of things right.

    Thanks for the joy of your blog in this insane, exhausting life I live but also wouldn’t trade for the world.

    1. What a precious comment with a precious image of your one year old offering their binky. You are doing lots of things right too mama.

  4. Hello Emily,
    I so appreciate everything you do and came here today to tell you!!
    I woke up in 2016 with breast cancer and forged through 2017 healthier and happier than ever. I absolutely love your style and resonate with your humor. I am thanking you for all the laughs and amazing reads this year.
    All I can say is you are one amazing lady and enjoy the precious time with your friends and family!
    That is what really matters.
    Happy 2018!

  5. Wow. I seriously related with this entire post. SERIOUSLY. It’s like you read my mind and put it to paper (or internet).
    Another breadwinner over hear that has been stressed out this year in the pursuit of trying to do everything. Trying to keep up with everything having 2 kids in school entails (which is just mind-numbing in the amount of stuff you need to be responsible for), trying to get everything done in a high stress job, trying to actually keep in contact with friends, trying to be there for family. It is exhausting. I started a blog last year and was trying to keep up with posting at least every other day on top of mom-ing and working a full-time job, and selling vintage furniture on the side. Well, early this year, the blogging and furniture totally went to the wayside as I changed jobs and tried to keep up. I’ve always been high energy and positive, but this all took a huge toll and I would say that 2017 became the year of anxiety (like, for real anxiety) and stress. Which makes a person low energy and negative. Ug. It is definitely nice to hear that it’s not just me and that even if you have your dream job (which I most certainly do not), life can be anxiety-inducing and overwhelming. Thanks for sharing this!

  6. Honestly, posts like this make me so happy – your honesty is endearing and so very helpful (otherwise I would just walk around assuming everyone is doing life way better than me!). Thank you for sharing and posting and creating content with all of us in mind and I hope you have a relaxing and joy-filled holiday break. ❤️

  7. That first photo is wonderful! I think every Christmas card should have one like this instead of a perfectly posed shot. It’s real…just like you! Merry Christmas to your whole family and thanks for gifting us with your creativity and honesty, Emily!

    1. if i ever had it in me to send out a christmas card that would be it 🙂 Sara was like ‘don’t post that! its blurry! and i said, no, its PERFECT. xx

  8. Merry Christmas Emily and to your family! I really appreciate all the work you do and agree with another commenter that you should feel welcome to cut down content frequency if that would help.

    I have a career I love and a toddler who’s completely changed my world in amazing ways. I’ve also had two very difficult years adjusting to a new identity as a mom. Many days I feel simulataneously full of joy and wonder and disappointed in myself. The one thing, though, that’s incredibly humbling is that I know looking from the outside I appear to still be a very high achiever. Even with considerably reduced standards work wise and “output” on every domain of my life. This perspective has helped me adjust my lens and really focus in on my values, quality of time not quantity etc.

    All this is to say, you have much to be proud of – with what you do and who you’re becoming.

  9. Merry Christmas!!! Love you, your posts, your design, your honesty! Thank you for always providing such fantastic content. Wishing you and your family a fun and festive holiday season!

  10. You are so wise. Even though we have very different full-time jobs (I’m a high school music teacher, so it’s my extra-crazy season right now too), I so identify with what you shared as a working mom of two littles. I hope you find some moments this season to rest, to be at peace, and to breathe … without feeling like you need to look or think ahead. Thanks for your honesty; it’s inspiring. <3

  11. Thank you for doing your job. We all love your blog and love the window into your world as a stylist. Your job is kind of my dream job too.

    I completely hear where you are coming from. I’m the breadwinner (although not in my dream job, but my job is a very good one). I’m in Corporate America so this whole month (especially the past week) has seen me working like a madwoman trying to wrap up important projects before the end of the year. Hours and stress have been through the roof, and meanwhile I wish I was with my kids doing Christmas-y things.

    When I moved into this position earlier this year my husband and I made the conscious choice for him to become a full-time stay at home dad to our two boys (6 and 9). He handles everything for their school, bus drop off and pick up, grocery shopping, and is improving in the housework category. I’ve had to let go of those things and the way they are done so that I don’t have the mental burden and he doesn’t feel nagged. They are his domain now, and it is SUCH A RELIEF. We are a traditional anti-traditional family. 🙂

    I’m not saying this is the ideal approach for your family. You have to find what works for you. If that means cutting back on your posts/projects from a personal involvement standpoint, don’t feel guilty doing that. You are taking care of your family by taking care of your stress levels. I don’t think any of us fellow working moms would fault you for it. I for one wouldn’t. Also: it will get somewhat easier. The kids will be less clingy in a couple years (which is bittersweet, all truth be told.) Of course then there will be baseball, hockey, piano lessons, etc depending on their interests so maybe it’s not easier, just different. And limiting extracurriculars will help keep that stage from getting out of control.

    I remember the time of two working parents and how hard it is to juggle, and I salute you. I’ll also send up a prayer for your peace and sanity and REST over the holiday. Merry Christmas, and see you on the flip side!

    1. omg. your post about job totally mirrors my life. minus the husband becoming a stay-at-home dad. so i’m totally in stress mode managing everything. i need to go back to campaigning for him to be a stay-at-home dad.

      1. We talked about it a lot but its not the right thing for us. He definitely does A LOT if not more than I do, though. I’m looking into meal delivery and weekly personal assistants/organizers for 2018 🙂 Is there a service where someone just comes 4 hours a week and puts your house back together??? Not a cleaning service, but an organizer who will intuitively break down boxes, return unused amazon items, clears out your laundry rooms …. throws away old magazines, etc … i’d be Super into that.

        1. SunBasket has been a life saver for us and my house cleaner loves to organize! We live in LA if you would like me to send you her info. She’s the sweetest, nicest, most positive woman and she loves kids! And you probably already use something like this, but Asana is an amazing tool for managing teams of people. The book SCRUM: The art of doing twice the work in half the time has become my bible. You are amazing and such an inspiration to us all! Enjoy your break so much because you so deserve it! Merry Christmas!

        2. My job isn’t nearly as demanding as yours, Emily, but I TOTALLY AGREE about the personal assistant to come – I’d love someone 2 hours 2x a week and I don’t want to have to tell them anything. I want them to read my mind. 🙂 Blessings to you. Thanks for being you.

        3. One of my clients does exactly that. She also cooks for a week and leaves everything labeled and ready to heat up in your fridge. She is in Northern California, but essentially she IS exactly what you mentioned. She is also a personal stylist and will clean out your closet of unflattering clothes and then buy you things that look better and show you how to put an outfit together. If there is one here, there MUST be one in eastside LA. If you build it they will come…My client also works in four hour increments 1-2 times a week for people. There’s gotta be someone like her by you.

        4. I’d do that job in a heart beat if I lived in CA! I was a mostly stay at home mom when my kids were growing up. I worked part time in the evenings to make ends meet. At the time it seemed like it would never end and now I wonder why it flew by so quickly. Darn those babies for growing up. Now I am a 54 year old grandma to 4 and wondering what I should do now. Helping you be organized would be my dream job!

        5. Totally! There are folks out there for every task.

          I was in a similar state (though much smaller scale) when my son was ~2. I found a woman who came in once a week and picked up and tidied everything, did laundry and vacuumed. She was a godsend.

          My son is 12 now and with me half the time due to divorce. One thing I’ve gotten into is as much as possible to *be here now* with him (housework doesn’t grow up) at his level (wrestling? yes!). It’s been a relief, and really fun. ?

          Thank you for all that you do, Emily!!

        6. I wonder if your Nanny might know someone who would do that? I’m in Phoenix and have a super lady who does just that for several people. Just put it out there and you will find someone, Happy New Year. You;re the BEST!

    2. Your current cleaning service may do it. I clean professionally and have some clients that I would LOVE to organize, declutter, etc for but do not have their permission, time or get paid for this. You may just need a cleaning person that doesn’t have many other clients and is open to this. It would be a learning process but once they know you and your house would be delightful.

  12. As the mom of a 5 and 3 year old and the main breadwinner in the family, I can so relate! We (as moms) really do put so much pressure on ourselves. I want to do all the wonderful things my mom did for me while growing up, but she was at home with us kids full-time. It’s absolutely exhausting.

    That being said, you do put out a ton of content! It’s ok to slow down the pace a bit on the blog.

    Much love to you and your family. Cheers to 2018! Looking forward to the vacation home reno!

  13. Oh Emily. I love your honesty. Its so important for women to hear. I am a stay at home mom of three boys under 10. I used to have the panic attack you describe right before summer. no matter how your family is setup: working, not working, working from home, working part time…its all a difficult balancing act. I read a book that changed some things for me called Present over Perfect by Shauna Neiquist (i know you dont have time to read, but I am sure you can listen on audible and she has a podcast). It gave me permission to start saying no to a few things(that the world would not end), create some margin in my life (self care, few minutes of silence to hear my own thoughts and a little rest) and stop mentally escaping my life and stay present. Shauna is an author, speaker and travels for work so her life was packed full. I respected her voice for rebalancing bc she was so honest about what it was costing her. (i dont work for her, sorry for the sales pitch)

    please know that you are not alone, that you are doing your best and when you are not doing your best its good for your kids to see that you are not super human, just human.
    Merry Christmas! We are almost to the part where they rip through packages in 2 minutes that took us weeks to shop for and wrap and we still think “so worth it” .

    1. Ok ordering it now. I actually say no to A LOT (ask my friends and colleagues who think i’m MIA all the time). But I like that mantra so much ‘ present over perfect’ thank you 🙂

      1. That book changed my year too. I read it in Jan — Christmas present last year from my older wiser sis. Which is much how you feel too, em.

        Bravo to you for living your dream in real time sans filter. I appreciate your honesty immensely. Hug those babies, get some pedis, sleep in late (so maybe like 7? 🙂 and drink some wine while reading that fantastic book in front of your tree. That’s my recipe when my baby and 2 year old and LIFE feel like too much. The other thing I constantly remind myself is: one day I will miss this chaos, this crying, this loudness, the constant pounding of feet and calling for mama. I will want every drop of it back. It truly helps me in those moments of anxious overwhelm. Also, 4 posts per week would ROCK and prob let you cut out the “fluff” content to focus on your excellent sponsorships and the rest of the amazing stuff you do. How I *wish* I was a high level COO who could work remotely for you! 2018 is going to rock.

        To your rest, rejuvenation and with my gratitude – Happy Christmas, Henderson family!

  14. I don’t have any advice (my own solution to trying to juggle too many work-kid-friends balls was just… let a bunch of them fall and then feel like crap about it? I have some resolutions for 2018…) but I am so appreciative of your honesty and candor. It’s brave, and it’s kind, and it helps all of us feel normal in our own struggles and triumphs. Thank you for sharing so much.

      1. I think the Netflix Crown season 2 deals with dropping balls. The show is really about balancing work with motherhood and a personal life.

  15. I would highly recommend getting your food delivered. I am not talking about groceries or Blue Apron, but rather fully cooked ready to eat meals. I am sure there are plenty of companies that do that in LA, the one I use only operates in Florida . we get meals delivered twice a week so it is fresh.It has improved our daily life to know that we don’t have to scramble to cook something delicious, healthy and on time every day, so we definitely have more flexibility with work and being on the go. We still make our own breakfast and I still make salads and do some baking when I crave something but the difference is.. I only cook when i WANT to! 🙂 and BTW: it is actually cheaper than our past grocery bill. Please look into it, I am so glad i did

    1. Or get into freezer meals. I batch cook once every couple of months. I sometimes do exchanges with friends. It is the only way I cook anymore

      1. I am with you on the batch cooking! Why cook soup or spaghetti sauce for 2 meals when you can cook enough for 10+ meals and freeze?!

    2. I’m so glad to hear of someone doing this! I’ve been wanting to find a way to have food delivered, but I haven’t known what to search for. (TaskRabbit got me nothing. 🙂 ) How did you find the service you’re using?

      1. We used munchery for a while and really loved it, but they stopped doing family style meals which is what we loved (taco night, bbq chicken night, etc). Believe me that i’m not above a meal delivery service just don’t know one that drops off fully prepared, healthy meals that both kids AND adults like without a lot of packaging and with no prep. Think chili. lasagna. large batch. crazy that we can’t find that … i want to eat what the kids eat so they emulate good nutrition (god that sounded super LA) but so often we just cook them quesadillas, hiding vegetables, then brian and I eat their leftovers later because we forgot about us ….. its something to work on for sure. xx

        1. This is strangely reassuring — what you found (and couldn’t find) was exactly the same for me. Someone should start a service providing prepped, healthy meals family style!

          I also considered contacting nearby culinary institutes to see if any students wanted a side gig doing something like that, but my life is so full that I think the effort of finding the right person is beyond me for now. Maybe next year…

        2. I had to bring a main to a preschool sing/potluck event but had to be somewhere right before it. I made store-bought, frozen lasagna in the slow cooker. I live in Northern Cali now where it is colder so if I can make it in a slow cooker, it’s great. I didn’t do that in LA, but I would if I moved back now.

          And descanso gardens was my favorite place as a child. My parents took me there on weekends. But I was always like a little old British lady. I wanted to have tea. I didn’t know they had cocktails now…maybe I should go back. I looked into it for my wedding but did Santa Barbara instead.

        3. My two favorite ways to eat with kids and get those veggies in are smoothies (think spinach and whatever fruit they like and Greek yogurt) in the AM and spaghetti sauce stuffed with all kinds of veggies I throw in food processor mixed with jarred sauce.

  16. What a timely post – this really resonates with me. The past two weeks have been insane for me (work/school/holiday stuff, with a 6 y/o birthday in the mix on 12/20 – my precious December baby!), and this is after I actively tried to “simplify” the holidays this year! We have three events over the next few days, one of which is my house hosting the family Christmas dinner. That alone is a big , as I take a lot of care with hosting (though since our remodel finished I’ve been doing it a ton, so I remind myself I’m a well-oiled Martha Stewart machine right now). Anyways, as difficult as it is to manage all these details and responsibilities and events, I also feel so DARN GOOD when everything goes as planned (b/c I did so well planning!), and I know at some point, when I’m older and life is calmer, I’ll look back on the days when life was so busy and miss it.

    PS: I believe your kids are a bit younger than mine (just turned 6 and 4 and a half) and YES – it’s a smidge “easier” when they get to be around 4 (5 is magical -they are more kid-like, only slight signs of baby). Also, having them in preschool will help too – I’m a big proponent of outside, classroom-like care for young children; it gives them structure, teaches them to work with others and take direction from others. Good move on your part.


    1. I think what I need to reiterate in the post is that I REALLY LOVE IT ALL. Nobody is forcing me to do anything. and I, too, love hosting because it truly creates these really unique memories. Its just about making it through and recognizing that its not easy. But neither is life, or parenting, etc. All the best , most rewarding things in life AREN’T EASY.

  17. What occurs to me is that this is not a new phenomenon. My Grandma was a teacher in the 1930s, when my grandpa had been laid off his job. She had two toddlers, but still came home to cook dinner every night, iron her SHEETS (No kidding), preserve her jams, pickles, etc. and still found time to sing in the church choir. She was going from 6am to nearly midnight every day and I remember her telling me clearly how crazy her life was then. I think what’s different these days is our expectations: she never had more than one bathroom to clean – or to pay for and to heat. And to her, that was just fine and having just downsized from 5 bathrooms to 2, there is something to be said for being careful not to fall into the trap of having it all, because then you really have nothing: no time to relax and enjoy, no peace just stress..

    1. Agree with this, Kelly. Women have been doing this for ages; it’s nothing new. But so have men. Equal credit goes to all sexes, or regardless of the gender. Extended families provided strong support systems to moms and dads (it is true – it takes a village). It’s only in the US (Western culture specifically) that I noticed that women prognosticate endlessly about how much we do and how we deserve a pat on the back, while simultaneously throwing in a self-deprecating comment. No other culture have I come across where women dwell so much on the responsibility their shoulder. They just do it. Or they actively ask for help. And like Kelly said, don’t fall into the trap of wanting to have it all.

      1. Sometimes its important for people who look like they have it all to talk openly about how their failings and how their life is more complicated than it is and yes to remind ourselves and the world how much we do in hopes of feeling less alone and receiving some always needed appreciation. I’ve rarely even broached the ‘working mom juggle’ subject because its such a hot button topic (which it shouldn’t be) and because I fear the judgement would actually impact my ability to write freely or exacerbate my parental guilt. The plight of the American woman (probably not just american but to address your specific comment) is both unique and universal. Its nice to recognize both and create a community through the commonalities and the differences. And by the way, I think a lot of us, including you and Kelly’s grandma, do deserve a big pat on the back 🙂 Men have been getting pats on the back forever. Asking for the same is just called feminism. And to be clear … JUST ON THE BACK 🙂

  18. Emily – I’m also a working mama with kids almost exactly the same age as yours (and, judging from what you post, very similar personalities to your kids as well). I also had a bit of a freak out a few weeks ago that involved me crying on my own mother’s shoulder blubbering “I”M JUST TRYING TO DO THE RIGHT THING ALL THE TIME AND IT’S SO EXHAUSTING.” In short: I hear you. I appreciate you! I think what you do is incredible and I think you’re such a smart, genuine, hard-working, talented woman. Enjoy this time with your family – I hope you get the mental and physical break that you need. We’ll be waiting here for you with open arms in 2018!!

    1. thank you 🙂 and I also think that there is NOTHING WRONG with trying to be your best person even if it makes you cry a lot. Its satisfying to try your hardest, right? Even if you fail or breakdown sometimes. Every personality is different and for me, i feel compelled daily to try hard because thats what I want to do. Recognizing your successes is important, noting your failings is even more (lest we all become narcissists). One of my failings is not taking enough time for myself because I (and many of you) have prioritized work and family over myself. and thats kinda ok with ME for now. Which I guess in a way means its all for me, right?

  19. Could you consider bringing back some old features (e.g., Craigslist finds / a whole post on a flea market find / etc.) that don’t involve high-end shoots / sponsors / etc. in 2018, both to take some of the burden off of yourself (stated naively, I know) and to produce some of that easy and fun to consume content that I’m sure many of your readers would enjoy? I know I really miss the more casual posts. Hope you have a great holiday season and new year!

    1. I miss all of these posts and think that’s a great idea! A lot more relatable than a deluge of sponsored content, and easier for you to pawn off on others since browsing a flea market/Craigslist is something that can be done by anyone.

  20. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your home family and your work family. I wouldn’t miss checking your blog. Enjoy your time off line.

  21. This is so wonderful and relatable. I started tearing up reading it because there is SO MUCH pressure to do it all, especially this time of year. Thank you for being so open. You create aspirational content that is Pinterest Perfect without making us feel like terrible people for not being perfect ourselves.

  22. Emily! We will all still follow and love you (and so will the sponsors) if you cut back and spend more time being you. Not “on-display you,” just authentic you. The you that exists outside of insta stories and blog posts and “look how I’ve incorporated this product into my aspirational life!”

    Some of the bloggers and instagrammers I salivate most over are the ones who are a little more private, who seem to show us their lives as it’s convenient for them, not because they must. not. turn. down. an opportunity.

    TBH, and I’m saying this out of care and concern, you have seemed a little… manic this season. And this post fully describes what I’ve witnessed as an audience member. Slow down! Be more selective about what you take on and share with us. We’ll love you even more for it, promise.

      1. Ha. I think we’ve all been manic this season. It’s just kinda part of it, and its ok and fun and crazy and then we get this big payoff at the end because we accomplished it. xx

  23. Girlllll you have the talent, the drive, the charisma….I promiseeeeee even if you took the next three years completely off there would be work for you and you would be successful! ?

  24. Aww, thanks for always sharing! It’s been a great year full of amazing posts and you’ve earned some downtime. I’ll miss checking in every day but I’m glad you’re taking this time to enjoy all your hard work, it’s important!

  25. You rest sweet, wonderful, powerful woman! It’s well deserved.
    See you in 2018 and already looking forward to your resolution posts.
    Thanks for sharing.

  26. Merry Christmas, Emily! Posts like this one are often my favorites. It’s weird because you don’t know me, I don’t really know you, but you’re an every day occurrence in my life. I save your blog to read with my lunch and don’t let myself read any earlier. It’s always such a lovely break from my day. So thank you for bring joy to me this season, but also year round and for the last five or so years. Keep doing you! but maybe take a break once and a while to breathe 😉

  27. Hi Emily,

    I am totally going to project here: But I am a fellow ex-mormon woman with a family and a career, who also had a very lovely childhood in a traditional LDS household. All of the things you talked about probably resonate with all working moms. But we have a special layer of buried expectation on us, and it is that we have left behind the religion of our childhood, but have not at all moved on from the family values our church repackaged as “only theirs”. We still have family members who are believers, and we shouldn’t, but still do, care deeply about their assessments of how we are doing with our own family since we left the “one true church” and the only way we saw modeled to be an idealic “forever family”. While the rest of the world absolutely knows that we are capable of raising kind, compassionate well adjusted kids AND have a career at the same time (because millions have done it before us) we were essentially raised from infancy to believe that it wasn’t the ideal, and it certainly wasn’t the norm within the religion, and ultimately that a woman working outside the home by choice was selfish. That is some heavy crap to carry in addition to all the normal mom guilt stuff. I don’t know if any of my LDS family members are actually scrutinizing me to an iota the extent I am doing it to myself. Do you have some exmo friends or friends who have left very traditional religion who you can talk to? You can also check out the mormon mental health network and see if there is a local therapist who can go deep into these specific exmo issues. At the end of the day, you sound like you just went through your busy season, and know you will be a-ok with some good ol rest and family chill time. Love and hugs, and Merry Christmas.

    1. Also, a shout out to the exmormon reddit if you want to just anonymously discuss any of the institutionalized mom guilt you have from your lovely LDS upbringing. That sub is sometimes really helpful.

    2. Don’t want to turn this into a “Churchy” thing but as an active “Mormon” and almost 78 years old, who BTW is a designer and who loves Emily’s blog I guess I feel compelled to say that in all my years in the church ( and the years when I chose not to be). It has never been my experience to have been judged for working or that it was selfish or judged for any of my decisions, for that matter. I guess I just want to put it out there that though that may have been one woman’s experience or perception, (which I respect) I hate leaving the impression that is the norm for the LDS Church.
      Happy, happy Holidays for all!

      1. Vicki you sound so awesome. It seemed like I was looked up to as a faithful working mom as well and high demand callings were never withheld from me, but the pressure of mothering being THE most important thing is probably not lost on any member. I was speaking specifically to the ex Mormon experience of leaving the church and feeling a ton of pressure to still be perfect in order to disprove all the negative stereotypes about leaving, or marrying a non member, or not following the Proclamation on the family to a T. Etc. It is a uniquely difficult experience and if you’d like to better understand what it might be like you could get on the exmormon Reddit and start asking people about their lived experiences. I feel like you are kind of gaslighting mine.

    3. Natalee. Your comment is making me cry. I’m an ex mormon primary breadwinner working mom. My mom was the “perfect” stay at home mom who sewed clothes and baked bread from scratch every week before bread makers. I always wanted to work. I never wanted to have kids because I knew I didn’t want to be a stay at home mom , but I thought that was the only way to be a really good mom. It took me many years to get over that. Thanks for your comment.

  28. Emily, I’m sure there’s a lot of thinking and a lot of stuff you aren’t talking about here – this is a blog after all, not a private diary:). But you didn’t tell us about your household help here. I know you have had a nanny/housekeeper, what I’m wondering is whether once the kids are in preschool you instead have a household helper, i.e. someone who shops, cooks, etc.

    And for your work staffing, I suspect, although, again, I know there’s a lot behind the scenes, that you as a hands-on creative producer might not have people management training. Or operational management training. It might be that you can find someone with senior management experience, someone used to handling different temperaments, setting expectations correctly, etc., as your COO – and they might not even need to come directly from the “creative content production” business.

    Just some thoughts without all the details. I want you to have all of what you are especially suited to – good time with your kids and the great success of your work. And all that other stuff, like who is making what for dinner, or what title your new hire should have and how to explain to an employee why their content hasn’t been featured as much as they hoped, might be well outsourced.

    All the best. You are extraordinarily talented and your blog sustains many of us, I bet, not just with visions of dresser hardware but also with your energy, optimism, and authenticity. Thank you.

    1. YES THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR: “And for your work staffing, I suspect, although, again, I know there’s a lot behind the scenes, that you as a hands-on creative producer might not have people management training. Or operational management training. It might be that you can find someone with senior management experience, someone used to handling different temperaments, setting expectations correctly, etc., as your COO – and they might not even need to come directly from the “creative content production” business.”

  29. Sometimes you just have to vent and that’s good. It’s good because so many women feel the same stress this time of the year. My children are grown and the only thing I would say (which by the way I’m learning way way to late)… is try not to let the hectic pace still your joy. With young adults women …. this is finally the first year I’ve not been hard on myself re: making it all perfect……but I realize your job is to “make it all perfect”. May you have a wonderful 2018 and have the time to stop and enjoy your darling children and beautiful, you deserve it!!?

  30. Oh, Emily, thank you for this honest, awesome post. I don’t even have kids yet, but feel and cope with so much of this already, and know more will come when we do add some kiddos in the next couple of years. It’s hard. But please know that your readers wouldn’t be here if we didn’t like YOU, the writer. The content, sure, but the personal posts like this are your best, in my opinion, and are what keep me coming back. Well done this year, and hope you have a restful, wonderful holiday celebration with your family 🙂

  31. Merry Christmas, Emily, and to your family and team! I appreciate all you do to make the world a more beautiful place. Best wishes for a restful break and renewed inspiration in the new year!

  32. Emily,
    So.damn.true. I had a similar meltdown (ok more than one) just last night. The drive to be SO good at *everything* is so crazy and internal right? With one verrry active 3 (threenager lol) and 8 months into pregnancy, a full time job, bussssy hubby and an undying creative spirit I psych myself out over and over again. The *only* thing that has ever helped me feel better (other than bawling my eyes out from time to time) is knowing I am not alone. So know that you are not alone. Not just your situation, but in that ‘want’ to wanna do it all and be so darn good at it. I have to gift two newborn girls and instead of buying a perfect Simone Leblanc basket I’m thinking, “let’s DIY this!” here I go again! Why??? Because that is who I am. So, embrace the meltdowns and the stress because 1. It will not be the same forever 2. It makes you who you are 3. It helps folks like me relate he he.
    Bucketfull of hugs,

  33. I am a mom of three…7, 6, and 4. I resigned from the “Dream” position a year and half ago. (With that went a significant income as well.) It came down to this for me….I knew if I didn’t take this time to not be pulled in so many directions, I would regret it. It took a lot of stress off our family. Childcare, someone sick, who can take off to cover it, school holidays and events. Everyone is happier. My husband is still very involved, and shows up for everything he possibly can. The big “ah a” moment for me was when my father was dying. Absolutely nothing mattered more to him than having as much time as he could with his children. His career and “stuff” just didn’t matter at that point in life.

    1. omg. so true. totally puts it into perspective. nobody says at the end of their life, “i wish i had spent more time and energy at work.” i’m in the same boat as you. minus the dream job or leaving the job.

  34. Amen! Main income earner and mom of two tiny people over here. It is HARD – especially the morning and evening chaos of parenting. I’m thankful for a job that I can step out of to go the preschool Christmas pageant and for a small town that is very supportive families (even when a lot of people seem surprised by how much I work). I am still figuring it all out myself – hang in there, mama! Thanks for all you do!

  35. Once again, EH, you’ve written down what I didn’t know I was feeling. I picked a fight with my husband last night because I just want to be amazing at my job and make perfect memories for my kids and BAKE THE DAMN COOKIES and wrap Pinterest-worthy presents and host the perfect Christmas party all while carrying on the regular laundry, meals, sleep cycle but it feels impossible. And the worst of it is that my job exposes me to some of the saddest parts of life which should really put things into perspective but it doesn’t always which leads to MORE GUILT. BAH… the things we put ourselves through. Anyway, glad to see that I’m not alone and I’m sure reading the comments will confirm that further. Have a wonderful Christmas season and New Year. Can’t wait to be back here in 2018.

    1. I posted down below about BAKING THE DAMN COOKIES. Thank you. 🙂 I get you. I appreciate you. You are witty and funny and kind. 🙂

  36. Thanks for such a real post that really encapsulates everything a lot of us are thinking! Every job is stressful this time of year – I’m a college professor and attempting to grade papers, input final grades, and bake sugar cookies while figuring out how on earth I’ll get my grant in for its Jan 1 deadline! However, it’s incredibly important for all of us to realize that none of us are Secretary of State and that email can wait 24 (even 48!) hours. I find setting an email away message and telling th masses (as you do in this post) really helps to make me feel less guilty now about all of the things I’m not accomplishing. Thanks for a year of great content, and enjoy your much deserved break.

  37. Merry Christmas, Emily et famille. I am so appreciative of the work you do, both creating blog content and living a full life with your family.

  38. Thank you so much for sharing this. I needed to read it…. my kids are the same ages as yours (boy and girl too!) and it’s impossible to do it all. We baked cookies for the fireman and they are definitely not getting delivered. I feel less guilty now! Maybe things will get easier as they get older.

  39. Hi Emily,

    I enjoy your blog so much, You are super productive and that is great for us, your readers. But you could do less and I would still follow you. Thank you for the amazing and delightful content.

    I see the blog as a result of your talent, your ability to choose good people as a team, your ability to be strategic in your business decisions to keep all this afloat.

    I can only imagine the work that goes into this work that you do. It is good to remind your audience that none of this is free. There is a tremendous investment of time and energy that goes into it. The good part for me is that you are grounded in values that I share.

    Have a good holiday season with youmily and a good rest too!

  40. YES! I come here for your authentic voice and honesty–thank you for sharing. The holidays are insane, and so much of it is stress we put on ourselves. I know you barely have time to breathe, much less read for fun, but I read Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu (quick read) and it really helped me let my husband pitch in and stop being so obsessed with perfection. It taught me a LOT about delegating, which until recently I had been soooo proud to say I was bad at (another product of our crazy culture).

  41. I’m not a mom and I find the holidays exhausting and draining (not to mention the onslaught of breaking news that hasn’t stopped in 2017) I cannot imagine what it’s like w/ small kids bc this season is all about them. I’ve loved your blog for ages not only bc you have impeccable taste but you’re authentic and don’t shy away from giving us the whole story, the good and the bad. Enjoy your down time and happy new year!

  42. This is so relatable. I’m a working mom of 2 with another on the way. I have a piece of advice that will seem totally unrealistic, but I promise will be the thing that could save your sanity long term. You have content outside your house for dayzz right now. Could you separate your work and home? Allow your home to be a retreat. Your renovation is over, you can do seasonal redecorating for content. This can sound harsh, but as someone who has been the child – if you don’t want your children to resent the business, let their home be their privacy. The challenge of being a public figure is the lack of boundaries. If you allow your home to act as some type of boundary, your children and marriage will be safer, healthier.
    I don’t say this as someone who is afraid to share their family or be open. My husband and I are pastors and our lives are very public and accessible to a large group of people (much smaller than your audience to be SURE). There are times to open up your home, there are times to share in total authenticity, there are times to bring your children into the middle of your business – this is normal and healthy. Your business is built on it! But the challenge of owning your own business is that there is never an on and off switch. What if your home was that off switch? What if every time you opened your door you knew it was time to turn off one part of yourself? It could be peace.

  43. Thank you for this post!
    Love, a working mom of a 2-year-old who is so tired, bluesy, and disappointing herself in every Christmas way.

  44. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! I’m sure you’re doing better than you think you are, at life but motherhood especially. Also, where did your parents serve their mission? My in-laws got back in September from their 2 year mission in Peru. They loved it!

  45. I know you’re busy building your empire, and working to support your family, but do you ever wonder if content creation is driving you insane? I’m sure moving to away from private design clients only put more pressure onto the blog, but I just worry that you’re burning your candle too bright and too fast. That you’ll keep burning out. I don’t want to see that happen to you. I’ve learned to care about you as a person by watching your business, and family, grow. I’d hate to see you lose yourself for the sake of your business.

  46. Thank you for your honesty and for being real. You are not ungrateful, just human:). I agree there is a lot on our plates as women these days and so many balls to juggle. I’m a stay at home Mom and still related with much of what you said. Finding balance as a mom, especially with little ones is my biggest challenge. I too had so many fun ideas for this month, and most of them never happened. It’s hard when you see so many people getting so much done/accomplishing so much. But we are not all the same and we never know the whole story. At the end of the day we just need to remind ourselves that each day we are doing our best (no matter what that looks like!) and find peace in knowing that what our best that day was is enough. AND we need to take time to listen to how we are feeling and take care of ourselves! You are amazing and your work is amazing-thank you for letting us be a part of it!

  47. Christmas is enough to kill us all!

    I think this time of year ends up being incredibly stressful for most women with jobs that are not on a school year schedule (and for them I’m sure it’s still stressful, just a little different). For example, I work in magazine publishing and my husband is a teacher. When he gets off for the holidays, he is OFF. He has no thoughts of work whatsoever. When I take time off for Christmas, my magazine deadlines don’t move so I end up squishing everything in on a shorter timeline throughout December while also trying to navigate the holidays with toddler twins and wanting to do all of the idyllic childhood holiday things like you mentioned. I’m sure a lot of jobs are this way, and a lot of working moms end up taking time off just because their kids don’t have school/daycare open during the holiday weeks, and it feels EXHAUSTING.

    On top of all that, you have so many good career opportunities this time of year that you’re just suffering worst than the rest of us. I hate that for you (but I love it for me because I love reading/watching/following along). Just know that we all appreciate you and won’t mind one bit if you need to scale back on your posting schedule or do other life-balance things to make your life feel more manageable. I bet you will feel a lot better when your kids are in school in January. GREAT THINGS AHEAD! HAPPY 2018!

    1. Thank you so much for relating. YES. And thanks for also recognizing that some careers are harder than others around the holidays with kids. I’m off and drinking a cocktail as we speak. YAY!!!!

  48. Someone else made the comment about YHL and it’s true, I see some similarities. It may be worth your time to have a good talk with them (I remember you were a guest on their podcast, so you’ve probably got their number) and ask for some advice. You seem like good people, and I’d hate to see you burn out. Mr. Miyagi was right, Emily-san, the secret to life is balance. But you’ll notice he was an 80 year old guy still working on it.

    Years ago, when I applied for Design Star (I made it through a few rounds, but can admit I didn’t have the polish I needed), my dear friend admitted she was grateful it hadn’t worked out. She was afraid that some people would be mean and I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I’m not sure how you do it.

    1. We are good friends and they are awesome. They didn’t have help. I do. Some times of the year i’m EXTRA taxed but overall I’m Ok. Do I fear blogger burnout? No. I love it too much. i wake up in the middle of the night so excited about a new post idea. I proactively seek out makeovers because that particular space would be so fun. I have the support but just need more to be able to write as much as I want to. I love your miyagi comment. Exactly 🙂

  49. I once said to my very career-driven Mom that it must have been easier for women when the roles were defined and careers weren’t expected of us. She almost smacked me.
    “No, honey, it wasn’t. We had to fight hard to work. We had to explain to everyone why working was important to us. We had to be ok with dropping our kids off at daycare in their pajamas. Because let me tell you, that’s what it took and more.”
    From one working mom to another, let’s not forget how lucky we are to have the choice to work and work hard. I know you know it, my mom is just here to remind us.

      1. YES. such an amazing reminder. We take it SO for granted that our husbands change diapers, plan meals and having a career isn’t weird anymore.

  50. Thank you for this much-needed post. You hit the bullseye on how I, and probably many other moms, feel so much pressure trying to juggle it all, especially during the holidays. I wish I cold say it gets easier as the kids get older, and in many ways it does, but I still struggle with trying to find the balance all while creating memories with my kids, and maybe even more so now they are a little older and that much closer to adulthood. I know at the end of the day, we are doing our best and that is what matters and what our kids will remember ❤️

  51. You poor thing. Please rest up and enjoy the holiday. From the comments, it seems like a lot of moms who have jobs outside the home are feeling the same way as you are, frazzled and exhausted. This post almost seems like it’s been written by two different people, one who is very proud of her work and very thankful for her job, and another who is resentful about how little time and energy she has leftover for her family. I feel like “mom guilt” is to blame, and you have to cut that mom guilt free before it drags you too far down the rabbit hole to leap back up. I think modern dads (like the wonderful one I married, who takes the kids to the grocery store so that I can take a much needed nap, and who makes dinner at night because I am an incompetent chef) have just as many problems with regard to balancing home life and work life, but the thing they don’t seem to have is dad guilt. That guilt is a major energy-suck in and of itself.

  52. Emily, you do good work–as mama, creator, artist. Thanks for keeping it real in this post, I appreciate you and how you’ve inspired me this past year, I hope Christmas and New Year’s will be restorative, peaceful and joyful for your whole family.


  53. In the words of Sybil Fawlty to her friend on the phone, “Oh, I know, I know…” Happy Christmas, Emily. I do so enjoy your posts and pictures of your new home. Glad you refinished the beams in the living room and didn’t paint them black or white. Everything looks just grand.

  54. Emily, posts like this are why I come to your blog every dang day. Thank you for not just creating so many beautiful, inspiring spaces, but also for being so real!

    I can SO relate to things feeling utterly crazy as a working woman with a family, especially around the holidays. (True story: my partner and I were so tired this year we talked about not getting a Christmas tree, but I realized not having one would make me depressed, so we got one, put a few ornaments on it for about half an hour, then packed up the remaining ornaments and called it a minimalist Christmas. 🙂 )

    Not to be that person, but I just have to pass along two books that really helped me navigate the craziness that is being a highly motivated, ambitious woman who feels driven to succeed at work and also cares crazy-deeply about her family: Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu, and I Know How She Does It by Laura Vanderkam. Both of them are available on audiobook if that’s your jam. I’m not affiliated with either; they just have some profound things to say about being a woman and figuring all this out.

    I hope you have a FANTASTICALLY REFRESHING holiday and can’t wait to see what all you have for us in the new year!

  55. Merry Christmas!! I’m a huge fan of all that you share with us – thanks for everything you do! 🙂

  56. Great post, Emily! I agree with several others commenters saying feel free to slow down. Personally, I enjoy the more authentic (ie non-sponsored) posts from you and would be happy knowing you had more balance in your life if you backed off the revolving door of content creation for a little while. I love reading your blog, and happy holidays to you and yours!

  57. Merry Christmas!! Awesome work!! Enjoy your relax/recharge time with family. Looking forward to seeing what you do next year. ❤️

  58. Thank you for continuing to be REAL, it’s so refreshing in the world of social media where we all post pictures of our best selves all the time, when the reality is we all stuggle with the things you do.
    Merry Christmas!

  59. Merry Christmas Emily to you and your super sweet family! LOVE your BLOG and as an artist you inspire me with all your designs and colors.
    Here’s to a wonderful 2018 <3
    ~ Kellie

  60. Newish reader, but this is hands down my favorite post. I’m a stay at home mom, but this made me cry: “I’m not a man, I’m a mom.” Probably most of this pressure is self induced, but this “job” of mine that I love is hard, and there’s never any spot for error or a break. I so appreciate your honesty and self awareness.

    1. Hey stephanie, thank you so much for reading and commenting. what i’m learning right now (literally from reading and responding to comments) is that its ok to try to be the best as long as you know you are going to fail, often. I’ve felt sensitive today with people telling me to stop trying to do it all, but in my mind i’m like ‘wait… why not TRY to do it all knowing that, sure, you’ll probably fail’. Self induced pressure to be the best is a not a bad thing. You are a good mom for thinking about it all the time. keep it up. xx

  61. I was a stay-at-home to my three kiddos, mostly because I truly wasn’t capable of juggling. So I admire you bread winning mammas more than I can say. In any case, in spite of the fact that I was with my kids 24/7, that we managed the equivalents of service, ginger bread houses, awkward Christmas photos, etc – I still felt like I wasn’t doing enough, that I was present enough, that I wasn’t successful enough. Why do we moms do this to ourselves? What if we all just agreed not to do this anymore? Maybe we could make a pact……

    1. Kelly, I think its what makes us good moms. If we were satisfied with being mediocre there would be no dialogue here. Truth is that is it IS really important to be a good parent … not a perfect one… not one that dresses well or gives a shit about the latest bibs or mobiles, but it is important to care about our kids and prioritize them above all else. we should celebrate the fact that we do this, laugh at when we fail, all while knowing that at least we tried our hardest. Because at the end of the day trying our best is all that matters and what our kids will gleam from us. RIGHT? xx

  62. Emily,

    I KNOW you. We’ve never met, but I know you because I WAS you, at this age. I was such a striver. I could do anything. Move nine times, raise kids in all different towns, knowing no one. Have no family support except for miles away and on the phone. Excel in job. Be perfect mother, wife, employee, neighbor, churchgoer. Then, when kids older, add in crazy commute, be on 24 hour call, start night school for master’s degree. Socialize with friends, be thinner, stay pretty, stay healthy. Try to eat right. Intervene when sibling diagnosed with cancer, change careers, move, start taking care of elderly parent after moving thousands of miles from old life and friends……get the idea? I KNOW you. Now, I am over 70 and still trying to do it all. BUT, I am not healthy. I gained so much weight. Because I ate too much? Not really. It was all the stress, messing up my hormones, because believe me, I could do anything. Guess what, you can only go like this for a few years and then your body says, I TOLD YOU TO MAKE CHANGES WHILE YOU WERE YOUNGER. Now, your hormones can’t be there for you anymore. And all those people you wanted to please and have be proud of you…where are they now? Maybe they’ve died or retired or are sick or maybe they are thriving. Life always makes you choose. And I never wanted to choose. I wanted to have it all….and I did, but there is always a price to pay. Just decide what you can afford…….time with kiddos, time with hubby, time with the great and fabulous, health? The cool thing is you get to choose what to get and what to give up. Just like all of us. When the music stops, what will you be left with? What did you choose? Be aware that you are already wonderful and loved by thousands. Don’t get to the point that you “require” all that. You are already perfect.

    1. Thanks, Karen. in case you don’t realize it you were extremely effective to many, many people in your life and what you have to show for it is the clear satisfaction you get from what you did. Don’t discount that. Working hard and stretching yourself thin all the time can certainly endanger your health, but being that person who is what you were to people is also really important. But note taken, seriously. I’m thinking about it right now and wondering what changes I could make. But make no mistake – YOU ARE CLEARLY IMPORTANT TO SO MANY PEOPLE and they love you so much. xx

  63. You are doing an amazing job with it all. It’s tough to be so open, but thank you for doing that for so many who can relate. Your kids are so lucky to have you. Our kids are affected when we are not happy. You, working your dream job and kicking butt might I add, are showing them that mama is happy and teaching them life skills they will remember and use when they are adulting. So keep on being amazing in every way. And maybe resting is the best way to do that right now while you break 😉 Relish in all the work you’ve put in this year and the fruit of it all. Your doing amazing!

    1. thank you:) it makes me feel so good when you guys say that perhaps all of this is good for the kids because I truly believe that. thank you xx

  64. ?? I am a full time working mom…5th grade teacher. I too love my job and love my kids so very much, but I can definitely relate to your post. I think it’s hard because I refuse to do either of those jobs halfway. It’s times like this during the holidays when I’m preparing to have both sides of the family over that I start to feel like a crazy person. I had a mini melt down in my car and then decided to live in the moment and enjoy it all. It doesn’t have to be perfect. 😉
    Thanks for showing me that most of us are all struggling with the same things. ❤️

  65. Hi Emily!
    This year I read the book “Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play when No One Has the Time” and this post makes me think it would really resonate with you. When you magically get some time to read a book, I HIGHLY recommend it.

  66. Emily Henderson you are #lifegoals! Keep inspiring us all to keep it real- share our emotions- use our artistic abilities- and make others believe that it is possible. Happy holidays to you and your beautiful family ?

  67. Merry Christmas! You’ve been such an inspiration to me as a new-to-the-workforce interior designer. Thank you for you’re authenticity and vulnerability. I hope you experience meaningful, active rest this holiday.

  68. Not only are the kids not likely to remember much about their early Christmases, neither are you. They will remember Mommy having a breakdown (I say this from experience). So chill. And take a few pics to help you remember the crazy 20 years from now.

  69. Thank you for this lovely post. As a mother of two young children, I FEEL YOU. It is unbelievably exhausting and draining trying to “adult” while raising children and dealing with the ceaseless demands that seem to pour in from all sides — work, spouse, aging (and utterly irresponsible, ahem!) parents, etc. Hearing from someone like you, with as much success as you’ve attained, that things can be hard no matter your position, makes me feel like, OK, buck up, everyone deals with this! Happy holidays to you and your lovely family, Emily.

      1. Emily — thank you so much for replying. No, we are not alone. It can certainly feel that way at times but we aren’t! Whenever I talk to friends who are going through a similar life stage, I realize that and it makes me feel much better. Thank you for your lovely blog and for posting with such candor. I find inspiration here for one of my many goals (creating a beautiful home for my family to live in), but I have been surprised to find so much more than that. Keep up the lovely work and know how many of us out there support you!

  70. “…grateful and tired…” sums it up! Great job, wonderful life, bit tiring and overwhelming at times but wouldn’t change it.

    Well done on a great year, love this blog. Merry Christmas! XOXO

  71. You go girl! I’ve lived in your shoes. Owning my own business (construction project management) – two kids 2 years apart – a really supportive husband – and loopy from exhaustion. Looking back (I’m about 22 years ahead of you). Those toddler years were the HARDEST of my LIFE!!!! Wait until Birdie hits 4. All of a sudden things won’t be so crazy. You’ll actually have maybe 20 minutes during the DAY when no one (employees, clients, kids, husband, etc) will be clamoring for your attention. You have less than 24 months until you get there! Less than your college experience! Less than a senatorial election cycle! And only 2x as long as a pregnancy.! Keep up the good work. Your writing style is awesome and your content isn’t too bad either. I truly enjoy this blog.

    1. Thanks Stacey. I’m bawling reading your comment. Not sure why. I guess because you sound like you really have been me and can see inside my soul. I don’t want my kids to age but yes, its hard. thank you. thank you. xx

  72. You create such great content here that it’s abundantly clear you love what you do, strive for perfection and work hard!!! I thought it was over the top w Charlie’s birthday during this madness but you pulled that off too! I can say as the kids get bigger, they will rely on you in a different way that’s a tad bit easier. YOu and your team are amazing and I look forward to seeing what you have in store for 2018! Ps. You 100% need a personal assistant. You can focus on what only you can do and delegate the rest.

  73. Agree with all others on reducing the number of posts. Although you say you font want to slow down, you would realize how much happier you are if you just turn it down a notch (from a blog post standpoint). Honestly, as great as a superhero birthday post will be, you probably would have enjoyed that process just a bit more if you didnt have the pressure to make a blog post out of it. You really are one of my favorite bloggers. I love how raw and funny you are but would love to see you take care of yourself a bit more☺️

  74. This resonated with me so much. I broke down in tears yesterday because I haven’t taken my daughter to see Santa yet, we haven’t baked cookies, and we have no Christmas lights decorating our front porch. The end of the year is one of my most demanding quarters of work and its hard to balance professional duties with mom life. Just to read your words reminds me I’m not alone. Thank you for being so open and honest. You are one of the best bloggers out there!

  75. Thank you so much for your comment “Cheers, from our family to yours, whatever your family looks like.”

    My husband and I have been in the throes of infertility treatment for three years and just recently received heartbreaking news of yet another negative result. We are SO VERY DESPERATE to have kids of our own to love – and to be exhausted by! The holidays are especially difficult because every year I think “maybe by Christmas…” and reading posts like this can make my heart extra heavy. Which is exactly why your acknowledgement of all definitions of family means so much.

    I should note I absolutely do not offer my story to make you or any other moms feel guilty for being tired and overwhelmed OR for sharing that you’re tired and overwhelmed! Rather, I think our collective struggles provide a good reminder that the holidays can be really hard for so many people in so many different situations, which gives us even more reason to be extra open and gentle with each other this time of year.

    I’m excited for a new year of amazing-as-always content and in the meantime, I’m wishing you all the very best as you relax and spend quality time with your family. Hugs all around!

    1. Jen, I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine how hard that would be. Thank you so so so much for being here, sharing and bringing your positive (while understandably frustrated and sad) attitude to the table. That dichotomy can be confusing but its real. Its the human condition. I really really appreciate you and wish you the best luck in the world. xx

  76. Thank you for sharing your heart, for being real. I sooo appreciate your zeal for life, for your family and for your work. You have immeasurable joy striving for excellence in ALL your roles.
    “Doing life” with as many people as you do – yes, of course you’re tired. ❤️
    I hope you will find rest in the next few days with your beautiful family!
    Blessings ??

  77. Currently laying on the floor next to a crib hoping no. 3 with fever falls asleep. Motherhood is blissful and hard no matter how you set it up. I chose to scale back my career and go part time and I LOVE IT. And when I had no 3 and felt stressed, I scaled back more and I love it more. It helps me to be totally focused on where I am that day because I have 4-5 days a week to spend doing dr appointments and school volunteering etc and then 2-3 days zones in hard at work. I love the quote, “women can have it all, just not at yet same time.” And the idea that life comes in seasons. This is my season to nurture babies and as they grow, my career will consume more time. But nesting for now has given me relief. If you can scale back to where you feel balance again, you won’t regret it.

  78. I actually don’t think loving your job is the problem. It would be worse if you needed to work full time and more, and DIDN’T love your job. Then add in going back to school so you can try and change careers to something you do love :-). But I am not complaining, cuz at least for all that my husband and I together earn a decent living (as long as we can keep kind-of affording our health insurance). So many families in this country do all this, and still struggle to make ends meet. That is the main thing that really has me down this holiday/tax-scam season.

    1. Me, too. honestly. that is what I rarely talk about being tired because man, so many families are, well, in a different position and about to be in a worse one due to what is happening in washington. loving my job isn’t really a problem, but it is my source of exhaustion because I can’t stop doing it because its so fun 🙂 xx

  79. All this women who said we could have it all were total liars ?❤️. Says the Mom who has been waking up at 3 or 4 in the morning to be the working mom/pretend I’m a stay at home mom. The guilt of a working mom is intense. I no joke have a holiday list of things I start in August. Everyone makes fun of me but I don’t have the luxury of time so. So when everyone laughs at me for verifying mailing addresses in a September- it gives me a few more hours to enjoy my family in December. Thanks for being honest mama!

  80. I am so not a commenter and maybe someone else already said this, but have you considered always taking Sunday off from work and only spending time with your family and maybe friends too on that day? We did something like this and it’s amazing how that opened up this whole world of family memories and focus and presence and reduced guilt. That said, I am super grateful for the stuff you put out there. Merry Christmas!

    1. its funny you say that. So yes. I was raised mormon where sundays were set aside for church and family so brian and i about a year ago enacted that and we LOVE IT. we stopped even inviting friends over for brunch. this holiday season was tricky and because I needed to shoot so much I went back on that idea, but yes… in 2018 that will be the plan. sundays are just for our family 🙂

  81. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Happy Happy break from work and social media!!! Enjoy every second of those beautiful babies. Like you said, from a mom with older kids who was crazy busy in those days, and at risk for sounding really old, these are the most precious years that ever were!!! God bless you and your family.

  82. I think all busy Moms – working – non working feel the pressure of the end of the year & the holidays on any scale. You keep doing you and we will follow because you’re real??Happy Holidays to you & your family!

  83. Sweetest, friendliest person in the interior design world that I follow! And ahhhhmazing taste! When I decorate I’m channeling Emily Henderson! Thankyou so much for all the prettiness, inspiration, chaos, honesty and fun that you bring to my social media daily! Merry Xmas xxxx

  84. Thank you for posting this. I could not have expressed this better. Working 3 full time jobs… 2 self-inflicted (LOL)…Trying the design thing, my dream job so I finally put myself out there…. (3 years) and doing real estate (7 years) and teaching full time(15 years)… with a 3 year old and equally busy husband. For me next year is time to slow down and give myself a pat on the back for trying my dream job, succeeding enough and then I will have to put it on hold for a while. 2 jobs and a family is plenty 🙂

  85. This resonates so deeply with me! I have two young kids with another on the way. I had my dream job with a great salary. This year I made the incredibly hard decision to step back and spend more time at home. I felt every single thing you are feeling. Thank you for being so genuine and helping other moms feel like they are not alone. Also, even though I don’t know you personally, I can just tell you are the best mom. Xoxo Merry Christmas

    1. thank you . how do you guys know exactly what to say to make me feel better?? and i’m sure that is a hard decision but rarely do moms regret spending more time with their kids, often its the opposite. I know I’ll regret not being home with them but i have to know there are different payoffs for different experiences and as long as i’m loving AF, consistent, caring but firm they will be fine, right????

      1. Everything will be fine!! I just finished reading The Five Love Languages of Children and had an “aha” moment where I realized the question isn’t if I am doing the right thing of work or stay home or whatever mix of both (it’s varied over the years) but the important question is am I speaking my children’s love language so that their emotional needs are met. You are doing awesome work and have an important role to fill with your work–as a designer, blogger, employer (all the things) and a mom.

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  86. Awesome post. I know exactly what you mean. I also LOVE what I do for work and feel incredibly blessed but I am also a mom of two young children. I want to do everything so well, but something does have to give. I gave myself the simplest break this week: I didn’t make the billion cookies I usually do for everyone because I worked during the week (and half day Saturday) and sat exhausted on the couch not wanting to do it Sunday. My own traditional, stay at home mother said, “You know, you can mix store bought cookies with home made…” As a STAY AT HOME MOTHER with ostensibly nothing but time (sort of, or just more than I currently have) she did this. I made cookies one afternoon with my kids. They got the drift. Then I mixed in the store bought cookies with their lovely, messy, cookie cutter shapes and it felt like a revelation. They got the lesson of creating something for the people they appreciate (like their dear teachers), and I got a break.

    That’s my silly story, but I think we are speaking the same language in your post. I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE SAYING. I am so happy that you took the time to post it. I hope you don’t get too many haters (I haven’t read comments below), but I GET YOU. YOUR POST WILL KEEP ME GOING. I also will be taking a much needed break from work (that I also love). Relish it. I love your blog and look forward to the moment every night when all are tucked into bed and I can relish the pictures and appreciate the design. I am so happy for your success. I also love knowing the best stuff at Target at all times. I don’t know if your sponsorships can really quantify the impact that you have on the market, but I KNOW I shop directly from your posts A LOT. That’s also because I feel that you and your team have a lot of integrity with posting. You aren’t showcasing crap. You curate the best of and then I get to shop.
    So, take your time and do your best to not feel guilty when you aren’t working and you ARE MUMMING, and do the best to not feel guilty when you are working and not MUMMING.
    Also, my mother’s group organized a trip to see Bad Mom’s Christmas and the head mom/organizer brought chardonnay in a refrigerated thermos thing and plastic cups and we felt really BAD as we drank it during the movie. It was invigorating. That movie says a lot of what you are saying (though not as well as you) in an over the top, fun if you are illegally drinking in movie theater way. I recommend to all.


    1. Lisa. please come over next tuesday. or wednesday. or whenever. anytime. i’ll provide the chardonnay. your comment made me laugh, relate, cry and feel good about myself. we need to be friends. thank you so so so much. and yes to store bought cookies. we literally have only made stupid store bought sugar cookie dough twice and they were disgusting. even the kids were like ‘these cookies are gross’ which was kinda awesome. but after you comment i was like WHY AM I MAKING COOKIES WHEN WE COULD JUST BE DECORATING OTHER PEOPLE’S BETTER COOKIES???

  87. Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family! Hoping that the New Year brings you blessings too numerous to contain.

  88. Can I just say I think your amazing. Your candid honesty is refreshing and I think it’s important to remind everyone that behind all the perfection on social media there is real life happening and sometimes, a lot of the time, it is just damn hard. So cheers to you and your adorable family! Thanks for being such a fun inspiration to many of us and being a positive light in this often dark world. Merry Christmas and happy everything!!!

    1. agreed. as someone who also follows other people i’m DESPERATE for normalcy and authenticity. thank you for making me feel good 🙂

  89. You’re doing great at all things. Love following you and your sweet family. Best wishes for the season!! xoxo

  90. This made me think so deeply of contentment… content with our choices and with what we have decided for our lives. You, in my dream career with a dream family and me, home with my dream family and putting that dream on the shelf for a bit. Both leave us aching for more because the “you can do anything!” Generational message for women has blessed us and left us without the awareness we can’t do everything. But your grass, as perfectly groomed and gorgeous, can also become dry like mine. Thank you for the honesty- your vulnerable words help my discontented heart.

  91. Good old Mum guilt- keeping Mums in the asylum since time began. If only the hours in the day were doubled we’d have a hope of staying sane- keep paddling Emily and do your best to keep that head above the water. Just know we are ALL in it with you- crying into our laptops at 3am over here in London too ?

  92. I haven’t been following your blog for long but I am so happy I came across it at this point in my life. This post really hit home for me. Thanks for sharing!

  93. I love how you share and keep it down to earth. Thank you. And welcome home to your parents! From your posts, they sound like really wonderful people who have raised a mighty fine daughter. Enjoy your break!

  94. I love your work and your vulnerability! I feel exactly like you do! Enjoy your family and your break! You are my favorite blogger!!

  95. This is why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. All the love without all the crazy. I always have said Christmas is a conspiracy against women. A guilt trip we put on ourselves. I’m 66 and finally have calmed down about the Christmas rush. I discovered your blog this year and now read it everyday. Merry Christmas.

  96. Thank you lovely Emily. I swear to god I would be your Canadian partner in crime. So incredibly lame sounding I am sure, but I have had a 40 year old mid-life mom, wife, daughter, friend crisis this year – which I am now wise enough to be entirely grateful for (I think). You have often popped in as a little ray of inspiration for me – so thank you sunshine. And if you ever need a Canadian Team member to give you a hand – I think we’d rock. Keep it up sister. You are welcome to see my craziness @annieglory on instagram. Xo happy 2018

  97. Oh Emily! You are sounding the cry of the modern Mom! So blessed, yet so unbelievably busy! This year for the holidays, I decided to put my kids totally 100% first. I skimmed down my commitments to only things that involved my kids and their school. I decreased my work for the month bc I have that flexibility. Lucky me, right? Well, life likes to throw curve balls. So, instead of an incredible month of teaching my kids to serve, and being ever-present with Christmas cheer, I was running around like a crazy person – A CRAZY person. I’ll spare the details, but let’s just say that this was literally the hardest Christmas season of my life. So, work, decreased work, no work, it seems that many of us moms end up with the crazies this time of year no matter what!
    You are a powerhouse! Thanks for letting us be a part of your blog life and for giving so much to your readers! Glad your parents are home safe from their mission. I’ve done one of those myself 😉
    Merry Christmas to my favorite blogging inspiration! ?

  98. I LOVE your blog… not only for the beautiful content, but also because you keep it real. I understand the chaos and beauty of being a mum and also being the supporter for the family. You are doing way better than fabulous. Please take slightly more breaks now that you are going to hire more help – you deserve it (plus, it does take a village!).
    Love from Indonesia

  99. I just happened over your blog yesterday. Thank you so much for your honesty. I can really feel you on the brick in wrapping paper. I am going through the exact same experience. Time to slow down and energize again.
    Wishing you and yours a relaxing holiday?

  100. Emily, you rock. Now, take your much-deserved time off and stop replying to these posts! wink. Happy Holidays! Now, Go! 🙂

  101. Thanks for such amazong posts and great instagram feed. I’ve been a huge fan since HGTV design star. Your designs inpired me so much when working on my children’s spaces. And now we have a new family tradition with their own little trees and decorations in their room. All thanks to you and your team! Looking forward to reading so more awesome designs ideas in 2018. Thank you!!

  102. I don’t really think the answer is to give up on certain things (we really CAN do it all) but to simplify what we do take on. Instead of having a superhero kids party for your son with all his friends, simplify by having just a couple of friends over for a pizza and ice cream party with lawn games. And don’t blog about it…by doing that you’re quite possibly giving others the impression of perfection and unrealistic mom goals that will in turn give someone else the anxiety YOU are feeling. It can be a cruel snowball effect. I think getting your kids out of the house and into school is a great idea. Since most of your work is done from home I can’t imagine the chaos that creates trying to coral little ones as you’re doing a photo shoot. Sure the idea of it is nice…kids seeing mommy work. But there never seems to be a separation of work mom and just mom. Again, I don’t think the answer is to necessarily give up/eliminate certain things but to just simplify what’s already on your plate. I’m a mom and run my own business. The summer months are my busiest and with my two kids home from school it can be chaos for me. Fortunately they are older (15 and 11) and are more self sufficient. But I’ve learned to simplify because let’s face it my kids love a little Mac & Cheese and chicken nuggets for dinner instead of the usual three course meal I make when I’m more available for them. I love reading your blogs and following you on IG. You have such a way with words and I love your transparency! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  103. I just want to say that I adore you and I adore your work! You have been a constant source of happy inspiration for me for years! I also just love your honesty. Life can be tricky to navigate, and I love that you are so open about that. I was in a similar position 10 years ago – running a creative business, while trying to raise little ones. It can be exhausting, overwhelming, and heart wrenching at times! You are amazing. You are so full of light, creativity, and love – and I am ONE HUNDRED PERCENT sure you will figure out how to navigate all of this. As a life and wellness coach, I always tell my tribe that you can gather other people’s opinions for only so long before it’s time to quiet all the chaos and tune in to YOUR OWN inner GPS for answers. 🙂 And I have no doubt that you will do just that!

  104. Hey Emily! Love your full energy & creativity. I agree being a mama is the best job ever ✨& challenging with a full time passion. Keep doing what you’re doing! Merry Christmas to you & your family ?

  105. Thank you for your honesty and clarity. Your perspective on women is so true, we are the glue that holds so many things together. Or so we think. It’s ok to let a few things go. Enjoy your holiday and rest. Carry the rest with you into 2018! Cheers!

  106. My twins just turned two and I woke up on their birthday thinking I’ve never been more happy or more exhausted. I love my growing business and I love my family more, the struggle is SO REAL. Thank you for writing this, it is literally exactly how my Dec felt too. xo

  107. Keepin it real as always! There’s no shame in slowing down but there’s also no shame in keeping up your pace. Hope you are able to find a place of peace in 2018 somewhere in between sounds like you’re right on the turn of it! Love you for being real and acknowledging how challenging and exhausting it is behind the scenes! Also just wanted to stop and appreciate how you’ve focused so much on giving back this year and encouraged others to join you. Ultimate influencer! Love following you!

  108. I love your blog so much! Without it I would probably still have my college furniture (I’m 36)! I can totally relate to all this. I work full time and have 2 kids ages 2 and 0. Last year, I was so stressed about year-end work craziness, doing ALL THE THINGS for Christmas, etc., I started crying in front of my boss when she was in my office. I mean I’m a partner at a law firm…oops!

    Then this year, I am on maternity leave. Last weekend, my husband said: do you want to take a quick shower? I thought NO, I don’t want to take a QUICK shower. I want to take as long of a shower as I want, and I want to stand under the boiling hot water, and listen to music, and use 5 different kinds of body wash, and shave my legs (carefully), and then maybe even do my hair AND makeup when I get out, and not feel guilty about it at all! Instead I just said yes 🙂 Side notes: I’m still confused about why it takes dudes so long to go to the bathroom and I love Brian’s red pants!

    Have a great Christmas and I hope you get to take a nice long shower this holiday season! Xo

  109. Emily, I can relate to your exhaustion! I kept going with my two kids until it (they were 5 and 8) became evident that they needed me more than I needed to work. I closed my Los Feliz retail business to stay home with them. (I ended up ripping apart my house, lol) The fight for balance of work/family is so, so hard. It’s a daily struggle that I couldn’t perfect. I’m a workcoholic. I’ve been home for 2 years now, my kids are finally ready, my house is renovated, & it’s time for me to begin working again. I’ve Turned off the electronics! I say grab em while you got em, they’re little for only a hot minute! Happy holidays to you and your sweet family! Xo

  110. I understand not wanting to slow down. Your blog is excellent and I remember when you did only post a few times a week and going to a daily post was a major decision. I love your post and I love that it is daily. A suggestion I have would be to maybe have more mini series. That way each post isn’t an individual one. You did this frequently with the home reveals – like picking one aspect of a room, focusing on what worked and what won’t, and then moving on to something else in the room. More tutorials would be super appreciated. Your work is so beautiful that sometimes is feels like magic and I can’t seem to come close in my home. As for feeling overwhelmed by parenting, I think that it is just part of having young children. You want so much to be with them, but they are so consuming all day and all night. And there is so much pressure to enjoy every minute when not every minute is enjoyable for anyone. Children don’t need to be happy or entertained all of the time. It’s good for them to work through things and realize they can turn a situation around. They get way easier when they are in all day kindergarden and also putting them in activities is awesome because it wears them out, gives them something to be proud of, and they get to show off to you. Then you can have them practice it during the rest of the week which also is a nice activity that’s easy on the parent.
    Just as aside, could you have some posts about what things are worth splurging on and what aren’t? With twin one year olds and a 10 year old, I’m hesitant to spend too much money on something within reach, but also inexpensive things wear out so quickly, are more expensive in the long run, and frequently don’t look as nice.

  111. I love your honesty and willingness to be vulnerable in front of such a massive (and possibly critical) audience. Please enjoy your time off. You are amazing!

  112. I stopped working in July because I felt like my kids (12 & 14) needed me to be more mentally and emotionally present. Teens require more time and energy than I expected. Despite having more time for them, I still feel like I fail them regularly, but now that it’s my job to be here for them those failures weigh more on me than they did before. Being a parent is hard. Being a mom is hard. I don’t know about you, but most days I just feel like I’m doing my best to muddle through it, and offering ourselves grace doesn’t come naturally. Thanks for being honest and sharing your struggles. I think it’s an important part of creating realistic expectations and building each other up.

    Enjoy your time away this holiday season!

  113. You are the real deal, Emily. Which is why we all love you! Take great care of yourself and have a wonderful break with your family!

  114. Dear Emily, when I found your blog years ago I came for the beautiful design but I stayed for YOU – you who are lovely, hilarious and honest. Your design talent is inspirational and exciting but your “conversations” with us are really REAL – the amazing, the fantastic, the terrible, the ugly – and I am here for all of it. I celebrate your triumphs in both your business and your toddler parenting (it gets *a little* easier as they grow up), laugh along with you and often cry right along with you too. This post is, once-again, a reflection of how December is in my life too. So. Much. Pressure. For so many reasons. Enjoy your time off doing nothing, please! And we’ll see you for the snow show 2018 is sure to be. But know that we’ll all be together and we support you and appreciate all that you are. Thank you ever so much for all you do! Happy Holidays!!

  115. This does such a good job of articulating how I feel too. I have a great (albeit difficult) job, two amazing kids under 6 and a husband that helps as best he can. And yet…I’m so tired. This season is fun and magical, and exhausting.
    I think it’s ok to complain a bit. Just because we need a break doesn’t mean we aren’t happy with what we have. I busted my butt this last few months and today is the first day of my 10-day break. I need it, I deserve it and dammit I’m going to enjoy every pyjama-filled minute of it (and I hope you do too!). Merry Christmas!

  116. I love your honesty! I’ve admired you for so long and can’t imagine how you do all that you do. Thank you for the sacrifices you make to bless all of our lives!

  117. I feel like you just took everything that I’ve been thinking and put it in writing. This time of year is very hard, both emotionally and physically. All the actual tasks of Christmas, coupled with missing family members who have passed and the mom guilt…some days it is unbearable. Traveling with little ones is especially difficult and makes for a less than joyous holiday. You are certainly not alone in these feelings. Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable with us!

  118. I found a while back that instead of trying to put a label like “good” Mom or “great” Mom on yourself it’s try to think of the words that describe you, like maybe loving, capable, engaged? It takes so much pressure off and makes you feel so much more:) happy holidays

  119. Thank you for sharing. It’s funny how you used a sprinter analogy. I’m a long distance runner and many sprinters consider just one lap (a quarter mile) killer. So to read that you are a sprinter wanting to metaphorically sprint the last quarter mile, I’m thinking Lord, let her rest. No one should sprint that long. I say all this to just say, rest.

    I’m a joy filled person around Christmas especially because of my mom making Christmas so special when we were growing up. I also became a crazy do a million things person, like my mom. And now she apologizes all the time 🙁 saying she had us doing too much. Sigh poor moms. Thanks for sharing about the crazy balance. There’s something to the sabbath and I think LDS folks do this pretty well. I hope you have good rest Emily. merry Christmas

  120. I’m in a creative field and have been the main provider for our family for quite a few years. It’s such a weird balance and my husband and I still haven’t figured it out. I don’t know how to not try and do everything and he’s more than willing to let me. I think your husband needs to teach a class.

  121. 100% with you. I have reached a (not a peak but certainly a big step up that comes with more pressure) of my very corporate very male dominated career. I am the bread winner in a very expensive city. I have an amazing sparkling 3 year old and a lovely husband and… a lot more ands. But I’ve had two miscarriages and weekly panic attacks and gained 20 lbs and… I am so grateful, so exhausted, so lucky, and so stressed.

  122. So glad you shared your true feelings, Emily. I can relate in so many ways and I don’t work nearly as much as you, AND my kids are a bit older. I had so much planned for the holidays in my head, and things just didn’t go that way..
    You have your dream job, and you’re obviously so thankful, but it does come with sacrifice and it’s TOTALLY ok to complain(At least in my book). Enjoy your break(?We know 2 toddlers is no break) and Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family! Post less next year, I’ll still check in often!

  123. Well, I DO like knowing what you’re thinking and feeling 🙂 While I’m a totally different type of person than you, I very much resonate with “grateful and tired at the same time”. I’m a small-plate (i.e. cannot handle so much on my plate before breaking down) stay at home mom to two young ones, and Hubby and I spent the last several months pushing grimly through a renovation that spiraled out of control of and was way more than we could handle. We finally moved into the new house last week, months behind schedule, and we are celebrating Christmas with the fact that the range is finally hooked up and the floors are nearly done! In the main living space the only furniture is a table and 4 chairs. I am grateful and really, really tired. Merry Christmas!

  124. This! I feel like you are describing my life right now minus all the cool design stuff. I’ve been feeling guilty about all the things I haven’t had time to do with my kids this Christmas season….yep, haven’t even made it to see Santa. Between a demanding work schedule, 3 kids (under 5) and moving my husband and I are so exhausted by the end of the day we can’t even hang pictures.

    I love my family and I love my job. Balance is hard anytime of the year but Christmas time is especially hard.

    We are not alone. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  125. This is just the best thing I’ve read. Exactly how I feel, but articulately explained : equal parts gratitude + insanity! Thank you for writing it!! xx

  126. Emily, you need time. And the only way to do it now is to hire it. Hire more people for your business and focus on what you love. Hire cleaners to come to your house. Hire a cook, or at least get a Blue Apron-like service so you can quickly prep something healthy for dinner to shove into the oven. All of these things, large and small, will get you back time…in minutes, hours, days. You already know this, and know that it takes time to hire people to get time. It’s a catch 22 but a worthy one in the end.

    My hope for you is that you can get help in place in the new year so you and Brian can focus on your kids and sanity. Happy Holidays to you and yours!!

  127. Hi Emily and Merry Christmas!

    Been thinking about you a lot since I read those awful comments from the whinies complaining about sponsored posts. Awww poor babies who believe with all of their heart and soulless that you owe them something. (you don’t) No patience for those types.

    I’m one of those older mothers; easily old enough to be your mama and I’m also a design blogger who never expected to be in the position I’m in either. And yes, it’s a demanding job, although I love mine too!

    At the risk of sounding condescending, just want to say that from where I’m sitting, that you’re doing everything right. The fact that you’re thinking that you might not be means that you are. And sharing both the good and the not-so-good/challenges is what makes you a superstar!

    I believe that It’s the folks who just blindly steam-roll their way through life that have the potential to make a big mess of things. Or the ones who are so selfish and arrogant to believe that their needs always come first. I’m not seeing any of that. I think that you have created a good balance for yourself. Of course, there will always be problems, difficulties and intense fatigue to deal with.

    And then, there will also be forces beyond our control which mess things up for us anyway. I’ve found that the messes helped me far more than the good stuff. No, not while they were happening, but later on. If that yucky thing hadn’t happened first then the really great thing in my present wouldn’t have happened either. Knowing this is what helps me through the difficult times.

    Please have a blessed and restorative holiday with your darling family!!! xoxo ~ Laurel

  128. You’re not one of the luckiest people in the planet Emily. You created your life and what’s in it. Your job, your husband, your kids … you worked and you are working for everything… I’m telling you something I keep telling myself too. I feel lucky too but I’m fighting it. Feeling lucky comes with too much guilt and anxiety – it can be terrifiying (luck comes and disappears). I am grateful, yes. We weren’t born in a country torn by war, we have a roof on our head and food in our stomach. But I don’t want this feeling of gratitude becoming a source of guilt, I want it to inspire me to be a better person, to do good. Like you were saying in your beautiful post about prioritizing service. Your breakdown seems healthy to me. You were doing too much, putting too much pressure on yourself and you had a very healthy panick attack that forced you to pause and to rely on other people too, which is great! I think that as long as we’re actively making choices, knowing the reasons and consequences of these choices, we are fine. And it clearly seems to me that you are living an intentional life. Probably also because writing definitely helps with living “with intention”. Ok, I’m very wordy too. Lets wrap it up by saying I’m happy to read your blog, for a thousand reasons, so thank you.

  129. Thanks for sharing so openly and for being an inspiration to all of us who work hard, parent hard, decorate hard (because we like it all pretty!) – and for reinforcing that it’s all good and okay to just collapse with exhasustion and appreciation at the end of the day. Congrats on your success and keep it coming!

  130. You don’t need to apologize for being exhausted! You are the most upbeat person which is why you’ve attracted so much. As a mom who decided to launch her own business the same year as my first child it’s reassuring to hear that the struggle is real.

  131. Thank you for writing this post and pointing out the FACT about if you were a man…..I totally agree and have also been feeling the same way about life (overwhelmed, exhausted as a full time professional and mom) and the daily struggle of balancing and “having it all.” Thank you for putting into words exactly how I feel, I know I’ve had this exact conversation with other working mom’s and it’s definitely a modern day struggle. Thanks for pointing it out.

  132. Emily this is a great post. I am sitting here w 300 addresses envelopes that are about to get stuffed w Christmas cards dated 2016. When I had them printed. They will arrive in mailboxes in 2018 and I don’t gaf.

    Being a working entrepreneurial mom is soooo hard and you strike just the right balance of truth and gratitude without whitewashing or complaining. I salute you.

    I told my hubs that things will have to change this year (Eg less downtime for daddy) if I am going to hit my biz goals this year and look cute (not sleep deprived and with regular workouts and food beyond scarfing what the 3 yo won’t eat). He was not excited about the announcement.

    Complete rock and hard place. I love your vibe and am sending g him this post. Happy Christmas and New Year!!

  133. You did a great job in both roles. Thank you for sharing and showing how every (life) gem has its weight too. Love, love, love you! Happy holidays! <3

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  136. Just seeing this post, because let me tell you I can relate. Thank you for saying how I’ve been feeling, knowing that it’s so hard to find that balance between being grateful and being so very tired (from doing all the things at 110% because it’s just who you are). Your truth is refreshing, and I’m looking forward to following along in 2018.

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