my week in objects (mostly).

October 18, 2019

1. this crate.

{that i finally retrieved from my old office, and carried home with a few helpful things for the next five months.}

2. this pile of silks.

{for coming through for the millionth time, this time as halloween costumes.}

3. this candle.

{for being there to burn all week.}

4. this spot to keep matches.

{see above.}

5. james’s shirts.

{because lately i’ve been living in them.}

other things:

mom’s burden, dad’s adorable hobby.

voting while black.

share it.


space walk!


the nap ministry.

mini museums.

a good duo.

This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links.

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  • Reply anne October 18, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    I have never hit follow more quickly than on the Nap Ministry. Rest is a human right.

  • Reply Ellen October 18, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    It’s funny but I just woke from a nap that I took feeling a little guilty but I truly was tired. Then I saw this post and thought naps are okay, naps are good, more of us need them.

  • Reply MissEm October 18, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    I like that Glamour article by Jennifer Newsom, and I think she’s right, except…I would LOVE to see all feminists stop separating out working moms from stay at home moms as though the latter is just living a peaches and cream existence of being respected as full, thinking, capable persons who deserve equal respect, while working moms (and lets be honest, all moms are working moms, some choose or have to outsource daytime childcare and some choose or have to do it themselves without the financial compensation received by professional childcare workers) suffer the demeaning world of patriarchy. I have been in both camps. I’m currently a SAHM. When people ask what I do, I find myself sheepish to admit I “just” stay home, bc I worry they will believe I am not progressive, that I’m ruining it for the feminist cause, that I’m not worth as much as a person. I am sometimes not as respected or considered as capable bc I choose to stay home, even though I have a graduate degree. At least where I’ve lived, being a SAHM is, I think, considered indulgent and repressed. It would be great if we could talk about women’s needs without that unhelpful dichotomy.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 18, 2019 at 10:04 pm

      Oof, this is such an interesting perspective, but I admit that I didn’t read either the kind of sugar-coating or revilement regarding the role of stay-at-home moms in Newsom’s assessment. I actually especially liked the following paragraph where she lays out exactly the ways that mothers who work out of the house and mothers who don’t are both undervalued: “The invisible (and unpaid) work doesn’t just make life more stressful. It’s indicative of a broader system in which we neither value women equally at work nor appreciate their essential contributions at home. And then as women toil without recognition or compensation (and it’s not only women who do this work, but it is mostly women) and men are rewarded for any amount of parenting they do, it makes moms feel like we are the problem, like we are failing our kids and failing at our jobs. The truth is so much simpler: We, as a society, are failing working moms.” Of course I read this from my own perspective and experience, but I don’t see admitting the truism that our culture and country fails working moms as the same thing as denigrating a person’s choice to stay home.

      • Reply mado October 18, 2019 at 10:35 pm

        That last “working moms” in that quote stood out to me to when I read it. As a mom who works from home on a very part time basis I generally don’t feel like I fit into this category of “working moms”. And I think our society is failing all moms with these gendered assumptions. I didn’t feel like Newsome was denigrating SAHMs at all but I did wish she hadn’t emphasized that distinction so much.

        • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 19, 2019 at 7:52 am

          I see, but I think what she was really trying to point out in this section is the particular way that mothers get penalized both at work and at home. She’s really emphasizing the conundrum that mothers are penalized under patriarchy and that better policy and expectations about how fathers participate in family life could change that for everyone.

          • MissEm October 19, 2019 at 8:35 am

            I do want to reemphasize that I very much appreciated her article, but I also think the way she emphasized the distinction was unhelpful, and actually works against her point. To make a repeated distinction between working and, I suppose, “non-working” mothers seems to me to subtly support the capitalist idea that the work that really counts is work that is monetarily compensated. I don’t believe for a minute that Newsom believes that, but it gets into our language and reinforces that value system – and I believe that’s part of the reason we don’t end up seeing a shift to more balance between fathers and mothers in caretaking. The truth is, as well, that most mothers will have been a working and a SAHM in their parenting life, so making a strict dichotomy and saying “In other words, our culture doesn’t punish parents so much as it punishes mothers, and especially working ones.” isn’t really helpful (I think and hope what she meant was rather, our society punishes mothers and I want to speak particularly to how it punishes those who participate in the capitalist workforce, or something to that end). All mothers work. Some get paid for it. All mothers are let down by our country right now, some in a work-world context. Some don’t work in part bc childcare costs too much to justify in their minds leaving the home – they aren’t “working” but they’re still being let down. Some want to stay home but feel there will be no respect for them when they do return to the “workforce,” as though doing the work of raising humans doesn’t equip her (or him, if we were to see a balance at home) with unique and marketable skills. It’s a connected situation, and using language the way she did to separate women and label some working (financially compensated) and some not, and assume the former have a harder experience of patriarchy (using language like “worse for working mothers”) isn’t helpful. It might be nit picky, and I’m writing this feeling a little tentative about becoming a distraction from her important points, but I think it may he a valuable change of perspective if we really want equality between fathers and mothers in a social and political perspective.

    • Reply Amanda Krieger October 21, 2019 at 2:39 pm

      Love this and want to add my very limited perspective — whenever we are out and people ask what I do I too sheepishly respond that I “just” stay at home with my kids. And once I say that, the conversation shuts down. No one asks anything about my career before kids, my education, my interests. The conversation turns one-sided as I politely ask more and more and more.
      I eventually started offering more about myself, “I stay at home with my kids, but my background is in newspaper writing.” That sometimes helps. But being a “mom” is just not interesting. Sigh.

      • Reply michaela October 22, 2019 at 9:36 pm

        Yes to this!! I stay at home with my kids and my husband is a doctor. When we go out with his colleagues I am basically never asked anything about what I do, or about things that occupy my time (I still read books! And have hobbies! And am involved in our local community!) — it always just basically ends at “I take care of our kids” and people making jokes about how lucky my husband is and how much harder my job is (in what I consider a condescending way). Not that it should matter, but my background is even public health and my previous jobs were in hospital so I have a good deal of experience with topics that do end up being discussed, but it seems that once I have been classified as “just” a stay at home mom, no one is really interested in my thoughts and opinions on anything.

        I think the bias against stay at home moms runs so deep though that at first I was afraid of what kind of friends I would be able to make when I was joining mom groups and mom fitness classes – it turns out there are tons of awesome, interesting women out here taking care of babies. I personally have found stay at home moms who have been: artists, teachers, PhD grads in neuroscience, epidemiology, Spanish literature, psychology, and electric engineering (you would be shocked at how many current “unemployed” moms have graduate degrees), unpaid leaders of community organizations, professors of sociology, nurses, and more of course! But beyond that, all of these women can be defined outside of what was their former profession – they’re kind, interesting, funny, thoughtful, involved, and caring – a good reminder that we should value people as people, not as what they do for money. We have the best book clubs and amazing discussion when we can make it out for dinner — and yet, it still stings that outside of this group, our person-hood, knowledge, and worth seem to go unnoticed. The patriarchy is real y’all ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 23, 2019 at 9:32 am

          I really appreciate these sentiments and agree that our culture undervalues and condescends to stay-at-home mothers. And I totally agree that we should value people as people and not by what they do to make money. But I think we need to be also be able to talk about the particular ways that mothers suffer within the workforce. Every time I link to an article (or write myself) about the particular issues faced by mothers with careers outside of the home, the conversation gets sidetracked by a conversation about stay-at-home moms. I understand why, and of course there are tons of ways that patriarchal systems impact mothers regardless of whether they earn an income, but I don’t think that addressing the particular ways in which our culture undermines and sets up barriers for mothers who work, and more importantly the ways that we might make more equitable systems by raising our expectations of fathers, working or otherwise, needs to be seen as in conflict with acknowledging the labor or contributions of parents whose main work is to raise children.

          • michaela October 23, 2019 at 10:58 am

            Yes, sorry to derail the conversation, and thanks for taking the time to reply. My comment was really just in response to Amanda because I related so strongly with what she said.

            I agree the issues working mothers face are unique and deserve their own consideration. Although one reason I think stay at home parents weigh in is because the only reason many of us left the workforce was because of those barriers for working mothers that you referred to and we do understand the struggle — sorry though that the conversation does then tend to turn away from workplace issues.
            Thanks again for always hosting a thoughtful discussion.

          • ERIN BOYLE October 23, 2019 at 11:42 am

            No worries! Understood and totally agreed here. I just wanted to emphasize that that was the aspect of the article that I especially appreciated—pointing out that the reasons that many stay-at-home parents leave the workforce are *because* of the ways that as a culture we fail mothers (and parents) who work. Thanks so much for chiming in.

  • Reply Joy October 21, 2019 at 9:32 am

    The Glamour links are being flagged for a privacy error on my Google Chrome browser. 🙁

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 21, 2019 at 9:44 am

      So strange! Thanks for letting me know.

  • Reply Anna October 22, 2019 at 12:45 am

    Dear Erin,

    I am shocked and sad that there are people that attack you in this vulnerable and joyful time of your pregnancy! When I first read your news, I felt so very happy for you and admired your courage and your calmness. And I was looking forward to hear your stories how you welcome your baby in your small appartment. I always admire how you transform your space in such a nice and pretty and smart way to meet your family‘s evolving needs.
    I have never before written, but felt very much compelled to offer my support and say thank you over and over again for your wonderful writing which I always enjoy reading and the insights that you give in your personal approach to simpler living and family life.
    I came upon your blog after your book smiled at me in the museum shop at Tate Modern in London – I took it home to Berlin and have re-read it since, where it proudly stands on my night-table. As part of my family lives in the New York area, I love the city and feel connected to it, which makes me enjoy your Brooklyn-based blog even more.
    Having just given birth to my son four months ago, I clearly remember my pregnancy with all its ups and downs and the vulnerable feeling, the joy over the little nudges and all the emotions going crazy. I cannot undestand how people would even dare to critisize such a personal, wonderful and brave decision to have a child and insult a pregnant woman, who instead deserves only positivity, kindness and all the support! And cake! I am very happy about your news dear Erin and wish you all the best with all my heart! Please keep doing what you are doing, you have such a wonderful voice and you are such an inspiration! All the best to you,

  • Reply Susie October 22, 2019 at 1:55 am

    I love your thoughtful, kind and considered blog. Thank you for sharing x

  • Reply Marianne October 22, 2019 at 8:39 am

    Love what you share here on your blog! In a world (real and online), where we’re told to buy more all the time. Your blog is so refreshing and inspirational. Thank you

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