Women, you can have it all, they say. And you can. Well, everything you can carry in two arms, a piggyback ride, a Mary Poppins bag, and a frazzled mom-brain, sandwiched between the sun’s coming and going, between breakfast and dinner time, between deadlines and surprise sick days. Motherhood and working through it (having it all) is a complicated order.
This post is sponsored by American Express. Thank you for supporting the companies that support me.
You can work from home with a four-year-old on your back (me). You’ll save on childcare, but it’ll take 6 times as long to get your work done. Though, can you call anything done anymore? And since you work from home, you can work, play with your tiny human, and cook dinner all at the same time. You can have it all, all at once. Heh.
You can work outside the home. You’ll spend a little (a lot) more on childcare, but you’ll get your work done in a reasonable amount of time. But because you work outside the home, you miss play time, breakfast time, and dinner barely makes it on the table. You spend your life torn between wanting to be home with your tiny humans and getting lost in that project at work that makes you come alive.
You can quit work to stay home with your tiny humans. It’ll be easier, less stressful. But because you’re home all day, the messes are bigger, the showers are longer apart, and dinnertime is still dinnertime. You’re the mother, the maid, the referee, and the cook, spending your days making sure everyone knows you’re something more too. They’re 3 and 6, so of course they don’t get it and probably won’t until they’re 36.
Motherhood is both/and. It’s both impossible and beautiful. It’s the most complicated order that you just keep on ordering. This is why I love simplicity. Because some things will always be complex, like motherhood. It’s in the DNA. So, simplify the things you can control—like your pantry and credit card.
Oh, and of course you’re more than a mother, maid, referee, and cook. But those are pretty worthwhile things.
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Hi Melissa- I’m a new(ish) stay at home mum. You’re words and blog have helped me through this transition and the ever-pending what to make for dinner dilemma. Thanks for the work you do! It’s important and appreciated.
Motherhood is *so* complicated. So is trying to work from home and balance the perceptions of people outside your orbit.
I continue to admire your grace. Stay true to you and keep doing your best. Your best is pretty dang wonderful. ❤️
Just wanted to mention that the statement about “quit your job and be a stay at home mom- it will be easier and less stressful” really rubs me the wrong way. Watching more than one child at home is definitely NOT easier than going to work. I work part time, and have also been home full time with both kids during maternity leave and during the summer, and I can tell you the days I go to work are by far less stressful and easier than when I am home. Not that it isn’t wonderful to be home with my kids, but it’s much more difficult and emotionally stressful than working. Mom’s who stay home full time (especially to more than one kid) have a really hard job. Let’s not minimize it.
Hi Kristin. It sounds like you didn’t finish reading that paragraph, which is a bummer. I started with the common assumption many people have of stay-at-home mom’s and continued debunking the myth that everything is easier. I’m the strange breed of a stay-at-home, work-from-home mom with only part-time preschool/childcare. It’s so very hard. Every flavor of motherhood is so hard. I’m going to copy and paste the rest of that paragraph. I hope you’ll give it a read.
“You can quit work to stay home with your tiny humans. It’ll be easier, less stressful. But because you’re home all day, the messes are bigger, the showers are longer apart, and dinnertime is still dinnertime. You’re the mother, the maid, the referee, and the cook, spending your days making sure everyone knows you’re something more too. They’re 3 and 6, so of course they don’t get it and probably won’t until they’re 36.”
Thank you for your reply. I actually did read the rest of the paragraph. I read the whole article. I just didn’t feel that the rest of the paragraph changed how I felt about saying it’s less stressful and easier. I’m really not trying to give a hard time, I just think society has a really warped perception of how hard it is to be a stay at home mom and so I get a little triggered when I see things like “it’s easier and less stressful”. I have people say to me after my work days “oh you’re off for the rest of the week?” And I feel like saying “um no. This was my day off (at work). I got to have lunch for 30 minutes without having to focus on anything else, I got to use the restroom in peace, and once I caught up on my work I was able to run get a cup of coffee”. Yes work is stressful too in its own way, but it’s so much easier In other ways.
Sounds like you have it even harder with working at home without childcare. Again, not trying to be challenging here, as I said it just rubbed me the wrong way.
I hope you can hear this without feeling offended, as that was not my intention. I love your posts and appreciate you sharing your life with us. You’re doing a great job.
Now that I read it a third time, and after your comment, I see that maybe you were saying the first part almost as a quote from the “others”.
I’m sorry that wasn’t clear to me the first few times I read it, it may have changed my perception.
Thanks again, and wishing you the best.
So blogging is a complicated matter too. It is a job and the FauxMartha’s work is something I enjoy 100 % free off my laptop. The blog requires creativity, a personal mission, time, and a diverse set of skills to bring all the content to the readers. Sounds like a job. I come to this blog likely as many a reader to enjoy the domestic aesthetic, graphic art/layout, the home design and food knowledge all with a touch of I am real person figuring the world out, finding my way. The Faux Martha allows us to see a glimpse of her personal quandaries which is endearing. And as any job there is a curve to know how to manage certain aspects of a job, and interact with co-workers or in this case the blog’s readers. I like her response, graciously take the content that you appreciate and equally graciously let the rest go. All blogs are supported in this way but not all bloggers are able to be transparent concerning the challenges of interacting with sponsors and earning a living. I applaud her integrity collaborating with brands she uses and values. So as with everything there are many lens and ways to think about any post. I love the photo – did lots of graduate school work with a wee one providing a back hug. Maybe we do have it all !!!
This was a really great post until it jumped the ship and started talking about getting a credit card. I’m super bummed to see that brand collab on here. I understand the need to make an income to run the site through diversified means but I’m still sad this post went the direction it did.
just curious, but are people upset because this was a sponsored post from a credit card company or are they upset because of sponsored posts in general?
i don’t love sponsored posts myself, but i feel like this one was done tastefully and i feel like i’m willing to read a sponsored post once in a while if it means that the rest of the content is posted often and is free.
anyway, that’s just my two cents. =)
I’m not bothered by sponsored posts at all. But I do find it interesting that a blog (which I love btw) who promotes minimalist living is promoting a credit card, even if it does give cash back and an easy app to use. A lot of people struggle with improper use of their credit cards and credit card debt, which definitely wouldn’t be considered minimalist living. It just feels like she was approached by this company 2 months ago to try their card and then got offered a great deal to do a sponsored post on it, which is great if you’re strictly looking at getting an income versus can I get a great income from a sponsored post and be true to the blogs brand at the same time. The Faux Martha is AWESOME and I’m just saying that I wish this post had been sponsored by a brand that supports minimalist living. That’s all.
Hi Sue, and many others. I want to begin by thanking you for feeling comfortable enough to share your opinions here—the good and the bad. It’s hard to hear the negative comments, of course, but I’m glad you felt safe enough to share them here. I never expected this post to have so many reactions attached to it. Since it has (and for the sake of transparency), I’d love to talk through my decision here, though I’m a believer that I don’t have to always explain myself. Nor should you. As mentioned in a previous comment, I work with brands that I use. It’s a costly decision. I have to say “no” to a lot of projects, and therefore, I don’t make as much money. All of our decisions have a cost. This is one I’m willing to incur for the sake of my integrity and hopefully your trust. Here’s more to my AMEX story. I started using an Amex card 10 years ago, and wasn’t happy with the online interface. It was confusing. I was always in a panic that I hadn’t paid my bill in time. I can recount at least 3 times I called them in a panic thinking I had months of unpaid bills because the interface was so confusing. I use another card (at a different bank) for my business expenses to keep them separate. I have the same troubles there. Nothing is clear. I wonder if this is intentional for credit cards to make more money off of late fees, etc.? Feels deceitful to me. When I got this project, I was really excited about the potential. It was presented as a simple to use card. And it was/is. It works like a card should. Here’s a couple examples: I got a reminder on my phone a week before my statement was due the other month. I logged into the app and paid the bill, without confusion, in less than 20 seconds. We traveled to see family this summer, and I used this card to pay for the flights and got cash back ($300). They also have discounts for certain stores. They happened to have a discount at the place we park our car near the airport, so I scored a nice discount there. I like to keep my life as simple as possible because there are plenty of things that are not simple (in the case of this post, and my life, motherhood). In my opinion, this credit card is truly as simple as they say. I would not be telling you this otherwise. (I have backed out of projects that I didn’t believe in.) About improper use. I can’t take responsibility for how other people use credit cards. (PS—I always pay mine off in full. I also know that sometimes life comes crashing down on someone, and they have to carry debt for a second. That has the potential to easily ballon into something bigger, but hopefully it does not.) I promote simplistic living for many reasons, one of not overspending. That’s a choice I’ve made for myself, but one that I can’t make for everyone else. The same is true when I post an alcoholic drink or a decadent cake or an expensive backyard remodel. I know that some people might over consume. And some might not. But that’s out of my control. This is my ego talking now, but I hope we all remember there’s a human on the other side of this screen, with a story longer and more complicated than the post might share. To be honest, it’s really difficult to share my personal life and know that people have opinions about it, as seen in this post. I don’t fault you, or anyone that has written, for having opinions about me. I have overshared my life on the internet for the sake of hopefully making someone else’s life a little easier. That, too, comes at a cost. I’ll continue to share the things that work for me and the things that don’t. Sometimes I might get paid to share my honest opinion, which I will disclose. I will be posting more about this greater conversation soon, and why I pulled back from blogging and social media this summer for this very reason. I hope you’ll stay tuned, but understand if your time is better spent elsewhere! Time is so precious. If this space isn’t bringing you joy, as Marie Kondo says, remove it.
You’re trying to (help Amex) sell me a credit card? For me, that’s taking advertising a lot too far. 🙁
Hi MJ! Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I’ll be creating a page on my site to talk more specifically about this soon. In the meantime, here’s a little background. A combination of sponsored posts, ads, and affiliate links help to make this site free for all readers, while also paying the bills that keep this site up and running. Without those three, I would be working another job, leaving very little time for this space. For sponsored posts in particular, I made the choice years ago to only work with brands that I actually use/buy. Of course, it’s hard to know that for sure when you can’t open our pantry doors, or, in this case, my wallet. With that said, I actually use this card for the simplicity of the interface. As always, whenever you read a post on my site, sponsored or not, I hope that you keep the things you like and discard the things you don’t like. I wont always be able to hit the mark for everyone, but, with this model, I will always be able to keep the content free.
Late to the game, but I love this response! I’ve been reading this blog for years and I’m always happy to see Melissa leaning in and finding good sponsors for her material. Keep it up, lady
Thank you, Katie!