"Mommy" Decorators

This morning we planned to have our kids start back up at daycare & a new school.  As you might remember from last year, it's kind of a tough time.  Our boys are 4 years old and 20 months old and finding the right kind of care that's best for us all has been tough, both emotionally and on the wallet.  This morning I went to drop Justin off (our 20 month old) at his old daycare and after I left the room I watched as he stood there and wailed for 5-10 minutes.  The caregiver had set him down the second I left the room and as I waited to fill out forms in the main office I could hear my baby crying his lungs out.  I peeked in and still no one was holding him...  I watched as a woman picked him up for a minute or so and then I came back again and he was standing there, balling alone.  They were crazy busy and I could see that there was so much going on, but still, it just felt wrong in my gut.  I told the director as much and left.  They tried to be nice but it just didn't feel right. 

...SO now I'm at home with Justin and no childcare, the day off, and a search for Mary Poppins. 


{Oh Mary...  we need you!!}

Being a working parent & having your own business has its own set of challenges.  I've actually heard people (without kids) talk down about working-designing-moms as if their businesses are somewhat of a joke.  I'm sure you're familiar with the terms "mommy decorators" or "mommy bloggers."  Does being a parent truly take away some sort of credibility in the design world?  Or does also being a blogger in addition to being a decorator mean that you don't deserve to be where you are?  (Clearly I don't think so, but sadly I've heard about people making this implication in general...  )

It's at times like this though- when I'm dealing with childcare issues and sit typing with a toddler on my lap- that I honestly start to wonder if these people are right???  I feel lucky to have gotten a shower in & to be dressed in normal clothes.  It's sometimes hard not to lose all confidence and wonder what in the world I'm doing or trying to do.  Am I just a "mommy" decorator faking it in the real world of suited interior designers? 

I'm clearly in a low spot right now to be even going on this rant, but I wish anyone thinking this way knew & understood all of the effort it takes to be where they are at 9 AM.  They might show up fresh & ready to rock, whereas the parent has been up for hours, having fed, bathed & dressed her kids for school and dropped them off and that's if everything went smoothly.  What exactly am I asking for? No it's not sympathy, but maybe a little understanding.  Because anyone who has to have someone else look after his or her children so he or she can go to work, is very serious about his or her career.  I think it's easy to quick-judge people and put them in a box.    (it's CLEAR that  I am ranting.. running from one working parent issue to the next.  please forgive me...  But I have to say, it is making me feel better ;)

Anyway, I'm off to go pick up Christian from his new school.  Fingers crossed all went well.   Sorry about the sort of down & out post. 
I'd love to hear your thoughts though as bloggers & readers on the "mommy blogger" / "mommy decorator issue."  Has anyone experienced what I'm talking about?

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

98 comments:

Birdie Pearl said...

Stay the course! I think that you deserve the double the credit. That as a mom of two young ones, you still have the energy to be as wonderfully creative and talented as you are! I applaud you for following your gut and not leaving your little one where it clearly wasn't a good situation. As for anyone who looks down on you, shame on them. You are awesome! We "mommy decorators" must stick together.

Sallyford said...

My heart goes out to you! You did exactly the right thing by taking your baby out of that daycare. When we moved to the US from the UK we had left an amazing group of people at my son's previous daycare & we worried that we would never find as good here. We trailed around everyone in the vicinity and most were more concerned about 'hothousing' our babies to learn rather than providing love and attention. We picked the centre where the children were being hugged by the staff, and the children were hanging onto them and giggling. Our three little boys are so happy there, and they are learning too.It seems true that women are not taken too seriously in self-employed positions. I work as a Photographer and I find that even my friends treat it a a little hobby rather than a full time job. It can be frustrating so you have my sympathy.On a brighter note- someone once said that you can spot the mother's of older children easily as they're the ones who still have lipstick on! =)I hope your week gets much better, take care, Sally xxx

Jo Farmer said...

I am not a mummy but I used to work full time and look after a friends children (2 & 6) whilst she was recuperating from major surgery. I worked in Spain for a 6 month period so took them with me. Happily, my office had a creche for the little one and the older child went to the local international school. We just sort of worked it out as we went along. People thought I was crazy but I had to work and the children needed someone to care for them. We do what we have to do in the only way we know how. The kids were happy and comfortable so I didn't care what anyone else thought...

Good luck and bestest

Jo x
Eliza Interiors & Design

pve design said...

Lauren,
As a blogger, designer, artist, mother of 3, chef, chauffer, etc - I think it is very challenging to find the right fit and balance of working and also raising children. Trust your gut, spend time doing what you love, instill happiness in your work, your family and it will all work out. I often think of taking care of children for other Mom's who work. As my twins are now starting college, I feel that those formative years all are truly important to make them who they are.
Understanding is key to making it all work. If I were nearby, I would watch your kids and teach them to draw, make mud pies and do fun things.
Let's hear it for all the Mommies who wear many hats and those that are devoted to raising happy well adjusted kids.
pve

Debra said...

Even though I'm not a mom, I think you should be so proud of yourself for all you do and that your instincts told you to take the little guy out of that daycare. Your children are very lucky to have such a caring Mom.

despar2 said...

Hi, Lauren. I understand. I am a mom of 3 who homeschools my kids because the school system where I live is in such horrible shape. I know that even though I love being a mom and a wife I have more to offer. I started blogging about a year ago. People will always have their opinion but it's up to us to allow that negativity in. You are doing a tremendous job. You love your kids and you love your work and it shows. You are an inspiration to someone like me and I thank you for pushing forward.

Leah Moss said...

Lauren, mommy or not, you are a rockstar. Not too many people are able to pull off what what you do, esp if they have other little souls to look after.

Personally every year has brought something different for our family b/c childcare situations have changed and we've had to adjust. It mostly comes down to experimenting until it "feels right" and every year is different.

Lately Ive put a lot of projects on hold and in the past Ive had to turn down some really awesome ones b/c it would have made my family miserable. And other times Ive taken them and spent less than ideal time with my kids b/c I've felt that I would be miserable
(and them by extension) if I didn't. A really successful mommy designer/shopowner once reassured me that design can usually wait but kids often cant. I try to keep that I mind as I go about my projects. I definitely find that I need some projects, but Ive realized that I have my limit.

Go with your gut! You have a good one :)

Teresa said...

I too am a mother of a two and three year old and understand the balancing act. It is really just a shame that being a mother, especially a hands-on mother, is looked down upon in this day and age. Let people judge; it won't ever stop. Fortunately for you, you are talented and don't need anyone's validation. Raise your children the way you see fit and continue being an inspiration to the world. I know it can bring down, but don't stay down!

paperjunk-lc said...

I'm not a blogger but have 2 daughters and have worked full time with both in daycare. I've suffered with many guilt ridden days, esp with my first but with my second I had a lot more confidence that everything would be fine and it has been. It is key to network in your neighborhood to find a daycare to fit your needs.
Know that there will be hard days but it gets easier.

Gaidig said...

From your posts, it is clear that you are an experienced professional designer. I think it's hard to motivate oneself to to really be professional in a home-based business, but I think you're doing an inspirational job of it. No reason to feel bad!

Vicki said...

Lauren,
Mine are long out of the nest but I had the same experience with my first almost 29 years ago. Cried when I left, I hung around and they left her holding her coat and crying. It took me longer than you I had to be at the Emergency Dept. at 6;45 and could not take her. Got to work and found someone to go pick her up which happened to be her Godmother. She got and they did not even ask who she was just gave her to my rescuing friend. Trust your instincts. Not leaving hime was good. You are intuitive. Stay the course it will work out. Took me a long time to learn that blessings are not always easy. Hang in there. Thanks for being real. With daughters who are starting families and reading blogs it is good for them to see your life is not perfect but a work in progress.
~Vicki

autumn said...

i know it's so hard to balance being a mom and a designer. i have a bachelors degree in interior design, but waited until my youngest was in kindergarten to pursue my career more seriously. i have found that the flip side to "waiting" is that i feel that so many young designers are SO far ahead of me career-wise. there are times when i daydream about what my life might be like if i had just jumped into the design world with both feet 10 years ago. but, i do not regret my decision to be just a "mommy" for those 10 years, and i don't care if people view me as a "mommy designer". at least i am a happy one.
and you are not a "mommy decorator". you are a "GODDESS-mommy decorator"!! best of luck.

Single Stone Studios said...

I am a work from home mom as well. It's a touch balance to pull off. You are not alone. The right answers are worth looking for. Don't let the judgments of the judgy get you down.

Kath said...

It sounds as if you are unsure about the choices you have been having to make. Are you judging the people you "imagine" are judging you? What standard are you holding yourself and other "mommies" and "decorator's" to. Are you unsatisfied with your performance? With the roles you have put upon yourself or what you think your "title" is? You appear to be wanting. Yes having it all takes many sacrifices for "everyone" in a family. It is suppose to be difficult. You are suppose to be concerned about your choices and wonder what the outcome will be. No one and nothing is perfect and, by the way, your blog is fabulous and I love your design style.

Renee said...

Could you tell me where that fabric is from, the paisley?

Renee

Language of Color and Texture said...

Never doubt your gut instincts! You did the right thing. This idea that you are not serious about your work is the age old plight of many, many working women. When my 3 were young and in daycare I was in banking and it was the same as you describe, feeling like I was not for real, just dabbling, not good enough.This is a gender thing that is age old(men & women are guilty of judging working women). Just continue on and do your fabulous designing and blogging and know that for every doubter there is a supporter, people who think & see you are achieving great success, balance and are envious of how you do do it all. Never allow others to tear you down. You ARE doing a great job and this shines through in your posts here. Once you find the correct child care you will be up and running again, I know you will.

JNoPie said...

You're doing a great job! Have you thought about getting an in-home nanny? Good luck to you!

debi@personalityispreferred said...

I only give one piece of advice to moms ever. It is use your gut. You know, you will always know.

As I was writing this I saw an ad for the new movie, (based on the book) "I don't know how she does it?"

Truthfully, I don't know how you moms do it all. It is much harder than when I had my daughter, a few years ago. But keep doing it.

Love your blog.
debi@personalityispreferred

Pine Tree Home said...

I have the utmost respect for all the bloggers out there, moms especially. I personally don't have children, but I work full time and can barely keep my own life on track much less blog about. I enjoy it so that is why I do it.

Keep on going and don't let those silly comments deter you. You can only do what you can do in one given day and be happy about it. Best wishes!

EDYTA and CO. INTERIOR DESIGN said...

You are a rock star Lauren, honestly I don't know how you do it. Being a mom of two beautiful boys is is a HUGE job and in addition you run your own business. Don't let anyone or anything ever make you feel less then you are. You are amazing!
Have a beautiful week! xo

Jaclyn said...

I suppose professional decorators have a full 8 hour day requirement to meet with clients, go to design centers, prepare design schemes and make presentations. That's a lot of work in and of itself and then to add the care of a family is all the more difficult. Perhaps the angst you are feeling is that you don't feel like you are doing justice to either job. Raising children and caring for a family is hard work, particularly when children are in different school environments with different time schedules. It will get better as they age and become capable of taking care of themselves at home with lunch preparation, bathing, study, etc.

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cathy said...

The most challenging, yet rewarding "job" I have ever had is being a parent to my children. Doing what is best for your children and family has us often making choices that are not easy. My kids are now teenagers, but there were many times when we had childcare issues that forced difficult decisions which in the end were the right ones and have led me to where I am today. Unfortunately there seems to still be prejudice against working Moms which is so unfair. Do not let yourself go there and be affected by these naysayers.....you are a woman with amazing talent and in the end you will have the best of it all, wonderful, well raised children and a career that is rewarding yet has allowed you to be a good Mom. Stay strong!
Cathy @ Room Rx

Jen said...

I'm a virtual assistant working from home. Believe me, I know the stigma being a parent - worse, a parent working from home - entails. It's as though, because you are serious about being there for your kids, you can't be serious about your work.

As for a "mommy designer"... is there a better kind? If I'm going to LIVE in a house with my FAMILY, I'd prefer to hire someone who GETS what a family home needs to be. Someone who understands the balance b/w looks and function, durability and flexibility, and small budgets. NO ONE will get that better than someone who is both a mommy and a designer, like you. Embrace your role as a mommy in the design world as an asset, because it should be.

JamieEvelyn said...

Lauren, You are an amazing decorator... that is a gift from God to be able to make people lives beautiful. I love seeing your pictures and reading your blog and I know that children are gifts from God as well. I don't think having kids takes away from being professional maybe it makes it a little tricky at times (I don't have kids yet!) but don't let some snooty decorators that call mothers who are talented decorators "mommy decorators" bug you!

crisangsteninteriors.com said...

Quote: "Am I just a "mommy" decorator faking it in the real world of suited interior designers?"

Lauren, how could you think such a thing! Of course not!

Isn't it amazing how we each cut ourselves down - we are our own worst enemies, our own harshest critics. I think, on some level, most people feel like they are "faking it" and afraid that someday, somebody is going to expose them for a hack. You are far from a hack, and very, very far from faking anything!

You have an incredible talent, you've been published several times, have a definite, incredible style that people just adore, and this wonderful blog that gobs of people visit every few days to see if there's something new from you. All these people see something they like, adore, and appreciate.

I can't comment on the "mommy decorator" end of things. I'm in awe of all parents who manage to straddle parenthood and have a career. So no, I never felt that way, even when I was in the corporate world where parents are not considered serious about their jobs, because family comes first. Family should come first, always - that doesn't mean these people are less talented, less creative, less dedicated. In my experience parents are more organized than their peers, because they don't have a choice - to not be organized would turn their lives to absolute chaos.

Pour yourself some tea, remember that lots of people adore you and think you are amazing, take a deep breath - then find Mary Poppins!

Kell and Chen said...

I hear you! Hang in there. I'm in the throes of it all too and I feel your stress. I hadn't heard of "Mommy decorators" before, but that would piss me off too. Working with kids is SO hard -- you constantly feel like you wish there was more of you to give and more hours in the day. I couldn't imagine working with one of my daughters around, so kudos to you for keeping it up!

Sarah vL said...

I didn't read through the rest of the comments (these are precious moments during naptime!) but I wanted to send along some (hopefully helpful) childcare suggestions...
-Have you looked into a nannyshare? (I'm a nanny currently in a share with 2 families and it works great for me because I'm making great money, and it's great for the families because they don't have to pay for the full cost of a nanny)
-What about a SAHM looking for some extra cash? My mother did that for years and loved it!
-Are you part of a NPN (Neighborhood Parents Network)? Their forums are often filled with great ideas and resources, especially for childcare.
-What about an at-home daycare?

I hope these help! Wishing you the best with your childcare search! Don't give up hope - there is a loving, kind, talented person out there ready and willing to watch your lovely son!

Miss B.e.e. said...

Lauren, don't let those opinionated people bother you. Let them think what they want. Who cares? You are incredibly talented. Being a mom is the most important, hardest job you'll ever do. The rest is just icing on the cake..so tune them out. Do your best and let the rest go. I used to work alongside interior designers who I overheard talking about this same thing. At the time it really bothered me...now I couldn't care less. I am a mom of three boys who quit my career 8 years ago to be at home with my little ones, so I completely understand. I've never regreted it once, but don't think for a minute you can't do both. Just be honest with yourself if you're struggling and do what you need to. This is such a short period of time and you're still young. If you have to cut back for a while, quit, whatever...it's only temporary. You have oodles of time to work...limited time with your kids. Hang in there. Whatever you do, don't listen to those people!

Debby said...

I wish I lived close to you. I am looking for a
Nanny job. I quit my job as a before and after school administrator because I missed being with pre-schoolers. I took another job and after two days the working from home mom couldnt take not being with her daughter. Oops....now for about the first time ever, I am searching for a replacement. I am so sorry that the day care made you feel so uncomfortable. So many of these places pay their people so little. They get by with the least amount of education as possible. I hope you find someone. I use sittercity.com and care.com....good luck.
You deserve alot of credit as all moms do whether they work or not. It is hard to balance all that you do. Big (((((HUGS))))) and cuddle that baby.

Squeak said...

Hi Lauren!

I'm sure you're a very hard-working decorator and mother, but I think I know where the "mommy decorator" (or "mommy-any-other-type-of-worker for that matter) label is coming from.

As a computer consultant, I have worked in many, many offices throughout my 30-year career. In many of those offices, without fail, there has always been at least one mother who "abused the system". She would always have some child-related excuse for arriving late, leaving early, not showing up at all, not being able to work late, not being able to take on a big project, not being able to travel, etc. Her colleagues would inevitably be the ones to suffer because management wouldn't do anything about her. Her colleagues would be forced to take on extra work, cover for her, work late, etc.

I'm not saying all mothers were like this; most of them worked hard and did their share. However, there always seemed to be at least one mother in every office who got away with not doing her fair share.

It's a shame that all the good, hard-working mothers get labeled unfairly, but unfortunately they do.

Courtney said...

The mixed messages to moms, especially those of young children, are crazy these days.

If you exclusively stay at home to care for your children you get the lovely, "so do you work?...oh wow, must be nice to just stay at home." As if those moms are just watching tv and eating bonbons. If you take care of children and run your own business people either see you as neglecting your children or that your business is actually just a cute little hobby. And if you go to the office and have someone else watch your children you're the cold mother who puts her career before her kids.

When it comes to other people's opinions you just can't win. The tough part is not letting their attitudes make you question what you know to be right for your family. Keep up the beautiful work as a mother and designer, and please know you have a ton of people who think you're amazing!

JennyCB said...

As a working mom of two who blogs (a mommy blogger who works? a blogging worker with two kids? basically someone pulled in eleventeen directions on a regular basis), I entirely get this post. I've written one on this very topic, in case you want to take a peek:
http://lilamarin.blogspot.com/2010/04/guilt-gravity-and-gravitas.html
(In a nutshell, wash away that guilt with a cold beer and the knowledge that you are doing a GREAT job. And trust your gut ~ it's never wrong.)
By the way, you are an amazing designer. Keep up the good work! :o)

Kacey said...

I think you sound like a great mom - you made a very brave choice to take your son home with you. Good for you for listening to your gut!

As far as the working parent stuff: being a parent myself with two small businesses, I think you're amazing to accomplish all that you do. If anything, you're even more impressive for filling both roles so well!

Allison said...

I don't work right now, as I stay at home with my 2 yr old...but I don't judge moms who do. I think we are all doing the best we can in all of our situations. Some days I look with envy at my husband as he "gets" to leave each day, have some quiet time on the drive, eat a peaceful lunch, maybe even get to run an errand ALONE. Then I feel horrible and tremendously guilty for even thinking that. Seems like moms just can't win;)
As a former elementary and pre-school teacher I can tell and reassure you that there are really good schools and daycares out there for children with kind and loving caregivers/teachers. It may take time but you will find the right one. Not picking up a sobbing 20 month old is not right. No matter how busy etc., no excuses...someone could have carried him around and did things they had to do, or took him for a walk around the school etc...there are things they could and should do...especially on his first day!!
We all have these days...hang in there! It will all work out:)

Allison

Jacqueline said...

Lauren your talent is always with you no matter what you are wearing! You have a great deal going on, be gentle with yourself. I don't know what level your husband teaches, but elementary teachers are always good resources for at home child care providers. My husband always tells me "I love you, don't give up" and "Tomorrow will be a better day". I don't know you, but I will say "I love your Queen Anne's Lace fabric, don't give up...tomorrow will be a better day!"

Kate said...

I can't imagine that what you're trying to do is a really hard thing! And of course I don't want to assume I know anything about your financial situation. Maybe you need to work to pay the bills. Maybe not, maybe it's mostly because you just love it.

I know it's hard to give up most of what we want to do as mother's. I have a 4 and 2 year old. I know you wouldn't disagree when I say I think being a mom is a full time job. I am different from you in that I don't desire an "outside" job. I just put my oldest in 2 day a week preschool this year and it's hitting me hard that too soon he'll be in all day school! Soon my daughter will be joining him! This time with our young children is SO fleeting. I like to follow a good/better/best philosophy. There are lots of good things to do with our time in this world... but what is the absolute best use of time. Maybe you could re-evaluate? Maybe just take on one client at a time? Slow down your business while your kids are babies. Pick it back up when they're in school full day and while they're learning, you work. Of course I don't judge working moms. I know we're all just trying to do the best we can. I think you did the best thing by pulling him out of that childcare situation. That breaks my heart! I couldn't bear the thought of not being my child's full time caregiver. I know it's not always possible, but I believe it's possible more often then not. The 2 income thing is such a trap.

Of course this comment is just coming from how I think/believe. Hopefully you can come to a conclusion about what's best for your children. I feel extra tender about this since the two children I have took me years to get with lots of heartache along the way. I'm not missing a moment if I can help it!

Good luck to you... and I really enjoy reading your blog.

Sugar Bear said...

When I hear the term Mom Blogger I personally think of the blogs that focus exclusively on raising children. You are a mom who is an interior designer and blogger. I don't view you as a "mommy" decorator - (I honestly haven't even heard that term!) As for daycare, I totally feel your pain. Do you have home daycares in your area? I'm a full time university employee and mom to a 2 year old. She is in a home daycare not far from my office. It works for us because she is still in a home environment and it is much smaller so she gets the benefits of interacting with other kids but also gets the one on one attention. Do you have an Infoline type service in your area? If so, they should have a list of home daycares in your area.
Karla

Anne said...

I stay home with my 2 1/2 year old and 9 month old, and I'm convinced that whether you work or you stay at home, being a parent is just plain hard! I'm not a designer and don't necessarily have ambitions of working outside the home, but I often fantasize about the chance to spend a day or two a week at a job so I could have a break from full-time motherhood! Of course, I'm sure if I were working full-time and trying to juggle childcare, I'd be singing a different tune. The grass always seems greener to me! As for whether moms who blog and work are less credible, I don't think so at all! If anything, I think all your experiences (motherhood, friendships, work, etc) only add layers to who you are as a person and increase the value you can offer in your work. I'm sorry you had that rough experience with Justin's daycare this morning! That must have been SO hard. I truly hope you can find a solution that feels good for your family. Blessings to you, Lauren. xoxo

Natalie said...

this has been a constant concern around our house {the finding appropriate childcare for my "part time" interior design career that creeps into full time way too often}. i think i am definitely considered more of a "mommy blogger," since i started my blog four years ago as a way to inform family and friends of baby info/outlet for my thoughts on pregnancy. now its pretty much incorporates everything {including my work}. i was an interior designer before i became a blogger, but my role as mother definitely trumps any role i have as designer. yes there are tons of "mommy decorators" out there and while some may lack real...talent...in my opinion, your talent and well deserved recognition puts you in a category above most {including many i know who went to school for it!}. my two kids {4 and 11 months...and then one in the oven due december} go to MDO and preschool for many reasons - for them/socializing as well as for me/my work. but its important to always evaluate what works for you and your family...and some days the mothering role trumps the work role and other days you get so much work done you feel as if you could do ANYTHING and then still other days taking a shower becomes a luxury. the fact that you are a mother who cares about the welfare of your children does not, in any way, take away from your credibility as a designer. keep trucking! and when you figure out how to completely balance these two sides of your everyday life, give me a call. :)

Ginny said...

Lauren – it seems just like yesterday when I was in your shoes…although, in reality, my yesterday consisted of college dorm room shopping. Although we’ve heard it a million times, it does go that fast. Thank you for your blogs. They have personally opened my eyes to thinking more creatively about how to make my home a lovelier one. Your talent is amazing and I personally want to thank you for the influence it has had on my home!

1083ab74-d279-11e0-a67a-000bcdca4d7a said...

I'm new to your blog and even though I know you wrote your "rant" out of pure frustration and were not fishing for compliments, I'm going to compliment you anyway. Your work and your blog are inspirational. You are one talented woman!

I commend you for not letting your passion go by the way side in order to raise your children. You can have both, albeit challenging and stressful at times. Your children benefit by seeing you make use of your gifts and talents. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to compromise in order to have both. Some days you need to focus on work with a child in your lap. Some days your work needs to wait while you focus on your children's needs. People are going to talk and judge. Let 'em! That's their issue. You just keep doing what feels right in your heart and your gut. You're just having 'one of those days.' Life always finds its equilibrium -- tomorrow will be better.

Susie @ Maddie's Nest said...

Lauren, I feel for you....and I applaud you for going with your gut. I have a 3 year old and a 10 month old and I have felt very much the same. BTW, our old nanny in Virginia might be looking for work....she has been working for a friend of mine and they are moving to a live in arrangement. Let me know if you want me to put you in touch. Don't worry about what others think. Look at all you have accomplished. Fabric and furniture lines, happy clients, a high end showhouse, magazine feature, etc. etc. Focust on your family and your business and ignore the negative people...they are probably just jealous of you!

Beth said...

Lauren, I have learned at least two things about you from your blog. 1) You are a great mom who is willing to make tough decisions about what is best for your children. 2) You are a talented and successful designer. Those two things do not detract from each other! Sure, you may not do both of those things 100% everyday, but that's life.
I chose to stay home when my first was born. 5 kids later, I am still home, but I know the day is coming when I will head back to work (and I am looking forward to it). Just remember, everything is a choice, and it sounds like you and your husband are making the right ones for your family! :)

Steenkbug said...

well, whatever you are, you are one of my faves! I have four children and the youngest will be in school full time in two years. I'm beginning to think about going back to school now to finish my interior design degree. I consider you to be a role model. I love your style and the fact that you are a young mom because I can relate to you. We all doubt ourselves sometimes. I'm trying to get better at not doing that myself. I don't have any answers, but you are not alone. Sometimes just that is enough to make you feel better!

Cynthia and the farm house said...

Lauren,

You poor thing. But a Mommy Rock-start Moment following your gut!! Way to go. I have been the parent dropping my children off at daycare. I have been the daycare provider and all in all I have to say it stinks. I have decide to stay at home with my children sense my step children were 4 and 6. Then when my son came along I was sold on it for sure. I applaud you for trying to find balance with both. You can and will. At this point in my life I was ok with having career out of my home and when the time was writing adventuring else where. For now though I am eating my children up. However I do so enjoying watching your career grow. I do so believe you can have it all, and you have my cheers and support. Mary Poppins is out there, she will find you!!
Cheers,
Cynthia

Cynthia and the farm house said...

Lauren,

You poor thing. But a Mommy Rock-start Moment following your gut!! Way to go. I have been the parent dropping my children off at daycare. I have been the daycare provider and all in all I have to say it stinks. I have decide to stay at home with my children sense my step children were 4 and 6. Then when my son came along I was sold on it for sure. I applaud you for trying to find balance with both. You can and will. At this point in my life I was ok with having career out of my home and when the time was writing adventuring else where. For now though I am eating my children up. However I do so enjoying watching your career grow. I do so believe you can have it all, and you have my cheers and support. Mary Poppins is out there, she will find you!!
Cheers,
Cynthia

Amy at Lake Country House said...

you did the right thing taking your baby home~hands down. they are only small once, work less and spend more time with them. work when harder when they are older and don't need mommy as much. you will never regret spending more time with them. you will always regret not spending enough
:)

Amy at Lake Country House said...

you did the right thing~hands down. spend time with them now, work harder when they are older. you will never regret enjoying the small things daily with them now. you will always regret it if you don't:)you have many years to work,not many years with your needy little ones. i wish you the best.

redesigningsarah said...

I remember someone telling me to trust my instincts when I became a mom and it has been so true. I have found childcare so stressful since starting my decorating career - it's mostly part-time so it's hard to justify regular childcare but as of next week my youngest will be in daycare 3 days a week - hopefully it goes okay. I applaud you for the courage to pull your youngest out and trust your gut. I love your work and your children have an amazing example of someone who follows their passion!

A Perfect Gray said...

ALWAYS follow your gut instincts when it comes to your children - so glad you did that today. I ignored one feeling I had when mine was in 2nd grade and have regretted it ever since. nothing huge...but, it taught me a valuable lesson.

Ayleen said...

Lauren! Please try not to beat yourself up over it. Mommy decorator shmommy decorator. I agree with the commenter that said that if you are a mommy decorator, I wouldn't want any other kind. Moms know and understand how real families live. But in any case, I don't think you are faking it at all. YOu are a real designer who has amazing talent, and reading your blog is truly an inspiration for every day living and as a hopeful mommy designer as well. I have never thought you aren't a real designer because you blog or because you are a mom. Don't listen to what people think. Focus on what makes you and your family happy. You only live once. Don't let what other people think detract you from living your bliss.

Amy C said...

You said it! I'm not a blogger or decorator, but as a working mother of two small children (age 5 and 3) it is a constant juggle to figure out how to get the job done and the children cared for at the same time. You do a great job and are obviously a very talented designer and loving mother. You can feel free to "rant" any time!

Megan said...

Aw, hun! It's becoming a parent I think that can really make you feel guilty -even when you shouldn't. You are a WORKING mom. You work from home, yes, but if this is how you provide for those precious babies of yours, then know that what you are doing is necessary. The transition for wee lads can be tough when they're just getting into the routine of a new environment (away from mom). I worked at a Child Development Center for a few years when my husband was in the military. Please know that your little guy will get used to going to day-care as long as it becomes routine for him (3 or more consecutive times a week). One day you'll walk into that classroom, and he'll be so engrossed in playing with the others babies, he won't even notice you're standing there. Give it some time and be patient with yourself, your baby, and the caregivers. Try not to be too hard on yourself either, my dear :)

The SilverLyne said...

You've made incredible strides in your decorating profession in such a short space of time. Conflicts with family are bound to occur and of course, family comes first. Justin is young and not able to fully verbalize his feelings and that makes it harder. I wish you all the best in the coming years in balancing it all!

Dr. Debra Condren @AmbitionIsNotADirtyWord.com said...

Hi Lauren. Thank you for sharing your childcare experience, one all too many of us working moms have encountered. Good for you -- and for all of us -- who trust our gut when it comes to our children. Don't apologize; instead, give yourself kudos for being a great mom doing the best she can to stay true to her ambitious entrepreneurial dreams without sacrificing her equally sacrosanct goal of doing right by her kids. Sincerely and ambitiously, Dr. Debra Condren, author of "Ambition Is Not A Dirty Word."

under spanish moss said...

Going to try to keep this short! I think that every working mother feels this way at some point in their careers. Finding good childcare is sometimes a challenge and keeps you on edge and anxious. The stay at home moms guilt the working moms, career women without a young family guilt the working moms and the working moms guilt themselves most of all. We have been there and go there often. Follow your instincts and all will work out. You are doing a wonderful job as a mom and designer. What's this nonsense about a mommy designer? Seriously! Just let them walk a day in your shoes.
Angela and Renee

Reese said...

I don't normally comment on blogs that I follow BUT your post really hit a chord with me. I am a mom of four and am constantly battling the same feelings of insecurity and doubt. You are an amazing designer who also has a rich home life. It's nice to know that you are human like the rest of us and are willing to share your struggles.

3 Peanuts said...

Lauren,

First you did the right thing. If no one was comforting him right away...I would not feel good leaving him. You are a serious and talented designer but being a Mom comes first. You are so accomplished already and you will get there. Slow and steady wins the race. These years when they are younger are tough but my youngest just went to kindergarten and my oldest is in 8th grade...I have all the time in the world to work as hard as I want now. It is a constant balancing act.

best,
Kim

alison@MLHP said...

I wish I could read all the comments, but I've been waiting for a kiddo break just to comment myself!

I can't say I was all that aware of something called a "mommy decorator," but I do know that I, as a mother, judge the "top tier" designers/bloggers who don't have children.
Although I often find their blog posts and design work fantastic, inside, I tend to demean it a bit because I think, "Wow, wonder if they'll be able to keep this up if/when they have children."
So...I guess stigmas can go both ways.

I don't think someone who has participated in a Showcase home in one of the finer cities for design is anything BUT a total professional! You rock, just remember to own it sometimes!

P.S - I definitely would've done the same thing (RE: daycare) :)

Jennifer Rizzo said...

I get so mad when some one down plays how serious we feel about our work by thinking that Mommy's aren't as serious or professional. It take a special person to do more than WORK and make it successful. Like a MOTHER.
Being a mother doesn't change our eye,or talent, only our hearts.

Kristin said...

Never apologize for being a mother or putting your children first, no matter what effect it has on your career. Whether you work at a job outside your home or not, it is hard work being a mother and it is almost the most important! Good luck finding a fabulous day care, you and your child both deserve it.

Erin said...

As a mother, you have to follow your instincts. Who care's what others think? It's YOUR family and life. Do what's best for you and everything will work out in the end. Is it hard to work from home with a toddler underfoot (sometimes literally)? Sure, but if you feel it's the right thing to do, then do it! And you certainly don't qualify as anything less than a professional in the interior design world! Hello? Show house? You are great, keep your chin up and try daycare again next year!

TMW said...

Hang in there Lauren. THis is a hard, hard time. I was in and out of school on the first day with my two older kids---none of our current admins have young kids. And to my knowledge at least three of our admins have zero kids. There's little to no sympathy from them. I came home at 4 carrying a pizza, my youngest in my other arm with my two oldest bounding up the stairs. The moment we walked in the kitchen Cameron projectile vomited all over the room. I knew he was coming down with a bug. Now I'm off to write your husband that I'll be out tomorrow, day two of school. It's not ideal. But it's life. And I hope that my kids will see that I tried my best with them on all fronts, in the manner that I did in the classroom at work. But when push comes to shove, my family will come first. And for those who judge, we'll they're probably pretty lonely. :)

Valorie Hart - The Visual Vamp said...

You did right Lauren.
Motherhood should not be a put-down.
They called Mommy Decorators Station Wagon Decorators back in the day.
I don't care if you sell Avon door to door, or take in ironing, and run a store front dance school (my mother did this with 7 kids) AND take care of yourself and your family - you deserve respect,
You are a mom, a wife, a blogger, a decorator, a professional, and you own it all.
It's good that you trusted your gut about the day care. But believe it or not after about three days to a week, your little one would have stopped feeling so bad to cry like that. All little ones do it, and all moms feel terrible and torn.
Rant all you like.
I know you will find the right situation for your little guy and you.
I have tremendous regard and respect for you.
Mommie AND Decorator! How fabulous!
xo xo

tarheel said...

Oh Lauren, you are so talented and clearly such a good mother- how many people your age have their own fabric and furniture lines?! Interesting- I have stayed home with my three, but always with guilt that I'm not using my law degree in some way. So I don't know who is making you feel defensive about your choices {I make myself feel bad, no one else really does}, but you shouldn't. There are no easy answers though- you'll find some kind of childcare arrangement that you're okay with, and you'll probably still struggle with it sometimes, but don't let other people make you feel like you're not 100% professional. You are, and I have always been so impressed with you!

Shelly said...

Good for you for taking your 20 month old out of that daycare. You are obviously a fantastic mother.

I also have 2 boys, an 18 month old and a 3 year old. I stay at home with them and that can sometimes be overwhelming to me, so I am amazed at how you not only balance everything but you do amazing work, too!

I started following a few design blogs 3 years ago when I had my first son, and yours is one of my favorites. It's amazing how people have started blogging and then made an impressive career out of it. I think designers that work for other firms might be intimidated that now there is more competition out there, hence the putdowns of blogging designers. I think you have to be courageous to put yourself out on a limb like that, and obviously if you weren't talented, you wouldn't be making a living off it like you are doing. Thanks for all of your inspiration.

By the way, I think "mommy decorators" make the best interior designers. They are more practical, have a great work ethic and obviously they can handle project management and multitasking!! You should be so proud of yourself for all that you have accomplished. How long have you been blogging and you have been published in major magazines?! I'm sure a lot of run of the mill interior decorators have not been published like that.

Anyways, keep up the great work and all the best in everything! javascript:void(0)

Lauren (The Cottage Mix) said...

Hello Lauren,
I have followed your blog for a while now, and have never commented until now. I just recently started a blog and I started my design business 3 years ago. I know just how you feel. I have 3 kids and today my youngest, who is 4, just started 5 day pre-k. for the first time, I am feeling like I can really dedicate the time to grow my business. It has always been a juggling act and at times, had a hard time keeping my head above water. Hang in there...they are only young once and it does go so quickly. You did the right thing by trusting your gut. I say "cheers" to the mommy decorators!!!
Lauren
www.thecottagemix.com

kayce hughes said...

Too many thoughts to share in a comment. I am so sorry that you had a bad day. I am glad that you followed your gut....don't ever stop.

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

Where o where would this world be without mothers? Not as nurtured, nor humble, nor beautiful, nor loved. While I kinda despise the word "mommy anything" I have the broadest and deepest respect for Mothers. Business owners or not.Frankly...I find that it IS mothers who can multi task and manage their way way around non-mothers. Just comes with the territory, the proffession!


So...inhale your group hug you recieved here. Kiss your kidlets, and remind them and yourself that they come first, always. And go out there and multitask...beautifully like you know how. And it is this unbridled love we feel as mothers that weaves itself into every bit of our creativity and work. It is what we do.

Jill said...

Never commented on your "mommy designer/blog" before but I {as a momma to a soon to be 13 year old and a 9 year old} think that today you.did.the.right.thing. I would have thought less of you had you left your crying baby at that place and walked out to the freedom of working un-interrupted. Too often we lose sight of the most important job we have - to raise wonderful human beings - what can be more important than that!

I hope Miss Poppins shows up soon!
xo~Jill

Tamsyn said...

It is so tough sometimes Lauren, but the important thing is that you put your kids first. For that, you should be giving yourself a big pat on the back. Chin up xx

B said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE the courage to take him home! I know you will find someone who will care for him as you would...good luck! Keep it up...he will thank you for it later :-)

You are so good at what you do you will be able to find enough clients who understand.

Melissa at HOUSEography said...

I feel your pain! Unfortunately it's not just limited to designers but most professions. Even as a lawyer, I feel my work is sometimes discounted because I work a reduced schedule (of course cramming in more work than some full-timers but I digress!). You'll find the right situation. Perhaps a home daycare may be better suited to your needs. Ours has been a godsend for both of my kids!

Deanna said...

i don't regret becoming a stay at home wife and momma when my children were your children's age. I didn't want the mistakes made toward my children to be done at the hands of daycare or by a babysitter.

At that time in life, I decided to be a full time momma.
Life is start.......this developemental time and phase of life cannot be redone.

I don't regret being a homemaker that raised my own children.

The Lord has showed me how to do this.
d

Kerry said...

I got to this one late. I'm late because from 6 am to 2:30 I am getting teenagers out the door and managing a toddler until its time for me to go to work.
I think that it is awful when people diminish a woman's capabilities because her duties in life are varied. Being a mother AND doing a job,in or out of the home is really hard. People who do it with even the tiniest bit of organization are amazing.
Next time your mommy world blows up, look at those little faces and remember that you put them first and that's what they need and a decorating emergency can wait.

Angie@Echoes of Laughter said...

I just want to share some of my experiences with you.. I worked for 12+ years and both my kids went to daycare. The oldest went at 1 yr. and the second went at 6 mths. I spent my lunch hours going to nurse #2 at the caregivers everyday for 6 months so he could be breastfeed as for his first year. My daughter{#1} always had a terrible time adjusting to daycare. It was horrible at times. We changed daycares when she was 2 and she went on a hunger strike and wouldn't eat while she was there. This went on for a week. I laid awake at nights worrying about her.I thought the caregiver was a wonderful lady with an amazing day care...great play areas, a beautiful outdoor space, great toys...lots of love & patience to give. The problem was not the caregiver...it was simply my daughter adjusting to a new place. Eventually, she adjusted and loved it there! We just needed to give her time. And she actually stayed at that daycare until she was 7 years old {before & after school care}. Maybe Justin needs more time to adjust to new surroundings after being home with you all summer? Maybe he is not going to be a 'drop off' kind of child at this age. He may need more time to adjust...like maybe short visits of an hour or two before he gets left for the whole day. If you have lost confidence in the daycare, that is a very good reason to take him out. I know we want our children to be comforted in times of distress, so in that, the daycare failed. But if he went there last year, you must have been somewhat happy with the care they delivered? Maybe it's time to move on? Or maybe it was just a bad day? You are a great mother. You are a great designer. It's just sometimes...the balance of the two is not so easy to compartmentalize. And it's frustrating. Sometimes being a Mommy and having a career has no clear boundaries...as hard as we try! Even when the kids are older and in school, it's hard because of sick days and illnesses. You just do the best you can! I think your clients hire you because they love your work and I think that if they have to wait a few days because of commitments at home... they should understand! Tomorrow will be a new day! Angie xo
PS- The daughter who had a terrible time adjusting to daycares and went on a hunger strike is now a very confident 15 yr. old starting Grade 10 who makes new friends easily, babysits and has a grand social life.

Confessions of an Undomestic Diva said...

I wish I could give you a big hug! Sorry you had a rough day, but please don't doubt yourself. You are a fantastic designer and mom. You have good instincts in both areas of your life, and a willingness to listen to them.

It's hard to balance so many hats. I'm struggling with that myself right now. I so desperately want to go back to school for interior design, but the childcare issue is a deterrent at the moment. I've been wracking my brain for months now trying to find a solution that will work for us that won't cost a boatload of money for childcare, never mind trying to think ahead about what I'll do when someone gets sick and can't go to school (or daycare.) It's frustrating, and it really makes me wonder how single parents juggle it all.

As for the "mommy decorator" comment- I call bull. You are a professional. You're inspiring (and part of the reason I decided to change my major when I do go back to school.) You breathe design AND family and it's lovely to see.

Beth said...

Lauren, I completely emphathize. I'm in school part-time right now for interior design with a 2 year old in toe. At times I think-its going to take me forever to finish and I question the credibility I already recieve because I am a part time student, full time mommy. Ultimately however, if it is your passion than it is worth all of your time, effort and emotion. As for your credibility, Lauren, there is no question. To run the risk of sounding creepy-I've been blog stalking you for a while now and I always find your style fresh, original and full of genuine talent.

Sherri Cassara said...

You did the right thing. Nothing is as important as your children. You are incredibly talented and I love your passion for both design and your family. I still struggle with the balancing act and my kids are grown!

casacaudill said...

As a non-parent I would never call you a mommy blogger. You are a wonderful designer that blogs about your designs. You just also happen to be a mom.

When I think of the term "mommy blogger" I immediately (negatively, to be sure) think of those women that blog about nothing other than the day-to-day minutia of raising their children. As a childfree-by-choice woman in my mid-30s, there's nothing for me to gain from reading about Timmy's loose tooth, or Johnny's potty training adventures, or little Sally's tea party. I'm somewhat continuously amazed that there is such an avid following of these types of blogs. Yours I understand because you do beautiful things to homes and give people inspiration to make their homes better. I think you do a huge disservice to yourself by lumping yourself in with the "mommy bloggers" of the world.

khughes said...

I am a lawyer, a wife and mom to 2 boys 18 months apart. Now they are 7 and 5, but when they were 2 and 4-YIKES! I felt just like you are feeling-my life will never be "normal" again. But rest assured- after a couple years-when the kids start doing things for themselves and you can leave them alone in a room to play together without worrying that they will break something (or each other) it gets much much easier. You CAN have it all-you are fabulous and don't give up!

christine {bijouandboheme} said...

I completely 100% understand/empathasize/relate...everything. Being a mom is already the hardest job in the world...throw a career on top of it and you're pretty much Superwoman. Give yourself a hug and know you're doing a brilliant job:) xo

995fbfce-d31d-11e0-b091-000bcdcb471e said...

Lauren,
I love your blog and your style. As a working mom, I totally understand where you are coming from. I woudl have done the same thing with my kids if I felt that way you felt yesterday. I think you are in the Herndon, VA area, my children go to a wonderful daycare called Robert E Simon Center in Reston, I would highly recommend it and am actually happy to drop my children off every morning knowing they are being taken care of with all the love and teaching possible. Good luck!

CHIC HABITAT INTERIORS said...

I share in the same sentiment as everyone else on this post! Good for you for following your instincts on this one. I am a designer who hopes to have children very soon, and often wonder how I will balance the two. I know it won't be easy, as your post attests to. It's extremely challenging running your own business, not to mention with children, and those who don't realize it have no idea what they're talking about! Keep your head up, you've got lots of (virtual) support!!

Jennifer said...

Working moms of all types (full-time, part-time, from the home, whatever) need to stick together! Every situation has its challenges and the best you can do is figure out what works for YOUR family. And yes, having small kids sets you apart from the strictly professional world (or at least it seems to in my life). Don't let it get you down! I know that you believe your life is fuller and richer because of those two blonde baby boys :) Hang in there!!

Danielle {freshquince} said...

Oh Lauren don't be so hard on yourself. As my mom always says 'this too shall pass' and it will. Just go with your gut instinct and know that you have a ton of friends that wish you nothing but the best in the world because you are so true and honest to yourself and to all. Hugs sent your way and know it will all work out the way it is meant to! xx Danielle

Joanna said...

Lauren, you are amazing! Trust your instincts about Justin's daycare, but also trust your instincts about creating just the type of business that's right for you and Dave and your family. Only you two know what works for you guys and you're both so real, genuine, and grounded that I have every confidence you'll continue to surprise and excel us all with your professional career and with your awesome kids. :)

Hugs!
Joanna

Lynda @ Happenstance Home said...

I think that it is perfect that you trusted yourself and took him out of there. You are very smart and talented!

Barbara Bussey {The Treasured Home} said...

I'm a day late but wanted to make just one more comment. The zillions of comments on this subject show you what a hot button this is for women...mothers. While many women don't choose to be childless, still, they miss out on learning how to adapt to so many elements that make up life. Anyone that say things you're talking about, whether they're talking about mothers or elephants..is the stuff of some very sad, unfortunate people. I wonder what the cost difference is for a person to come in and care for the kids vs. You delivering them to daycare. I'm sure you've thought about all this. It's what I did and I never worried about the care of my kids. I also worked a lot at home and was there if they really needed me. Well, enough already. It will all work out. Take care!

Bryant Park Designs said...

Hi Lauren! I am also a day late, but have to tell you to find another center or Mary Poppins or whatever. I am also a working design Mom and one of the things that allows me to be able to focus and concentrate is knowing my kids are in good hands (ages 5 and 2 - Actually my 5 year old just went off to Kindergarten, but that is a whole other story!!) They have been going to the same day care since my oldest was 6 months old and that would NEVER ever had happened, no matter how busy they are. You need to find the situation that is right for your family -some people prefer day care and some a nanny. But whatever you do, go easy on yourself. We Mom's have a tendency to be really hard on ourselves - know that it is okay to have days like these and that it will get better. Hang in there!!!! You are not alone!!!

Fly Away Home said...

So many people have said that you are doing a great job and encouraged you to trust your instincts. I emphatically agree with them. I have worked full-time throughout my children's formative years.

Here is what I learned: I raised my children as the very best parent I knew how to be. I loved them without condition. I stayed home when it was the best thing to do (a lot of working from a home-office now that they are teenagers). I demonstrated to my boys that women are 'can do' and 'successful' and 'strong' in the world. I told them that moms who stay home are amazing. I told them that moms who work are amazing, too.

Whatever you decide, you are doing the right thing!

Beth

Mary said...

I've done it all ways...FT work with children...home five years with them...PT work while they are at school...working from home, etc. And just when i think I have it figured out, something changes (like the HOMEWORK--God, I don't remember my parents being involved in my homework at all...or having it in gradeschool). Know that a lot of your success as a designer is because you are approachable and real. You understand the chaos we all live in! You get things like needing things to clean up but not wanting microsuede. You did the right thing with your son. And you will figure it out. You can do both--but somedays, it's just hard. You will find the right balance...but somedays you just topple over! Hang in there. I love everything you do and am proud that you did what you felt was right for your little man.

katiedid said...

Lauren,

Do not worry. You are doing just fine. Having lived through it all myself with two teenage girls, I can say that if you care about your kids, you will be fine. If you did your job, they will still be rolling their eyes and avoiding you as soon a they turn that corner into the teen years. The bad news....they end up moving away and never call enough, as soon as they get the chance. The good news...they will come back as soon as they need that good ole motherly advice when they buy their first house and start their own family! Hang in! It is all very worth it!

penelopebianchi said...

I wrote a whole post.....and the computer ate it. I will write another. I have been there......and my "baby" is 41 years old!

XXOO more later.

I guess I don't know how to "save" comments!!

Lauren @ with two cats said...

You absolutely did the right thing! We did find Mary Poppins and I still feel guilty leaving my daughter every day. It's such a tough situation. You'll find something that works for you and your family!

ashley clark said...

I've never posted a comment before-- but I am crying as I read your post. I have four kids-12 (girl), 4, 2 and 8 months (boys). Trying to run a business, be a mom-- not to mention a wife, sister, friend-- I am failing at them all! Letting someone down everyday-- my clients or my family-- someone always suffers. Anyway-- I think you are doing amazing and an inspiration to me for sure!

Gina said...

Lauren,

The most important job you will ever have in this life is being a mom. God gave you the responsibility to love, guide and nurture your chidlren growing them up into mature, productive, loving people. A career is always second to that. You absolutely did the right thing bringing your baby back home!!!!

From everything I have seen of your design work I think you have absolutely stunning taste and amazing talent. God has given you many gifts girl!!! I know it can be overwhelming at times but as long as we keep are perspectives in the proper place everything lines up as it should!

Love your blog~