Confessions of a Working Blogger Mom

Confessions of a Working Blogger Mom

I cringe so hard when I read the comments on fellow blogger mom’s Instagram feeds. “Can I just be you?” “Your life is perfect!” Okay, so I’ve rarely ever heard such comments on my own Instagram feed (In fact, I’m not sure if I ever have…), but I have had friends in real life comment on how amazing my life seems, and that they wish they had my cool house or the time to do fun things (like crafts, or just their hair). It’s always a bit awkward when I receive those compliments, because sometimes they’re backhanded, and often they sound a bit self-deprecating. You wish you had the time? Oh really? SO DO I.

When I hear those comments while I’m at work behind the espresso machine, I want to retort with something like, “I wish I had the time to be out at Starbucks once a week spending money on overpriced lattes before I cart my kids off to Target where I buy them cute clothes and those squeezy packs of food that they’ll for sure eat and not throw over the edge of the high chair like Lucy does with the food I thoughtfully make with the time I don’t have.” Much of my life is spent scurrying home from a barista job so I can bust out work (that I enjoy doing) for A Beautiful Mess, so that I can maybe have time to consider what (or if) I can make for dinner (that Lucy won’t reject), and trying not to completely neglect my kiddo when Phil brings her home from Mom’s house, where she’s been lovingly cared for while I work. During days I don’t work at Starbucks, I often stay in my pajamas (Phil’s big gray sweatpants and Duke sweatshirt), makeup smudges under my eyes because I was too exhausted to wash my face the night before or that morning, hoping that whatever project I’m photographing that day won’t betray an embarrassing reflection of my appearance.

You guys, I’m not trying to say that I don’t enjoy my life, or that I don’t have nice things. I do! But so do you! I sometimes have a hard time making it to the weekend, and once the weekend is here, it often means just more work for me, because the babysitter (Phil) is home to help around the house. Life is not all fun and games. But I try not to portray the negativity that I sometimes feel, the anxiety, or the cluttered house. That kind of stuff can be a downer to read. But for the sake of dispelling any misconceptions that my (or any other blogger’s) life is like a magazine, I thought I’d share some confessions from this blogger mom.

Confessions of a Working Blogger Mom

I’ve never cleaned the bathroom in our house. Not ever. Don’t worry, Phil does. And we agreed on this being his chore, but I still feel really guilty about it for some reason. Gender stereotypes, perhaps?

I rarely put my toothbrush away, and the TP roll only sometimes makes it onto the roll holder by the toilet. Also- look! I have ugly toothbrushes and normal toothpaste. My lotion was a gift from Bath & Body Works, and isn’t something like the beautifully designed Aesop products that all the cool bloggers seem to be all about these days.

I wear Phil’s sweatshirts and sweatpants more often than not on my work-at-home days. I’m trying to remedy this, because I don’t feel good when I dress like that. A nice alternative, I’m finding, is a comfortable button-up shirt with a loose fitting jumper. You know, something like what Debra Barone would wear in Everybody Loves Ramond. Again- not so cool, eh? 

I haven’t shaved my legs since being in Florida during the first week of January. Or my armpits for that matter. This isn’t a feminist stance, but rather a lack of time for luxuriously long showers. When I do happen to shave my legs, I just feel like it’s a huge waste of time that could be better spent on something else- even if it’s just relaxing on the sofa watching Netflix. Priorities, people.

We have garish plastic toys and foam mats at our house. In our one and only living room, not our nonexistent playroom.

Confessions of a Working Blogger Mom

I’ve finally figured out how to keep my houseplants alive, but I can’t keep them on the floor. I thought I could be super mom and teach my 1 1/2 year old about obeying and not playing in houseplant dirt. But I’m tired of cleaning up dirt four times a day.

Those houseplants are in the ugly plastic containers that they came in at the hardware store. That’s right, I don’t buy my houseplants from beautiful nurseries that make for cool photo shoots or Instagram shots.

I saved up and bought Lucy one of those beautiful Blabla Bunnies, but it’s probably her least favorite toy. But hey, it looks good in pictures, I guess.

Our dining room table is constantly covered with power tools and project supplies. I’m working on finding a better way to deal with constantly working on projects in our tiny house. But I just can’t seem to find the time to get everything organized and built, or the money to gather the supplies.

Confessions of a Working Blogger Mom

Confessions of  a Working Blogger Mom

I let Lucy watch TV while I work on projects. She doesn’t always watch tv, and she is happy to play by herself or read books lots of the time, but when she gets fussy, and I can’t stop working on something, I turn to Daniel Tiger for his wonderful babysitting abilities. 

I was so proud of myself for making sugar-free banana oat cookies for Lucy, and then I ate half the batch myself.  

My friends (and I) all think I’m a coffee snob, but lately I’ve been microwaving my second cup of coffee about five times a day.

I bought a pack of sugar cookies to use for a photo prop, and then I ate them all while Lucy napped. And then I felt really bad about it. I’ve been giving in to stress eating more and more often these days, which is making me more stressed.

When I want to take an Instagram photo, I move things out of the background so my house looks clean. 

I hesitate to do more kitchen related posts, even though my life tends to revolve around the kitchen, because I don’t think it’s pretty enough to take pictures in. I realized how pathetic that seems, once I typed it out.

I hesitate to do more kitchen related posts, even though my life tends to revolve around the kitchen, because I don't think it's pretty enough to take pictures in. I realize how pathetic that seems, once I typed it out.

Confessions of  a Working Blogger Mom

There are plenty more things to say about how unglamorous my life is, but it’s way more fun to pretend that everything is beautiful and fulfilling in my life, so that’s the side of my life that I tend to share with you, when I have time that is. I’ve been trying not to stress about getting posts up as frequently here, because I would just rather spend that extra time with family and friends. I’m sure you get it. And I’m sure you’re not sitting here clicking refresh and wondering when a new post will pop up. But I do enjoy sharing things with you all here, though even more so, I enjoy the sense of camaraderie with you all and fellow bloggers on social media, like Instagram. Just let’s not get too caught up in appearances, ‘kay? We’re all just regular ol’ humans, after all!

129 Responses

  1. Gise says:

    Your life is beautiful anyway ;)

  2. lizzy says:

    girl i have the same issue with my kitchen – i end up taking photos in literally every other area of the house. not being a mom i can’t imagine judging anyone for having more or less time than i do, but it’s ok to skip the crazy messy parts to avoid being a downer or complainer. you’re doing great!

  3. katie says:

    i want to give you a hug. :)

    I relate to almost all of this. just a few comments though: I would probably blog a lot more about food and my recipes if I didn’t think my kitchen were ugly. AND, something encouraging… as Lucy gets older she might care more about her Blabla doll! Norah has a few, I’ve given her one for Christmas a few times, and they’re her favorite little snuggly toys right now. So don’t give up hope! ;)

  4. Laura says:

    THIS is the kind of blog post that makes me smile, makes me relate, and makes me come back to read again. You are real and you have a gorgeous life, as regular as it may be. THANK YOU for sharing!!!!

  5. Alex says:

    Haha. Amazing. And yes, agree agree agree. And you just reminded me I was meant to shave tonight as it’s ‘date night’ tomorrow night and I can’t turn up with hairy pits… I’ll have to do a rush job in the morning lol. Our partners are saints to put up with us hairy crazy women :)

  6. danielle thompson says:

    Amen to, like, this entire blog post. : ) This is why I love you!

  7. Myrna says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for your honesty. I really needed to hear that. :)

  8. Jamie says:

    Preach it! Lots of this sounds very familiar to me!

  9. A says:

    I started reading your blog because I love your vintage aesthetic and outlook. Not because you have a perfect life. Frankly, I think blogs like A Beautiful Mess are a huge contributor to our (meaning yours and mine and I’m sure many others’) anxiousness about appearing perfect. It’s great that you’re confessing your “flaws” in this one, single solitary blog post, but you know what would be better? Go beyond talking the talk. You can show us this stuff all the time. Obviously no one cares if you have an imperfect kitchen. And most people can’t afford expensive things either. If anything, these “flaws” make you more relatable to your reader.

    Just my two cents. Again, I really like you and your blog.

    • Mandi says:

      It’s true that blogs and magazines that have pretty things in them can potentially contribute to our anxiousness about appearing perfect. But I think really the culprit is our own mind. I didn’t mean to insinuate that bloggers are doing something wrong by taking pictures of the nicer things in their lives, or for not sharing the uglier sides of things. I just wanted to remind us all to consider that this is but a glimpse into life, and that we shouldn’t be comparing our own lives to others, especially to what we can barely see of other lives from what is shown on the internet. :)

  10. Oh boy can I ever relate! Except I clean people’s toilets. I’m a housekeeper and I run an Etsy shop on the side. I am always feeling unglamorous so I tried to do a sunday best post of what I wore to church! Haha but it’s been months now….
    I think posts like this are healthy! I have read many a blog where everything is perfect and even though I know it isn’t a reflection of reality it still makes me feel like I’m inferior. Much like magazine covers…I have to remind myself that the truth is that they are altered. Excluding imperfection and with enhancments… I
    Great post!

  11. Ashlie says:

    I have been following you for at least three years, and I think this is the best post you’ve EVER ever done. Thank you so much for being brave enough to share the reality of the real. It is so helpful to know that other people are waking up mascara-crusted and spot cleaning for Instagram. It’s also helpful to see that someone as beautiful and inspiring and creative as yourself has some of the same struggles that “the rest of us” do. Lastly, I wanted to get indignant about your comment that we DO have enough time to do the fun and interesting little projects, but you’re correct. We make time for the things we want to do. Thank you for this post.

  12. Kelley says:

    Oh my goodness, I know exactly what you mean! I have a 20 month old and work part-time. My husband and I switch off when he gets home. Lately we’ve gotten so much snow that its hard to go out during the day and I’ve been letting her watch some Sesame Street and Winne the Pooh. I tried to start blogging again, but it didn’t take. We have plastic toys too and no playroom in our apartment…etc, etc. So anyway, I know exactly what you mean and I see (and feel) the pressure to be a perfect mom crafting a perfect childhood and home too, but I think its more than okay to not be perfect. That’s life, right? :). Thanks for posting this. Its good to know I’m not alone.

  13. Shy says:

    I love your blog because you are a relatable REAL person! I feel like we could be friends, you know… in real life? haha Everyone feels like this:! Time slipping away and that feeling of appearing like you have it all together when you are struggling to get dressed and don’t even get me started on the stress eating…!

    btw way: my man cleans the toilet because lets face it… its not me making a mess around that area…. ;)

  14. I love you Mandy! Life is great, but it is messy. A constant juggling act and you inspire me!

  15. Christamae says:

    I love this so much. And I can relate, even though I’m not a blogger mom…just your average working mom. I’ve got all the good stuff – amazing family & friends & pride in how I live my life – but it’s still far from the glamorous life that some people seem to think i live.

  16. Hi Mandi,
    I loved this post and I can totally relate to it. Sometimes I wonder if it is a blogger responsibility if her/his lives do appear so perfect. So many times we get to hear that, right? Sometimes we even think it of other colleague bloggers.
    I guess the truth is we all like to share the positive side of our lives, so inevitably seen from the perspective of other people’s computer everything looks maybe too glamorous and sometimes can generate stress in others or envy.

    Having said so, friends and readers should understand that life is more complicated than what can be shown in a few blog-posts. Did someone ever consider that even posting these things and taking pictures of it all is a lot of work and not just glamorous fluff that takes no energy to produce?

    Well, just wanted to tell you I understand you and i believe in all the effort you put in your family and your work and your blog. Well done, behind all this beauty and inspiration there is a lot of hard work, ability and passion (and often an house that is not so perfect) I know.
    a big hug to you

  17. Rachel says:

    I love every thing about this, but maybe most the part about ugly plastic toys and eating all the cookies.

  18. Phil says:

    Mandi, you are a great wife, a great mom, and you are great at what you do! I love that you get to do things these days that make you happy! I’m looking forward to a long weekend with my two favorite girls! XOXO

  19. Maria says:

    What a great post! So refreshingly honest. Loved it.

  20. Michelle says:

    I love what you said about eating the banana cookies. I’ve been known to do the same thing myself. It made me laugh. Thanks

  21. Rachel says:

    This post is exactly what I needed to read today. Your honesty is a breath of fresh air!

  22. Wendy H. says:

    Thanks for keeping it real, Mandy! As someone who reads dozens of lifestyle and fashion blogs, sometimes I buy into the idea that bloggers are living some glossy surreal dream life. While it is nice to read superficial thoughts and see perfect pictures, it’s good to remember that real life is just as fascinating– if not more so. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for the last few years, thanks for your beautiful and thoughtful content. You are inspiring.

  23. Ann-Marie says:

    Love this. Love this. Love this. I’ve been working at home for the past two years and I have a hard time just managing myself! When my first child arrives this July, I have no doubt it will only get harder to pull off the illusion of having it all together. Thank you for sharing! xo

  24. Natanya says:

    Like other commenters have said, a breath of fresh air this is. Thanks, Mandi, for letting us peek behind the blogging curtain. This one post has perhaps re-calibrated my belief in what the pictures on most blogs show. Of course we all “know” that no one’s life is perfect, but it can be so hard to really truly believe it when everything looks so smashing. I appreciate your honesty and will keep coming back to read here because of your authenticity and quality content. Thanks for being you!

  25. Amber says:

    This is the best blog post I’ve read all month. THANK YOU for writing your truth. Also…
    “When I want to take an Instagram photo, I move things out of the background so my house looks clean.” <— I totally do this too. And I am always so happy that the laundry on our bedroom floor isn't high enough to show up when I take photos of my dog on our bed. ;)

  26. Kristi says:

    You are doing a wonderful job. Juggling a child along with work is hard stuff. Raising a child is hard stuff. Also, she’s 1 1/2!!!!!! You are doing fantastic. All those things you mentioned, normal parent things. Minus the reheated coffee. Bleh! Once maybe ;)

    Love love love your orange chairs too.

  27. Sarah says:

    As a fulltime working mom of an 11 month old (and owner of the cluttered house that comes with it, no playroom either) I loved this post!

  28. doris says:

    i just can’t get over how much i love that first pic of you and lucy. that is one delightful mother/daughter photo. great post, btw. :)

  29. Krissy says:

    Love your honesty! This is a fantastic post :-)

  30. danielle says:

    I never comment. This is an amazing post. Honest and funny. Rarely seen on many bloggers blogs. The aesops comment is hilarious!!! Love this post. Thanks for keeping it real!

  31. patty says:

    Perfect post! I luv your blog and I always marvel at the time you take to write. My nest is empty now and Im so glad I didnt have the added pressure of the world wide web when my kids were little and I was just trying to get through the day. Much less having a pristine abode that I could put out there for the world to see. Take the stress off yourself and know that “we” are out here in the same boat!!

  32. Casey says:

    I love this post! I read a lot of fashion and lifestyle blogs and a lot of times I stop and find new ones because of this same thing. I like real-life people, people with responsibilities and budgets. Some may have the time to have a perfect house and dedicate hours to their appearance, however as a mom I have a hard time relating. There are so many things in my life at this time that are far more important.

  33. Stephanie D says:

    I just want to give you a hug and bottle up all your anxiety and blow it away and then go yell at all the meanies for you! Seriously!!! It makes my heart hurt that you even felt the need to post this : ( You’re pretty great, from what I have read…and I think you do fine. We all do what we have to. Lucy looks happy and a new home is never finished as soon as we all would like. I’ve lived in my current home for over 3 years and I still have stuff to do!!! I hope your mind can calm and the knowledge that no one has their shit figured out gives you strength : )

  34. Elyse Ashley says:

    This makes me feel so much better! I just started my own blog and I felt like I had to have been doing something wrong because I barely have time to keep up! Right now I am on hiatus from work, (I work in golf and its the middle of winter) so I have all the time in the world, and it still doesn’t seem like enough! It’s nice knowing i’m not alone! Love you, Love your blog! Thank you!!!!

  35. Isabella says:

    This was extremely refreshing to read.

    It can feel very lonely to hear the people think your life is “perfect.” It’s like they’re unwilling to see the whole you, or to imagine you as a full person who exists outside of the limited information you display on the internet. I’ve heard “You always look cute!” and “You’re always so happy!” in real life many a time, and although they’re meant as compliments, it just doesn’t feel good to hear someone simplify or glamorize me.

    I’m happy to see that Lucy has Winnie the Pooh and colorful plastic toys to play with – I don’t have children yet, but overly hip baby clothes, toys, and room decor make me cringe a little! The important thing is to help your child enjoy exploring her world, not to help her look cool while doing it.

    Anyway, thank you for your post! Try not to be too hard on yourself about the stress eating – it’s a natural instinct to turn to food for comfort, and letting yourself eat a package of cookies guilt-free might actually lead to eating fewer cookies in the future (at least that’s been my experience.) 

  36. Karen says:

    Great post. Thanks for sharing. I think it was just the other day that I saw one of you pins and thought, “wow, she probably makes the healthiest things for her baby, she really has her act together.” As a fellow mom (2 year old daughter) and a blogger newbie, I can relate to pretty much every one of your “confessions.” Thanks for putting this out there.

  37. Kristian says:

    Such a real post and one I loved.

    Also- there are people whose houses are just so clean they don’t push things out of the way/tidy before instagramming it? I think that might be a myth! (Or I’m hoping because I do that too).

  38. Grey says:

    I love this honest post. It seems like there’s more and more pressure for our homes and lives to be “blog-worthy” or “pinterest-worthy.” This real life post was much more interesting than anything “pinterest perfect”!

    P.S. I love the photo of Lucy in the living room. So cute!

  39. I just want to give you 2 big thumbs up!! Moms in the blogging world sometimes make me feel like I’m doing it wrong. But the truth is that we’re all just people struggling to get through. It’s not a bad thing to look on the bright side, but I think the trend in blogging right now is to curate a perfect life that doesn’t exist for anyone. Normal people still have to do their laundry before they run out of good underwear, get up in the middle of the night with a crying baby, and put all their crap away (eventually…). Enough of everyone trying to be perfect already!

  40. Lynne says:

    Thank goodness!
    Thank you for this post ??????

  41. Wow, just wow. Thanks for posting this. It actually makes the rest of us self-conscious, anxiety-laden readers feel better. Not because we’re seeing your imperfections or feel bad for you. But feeling better because you’re being transparent and REAL and you’re just like us. It’s so hard not to see perfection in the blog-i-sphere and on sites like Pinterest when everything looks so damn beautiful and perfect. But I think a perfect life would be rather boring, don’t you? But it’s hard not to romanticize perfection. You work hard and we recognize that! You work hard and do beautiful work that is well appreciated. Life’s hard and that’s why we need eachother to make it through. Seriously, thank you — keep doing what you’re doing even when you doubt yourself.

  42. Chelsea says:

    I always knew you were a badass.

  43. Love love love this post so much. It’s genuine and that’s what I need right now in my life. I’ve been almost getting depressed lately looking at other lifestyle and mom blogs where people seem to have it all together. It makes me form this crazy love/hate relationship with them. I feel like I’m barely grabbing 10 mins for myself when my baby naps and the kitchen is perpetually a mess even after I do a load of dishes. Reading this blog post makes me feel more connected to your experience as it is so similar to mine. Keep writing these kinds of posts please!

  44. Thank you for keeping it real! I feel like with the wonders of social media and blogging comes the pitfall of sometimes losing clarity. We forget we are looking at curated images of someone else’s well-edited world. These glossy images aren’t reality and even if we know it we still fall into the trap of thinking it is something to strive for. Well I call bananas on it, so there!

  45. Briseidy says:

    thanks for this honest post and sharing your real life ;)

  46. Jessica says:

    Keep the honesty coming, Mandi! It’s refreshing. I think it’s weird when people make the “your life is perfect”/”I wish I was you” comments on blogs/social media. Nobody’s life is perfect, enjoy the one you have.

  47. Annie says:

    I just love you Mandi and wish we were neighbors. I love how candid and real you are. I think you are a delight!

  48. Heather says:

    What an awesomely refreshing post! Thank you for your honesty and openness. And come on, isn’t real life beautiful as it is? I have a 2.5 year old and a 6 month old. When I look back on these days of chaos and messes, you think I’m going to wish my house were cleaner? No. I will relish all these sweet moments and special memories. Thank you for showing both sides.

  49. I have one word… AMEN. I sometimes refer to myself as a slobovian… Life gets in the way. Virtual high fives!

  50. Mandi, your blog is my official favorite on the Internet. I relate to you on every one of these confessions. And I think your kitchen is cute.. I love the wood cabinets. This confessional is awesome. As fellow blog mom, I also really appreciate that you can make such beautiful art out of your every day life, even when life is imperfect!

  51. Emmisen says:

    I’m sorry you felt the need to explain this to us, it must mean you’ve been getting some mean comments. But i am also grateful for you sharing! I am sitting here with my two months old girl and haven’t shaved my legs since my belly grew too big… I don’t mind it, haven’t even bothered to ask my hubby, and i am a little surprised at how happy i got to learn about your legs! hahaha! it is tricky to read blogs by photographers, as i understand that you only take pictures and post pictures that show the nice and pretty. i try to always keep that in mind when i read these blogs, and i wouldn’t want to put just anything for the world to see either, just as i pick up the worst from the living room floor before we have guests over. take the bad comments as a sign of you being a talented photographer :)

    and PLEASE do more kitchen posts! i am from sweden and think all amercan kicthens look super exotic and cool in whatever state they are in.

    • Mandi says:

      Thanks for your sweet words! I haven’t had any mean comments at all, I just think we all need to remember that even if bloggers portray a pretty life, we are all real people. :)

  52. Alison says:

    Thank you for sharing. As a young woman who has recently returned to blogging after being away from it for almost 10 years, I love that you share the “real” stuff. It’s so easy to manipulate an image, spin it to something more positive, and fabricate something that looks like a dream. Sure it’s nice to escape to fantasy every once in awhile, but come on, we’re human. :)

    XO Alison

  53. Courtney says:

    Mandi, I have so much respect for you that you posted this. It is so easy to make our lives look perfect and fun and clean in Instagram photos but we are still all human and messy. You’re hard work is something that really encourages me. You go girl!!! Seriously.

  54. Erin says:

    Commenting for the first time because your truth is beautiful and so are you and your daughter. I LOVE the name Lucy!

  55. Liz says:

    I really appreciate your candor. It gives your blog authenticity and sincerity that other similar blogs lack. Thank you!!

  56. Emily Baker says:

    thank you so much for your honesty. I so enjoy this post. you’re amazing!!! keep your chin up during the hard times, girl!

  57. Jennifer Benc says:

    Best. Post. Ever.

  58. Mandi- I love this! Thanks for this post- I so appreciate your genuine writing. I’ve been feeling intimidated to comment on your blog, because your life seems so together! I’m glad to know you have normal toothpaste at your house- haha. I always thought you were awesome in high school, and I still think that now :)

  59. April says:

    I just wanted to let you know that as my New Years resolution this year I gave up reading the types of mommy blogs you discussed here. Unfollowed them on my Blogger and Instagram accounts. Even though I suspect their lives are mostly on show the ways you’ve described, I couldn’t help but feel insecure when reading how “glamorous and easy” they have it. Someone told me to check you out, and here this post is. Bravo and thank you. You’ve not only confirmed my suspicions and vanquished my ridiculous insecurities, you’ve gained a follower. I look forward to reading your blog in the future.

  60. Alessia says:

    This post is exactly why I love your blog and is one of the few I still read. I’m glad you have stayed true to yourself and still share all the wonderful things you make and find in addition to sharing your experiences as a mother in an honest and humble way. I think you have a great balance in your posts and have stayed true to the medium of blogging not trying to sell a lifestyle or turn your blog into a magazine. Keep up the good work!

    ps. love the jumper

  61. Taylor says:

    I love you and your honesty and your willingness to open up about how real-life is. I’ve had friend’s comment, “wow, I wish I had time to blog and do cool stuff,” and I wanted to yell back, “SO DO I!!!” I work full-time AND go to school full-time. I don’t have any kids, but my life is still really hectic. I’m busy trying to make a home with me and my boyfriend and it’s so frustrating to hear comments like that. Half the time, my blog posts are rushed the night before and taken with my flash. My life is not perfect and I don’t ever want to portray that to my reader’s. I am normal and I just try my best to document the things I do. Thank you for sharing this and your honesty.


  62. Sarah says:

    Amen sister.

  63. alison says:

    I just read this sitting in my pjs, in the middle of the day, with my 3 year old watching cartoons, feeling guilty looking at the sunshine outside. Thanks for this, I needed it :)

  64. Sacha says:

    Thanks for sharing! This is a great reminder to readers. I know so many of us can get caught up in all the beauty we see online, and miss the beauty in our own homes/lives.

    Your life looks beautiful, with the imperfections!

  65. Java says:

    I have been following you for around two years and this is my favourite post you have ever, ever posted. Brilliant, funny, touching and real. My toothbrushes are ugly too.

  66. Lune says:

    Mandy! I just considered taking a pic of my super dirty kitchen stacked to the brim with every dish dirty, old pizza boxes and recycling, craft supplies from making valentines today and unpacked luggage from our trip a few days ago. I 100% get where you’re coming from. I sure loved reading about your mess though. Made me feel better about mine too. Still gonna try clean it now though …

  67. I just love you for this! :) Your life is just beautiful, “imperfections” and all. Thanks for being so REAL

  68. Chris Stpeck says:

    Mandi this is the best thing I could have read. It is like you took the words right out of my mouth about everything. My house is a disaster, I am eating everything in sight and I just feel blah! Can’t seem to find the motivation to keep it all together. I am hoping that this winter weather has something to do with it and that a little sunshine will change my mind set. Thanks for being real……other blogs can make you feel worse.

  69. laura says:

    you are brilliant. I laughed out loud whilst reading this post. so honest and so refreshing. xx

  70. Heidi Jo says:

    Hi Mandi,

    Thanks so much for writing this. I really needed to read this today. I definitely appreciate the candor with which you composed this post. I’m sure we can all relate.

    As horrible as this may sound, it was nice to see that you’re not perfect–and that you can talk about it with humor and grace and charm.

    For the record: your site is beautiful and so are you. Yours was the first site I ever started following with any regularity, and I love coming back here for new posts. You’re an inspiration, cluttered house or not!

    God bless.

  71. Sarah says:

    Wow, this is my first time reading your blog but I will definitely be back! I wish every blogger would write a truthful, honest post like this about the difference between what they put out there and their everyday reality. What amazing posts those would make! I’d love to read about what the actual lives of my favorite (and even least-favorite) bloggers were really like — including how blogging has impacted their daily lives — FAR more than the carefully “curated” posts and images that are being posted these days. Wonderful, thoughtful post!

  72. melissa lee says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  73. Keegan says:

    Oh my god, thank you. What an incredibly refreshing relief. We are all human aren’t we!? My heart feels a hundred times lighter

  74. Sara Poer says:

    I appreciate your honesty and willingness to share. And totally agree that the light up plastic toys are my daughters favorites, not the handmade wooden ones we buy. Haha.

  75. Svenja says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post! Your unglamorous life sounds perfect to me! :)

  76. Chelsea says:

    I liked reading this. Taking photos of only the best things is a way of focussing on the positives! And when you’re old and look back on your photos you will remember the things you loved the most in the way they looked the best!

  77. Rachel says:

    I’m happy I stumbled here through the interwebs… you had me at the Debra Barone reference and your kiddo is super cute. Thanks for this post! It can be a downer when everyone online seems so shiny and perfect ^___^ I haven’t washed my hair yet today because I wanted to take my dog for a car ride before the traffic got bad… priorities :)

  78. Heather says:

    Thanks for sharing! This is the best blog post I have read in a long, long, while. Keep up the great work! & the honesty :)

  79. Lisa W. says:


    Said beautifully:) Thanks for keeping it REAL! I’m a lttle late responding because I check for a new post WHEN I have time:) AND look very forward to it when I do!!!!!!! Lucy is ADORABLE!!!!!

  80. Kate says:

    Thank you for this. I feel normal now. I can relate to everything you said. I’m slowly accumulating art supplies for a project and my drill is permanently in my dining room. Thank you..and I think your life is beautiful. Mine is prettier than I thought too. Xoxo

  81. Caroline says:

    Your life is beautiful – especially with the clutter, mess and utter exhaustion.

    Great post, so pleased pinterest had me stumble across your corner of the blogosphere! x

  82. paula strong says:

    High Five to you!!! many people like you want people to think their life is wonderful when its far from it . It’s normal and making all us normal people feel less of a wife,mother, or friend. Your honesty is what you need to tell and that in hand will help so many more woman feel they are doing their best. You know I should give you a HIGH TEN!!!! Paula

  83. Cassandra says:

    You have no idea how much I needed to read this. I appreciate you sharing this part of your life, thank you!

  84. Ashley says:

    This post was SO refreshing, thank you.

    And if my eye is trained, I love your Home Depot plant and rocking horse :)

    – Ashley

  85. Ashley says:

    This made me love you and your blog, SO much more. I always end up feeling like I can’t shoot in our house because it’s so BLAH and we don’t have cool furniture and a standard apartment kitchen. It’s nice to see the real ness of someone’s life. Thank you.

    xo Ashley

  86. amy says:

    you are a breath of fresh air. so well written and the message was very much appreciated.

  87. Diane says:

    Thank you, thank you for this post! I have been totally guilty of wanting that cool house or that fancy lotion, but really, I have all those things in my own way too! If only I had a playroom and the big plastic farm didn’t reside on my fireplace stoop…but I secretly kind of like it there. As a stay-at home-mom to two littles that can’t communicate in understandable words all day, I sometimes long for something more “adult” and these blogs (especially yours) have been awesome for my daily dose of something pretty with words I can understand. So thank you for what you do! and for the reminder that my reality is just as good :)

  88. People have said this to me too saying that we seem to have a picture perfect life and it is not true. I laughed at the bathroom comment and it is great that Phil is so helpful. My husband’s only chore is taking out the trash and I can’t imagine him doing anything else, but I am the neatfreak. I hate hate hate when he throws his clothes on the floor all the time, and I should have known he’d always do that. I used to clean his bedroom for him in high school which prepared me for what I’d have to deal with which is exactly the same in that way. I clean the bathroom up to three times a week but LOVE cleaning bathrooms, as odd as that sounds. I hate dishes the most but I do them. We used to take turns because I worked at a Subway for two years and did dishes in between most of my other work there and didn’t want to come home to do dishes, but now that I am home all the time, it isn’t a big deal, but I still hate it. haha. GOod for you saying what issues go on here and there. I know what it is like to have a toddler (though it’s been a while for me now) so I guess most people who have kids understand that it is not peaches and cream while people without kids probably think it is dreamy and wonderful all the time. It is nice for them to learn the realities.

  89. velerie says:

    just three words, ‘best of both worlds’ !

  90. ashley d says:

    I have a 16 month old and I know exactly how you feel. I’m a full time working mom to a rambunctious boy. Admittedly, I get caught up in thinking everything in the photos I see is perfect and wish I lived the same way. I’ve had mono for 6 weeks, too. Soooo I deeply appreciate this post.

  91. Kaylin says:

    My husband not only cleans the bathroom and does the laundry but is way better at it than me! Modern times are the best. I can relate to is much of what you wrote. But all I want to say is your doing just fine (awesome actually) and thanks for writing!

  92. Love this. I am not with any children yet, but I work FT and also blog, and sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in all the things that we’re supposed to get done around the house. Sometimes I wake up, and I’m like, who made this ungodly mess in the house! Who left this can of beer on the coffee table? Who forgot to let the dog out? And I feel like I’m not the woman I’m supposed to be. It’s really great to hear that there are some other folks who work and work and work and still feel like at the end of the day, their life is not perfect. So good to hear!

  93. Preethi says:

    First time on your blog and I read this. How can you be so honest. Love your post love you. I can see soo much what I do in this post.

  94. Ciara says:

    This is so refreshing that I chose to comment. I never do. Well done.

  95. Cate says:

    I love what you’re saying here, I relate so much to the pj reflection thing, thanks for the honesty! You go girl! x

  96. Susan says:

    Awesome post. Read between the lines to an amazing life because you have a roof over your head, your making life work, you have family – and you love – with gratitude.

  97. Thank you! I feel that in following so many wonderful blogs and feeds that you do see only the highlights and think only briefly that this is a reality. I have to remind myself that I am only seeing through a filtered lens. It feeds into my jealousy and my competitive drive. I hate feeling that way. So thank you again and again after that. I feel you. I have dust bunnies in the corners and dried syrup on the table but dammit by instagram feed looks real good ;)

  98. Sharon says:

    Thanks. That was a refreshing post and made me giggle to think about if I blogged all the things I would do or not do for a photo. Yea to imperfection, being a human, and a mother!!

  99. Rocío says:

    I agree with you when you say that we should set our priorities carefully.

    If we do that, then we’re going to have the time to do whatever we have to do and we’ll start learning to love our life the way it is. We’ll find the energy and resources to make the changes we need to do, to start seeing and living it as a Perfect Life… flaws and all.

    It would be a happier world if we stopped wishing for what we can’t have and we started to appreciate what we do have and make the most of it.

    Thank you for this post!

  100. Maren says:

    I really like seeing pictures of your home in its more ‘natural’ state and reading about those things you feel to be confessions. Even though I know bloggers only share what portion of their life they choose too, it still often makes me feel inadequate about my own life.

    I often wonder, for instance how bloggers like Bleubird can afford to take trips almost monthly, support four children, buy super expensive clothes, body products, designer furniture, expensive camera equipment, nursery plants, organic foods…all on the pay of a freelance photographer and blogger. All of this while doing craft projects, cooking, homeschooling, and staying in shape.

    It’s amazing how our perception of one’s life can be molded just by carefully selecting which stories and photos are shared. It’s like a Vogue Photoshopped life.

    Thanks for you honesty. I would love it if you posted more photos on your blog that haven’t been ‘edited’ for blogworthy prettiness. As you said, we’re all just human! :)

    • Mandi says:

      Also, we never know what other people’s finances look like. In the past couple if years, Phil and I made big changes in our lifestyle and became committed to making debt-free purchases. But I know lots of people choose to live with the bourdon of credit card debt and whatnot, ya know? So it might look like bloggers have a lot of new things, but we don’t know what their income, their partner’s income, or what their debt or savings is like.

  101. marie says:

    Oh Mandy! Finally!!! somebody shares their real life ;)

    I’ve been quite stressed lately, not only because of work and my colleagues/boss… but I think also because I read allot of blogs and they all show a picture perfect life…
    Although I work in fashion, I know how shootings are done… but still…

    thank you so much for sharing and reassuring me that I’m not the crazy lunatic out there with things lying around the place :) I don’t have kids yet, but already feel completely stressed out and like i never do enough…
    oh and the armpits and legs… hello girl!
    I totally agree with Maren! I always wonder… are the majority of bloggers so organised? do they spend all their time cleaning or do they have people doing so for them?
    how do they earn their money?

    Well done to you! having 2 jobs and a kid must be quite the challenge… well done!!!

  102. Abby says:

    My confession? I tried to read this whole post like 8 times until I finally got to, today, while my baby finally naps more than 20 minutes, sitting at my messy dining room table, stress eating ice cream in the middle of the day. BAM!

  103. Gnome Lover says:

    I just found your blog. I must confess, I saw your beautiful pendant lamp and amazing starburst pattern on A Beautiful Mess and immediately thought I could not relate to the person in that house. When am I going to stop making ridiculous idiotic observations?

    You are so real. And I just appreciate this post so much. Not because I want to see an imperfect blogger. That’s stupid. And quite frankly, mean. But because I am at this very moment laying in my bed writing you this comment in a bedroom I vowed to clean an hour ago that has not been cleaned in a month. And as soon as I hit “submit comment” that is exactly what I will be doing. But for now can I say, “I like you”? You made me feel like it is okay that I have not had time to do it, but now that I do, I best get on it!


  104. Child care says:

    Happened to visit your blog. I must say that those photos you took look lovely and I like how you decorate your living space :-)
    Being a mom is tough. I’m quite satisfied as a mother of two kids. But sometimes I would love to hang out with friends or some other activities without kids and relax myself a little bit.

  105. Jenny says:

    Thank you for this post. It was incredibly refreshing and something that for once in the whole fashion life style blog universe seemed relateable.

  106. Mandi,
    Thanks for your honesty. It’s funny though, everything you seem insecure about is really fine. Your house still looks great even with the kitchen you don’t love and the plastic toys that aren’t your favorite. I can totally relate! I have a little girl who loves this bright pink plastic stroller we have in our family room. I hate how it looks but she enjoys it so I just need to let it go. And making debt free purchases is so, so worth it in the long run. My husband and I do the same, and sometimes we just have to wait a little longer.

  107. Meredith says:

    Oh my goodness….was I supposed to chuckle at eating the sugar-cookie photo props!? Because I kind of feel guilty now :p

  108. Carrie Jones says:

    This was so honest and lovely. Not just for bloggers or for moms, but for women everywhere, trying to do what they can with what time they have (and constantly being reminded that we have as much time in the day as Beyonce…). Thank you so much. :)

  109. brooke says:

    OMG, thank you! It’s so nice to read an honest blog post that I can relate to.

  110. sarah says:

    I don’t often comment on your blog(if I have ever) but have been reading it for years(thru your other blog as well) and I just wanted to say what a great post. It is nice to see non perfection in a post and not someone who tries to give the perception everything is perfect all of the time, because lets face it, nobody is, whether there is a two year old, or working two jobs or anything really. :)

  111. Christy says:

    I found your blog a few weeks ago and just love it! I think because you’ve always seemed like a real person! I love your how to’-s, beautiful pics, great style. Of course you don’t want to blog about your messy bathroom:) I wouldn’t either! It is fun to see your behind the scenes tho too, thanks for sharing!


  112. Casey says:

    Hugs lady! I don’t know how to tell you how comforting this post was to me. I’ve been stressing out a ton lately, and feeling totally defeated about a lot of things. Including blogging. Which I miss terribly, but how I used to present myself online and how life is now are two total polar opposites. My mom has been encouraging me a lot about letting go of my idols (control, order and calm) and letting God work in these areas–because it’s for my sanctification. It’s not easy and this past week I seriously felt like I was having a nervous breakdown about how chaotic everything has become with a nearly 1-year-old in tow. But I do love being a mommy, even if it means my life is far less than picture perfect right now. And it did me so much good to see that you struggle with so many of the same things. Blogging and real life so seldom match up. I spent the weekend sick and looking through home tours online, and kept having to remind myself that people’s lives really aren’t this tidy. Nor do they write about the sucky parts of being an adult. lol. Somehow being real, admitting to the stress of juggling so many things, the highs and lows of being a mama, and just the general messiness of life is far more valuable to me. And I’m sure it is to a lot of others too. Blessings!

  113. Elisa P. says:

    wow thank you for your honest post as a new mum like you I understand!!!!bisous

  114. Stella says:

    Boy, I love your blog! Stay On My Internets ;-) This post was a particularly happy read. I often look at your interior shots and feel so envious of all the beauty, despite knowing full well how hard you’ve worked for it and all that you’ve been through. But still, it’s the kind of beauty I absolutely dream about, you have impeccable taste and a ridiculously adorable family (including yo’self). And even as I envy, I feel utterly inspired. And this post makes it all feel a little less out-of-reach. Maybe one day….. Anyway, keep on keeping on Mandi, you are what makes blog reading SO GOOD! A smart, stylish, authentic writer with beautiful content. Thanks x

  115. Robin says:

    I like that you keep it real, I have to be honest their are quite a few blogs that just don’t interest me anymore because I feel like they’ve lost something they use to have their in an artificalness about them or something that just doesn’t translate anymore you seem like a real person thats just being you and alot of people like that.

  116. Loved the part about your kitchen not being pretty enough! made me smile as a blogger with the same silly thoughts!

  117. Kait says:

    I could not love this post any more!! Preach it.

  118. Danielle says:

    This is one of my favorite blog posts EVER in the history of blogging.

  119. maria says:

    this is the best entry ever written by a mommy/crafting blogger. thank you for this.


  120. Aprilinbloom says:

    well thank youuuuu for making me feel less guilty when I get home and that toys are everywhere and the kitchen needs to be cleaned but I choose to spend some time with my baby boy, or when my bathroom isn’t as beautiful as I wish it were because I haven’t had time to properly put everything back in its right place, and many other things… I guess we’re just trying our best and secretely wish we’d have a Mary Poppins at home!