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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?

JK.

Listen.

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.

WE MADE IT!!!!! YOU MADE IT!!! TIME TO KICK BACK AND CELEBRATE!!!!

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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Molly
4 years ago

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!

Liz
4 years ago
Reply to  Molly

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.

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  Liz

I don’t want to do less 🙂 I’m just excited for a break . xx

Sonja
4 years ago
Reply to  Molly

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.

Aldo [El Blog del Decorador]
4 years ago
Reply to  Sonja

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!

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  Sonja

ah, thank you 🙂 I know. I’m VERY WORDY. xx

Leah
4 years ago
Reply to  Molly

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

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  Leah

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

Erin Flett
4 years ago
Reply to  Molly

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!

Martha
4 years ago

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.

Emily
4 years ago
Reply to  Martha

🙂 There are a lot of us. Cheers to us all.

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

thank you . xx

Amelie
4 years ago

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.

Norma
4 years ago
Reply to  Amelie

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.

Gina
4 years ago

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!

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  Gina

thank you and congrats for being so healthy 🙂 You did it. xx

Loveley
4 years ago

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… Read more »

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  Loveley

Ha. i ditched clients and the flea this year 🙂 So I get it. Good luck, mama. xx

Ashley
4 years ago

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. ❤️

Susan
4 years ago

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!

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  Susan

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

Tanya
4 years ago

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.

Shell
4 years ago

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!

Brie
4 years ago

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

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  Brie

xx thank you. Good luck and hopefully school is out. 🙂

4 years ago

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… Read more »

Lisa
4 years ago
Reply to  Allison

I applaud you and your husband!

Loveley
4 years ago
Reply to  Allison

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.

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  Loveley

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.

Britt
4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

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!

Dana
4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

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.

Lisa
4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

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.

Lynne
4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

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!

Keira
4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

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!!

Vicki Williams
4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

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!

Kate
4 years ago
Reply to  Allison

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.

Erin
4 years ago

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!

Jody
4 years ago

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… Read more »

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  Jody

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 🙂

Sara
4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

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!

Meredith
4 years ago

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.

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  Meredith

thank you 🙂 I drop SO MANY BALLS. Mostly personal ones, but those are the worst to drop … xx

Lisa
4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

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

Sonia
4 years ago

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

Natalee
4 years ago
Reply to  Sonia

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

Lesley
4 years ago
Reply to  Natalee

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?!

SLG
4 years ago
Reply to  Sonia

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?

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  SLG

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

SLG
4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

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…

Lisa
4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

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.

Elissa
4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

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.

Sarah
4 years ago

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… Read more »

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  Sarah

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.

4 years ago

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..

Debbie
4 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

Love this comment!love this comment!!

BB
4 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

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.

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  BB

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 🙂

S
4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Killed it girl

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  S

thanks , S. xx

Emma
4 years ago

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!!

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  Emma

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?

Amanda
4 years ago

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!

Ginny
4 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

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.

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  Ginny

OOH, i do miss those craigslist posts… anybody else want those back???

4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Me! Those were fun!

Lesley
4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

YES, more Craigslist please!

Lisa
4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

I love them. Please search in San Francisco/North Bay…

Julieg
4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Yes!

Jen
4 years ago
Reply to  Julieg

Yes to Craigslist posts!

Rachel B.
4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Yes, I miss those!

Geraldine
4 years ago
Reply to  Rachel B.

Me too! 🙂

Tracy
4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Loved the Craigslist posts!!

erin
4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

meeeeeeee!

Victoria
4 years ago

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.

Suzanne
4 years ago

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.

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  Suzanne

thank you thank you 🙂

Cate
4 years ago

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.

Kate
4 years ago
Reply to  Cate

I completely agree with you, Cate!

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  Kate

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

Aly
4 years ago

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! ?

Moo
4 years ago

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!

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  Moo

thank you so much. xx

S
4 years ago

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.

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  S

🙂 thank you. xx

Wendy
4 years ago

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 😉

Natalee
4 years ago

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… Read more »

Natalee
4 years ago
Reply to  Natalee

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.

Vicki Williams
4 years ago
Reply to  Natalee

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!

Natalee
4 years ago
Reply to  Vicki Williams

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.

sariah
4 years ago
Reply to  Natalee

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.

4 years ago

Beautiful family, beautiful post (as always :)). Happy Holidays – enjoy the time off!

Lisa
4 years ago

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… Read more »

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  Lisa

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.”
THANK YOU. XX

Debbie W
4 years ago

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!!?

Debbie W
4 years ago
Reply to  Debbie W

*steal your joy not still your joy. Lol

Christa
4 years ago

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 🙂

Cynthia
4 years ago

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!

Aliyah
4 years ago

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,
Aliyah

JString
4 years ago

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.

Loveley
4 years ago
Reply to  JString

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.

Casey
4 years ago

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!

Maggie
4 years ago

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.

Lisa
4 years ago
Reply to  Maggie

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

Brit
4 years ago

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.

Celeste
4 years ago

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.

Karina
4 years ago

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.

Marie Denise
4 years ago

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!

Abbie
4 years ago

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).

Tara
4 years ago

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!

Jennifer
4 years ago

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… Read more »

Marci M
4 years ago
Reply to  Jennifer

Wise words indeed.

Erin
4 years ago

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.

4 years ago

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!

Shaun
4 years ago

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.

Sarah
4 years ago

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!

Lil
4 years ago

Happy Holidays Hendersons and SBEH team! Thanks for all you do.

Jordan G
4 years ago

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).… Read more »

Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  Jordan G

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!!!!

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.

Admin
4 years ago

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 🙂

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