Emily Henderson

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The First Four Months with Two Kids

henderson siblings Carlie and Elliot

I’ve been meaning to write a personal/parenthood update for a while, but I feel like I just say the same things over and over: It’s magical and I’m tired. We are navigating life with two small children, which I liken to this: During the day it’s a pleasant, pretty country road with some twists, turns and maybe an adorable *bump* along the way, but it’s generally pretty happy, and often even so wonderful I could cry.

But at night . . . at night it’s as if you’re driving along the cliffs of Big Sur, in a convertible, not wearing a seatbelt, blindfolded . . . and drunk. It’s terrifying, and you aren’t sure you are going to live through it.

Go ahead, pop that birth control pill, I’ll wait.

While I’m obviously exaggerating, there is a lot of truth to it. How can some thing (children) bring me so much happiness and exhaustion at the same time?

Emily and Baby Hendo Parenting

Let’s get into the good first – and let me be clear: There is a lot of good. Elliot is an angel, full of such joy and total engagement. She watches us intently, smiles the second anyone smiles at her, loves her big brother more than anything, and will sit happily and and coo, even while I cook or work. And she loves me. She looks up at me like I’m the only person in the world (a feeling echoed by her dad, too). She makes you feel so special in a way that I haven’t felt before.

Every day is different right now, but I mostly try to spend time with her in the mornings so that Sylvia (our wonderful nanny) can take Charlie to his activities. And this is one of the biggest challenges (which will get much easier even in a year) – Charlie’s and Elliot’s needs are wildly different right now. He’s two and wants to run, play, explore, be social, etc., and she is four months and wants to be snuggled and loved, quietly played with, and shown how secure and predictable life with her mom and dad can be. So, I try to stay at home with her ’til noon when Sylvia gets back with Charlie. Then she takes Elliot while he’s napping, and I work from home, or go into the office. Then the afternoon varies – but often Brian finishes work by 4 so that he can take over. It’s a total juggle, everyday, but it’s manageable. And by manageable I mean every night we realize that we have survived.

Emily Henderson and Charlie Henderson Black and White

Charlie is in a super “mama” phase which is VERY flattering, and he wants me to do everything for him. He wants me to get him his sippy cup, me to put him down for his nap, me to sit next to him while he eats. He freaks out if I don’t and cries/yells “MAMA, YOU FEASE READ DA BOOK,” and what am I supposed to do, say no? If I’m working from home I simply say “I can’t right now, love, I’m working and work is really important but I’ll be done soon.” I make sure not to apologize for work, because I don’t want him to think that it’s something to be sorry about. It IS important, and he needs to know that. But it’s not more important than him and I try to make that amply clear.

Charlie and Elliot Henderson

Sleep. AH SLEEP. I have a pretty strong theory, which might even be an unproven FACT, that a parents level of happiness is in direct proportion to the amount of sleep their children let them have. On the “7 hour of sleep days” I’m so happy, and I have basically nothing negative to say about my family life. But on the days where I’m under 4 hours I feel emotionally bankrupt, and I have to remind myself constantly that everything is truly really good.

So what’s the big night time problem you ask? Both kids are up. A lot. They’ve both been really sick for a a few weeks. Just a cold, but enough congestion that they both wake up coughing, and then they wake each other up. And now I feel like bad habits are being solidified by us getting up so quickly with both of them. Charlie begs for milk or a book, and he gets them because we are too exhausted to say no, and too scared he’ll wake up the baby to be firm.

I didn’t talk about it before because I didn’t want to be that person” but Charlie was a FANTASTIC sleeper as a baby. He started sleeping through the night at 9 weeks. We didn’t take any credit for it, nor did we ever take it for granted. We knew every single day that we simply lucked out and got an easy baby. And he was.

Elliot isn’t a terrible, horrible sleeper, she’s just normal and now has a cold. She goes right back to sleep after feeding and doesn’t really cry, but she is waking up everything at 2am and 5am (AT BEST).  I know that all these pretty photos are good PR for having kids, but I swear my staff and good friends are thinking twice after witnessing the daily chaos and nighttime insanity.

I stopped having any good expectations regarding the kids sleeping months ago, and weeks ago it finally sunk in how we were to handle it. We just go to bed around 9pm with the understanding that we could be woken up nearly 7 times between both children. If we go to bed that early we can still clock in around 5 hours, which is doable. Speaking of sleeping you are probably DEAD ASLEEP because talking about child sleep habits is a syndrome that only parents of tiny children can relate too.

Emily Henderson Children Family

During the day, especially on the weekends when I’m not juggling work, it’s so wonderful and beautiful and life is so God damn good. I’m obsessed with these children and look forward to the weekend like a 6 year old does christmas, EVERY DAY.

Brian is an unbelievably good dad that takes on at least 50%, if not more, which makes the weeks and weekends bearable. During the day these kids are happy and fun and love each other so much. While we haven’t lucked out on the sleep thing we have lucked out on the “obsessed with each other and just make each other giggle all day long” thing. It’s unbelievable how seamless the transition is.

They have bonded and it’s starting to help us answer the “why did you have two kids so close together???” question. They’ll be friends. They’ll play. Someday they might even sleep. 

pink striped linen baby jumper

But going from one to two is tough. Here’s what it’s like:

Having no kids is like living in a tiny 750 square foot house house that you love but you have to clean, maintain, etc. Despite it’s small size, life kinda still feels like work. When you have one kid and it’s like tripling that size of house to 2500 square feet and every day you are like “woah, this is a lot more work but I’m so glad I have so much more space!” Then, one day you add a second kid and it’s like adding 10,000 square feet to your tiny manageable home. At first it feels impossible. You are the same people who could barely take care of 750 square feet, but now you have 10K to take care of with the same amount of time. But you start decorating, and getting house proud and while maintaining it is exhausting you wouldn’t go back to 2500. You couldn’t. You love this new life so much.

Then, when someone (grandparents, playdate, preschool) watches one of your kids it feels like all of a sudden you have one room again, and you are like “PHSHAW (AIR SLAP) THIS ONE CHILD THING NOW FEELS LIKE NO KIDS, AND IS SO EASY THAT I CAN’T BELIEVE ANYBODY EVER THOUGHT ONE KID WAS HARD!!!!”

Henderson Siblings Emily Henderson Parenting Advice

Their tiny hands just kill me.

Parenting young siblings Emily Henderson

Every day is different, both schedule-wise and emotionally. The combination of exhaustion and gratefulness is absolutely mind-boggling. I’m sure i’m repeating myself but HOW DO YOU LOVE SOMETHING SO MUCH THAT CAUSES YOU SO MUCH STRESS??? If work caused me this much stress I would do something different. If one of my hobbies caused me so much stress I would hang up my apron. But kids? You can barely tear them from me for an hour on the weekends because I literally NEED and LOVE to be near them at all times. Such masochists. We are all such masochists.

Emily Henderson Advice About Siblings

I thought about whether I should even write about the challenges because I don’t necessarily want my clients (both big brands and individual design clients) to think that I can’t handle it, or that I’m distracted by my kids. But then I thought:

1. I shouldn’t be ashamed for trying to be a good mom first, and also manage a company second. Instead I should be (AND AM) proud of that fact. Both are a lot of work, and Brian and I work really, really hard to succeed.

FURTHERMORE (prepare for rant): I’m a firm believer that every person and company should put family or personal lives first, and that men should “lean out” instead of women “leaning in.” I believe that prioritizing your kids over your job is something to be admired, not embarrassed by. I know that the last generation of women didn’t have this option, and instead had to pave the way for us having this luxury. For this I won’t apologize and nor should any of you, male or female. Family #1, work #2.

2. Pretending to you guys that things are really easy is not an option. Charlie was easy, which is why I rarely wrote about being exhausted – we weren’t. He never cried, and he slept so very much. I made it look easy, because it was kinda easy. But two isn’t, so saying that it is would be inauthentic and also a total lie. 

3. I’m actually really inspired work-wise. I think it took me 6 months after having Charlie to get creatively back into it, but this time around my brain got back into it faster, strangely. I think that like anything, the second time around you bounce back faster.

4. I have so much help in every department, so even if I were overwhelmed to the point of paralysis, we are all good (which is a luxury, I know). We have a full time nanny. Brady and Sara have really taken control of the editorial calendar of the blog and they keep it moving. We brainstorm together, then I art direct and write a lot of the content, and then they take over. Meanwhile Ginny and our two new designers are tackling all our design clients. I oversee everything, and approve everything that goes to clients but Ginny is really is killing it, and I don’t have to babysit that department at all. I’m insanely lucky to have such talented and smart people work for me that actually care about the future of the business, not just performing their tasks well. Also the professional and personal lines have really been blurred the last four months with most important meeting being held in Elliot’s nursery. So thanks for, you know, sticking with me.

So, clients (and readers), due to points #1 – #4 you can see that despite my personal challenges WE ARE ALL GOOD :) Life is a big, happy, insane snow show. Those kids make us feel both young and old. Brian and I are hanging on by a thread, but its a really strong, happy thread that is actually indestructable despite how tight we pull it. I know its temporary. I know that in a year we’ll be in a different place and thank god I have a almost unrealistic optimistic personality (i’ve been told) which keeps me in a pretty good mood all day most days. I may not look back at these months with nostalgia or fondness, but getting through them is a badge of parenting that I’m going to wear PROUDLY and I’m still enjoying every second of our days together (well, the seconds in between toddler tantrums).

If you have any sleep suggestions please help. As soon as their cold blows over we are going to try the no-cry, or ‘save our sleep’ methods, but if there is anything you swear by please let me know.

Happy Weekend, y’all. May we all get some ZZZZZZZZZSSSSSS.

Em Henderson Family Siblings

 

*All photos by Stephanie Todaro. 

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  1. Brava, lovely Emily. What an outstanding blog post. You are not only a business leader, artist, and mother, but a role model – and a great one at that. So many women seem to feel the need to portray their lives as flawless, especially on social media. But life – and motherhood – is multi-faceted. It’s wonderful and beautiful and amazing, and also hard, exhausting, and agonizing at times. Thank heavens that you, Emily, were brave enough to post this honest account of life with two little uns. Thank you so much for sharing so honestly and openly. You rock!

  2. My first was born a few weeks after Charlie and my second a few weeks before your Elliot, so I’m right there with you Emily… except, you know, lacking the crazy successful empire you’ve built. But the sleep deprivation and the whole “how is my life so amazing yet so overwhelming at the same time?” deal… I get it. I don’t have any advice but from what I can see you don’t need it. Thanks for being my place to go to with my fourth cup of coffee and my six minutes of spare time. I hope you have a place to escape to like I do!

      1. The list of things I would not do to have a drink (let’s be serious… several drinks) with you, Emily H., is a very short one.

  3. This was a great read! I completely agree with the daytime being a happy magical time with young kids and evenings being so hard and tiring that getting through until bedtime seems so impossible sometimes. I have three girls (18 mo, 4, and 7) and raising them is hard and awesome. I appreciate this honest glimpse into your life. AND AMEN to not apologizing for making work a priority but not THE priority.

  4. Point number one literally gave me chills. I don’t have kids yet, but hope to one day, and what you said about balancing work and family is so spot on and inspiring. I hope your quote about lean out vs. lean in “goes viral.”

    1. I wish I coined it. I’m not sure where I read it (I think an article about men in the Atlantic) and I was like YES – we should be encouraging men to ‘work’ more like women – prioritize families in addition to work rather teaching women to be more like men – by prioritizing work over family. I think its happening, thanks to people like Mark Zuckerberg. A whole new generation of men, hopefully, and corporations like Google, Netflix, etc are realizing how important it is for BOTH parents to take leave. xx

  5. Love your reflections! You said it yourself “every day is different right now”.

    Short windows of time. In the blink of an eye…..

    Take my word for it.

    Signed, Mommy of 2 and Grammy of 4

  6. I love these glimpses into your life and your honest portrayal of life with kids. I think there really is some pressure to lie about how easy everything is because one could sound like a real jerk (you don’t!) for implying that life with two precious children is anything short of magnificent.
    [warning: climbing on to soapbox now, feel free to stop reading]
    On a slightly different note, I’m on a campaign to get people to stop saying, “you can’t understand this unless you have kids” or, “you don’t feel this amazing thing unless you have kids” I don’t have any children and I am 956742% certain you are not in my brain. It is entirely possible, and even likely, that YOU did not feel or understand these things until you were a mother, but please stop making that assumption about the entirety of the human race. [stepping off soapbox now]

    1. I felt that way too…and then I had kids. Which I know is an obnoxious thing to say, but it really is an entirely different experience from not having kids, for every single person I’ve talked to, regardless of what other kind of deep love and care taking you do in other ways without kids. It just is. It’s like saying, you can’t know what it’s like to be a different race. You can empathize on some things, you can have a lot in common because human experience leaves us with lots of overlap, you can imagine, but there are some things you just can’t know without personal experience, and I believe that’s okay to recognize without saying anyone’s experience is somehow “less than”.

      1. Great point, especially the comparison to race. In that regard, I think you’re right that there are “motherhood” moments, feelings, and experiences that are simply incomparable to anything outside of motherhood (or parenthood). But in this article you were referring to a “combination of exhaustion and gratefulness”. That doesn’t really pass the same litmus test. And, still, you only know how YOU feel for sure.
        I think it’s a good debate and I appreciate your thoughtful reply.
        Thank you :)

        1. I totally respect that and no i’m not in your brain. Hopefully your well slept brain. :) God, does that even make sense? I’ll edit it because while all my friends without kids tell me they don’t understand, I don’t want it to be a blanket statement that brings negativity to this post … or else i’ll cry :)

      2. Emily, this is so well put. I have one daughter (terrible sleeper and therefore only child! ha!) Life with a child and all it brings with it is just something I think one can only truly understand through experience. It’s not just the emotion, the love, but so much more–all of the things you have to think about and consider that you simply don’t when you don’t have a child. And those who have no children, you are certainly not less than! Humans have such varied lives across the planet and none of us are less than for not having had some particular experience.

      3. So, so true. I used to hate when parents assumed that I could never understand their plight because I wasn’t yet a parent. But now that I am a mom I think it’s completely true. I didn’t understand. Even a little. My former single, childless self used to roll her eyes when our new-parent-friends couldn’t go out to dinner on a Saturday, or see a concert last minute. I used to think, “geez, just get a babysitter!” As if it’s ever, EVER that easy. Empathy is powerful, but at the end of the day, our experiences are ours alone and even though we can be lucky enough to find people who relate to us and can share these experiences, you kind of don’t really know until you’ve lived it. We adopted our perfect little peach of a daughter and I feel certain that other mothers who carried their babies don’t know what it was like for me to struggle with infertility for years and then slog through a 4-year adoption process before we were blessed with our daughter when she was one day old. Just like I could never understand the ins and outs of nursing or morning sickness! Personal experience is just that – personal! That’s why it’s so important to share it like you have, so we can all find ways to simply relate to each other, even if it’s just on certain levels. :-)

      4. one other little thing on this note…my brother who is expecting his 2nd baby next month, whispered in my ear, “I can’t imagine loving another child as mush as I love my first child” I told him that your heart magically grows bigger. Impossible to explain, but amazing to experience. Kinda like the Matrix…you gotta take the pill…

    2. I love the overall honesty Emily is sharing in this post but I don’t have kids and I also feel rubbed the wrong way when parents say I’ll never know a certain feeling until I have kids – especially since I don’t plan on having kids. It sort of makes me feel “less than” and I don’t think that’s fair considering my love for my pets and my husband is FIERCE and the joy they bring me is also fierce.

      I think it’s just something to be conscious of when talking about these matters but again, I do like when Emily shares these honest, personal posts.

      1. Oh dear, The only thing I said, that was already edited was talking about the level of exhaustion/stress/gratefulness combo that arent typical of pets and husbands. I didn’t say anything about being less than at all or love or anything and I am super sensitive to that. I know i cant do a personal post without offending somebody but i do really try and putting my reality out there is hard and pushing ‘publish’ is stressful for this exact reason. Hopefully, I didn’t offend you ;)

        1. So appreciated the “I don’t apologize for working because work is important…” – mom guilt is so real yet I love my work! Aren’t working mothers some sort of working superhuman heroes?

          Also, I make no apologies- it’s truly impossible to ‘get’ the kid thing until you have one. I was one of these people who thought I got it. I didn’t. I do now. Three years in and still tired, but man… this kid! <3

          Authenticity is everything. Thank you for this post. xo!

      2. I love this post! But i have to ask – how is it that people can take something so touching and personal and find a way to be negative about it. I hope you don’t take these people serious because I can assure you, without a doubt, that they find a problem with EVERYTHING. Sadly, some people just don’t know how to be anything except negative.

        1. I just wanted to be clear for Emily H’s sake that the first “Emily” reply on this thread isn’t her (her responses are in pink, which is probably obvious, but I want to be clear so I’m not inadvertently putting words in her mouth!)

          1. Ha! Emily, not Pink Emily, I did not realize that so thanks for pointing it out. I actually wondered why some Emily’s were pink.
            Debate, discourse, the sharing of opinions… these are not negative or, at least, shouldn’t automatically be interpreted as negative. It’s just that: sharing. It’s a lot easier to be empathetic when you understand that there are actually different opinions.
            This all started on a very minor point that Pink Emily made, and as she noted, it has now been changed. It was not meant to be a conversation about how motherhood changes you and I certainly didn’t mean to offend anyone.
            I completely agree with all of you – obviously, you are all well aware of how your feelings changed after you had children, And, sure, it might even be true of 99.999999999% of women, but it isn’t necessarily universal and it is simply not something for you to know with any certainty for anybody beyond yourself. I was just asking for the courtesy of considering that just, maybe, there are experiences that differ from yours.

          2. All good, Becca. And thanks for your comment. I’m just glad you weren’t offended. Just as you are sensitive to things so am I (negative feedback to REALLY personal posts) so while I did get nauseous for a second I re-read your comment and knew that you weren’t that offended, just commenting on something bigger. We all can only function, relate and express based on our own realities but the more we can consider each others experiences while doing so, the better. For sure. 2 years ago after a really loving/happy post about Charlie as an infant someone commented that as a long time reader that was their last post they were ever going to read because coming to my blog and reading about my happiness made them sad because they couldn’t have kids. I felt so terrible for days. After a while I realized that my new-mother happiness didn’t make her a victim (of me, anyway) and that there are always people who are going to be offended, but it stuck with me. I posted less personal, less often… just in case. And while that comment wasn’t a really negative one I do have a post I want to write about how anonymous negative commenting is making the world more generic. Every day I have 3 people read through each post, combing for anything that might offend. Meanwhile at least 1/2 of the humor gets removed. I’ve struggled really hard about this and ultimately i’ve decided to remove anything that two of them flag, but not just one. It’s a longer post than this comment warrants, but its something I want people to think about. Do you want personal? Or generic. Because trust me, generic is a lot easier to produce, but its not what I want to read. Anyway, i’ve had a beer, i’m on 3 hours of sleep, I have no idea why I’m ranting. But Becca, thank you for your comment and thank you to all those who helped in the dialogue. Nothing negative or offensive was said on any parts and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. When I say that pushing the publish button on these posts is stressful, I really mean it. So thanks for all being so loving and helping to create this community of support – kids or no kids :)

      3. I really don’t think the point of the post was to make someone feel “less than,” however I can say that having pets and a husband and feeling love for them is not the same as having kids and sleep exhaustion. Your husband can fend for himself, he can feed himself, he can put himself to sleep. You can put food out for your pets, and let them out to relieve themselves. You can’t do that with a baby. The demands are bigger, the consequences are bigger, and to be honest, the love is just bigger.

    3. I thought that way too, until i had kids. Now I kind of see it like, if someone is a frequent skydiver, and they say to you, “it’s the craziest feeling, falling out of a plane. you just can’t quite understand it until you do it”

      I wouldn’t argue with them. And it’s kinda the same thing, having kids and raising them.

    4. I’ve also been somewhat annoyed by comments like that, although I think they’re probably true for a lot of parents especially those with young kids (when its all still very new and intense).
      A friend once said to me, you don’t know how it feels to lose a parent yet, so you don’t fully understand…she was right, I was trying to comfort her and she felt disconnected, understandably.
      Anyway, I don’t think people say these things with the intention of offending or hurting anyone who doesn’t have kids, I think its just a way to express the magnitude of emotion they feel because there are no good words to sum it all up. Those who say it to prove something (like their life is ultimately better off than yours) are probably coming from a real stinky place.

  7. I LOVED reading this entry – there is something so satisfying about seeing my own life’s joys & struggles mirrored by someone who writes as well and honestly as you do Emily. Your comment that men need to “lean out” is brilliant and gets to the heart of the problem. Thank you for sharing this peek into your full and wonderful life.

  8. I’ve been waiting (in a totally non creepy way, of course) for this update and I’m so impressed. Not exactly that you’re taking good care of your kids, that’s what parents should do, but that you’re striving for balance and you are impressing the importance of both parents actively parenting together. I think the days of dads being a babysitter are over and I’m so glad. I’m due with number 2 in 8 weeks and our kids will be 22 months apart, everything you’ve said sounds about right and what we’re expecting. Indescribable joy and indescribable exhaustion is how I describe tiny humans. Best to you!

  9. Lovely post. I love your square footage analogy…we are literally selling our large home to move to less square footage b/c my 2 year old makes it impossible for me to care for such a large place. My daughter is the same age as Charlie, but she has never been a good sleeper, is a professional screamer, and has been in a “mama-only” phase since the umbilical cord was cut. We have been living your exhaustion since November 2013. (laughing/crying emoticon). You are right, the 9 o’clock bedtime is paramount to survival. I too wouldn’t ever want to go back, but it is pretty amazing that someone can bring you so much happiness and so much misery at the same time!!

  10. Right there with you Emily! I have two kids the same ages. The first was easy and the second is more, shall we say, expressive. So challenging, but so incredibly worth it.

  11. I don’t have kids yet but I have crazy long work hours, a long commute and grad school on top of being married and I sometimes wonder how I could ever add kids to the mix. You give me hope Emily. Not a fake, everything-is-always-good-here type hope but real hope, like it’s-not-easy-but-it’s-worth-it type hope.
    Thank you!

  12. Good job mama! I remember that feeling of exhaustion (…like it was yesterday – mandatory mom cliche). But that stage of life is *so good*… if I could revisit it for a time I would! My son is 7 and my daughter is 4 now… when I see their tiny faces in pictures I want a 3rd. But I’ve heard that adding a 3rd kid is like… in your terms… trading in a 10,000 sq. ft. house for Aaron Spelling’s mansion. And sleep is happening, as much of it as I want, so I don’t know if I can give that up again. But aren’t the babies and littles just the sweetest things ever…?!

    1. I actually heard the opposite from my Aunt who has 4 kids. She said after you have 2 what’s another couple? They all start kinda blending in.

      1. I’ve heard that, too. Which is terrifying. It’s probably like having your 4th or 5th drink … sure you get more drunk but you aren’t even really noticing it. :)

        1. I don’t have children so this is not based AT ALL on personal experience, but an article I read that stuck with me. It said going from 2 to 3 kids was the hardest because that’s when you and your spouse become out numbered, ha! So all of a sudden you and your spouse/partner/whoever can’t each be in charge of one kid, of if you’re alone you can’t hold each of their hands. But that going from 3 to 4+ was easier because what’s one more?! I thought that was pretty interesting and not something I had ever thought about.

          1. I’m expecting my third in a few months, and I wonder about this too. It’s a quite I’ve heard a lot, the one about being outnumbered. But the thing is, for 80% of the day, it’s just one parent caring for the kids anyways. You’re outnumbered as soon as you have two :)

          2. I don’t know where we got it but my husband and I say its like going from man-to-man to zone defense. And I’m expecting twins so we’re making that jump (From 1 – 3) VERY quickly. Send help! :)

          1. As a mother of 4, I can say with certainty, that the transition from 2-3 was insanely hard. It’s a physical battle… you just can’t be in 3 places at one time and the kids are surely to NEED something simultaneously, many times per day (and night)! But, for me it was mostly the emotional battle of not being able to give each child enough of ME. Enough 1 on 1 time, book reading, fun little dates, etc. By the time you have 4 and the first 3 are thriving and not as emotionally damaged as you assumed they would be (since you can’t possibly spread yourself thin enough to give all 3 of them as much attention as you were able to “in the good old days” of 1 or 2) you realize you GOT THIS and indeed you ARE ENOUGH, because at that point you’ve finally realized that it’s about the FAMILY UNIT, not everything hinges on my ability to be everything to everyone in my family. Each of my precious children plays a role in shaping, fulfilling and loving on their siblings and it is the most BEAUTIFUL thing to experience!

        2. i truly found the increase in washing to be the hardest part of going from one to two kids and it’s what’s putting me off a third! Don’t want to spend the rest of my life washing! Didn’t even consider this before number 2 was born…

      2. As a mamma to three little girls, 8, 5, 2….. I am still waiting for the “blending in” to begin. :) A friend once told me, you are no longer 1:1, it’s zone defense. The number of children is really not the challenge, it’s the variation in daily routines (toddler routines to second grader school routines.) Oh and their volume….. they are so much louder now. On a positive note, my older two help tremendously with my toddler (diaper changes, fixing snacks, reading books, etc) and that is pure bliss!

    2. My mom told me that adding a 3rd was the hardest because you only have TWO hands. But then, if you can handle three, it doesn’t get much harder to add more after that.

      1. Having just delivered my fourth child (other kids 6, 3, and 2) on Valentine’s Day, I can say unequivocally that more is harder, exponentially! Yes, we know how things go and are more prepared, but there simply aren’t enough hands-to-kids ratios. #birthcontrolfail But, I can’t imagine life without each one of them, even my terror of a two year old turned silky sweet, probably so we’d keep him ?.

  13. SO GOOD.
    I love that I can point to you when some of those poor informed souls get on a negative “feminism means…” rant. It doesn’t mean men get left behind. It doesn’t mean children miss out. It doesn’t mean family isn’t important.

    Not all that long ago men could (and still do) rationalize spending all their time at work because their wife was with the kids and meeting their needs so it was ok. But it wasn’t good for anybody.

    Thanks for filling our hearts this morning. Love.

  14. Yes, yes, yes! You have totally captured what life is like with little kids while working. My first two kids (I have three now) were so much like Charlie and Elliot. My oldest, a boy, was a great sleeper and all around fun and easy baby. Life was pretty awesome and manageable. Then we had our daughter. She was the most adorable, sweet and fun baby in the daytime…and the worst little person ever at night. She woke up every hour from about the time she was 3 months old until she was about 15 months old. It was just horrible. She woke us up, my 2 year old–who then started to have terrible sleeping patterns too–I honestly don’t know how we got through it. I don’t think I had more than 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep for an ENTIRE YEAR. I hardly even have memories from that time. I look back at pictures and I can remember what we were doing in a really detached way. So yes, your hypothesis about the amount of sleep you get directly correlating with your happiness as a parent is right on in my opinion. It is so hard sometimes–but always worth it. Now my daughter is a lovely 6 year old who sleeps so hard that you can’t wake her up. It gets better!

    1. We keep saying 2 more years, 2 more years and then we have to stop ourselves because we don’t want it to go faster. And yet we do because everyone tells us it gets so much easier even at 2 and 4. Trying to stay present but its hard.

      1. Mine will be 2 and 4 in a few weeks, and it is SO MUCH EASIER. At 1 and 3 there was a big shift, but now at 2 and 4 they’re not so fragile and needy. They obviously still need a lot of love and attention (which I am obviously MORE than happy to provide), but they don’t need the constant hovering. My four year old will disappear, and then I’ll hear the toilet flush. The two year old doesn’t search the house for tiny objects to choke on. They play together. Yes, they fight and do dangerous things and need supervision, but it’s not the NEVER LOOK AWAY EVEN FOR A SECOND attention they needed when they were tiny.

  15. Emily – as the mother of a 16 and 19 year old – I promise you, the day will come when you will be waiting (and waiting) for your children to wake up, and you will happily go to bed before they even think about turning in for the night! Until then, know that this too shall pass and your sleep balance will be restored and you will laugh with your children one day about how you never got any sleep when they were babies (kids live to hear that kind of thing!). Keep on swimming!

    1. Ah. I’m sure. That’s the biggest problem of all – that this is actually one of the best times of our lives. I’m actually crying right now (to be fair last night was another BRUTAL one so i’m just so tired) but I already miss not having a newborn. It’s all so emotionally confusing. Thank god its friday :)

      1. “It’s all so emotionally confusing” – that hits the nail on the head of being a parent! It is so confusing and so emotional. You know logically “this too shall pass” and that when they are 16 you won’t be wiping a butt or getting up 7 times a night to feed/change a diaper/wipe a nose/soothe a cough/etc. And yet while you can’t wait for that time because you will sleep FINALLY, you also dread the passing of time. We moms feel it more, typically. We’re more emotional to begin with. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it (and if you blink you just might fall asleep, too!)

    2. Yep, we are now there!

      I loved this post. We have two girls; the first didn’t sleep during the day ever, even as a newborn, yet thankfully she had a fairly happy and calm disposition, until bedtime – very exhausting! Now she’s a couch potato and sleeps till lunchtime wherever possible.

      Daughter number 2 did nothing but sleep and feed for the first 3 months of her life. No exaggeration. She then became a very active toddler and has been that way ever since. She no longer has time to sleep!

  16. My husband and I had our first child 10 months ago. I basically gave him the lean out speech a few months in, and surprisingly it is working. He is a super hard worker and his boss loves him, which helps, but he has set boundaries and made more time for our family and it has made all the difference.

  17. Everyone keeps on saying having your fourth child is the easiest transition of all… I haven’t tested that out myself, three is plenty for me, but I speculate that it’s because at that point survival is the only goal and nothing else matters ;) With three I’m just resigned to the fact that hauling kids around in the minivan is my main job description and that my house will never be totally clean (and my laundry will never be done), and I’m cool with that :)

  18. i wanted to say i like your parenting posts. i come here for your all around wisdom. i wanted to emphasize that and encourage you not to pay attention to people who say they don’t want to read anything but decoration here. hoping you’ll get a chance to write a little more about the design business — i think your mormons at martha piece, and your hiring an assistant piece, are high points of modern life. honesty about parenthood is a good one too.

  19. Cheers to you, Emily! I’ve loved learning about baby #2 from you as my first was born right near Elliot (11/8/15). That said, she’s sleeping amazingly in her crib with Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit. I have to tell every mom who’s struggling with sleep about the magical suit. IT IS TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY, MAGICAL. ORDER IT ON AMAZON RIGHT NOW!

  20. I LOVE you and your blog. I’m a mom too and feel you. The ‘only’ difference is, i have ONLY one child. That was not a choice and it makes me feel quilty every day (for not giving my daughter a sibbling). I also always have to defend myself for ‘only’ having one child. ‘Only’ one child is not easy either, there are the same challenges. I wish people in general are a little bit more sensitive about saying that having one child is Not Hard.

    1. I agree that many people assume EVERYTHING is easier because I only have one child and too often people assume that was a choice. We definitely have many of the same challenges and still have to juggle. I do admire people with multiple children doing multiple activities and wonder how our family would handle the busyness of a bigger family when I feel like we’re just “getting through the day.” We were blessed with just one beautiful, energetic, strong-willed kiddo who keeps us on our toes. I’ve accepted that it was’t completely in our control to give him a sibling and that wouldn’t automatically make him happier, stronger, smarter, or guarantee that he had a good relationship with a sibling. Most of us are just doing our best to appreciate the situation we have, love our children and guide them in growing to be their best selves.

  21. I feel ya. I had 3 kids, I commuted into the city and my husband worked nights, so I was a single parent when I got home from work. (There were lots of tears–on my part) My husband leaned all the way in…Cleaned house, cooked, shopped, and had the laundry done on Fridays.
    We also had an amazing sitter (thank God).
    But guess what… the boys are grown and gone, and my daughter leaves for college in 5 months. We had a lot of laughs when they were little, but it seems like a million years ago. So enjoy the fun.

  22. As a new mom myself, I have been stressing over sleep schedules and sleep training and if I am failing to “teach” my child to sleep. Then I read this article (link below) that talks about how genetics play a large role in how babies sleep. There was solace in the fact that I cannot control my son’s sleep (hard for a control freak) and for better or worse just accept what it is and know that this phase will not last forever.

    http://www.inhabitots.com/sleep-training-debunked-study-finds-genetics-play-a-large-role-in-babys-sleep-habits/

  23. Get the Moms on Call Toddler book. It has a schedule on how to live with a toddler and a baby at the same time. And will get your kids to sleep. Life. Changing.

  24. What I always try to remind myself – (I have 2 kids, 4yr and 11mo old) is that even when I snuggling at ungodly hours of the night, there will come a time when they don’t even want to interact with me. That being said I try to remember to eat all that snuggling time up. You give a lot now, don’t get me wrong, but you can’t get the time back once it’s gone.

  25. I sincerely appreciate your honesty Emily! So many times we see glossy, over photo shopped photos online and it’s just not the whole truth. I love design, I have a toddler Charlie’s age, I run a successful company that I don’t own — but I’m passionate about, and I’ve loved following along in your journey. Sometimes the things you write sounds as if it’s my own brain talking through what I’m presently experiencing. How can you have so many talents woman?! Writing is definitely one of them so please don’t stop. Your words truly matter and make a difference — thank you so much for sharing!

  26. You are sure an adorable family.

    I found the opposite to be true when adding a second kid–it was like NOTHING. So easy compared to one! Both of mine have been terrible sleepers, so it’s probably just the sleep thing that determines how hard it is. I hope Elliot gets the memo soon that sleep is #1.

  27. I loved reading this! I had my second baby just six months ago and also have a two year old, so I can relate to the chaos and exhaustion and also the bliss! I love to hear how you and your husband balance your family and careers, as it’s a struggle that my husband and I are also working on. I don’t know you in person, but I read your blog everyday like a stalker and love it! Thanks for keeping me creatively inspired! And good luck at night! The struggle is real.

  28. You’re not going to want to hear it but 2am and 5am is pretty good going! Our monkey is a day younger than Elliot and she’s waking at 11, 2 and 5 on a good night. On a bad night? Don’t ask ?. It was every 90 minutes for a while there…

    Admittedly we don’t also have a toddler to deal with and I’m still on maternity leave (yay for England!) so I don’t have to juggle work – I count myself lucky for those saving graces! But I know exactly what you mean about the combo of overwhelming love and total exhaustion. Luckily these babies are rewarding little creatures!

  29. I have a 2.5 year old and a 6 month old and I always say the same thing you said: after having 2 kids, taking care of just one of the kids is like having no kids again. Thanks for the honest post about the struggle of these early years because it’s otherwise so easy to look around at other moms and think they have it all figured out.

    That said, I do think I’ll feel very nostalgic about these young boys when they are older.

  30. Hi Emily!
    Your feelings and emotional state are spot on. I truly remember it as a day by day survival, and during those “wild” nights I found some crazy kind of hope and joy when I could see the sunrise coming and hear birds chirping. We refer to it as the “foggy” years because one can only remember so much on so little sleep. So take lots of videos, and pat yourself on the back when you see your babies laughing and smiling. They are capable of that because of the love from their parents, and yes that’s a badge of honor. Mine are 8, 6 and 4 now. Different problems now….my 4 yr old just stole and lost my 6 yr olds first lost tooth last night…before the tooth fairy even had a chance! But it’s all just so much fun. Love the post and I promise, you will sleep again.

  31. Well said, Emily! I just started following your blog (where have I been?!) because my husband and I bought a fixer upper and are about to take on the huge task of a re-model. We have a 2.5 year old daughter and a 9 month old son and I founded my own business as well. I felt the need to comment because I have never read ANYTHING on parenting that I felt really nailed it like you have with this post. You are an inspiration, lady!!! xo

  32. My dog woke me this morning, sitting next to the bed and crying. She had a poop situation that required help. I was exhausted, she was uncomfortable. And while I was doing the things, and cleaning up the aftermath on the carpet, her bed, the patio, and her, I was thinking how gross this would be to anyone else and how I handle it because I’m completely in love with her, and because she is vulnerable and relies on me for everything and I am her most favorite person.

    She inspires crazy hopes and fears. She is so smart and kind that I feel guilty everyday if I haven’t done enough to help her reach her potential and to be happy. I sound like a crazy person, but I was cleaning and thinking of how similar pets can be to children even though I know it’s not the same.

    When I was done, I went straight to this blog to get some pretty pics and grown-up stories…how hilarious and timely the topic is!

    LOVE hearing about Elliot and Charlie and your parenthood journey and your views on working parents…never stop sharing!!

  33. When my son was 1, he got a bad head cold. It progressed into an ear infection and he stopped sleeping through the night. At first it was fine, and I was patient and sympathetic. Then he got better, but by then was used to waking up at night. I tried so hard to be patient and kind, but finally one night I was SO TIRED, I ended up sleeping in the basement so I couldn’t hear his cries.
    He didn’t wake up at night anymore after that.

    Overall, though, both my kids were pretty good sleepers after the first 3 or 4 months. I’m not really sure I have any helpful tips, but hang in there! It will get better. My kids are 4 and 6 now, sleep great, and play together constantly. It’s so much fun.

    Thanks for the great post!

  34. I know this isn’t always feasible but my husband and I slept in separate rooms, he took the toddler when she got out of bed 4 times a night and I slept next to the bassinet in the nursery. We didn’t love it but it got us through. Toddlers seem to know something is up and the night is when it manifests itself : )
    That lasted about 5 or 6 months and then my 3 year old stopped waking up so often and the baby woke less and at 8 months we did a version of cry it out and all is well now. We worried they would wake each other too but we finally just couldn’t take it anymore and it went better than expected.
    That is a very simplified version of what we did, so so many small details and endless conversations were had daily to make these things happen as you well know!

    Perfect post, my baby is now 14 months and we are sleeping now thankfully, but it brought back so many happy memories, thank you for doing that and being so honest.

  35. Aw, you are doing a great job Emily. Thanks for your honesty. I don’t have kids yet but I read every single parenting post you write and always enjoy them. Lack of sleep is my biggest fear when the day comes…but your grit and gratitude inspires. :) Your kids are off the charts cute, those smiles! xox

  36. Happy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child is a game changer. Referred to my copy often with all three kids.

    3 kids is crazy town, btw!

  37. I’m here to say: I promise you, it will get easier AND better. It did for me.

    Mine are now 8 & 10 and I can honestly say it’s so much better than those early years. It’s now a perfect blend of being independent but with them still liking you and wanting to hang out with you (sometimes a little attitude, but manageable).

    I hear from so many parents how they adore the baby/toddler years and I say to them, “good for YOU!” For me, however, it was a whirlwind. Exhausting, confusing…busy boredom also can apply.

    I don’t wish to go back. I have nightmares of being pregnant with twins and wake up crying, then extatically happy realizing it was only a dream!!!

    But today — TODAY — and the realization that it gets better with time makes it all worth it. I’m a better mom to my kids as they grow older and that’s okay to admit.

    1. I was one of those people who loved babies. I think I might be. Maybe tomorrow. You are in the sweet spot of parenting 7 – 12. HAVE FUN, you deserve it.

  38. I have three boys (9,6,and 2). Going from 1 to 2 was the absolute hardest for me. I am not one for sleep advice. I am so lame. With my third, I pass out when they all get in bed and turn off the baby monitor. Evil, I know.

    You are a positive light. Its actually amazing to me. Sleep deprived, hard working and happy. I was so in awe of you in Las Vegas with your breast pump on your back. The under belly of motherhood can be so dark. Your light is so refreshing…

  39. My son is four and a half and my daughter is just a couple of weeks younger than Elliot. I have a theory that parents have a second child soon after the first if their first child sleeps well early on. My son was a horrible sleeper until 18 months (now he is wonderful at it, thank goodness)–so, needless to say, I required more time to recover from that trauma before diving back in.

    I’m also sleep-deprived these days, but last night I got 6 hours straight for the first time in weeks and weeks so I basically could lift a car with one finger.

    Good luck and thanks for sharing!

    1. Ha! That is so true. We have 3 years between the first and second and my first was a poor sleeper. i was traumatized and needed that whole second year to recover! our best friends had a baby who would sleep anywhere – as in, they traveled and would stick her in a closet, bathroom, anything and she’d get her full 12 hours – and they had a second so fast.

      1. Yep. Charlie was so easy that at 11 months we were like….lets try again. And then waited til after christmas and then mid-february rolled around :)

    2. Super woman! So funny, thanks for making me laugh as I lie in bed with my two week old on my chest while I hear my toddler in the other room gearing up for the day. The comments are just as good as Emily’s confession. Emily you should host a convention; your readers are truly delightful people. :)

    1. Oh, and this is a blog meant for advice and such. :) I posted the article for the sake of people in general just giving each other some slack. :)

  40. Emily this is so well written and so exactly what its like. At some point I thought I had just become an angry person and I couldn’t figure out what had changed my personality until I realized, OH YEAH, I haven’t slept in like a year (our baby woke every 2 hours until 14 months when I hired a sleep expert to help. Best $100 email consultation I ever spent in my life!!!) Sleep is amazing.
    And I really appreciate hearing how you run the whole crazy family and work life. We have 4 kids under 4 (twin boys, a sweet girl, and then a sweet accident :) ) And we have a similar juggle. My husband works from home and runs the house and I work from home 2x a week and we sort of bounce the kids between us and preschool, etc. Its crazy. And exhausting. And amazing. And passes so quickly. And also feels like it will never end.
    Thanks for being such an amazing example of a strong beautiful working mother.

  41. Ok, I wish someone would have told me this earlier. The sooner you start putting your newborn to sleep awake, the better! As lovely and even convenient as it is to rock and pat and sing them to sleep they then learn to depend on it, and wake throughout the night needing that crutch. The book that worked wonders for my first and is now working wonders on my 5 month old is the Sleep Lady book – it’s on Amazon. It’s a gentle approach to sleep training that doesn’t leave them to cry alone but actually works. There’s a formula, you are there with them, and with my first child it took 3 nights and he was sleeping 8+ hours. That was after months and months of every two hour wakings. It’s also for all ages, there’s a whole section on toddlers. I highly recommend it! Good luck. This too, shall pass. :)

    1. Ordering it. And I just tried to put her down awake and it was a fail, but thats because i know that rocking takes like 2 minutes … trying harder tomorrow.

      1. I have a 2.5 year old son and a 3 month old daughter, so I loved reading this post like a fat kid loves cake. But I have to chime in here because…as frustrating as it is, this method may not work for all babies. My firstborn was a unicorn baby like yours, Emily, he slept a full 12 hours without needing any intervention at 9 weeks! Unicorn! BUT, I ALWAYS nursed him, an average for an hour (sometimes up to 80 minutes!) until he was fast asleep, then gently put him down and walked out. This nightly suspense turned me into a anxious mess at the time, but I did it because that was the only way it worked, and because he would sleep for the next 12 hours. Then, eventually at around 8 months, he learned to go to bed awake and never looked back.

        I am not recommending my way, but simply sharing my story because Elliott may not be a baby that takes well to being put down awake. Experiment, as we all must, but don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t work and move on!

        1. Charlie was the same. we rocked him to sleep til 7 months and all was good. so yes, i agree that putting down awake isnt for everyone. xx

  42. I absolutely loved this post! Bravo on all your points and I couldn’t agree more – especially on point one! We should be proud of putting our families first, not embarrassed! Hang in there on the sleep! Colds are THE WORST for sleep and I hope they get over them soon, and that you guys get some sleep soon too! xo

  43. I never had a girl crush before, but this post changed all that…You’re rockin’ motherhood with such great perspective and patience. Everything is a phase and things will get easier, and then harder, and then easier. I have two kids 18 months apart. We thought we had it all down after getting through the first one, but then we found out, no. This child was different. She hated being swaddled or jiggled. She loved nursing. She couldn’t stand being apart. What.So.Ever. The first year was like being thrown back into in the milk-soaked, Cheerio-encrusted trenches of parenting again. But you won’t just survive this first year, you WILL look back and yearn for those cuddly, snuggly days when things were hard but so simple. My biggest sleep advice: Buy “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” It’s the best and we treated it like the Bible. Our first and second graders still sleep 10-11 hours a night!

    1. I have that book and I’m going to reference it again tonight. Nice job – 18 months apart sounds possibly more insane. I like you right back. xx

  44. I swear it is as if I wrote this post myself, except I only have 1 child for now. I loved this post I didn’t want it to end!!! When I wrote a similar personal post about experiencing postpartum anxiety on my blog I had over 200 emails from women thanking me for being honest. Now I want to thank you! Ignore the commenters who were annoyed with you telling the TRUTH. There is zero way to understand what it’s like to be a Mom without being a Mom. You’re not saying you’re a petter person than them, because you’re a Mom, it’s just that they can’t comprehend what you’re going through period, end of story.

    Now re: sleep. We hired a sleep training expert to come in and save our lives when our son was 8 weeks old. She used the Baby Wise method. She cost us less than $1000 and our son went from sleeping 1-2 hours in a row ON SOMEONE to sleeping 12 hours in a row every night in his crib by himself without a peep. I highly recommend hiring a sleeping training expert and/or reading Baby Wise. It changed our lives and our son’s. Babies desperately need sleep and we need to train them how to get it. Feel free to email me if you have any further questions! :)

  45. Laughed out loud at the driving a convertible, blindfolded, and drunk. Got more than a few stares from my counterparts at our work space, but well worth it.

    The love you had for those kiddos literally shows through in every single photo you post. Can’t wait to see the stories your kids come to share as they get older!

  46. What I have always loved about reading your parenting posts is how well you describe the insane juxtaposition of thoughts that motherhood brings about. I am mom to a toddler with another on the way (my first was the easiest baby ever so I’m fully expecting WW III come September 2016), and I have always had that feeling of, “How can I love this child with such intensity one second and want to wring her neck the next?” A (slightly) less eloquent restatement of your words, but what I mean is, I feel you. I adore/despise all the wonderful/terrible things about motherhood. I still walk past my daughter’s room and think, “There’s a kid in there! And she calls ME ‘Mama!’ Who let that happen?!?!?” And I am so looking forward to what fresh hell awaits when I have two of them.

  47. I love posts like this…..my kids are 23 20 and 16 and you definitely forget how hard it is during the young years. I tell people all the time that when they are young it’s physically exhausting and when they get older (specifically late teenage, early adult) it can become a mental challenge. Different problems altogether. It will get better, I promise…..

    You will be glad when they get older that they are spaced close together…trust me on this one.

  48. All my thoughts in your article! My son almost 1 year and daughter almost 2.5 and what I should say- every month it getting easier to live and to sleep (but first 6 months were so much horrible so I prefer not to remember).
    I first time on your blog and was looking for some inspiration (design ideas) and I didn’t expect to be inspired with your personal life (thanks for honesty description moms life with 2 kids). Good luck!!

  49. Emily, I ran into you at the animal shelter in NYC when I was 6 months preggo. I was a new follower to your blog then but enjoyed reading about your Charlie shenanigans and how you balanced it all in anticipation of my own Charlie’s arrival. Oh yeah, the decor inspiration has been nice too ;)

    Thank you for writing this post- I’m forwarding it to my husband, both for the lean in/out bit as well as for your spot-on depiction of night times with a little one who doesn’t sleep so well. I’ve been bearing the load these 18 months because I don’t work a standard 9-5 but waking up some 7 times a night landed me in the midst of postpartum depression. Trying to be creative/run a business has had to become a distant #2 while I care for the baby and the basics.

    It IS a hierarchy and I hope that if we do have another one we’re able to balance the chaos with humor (and style) like you are.

  50. LOVE family posts : D
    Mine are 4 and 18 months, bedrooms next to each other. We are huge white noise users – both girls have one in their rooms which helps drown out the other’s coughs during colds!
    You’re doing a great job – I work full time and fully take advantage of my village.
    *Clink!*

  51. Emily, I love the juxtaposition of your honesty and the beauty of the photos. Thank you for sharing!

    Question for you! How did you know when you were ready to start a family? If this isn’t an answer for a blog comment, then maybe a future post about it someday?

    Filing this for future reference because I work for myself from home and this is so helpful: “I make sure not to apologize for work, because I don’t want him to think that it’s something to be sorry about. It IS important, and he needs to know that. But it’s not more important than him and I try to make that amply clear.”

  52. Just wanted to echo other comments about the brilliance of the “lean out” comment. This really resonated with me since my husband and I are pregnant with our first kid and both work full time. We really value family but I know that finding the balance will be a constant work in progress.

  53. I LOVED this post. I have a young daughter and I remember those horrifying first three months of her life when I barely slept and pretty much cried in public from exhaustion, so I feel you.

    Also, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE this quote and I am going to steal it: FURTHERMORE (prepare for rant): I’m a firm believer that every person and company should put family or personal lives first, and that men should “lean out” instead of women “leaning in.” . Thats so, so, so well put.

  54. This was a lovely post. I so feel your pain but hang in there, it gets easier and easier. My first children were boy/girl twins and as you can imagine it was so hard, but also wonderful. I thank God they were my first because I didn’t have anything to compare it to so I just stumbled through it. I didn’t work outside the home because paying daycare for 2 would have eaten my entire paycheck but that meant my hubbie worked 24/7 so I kinda did it mostly on my own. But we survived, though I will admit I kinda wished away a lot of their early years – wishing them to get bigger and older so things would be easier (you will never be so happy as the day they can wipe their own bums lol). So I’m glad to hear you realize that this is such a precious time albeit a hard one. Small chidren are hard work, physically and mentally. I was blessed to have one more daughter when my twins were 7 and this time around I truly soaked up every amazing moment. She’s 5 now (and my twins are 13 yikes!) and I still treasure the moments cuz now I know how fast it goes. This time next year things will be immensely easier for you and, like twins, your kids will have a built-in playmate. My twins are still best friends and have sleepover together in my son’s room every Friday after family movie night. You have a lot to look forward to.

  55. Yes. Totally get it. Amen. I am blatantly honest about how hard/total hell the first few months are too. Not to discourage people from choosing family, but because, IT IS ALL TOTALLY WORTH IT and WE SURVIVE. Nothing can take the place of our babies and the joy they bring.

  56. Yes, yes, yes! Especially to “men should “lean out” instead of women “leaning in.”

    None of this “having/doing it all.” It’s not possible and we need to change the expectation that it is.

    Your babies are goooor-geous and you and Brian have every right to dote on them and be proud of all you’re doing! We are right there with you on the cold season wreaking havoc on any good sleep habits. Snot bubbles are so sweetly pathetic though. Hope you’re all back to 100% soon.

  57. Great post! I love the part about leaning out.

    My son is almost 4 and my daughter just turned 1. Our son was a great sleeper and very easy baby and we had no idea how good we had it. Not to scare you, but my daughter still wakes up at least twice at night and my son won’t go to sleep unless someone is next to him. I just sort of had to come to terms with the fact that this would be a hard couple of years, I won’t sleep as much or get as much alone time, but that’s ok and it will get better. If I try to change it, I only feel more stressed, but if I accept it and focus on the good, I feel better. Also, while it’s not for everyone, cosleeping has helped me get more sleep. I don’t even wake up all the way when my daughter does, so sometimes I don’t know how many times she wakes up. And my husband is in charge of our son at night. He puts him to bed and gets up if he wakes. Our son doesn’t even call my name at night anymore. He just yells “daddy daddy daddy” haha.

  58. Emily, thank you so much for writing this with honesty. I’ll admit that I was tempted to delete the email when I read the title, simply because I’m tired of Instagrammers, celebs or any public figure making it look sooooo easy to be a parent. Yes, it is the most magical, love-filled adventure that I would never trade. But it is also hard. Worth it, absolutely, but still a deeper challenge than I expected and still surprises me at times. I appreciate your truthfulness and wish you the most wonderful of times ahead. And sleep. :)

  59. Emily, I love all of this! So true! So right on. My babies are now 11 and 8 and I realized at some point that life happens in short chapters. Good or bad, it will all change in a few months. Your analogy about the convertible and the cliffs was hilarious!!!

  60. Thank you so much for this post! My household is in a similar situation – my elder daughter is about two months older than Charlie and my younger daughter is a few weeks older than Elliot, and it is TOUGH.

    First, as reassurance, if you haven’t already heard of it Google ‘4 month sleep regression’. Elliot may grow out of the worst of this within a month or so. This happened with both our daughters – just a month ago I was totally losing it because my husband was away on a work trip for an entire month, our little was waking up screaming FIVE times per night, and she could only be nursed back to sleep. [On a related note: it is doubly exhausting to not only wake up five times per night but also have your life force drained from you all night long.] At almost five months, mine now puts herself to sleep for naps and night and is only nursed once in the middle of the night.

    Second, on a practical note: if the kids are waking each other up, get a good sound machine. We had ones that were fine until we really needed to block the noise, and then I caved and bought a d’Ohm machine for each of their rooms since due to room layout their cribs are almost sharing a wall by necessity. TL;DR – overnight, no longer an issue.

    Other things we’ve found immensely helpful – the book The Sleep Easy Solution has worked very well to help our whole family be happier and better rested, both times around; the Merlin Magic Sleep Suit was great for the second one when she was thrashing around in her swaddle but not yet totally over her startle reflex.

    As for the scheduling and parental attention issues… I haven’t figured that one out yet. Big sister has had trouble adjusting to a slower-paced life and less mama time, but the more we tell her how helpful/kind/special she is, and emphasize the benefits of being 2.5 vs. a baby, the easier it is. We may all be going nuts, but when big shares her favorite stuffed animal with little and says ‘look Mama, two cool kids and a badger!’ it reminds me of why we did this… and yes, we are also looking forward to having a two- and four-year-old!

  61. I had four kids in seven years and between sicknesses, nightmares, and just having “to go pee,” I don’t think I got a full night of uninterrupted sleep for 15 years. But I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. It was worth every sleepless minute.

  62. We have 2 girls that are 14 mos apart (they are now 7 & 8) and the best thing we ever did was hire a sleep consultant. We live in Northern California but she does do phone appointments- http://www.gotosleepbaby.com.

    She was AMAZING. She gave us the confidence to do all the things that we needed to do to get our girls on a schedule and sleep, even when it was so hard and we were so exhausted. All our friends thought we were crazy (we were one of the first to have kids), but now we’ve recommended her to so many friends who say they say its the best money they ever spent. I agree! Good luck with your beautiful kiddos.

  63. Wait until they get their first molar. That whole sleeping through the night thing will go out the window again! Or night terrors – they’re terrifying! My daughter never had them but my son had four or five as a toddler. He woke up and cried uncontrollably for about 20 minutes – asleep the whole time. Then, just like flipping a switch, he stopped crying. So weird and terrifying the first time it happens. My son also talks in his sleep a lot. Our kids are now 14 and 11 and I rarely sleep through the night. I think I’ve forgotten how! I watch a lot of “I Love Lucy” at 2:30 in the morning.

  64. Hi Emily!

    I’m late to this party so I don’t know if you’ll read my comment. But I LOVED this post even though I don’t have kids yet! And while I know nothing about baby/toddler sleep strategies, I just thought I’d share a link to a blogger who has tons of posts with tips and tricks for parents. She’s a mom of 6 kids and she always has such good ideas. I check her blog every once in a while to remind myself it’s there because I just know that when I do have kids I will be using her advice constantly. Anyways, here’s a link for a post she wrote about tips and resources on getting babies to sleep and in the post she has links to helpful articles and books that you may want to check out.
    http://www.memoriesoncloverlane.com/2014/03/getting-baby-to-sleep-thoughts-and-tips.html
    Best of luck! For what it’s worth, you appear to be balancing work and family so gracefully.

    1. I read the blog you shared and it’s very strongly against cry-it-out method of any kind – the blogger herself says she trusts her mother’s instincts which will not let her babies cry…but for others, their mothers’ instincts may tell them that a well-rested mother is a happy mother who can love their babies better in all the hours they are awake together, and that a few minutes of tears is a fair price to pay for that. After all, no mother in the history of mankind has ever succeeded in having a child who did not cry at all, so “letting the baby cry” is a bit of a misstatement in and of itself…as if we have the control!

      I say this because you say you do not yet have a child but plan to follow the advice of this blog. Don’t let this make you feel guilty if you choose to follow your instinct and let your child cry in order to teach him or her to sleep better (and as a result, allow you to sleep enough to be sane).

      1. Thanks, Sharon! That’s a fair point. I didn’t mean to imply that this mother’s way is the only right way. I agree that every mother should follow their own instinct in the decisions that they make. But I think that the blogger who wrote the post I shared made a valid point in that a lot of times the cry-it-out method is touted as a fool-proof, “this will work for every baby”–type of solution but it’s not always like that. Every baby and mother is different and no method is universally appropriate, which is why it’s important to look at a situation from different angles–and if necessary, from the advice and perspectives of different experts, like the articles and books suggested in the post I shared as well as cry-it-out literature, in order to be well-informed when making parenting decisions. :) I know that since I don’t have kids yet, I can’t really say what decisions I’ll make when I do, all I can say is that while I’m struggling with unexplained infertility, waking up to the cry of a baby sounds beautiful to me. :)

  65. God Bless you, Emily Henderson! Emily Henderson for President!

    I was due yesterday with #2, and #1 will be 2 in April. I have a sinus infection. #1 is up most nights this week. I am on a thin red line. Your honesty is a breath of fresh air, and I am bookmarking this to read again and again over the next year. If I can’t have a clear head or be in labor today, you did the next best thing by posting this.

    You are a freakin’ hero, Lady!

    1. Couldn’t have said it better myself (just minus the ready to go with baby #2 part).

      Emily, SING IT, Girl! Keep that voice and light loud and bright. It’s impossible NOT to offend somebody somewhere so I implore you, please don’t waste your precious energy trying! And I love love love your writing and always laugh out loud and can’t imagine what adding half the funny back would be like. Heaven. One of my favorite Anne Lamott quotes (and that lady has a treasure chest of quotables) is: “Lighthouses don’t go running all over the island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” Keep shining, sister. {fist bump, mama}

  66. A lovely post. I’ve got a girl about Charlie’S age and another baby due in September, and this pretty much encapsulates my expectations. My little one, Ruby, has been a good sleeper from early on, and I think she will be an enthusiastic sister. Our little family is similarly fortunate to have great support in family, caretaker and work realms, and Ruby’s dad is engaged and supportive. Couldn’t ask for more. But sleep….even now, I’m borderline obsessive about my sleeping patterns, and am trying to mentally prepare for that euphoria/exhaustion combination that is surely coming. We’ll done, four months in, for getting through it and maintaining your good humour!

  67. Thank you for sharing this! My husband and I are planning to start a family soon and I keep wondering how we’re going to balance two successful careers and the joys of parenting. Love what you said about men “leaning out” and making sure that family comes first, but being proud of hard work and success at the same time. Your children and family are beautiful (not just in a magazine way – in a real way – the good, the imperfect and everything in between).

  68. I’m a (female! woot!) business owner with littles about the exact same age as yours- 4 months and newly 2 yo. And girl, PREACH. It’s tough. It’s a LOT right now.
    We had a pretty hell-ish 3-4 month sleep regression. On our ped’s advice I worked to space out day time feeds some (to every 3 hours) and then I pump 2x a day (ugh, pumping is the WORST) to be able to give a HUGE bottle at night. Knowing she’s full helps me feel more comfortable soothing with her paci rather than feeding. It has helped a ton– we went from around 5 wake ups a night to 1 or sometimes (!!) 0. That said, the sleep stuff is personal and every baby is different. Just want to give you a high five. I so appreciate your candor.

  69. Not a mom. Not a designer. Loved this post so much because of your writing and your voice. And that second picture up there of you and your girl where she’s making that devilishly happy face?!? I’m ready for kids now. I need that face.

  70. You are real. And sleep deprivation is very real. This is why parents are young (and having just had two grandkids for the weekend, really driving the point home) and we are not. We are just so grateful their parents come back for them. The first time we got them for a weekend (at age 16 months and 7 years) we were out scouring the streets hoping to see their car. And when they left (with both kids), the hubs hit the wine and I hit the chocolate.
    White noise machine? Taxi service to drive them around all night in their car seats while you sleep?

  71. Wonderful post!!

    My kids are currently 8 and 5 (next week! registered her for kindergarten today!). Son was an amazing sleeper, the girl…ugh, better now than it’s ever been. Really, you have to go through every suggestion until you find the one that works for your situation. My daughter slept on my husband’s chest for like, 3 months when she was a baby because that is the only way anybody got sleep.

    One day a few months ago, I thought the kids were asleep. I walked by their room (they both are happier sleeping in the same room, so bunk beds wins it for us) and overheard daughter saying “I’ll give you 2 dollars if you come sleep in my bed! I’ll give you 5 dollars if I can sleep with you in yours!” The next morning, they were both in her bed.

    Last night, they draped blankets over the side of the bunk bed to make a “tent” for the bottom bunk. Again, they both slept in the bottom bunk together.

    Whatever you and yours needs to get through the night!!

  72. hey! i never comment on here….even though I read your blog all the time.

    But…..I have three children. Ages 4, 2.5 and 8 months. I know no sleep. It aint pretty. And I’m definitely someone who needs sleep.

    So I thought i’d pass on what worked for me.

    When my first baby was little she was a terrible sleeper. She didn’t sleep longer than 2 hours day or night. She would never nap more than 30 min. It was a nightmare. So when she hit about 7 months, and she was wisening up, I knew she could comprehend more, (especially our love for her) we let her cry it out. Now….by letting her cry it out I mean we stocked our house full of mini cupcakes and vodka shots and after her nightime routine, told her it was time bedtime and that we loved her and would see her in the morning and leave. She would start crying before we hit the door and that’s when we took a shot and ate a cupcake.

    Then you wait. First, you wait like 2 minutes. It’s pure torture but it needs to be done. You know what they NEED. you just need to teach them what they need. Then you go back in there, DO NOT PICK THEM UP, and calmly explain the same thing – it’s time to go to bed, we love you and it’s ok. Give them a hug, pat their butt, wrap them in the blanket. Then leave. This time wait like 4 minutes. If they are still crying/fussing go back in and repeat. Then wait 10 minutes….20 min…30 min…

    She caught on quick, I think the longest we had to ever wait was like 15 min. But your child needs to learn the SKILL of putting themselves back to sleep. And my daughter did not posses that skill (we NEVER had to do this with my next two! I’m convinced they were born with the sleeping skill) Anyways…you will survive, but you owe it to yourself and your sweet kids to help them learn this life skill.

    I was worried she would wake up with a different personality or something but NOPE, she was just as wonderful as the night before. The first night took maybe a total of 1 hour…the stretches getting longer and longer between, the next night was easier and then by night 3 she was golden.

    I do think they have to reach the right age to learn this – your baby girl is still prob too young, But all my kids sleep in their own rooms, go to bed at 7 and wake up in the morning. But I had to TEACH my daughter that. It was a torturous first 7 months of life before this though. So I sympathize with you!!!

    You’ll do great, the fact that you’re even stressing about this shows your a good mom. keep up the good work ; )

    1. Oh also! since baby girl is so young – maybe try dream feeding….I would nurse the baby right before I went to bed, just to ensure that she wasn’t hungry …and if she woke up I knew that she didn’t need to be nursed (and I could send the hubby in to put her back to sleep) : )

      1. The dream feeding feels really crazy the first but I knew I would get at least 2 hours of sleep afterward. Why would I pick up a sleeping baby and feed before I go to bed? But it works and the 2 hrs eventually got longer and longer!

        Sometimes I would think why is having everything I ever wanted making me so tired. Career, family, house…

        Love your posts!

  73. I don’t have kids yet. These family posts are like crack to me – I’m hoping to juggle running my own business and having hubs lean out. We’ve even talked about both of us being freelancers for better flexibility. I love that you are sharing everything so unapologetic – so many people try to hide the fact that they need a nanny.

    But you can’t be a full-time mom and a full-time businesslady, it just doesn’t compute!

    Thanks for sharing the giood, bad & ugly.
    Looking forward to joining the ranks of the sleep-deprived :)

  74. Emily… you are amazing! Thanks for this post. My kids are 16 months & 3 (same distance apart as yours), I was experiencing the EXACT SAME THING last year. The nights were insane, the kids were sick all the time, and the lack of sleep was making me lose my mind. BUT, the great news is that we are sleeping now (for the most part), I feel like a normal person again (most of the time) AND my husband and I just booked our first trip since we started having the kids three years ago (woohoo!) When you’re in the midst of it, it’s like being underwater, but all of a sudden, you sleep, everyone is on a schedule and you feel like a total badass (because every mother is!) Best of luck, you’re doing a fabulous job. Thanks for being such a talented designer, blogger, and most importantly MOTHER! Keep doing what you’re doing. Xo

  75. This!! ALL this Emily. You make me feel sane. I cried approximately 4 times getting through this post. Thanks for always being so transparent and real.

  76. Thank you so much for sharing so honestly! We are going through so many similar experiences… Baby #1 was a godsend.. Everything was easy about her. With our second (5months old now), it’s not that he’s difficult, just normal, but we’ve just been spoiled by #1 and I’ll admit I’m not a nice person when I don’t sleep. That, with running my own business is certainly challenging but all said and done, we are all good. Kudos to you sweet momma!

  77. Have you tried swaddling? Our three-month old will wake up several times if not swaddled but sleeps 7-9 hours when swaddled. We have one of those swaddles with velcros that makes it so much easier.

  78. I’m a sleep psychologist who specialized in adult sleep. But then I had a baby and needed to know more. Of all the books I’ve read, I recommend The Happy Sleeper. I also really like Sleeping through the Night by Jodi Mitchell. And lastly, Baby sleep science, the blog totally checks out in terms of research, in my opinion. You know, stuff to read in your spare time. :)

  79. Thanks for writing! And for including that first photo of Elliot’s gummy smile. My heart skipped a little beat (baby #2 coming in the fall!).

    I like what you said about not apologizing for work/working and that you’re generally feeling good about where you are professionally. As a reminder, you have all this great help at home and work because of everything you’ve already worked for! YOU BUILT THIS. Continue to be proud of all you’ve done and continue to do! FWIW, I say this as a very part time WAHM – basically as someone who decided to take a very different course as far as quitting my job to do home/baby things. I’m proud of what I have done and am doing now too (and of my husband for operating multiple small businesses), but I still think you should own the fact that you’re able to hire these awesome people to help with your kiddos and work because of how hard you also work!

    As far as sleep, my (very part time) job includes working for a parenting/sleep consultant who does personalized sleep consults over the phone/skype! I get no extra money for recommending her, but she’s been a great help with my little one! Our main tenets in “sleep training” have been to always warn our little guy before a change, change only one thing at a time, never leave him to cry alone (crying with mama or papa nearby is ok), and otherwise stick to our guns!
    http://www.patiencebleskan.com/sleep-consultation/

  80. Reading this as I dream feed hoping to avoid 2 and 5..every night he’s up at 2 and 5.. I’m 10 weeks in and they days are indeed magical but the nights leave my tank less than full for the other 2… Their sweet faces on the way out the door to school with my husband are a daily reminder that the days are long but the years are short…it will get better ….until then thanks so much for a place to read in the wee hours :) … I appreciate your rant too as I prepare to go back to corporate America … Less leaning in and more family #1…

  81. I only have one right now but he still doesn’t sleep through the night and I work from home without any help (yikes! Literally not sure how it’s possible most days!) so I feel you on the sleep thing but also the looking crazy forward to the weekend thing! I feel like I look forward to Saturday’s even more now which feels kinda weird since I’m technically at home with my baby all week…. i love this honest blog post!!! Good luck, and remember (prepare for the most cliched first time mom comment)…. “this too shall pass” :)

  82. I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this below, but the sleep wave method mentioned in The Happy Sleeper worked for us. We got the baby that didn’t sleep. For about 6 months – craziness – we rocked, swaddled and did all the things that people tell you to do. Until one weekend when I completely lost it from total exhaustion. The same day we started the method, our baby slept through the night for 12 hours and has consistently slept. Also, I place a cool mist humidifier in his room to prevent congestion. That’s all I’ve got. We are considering number 2, but my baby is 10 months and I can’t seriously think about how we’re going to do it without the help of a nanny. It has to be the only way, right?

  83. Great post Emily! Thanks for being real and taking the time to share. I only have one 1 year old but she does not sleep well and as a full time working mom I get the stressed, tired but so in love thing! Good luck with getting through the colds and into a better sleeping routine.

  84. Gah! We have a 15 month old boy who started waking up when he turned one and won’t go back to sleep unless we bring him in with us, if I try to put him back in his crib he claws on like a baby monkey. I often think the same, days are glorious but what will night bring?! Despite this and your honest account of night with two I think we still might be ready for another. They are just so incredible, even when they wake up in the night for an hour just to lay there and practice words and one of them happens to be mama:) keep it mama!

  85. Emily, I’m a new mom with a non-sleeper and your personal posts keep me going. Thanks for the consideration, honesty, humor and beauty you pour into your blog posts. Keep ’em real and keep ’em coming.

  86. Thanks for writing these personal posts. It helps. My little guy,Jonah, was born the same week as Elliott and got a cold too! We were going to try the no-cry method too, but the cold delayed some stuff and I’m right there with you, waking up at 2am and 5am. Zzzzzzz…hoping you get some sleep! Coffee has been my best friend.

  87. Hi Emily. Long time follower, first time commenting. I love reading your personal posts. I am not a commenter usually, but this post is so real and relatable, that I wanted to! I too am right there with you. Our babies are days apart. Or do they share the same birthday, I can’t remember? My little girl was born on October 19th. Following your instagram pictures, videos, and blog posts has been so fun since they are so close! I’m like yes, yes, yes! And my son is almost exactly 2 years older than she is. (And I have three older daughters, as well.) So I’ve got 5 kids ages 7 and under! Its the best and the hardest and the happiest and the most exhausting. But it’s worth it. It helps knowing that others are going through it, too. As for sleeping tips/what “works” for me, I follow baby wise. And I love referring to the baby wise mom blog. I refer to it often. I’m following her 4 month schedule and I do a dream feed at night. So I feed her around 8 and put her to bed after. Then I dream feed her at 10ish right before we go to bed. Then she makes it through the night. (Knock on wood) Hope you get some sleep soon!

  88. My babes are 18 months apart. We didn’t plan it that way, but I think they did. Now that the “little” on is almost 3 and I feel like I’m finally over the mountain of transition, I feel like I can look back and untangle the crazy. It took a long time to feel like I had my footing with sleep and schedules and diapers and potty training and play dates and activities. They have never known life without each other, though, and they think they are twins. They think they were in the belly together snuggling. They are so close and so sweet together, the love they have for each other leaves me awestruck. You will get over this obstacle (oh sleep) and before you know it they will be playing together and loving on each other. Having them so close makes it go so much faster, so take a thousand pictures a day so a year from now and two years from now and three and five you’ll have plenty to cry into your wine about! I totally agree about putting family first. But don’t let it come at the expense of taking care of you, mama! Love to your beautiful family!

  89. I went through this with 3 kids (2 years apart) and it was just as you describe! With the 4th, I had a sitter come 3 nights a week from 11pm-7am. Getting sleep about every other night until the baby was about 7 months old and sleeping through the night saved me and the rest of my family:)

  90. What a lovely, honest post. Thank you. I’m coming off of a week of 2 hour sleep stretches with my 19 month old. Thankfully, he’s actually a MUCH better sleeper than my first – up every two hours, every day until 18 months. If I can survive that I can survive anything! :). (for the record he now sleeps a full 10 hours at a stretch). The thing that tipped the balance for us was sleep training during naps first, and then working through each interval at night. So, first we sleep trained for naps, the naps and through the first wake-up, then our usual schedule. Regardless of what is and isn’t working know this: it will get better. And in the meantime I found it great solidarity to have a friend also awake at all hours of the night who I could text. Our text transcripts are pretty entertaining and will be included in the kids’ baby books someday.

  91. I love these posts– thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences!! In terms of sleep– HIRE A SLEEP CONSULTANT!! Best $$ we ever spent and worked so much better than anything I read in a book.

  92. I remember the first time I finally got both kids to nap at the same time, there had to be a picture because it was so rare. Your voice is so funny and brave to talk about parenting like this. Don’t ever feel like you need to apologize for how you feel and what you want to write about. It really resonated so much with me… and my sleep deprived brain. Hugs!

  93. Oh. I hope you save this post for your kids to read when they are pregnant with your grandchildren one day out before they go to college.

  94. Dear Emily,
    Greeting from a Danish fan. I just wanted to thank you for your amazing blog, and THIS post really made me smile. You are so right! I am a mother of three girls, big sister of 5,5 and twins of four. I remember the nights of horror, where me and my husband would laugh hysterically when we wandered around with our arms full of babys and love and our eyes all red from no sleep. We also still struggle to maintain balance, with my taking a PhD and my husbands being a doctor. I could not agree more with your view, work is important and family even more. It is like a mantra in our house, and it is actually possible to have both. Of course, there is not much binge drinking G’n’T’s or hanging in the sofa all day watching the new episodes of House of Cards. But everything is just as it is supposed to be. I wish you a lovely weekend, with lots of play and sleep. Thank you for being honest, and thank you for beeing a role model.

  95. When our baby was 5 months, we did cry-it-out sleep training and it was really hard but the best decision ever. (Our doctor said we could do it at 3 mo if we wanted but I couldn’t bear it). I was a total zombie up until that point and read sleep books like crazy and finally had to do something. Some people do the graduated 5, 10, 15 min approach but we went with the ‘extinction’ methodof saying good night at 7pm and not going back in the room until 7am. It was 3 hard nights but then it worked and now at 18 mo he can self soothe and still sleeps through the night. I highly recommend some form of sleep training if you can! Good luck!

  96. I can’t thank you enough for these posts. I run my own business and have a three year old boy, four month old baby girl and a supportive (but very busy) husband. We are deep in the throes of sleepless nights/heart-exploding happiness/threenager frustrations. Parenthood is somehow the most incredible thing in my life yet all together too much to handle some days. I can’t tell you how much about these posts I relate to and how nice it is to have someone put it in writing. Someone once told me that your 30s are for hustling. Hustling because you have small kids who need 200% of your energy, hustling because you’re starting a business/taking huge strides at work, trying to maintain friendships that we so central to you not long ago, doing it all on little sleep etc. etc. BUT, one day you look up to realize you’ve turned a corner and have more independent kids who sleep, a business that’s grown and great friendships and all of the hard work was worth it (and you get a bit of breathing room). So cheers to hustling a bit until things are a little less intense but enjoying the craziness because it’s short lived!

  97. So I’m reading this at 3:10am…as I feed my 4 month old. My 2 year old (25 months) learned to crawl out of her crib yesterday so we are 100% sure that she will end up in our bed asking to “watch shows” around 5am at the latest. Just wanted to know that you are not alone. We moved across the country when my youngest was 8 weeks (not recommended) and I haven’t started working yet, and I’m still exhausted. Could not even imagine if I were trying to work FT right now.

    Two quick tips…
    1. Moms on Call (read it and get the app).
    We follow the schedule to a T and it has improved her nights a ton.

    2. There’s a secret fb group called Crazy Close Kids. Must be added by someone and must have kids less then two years apart. That group has helped me a ton! I’ll try to add you,
    not sure if you have a personal fb page for that stuff, feel free to friend me and then I can add you in.

    We. Can. Do. This! We may end up aging ten years within a three month period, but we know it’s totes worth it!

  98. Check out the book Contended Little Baby. I swore by it for baby #1 when she was 3 months old and I was returning to work, and then for #’2 and 3. I have 3 fantastic sleepers because we didn’t set bad precedents (laying down with them for a while when they go down). We have hugs and kisses and lots of love but no bad habits around sleep. It has saved us. There are some newer editions but this is the one I give all my new parent friends. Happy sleeping!

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/p/the-contented-little-baby-gina-ford/1116929393/2672583312641?st=PLA&sid=BNB_DRS_Marketplace+Shopping+Books_00000000&2sid=Google_&sourceId=PLGoP1948&k_clickid=3×1948

  99. Great post, really brought back when my son was little. He is now 18 and back to lack of sleep. This time around due to waiting to make sure he gets home safe and sound! You will catch up on your lack of sleep when the children are between the ages of 4 and 15! Enjoy family weekend.

  100. Dear Emily

    I just want to say that I keep looking at those two little in these photos. They are two angels! God bless them and all your family. Keep it up! Many kisses!!!!

  101. Humidifier. It will help kids and babies (and adults!) sleep better with a cold – if you’re not using one try it! And you’re lovely and I value your authenticity so much. Thank you for sharing your world!

  102. Thank you for being real! I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old and I always say family first. But I do love being a graphic designer so I’m finding ways to be flexible with my schedule to have balance. Some days I feel like I can do it all and others I don’t. That’s ok! I always enjoy your blog and these wonderful, honest posts about your family. You are a great mama!

  103. Our son is 4 months and is sleeping through the night thanks to the magic merlins sleep suit (you can get it on Amazon). We put him down in that thing awake (which is hilarious in and of itself – think marshmallow man) and it muffles his baby startles and has enough stiffness/weight to really help him feel almost swaddled without having his arms & feet bound which caused him to lose his baby mind. That in combo with a sound machine is pure gold. I encourage you to look into it for Elliot (they make a 3-6 mo size that will fit her). May sleep find both of your kids simultaneously!

  104. We put our now 18month old boy into his own room when he turned one. He used to wake up every two hours before, that week he slept through the night twice. He has 5 pacifiers in his crib. And he is in a sleeping bag. I couldnt figure out why he would wake up after half an hour for his day nap, but then realized it was because I didnt put him in that bag during the day. He now always sleeps in his bag, sleeps through the night and up to 3 hours during the day. Good luck! And greetings from Slovenia, Europe!

  105. Oh, hang in there! My kids are now 3 and almost 6, and it gets SO much easier. I literally think I cried every night when they were both so little, it was so so hard. There is nothing harder on a marriage and a life than tiny kids – my husband and I would be running around in our underwear in the middle of the night, crazed and confused by which kid was crying, etc. People with little kids are exhausted on a primal level that is really intense to experience…but you do emerge on the other side, eventually. It will get better, you just need to get through this part while enjoying the good, which you obviously do!

  106. Oh lady I feel you. I was there in that dark nighttime hole last year. Oh it does get better, I waited until about 6 months with the baby to really work on her sleep but man 4-7months was a crappy place. I was hanging on by a thread things were good unless one thing when wrong then I was a mess. But now?! 7pm bedtimes for three and one year old and maybe one wake up and it is glorious! You will get there, until then keep taking all the help you can get. And maybe get a hotel room for a night or two ?

  107. Ok, to be honest, my knee jerk reaction to anyone who has a full time nanny having trouble managing their schedule is to laugh/cry and move on. But I know knee jerk reactions are usually the worst, and most selfish. I think it’s important that we acknowledge that young kids are HARD, no matter what kind of help you have. Mine are 2 and 4 now and they were also born less than two years apart. It’s lovely that your husband helps with night wakings though, mine had to leave every day at 4am for work and doesn’t get home until 7pm so it was all me, all night baby.

    And what I came to accept is that I was going to have to do some version of “the pause” and crying it out. Much like the methods described in “Bringing Up Bebe” I was beginning to feel unsafe driving my children places on 3 hrs of sleep a night. And the older child, to be honest they are just getting up for attention, we know that and we give in so they don’t disturb the child that is sleeping. What I found out was that it took one night of letting my oldest cry for 30 min, and the next night for 10 min, and he has slept 12 hrs straight through ever since. So, is two nights of an upset toddler worth two years of sleep? In my opinion it’s better for them, and better for me.

  108. Co sleep, just do it. I know people will tell you not to, but these people are not up all night with you. We co sleep with our toddler, and can’t remember the last time we didn’t sleep through the night.

    1. How I wished this would work with my second (now 2). She just wouldn’t do it. My son totally did and we all loved it. But her, that second one, she just wants to play when she’s in our bed. :-(

  109. We had terrible sleep issues and honestly, I wasn’t sure I’d survive. We tried every sleep method available and finally, mercifully, a pediatrician told us that some children simply couldn’t be trained and that it might be better to change our expectations. That may have been the advice that saved us, simply because we stopped thinking about what was “right” and settled in to what was our reality. Our son didn’t sleep completely through the night until he was 4 (I know!!), but the second he did, he became a champion sleeper. That same advice has come in handy over and over again, with every new thing that he accomplishes in his own timing.

    We survived, we’re thriving, and while we may have a few new gray hairs, I’m happy to report that our once sleepless child is smart, happy, and healthy. As if to make up for all those sleepless years, he even lets us sleep in on the weekends. Best of luck in finding what works for you and for your family. Congratulations!

  110. Emily, I love the post and I love you. Thank you for your honesty and humor. Please stay true and don’t go bland. I have come to believe that the “misery” part of parenting is the part that makes us bond with our children. Anyone can fall in love with a sparkling, chuckling, bald-headed baby. It’s the nights, the tantrums, the fear, the surviving together and ultimately thriving is what makes us so bonded as a family.

  111. I’m always so relieved and thrilled to hear women I admire admit that not everything is perfect, and that it’s okay to prioritize being a parent; it doesn’t take away from your talent of creativity as a working person. Thank you!

  112. hold tight, Emily. My kids are 18 months apart: July 2005, February 2007, August 2008. I am not sure how we 5 survived the first years but we did, and it is simply wonderful now. I joke that I spent 5 years awake either being pregnant or breastfeeding – and it is totally true LOL Now they are friends, they play together, they have the same activities / hobbies / lots of common friends. It is just so fun to have these 3 kids, just the way it is. I would do it again, the same way, 18 months apart and all.

  113. I had three daughters in four years, and it was hard. I can so relate to that mixture of joy and struggle that you talk about. Maybe the hardest thing was knowing that this had been one of my lifelong dreams, to have kids, and it all turned out to be so much more difficult than I ever expected. All three of my girls had sleep issues, culminating in my youngest who suffered terribly with acid reflux and slept so sporadically the first year that I got about 2-3 hours of sleep a night except on weekends. My husband and I read every book and article, tried every trick we could find, but nothing worked with our girls. I would listen to other moms who said, “Oh, my baby started sleeping through the night at 2, 3, 4 months. She’s just so easy!” and I would want to cry over what felt like my own failure as a mom.

    My girls are now 5, 6, and 9 years old, and I just started having almost completely uninterrupted sleep last year. It’s been one of the most difficult things in my life, but you know, I adore my daughters — who are absolute sweethearts, every one. My husband and I have come through this, seeing each other at our worst, and we know we can count on each other. More than anything, it’s reminded me to have grace for other women who struggle with issues in their children that they can’t control. How much we can do for each other as mothers when we come alongside each other with love and encouragement and say, “You’re going to make it through this. No one loves that child like you do.”

  114. What an incredible post! I absolutely love your honesty – being upfront about how exhausted/happy/stressed/blissedout/crazed you are right now only makes you sound stronger to all of us! I absolutely love that you will not apologize for working, but also make your children a priority – sounds like you are creating a wonderful, if chaotic, balance. An inspiration to all of us who hope to do the same one day!

    Best,
    http://www.femininefeminists.me

  115. Umm… When can you publish LEAN OUT??? Brilliant!!!
    I have an 8mo old son and was talking to another friend of mine recently who is also a new mom and she said “I feel like ultimately things really have to change for men before they can truly change for women. Because until men carry equal weight at home and are treated equally, women can’t do everything!” I think that is what you are saying too, in a way?

  116. I have been reading your blog for years, and have enjoyed it tremendously. But, regretfully, I am going to stop following you. I don’t know if it’s your tiredness or what, but you seem to be swearing and taking God’s name in vain a lot more than you used to. This language is very offensive to me. I know this is silly to a lot of people, but it goes against my personal beliefs. So, as I have commented before, if you don’t like the blog you don’t have to read it, and in the future I won’t.

  117. I’m 7 months pregnant after 2 years of trying for baby 2… And I find that after so much wanting and wanting I am not terrified of what’s to come with a toddler and a newborn. Thank you for reminding me of the beauty, but also helping me prepare for the challenges.

    1. My sons were 18 months apart, first a sleeper, second not.( wouldn’t ever take a breast milk bottle either, ) I became a single mom when they were 2 and 3. ( Dad leaned away, bigtime) One thing that was a necessity juggling 2, was making bed/crib a friendly place. I had to put them there sometimes for safety while I dealt with the other. We selected special toys for quiet time, available only then.( musical mobile., music. and bless them,audio story tapes!! I put them down awake after getting out the special things so it was fun. I also didn’t get out of bed until they called and they often played quietly when older.
      It was a hard 20 years, but what I learned( as I hear some of you saying wow) was that you find the strength you need for those you love.

  118. Hi Emily,
    Thank you for sharing your life so honestly with readers. As a young woman, I really struggle with showing vulnerability or sensitivity. It’s so important to me to be taken seriously that I think I overcompensate and end up appearing icy and detached. Your voice (especially in these personal posts) is so pure and sincere and, from your ability/commitment to that honesty, so brave. I’m not a designer, nor am I a mother, but your blog means so much to me. You continue to show me that a woman who isn’t afraid of her own voice and her own truth is the strongest kind of woman. A million thank yous, don’t ever change.
    XO

  119. You’re an inspiration, Emily! I’ve got an almost 2 year old, and my savior for sleep has been http://www.preciouslittlesleep.com. It’s written by a sleep expert who is a genius and realistic and very funny too. There is also a Facebook group by the same name that is incredibly supportive and helpful. It’s cry-it-out friendly but helpful with numerous techniques. (If you ever comment I’ll be like OMG IT’S EMILY.)

  120. Love the post! Honest and real and beautiful! Especially loving the “lean out” part :)

    Just wondering – where is your shirt from? I love it!

  121. Thank you for multiple things in this post! 1) Lean out! Yes! As a new mom who loves the job she was doing pre-baby but once she had baby realized she loved motherhood more, I so appreciate reading work-motherhood balance things that aren’t about figuring out how to do it all like you were before/leaning in. 2) For saying you got lucky with your good first sleeper. My son is not a good sleeper but I’ve worked so hard and tried so much to make it better, so when I hear moms who have naturally good sleepers attribute it to something other than luck, I want to cry of sleep deprivation and say “just admit you got lucky!!!” 3) For talking so candidly yet optimistically about your sleep deprivation. It’s refreshing.

    Here are my random sleep tips, though ultimately I think it slowly gets better with time (and my baby is still up twice a night but it’s a HUGE improvement over 4+ times a night): feed baby at beginning AND end of sleep routine. My son can’t eat a huge amount like some suggest at once before bed, but he can if it’s split into two. If you’re still swaddling, transition away from it. Swaddling worked so well in the beginning but I think as he got more mobile it started to prevent him from being able to reposition himself and get comfortable.

    Good luck!

  122. Sleep train – she’s old enough. My 2 kids were opposite — first was a terrible sleeper, second was pretty good. I sleep trained the first at 16 weeks and it was the best thing ever. He rarely every cried again after 2 nights of it, and over 2 years later he’s still a great sleeper. Because of watching friends/family with “good” early sleepers have struggles later on, I ended up doing sleep training with my youngest too. Our first few nights of sleep training had barely any tears, but what’s been important so far with her is to be super consistent. We have regressions every now and then after sickness/travel, but we try to be consistent as much as possible. The trade-off for me is, yes, it probably does put my kids through a little stress for a very short amount of time. But it’s worth it because they become such happier, well-rested people, and I become an amazingly better mom. Having my kids sleep well (12 hours each night and consistent naps) is one of the most important factors in me being able to be a working mom and pursue things on occasion that make me happy as well (7:30pm yoga, dates with my husband, girls nights), all while having the energy to be 100% present and happy during time with my kids. You can do it! Good luck to you!!!

  123. What a beautiful blog post Emily! My kids are two years, four months apart and they are now eight (boy) and six (girl) years old. It was so.dang.hard. in those first few years. The sleep deprivation thing was not pretty on me – at all. But I am here to tell you that it DOES get better. (Oh and my saving grace for understanding sleep development was Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth.) My baby girl just started kindergarten this year and I started my own (little tiny) interior design business and I look back on the past eight years of parenting and I’m shocked at how fast it has flown. It’s true whomever came up with: the days are long and years are short. Hang in there mama, you are doing an amazing job. (:

  124. My lifeline is taking turns with my husband on the weekend and sleeping in one day. I usually sleep in on Sat while he takes both kiddos, while I cover for him on Sundays. Having that extra 2 hours of sleep is the difference between waking up and feeling 80 vs feeling 20, ok maybe 35 :)

  125. I could’ve written this post myself – just having had my second babe (#1 is 20 mo. and #2 is 2 mo.) except that I’ve got my graphic design biz on hold right now because I can even imagine work right now. This week my hubs went on a business trip for a week and left me to the wolves, er, kids on my own. It’s even harder than I imagined it could be, but we’re all alive, fed, and bathed (well them, not me so much) and best of all I know now I can do it. I’m sorry people are offended by the “you don’t know until you have kids” comment, and I hated hearing that before kids too, but honestly it’s another world. Like the best world ever and I wouldn’t want to go back, but it’s really f$&@ing hard and there’s nothing else to compare it to. It just is. Thanks for keeping it realz.

  126. I LOVE your honesty–way to own exactly where you are at, with work and family, and all the good and HARD that entails! I have a 4 year old, 2 year old, and 7 month old. The past 7 months have been the MOST stressful 7 months of my life. Who knew, right? I think your philosophy is right on–your happiness is in direct correlation to how much sleep you get. Three kids has kicked my butt and taught me that I know nothing, but being so humbled has also taught me to just keep trying, darn it! One day, you should hear about the nitty-gritty of the time at trader joe’s where my potty-trained 4 year old peed all the way down and around an aisle while hanging off the front of the cart. (The 2 year old was in the cart and the newborn in the carrier.) As you can imagine, that did not illicit the best parenting response I’ve had. Anyway, Emily–can I call you by your first name?–the fact that you are even looking for the joy while still being SO REAL means you are killing it. Keep it up, momma!

  127. I vaguely recall a sleep deprived experience when my daughter was about two months old. It was 3 am, she was in a bouncy seat crying, and I was lying on the living room floor next to her. Sobbing. And wondering if it was possible to rig up rubber bands to hold her pacifier in her mouth, because every time my finger stopped holding it in place she dropped it, woke up, and then started crying. I remember deciding that was a terrible idea (very obvious to a well-rested person), but being that tired makes you think all kinds of crazy is possible! Parenting is exhausting. I finally discovered that naps for parents, whenever possible, are fantastic. I used to feel guilty about napping instead of making monogrammed diaper covers, but realized if it worked for me and I could actually parent, I didn’t really care if someone thought I was a slacker mom for taking a nap.

    Colds are a total pain that mess up every plan and schedule. There really isn’t much you can do for children but saline nasal spray and patience. Breathe Right nasal strips made a huge difference for her sleeping better and waking up less during a cold. You have to wait til age 5, so not much help to you now. They just never occurred to me at the time, so keep that in your back pocket for later. Falling asleep takes longer with a cold, so I used to bump up bedtime by a half hour during colds. Best to you all!

  128. Oh boy Emily, just wait until you’re doing those long hauls soon! You’ll kick yourself for not having the nanny with you. Seriously. ~ xo heather ;-)

  129. I loved reading this post and wanted to let you know what worked for me (or at least helped my sanity) because when my son was not sleeping, checking my traps (reading blogs, yours especially) in the middle of the night kept me company – so I owe you! My son is Charlie’s age and he did. not. sleep. (except ON me.) I read everything. I became a little cuckoo so this all may be more voodoo than advice but here is what I did and eventually it worked. Of course I had a noise machine, but I also left the bathroom fan on which drowned out other noises in the house. I had a night light but I built a perfect wall so none of the light was direct if he turned his head. I slept on the floor next to his crib so that I could stick my hand in it to calm him (very against co-sleeping). I used lavender in his bath, set up a routine that I didn’t deviate from before bed, found his specific bedtime (5:30pm!) said the same phrase before bed, “sleep tight, sweet dreams,” figured out the exact temperature reading on his monitor for his ideal comfort, and I think this was the kicker – I got an amber necklace and wrapped it around his ankle under his footie pj’s. The night I put that on he slept through the night for the first time in three months. On top of all this, I found all of the exhaustion was more tolerable for three things – having a network of people who would text me in the night, as being less alone somehow helped, having reading material on my phone, and most importantly, acceptance! When I accepted it was just going to be how it was for awhile, it seemed much less intolerable. This might be the worst advice ever. Anyways, I hope any of this helps. Good luck!

    1. Oh! And if you are having trouble putting her down while she is sleeping without waking her, I found that hugging him close to me while moving him/before putting him down worked the best. It took me far too long to come to this conclusion.

  130. Thank you for being so honest about how hard having 2 kids is. Of course it is amazing but it is HARD. My first, Diego (5) did not sleep well but at least by a year he was mostly all night. Sofia (2) I thought would send me over the edge! She JUST started sleeping through the night all night. I THOUGHT I WOULD DIE until like 2 weeks ago! Really. I cannot imagine, even with help, how you do all you do but thank you for keeping it real.

  131. Both of our girls (15mo apart) have sound machines in their room. It took the stress away of every tiny noise inside or outside–that I couldn’t control–possibly waking them. And I fell into the pattern of rushing to baby 2 for every need so my older wouldn’t wake up. It probably contributed to her poor sleep for way too long. It’s hard! Good luck!

    1. I third you and Kelly above on using a fan or some kind of white noise machine. Years later my now teen daughter still uses it occasionally if we are up late watching a movie,?or early doing dishes loudly – we have a ranch and sometimes it’s just noisy when one person is trying to sleep.

  132. You’re a lovely writer. Really really lovely.

    I’m a parent of a 3 yo girl and 1 yo girl. I totally get you with the sleeping and hanging on by a thread. Luckily I’m past a lot of the sleeplessness, but we’re dealing with cold and flu season right now and I could really use a week vacation to the bahamas by myself, if the mommy guilt wouldn’t paralyze me to Facetime for the entire trip.

    I’m not sure if shared misery is lessened misery, but I want you to know I’m right there with you!!! (Imagine Katniss with three fingers up right now)

    Johanna

  133. Going from one kid to two kids must be the only time in life math fails us: it’s not twice the work* with two kids, it’s TEN times the work.

    *”work: activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result”. HA! That word fits the bill, though let’s go for “mental AND physical” with this one.

  134. Thank you for being a proud mama and a successful business woman and not being afraid to show it! Also, Sound machines in each of their rooms, cranked up! That’s what has helped us. My two haven’t been great sleepers. My first born (5 y.o.) still wakes up once a night and makes his way to our room. My 13 m.o. is still up twice a night on a regular night. If he is sick, all bets are off. I was worried about him getting bad (worse) habits when he was really sick with ear infections recently, but as soon as it cleared up he went back to his old routine.

  135. Hi Emily, I just wanted to say I always love all your posts, but especially your personal ones! I’ve been following you for years but have never commented until now. I have a one year old and am currently exhausted but happy, and can really relate to much of what you describe in this post – Though two kids terrifies me at the moment ha! Anyway, thank you for being so honest and open with your readers. You are such a light and encouragement to so many! Much love.

  136. As a young feminist (and DINK), this blog post just filled me with hope and excitement for the future. Don’t get me wrong-I’m still gonna pop that birth control for a couple more years-but I am so excited there are couples like you and your husband that are paving the way for couples like us so that we can work and be true to ourselves and our passions, while juggling and prioritizing our family life. You guys rock.

  137. thank you so much for this! you’ve articulated it all so well – so much better than i could have and it all resonates! typing one handed while one child snoozes on me. brava!

  138. We are trying for another, but we do not have family nearby and my husband is at work daily from 7 am to 8 pm, so I am am currently suppressing some level of complete freak-out at the prospect of being the only one here taking care of two beings all. Day. Long. I admire your schedule and the help your husband provides during the afternoons and pray that we can strike some sort of similar balance in the years to come.

  139. What an wonderful post. I was so refreshing. This is the real love of a true mother. It makes me think about me, about my mom, about my children. Thank you!

  140. So there with you. I have a 3 year old and 10 month old. The sleep situation was good with our son, but our daughter …I find myself saying “I can’t live like this!” I am literally hunkered down in the bathroom now doing a sleep log for her first night of sleep training (tonight)! It sucks. I hope it works. I hope she’s not irreparably damaged. My son survived it and is doing great, sleep and otherwise ….

  141. So relateable! I have a 6 month old and a 19 month old, work full time and am working on my MBA. Keep moving is my mantra. The really hard patches are almost always followed by an easy stretch (and vice versa). I can’t wait for them to start playing together.

  142. If you decide to do sleep training, NO GUILT. I know there are many who swear by family beds etc, but that was never for us. My girls are 10, 6, and 4, very happy, secure, and thriving, and we did moderate sleep training with all of them. There is a ton of judgement out there on the Internets for a whole host of different parenting issues, and you have to do whatever works best for the entire family.

  143. Emily, thank you for such a personal and real post. You’re obviously working so extremely hard in all areas of your life, and I admire you so much. I have 7 week old twins and a 2 year old, and I while they’re all pretty good sleepers (as far as those things go), and I have help, I still don’t manage to be even close to as productive as you are. Oh, and can I join you and those other new moms for that drink? ;)

  144. Holy crap, loved this post so much!!! I have three kids (6 1/2, 5 and 2 1/2) and I was nodding my head this entire post!!! So honest and beautifully written! It’s hard to write about the rough sides of motherhood without sounding ungrateful but you put it perfectly. I just love you and had to comment! I saw you on the women tell all (ha ha!) and thought “Oh I loved her on design star! I wonder what she’s up to!” And found this awesome blog! Can’t wait to read back and catch up! God bless!

  145. Love this post. Having children is exhausting. My kids are 2 years apart and now they are 36 and 38. We survived! Back then the advice was to clean the house while they were napping. Right! Bad advice. When they were napping, so was I!

    Love your blog! Thank you for faithfully posting!

  146. good luck mama! my second was the SHITTIEST sleeper, until she was 3. just to set your expectations low:) xxoo

  147. Great post! I had my twin girls in the same time when my other two or three friends were having their babies. I have always very depressed that they seem to have most of it under control while I kinda wanted to shoot myself (especially during the first three months when they ABSOLUTELY didn’t sleep through the night!). I always feel sort of annoyed when mothers talk about their difficulties and then it would seemed that they are ungrateful or whiny. Thank you for your honesty and keeping it real.

  148. As always, your honesty is a breath of fresh air. I am ten years ahead of you in the parenting game but I remember that first year with 2. Yowza. And I was not juggling all the career balls you are. Really it is just strap in for the ride and keep the caffeine nearby. The lack of sleep is a killer. It WILL get better – promise. We got some mileage out of a Lullaby CD and during extra fussy times would hold the baby while bouncing on the yoga ball. It’s just whatever it takes to get sleep somewhere other than in the car when the light is red. Hang in there and enjoy the ride….it is over too quickly. I would trade a week of sleep to spend a day with my toddler boys again. If only it worked that way!

  149. Love you. Love this. Love your book. Love your adorable babies. I had four babies in 3.5 years and sleep was all I craved. Read Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child by Dr. Weisbluth. It changed our lives. All four of my kids went to bed at 7 and slept until 7 every single night starting around 5 months old because of that book. They are now 12, 11, 9 and 9 and they are all still going to bed at 7:30 and sleeping until 7 am. Motherhood is the greatest job on Earth but it is so so so much better when you are rested.

  150. We just had our second child 2 1/2 months ago & all of this is so true! Our son has colic so that’s been a fun struggle.

    I’m so glad I’m not alone though is this balancing a two year old & a newborn! Sometimes I feel like it’s all falling apart!

  151. Hi, Em-

    I don’t get a chance to stop by as often as I wish, but today was one of those “catch-up” days for me. Love the nursery, it’s exquisite, but my goodness did the commentary on this post get interesting! I validate all your points about the challenges of publicly having to share personal posts. Women who 1) can’t have kids or 2) don’t want to have kids are plain sour people because regardless of what they say they have a LARGE void in their life. They don’t like to see others happy, Em so don’t apologize or even respond to their negativity because they are more than welcome to read other people’s blogs that AREN’T as fabulous as yours. Those that can’t have children should reflect on why that’s their path and opt to transform all that pain into something meaningful for them instead of spitting out their venom.

    Kudos to you mama for balancing so many things and being genuine and authentic about the struggles. You’re admirable and your children have a WARRIOR mother that I’m sure they will deeply look up to their entire life. Kiddos are so cute and happy; congrats! xo

  152. This post made me so happy! We’re about to add our second child to the family and all I can stress about is all the extra work we have coming our way and I forget to think about all of the happiness that is about to be added to our lives. I love that you put family first and you proudly state it.
    Thanks for being you.

  153. Super great post.
    I love your work and REALLY love what you said at the end about men and women “leaning,” and work is important, etc. All of it :)
    My husband also easily does 50% or more of our shared life’s work. I still feel more exhausted, but I think mothers naturally carry more in our hearts and I’m trying to harness the power in that.
    I haven’t slept more than 2-3 hours for 8 months. I will not let my baby cry alone. I’m tired but I do whatever it takes to get us all sleep. She will be 15 someday, God willing, storming out of the house, and I will miss her. I’m snuggling her today for that day down the road. Remembering that these are all choices I am actively making makes me feel less like a victim. (Just don’t remind me of that when I’m punching the mattress and shouting to the ceiling at 3 am.)
    Elliott looks like you! <3

  154. Emily,
    This is a lovely post. It’s taken me no less than 10 days to actually finish reading it and I only have 1 child (my son is 16 months old). This is very timely as we are thinking of trying for a second child. Our only reason not to would be fear and fear is not a reason not to do anything.
    We actually worked with a sleep coach (they exist and they are amazing!) since our son was 4 months old and was not napping…AT ALL. Perhaps if you are still dealing with sleep issues you might reach out to a sleep coach in your area (and if you don’t have any I would happily send you the contact info for ours).
    Thank you again for sharing your experience because it is so helpful as a mother and small business owner and human to know that we are all figuring out this thing called life together and nobody is perfect and we are all doing our best.

  155. Your children are beautiful and your home is great.
    BUT…
    you say ” It’s a total juggle, everyday, but it’s manageable. And by manageable I mean every night we realize that we have survived.”
    You have a nanny, you work from home and obviously have enough economic resources to feel secure… I don’t see any “survival” in that. This is similar to the press congratulating and adulating Marissa Mayer (the Yahoo CEO) for working so hard and having 3 children. Like she’s a hero or something. She is lucky. As are you.
    All the best.

  156. Hi Emily, I’m new to your blog but I’ve been hearing your name all over the blogging world. I’ll admit I was hesitant to check you out like “great. let me look at this woman’s blog that’s full of things I can’t afford.” Um I couldn’t have been more wrong and I’m happy to have been proven wrong! I love what little I’ve seen and how accessible the items are.

    I have a two year old son and we’re going to start trying for #2 this summer. This post was awesome to read. Like Charlie, our son was soooo easy as a baby and pretty much now as a toddler. There’s no way we’re going to get that lucky again right? I sooo worry about a newborn waking him up then having to get them both back to bed. My only recommendation for sleep is the don’t rush in if you hear them stirring, just wait 5 minutes rule. It worked with our son but I can understand your concern on letting either of them go for 5 minutes and then waking up the other one. I’ll be reading the comments for some suggestions as well.

    And thank you so much for your comments about family first and work second. We’ve got our priorities mixed up in the country and I’m glad to see those that have a platform using it for something good.