You know that saying “behind every great man is a great woman?” – or something like that. I’m honestly terrible with quotes and sayings so I could have it wrong. But I do know the general sentiment is that a successful man can’t do it on his own and he needs a strong woman behind him. Obviously this quote is dated. You don’t need me to tell you that. Behind every great woman is a strong man too! It’s teamwork right?! The reason I’m bringing up this quote up is because I think it should be changed entirely. I think behind every strong and successful woman or man is a VILLAGE! That’s right! It takes a village! I know I got that quote right! The reason I bring this up is that I want to tell you about my village. I want to tell you about the people in my life that make my life and work possible. These are the amazing people in my life that help me “do it all” (If you read my blog last week but you know I don’t believe it’s actually possible to do it all. So I say that quote sarcastically.)
For starters…the picture below is a lie. I don’t run this website, work on a tv show, be a good wife, and take care of my two young children all by myself. I have help.
I Have a Nanny
We have a Nanny – GASP! That’s right, I have a nanny. I’ve kind of talked about this here and there over the last year ever since Riley was born. I think I first might’ve mentioned it back when he was about three months old and we hired an agency to help us try to find a nanny. I remember when I first brought it up I was terrified. I was so sure that many of you would think I was just a terrible mother for having help. Why can’t I do it on my own? Why do I need someone to help raise my children? These are toxic things to think and worse to say. Let me tell you why.
Some of you may know this and some of you may not but running this website is a full-time job. It’s more than a full-time job! I literally find myself dreaming about what content I’m going to post next or what photos I want to take for my Instagram feed. And on top of running it, I work part time on a TV show. And in July I’m actually going to be working full-time on that show while managing my blog and being a mom to 2 kiddos two and under.
And I’m a stay-at-home mom. Yes, I work part time outside of the house but I’m also stay at home (working) mom most of the time (EDIT: I AM NOT A STAY AT HOME MOM. I WAS JUST TRYING TO CONVEY THAT I AM LUCKY THAT I GET TO WORK FROM HOME MOST DAYS AND BE WITH MY KIDS. BUT IT”S ALSO HARD TO GET WORK DONE). And while I’m a home most days, I work from home. Am I talking in circles? I most likely am and that’s because I wear a lot of freaking hats!
So while running my website, going to work part time on the TV show, and being a mom to two kids two and under, how am I expected to do all of that without any help? Why would anyone even think that is possible? It’s not. But I’m not supposed to tell you I have a nanny. I’m supposed to just work full-time, be a full-time mom, get dinner on the table by five, have sex with my husband, and keep a model-esque figure and do it all with a smile on my face. Right? Wrong! Also, I’m not supposed to tell you that my blog is very successful. I’ve turned a little hobby of mine into a full on business that supports my family. And I’m super proud of that! I’ve been able to turn my passion into my career. And that something that I truly hope any and every mom out there can work towards! I should be proud to share that.
When you really sit down and think about it, it’s absolute insanity that any woman or man or even mythical demigod would be expected to do all of that without any help. I guess the term nanny is looked down upon because if you have the luxury of hiring a nanny that means you make enough money to pay somebody’s salary. Or part time salary. But why is it looked down upon to have a nanny but not to bring your kid to daycare? Isn’t that essentially the same thing? Someone else is taking care of your child so you can work? And to be clear, our nanny is only with us from 7 AM until noon – 4 days a week, so I’m still full-time mom (and Kevin is full-time dad) from noon until bedtime.
When our nanny is here, I am still with her and the kids for half the time she is here because I want to be involved (that’s parent/mom guilt for ya). It’s legit a constant internal struggle. Or she’ll be with Riley while I have Molly. If you have one kid and you are reading this, you know that taking care of the one child ISN’T a break. It’s still hard. So I will tend one kiddo while she has the other. Sometimes locking myself in my office is my only option so I actually get work done. I know I NEED to work but I don’t want to miss anything with my kiddos. Other times I have to force myself to leave the house to get work done because it’s so hard to work when at home. Both because I want to be involved and because the kiddos always find their way into my office if they know I’m in there. So if you see me on Instagram in the morning talking about how crazy my morning is with the kids, it really it crazy. Just because I have some help doesn’t make it a walk in the park.
I don’t know if I’m making any real concrete points here. But I guess what I’m trying to say is that no mother should ever feel ashamed for having help. I just happen to be a working mother who needs someone to help me with the kids so I can create an income for my family. But maybe you’re a stay at home mom who needs help with the kids so you can feel like an adult and have some kid-free time outside of your home. Honestly, I think stay-at-home moms need a nanny/babysitter at least one day a week so they can get out of the house. Even if it’s to get out of the house to run errands like picking up the dry cleaning or going grocery shopping. I like to call my job at Home & Family (the tv show I work on) my “vacation” because I truly find that spending an entire day out of the house sans kids feels like a break. So stay-at-home moms need the “break” (even though I know not all have the luxury of getting it).
A few months back, maybe more, I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a headline from a celebrity who said she didn’t have a nanny. This celebrity has multiple children and a successful career. When I read what she said about not having a nanny it truly bothered me. I bet you anything, that’s a lie. Maybe she has three different babysitters that her and her husband use on a rotating basis. Maybe she has one babysitter and a father who is retired who comes by five days a week to watch the kids. And if that’s the case, well technically she does have a nanny. But it’s still a lie that she doesn’t have help. And by boldly stating “I don’t have a nanny. I raise my kids.” (Pretty sure that’s what the headline said) you are basically insinuating that there something wrong with women who do have one. But that’s not OK. I know that wasn’t this person’s intention, but that’s what she did. I know for a fact but the level of success this woman has had in her career, that she has lots of help! She certainly has a glam team, probably a stylist that dresses her for events, a housekeeper for sure, and a team of agents and likely a publicist working for her. And that’s awesome! Good for her for building her career and business to a point where she’s able to thrive by getting all that help! The problem with what she did is that she suggested that she was able to have this insanely successful career all on her own. And the truth is none of us do it on our own. And as I write this I’m thinking back to all the interviews I’ve given and wonder if I have ever said anything as foolish as this. I may have and if I did, I’m sorry. There was a point in my career where I didn’t have one and didn’t feel like I needed one, but that time was one kid ago and is long gone.
I guess the reason I want to talk about this is that I feel like it’s so taboo to talk about having a nanny. And it shouldn’t be! I’ve also been nervous to talk about it at length like this because I feel like some people will think that my struggles as a mom aren’t warranted just because I have help. Which is bullshit by the way (sorry for the strong language). When you wear as many hats as I do you’re constantly run thin. I have fully earned all the future breakdowns that I will have about motherhood. Ha! And for some reason only the mother is considered a bad or lazy parent if her family has a nanny. We never look at the father that way or even question a father who says he has a nanny. Instead many would think “Why isn’t the mom watching the kids?” I’d strongly argue that if a working mom told someone she has a nanny they wouldn’t ask why the dad wasn’t watching the kids.
And last but not least, having our nanny means more love for my children! My mom lives in Massachusetts, my dad is 2 hours away, and Kevin’s parents live in Indiana. It makes me sad that they don’t have the “in-person” love of their grandparents as often as they would if we lived in the same town as them. Or even 30 mins away. But by bringing a nanny into our home, she has become family! The reason I don’t post about her on Instagram story is not because I’m trying to hide her. But it’s because I’m protecting her privacy. I’ve never asked her if she’s OK with being on my Instagram or blog. But I don’t want to put her in a position where she feels like she needs to say it’s OK if she’s not actually comfortable with it. All I’ll say is that her name is Jessica. She is one of the most caring and loving people I know. I am eternally grateful that she has become a part of our family. She loves my children like they’re her own and for that I will be forever grateful. My family grew when she came into our lives.
I Hired Someone for Ali Luvs
That’s right. My website has its first employee! A part-time employee (like my nanny) but I’m hoping my blog becomes more successful and I’m able to hire her full-time. That’s the goal anyhow! Her name is Madi and she’s an incredible friend of mine that helps me with my blog for 12 hours a week. She helps me do lots of things like come up with content ideas, sends out emails, adds some links to items I talk about in my blog, adds photos to my blog post, and most importantly edits all of my blog posts. Thank you, Madi, because I know how difficult editing my posts can be. I write all of my blogs via talk to text so sometimes when I send them to her it’s complete gibberish. But she somehow decodes them. The below pic is Madi!
To be honest with you guys I avoided hiring someone for a very long time. Not because I didn’t want to spend the money, but because I was so prideful on the fact that I did my blog all of myself! I remember telling you guys how my site was all me and no one else. I honestly think it was a way of trying to get cut some slack for my blog not being as polished or professional as some other people I follow. And here’s the truth about successful blogger – the vast majority of them have help! I can say with almost complete certainty that any blogger with over 1 million followers not only has a photographer, a hair and make-up team, an agent, and if they are a mother, then a nanny. This doesn’t just apply to bloggers. This applies to any woman or man who has a successful business. I’ve said it a bunch and I’ll say it again. You can’t do it all. You have to have help.
My Husband is a Unicorn
A while back when I was at work one of my co-workers called my husband Kevin a unicorn.
I honestly didn’t know what she meant at first. But then quickly realized that she meant guys like him just don’t exist. And while I completely agree with her that Kevin is one of a kind, I truly hope and pray that there are many other guys like him out there. I know there are! Kevin does it all. He is the best dad I know. I’ll tell you right now, he’s changed more diapers than I have, by maybe double. He does all the laundry, all the dishes, all the grocery shopping, and he does it all while making our kids belly laugh till it hurts. I truly would not be able to do what I do without him.
It’s funny because I post a lot of beautiful photos to Instagram showing my house super clean. Some of you thinks it’s BS and there’s no way our house could be that tidy with two small children. But it honestly usually is pretty clean. Not necessarily completely clutter free like some of my photos. But pretty damn close. And that’s not because of me! Take one step into my office and it looks like a tornado tore it apart. But that’s because it’s my space and Kevin doesn’t go in there. Ha! Same with my closet. But the rest of the house – Kevin cleans up all the time. Sure there’s clutter and kids toys around while the kids are playing. But the minute they go down for their nap or bed at the end of the day, he’s on it. Keeping a clean house is important to him.
Well I hope what you’re getting from this is is that the reason I am able to run my website, work on my TV show, and be a pretty present mother is because I have a husband who does the laundry, does all the dishes, does all the grocery shopping, keep the house super clean, and is an awesome dad! So I’m not doing it all – he’s doing most of it. Ha!
I know there are some women out there who are single moms that don’t have the luxury of a partner who can pick up the slack. Or carry the team in my case. So I know how lucky I am. I know I couldn’t do it without him.
Our Family Flies Out to Help
As you guys know I have a really hard time leaving my kids. If I have to go to New York for a work trip I will literally fly in, spend a few hours in the city doing what I have to do, and then fly back home to California. And while it’s very hard for me to be away from my kids, I think the main reason I go on these super quick trips is because I feel terrible leaving all the parenting on Kevin shoulders. Yes, he has the help of our Nanny Jessica from 7 AM until noon because he’s at work on his morning radio show. But as soon as he gets home from work, it’s all on him if I’m not here. And I feel guilty about that! He’s never done that to me! He’s never left town for a work trip or even a guys trip and left me to take care of the kids. I mean it wouldn’t be bad if he did do that but he just hasn’t.
So when I have to leave for a work trip it completely stresses me out! It’s stresses me out to leave my kids, it stresses me out to leave it all on Kevin shoulders, and it really stresses me out being over 3000 miles away from my family. But sometimes I have to do it. And we have family that knows how hard this is on us. And while we don’t have the luxury of having our family nearby to watch the kids…Oh, what I wouldn’t give to just call my mom on a Tuesday night and ask her to come over so Kevin and I can go get drinks. That would be the most amazing thing ever! But what I can do is call my mom or Kevin’s mom and asked them to fly in to help. And they’ve done it! Last time I went on a trip to New York, Kevin’s mom flew all the way to LA from Indiana to help with the kids for two days. That’s right, only two nights and then she flew right back home. She has her own life and plenty of things going on so she needed to get back but she was willing to come all the way out to help us. This was back before we had Jessica and because Kevin leaves the house at 4 AM to go to work we couldn’t really just hire any old sitter to come over to watch the kids while Kevin went to work. Now that we have Jessica, she’ll come over early in the morning to watch the kids if I have to leave town. But for a while we didn’t have this. But we have family. And we certainly don’t take that for granted.
I Pay for my Pretty Pictures
I have a professional photographer that I pay to take beautiful photos of me and my family.
I know you guys know that I have a photographer take many of the photos for my blog, but I absolutely had to add her to this list because she’s a huge part of why am able to make this website work! If I had to take all my photos myself, meaning set up a tripod and timer, I would never get all of my content for my blog! It would be impossible! Or I could have Kevin do it which I actually have in the past and it is resulted in more fights than I care to admit! Ha! When I finally started working with Ashley, I’ve never seen Kevin so relieved in his life! He was officially relieved as my full-time Instagram husband. Now I have an Instagram wife! And I say he’s relieved, but really only of full-time duty because he definitely takes a lot of my photos obviously out and about in daily life. But I no longer ask him to come outside to take fashion photos for my blog. Ha! And I know he’s super grateful for that.
To be completely honest with you guys, and Ashley knows this too, there came a point in time where I almost stopped taking the professional photos. I was worried and still sometimes worry, that my life is going to come across as too perfect on Instagram. And I don’t want that! That’s the furthest thing from what I want. The truth is, when I take all these photos with Ashley where I look all put together it’s because I’m normally so disheveled and not put together. I have to bang them all out in one day or I’ll never get any of it done. If I actually had to take photos for all the content I create on my blog on a daily basis I would NEVER have any time for my kids or myself or my husband. It would be exhausting!
Quick side note, the top I’m wearing below in the pretty picture Ashley took is only $20. Breastfeeding friendly and so easy to throw on! Had to quickly share.
When you see these beautiful photos in my feed, they’re beautiful because I have a kick ass professional photographer that is insanely talented! Sometimes she will come in my house and it will be super dark and an absolute mess and she’ll literally find the perfect angle to take a photo where it looks light, bright, and clean. Like in the photo above. I think that was the ONE corner in the house that day that wasn’t a complete mess! Sometimes I swear she has magic powers or something.
I want you guys all to know this because I want you to know when you look at my Instagram feed or anybody’s Instagram feed with all the beautiful photos, know there is a super talented photographer behind it. Whether it’s an Instagram husband, or someone amazing like Ashley. They’re out there.
Oh Hey Glam Team!
And speaking of those photoshoot days, a lot of times I have a make-up artist come over and do my make-up. There are some women out there that know how to do their own make-up and it looks amazing. I am not one of them! I literally just bought my very first eyeshadow palette the other day and tried to use it (tried being the key word) because I’ve NEVER been able to put eyeshadow on myself. I somehow look like I got punched in the face instead of anything that resembles a smoky eye. So when I know I need to take a bunch of photos for a campaign or when I’m doing outfit posts, I sometimes get my make-up done.
And when you see me looking all dolled up at work, it’s because I get my hair and make-up done at work EVERY single time. So if you see me with a face of make-up it’s because I want to look nice for one of my blog shoots, an event I’m going to or I was at work that say – know it’s not me. Meaning I’M not the reason I look like this. I have somebody who is professionally trained and paid doing my make-up.
Again, I don’t do it alone. I have help.
One Last Thing…
Before I go I have to say this, I know this blog is definitely geared towards working moms, but I want to give a shout out to all the stay-at-home moms out there. What you guys do is the work of saints! And I know some of you DON’T have help. To be honest with you, I don’t have it in me to be a stay-at-home mom. It is the hardest job on the planet and I am in absolute awe of every single woman that is able to do it. No, not everyone has a choice on whether or not they wanna be a working mom or stay at home mom. But in my mind, it doesn’t matter if you do it because you want to or because you have to, you’re a complete badass either way! And I’ll note that I still think any and every stay at home mom deserves help. Not any woman or person should be expected to do it all.
Well there you have it, I wanted to pull back the curtain to any of you out there that ever looked at my Instagram or read my Blog and thought “she does it all”. And I juggle a lot – dang, it’s a hell of a lot!- some days I find myself worked so thin that I don’t know how I’ll possibly get up the next morning and do it all over again. But I do. And the reason I do and I keep moving forward is because of all the incredible people that support me. I have help. And I feel empowered to tell you all that today knowing that it’s important for all of you to know.
And I leave the floor to you guys. Who’s helped you in your life get to where you are? Who keeps you keep sane as a parent? What help do you wish you could have that you don’t? Is there a way to get the help you need? Can you trade time with a friend, a coworker, your spouse? Let’s discuss and help each other out.