snowed under in a state of emergency.

February 2, 2021

I am working from the floor of my kids’ room. My baby, who is nearly one, is on the large rug in front of me, searching, it seems, for objects in the room that might make the most noise possible when whacked against each other. I toss soft toys to her, like fish to a seal, until she’s surrounded by knit dolls and rattles, looking bewildered at the hapless minder with a computer on her lap. Every once in a while she pulls herself to standing on a nearby stool and then thuds to the ground. She lands softly on the rug we’ve layered over a nearly inch-thick wool and rubber pad, but the floor reverberates beneath her all the same and I wince, thinking of the neighbors downstairs. They have inquired about the size of our rugs, and asked our children not to ring the doorbell. They suggested, in the weeks after our move, that we not run the noisy old washing machine in our apartment, which rattled and shook during its rinse cycle. “There’s a terrific drop-off location just around the corner. Easier, too!” 

The well of parental advice to be doled out is truly bottomless. 

It’s a snow day and schools and daycare are closed so things are more chaotic than usual. Outside, my two older children—just-turned 4 and 6—are playing in the snow. James is shoveling nearby and training an occasional eye on our kids—though he’s somehow missed two recent trips they’ve taken back upstairs seeking a dry mask and reassurance from me that there will be hot cocoa at the end of this romp. Neither of us are strangers to interruption these days, but the repetition of an annoyance doesn’t make it any easier to bear. (See also that doorbell.) James has, after all, only just finished recording a lecture that took him three takes to complete. Our children are no more able to leave their parents in peace than their neighbors. 

By many counts, James and I are well-positioned to handle the altered shape of these long pandemic days. We’re both working from home. We have each other and an egalitarian approach to our parenting duties that works as well as can be expected, which is to say: mostly. Thanks to a generous financial aid package, our two youngest kids are enrolled in daycare at a local Montessori school, which reopened this fall and has mercifully stayed that way (barring the usual vacations and the current blizzard). We take shifts to keep our six-year-old busy at home and perform our own work to the best—formerly what we would have called the worst—of our ability. Most days are still an absolute shitstorm of half-finished responsibilities, punctuated by what Angela Garbes aptly calls the mushroom cloud of frustration that comes from trying to work with a young child nearby.

I open my Instagram account reflexively and see the first comment “You sound so weary lately…hoping for a lighter heart for you soon. <3” It’s a response to a post that I made earlier in the afternoon. In the midst of parenting and working through a snow day, I’d managed to put cornbread into the oven and serve chili that had been roundly rejected on its first go-round (and was again on the second). It was not yet noon and I wrote, mildly pleased with myself: “Made cornbread, salvaged chili, pressed play on a third ill-advised movie.” I was glad for the fleeting bit of comfort I managed to squeeze out of an otherwise brutal day. 

Taken at face value, the reader’s comment is an example of well wishes; a bit of comfort for a tired parent. “Thank you!” I might have said. I am so weary lately. But noting that someone sounds weary without acknowledging the load they’re carrying doesn’t feel compassionate so much as it feels like an admonishment. 

The truth is, I receive a lot of online admonishments. (This isn’t unique to me. I’m a woman online.) In a predictable and pernicious pattern, if I stray from blithely spinning a tale of domestic tranquility and generalized good cheer, I’m met with at least mild rebuke. A more pointed recent example read: “But you do have joy in your life, too, right? I wonder sometimes amidst the anger.” This particular brand of incredulity does indeed light a white hot rage in me, so the commenter is quite right, even if unoriginal. I am not the first woman to be derided for her anger, online, or anywhere.

But these comments are particularly maddening because they elide the fact that it’s been nearly a year since a global pandemic has fundamentally changed the way many of us live and work. They represent a failure to acknowledge that on even our best days, we are surrounded by death and isolation. We walk around masked. Our children are not in school. Our networks of support and community have been decimated or at least compromised. Our bank accounts are drained. I have a baby who is nearly one who has not yet met three of her four aunts and who has been held by her grandparents fewer times than I have fingers on one hand. Less than a month ago, white supremacists stormed our nation’s capitol in a violent attempt to halt the peaceful transition of power. The days of the highest death counts are still to come. Worry, anxiety, concern, and dare I say, rage and despair, all seem pretty warranted.

Cheer up, buttercup! Why so glum?

Earlier this winter, I received another message: “It sounds like you need a break. If you can afford it, I would suggest a break to recenter and refresh. Maybe your anger is a sign of the times, but it isn’t resonating with me, and I miss your more hopeful search for purity and wholesomeness and simplicity.” The message is clear: If you can’t be in this space and be happy, please refrain from being here at all. 

Go to your room until you’re ready to behave.

The algorithm, and perhaps some of our own worst instincts, feed us imagery of motherhood, and particularly white motherhood, as a fancy-free, apolitical adventure of nurturing, untainted by material needs or personal want. Last week, Sara Petersen described the strange, thriving world of “motherhood media” as a place where “conventionally beautiful, straight, white women…perform a version of motherhood that feels like pioneer cosplay hit with a dash of Brooklyn hipster aesthetics.” I know from dried orange ornaments and wooden playthings, to say nothing of cornbread and chili. True to her analysis, there are moments in the time I spend online when I look around and it feels as if the life-altering disease that’s killing thousands of Americans a day is a figment of my own unhappy imagination. As if I could simply try harder to ‘bless this mess.’ To “grin and bear it.”

I come from a place of considerable comfort and privilege. Imagine how these microaggressions of incredulity impact people with different hurdles: single mothers, Black mothers, LGBTQ mothers, poor mothers, sick mothers, mothers who can’t work from home. To answer the question of the commenter suggesting a refresh, I can’t afford to take a break. Like the majority of American families, my family relies on my income and like the majority of American mothers, I’ve seen almost nothing in the way of material support for juggling this load. Our jobs, in addition to the all-consuming, uncompensated work of parenting, are not vanity projects—selfish indulgences or special add-ons that can be cast aside if things just get to be too much to take. This isn’t true for me and it isn’t true for the vast majority of American mothers who need to earn an income.

Over on Instagram, the comment thread on the cornbread and movies post gets taken over by suggestions of movies for kids. One commenter lists her personal favorites and quips: “We don’t do Disney/violent/non-child appropriate/fast-paced/loud/aggressive/with message for parents type of movies and thought it worth sharing? [Winky Face].” 

Parenting is hard. Right now, for many people, it feels harder than ever. Advice and glimpses into each other people’s solutions can make it easier. I won’t decry the list of non-violent movies, or the displays of other people’s coping mechanisms, found in cornbread or otherwise. But I think it’s also okay, maybe even necessary, to acknowledge the storm. We’re in the thick of it and there are days when I feel like I can’t move from being buried.

There are going to be days, perhaps many days, when I am despairing. When I am frustrated. When I am angry. These feelings are valid. They are the appropriate response to tragedy and trauma. There will also be days when I am joyful or hopeful or able to feel resilient and powerful.

As a community, we need to have compassion for all of the responses we might have, both individually and collectively. If we are to dig ourselves out of this and emerge a little stronger—or at least not beaten down—we will need to muster in ourselves compassion for others, empathy for their struggles, and an ability to make space for the full, messy range of emotions that come with living in a state of emergency.

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199 Comments

  • Reply Lexie February 2, 2021 at 5:04 pm

    THANK YOU FOR THIS. I am here for your domestic tranquility but also your rage. This is untenable under the best circumstances.

    116
    • Reply Kristin February 2, 2021 at 7:17 pm

      Especially the rage! I’ve spent so much of the last year angry, having someone else be openly pissed and tired makes me feel a little less alone.

      84
  • Reply Katherine Burns February 2, 2021 at 5:09 pm

    A hearty and resolute yes to all of this. Thank you. Sincerely.

    This. Is. So. Hard.

    57
  • Reply Anne February 2, 2021 at 5:24 pm

    Yes! This! Thank you, as always, for your thoughtful honesty.

    25
  • Reply Sarah February 2, 2021 at 5:33 pm

    Your writing, even detailing your rage, is a balm. You have laid it out so, so clearly. I am also struggling really hard, even while surviving the pandemic on “easy mode’ (no kids, working from home, good health, equal partner, white, cis, straight, etc). It’s boggling to me how we can be expected to work at all. Thank the gods I have access to therapy, that I can explore the possibility of meds. As I came across a tweet recently, I’m “pandemic fine,” that is – terrible, but only mentally. Financially, physically, I’m in one piece.

    I really appreciate the time you took to compose this essay, I think your work is truly valuable and necessary. Thanks for continuing to share while you weather the storm.

    71
    • Reply Erika February 2, 2021 at 7:33 pm

      Yes to “pandemic-fine.” I have started stating something similar. Let’s normalize “pandemic-fine.”

      16
    • Reply Nic February 2, 2021 at 8:33 pm

      Here’s a toast to rage and suffering fellow travelers.

      6
    • Reply Bridget February 3, 2021 at 8:46 pm

      Thank you for this- from another working mom parenting in a pandemic- THANK YOU.

      5
    • Reply Trish O February 5, 2021 at 2:06 pm

      Pandemic fine is it exactly… and that is truly not fine at all

      2
  • Reply Shannon February 2, 2021 at 5:38 pm

    BRA-Fucking-VO!!! Your rage, despair, weariness—all valid.

    39
    • Reply Lia February 2, 2021 at 6:19 pm

      Yes to all this. I have three healthy, wonderful kids and a partner who probably thinks we split things evenly (but misses that whole mental load piece and would happily feed our kids bread and nothing else for every meal). I am fine, have everything I need, financially great, plenty of house and backyard and walkable neighborhood. And yet I also seethe with rage on a daily basis. I thought after the election I would feel better and I did for a bit, bit I think it is the fact that I’m expected to be both continue holding it together at work (from home, with constant interruptions) and keep it all together at home that makes me angry. I have so little time for myself. I’m so tired. Anyway, I’m fortunate that I have a job that does not involve social media so I can check out, ignore the parents who are #blessed and #wokeuplikethis (lol nope), and pretend everyone is in my boat – exhausted, overstretched, frazzled, and dead on the inside. I’m sorry you have to put up with people policing your tone. Personally I am here for this! Could have written it myself….

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  • Reply Lena February 2, 2021 at 5:42 pm

    I love my family but it’s not always pleasant or healthy being around them everyday like this, no school, no friends, no outside family visiting. It’s not normal nor should anyone, least of all women who work double/triple jobs accept this as the “new normal”. I enjoy your insights, ideas, and writing. I can only see your instagram posts because you kindly post them from your blog page (instagram no longer allows peeking without an account, which I have not signed up for) Funny how every day is filled with a strange sameness, yet the interruptions are constant and always different. Work goes on despite this. I love the work you do, sweet or salty, snowed in or not. This too shall pass.

    18
    • Reply maggie February 2, 2021 at 8:34 pm

      If you open her instagram page on your computer, you can right click and open the post in a new tab. Then you’ll be able to read it 🙂 xx

      1
  • Reply El February 2, 2021 at 5:43 pm

    This reminds me of the AOC video about Jan 6, which I hope you know is meant as the highest praise. Just so clear and frank and real. Also, your neighbors sound like assholes. (I’m sure they’re struggling with their own stuff as we all are, and I am trying to be empathetic…but I cannot imagine policing someone else’s washing machine???)

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 2, 2021 at 5:45 pm

      I’m sure it was very loud and living under kids must be relentless!

      7
      • Reply Sara February 2, 2021 at 8:29 pm

        But, Erin, it’s New York City! It can’t be their first rodeo. Enough, neighbors. My rage is extending to your experience of them being ignorant and “helpful”!

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        • Reply Kay February 2, 2021 at 11:10 pm

          I’ve lived in NYC for 21 years but never with neighbors with kids who are home all day due to a pandemic. Please try to extend your sympathies to those impacted by others’ children as well. We do our best to be kind but can’t be expected to absorb everything.

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    • Reply Kelsey February 2, 2021 at 7:01 pm

      This post means so much to me. Thank you for sharing.

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  • Reply Katie February 2, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    Thank you. Yes. I have “only” one child, and I am not currently working, both of which are sources of many, many (MANY) complicated feelings. Before the pandemic, I had an existential crisis every day and felt so, so lonely. Amidst the pandemic? Add insomnia and a persistent elevated heart rate to the list. Before, I raged about the lack of parental supports, and now it’s even more apparent. It’s impossible not to slip into outdated gender roles. There are no days off. Everyone is exhausted. My kid hasn’t been in a room with another kid for almost a year. This is impossibly hard, and yet we still must go on. You said it perfectly: “But noting that someone sounds weary without acknowledging the load they’re carrying doesn’t feel compassionate so much as it feels like an admonishment.”

    And to quote the One Bad Mother podcast: “You’re doing a great job, mom.”

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    • Reply M February 3, 2021 at 2:39 pm

      Fellow non-working mom of an only child here. Bravo you for striving onward. My kid has also not been in a room with another kid for about a year. It is heartbreaking. She is 6. Keep fighting the good fight.

      4
    • Reply mado February 3, 2021 at 3:21 pm

      Another only child non-income generating mom. Still so burnt out.

      5
    • Reply Joyce February 3, 2021 at 6:09 pm

      Dear Katie,

      If you are caring for a child, you ARE working. Full stop. You just aren’t getting paid or getting any breaks. Just because society says money = value do not be fooled! Some of the hardest jobs in the world are unpaid. Some of the least value-add jobs (in my opinion) are the highest paid. You are not alone.

      Signed,
      Another stay-at-home-mama of one whose child likely has no idea how to interact with kids at this point, but, hey, at least he’s nice to the cats? 🙂

      11
    • Reply Emily February 4, 2021 at 7:19 am

      I am also the “stay at home” mother of an only child. When I read posts like this, I feel so guilty, because I don’t deserve to feel so bad because I am not dealing with all of the obstacles many other mothers are facing, but even so, I am sinking every day. My 4 year old son has also not spent time with another child in a year, and he has never had a day of preschool. It is so hard to not even be able to run simple errands during the day because of not wanting to take him with me and add to the risk. I feel so trapped, and there is no way out.

      10
      • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 4, 2021 at 7:42 am

        It feels impossible because it is! Different specifics but the same untenable situation!

        4
  • Reply R February 2, 2021 at 5:54 pm

    I appreciate your anger, and frankness about exhaustion. For what it’s worth I also think your focus on details of objects, and of helping share resources for learning and action are both practices of hope and positivity – that’s work too, and it’s dispiriting to hear about this dismissiveness.

    13
    • Reply Michele February 3, 2021 at 5:34 am

      Ouch Erin!!!!! Do any of these people have actual lives?!?!? Of course the stupid comments are ALWAYS there! I would be thinking … like really….?????
      But that neighbour……I am in TOTAL and UTTER shock here!!!! Telling you NOT to use your washing machine!!!! Really!! WTF! Whats next… the blender and whisling kettle! Its you HOME, you LIVE in your home, ie its called LIFE!!
      Snowdays are rare days!! I enjoy hearing kids having fun, of course there are tantrums but they are not 24/7!!!!
      I have a 2 year old toddler and 4 month baby next door, yes there are mornings (early) when I wake up to crying baby and toddler trantrums! But I know it cannot be avoided!!! Again, its called life!! I just so feel for that poor mother (so thankful I aint in her shoes) Children grow up, its just a short lived time, it does end…eventually.
      What if this neighbor had a musician, an unstable violent couple, an elderly couple that are deaf, a woodworker, a late night Telly watcher….the list is endless!! That would be permanent noise, all day, every day, FOREVER!!!!!
      To top it all, this is during a MAJOR pandemic that we are ALL living through this, and these selfish people still feel a need to be soooo bloody nasty!! That really hurts! Its a time to be together in this crazy boat AND to be there for each other!!!
      Ok, thats more than enough ranting!!! I get instant roadrage when I hear about people like that!!!
      Sorry its the last thing you need right now, you need Love, Huge Hugs and Empathy during this truly trying time!!! Try stay strong!!xxx

      6
      • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 3, 2021 at 7:38 am

        Oh man! I really think they are probably mostly lovely! I’m sure it’s tiresome to live below my kids! (It’s tiresome to live with my kids!) It’s rnot that I don’t appreciate the challenge of living below small children and more that there is just so little I can really do about it, and the specter of bothering them is very real. Would that everyone’s pre-frontal cortex were fully developed. (Def interrupted this reply twice to tell a certain four-year-old the narration of his animal play is too loud for sleeping neighbors.)

        15
        • Reply Anna February 3, 2021 at 8:10 am

          When I have had same dirty looks / reprimands from folks clearly wishing my kids would vanish, I have started to turn to them and smile and say ‘Don’t worry, these kids will be paying your pension in just a few decades’ time!’ (Small moment of satisfaction for me at least).
          You, we, are doing a great job x

          8
          • Dorothy February 3, 2021 at 6:10 pm

            Pension? What are you talking about? That is a very unusual way to get satisfaction.

            9
        • Reply Michele February 3, 2021 at 3:15 pm

          I hope that is where Empathy and Understanding are…the Pre-frontal Cortex? That is all we need for the world to be a better place!!
          Btw when I do put myself in your shoes (and I did that ALOT in your teeny tiny last apartment, Yiks!!!!) I feel like I wanna be on an island on the other side of the world Alone!!! LOL
          What words of advice can one give …only To keep calm and just carry on!! You are truly doing an amazing parently job, making an oh so beautiful home and SO much more too! Teaching us all integrity, simplicity, sustanability….the list is endless.

          4
          • ERIN BOYLE February 3, 2021 at 3:22 pm

            Ha! I think it’s more where the ability to stop yourself from ringing a doorbell for the fifth time or leap off the bed onto your sibling…Thanks so much for your kind words.

            2
      • Reply Kay February 3, 2021 at 12:14 pm

        Again, and not to insist, but persistent noise is really hard on people without children as well. I so understand that it’s hard to manage the noise of kids (I’m a former nanny and and aunt many times over) but to be characterized as unreasonable or cruel or nasty for making suggestions about mitigating noise is so, so hurtful. No one wants to make their neighbors feel bad about their kids but telling others, in essence, to “just get over it” isn’t helpful either. Solutions best begin with mutual respect, so I implore you to consider the other side as well. Erin clearly does – and this Brooklynite finds that kind of compassion truly welcoming.

        23
  • Reply Gillian February 2, 2021 at 6:08 pm

    Thank you for your honesty! As a physician mother of 4 this has been one of the hardest years of my life. I hear you and I am glad you are sharing this!

    15
  • Reply Maggie February 2, 2021 at 6:11 pm

    A resounding hell the fuck YES. Asking us to “ignore this giant tragedy of a problem” over here to just pull our emotional bootstraps up and grin and bear it is encouraging us to gaslight ourselves. Cause when we stop and look around and see that selfishness and incompetence and cruelty (by not proving support to our families and workers and small businesses) is what got us in this mess, we start to say wait a minute. What the actual hell. It does not have to be this way. It didn’t have to be this way.

    Anyway, no need to bring cheer to this reader. I’m with you.

    25
    • Reply Elizabeth February 2, 2021 at 9:32 pm

      Yes! Couldn’t have said it better myself so just adding a… WORD!

      3
    • Reply Clare Chippendale February 3, 2021 at 4:25 am

      Thank you

      1
  • Reply Jocelyn Preece February 2, 2021 at 6:12 pm

    Thank you. Your despair, weariness and rage on Instagram make me feel less lonely. Mothering during a pandemic is truly relentless, and I appreciate you for acknowledging it. ❤️

    22
  • Reply Elizabeth February 2, 2021 at 6:17 pm

    Do people want you to be happy and positive all the time? That makes no sense. I guarantee the people saying this aren’t so why would they expect you to be? It’s life, not a movie. And it’s good to hear about another person’s struggles, it makes me feel less alone. Keep on doing what you’re doing.

    21
  • Reply Lo February 2, 2021 at 6:19 pm

    Thank you thank you thank you.

    6
    • Reply Inga February 3, 2021 at 4:02 pm

      This was going to be my response too.

      1
  • Reply Sarah February 2, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    FUCK YES. I’m sending this to everyone I know. And reading it again myself. I feel so seen and I hope it helps people in my life understand the impossible exhaustion of right now.

    15
  • Reply Kat February 2, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    Thank you for a wonderful reminder that we all need a lot more compassion and empathy right now. From one mom to another, all the love, support and understanding.

    6
  • Reply RWM February 2, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    “They represent a failure to acknowledge that on even our best days, we are surrounded by death and isolation.” This x 1000. And, of course, if you don’t show the exact “right” amount of bad days, you’ll be accused of not being “real” enough. Women online can’t win. I don’t have anything else helpful to say except this all really sucks and I appreciated this post. Sending you good vibes.

    10
  • Reply Liz February 2, 2021 at 7:10 pm

    Thanks for your honesty about this awful time. Toxic positivity is definitely a thing. I feel like Americans don’t even have the imagination anymore to realize what dignified parenting looks like. (There was a year when child care for my then infant son and 4 year old daughter cost more than what I made in a year. My husband and I just held on until public kindergarten.) And now there isn’t even reliable access to child care! I hear you and I appreciate your ability to imagine a better future for us all.

    8
  • Reply EK February 2, 2021 at 7:10 pm

    To say I screamed when I read that your neighbors suggested you use a laundromat instead of your in-unit washer dryer is not an understatement. I CANNOT EVEN. Hang in there!!!!!

    18
    • Reply Lindsey February 3, 2021 at 8:28 am

      Yes!! I too felt a deep rage. As a Brooklyn dweller who has yet to live in an apartment with a washing machine, and so desperately want one, I feel like I might have just responded with a “fuck you” to the laundromat suggestion. I praise Erin for keeping cool.
      Maybe buy them a white noise machine next time they suggest things to quiet your apartment?

      6
  • Reply Emily February 2, 2021 at 7:20 pm

    I think this kind of honesty is what we need more of in spaces like yours, Erin. This is lovely and perfect and honesty all around. More of this, please. And also, if you want to check out and not deal with the mental load of being an influencer, we’ll still subscribe to a newsletter or whatever you want to share..!

    12
  • Reply Sue February 2, 2021 at 7:46 pm

    Thank you so much for your eloquent honesty. It brought me comfort. I am at home with four kids who haven’t been in school for 10.5 months. In August, my mother died suddenly and unexpectedly. She was my anchor, and it’s been the hardest six months of my life. I expressed some of my grief and how broken it’s left me at times on social media once and had a family friend leave a comment that she was sorry, but that “there’s plenty to be grateful for,” and that I should focus on my children. It was so hurtful and shaming and I still haven’t shaken it. All this to say I deeply appreciate your ability to express the fact that we can be grateful, we can love our children, and we can be angry…all at the same time.

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    • Reply M. February 2, 2021 at 8:27 pm

      Sue, I’m so sorry for your loss, and for the lack of empathy shown to you. I wish you comfort and ease in the days ahead. ♥️

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  • Reply Zoe February 2, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    Not to diminish what everyone else is experiencing….however. My breast cancer has returned, I am having a double mastectomy, my son cannot renew his license and thus drive because the DMV here has been closed, chemo begins in a few weeks. “I cried because I had no shoes and then I saw a woman with no feet.” We all have our challenges.

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    • Reply Kelli February 2, 2021 at 8:40 pm

      That sounds really tough; I’m sorry. But I think you’re missing the point. The past 11 months has been incredibly hard for many people, in so many different ways (and often in ways that are not always readily apparent). We all deserve ongoing compassion, understanding, kindness. These are not limited resources and this is not a competition.

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      • Reply Susanne February 3, 2021 at 11:56 am

        This woman’s cancer has returned, she’s having a double mastectomy and it sounds as though she needs her son to drive her to chemotherapy treatments but he will not be able to do so. Where is your compassion, understanding and kindness for her?

        11
      • Reply Lindy February 3, 2021 at 4:28 pm

        She didn’t miss the point. She stated that right at the beginning. She then shared her own very overwhelming situation that she’s facing. I understand what y r saying. but she couldn’t really take it in with being so overwhelmed by her own serious worry.

        3
        • Reply Kelli February 3, 2021 at 7:53 pm

          Perhaps I’m just not understanding the meaning of the expression “I cried because I had no shoes and then I saw a woman with no feet” but it sounded more to me like she was saying “my problems are worse, you shouldn’t be upset” more than “yes, this is tough; I’m having a hard time too.”

          I posted because that attitude – that my struggles are not “bad enough” to warrant grieving or even acknowledgement – has been extremely detrimental to my mental health during this time. I suspect others have been feeling the same.

          But perhaps I’m just misinterpreting what was meant, and if so, I’m sorry.

          11
    • Reply Lindy February 3, 2021 at 3:01 am

      Sending love and thoughts. My friend/ family has not suffered any financial harm thru this pandemic However she did undergo a traumatic d mastectomy. I keep thinking this nightmare is a breeze compared to being paralyzed.. my deepest fear. That’s how I sort it out in my head. Everyone’s story is relative to them.. we can’t minimize or maximize. Let’s also extend some compassion to the neighbors .. I have been in Erin’s shoes and also witnessed the struggle of my downstairs neighbors as well have lived the nightmare of my next walk neighbors. W all worked together to make it more harmonious. Yes they shouldn’t have suggested taking the laundry out— butmaybe a time of day that could work for both parties.
      To pandemic fine and keeping our sanity. Take good care of yourself.

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  • Reply Heather February 2, 2021 at 8:14 pm

    F*ck yes to all of this. It’s an exhausting time and we are exhausted and there isn’t an end in sight for most of us. Thank you.

    1
  • Reply Bryn Chernoff February 2, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    THANK YOU.
    Achingly true for me.

    1
  • Reply SJ February 2, 2021 at 8:17 pm

    A-fucking-men. Positivity is overrated; if it helps someone as an individual cope that’s fine but don’t police my grief and trauma and also I don’t believe denial is effective coping We are pandemic fine but I too want my parents to hold my 3 month old baby and and I want my brother, his namesake, to visit us. Stay mad!!

    6
    • Reply Kate February 3, 2021 at 4:56 am

      YES this is how I feel too!!

  • Reply Connie Mitchell February 2, 2021 at 8:26 pm

    I needed to hear this, I feel you and thank you for showing us your honesty and humanity

    2
  • Reply Laura February 2, 2021 at 8:28 pm

    From another mom in Brooklyn FEELING THE SAME thank you! Appreciate your honesty and thoughtfulness!

    1
  • Reply Sarah Jane February 2, 2021 at 8:34 pm

    So much truth here. I am a long time follower and have never commented before but I just have to say that raising three children in a tiny space while working and bearing the load of the emotional and physical isolation that this time is imposing is an impossible equation. And you are still doing it and making cornbread. Not to mention putting eloquent thoughts into the world that allow us to see ourselves and give each other the grace to know we aren’t alone in the endless cycle of meals and domestic labour and homeschooling. Thank you for that gift.

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  • Reply AW February 2, 2021 at 8:34 pm

    Thank you for this. Recently I have been feeling particularly weary, woeful, etc. This made me feel a little less lonely. Thank you.

    3
  • Reply A Rose February 2, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    I think one of hardest things of this year is that we are expected not to grieve. Not to be broken by the relentless grind, the lack of support, the tragedies and traumas happening in and around our lives. I feel so beaten down by it all right now also – the endless childcare, the fear of COVID, the deep personal losses that I and my immediate family have experienced. Thank you for your depth, Erin. Your writing and your honesty, and especially your journey as a person and a mother (which aligns so closely with my own) have made your blog a touchstone for me. Fuck those who make us feel like less. This storm is relentless, and while we all have different vessels to weather it in, that doesn’t make our trauma any less. Thank you for speaking your truth.

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  • Reply Megan February 2, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    Agreed yes, this is fucking hard. Full stop. I read a tweet or post or article (I can’t even remember) that said, “everyone needs more than any one can give,” and I felt that to my core. Whenever I see people post about trips to Disneyland or Grandparents hanging out or backyard BBQs I want to scream because I’ve been living the same day since March 13, 2020. Having a second baby was the only thing to switch things up.

    13
  • Reply K February 2, 2021 at 8:43 pm

    As though the only thing preventing you from taking a break was that you hadn’t thought of it! Good grief.

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    • Reply S February 3, 2021 at 6:37 pm

      Haha! This made me chuckle out loud. Exactly!

      1
  • Reply Alexis February 2, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    I hail from a Mom who was a widow with 3 kids, a mortgage, no washer , 3 jobs 7 days a week and no car. I know and understand that every Mother no matter how devoted deserves a break in their mired down endless muck of Motherhood to say enough . Your honesty is refreshing as was my Moms when she Retreated to her room with a book for alone time with clear instructions to leave her alone as she had enough. These are unprecedented times for you without a single break. Never fault yourself for speaking your truth or rightfully feeling overwhelmed. You so beautifully articulate your truth .

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  • Reply Maya February 2, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    Thank you! I can so relate not bc I am in your shoes exactly but because I am the only one on my work team that has little kids while trying to make this WFH thing work and we all know that even the slightest hint of anger and is a big no-no. We like our women fresh-faced and lovable. Hang in there Erin. I appreciate that you are a whole human on the internet! Take up space!

    9
  • Reply Sara February 2, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    I’m here for it all, Erin. Your wisdom, short tips, suggestions, wit, parenting clues, and especially THIS. It’s hard to express rage on a good day, but to do it so eloquently on almost a year of really bad days, is basically miraculous. Thank you persisting. Thank you for your resilience. Thank you for giving a lot of fucks and not putting up with modeling the good mother. We need real women speaking the truth of their lives now more than ever. Don’t be quiet don’t sit down don’t let that image dissuade you. It’s subterfuge.

    I’m a mom of 3 all around the same age as yours in a 700 sq foot apt in Philadelphia. I’m here for the long haul and welcome your full range from euphoria to white hot rage.

    13
  • Reply Allison February 2, 2021 at 8:50 pm

    Erin, thank you for writing this. I relate to this so very much right now, and am grateful for your eloquence and courage. I hear you. I agree 100%. Compassion, empathy, love to you.

    3
  • Reply Mary February 2, 2021 at 8:52 pm

    Here for this. Here for the honesty. Ignore those who are pretending the world isn’t so maddening right now.

    2
  • Reply Claire February 2, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    Thank you for this post! I’ve been a reader for many years but this is my first time commenting. The mother rage is real. It feels good to know others have it, too. We are all struggling. Pretending that we’re not is absolutely insane. I’m tired of blogs that act as if the past (almost) year is no big deal or as if everything is totally normal. It’s a big deal. This is not normal. Having kids right now is SO HARD. Everyone is doing their best, which, as you said, was previously their worst. We’ll get through it together by sharing the tough parts and commiserating. And, my chili was also rejected by my kids, even though they were starving after playing in the snow….kids, man.

    2
  • Reply Rachel February 2, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    Amen. THIS post resonates with me. Neck-deep in solidarity.

    2
  • Reply Zandria February 2, 2021 at 9:00 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for yours (pre-Silas) and I rarely comment, but I had to drop in here to say…GOOD FOR YOU. I want to kick everyone who would dare to give their opinion that you should pretend to be happier online (basically for their benefit, because it’s certainly not for your benefit). I hope you can ignore those comments as much as possible. I, for one, prefer for the people I follow on blogs/social media to be real and honest, and I’ve always appreciated that you are both of those things. You have three kids and are trying to work from home…I can’t imagine it. Hugs and strength to you!

    5
  • Reply Katie February 2, 2021 at 9:04 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this and speaking so beautifully to those of us dog paddling
    through the rage, sadness, and anxiety. I find caring for small children is always relentless — even when it is its most wonderful! — and reading this validated, for me, the particularly overwhelming relentlessness of parenting/working from home during a brutal pandemic. So, again, thank you for eking out this gift for readers like me 🙂

    4
  • Reply Rachel February 2, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    Yes! Anger and frustration is human and we should have a right to feel and express how we feel. Thank you for your bravery and honesty in posting this (bravery because there is always backlash and whingers and judges). I love reading your blog because you feel like a real person who shares her struggles, just as we also have struggles, even though we are privileged. The pandemic is huge and has completely changed our lives and outlook. It has not been as hard for me since I live in Australia and we do not have as many deaths. I’m still reading about it, but it’s not the same as living surrounded by it. Anyway, I just want to say thank you for being real and not stifling/hiding away your anger, frustration, hurt and humanity. x

    2
  • Reply Lucy February 2, 2021 at 9:13 pm

    This cannot be said enough! It is so hard it often feels impossible. I’m pregnant, have a toddler, am working from a two-bedroom apartment, and until THIS WEEK my husband and I had no days off together. Suggestions to indulge in self-care make me angry, because when?? How??

    I have to cut my therapist loose because she’s very young and has no children and gives me platitudes like focusing on the positives, not trying to control the unknowns, and finding virtual parenting groups to replace mom-and-baby yoga, library story times, and play dates. If I have to look at myself in Google Meet for another hour I’m going to scream.

    Please excuse the rant and know that we get it! Anger is the rational response.

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  • Reply Diana February 2, 2021 at 9:13 pm

    This. Was. Awesome. Thank you. I think the best comparison I can come up with – and it’s imperfect – is that we’re a nation in wartime. Would I have gone back to see my grandma back during World War II, pregnant with a deployed husband, living with the constant fear of death and financial disaster hanging over her shoulder, reading horrifying things in the paper every day, and scratched my head and wondered why she wasn’t more gosh darned *joyful*? No. Give me a break. (Not entirely a turn of phrase at the moment – give me a break! Somebody? Pretty please?….)

    10
  • Reply Caroline February 2, 2021 at 9:22 pm

    I’ve been a long time reader of your blog and this is my first time posting a comment. My comment is: YES. Yes to everything you’ve laid out here. Yes to being pissed off and fed up. Yes to having to do all the things and being worn so ragged that we can’t do any of the things properly any more. Preach on.

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  • Reply Anna February 2, 2021 at 9:23 pm

    THIS! Thank you Erin, for your words and your honesty! We just all needed to read this. With all the outcry fot positivity, it just feels so good to admit that it all sucks! I feel lonely, isolated, haven’t seen family for over a year and am really struggling mentally and physically with a toddler, a pregnancy, work, studies and all the chores that might be too much even in normal times. Now minus all the support, plus the loss of loved ones and the endless repeat of bad news it really is too much. I feel like I am losing it on a daily basis. Reading perfect stories that ignore all of this makes it worse. Your story acknowlediging the hardships is very much appreciated. I feel you. It makes the whole mess more bearible.

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  • Reply Chelsea February 2, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    Thank you for this.

  • Reply Nisa February 2, 2021 at 10:02 pm

    YES! I support this message and appreciate your honestly, always.

  • Reply Mo February 2, 2021 at 10:14 pm

    THANK YOU. It drives me wild when people act surprised or ask “why” or “what’s going on” when I tell them I’m not doing well. It’s a global pandemic. We haven’t spent time indoors with friends for a year. How are you doing well?

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  • Reply Jenny February 2, 2021 at 10:19 pm

    I am a single mother of a 4 and 8 year old living in Brooklyn and working as a pilot in air transport, an essential but now really complicated profession, and I want to say thank you for your honesty, this is all so hard. Every time I feel like a pivot is coming in the pandemic, with the government, in the world, I have found myself revising the horizon to months and years. It is impossibly hard for parents and our child care providers now . It is impossibly hard to watch from 2000 miles away as older parents fight, struggle, fade, and (hopefully) recover from covid. It is so hard to send our elementary school age children in masks and face shields for what they now want more than anything in their lives, in-person school. It is so hard and strange to realize you recognize neighbors with half of their faces covered and to somehow *smile at each other as people do around here. It is impossible to wear glasses over a mask and do the school run with fog constantly covering your vision…or your child’s. It is so hard to admit that the time you really need for yourself is coming after your children are asleep and at the expense of your own rest and therefore your own health. It is so hard to miss your friends so much but to keep a social distance outside when you see each other. Please keep being honest and creating this community. We need you! Thank you.

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  • Reply Em February 2, 2021 at 10:21 pm

    Yes yes yes, Erin! Thank you for saying this! For what it’s worth, I think you do beautiful work in balancing hope and eyes out for day-to-day beauty with the real frustration and heaviness of this time. I’ve been so encouraged by your willingness to be publicly sad and angry and “this is the best I’ve got” alongside your aspirational/cheery posts. I don’t think I could stand it if I were struggling here in my home and you were presenting easy perfection and a happiness not hard-won. The temptation to compare with that false picture would be strong. So thank you for all of it. (And I relate – I’ve long had people online chide me when I occasionally present anything but motherly bliss. And I just had a client move up a due date and when I mentioned I’d have to deliver less work bc all my kids’ activities were cancelled and they’re not even allowed to visit with the neighbour outside anymore (thus with me every moment as well as up at night with anxiety) the client said, “I know you’re a busy mom! We can cancel the project, no feelings hurt.” It was kindly meant but I wanted to burst into tears and say, “please understand I’m a busy mom because my partner and I are trying to do everything for our children with no support whatsoever in a pandemic in January and I actually really need this job not to be canceled.”

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    • Reply mado February 3, 2021 at 7:28 pm

      That’s so hard, I feel you. I also just had a client ask for something on a really short deadline but then cancel when i said it would have to be a less thorough job. I didn’t think it would still be bothering me but on top of everything else now is the worry that I’m not performing well enough in my income-generating work.

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  • Reply Mags February 2, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    These are my favorite posts because they are real. I am also a mother of young children, also fortunate to have many privileges, also sometimes working from home with children crawling on top of me, also struggling with the pandemic that seems to never end and so much (of my own) anger and negativity. Parenting right now is hard and I thank you for sharing in an honest and real way. Please no fake positivity!! I promise you my children (4 & 7) watch way more violence than yours.

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  • Reply Kate February 2, 2021 at 10:50 pm

    You write so brilliantly. Yes, all of your words resonate. Cheering you on as you keep being you, thanks for sharing yourself with us.

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  • Reply Brianna Byers February 2, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    Aaaaaahhh. Ughhh. The fucking rage is REAL. Literally all of the things. Thank you so much for posting this. I am with you entirely. I had to get off instagram a few months ago because I kept seeing this version of motherhood presented that felt SO FAR AWAY from where I was that I honestly couldn’t even handle logging in anymore. It’s about fucking time we lay this shit out there. A few years ago a dear friend recommended a book called Body Full of Stars and I continue to have flashes of the scenes in that book…her outside screaming into the wilderness..this was my first experience with anyone putting it all out there as it relates to motherhood rage. I will cherish this post on the same level as I cherish that book. Thank you.

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  • Reply Nicole February 2, 2021 at 10:58 pm

    YES! This has to be my favourite post on your blog, but it absolutely sucks that you had to even write it. However, thank you for not portraying perfection and success to other mothers and contributing to the bullsh*t portrayal that women must be calm and tranquil but never ever maddened by the frustrations surrounding them. We are not in a bubble. Our context is unprecedented and our paying work important. We deserve to be pissed off and “weary” (and I’m not even in America!). Good luck. Keep on keeping it real. I dearly hope things improve in your part of the world soon. Much love.

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  • Reply Zoe February 3, 2021 at 12:10 am

    Oops! Sorry you interpreted what I wrote that way, Kelli. I’ve just viewed ‘Penguin Bloom’ and certainly feel compassion, understanding and kindness (and awe) for Sam Bloom and everyone else facing their own particular challenges these days. I do not feel or believe this is a competition.

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    • Reply Kelli February 3, 2021 at 7:58 pm

      Responded in more detail up above, but it does seem that I misinterpreted what you were saying. Sorry!

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  • Reply Jill February 3, 2021 at 12:32 am

    Please know that for every person who tries to shame your choices that there are hundreds of us cheering your honesty and authenticity. I have followed you since the loft and I think you’re brilliant and humorous in ALL the circumstances. You do you, please. We dig it!
    Also this video of “Everyones upstairs neighbours” made me laugh so hard I cried the first time I saw it, we all may need some laughter now. Make it a family affair. “It sounds like bowling balls, but that can’t be it??!”

    https://youtu.be/4IRB0sxw-YU

    xoxo

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  • Reply Louise February 3, 2021 at 1:43 am

    Word! We have 3 small kiddos and a washer in the apartment as well in a very small apartment in Copenhagen so I know how you feel. So tired of shushing….they are kids right! But luckily our downstairs neighbor is very forgiving and as he said himself ‘it’s part of the apartment living experience’ If he wasn’t that would be total stress! So sorry you have to deal with that on top of everything else

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    • Reply Sarah February 6, 2021 at 9:41 am

      What a lovely neighbour!! I think I’d cry in relief to a response like that!

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  • Reply Jenny February 3, 2021 at 2:05 am

    Yes! I love your honesty about life in general but especially the not fun feelings about motherhood and life in the past year.

  • Reply Claire February 3, 2021 at 2:49 am

    I am so grateful that you have found the words to describe this painfully familiar feeling that nearly all women encounter! I’m still shaken by an interaction I had this morning at work. I was told by a man how to do my job better. I firmly replied, “I’m doing everything I can.” It came out a little harsher than I intended, but I was understandably annoyed. He quieted for the rest of our interaction. Twenty minutes later, I received an email from him, which included the phrase, “I’m sorry you seemed frustrated,” only it wasn’t an apology to me. He was sorry that I hadn’t been more receptive to the input he’d given me, so he wanted to reiterate it. He explained how it would benefit both of us in the long run (in his eyes, with limited understanding of the big picture). Angered, I asked my boss for advice. We crafted a response. I sent it. I felt ok.

    Twelve hours later, I’m still thinking about this. In the email I sent in response, I provided some context which I hope will help the man to understand the larger scope of my work. (I’m an educator of 27 children, working online in a pandemic. I’m working more than ever before.) But I did something I’ve been trying so hard to avoid, especially at your urging, Erin. I apologized. I’m not sorry. I’m the one who is owed the apology. And yet I’ve been conditioned to apologize when someone doesn’t understand me.

    Pandemics are hard. Let’s normalize the feelings that come with that. Thank you for making it ok to not be ok. If I’m being real, I’m burnt out, my body is tired, and I feel lonely.

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  • Reply Cece February 3, 2021 at 4:12 am

    Sending you love, empathy and solidarity. This shit is an impossible burden for parents (and in lots of situations, let’s face it, we mean mothers) to shoulder. I’m mad too. My life has been reduced to housework and childcare and an unpaid teaching load, with unproductive bursts of work thrown in at times I should be sleeping or resting or playing with my children. I think that’s an excellent reason to be angry.

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  • Reply Sarisa February 3, 2021 at 5:12 am

    THIS. This is why I love your writing and your work. Thank you, thank you, thank you. So much love to you and all of the women this resonated with. Love to all of us just trying and trying to keep our heads above water in this very very strange reality we are all in for the foreseeable future.

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  • Reply Tess February 3, 2021 at 5:22 am

    Thank you for putting to words what I, and clearly so many others, are thinking and feeling. I get filled with rage when I see posts about being grateful for this extra time to spend with our children, taking the time to live ‘slowly’ (whatever the fuck that means) and endless gratitude (like a race to see who art the holiest amongst us), without a single acknowledgement for the reality that we are all swimming/drowning in. The cult of positivity is so damaging and really another form of supression, adding additional pressure when everything is already so bloody hard. I’m finding my small world feels smaller and there’s fewer people who I trust to accept my honest self without fear of shame, explination or justification.

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  • Reply Anouk February 3, 2021 at 5:54 am

    Ever since I was pregnant, I already felt the struggle to express how I felt (miserable) without being seen as a whining woman. And even now, with an 8 month old baby, I still feel the same struggle. I appreciate how you state and acknowledge the difficult parts of both parenthood and being a woman (with or without pandemic), and no, I don’t think you are whining. I would choose one honest post of you over 10 #blessed posts any time.

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  • Reply Cristina February 3, 2021 at 5:57 am

    Dear Erin, I am a silent reader but this time I had to comment, your post resonated a lot with me. Anger and rage are perfectly understandable in the current situation and anyway don’t let others tell you what you should post (the irony of me telling you what to post is not lost on me :))

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  • Reply Laura February 3, 2021 at 6:05 am

    I needed this. My sadness, apathy and rage are currently consuming me. Eating me alive. There is no taking breaks right now. But at least I know all the mothers in the world are holding space for each other.

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  • Reply Fran February 3, 2021 at 6:12 am

    Thank you! I feel like you have described my days for the last year and it helped me to see that other people are struggling on a daily basis just like me 🙂 My 15 month old still cries in fear when meeting her grandma Because she rarely sees her and it Breaks my heart. I love real life posts and yours are my favourite. Just keep it coming and hang in there we will get through this.

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  • Reply Silvia February 3, 2021 at 6:14 am

    Yes! This! Thank You! This is capital letters Hard.

  • Reply Caitlin February 3, 2021 at 6:47 am

    During the trump administration, I was so inspired by how you turned your rage to activism and I think there’s the possibility of doing that now. So many of the restrictions around covid just don’t make sense anymore and they’re making us miserable–like the closure of public schools. If you haven’t seen, there’s a rally at city hall today to ask for all schools to be open for kids five days a week.

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  • Reply heather February 3, 2021 at 9:27 am

    I thank you deeply for writing the honest truth of what life is right now.

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  • Reply Clare February 3, 2021 at 9:41 am

    Companionship > “cheer”. Thank you for being a wonderful companion in this dislocating, disconnected shitshow. It’s so appreciated. I have a quote from Nick Cave’s (truly outstanding) Red Hand File emails written in my current work notebook. He quoted his lovely mum: “Head held high and fuck ’em all”. Wishing you both parts of that sentence. Ideally both!

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  • Reply Tatjana February 3, 2021 at 9:55 am

    Right on. I so appreciate your authenticity in all its forms. It so important especially on social media. I have been enjoying your content for a long time. Thank you!

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  • Reply Janean February 3, 2021 at 10:05 am

    Pissed off and proud of it! Nobody is going to tell me that there’s any other reasonable reaction to the layered trauma we are all experiencing, each in different and/or similar ways. In a desperate effort to maintain baseline mental health, I decided to reduce my freelance workload this year (despite financial instability) because I NEED space for rest and healing. One client replied with “I’m so sorry you are taking this so hard.” White hot rage indeed!!

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  • Reply Caitlin February 3, 2021 at 10:23 am

    I am losing my mind, (that snow day was particularly difficult) and I only have one child, in the suburbs…with daycare and grandparents nearby. I think you are doing an incredible job surviving and sharing raw, beautiful, honest truths. I want to say I can’t believe people have the nerve to say the things they do to you, but unfortunately that’s no longer true. If you can stand it and it’s not affecting you’re mental health too much, just know that what you create and share here is so incredibly valuable to so many and is truly changing the world.

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  • Reply Ellen February 3, 2021 at 11:06 am

    I could not agree more with everything you’ve written here. Thank you, and bravo! <3

  • Reply Sarah T February 3, 2021 at 11:19 am

    Honestly, I think we should all be burning with rage. Why isn’t our own government doing more to help us? Why should we accept what is horrific.

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  • Reply Crystal February 3, 2021 at 11:32 am

    Your anger, frustration, sadness and fear are valid and important feelings. Where you lost me is when you used these feelings as a filter to chastise individuals in both your real and virtual lives. You are maddened because their comments do not acknowledge your full experience but by reducing these people to single comments in your post you are doing the same to them. You are not validating their experience anymore than they are validating yours. I personally have chosen to look for the positive and joy in this whole mess as often as I can. My husband and I are both critical care nurses and parents to three young children. We are literally surrounded by death everyday at work and endless frustration everyday at home. I have chosen to not let sadness and anger into my life in any significant way, not because I am turning a blind eye, but because I would no longer be able to do my job as either a nurse or a parent. Additionally, if I lashed out at my patients for their well-meaning but often misguided comments I would be out of a job. Your call for compassion rings hallow when it stands on a soap box built from public shamming.

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    • Reply Sarah February 3, 2021 at 1:50 pm

      You say Erin’s feelings are valid, but later say you “have chosen not to let sadness and anger into your life.” That’s the opposite of validation. Emotions arise organically, and not all of us can choose not to feel them.

      Erin used the text of her comments in order to more clearly illustrate her points, and to make clear to her readers what was said. How can she be chastising someone if that someone was never named? In addition, when people mis-step, sometimes chastisement is in order, so that they have the opportunity to repair the harm done and make amends. She didn’t call anyone names, she didn’t level personal attacks. Citing public commentary (the “public” part is worth the emphasis), then demonstrating why those comments are off-putting is not “lashing out.”

      I, for one, am impressed that Erin is able to describe her rage in such a measured, thoughtful way. This essay was plainly written with a clear mind and a full heart, not in a fit of pique.

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      • Reply Crystal February 3, 2021 at 5:31 pm

        The opposite of validation would have been for me to say that Erin’s feelings regarding her situation are not right or unworthy. I do not have to share her feelings to validate them.
        As for the commenters that are called out, it does not take a detective to find their comments and associated Instagram pages. Although they were not named they are easy to identify and we do not need to know their name to know then have been shamed. In my opinion, her argument would have been made much stronger by not focusing on individual people who’s circumstances she knows nothing about. She does not acknowledge their load while filling with rage that they don’t acknowledge her load. Posting a person’s comment on your business page, noting that it was likely well-intended and then pulling it apparent is a direct attack on an individual under the guise of semantics, not to mention a poor business model. To me, that is a far greater mis-step than an arguably misguided comment. If we have gotten to the point that wishing someone well is interpreted as harmful, what do we have left to say to each other during these awful times?

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    • Reply Erin February 3, 2021 at 6:27 pm

      Thank you Crystal! This is how I feel. I am the person who messaged “your anger doesn’t resonate with me.” I admit in hindsight that the message sounds judgemental but I did not mean that if Erin can’t be happy in this space, she shouldn’t show up at all! Not at all. I explained to Erin at the time that it was specifically the anger and disgust she sometimes showed to readers that really lead me to send that message. I thought she might not realize that it could alienate readers so I was attempting to be kind and let her know. I have been enjoying Erin’s blog for years. I have a memory of reading one of her blog posts in 2015 in my mom’s hospital room when she was dying. My three children were aged 4 and under. I don’t doubt that her life is hard and blame her for anger. I just didn’t like to see it directed towards her own audience who wish her well. I agree with what you said about a call to compassion ringing hollow when it is combined with public shaming. I was shocked to read my own message in this post and I really feel for the woman whose comment yesterday (about wishing Erin a lighter heart soon) triggered it.

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    • Reply mado February 3, 2021 at 7:38 pm

      I have been reading Erin’s blog for many years, and i have never once felt shamed by her comments directed at readers. More often i feel like, who would say that? I do understand that a one-off comment could be because of a bad day or a hasty reading. But i think we are all due a reminder once in a while that our “content sources” are real people who don’t deserve to put up with workplace harassment no matter the source or the intention.

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  • Reply Rebecca Stark-Gendrano February 3, 2021 at 11:36 am

    YES YES YES! A hundred times yes. This is exactly the message I needed to hear today. Thank you for this. Parenting is hard. Parenting during a global pandemic is even harder, and acknowledging the difficulties of this moment is often a crucial part of just making it through the day.

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  • Reply Lissa February 3, 2021 at 11:57 am

    “Taken at face value, the reader’s comment is an example of well wishes; a bit of comfort for a tired parent. “Thank you!” I might have said. I am so weary lately. But noting that someone sounds weary without acknowledging the load they’re carrying doesn’t feel compassionate so much as it feels like an admonishment. ”

    This would my comment. I’ve never had a comment directly called out/addressed by a blogger. Guess I’m feeling adequately admonished for not expressing my concern, sympathy and worry for a complete stranger in NY in a way that is validating. Now that you have clarified to your readership exactly how you need your support to be expressed, perhaps we can do better next time. Yes. Do better for someone we don’t **even know**. You have a very high bar in your expectations for a complete stranger who was **trying to be nice**. And while I agree that it’s important to acknowledge each person’s anxiety/upset as worthy of support, forgive me for moving on to my patients who have no heat, are hungry, ill and quite frequently living on the streets. While you live in your warm apartment, dithering over precise shades of color for the walls, some people are caring for those who respond with tears and thankfulness when they are given hand warmers and long underwear.

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    • Reply Sarah February 3, 2021 at 1:56 pm

      Shouldn’t we always strive to give support the way a person needs it? Even if we don’t know them? That seems like clear boundary-setting to me, and clear boundaries benefit everyone. In no way is Erin playing in the suffering Olympics here, and she very clearly (and regularly, on many of her posts) states her privileges and her recognition of those dealing with more direct threats to her survival. Her literal job is to write about lifestyle and home choices, that’s how she supports her family, so to deride her work as “dithering” over paint is out of line. The sponsorship from the paint company is what puts food on her table, it’s not an idle hobby. Erin has routinely touted the ways to support community members in NYC and beyond who are under-resourced, her compassion is obvious.

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      • Reply Crystal February 3, 2021 at 5:49 pm

        Erin is taking people’s direct comments, posting them on a business page without their permission, interpreting them to support her own point of view and being applauded for it. If that is not a disrespect of boundaries I don’t know what is. Arguing that “clear boundaries benefit everyone” is sanctimonious at best given the multiple individuals censured in this piece.

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    • Reply zoe February 3, 2021 at 2:18 pm

      I have to say I would have taken your comment the exact same way. It might be time to thoughtfully listen to the way your message was received and try to do better next time.

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    • Reply L February 3, 2021 at 3:57 pm

      Your response is so interesting in that you seem to be a helper, much like a very well meaning friend of mine who regularly gives me similar comments. Bottom line is that they feel hollow. “Oh, that must be hard,” I hear often. Well, yes, it is. It’s not a suffering Olympics, but it’s a bizarre expression of sympathy/support to tell me what I already know.

      Also, some of us do have high bars, and we’re not going to apologize for it. Erin gave feedback. Take it or leave it.

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    • Reply Claire February 3, 2021 at 4:24 pm

      I think the idea of impact vs intent is hugely important here. Your intent was to be compassionate (that’s great!), however the impact your comment had (as stated by Erin above) indicates that it didn’t land the way you’d hoped. I, too, feel the urge to explain why someone is misinterpreting what I said, but ultimately the most compassionate thing is to hear how it came across and felt on the receiving end.

      Your job sounds incredibly meaningful, Lissa. Erin’s job is also important as it has brought this community together and supports her family. We all have feelings and I hope we can all be considerate of each other’s need for respect!

      12
    • Reply Paula February 4, 2021 at 6:09 am

      Don’t break your arm patting yourself on your back. You don’t need to prove you are a good person because you help keep people warm. I’m sure your home is warm too. Erin earns her keep here. What’s the point in making mean statements directed at her livlihood? If anything it’s just proving Erins point in this post.

      10
  • Reply Michelle Morrone February 3, 2021 at 12:19 pm

    This is fantastic! I think a lot of people feel seen, reading your post right now. I actually find myself feeling rage when I see posts of friends together without masks, out and about, traveling like there is no virus – and I know I shouldn’t judge there either but I just feel like, are we living alternate realities? We will get past this, but fuck it is hard in the meantime.

    3
  • Reply Catherine February 3, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    And many days, where you are both joyful and despairing in a matter of moments, at least that is true for me. I think this pandemic will leave its mark on society and especially our children and that even if we are the ones to survive it, it will forever change us, hopefully also in the way of speaking out more for women’s rights and against old white men.
    Please stay real in this as I feel you have done in the past with the projects you’ve shared never announcing them as the “cure all” but sharing rounds and rounds of improving or even just tweaking your apartment etc.
    I have never commented before, I believe but had to this time!

    3
  • Reply Marie February 3, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    Yes yes yes. Thank you for this. We all need to be done eating shit and smiling about it.

    2
  • Reply Kate February 3, 2021 at 1:28 pm

    This expresses so many of my feelings. It’s so freaking hard to be a parent right now. Some days it feels like drowning trying to keep everything together and check off all the lists. We deserve to show the good and the bad and, honestly, it helps me to know I’m not the only one, so thank you for sharing!

    2
  • Reply Jillian Schweitzer February 3, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

    My goddesess, thank you for this.

    3
  • Reply Kat February 3, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    Some people are here for the perfection, others are here for the reality. You can’t please everyone. Thanks for sharing your life and beautiful pictures with us. You’re doing a great job even if it doesn’t always feel like it.

    3
  • Reply Mackenzie February 3, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    “But I think it’s also okay, maybe even necessary, to acknowledge the storm.” Yes! A thousand times yes! Thank you so much for articulating this overwhelming feeling we collectively have and are continuing to have. I am tired of the posts that say to “cherish this time together” and “they won’t always be little” while not also acknowledging that parenting during a pandemic is hard. And not having a moment to yourself to regroup is also difficult. It is nice to know that I am not the only one crying literal tears of frustration.

    3
  • Reply Elizabeth February 3, 2021 at 2:28 pm

    I’m with you, Erin. Thank you for being here, too.

    2
  • Reply olga February 3, 2021 at 3:14 pm

    Please be you. Feel the feelings you need to feel and share the aspects of your life you need to share. The naysayers and admonishers could use a lesson in being less judgmental and more empathetic. Being able to afford a get-away is a lovely position to be in, and I won’t begrudge anyone using their opportunity and privilege to do so, but most of us are BARELY making it by. I’m sorry there are readers and followers who expect only sunshine and rainbows. And much as I hate to suggest to these people to kindly bugger off in the meantime, I fear I must. If they don’t like the honest you’ve displayed, they don’t have to read/watch, and they also can keep their mouth shut. Also, none of this would be said to you if you were a guy. So, please put on the gazillionth movie, ill-advised or not, whatever works best for you to survive. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help. Sending a virtual hug.

    7
  • Reply M February 3, 2021 at 3:19 pm

    My kid had to do this NetSmartz online training for internet safety. She is 6 and it scared the shit out of her (Bad guys! Scary pictures! Creepy weirdos!) and she tearfully turned to me and said “If the internet is so bad then why do people use it?” and in my head I was like “GIRRRRRRRL YOU SAID IT.” Tell your neighbors to apply for a mortgage and tell those assholes with their stupid self-serving comments to start their own fucking content where they can be happy-fucking-go-lucky by themselves.

    10
  • Reply Diana February 3, 2021 at 3:28 pm

    Such a beautifully heartachingly written post! Thank you for your honest and raw glimpse behind your front door! Please know MANY of your readers love and LIVE to know they are not alone….that there is someone out there with the courage to give their life words. May you feel my open arms and shoulders…they are not only good for a hug…but also to weep upon.

    5
  • Reply L February 3, 2021 at 3:48 pm

    “But noting that someone sounds weary without acknowledging the load they’re carrying doesn’t feel compassionate so much as it feels like an admonishment.” Goodness, YES!!! As a physician with two young kids in virtual school for nearly a year now and a partner who struggles to work from home while somehow caring for and keeping them from killing each other, yes. My work has not changed, I felt the weight and worry for 11 months of bringing disease home to my family, still feel that weight, though less so, despite being vaccinated. My husband still wants a wife, my kids still need their mom, and work wants me to continue as though none of this is happening. Oh, and then there’s me. (What is this “self care” people speak of, anyway?) And a country full of racists and insurrectionists. I try to do my part, I try to hard. And I have it very easy compared to a lot of people. But yes, this is hard and I do want others to at least think about that before calling out my frustration.

    Fwiw, I think you are doing great. Your neighbors need to chill or at least invest in some good headphones and music. We’re all just getting through this as best we can.

    9
  • Reply Alice February 3, 2021 at 3:50 pm

    Openly shaming the very people who are your supporters, doesn’t sit right with me. I don’t think anyone is saying you can’t be angry, and I think the references you make from commenters are not ill-intended. In fact it sounds to me like they are genuinely concerned and supportive. Maybe you are projecting? Having this large of a following comes with a lot of privilege, but also a lot of responsibility. You are asking for your supporters to be understanding when speaking your mind, but have no room for them to speak their mind? Nobody said you can’t vent, but asking people to be graceful with you and then not doing the same with them seems selfish. I don’t know anyone who is not struggling right now due to these circumstances. You’re not the only one, and from what I can tell having two of three children in free child care is worth being grateful right now. I’m not sure what you are trying to achieve with this article, but shaming people is never a good move. Especially when they are the ones supporting you / engaging with you. Have an open heart for people the way you want them to have an open heart for you. And the ones that don’t have an open heart for you are not worth your time or energy.

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    • Reply Sarah February 3, 2021 at 4:19 pm

      Isn’t shame defined as making someone feel bad for who they are? Instead, Erin lays out specific behaviors that she finds unhelpful. She’s not saying these commenters are bad people, she’s saying the comment themselves are dismissive. Good intentions don’t absolve people from causing hurt. I think Erin’s words are supremely graceful, here. She likely gets hundreds (perhaps thousands) of DMs/comments on every post she makes. That she points out the few that land poorly is a help to everyone in communicating more clearly. If I didn’t mean to offend someone, but it turns out I did, I generally want to know so that I can apologize sincerely and work to make it right – or at the very least, avoid repeating my mistake.

      And as a side note, Erin notes that she’s receiving financial aid for childcare, but without more details, we don’t know whether that makes it free or simply discounted (and, if discounted, what percentage of their income it’s taking).

      10
      • Reply Crystal February 3, 2021 at 6:22 pm

        If we are to make the argument the interpretation of a comment is to hold more weight than the intent of the comment than this argument must be applied both ways. I interpreted Erin’s use of her Instagram followers’ comments as shaming and based on the reply above from the author of one of those comments, she interpreted it as shaming as well. The context in which she used their comments was dismissive and hurtful in equal measure to the way they made her feel. Stating you feel admonished and then turning around and admonishing someone else is hypocritical and detrimental to Erin’s otherwise powerful point of view.

        20
        • Reply Paula February 4, 2021 at 6:36 am

          I can see why you are taking this so personally because it was your comment but maybe it would be helpful for you to think about the consequences of your own actions by posting the comment in the first place. It doesn’t come across as helpful. Just seems like from all your responses here that you want to be right and that you won’t back down. You have a good point in that you have been singled out and that people can see who you are by reading the instagram post. But you have the option of deleting the comment on instagram.

          16
    • Reply Lindy February 3, 2021 at 4:52 pm

      I adore the blog but I feel very uncomfortable seeing comments held up for alk to nibble on. The post could stand without it. I don’t want to be a coconspirator. or voyeur. The high road or the low road?

      27
    • Reply Elizabeth February 3, 2021 at 5:09 pm

      Wow. I don’t think it is correct to assume that everyone that comments is supporting her – in any way. And your passive-aggressive remonstrances are just that. To suggest that she must grin and bear unsolicited advice/scoldings is outrageous. She is allowed to be unhappy. She is allowed to resent intrusion. She is allowed to be angry. As far as I know, no commenter has a monetized pass to be a superior jerk. You should be ashamed of your comment – you should be ashamed for your attempts to shame her – you should be ashamed for your attempts to silence her. Your response isn’t kindly or helpful – it’s patronizing.

      10
    • Reply S February 3, 2021 at 7:11 pm

      I think the concept of shame is so interesting here. By definition, shame is is a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. So commenters saying they’ve been shamed by Erin for using their *public* comments as means to express a perspective is essentially acknowledging their own ill intentions. So perhaps it’s not shame they’re feeling, but rather embarrassment? defensiveness? anger? And throwing the word Shame at Erin is just a simple form of deflecting.

      13
  • Reply Lindsay February 3, 2021 at 4:29 pm

    Thank you. I am really struggling and frustrated to be dealing with people who seem to be trodding along as usual, annoyed I would voice any of my feelings. I feel a little more heard today.

    5
  • Reply JoAnn February 3, 2021 at 4:33 pm

    Here for all your rage (and whatever emotions you feel like sharing). Thanks for putting into words a situation that is so untenable. I really don’t understand how we’re supposed to “be fine and work normally” amidst so much tragedy and trauma.

    4
  • Reply Erin February 3, 2021 at 4:39 pm

    Oh love, yes, you just keep being you and I hope most of your days your head is above water. I follow a few blogs, I like looking at the pictures, some I enjoy reading. I can think of 3 blogs in total with women I would actually want to have a coffee with. YOU – it would be a glass of wine. I’d put the baby down for you that night. Pat you on the back and keep your glass filled. Your voice is authentic, and I often think you’d be a great hang, if we could get past me being a fan-woman. Screw those Pollyannas – I’m with you.

    4
  • Reply Lindy February 3, 2021 at 4:46 pm

    She didn’t miss the point. She stated that right at the beginning. She then shared her own very overwhelming situation that she’s facing. I understand what y r saying. but she couldn’t really take it in with being so overwhelmed by her own serious worry.

    2
  • Reply Claire Star February 3, 2021 at 4:58 pm

    If people are hurting your feelings, then you’ve spoken up for yourself and specifically asked them to stop (as Erin has done here in this post), I don’t think they’re really supporters. I believe Erin has a really big heart and gives people the benefit of the doubt; she’s also calling people in and saying “here’s why this doesn’t land well with me; could you try something different next time?” Erin’s voice is strong and firm; she’s creating boundaries. It’s hard to see or hear them sometimes, but to be real supporters, we need to listen!

    7
  • Reply Tania February 3, 2021 at 7:11 pm

    Yes.
    Marge Simpson : [Marge’s pretzel business is going nowhere]
    [Marge despondently looks at a poster of a cat barely hanging to a tree branch]
    Marge Simpson : Hang in there, baby. You said it, kitty.
    [reads the small print]
    Marge Simpson : “Copyright 1968.” Hmmm. Determined or not, that cat must be long dead. That’s kind of a downer.

    4
  • Reply Elle February 3, 2021 at 7:25 pm

    Have been reading you from Canada for years, own your book, did the Skillshare. Your honest devotion to simplicity and goodness, delivered in your reassuring, compassionate and clever tone, is why I have been a reverent and devoted reader for so long.

    What you describe in this post sounds just like being told “hey, SMILE!” from some rando-dude while you are going about your business getting from A to B. The worst.

    Anyway, I never comment but wanted to let you know how deeply your work is appreciated by me.

    12
  • Reply Susan Magnolia February 3, 2021 at 8:43 pm

    The past year has been super hard and frustrating. I feel like we are stuck, in our apartment, in our worry and with each other.
    We had reaarange our apartment immediately to make it function for us. Sometimess I feel hopeful and sometimes I break down in tears. My family is okay but the mental and emotional hurdles are very real. We are a unit with one parent who brings in income, one parent is the teacher, one growing child. We have to be okay or everything falls apart fast. I would love for my nine-year-old to have a life outside of our apartment.
    The summer felt punishing with the heat, fires/smoke and pandemic all at once. Neighbors set off fireworks nightly for months. I felt trapped. It’s easier now with our weather but I get how pandemic plus any natural phenomenon or disaster due to climate change plus more kids must feel. We are all so isolated and just waiting to see what the future holds. I am disillusioned with most blogs these days. I find your voice to continually be a balm. Thank you for sharing.

    4
  • Reply Zoe G. February 3, 2021 at 9:59 pm

    Erin, you are doing great and I am here for your anger as much as I am here for your sock recommendations. The policing of women’s voices online (and in real life) by men and other women is so tiresome and toxic. To the commentors who outed themselves— it seems like you’re having trouble with boundaries and the feeling of shame. It’s not often we have to deal with the consequences of what we say, probably most people in your life who you say annoying things to just call someone else to complain about it rather than take on the emotional burden of explaining why what you’re saying is judgey or unhelpful. I would take this opportunity to reflect on your behavior on the internet.

    One last thing. I remember how people said such rude and horrible things to you when you were pregnant with your third baby. I can’t imagine how quietly crushing it would be to have my life circumstances held up to public scrutiny by armchair quarterbacks the world over. The idea that because you’ve chosen to be a semi-public figure and thus deserve this vitriol- ridiculous.
    This reminds me of the frustration I had in the beginning of Covid when nurses were asked to work in unsafe environments with no support and we were just supposed to suck it up because “it’s what we signed up for.” As if.

    Keep at it, I’m here for it all.

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    • Reply Sara February 4, 2021 at 11:02 am

      Zoe, YES YES YES.

      1
  • Reply Mel Power February 3, 2021 at 10:13 pm

    Hey! Working from home with a toddler, so I know your pain. I love my third floor walk-up but my downstairs neighbors who now work from home too are less enthusiastic about my kiddo. In the interest of harmony I, like you, began with rugs and rug pads. I now have invested in foam pads too. Billed as playmats or exercise mats,they are light weight and easy to cut. Plus they come in loads of patterns and budget options. The 3/8″ ones have substantially helped. You can hear my kid run from kitchen to living room, when the sound is suddenly muted. An unexpected side benefit – warmer floors that are comfortable when you spend 10 hours a day on them!

    5
  • Reply B February 4, 2021 at 7:00 am

    I really appreciate zen buddhism for its acceptance of all states and situations and also for its ability over time to cultivate emotional resiliency. It’s a very sustainable response rather than reaction. Our mental health is so important. Choice too. I am trying to practice meditation daily because of the difference it makes. A state of emergency requires honesty, calm and self control, but life is better with these things too.

    2
  • Reply Eileen February 4, 2021 at 8:02 am

    Erin, thanks for posting this. You aren’t alone in the chaos of living life right now, and I appreciate the eloquence of your expression. I’m not on social media platforms so don’t see these comments of others, but I look forward to your posts here and am never disappointed. Hang in there.

    1
  • Reply Emily February 4, 2021 at 9:25 am

    I love this post. Your honesty is refreshing but it is hard to be honest and to exist in this internet world. You open yourself up to a lot but I think the connection and your authenticity are so needed. I am so grateful that you wrote and shared this post.

    2
  • Reply diana February 4, 2021 at 10:11 am

    The reproducing of specific comments from readers is surprising and disappointing. The point could have been made without identifying particular people and the post is weaker for her having chosen to do so. It is obvious then that calling out and making particular people feel badly was an intent.
    This kind of self-undermining is sad to see. It’s aggression disguised as something else and I wish I had not participated by reading it.

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 4, 2021 at 10:16 am

      Pointing out a few clear and anonymous examples of a trend does not undermine my point and I’m entirely within my right to do so.

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    • Reply Bethany February 4, 2021 at 1:19 pm

      As a regular reader of her posts and the comments I had no idea who the comments were referencing because memorizing the identity of Internet commenters is way outside my and many others’ mental bandwidth right now and always. But even if I could glean the identity, I don’t see how the author of a blog who allows comments on her page is not within her right to respond and remark upon the sentiments expressed by commenters — especially when they illustrate the larger points outlined in this post.

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  • Reply diana February 4, 2021 at 10:22 am

    reproducing individuals comments word for word makes it possible to identify them and calls them out individually. That decision makes me feel sad. The post really didn’t need it.

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 4, 2021 at 10:26 am

      The rhetorical device works well, which is why I used it.

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      • Reply eloise February 4, 2021 at 11:30 am

        Making others feel bad to make yourself feel better is a strategy whose rewards will rapidly diminish. There is no joy there.

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        • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 4, 2021 at 11:47 am

          Please stop using an alias to send multiple messages from the same IP address. I will not continue to publish them here.

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  • Reply JG February 4, 2021 at 12:01 pm

    Oh my, as a childless person also in a brownstone a bit unnerving to see all the vitriol by some commentors towards the downstairs neighbors. I understand that some noise is to be expected, but I also believe we have the right to some peaceful evenings together in our own living room, no? Are we expected to just “grin and bear it” ourselves b/c the family upstairs has children so they therefore have the right to make as much noise as they see fit?

    I would hope there’s some room for compromise and understanding from both sides of the floor – as opposed to parents just throwing up their hands and saying we have children so our needs take precedence and everyone else must just deal with it.

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 4, 2021 at 12:16 pm

      Oh course not! Hence the absolutely constant vigilance and concern on the part of the parents! For my part, mentioning the downstairs neighbors was in no way meant to absolve myself of responsibility or to vilify them, but to point out that this among many worries is ever-present. We try very hard to mitigate our impact through all kinds of efforts, knowing very well that children are not small adults who can stop themselves from thudding onto the ground as they learn to walk, or ringing the doorbell multiple times when they race ahead to the door, or any of the other things that children might do the annoyance and disturbance of the adults around them.

      12
      • Reply Sara February 4, 2021 at 9:22 pm

        That’s the part about the neighbors that gets me: I was the neighbor without kids for years and I understood that the noises associated with apartment living were part of the package of sharing walls. Was it ideal that I could hear my neighbor’s tv through our bedroom wall? No. Or my upstairs neighbors rolling what sounded like bowling balls through their living room? No. Or with open windows I could hear every word of my neighbors business conversations and podcast recordings? No. But did I stretch my range bc they were doing their best and this was the living situation I’d signed up for (meaning unknown neighbors in a tightly packed building)? Yes.

        And now I’m the one with three kids in a small apartment in a tightly packed building. The kids are basically locked down to play, go to school, and live all in one space all the time. Do I remind them *constantly* to walk, talk at a 5 not a 10, and on and on and on. Yes. You would be so sick of me if you heard me ask them to quiet down, go softer, lower the volume as much as I do.

        My point: as parents to these noisy needy beings, we are *most* sensitive to them. And we are truly doing our best. Reminding us that they’re noisy again, doesn’t help us at all, it just makes us more anxious about living so close to others.

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  • Reply Sharlene February 4, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    As a person of color, I hear you. And as a person of color who is a mother of a young child in a pandemic, I am moved by your ability to inject authenticity and action when the dominant cultural attitude has always been to be silent/ wish for the luck to change/ let someone else do the work.
    Your words are powerful and inspiring. This is what chipping away at white supremacy looks like. It is what fighting for more rights for mothers and caregivers looks like. Thank you for sharing your voice. I hope you continue to tell it like it is! We are with you!

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  • Reply Michelle February 4, 2021 at 12:54 pm

    If I were in your shoes, I’d be dead right now – or at least institutionalized!

    Anyone parenting young children right now – or, in my case, an immuno-compromised 19 year old boy stuck at home are heroes & deserve medals – money – expensive Gin – something!

    At the very least acknowledgement that it sucks – is not fun most of the time – and it is okay to say so very loudly!!!

    My God – tell them all to FUCK OFF!!

    5
  • Reply Gerry Benthein February 4, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    I always find your posts to be so beautifully written and I love how you manage to find beauty in the smallest of moments. I never read anger or negativity – it’s funny how we all see things so differently. I mean, my lens is that of a chronically ill stay home mother of three kids who were once aged 4,2 and 1…so maybe I just get it and think WOW! Please keep showing up and being you. We need your voice. It’s so refreshing. Thank you.

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  • Reply Christine February 4, 2021 at 2:53 pm

    YES YES YES. Thank you.

    2
  • Reply Rachel February 4, 2021 at 3:07 pm

    Rage and despair are appropriate and I think it is good to express it.
    This last year has sucked!!
    I often write things as they are on social media and many people are a little bit uncomfortable with that. Being positive all the time is fake

    Keep going

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  • Reply Sara February 4, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    I felt your every word. Could say so much more, but I want you to know there are women standing beside you in solidarity.

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  • Reply Natalie February 4, 2021 at 4:08 pm

    Rage on, Erin. I’m here for it. ALL of it! Thank you. I empathize and really appreciate your shining a light on this.

    3
  • Reply Hayley February 4, 2021 at 4:25 pm

    Thank you for your honest post, so refreshing to read a blog that acknowledges ALL the feelings right now.
    SNAFU

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  • Reply Lauren February 4, 2021 at 7:17 pm

    Thank you for this. You have such a nice way of conveying the universal by sharing specificity in your life.

    2
  • Reply Elissa February 4, 2021 at 8:05 pm

    YES! A thousand times, yes. I don’t want the perfect cornbread, the dried orange ornaments or the wooden spoons. Give me this all day every day. Yes, please. More of this.

    1
  • Reply Tobin February 4, 2021 at 8:28 pm

    I am here for all of it! For all the ways you are and how eloquently you express it. I’m one of those “front line” people and sometimes the depth of sorrow and rage cannot be expressed. You are one of the places I turn for grounding and I am grateful for your presence. Please keep it up.

    2
  • Reply Marthe February 5, 2021 at 3:40 am

    Thank you for putting this so eloquently into words. I too come from a position of much privilege but I share the anger and overwhelm, as do so many moms. Thank you for sharing, and for making me feel a little bit less alone. Which I’m not, because four kids, husband and au pair (yes, privilege) are all at home too. But there aren’t so many people with whom I can share the anger and overwhelm, and that might also be the case for a lot of other moms. So its’ anger, overwhelm and loneliness. Woohoo. And indeed, get lost with comments about which holy choices you make about what you children watch on netflix. I just give them the remote and be gone (into another room, to work from home. Yes, privilege). Thanks again for validating these feelings.

  • Reply Doro February 5, 2021 at 6:19 am

    Thank you for writing so honestly about your feelings, thoughts and life.

  • Reply Katie February 5, 2021 at 12:18 pm

    This resonated with me so much – and clearly many others. Having to work part time thanks to no childcare, while caring for a VERY 2 year old, a nursing new baby, an overworked husband and a mom who’s cancer has relapsed for the 4th time, I feel ALL the feelings every day and I’m barely scraping by. Thank you for expressing our collective frustration at the lack of support – from our government and many well meaning people around us. Whenever I express my frustration, rage etc I’m told I’m too angry, hormonal or need to focus on the positive. I love my kids and family but am an introvert who literally has not been alone in almost a year. Phew!

    I found this article so interesting and I thought you might too. Seems to echo your sentiments: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/08/happiness-self-help-positive-psychology-eva-illouz-edgar-cabanas

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  • Reply Hannah February 5, 2021 at 9:48 pm

    I don’t mean to sound selfish, but I feel like because of this pandemic I’m more understood. I was a stay-at-home mom for eight years, and when I say stay-at-home, I mean I never left my house. I didn’t have a car while my husband went to work, and he’d be gone 14, sometimes 16, hours a day. I couldn’t take my kids anywhere. I didn’t have any help with them, either. I couldn’t schedule anything because the hours my husband worked varied from day to day. I didn’t have any time to myself, and I didn’t have a single friend in the world. I was so lonely, so angry, so weary, and would throw up from being so stressed. My heart felt like it would explode from wanting to get out. My home was my prison. At one time I had six kids aged 5 and under because my niece and nephew lived with me for 6 months. I had a newborn, two 2-year-olds, two 3-year-olds, a 4-year-old, and a 5-year-old. I lived like a robot; every day systematic. I’d look at other people’s homes and lives on Pinterest and Instagram and cry. I was too poor to have a home that nice, even being a minimalist. My house was falling apart, and we were constantly in the middle of remodeling it. I remember reaching out to a well-known minimalist blogger, and she mailed me a book. I know it was meant as a nice gesture, but the book was about a woman who let everything go and put her trust in God and decided to be happy even though her husband was horrible and didn’t work, making her go to the fields to work while her baby starved to literal death screaming at home with her other 3-year-old son. It only made me angrier. I’d text my mom telling her how I felt and she’d tell me I needed to be more positive, I needed to get back into yoga and chakras, I needed to pray, but she never offered to help. On my 25th birthday, I held a gun to my head, feeling completely alone and done with life. At the last second, I decided not to go through with it because I didn’t want to leave my children. I love them more than anything, but being with your kids 24/7 is so extremely life-sucking. Giving your life to anyone constantly, without release, is that way. I get how everyone feels right now. I felt it for eight years. But this pandemic has actually been life-changing for me in an opposite way. I was already used to staying home. Now my husband is home, too, and it’s helped so much. I left home more last year than I had in eight years put together. We made more money from unemployment than we’ve ever made in a year before (and it was only $26,000). And I finally don’t feel so alone in my feelings of stress, anger, frustration, hopelessness, weariness. I felt guilty that I felt that way before, but now I know that I’m not alone in those feelings of being trapped in a house with small children. I’m sorry that everyone else is going through what I went through, but I’m also so grateful to be understood. ♡

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 6, 2021 at 6:38 am

      I can only imagine the pressures you were under. Sending much love and solidarity. I’m so glad to know you feel more understood and more supported.

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    • Reply Gerry February 6, 2021 at 3:42 pm

      The pandemic has made me feel more normal, too. I am unable to leave my house much due to illness. Going to appointments or kids’ events leaves me exhausted, sometimes curled up in bed for one or two days afterward. With everything cancelled, I didn’t have to feel guilty for saying no or like I was missing out so much. My kids really bonded. They had a month long sleepover in a fort they made (foregoing their individual bedrooms). So, all in all, it hasn’t been a terrible time for us, either. You are definitely not alone.

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  • Reply Hannah February 5, 2021 at 9:57 pm

    I had seven kids under 5, not six. I have six kids running around me right now and I can’t count! (Insert laughing emoji with tears here.)

  • Reply Elysabeth February 5, 2021 at 11:45 pm

    I just wanted to add how much this post made me feel seen. Reflecting on an especially difficult last two weeks and feeling defeated, exhausted, and guilty for lashing out at my husband, my 6-yr-old and 3-yr-old, and wondering what the hell I’m doing pregnant with our third even though I already feel like I’m drowning. Those naysayers, who have nothing more creative to add than admonishments, are the literal scaffolding of the broken system that has failed working mothers. You are brave, honest, and authentic, and I applaud you for staying true to your voice (and not falling victim to the perfectionist escapism that so many have resorted to) in these trying times. Thank you x 100000.

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  • Reply Abby February 7, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    Here for everything, the “hopeful” posts and the honest posts and everything in between. It enrages me that you still need to periodically write reminders about policing tone, but I appreciate how eloquently you can put it, as well.

    This pandemic is just rough. I’m working out of the house this year as a teacher (we’ve mostly been in person, masked and with tremendous safety protocols), while my husband is home with the kids. It is hard no matter what. Thank you for your honesty.

  • Reply Emily February 9, 2021 at 9:31 am

    Ahh. . . if you were in central NY, I’d look at the ten day weather forecast for a day above 30 degrees and try to entice you & yours for a bonfire. I’d ask my 14-year old & 12-year old to cajole your littles into some snow games. They are lovely and children are drawn to their smiling eyes over their masks. . . and the older one definitely won’t swear in front of small people (though we’ve been a little freer with that during pandemic times as it seems appropriate). I’d hand you a glass of wine or maybe that leftover honeyed bourbon from the outdoor Christmas Eve gathering (that was soooo cold!). I’d try to have a warm snack. . . maybe not as organic as I’d like . . . and empathetic conversation. . . maybe not as positive & sparkly as I’d like. . . but I would sit with you, exactly where you are. And I would thank you for your strength and leadership these past 4 years. It was about 4 years ago when I last commented, to thank you for this:

    “And then I will tell them that I fought. That I refused to let racism and sexism and xenophobia rule the day. That I would not be fooled into complacency. I’ll tell them that I knew we had incredible work to do and that it would require unprecedented bravery. I’ll tell them of my renewed resolve to raise thoughtful, compassionate, big-hearted children. I’ll tell them of my commitment to being an ally to people far more marginalized than I am.

    I’ll tell them that in a moment when my very work was to share my opinions with readers, that I could not think of a single good reason to hide these ones.”

    And we would remember that we are strong, that we are kind, that we are smart, that we are important, that we are human. That we are perfect in our imperfectness. And eventually we would be unable to ignore that our teeth are chattering, that are children are shivering and that even though my living room glows orange behind the patio doors, we cannot go inside together. But this was enough for tonight. And we feel lighter and will wake tomorrow and make coffee.

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 9, 2021 at 2:41 pm

      i love this bonfire. thank you for it.

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  • Reply Roxy February 9, 2021 at 4:46 pm

    THANK YOU for this post. Trying to take care of small children in isolation, without material, financial, or familial support, is breaking many of us — AS IT SHOULD. This is not a normal way for humans to live, let alone parent… let alone parent AND work. The idea that we should only be positive right now is utter misogyny in my opinion. The underlying assumption is that women only exist to serve in the domestic sphere, so why should we be angry/overwhelmed/exhausted if we have to do more of that right now? Why should we feel that we are being unfairly burdened? Why should we expect better for ourselves than just serving others all day? One of the hardest things about this pandemic has been to explain to people just how hard it is to raise small kids right now, to have your every thought interrupted by someone else’s needs, to always be needed by someone and to never have your own needs met, to be woken up in the middle of the night, every night, and to never get a moment during the day to rest or nap or just restore yourself…. the list goes on and on. I appreciate so much you using this forum to shed light on this, because yes, we have earned our rage, yes, an entire generation of women will be set back by this (professionally, financially, mentally, emotionally) for the rest of their lives, and I think the only way we will see real change on a policy level that helps support parents (read: mothers) as both caregivers and wage earners is if we shout from the rooftops that this is not ok, we are not ok.
    (PS I am in the Bay Area and last fall when we had the fires and could not leave our houses for a month because of the toxic smoke I felt like I was in a constant state of despair. Those were truly some of my darkest moments during this pandemic, and that’s including the two weeks I spent being sick with COVID, which I got from my 2 year old, who got it from daycare. It’s like one impossible thing after another these days. Who cares what movies kids are watching right now?? We are all just trying to make it to tomorrow).

  • Reply Angy February 11, 2021 at 11:32 pm

    Sending light, love and strength during these challenging times. We have just experienced a ONE WEEK LOCKDOWN in Perth, Australia. (I know – we are BEYOND lucky!) We had ONE case!
    I have a grown son who lives at home while attending University and my husband works from home. We are renting a smallish villa at the moment – while building a tiny terrace – yay for downsizing/minimalism!! Inspired by you as well Erin! 🙂 In that week my beautiful family of three (who get along so well and love each other so much) had three doozy arguments over . . . wait for it . . . Crumbs on the kitchen counter! I mean seriously!!?!
    What I really want to say is – I cannot even begin to imagine how tough things in NYC have been during this pandemic. It’s uncharted territory for everyone. The stress placed on so many facets of your lives! Parenting, relationships, intimacy, finance, space, health, mental well being!
    And it IS AWFUL – because it’s NOT NORMAL to be fighting a virus on a global level. I also think there’s a real danger in repressed emotions (so much research to back up the psychological/physiological downside of emotional repression – one google search will take you down that rabbit hole!) and so I applaude Erin for being HONEST about how she feels. If you disagree and feel differently that’s ok too. She never said you shouldn’t! What I read/took away from this post was a frank and passionate opinion on the benefits of a balanced response to a VERY unbalanced situation.
    I also honestly feel that if you leave a comment on someone’s blog you need to be accountable for your words/tone/facts whatever. The blogger and the audience have the right to refer to your words as well. There will no doubt be disagreements and varying viewpoints (we are humans – it’s our nature) and if you don’t ever want to have anyone disagree with you then don’t comment. Otherwise be ready for debate and exchange and all manner of perspective – it’s called SOCIAL media.
    (And it reminds me of my last family gathering! Lol!) And lastly – kindness. It’s free and it’s something I’ve always seen Erin champion. Let’s try and return the favour! Xx

  • Reply Chelsea February 15, 2021 at 10:36 am

    Thank you for having the courage to write and publish this. I always feel a twinge of guilt when I see the momfluencers post about how much they love being cuddled up with their kids and such things. I had my second baby the week before the world shut down and my first was only 22 months. I work *sometimes* and realize the privilege I have to have that choice. But like other at-home moms have commented, I feel like I shouldn’t struggle as much as I do because there are so many moms out there who have it way worse. I want to work more but childcare is unreliable at best, nonexistent at the worst. Anyway, I guess all this to say that we’re all struggling in some way and I’m grateful to you, Erin, for being honest and sharing about it. Keep on keeping on.

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  • Reply Ali February 15, 2021 at 5:17 pm

    Thank you for this, and for your honesty and bravery. So damn good to see this kind of thing online in the midst of the pretense that we habitually see and share: only the best bits, while ignoring what’s real and what really is. I’ve read your work for some years now, and enjoy your aesthetic, but also appreciate the thought you give to your space – its what keeps me reading. Big strength to you and everyone else out there who is struggling. X

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  • Reply Anne February 16, 2021 at 3:39 pm

    Beautiful words

  • Reply Rand March 1, 2021 at 12:14 am

    My wife also deals with mom shaming more often than is necessary (which is to say, never). If she takes the kids to the store just to get out of the house, but if I, dad, do it, I’m a good dad spending time with his kids.

    The older my kids get, the more I realize that it’s not just putting too many expectations on moms, it’s putting too few on dads.

    That’s why personally, one of our favorite toddler approved shows is Bluey on Disney+ Because it is one of a very small number of programs that show two working parents, getting along happily, with a loving, caring, and playful father.

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