The Month in Moments: February

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IMG_3898 IMG_3675 IMG_2579 photo-5 photo-7 photo-6 photo-1 Here's to a lovely March. 
IMG_3446 ... uah. 


TOTW: watching NONSTOP nonstop

Check out NONSTOP's youtube channel, here. The best. 



I feel kind of idiotic even mentioning the dead horse that is Sunday night's Oscars (and I'm not even going to mention The Onion tweet or do a run-down of all of Seth MacFarlane's lazy jokes that were mostly offensive in their inability to be funny. This post by Libba Bray says it all and more.)

Award shows, The Oscars in particular, make Hollywood look like a chauvinistic asshole, which is, of course, partially true. But it's also partially false and I feel the need to stand up for this little town with its ruby slippers in a box singing neener neener, because somebody made those shoes and somebody believed in those shoes and it isn't even about the shoes who cares about the shoes what shoes.

Most of my friends work in this business of show and they are good people. They are creative and clever and interesting and behind the scenes and they are what this business is all about at its core and I believe that. I believe that we love movies and television because we love to be told stories. We love to listen and learn and laugh, change and escape. We cling to the words of the people who work very hard to fling them into the audience -- the moments carefully crafted with story boards and timing and take after take after take.

We love those feelings so much we cannot help but love the people who act them out for us. They become our stars and that is where the institution falls on its own sword. Because the messengers are just human beings. They trip and fall and say the wrong things and are used to people and fans and "friends" telling them their jokes are brilliant and funny and ha ha you're so great, you're a genius. They mumble and squint and walk with limps and we gasp and turn and cannot believe she said those things and did those things and didn't cover up that bruise on her arm! THE HUMANITY!

Seriously? Good for her for wearing her arm bruise to the Oscars because human beings have fucking bruises sometimes and actors should be allowed to be people and call me crazy but I like Kristen Stewart. I like that she's herself.

Anyway... moving on because I really am going somewhere with this, I swear.

One of my top three films of the year was Searching for Sugar Man (Moonrise Kingdom and Beasts of the Southern Wild were up there, too) and, as was expected, Sixto Rodriguez did not show up. And that was mentioned in Producer, Simon Chinn's acceptance speech, which, in my opinion was the high point of the night.

"Rodriguez isn't here tonight because he didn't want to take any of the credit for himself (CUE JAWS THEME INTERRUPTION! EVERYONE HERE MUST TAKE CREDIT FOR EVERYTHING! AHHHHH!)..."

The Jaws theme-as-speech-interrupter was the worst. It was mean-spirited and classless and cutting off Simon Chinn (of whom I've been a huge fan since watching Man on Wire) at the precise moment he was turning the mirror on the entire industry was, in my opinion, the most provocative moment of the night.

"...and that just about says everything about that man and his story that you want to know."

Call me delusional but the people we should be putting on pedestals are the people who have no desire to be there. They are the people who just want to make stuff. And they are here. And they are there. And they are everywhere. They are the reason we get to watch great movies and why we gather to praise them.

Hollywood may be incorrigible on the outside, but behind the curtain and under the stage, there is truth and there is love and there is magic.

And even though we'll never see it out at night in haute couture, the sun will always be brighter than the stars.

155. Crucify Your Mind by: Rodriguez 


Thank you, Amy Poehler

And thank you to @monben who tweeted the following video which I couldn't not share with you guys because HELL YEAH, AMY POEHLER. YOU GO. 

And to everyone who has commented, emailed and written posts in response to Friday's, thank you x a million. I am blown away by your willingness to be open and supportive and real. Thank you for participating in this conversation and for empowering me to do the same. Cheers to all the incredible helpers out there. You are amazing and appreciated and beloved. 


Help is (not) a Four-Letter Word

The door opens every morning at the same time. Monday through Friday, 7am. It's Tamara. She hugs me and then she takes the babies and until 2pm it is she who takes them on walks and feeds them their meals. It is she who puts them down for their naps and rocks them to sleep. It is she who follows them through the halls giggling.
And they love her. They love her like family and I love her like family and together we make it work on weekdays when Hal has to be at work at 6:30am. We divide and conquer. She makes breakfast for the babies while I make lunches for the big kids and when I come home after taking Archer and Fable to school, I kiss my girls goodbye, go into my office and close the door.

And yes, I'm here. But mostly I'm not. And I try to go about my business as if I can't hear their voices echoing through the halls. And I work because I have to. Because I want to and I have to and I want to and that means listening to headphones to block out their voices.

Even though I want to hear them.

It means locking the door so that they can't see me.

Even though I want to see them.

It means writing about their first birthday while someone else takes them for a walk.

That's weird, right?

It's kind of weird.

But this is work, strange as it sounds. This is part of my job. And I can't do it all.

But with help...

I can do some of it and Tamara can do some of it and Hal can do some of it and we can do most of it. We can take care of everyone and fix dinner and clean the bathroom and work on all of the things we must work on in order to support each other and ourselves.


Sometimes on this blog and elsewhere, I refer to Tamara as our "sitter" because a sitter sounds... something temporary, perhaps. Because "nannies" are what people who don't have time for their kids have. They're for celebrities and rich people and rich people who are also celebrities.

When Archer was a baby I wrote about being the only mother at the park without a nanny. I wrote about feeling inadequate about being young and broke and home. I cracked jokes about nanny pimps and the neighborhood moms who clucked in the park corners as their nannies did the parenting. I judged HARD. I was a better mother because I was home. Because I was home and I was raising my kid ALL BY MYSELF WITH NO HELP SO THERE. I was feeding my kid and putting my kid down for naps and dressing my kid. I was his mother and his caretaker and I was better.

Not that I ever wrote those things exactly (ed: I refuse to link back to those early posts because they're horrible and I was kind of the worst) or even said them out loud. But a superiority complex is still a superiority complex. And I had one. And for the last several years I've been at war with myself because of it.

Every time I read a post about any "mommy war" I'm struck by the transparency of the conversation. I know that my own holier-than-though(ness) stemmed (and still stems) from a lack of confidence in the decisions I make or have made. The times I felt like I was "better than them" were also the times I HAD to in order to feel good enough.

It's the same reason anyone is ever at odds with someone else. It's the reason we fight with our spouses and our children. It's the reason ALL mothers fight with themselves. Regardless of how many people we've hired to help us or how many jobs we're working to pay the bills or how many children we have, we are divided inside.

We are so divided inside that we have no choice but to roll up our sleeves and take it outside. 

So we push through back doors and divide each other. We create enemies out of our own insecurity and punch strangers in the face. We pick a side and spew vitriol from across the room because we are entitled to. Because "talking shit" is our god given right. Because "taking shit" is part of the job description.

Because it's hard to look at ourselves in the mirror when we aren't happy with the way we look. It's hard to see ourselves in photographs.

I was recently with a group of very well established work-from-home women who have nannies that help while they work. I had no idea that any of them had help because nobody ever said anything. Nobody felt comfortable saying anything.

Nobody talks about hiring help because nobody is supposed to. Because it insinuates privilege. Because it suggests weakness. Because it's strange for women to be at home with children, and also working jobs. Because it's strange for women to be at home working jobs that don't seem very job-like.

And it is strange.

Why does your house always look so clean?

How do you have time to work?

How do you do it all?

I have help, that's how. I have an incredible woman who works here from 7am to 2pm five days a week. And she helps me with my kids and she helps me with the house and she helps she helps she helps. And I pay her a large part of my salary to do that. So that I can work. So that I can write things that may or not go anywhere. So that I can write this post that may or may not matter. So that I can do what I love and feel sane and happy and myself.

And there is nothing wrong with that.

"There's nothing wrong with that," I say to myself.

So why has "nanny" become such a loaded word? Why are we, as women, so reluctant to talk about the people we hire to help us so that we can do what we do? What are we afraid of? People thinking we CAN'T do it all?

Well, duh.

We fucking can't.

So what's this big secret we're trying to keep and who do we think we're fooling?

And what is it doing to people who read our blogs and books and pin our how-tos and think that all of these projects are being finished while children sit quietly on the sidelines with their hands in their laps.

What is it doing to you?

We write disclosure copy on posts that are sponsored, giveaways that are donated. We are contractually obligated to label and link but where is the disclosure copy stating how we work from home with small children? How we shoot videos and meet deadlines and go to meetings and travel around the country attending conventions and conferences.

We have help, that's how!

We have INCREDIBLE and much beloved (worshipped, actually) help!

Thirty five hours a week for the last fifteen months.


A knock at my office door at 2:00. It's time for Tamara to leave.

She fills me in on last naps and who-ate-what-whens as I walk her to the door. And then with a kiss and a hug and a "see you tomorrow" she's off to her next job and I'm off to mine.
Today, instead of caring for my babies, I sent six emails, participated in a conference call that (fingers crossed) will lead to work, scribbled a few notes on things to post next week. I said yes to something and no to something and cancelled a lunch date I made that I totally forgot about. I also wrote this post. Instead of feeding my babies their lunch and taking them on their morning walk and playing with their feet during diaper changes, I wrote this post.

It was worth it.

It wasn't worth it.

It's always worth it.

It never is.

This is an argument I have had with myself for years. This is an argument I'll never stop having. This is an argument we have had with each other for years. This is an argument we'll never stop having.


This post was inspired by comments as well as emails asking how I manage to update a blog regularly while at the same time caring for four children. I thought I was being pretty candid, here, about having daily help, but apparently not candid enough. So? I thought it important to address one of the least blogged about topics out there: the people we hire so that we have the time to blog. And create and run businesses, and support our families and our sanities and ourselves. 

Do you work from home with small children? Do you have help? What has your experience been like as a work from home parent? As a stay at home parent? As a work out of the home parent? Why do you think "help" is such a difficult thing to talk about? Why are we so reluctant to admit we need it? I look forward to your thoughts on this in a major way. Thank you in advance for being respectful of each other's stories and situations. With love... 


stories and tellers and notes to self

It had been since Christmas since we'd all been together. We used to go down to San Diego to visit for the weekend every month but it's a big trip to take for a short time with so many of us so everyone comes to us, now. There's Nana with her swatches and ideas for what color to paint the back fence and my mom insisting on watering everything and my dad with children hanging all over him and Hal always on an instrument and kids everywhere eating chalk and sneezing on everything and long lost shoes that we still haven't found and it's been almost a week now. (Revi hid them somewhere, I am sure of it.)
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I haven't posted a liner notes post since October and I think I might start posting them again. I realized this week, after an insane few days that I've missed rounding up the moments I hint at on Instagram. (I stopped posting Liner Notes because I felt they were redundant - all the photos you've already seen on IG, the scenes that are the same every week -  the windows and doors and the crumbs on the kitchen floors...)
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...But the stories are always different even when they're the same and I kind of love writing these little posts about nothing because they are also about everything.