Episode #77: Elsie Teaches Emma To Be An Internet Mom

Hello, hello! This week, we’re chatting about the topic of being a mom on the internet. Even though we have a lot of boundaries, it’s a tricky territory and it’s something all of us (internet moms) have to go through.

You can stream the episode here on the blog or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayTuneInPocket Casts, and Stitcher. You can find the podcast posts archive here.

Big thanks to this week’s sponsors! And thank you so much for supporting our podcast partners. Check out the offers from Function of Beauty, Grove, BetterHelp and Magic Spoon! If you’re looking for a sponsor from a previous episode you can find all of our codes here.

Show notes: 

-Elsie mentions the book The Danish Way Of Parenting.

-Elsie mentions Two Ten Jack, her favorite restaurant in Nashville.

GO EMMA, WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!!! :))

Sparks Joy!

-Emma – Always Pan (also, here’s a link to the Spruce Steamer Basket)

-Elsie – Boot hangers

Here’s a few links to some of my knee high boots:

Black Suede / Brown Suede / Brown Leather

Hope you all have a wonderful week!!!!! 🙂 Elsie + Emma

Episode 77 Transcript

 

Elsie: You’re listening to A Beautiful Mess podcast, Emma recently shared that she’s expecting a baby this summer. So in this episode, I’m giving her a one on one on how to survive life as an Internet mom. Online bullying and general overstepping in parenting on the Internet is always tough, but it’s extra, extra, extra tough when you’re a brand new mom. So if you’re at a similar stage in life to us, this episode is for you. And if not, you can just listen and be glad that it’s not you.

Emma: Yeah, yeah. (laughs) I was like, how about we do an episode where you just give me advice about being a mom online? Because I just feel like that’s one area that people get real judgy and mean on, like even more than normal. So I’m like, ooh, what’s going on with this? Like…

Elsie: I didn’t become a mom till I can’t remember now if I was thirty-four, or thirty-five. But let’s just say I was in my mid-thirties when I became a mom. So I had a whole decade of watching other people do it online before I started. So I knew it was going to be rocky in that way.

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: And it was. Everyone has boundaries whether you see them or not. But even if you feel like you have pretty tight boundaries, other people will not see it that way. And it’s just very challenging because a lot of the meanest comments you’ll get are projections. It’s not even really about something you did. It’s about something that that person feels or that that person went through or that they’re somehow trying to protect your child from. So let’s jump in. We’ve been blogging 14 years, so we definitely know how to deal with rude comments. Let’s just put that out there in the beginning, it does get easier. We know how to delete and block. We know how to respond. We know how to learn from something that is a legitimate criticism. All of those things are normal to us. We’re seasoned pros. But when it comes to being a mom, it does change it a little bit. And I want to give Emma the pep talk that I never got because in some ways I wasn’t prepared. And I think especially in my first year of parenthood, I was a little bit more defensive than I am now, and I wish that I wouldn’t have been.

Emma: Oh, interesting.

Elsie: The Internet tends to get really, really invested in bloggers having babies. And I know that this is already happening to Emma, even though it’s like — she’s the most private person. (laughs) I know a lot of bloggers, and she’s probably in the top two most private bloggers out of all of our group of friends. And it’s still going to happen. So take notes, Emma. Here’s your pep talk. Are you ready?

Emma: Yes. Let’s do it.

Elsie: Yes. And tell me and tell me what you think about each thing, because I want to hear your thoughts, too. I don’t know, parenting…I want to say upfront, like one of the reasons why we didn’t make this a parenting podcast and why we don’t do a lot of parenting advice is because that’s not our job. And we know that, (laughs) like, we don’t want it to be our job! But, I feel like, in this one episode, I think it’s worth it to just like go there because we have learned some things and you’re about to enter into a season where you’re the most tired and the most stretched thin that you’ve been in a long time. And then to pile people being mean to you on top of that is just not fair. That’s what I wish people understood.

Emma: And I definitely feel like when people have been comments or criticism of my job, which is like putting recipes and crafts and things like that on the Internet. So if someone’s like “this recipe sucks”, I’m like, well, you know, this — I am putting this out there as a part of my career. You know, I have a cookbook out. I, you know, have a that’s a big part of what I do on our blog. So I feel a lot more like, OK, this is what I’m choosing. But I don’t really consider being a mom a part of my career. (laughs) I consider it something that I’ve always wanted to do. And I’m sure I will want to share photos of my child and myself being pregnant and things like that here and there. But I don’t really think of it as this is a career move. I just think of it as, oh, my mom’s going to want to see this. I’ll post it. You know? (laughs) So…

Elsie: Yeah. OK, well…

Emma: It’s just harder when it’s like that.

Elsie: On that note, I have to skip ahead to point number five and just read it early because it relates to what you’re saying. It says even if you make zero dollars from your kid, never put them in an ad, etc., people will still call you a mom blogger. So just let it happen. I was in a magazine article in, I think, like, People last year where they were calling me a mom blogger. And it also had like Clea and Joanna from The Home Edit. They’re definitely not mom bloggers either. And then it had us was like, you know, some of the people who actually are mom bloggers, (laughs) so, I feel like just having a kid in some people’s minds makes you in the category of mom blogger, but I do think it’s its own business that the people who choose to do that, they make these hard choices. They make these big boundaries, they make these sacrifices. None of those things are we doing. And we’re not even trying to enter into that category. It just gets muddy in other people’s minds.

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: OK, so my first piece of advice, and this is the best advice anyone ever gave to me before I became a mom and I think it’s the most important parenting advice you can have, is that you have to choose to listen to your instincts over everything. So especially being a mom online, people will want to give you a lot of advice from everything from, you know, your car seat choice to your education choices. You know, if you ever open up about anything personal or any kind of struggle with your kid, the advice you’ll get will be overwhelming and massive. But your inner voice is already telling you, at least for me, at every point in my parenting journey, my instincts have told me what to do. And I think that you can really trust them. They’re there for a reason and they’re really the biggest thing that you don’t want to ignore or tune out.

Emma: Yeah, that makes sense.

Elsie: Yeah, I didn’t read a ton of parenting books I’ve talked before about how I love The Danish Way of Parenting. I — and I did read a couple of books about adoption when we were first adopting — but, reading like a ton of parenting books I don’t think is necessary. I think you have to listen to your own inner voice. And it’s good also to get like a core group of other moms who have some stuff in common with you. You can listen to them like I usually ask my best friend a couple questions a year, you know, or ask other moms who are bloggers like Laura, you know, like I ask her things whenever it has to do with, like, you know, blogger specific stuff. So anyway…

Emma: Yeah, I definitely have a lot of, you know, family and close friends who are moms who I plan to basically just steal all their knowledge from. But I am a bit of a researcher. I like to read books and listen to podcasts. It just gives me — I like having a plan and then it’s fine if the plan goes completely wrong and doesn’t work, that’s fine. I just like going into things with one. I think that gives me a little bit of comfort. So I probably will be a little bit like that. I mean, I already am, but yeah, I’m also like pretty…you know, I think you have to use your instincts because every kid is different, every situation is different, and you just have to kind of roll with it, which is part of the fun part. But when you’re really tired, I’m sure it’s also part of the difficulty. (laughs)

Elsie: I mean, learn from as many different people as you can or you want to. But just remember that your inner voice is important, too. And don’t ever tune it out because someone else told you advice that was different. All right. Let’s take a quick sponsor break.

Healthy plant-based nontoxic cleaning products work, and you can feel better about using them. But where do you start and who do you trust? We love partnering with Grove Collaborative because they take the guesswork out of going green and have developed a catalog of products you can trust. Some of our own personal favorite items come from their own brand, including their concentrates, walnut scrubbers, and glass bottles. It makes it so easy you can order online and have your cleaning products show up at your door. I’m super excited to share about Grove’s line of plastic-free home cleaning products designed to help solve the single-use plastic problem. Beyond plastic is their five-year plan to solve the single-use plastic problem for home and personal care products. Grove has decided to offer 100 percent plastic-free cleaning concentrates, hand soap, and dish soap powered by plants and packaged up in glass and aluminum. They’ll help keep your home and our planet clean. Clear glass and aluminum are infinitely recyclable. Beyond plastic packaging will save almost 30 tons of plastic from landfills in just one year. Make your home healthier this New Year. For a limited time, when my listeners go to Grove.com/ABM, you’ll get a free five piece beyond plastic gift set that includes: glass hand soap dispenser and gel hand soap refill, glass spray bottle, and cleaning concentrate, walnut scrubber sponges, plus free shipping with your sixty-day VIP trial, a forty dollar value. But you have to use our special code. Go to Grove.co/ABM to get this exclusive offer. That’s Grove.co/ABM.

Emma: As you probably know, I love setting goals in all areas of my life. Have you ever thought about setting hair goals? Function of Beauty is the world leader in customizable beauty offering precise formulations for your hair’s specific needs. You simply take an online quiz to begin creating a customized product for your hair type. You can set all sorts of hair goals like to strengthen, lengthen, or volumize along with other options and Function of Beauty builds a formula to help you meet your goal. You can also choose to add scents or colors, or neither, depending what you prefer. I really like using their purple shampoo because I color my hair blonde and it keeps it from getting too brassy in between salon appointments. Function of Beauty also offers completely personalized formulas for body and skincare so you can customize your beauty routine from hair to toe. Never buy off the shelf just to be disappointed ever again. Go to a functionofbeauty.com/mess to take your quiz and save 20% on your first order. That applies their full range of customized hair, skin and body products. That’s functionofbeauty.com/mess.

Elsie: So the next piece of advice — this is, I think the one that I want everyone who’s not a mom to hear is, moms are just so tired. All we need is a hug most days. We’re so exhausted whether we’re smiling or, you know, we’re performing or we’re crying, we’re always, always, always tired, especially moms of little kids and infants. So I think just treating people with kindness and knowing that they’re already going through one of the most difficult, challenging seasons in their life is so important. And I think that when people lead with that kind of comment or that kind of kindness, when they’re coming in, you know, sliding into my DMS, it means a lot. And I think that when people aren’t leading with that kind of kindness, it’s OK to not have the capacity to engage with them or respond to them or listen to what they have to say at that moment, especially if you’re already having one of those shit days. The next thing is it’s OK to parent differently. So something I’ve learned from being a mom online is especially like a lot of people tend to look at our outward boundaries. So, you know, people don’t notice the things you never talk about. You’ll have tons of boundaries that no one ever even brings up or ever even notices. But they will notice the things you know, that you end up putting on Instagram and on the blog. And especially if you talk about something or, you know, whether or not you choose — like there’s people who don’t let their kids be in any pictures. There’s people that will let their kids be in a picture, but not their face. And then there’s people who will let their kids be in a ton of pictures, but not ads. And then there’s people who let their kids be in as many ads as they want, but they have a separate way of taking care of them financially that’s totally, you know, above board and stuff. So everyone is different. And it’s OK to just realize at the beginning there is no right or wrong. There’s actually not. And when people try to say there’s one right way to do that type of thing…mmm…I don’t feel like they know what they’re talking about.

Emma: Yeah, I think that makes sense. And I definitely think — I mean, life generally, you know, I think you could say, like, you know, it’s OK to parent differently. I would say it’s OK to run a business differently. It’s OK to have a different type of marriage. It’s OK to have different kinds of friendships.

Elsie: It’s true!

Emma: We don’t all have to be the same, but we do have to kind of try to respect one another and lead with kindness, like you were saying. And yeah, when people don’t seem to do that, I definitely feel like I have a much lower capacity in my life already. So I definitely kind of like, I’m going to tune this one out because I already cried today about something more valid, so I don’t have time for this one.

Elsie: Yeah, and like I remember the moment that Jeremy and I, we were at Two Ten Jack in Nashville, you know, our favorite restaurant sitting there having our delicious number two cocktail. And we made our boundaries for what we were going to do for our kids as far as like if we were going to let them be in pictures if we were going to let them be in an advertisement if we were going to let them be involved with my business at all, we made all those boundaries and we’ve never changed any of them. This was before we had Nova and it’s fine. And people don’t need to know exactly what our boundaries are. They just need to trust and respect that we have a handle on that. And I think that that kind of confidence is something that sometimes is hard to have. When you just became a parent two months ago and someone’s like pointing out something that you might be doing wrong, you know, it’s just like an overwhelming feeling.

Emma: Oh, yeah, for sure. It’s really hard to do new things. I mean, it’s very you know, it’s stressful and embarrassing. And you don’t know if you’re doing it right because you’ve never done it before.

Elsie: Aw, Emma.

Emma: So, yeah, I think that’s…

Elsie: I think all of our listeners right now are like Emma, you’re going to do great. You’re really smart. You have a really good head on your shoulders. You’re going to be fine. (laughs)

Emma: (laughs) Yeah, I think it’s going to be I mean, I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time, so I think that’s what I’ll do in the stressful moments is just kind of be like, well, I can already feel it. Like I’m like — I’m trying to enjoy just pregnancy because I’m like I’ve wanted to be a mom so long. So even when I have a bad moment, like some crazy pregnancy hormones, that’s what I’m in right now. I’m like, well, I still want to appreciate this time in my life because it’s not going to last forever. And I’m going to look back on it 10 years from now, you know?

Elsie: We’re all so proud of you! I’m like really emotional lately. OK, so…

Emma: Me too. Oh, my God. (laughs).

Elsie: My last piece of advice — awww! — we can have a cry together after this. I love crying. Ok, my last piece of advice is — this is I think this is true generally on mean comments, but it’s really, really the most amplified with parenting stuff, is most of the rude comments you’ll get our projections and not actually about your parenting. So I feel like you’ll know when it’s something where you need to look inward and examine. But when it comes to parenting stuff, most of us put out so little information about our parenting anyway that people don’t even have anything to base those comments off of besides like, they just didn’t like it that you posted a picture that day or whatever. But most of it is. Yeah, most of it doesn’t deserve any energy and it’s in the ignore/delete/block category. But your instincts will let you know there will be times when it’s actually helpful feedback. And you know something…you know…there will be those times too. Especially like, every mom I feel like on Instagram goes through something where they use their car seat wrong and everyone teaches you how to correctly use it. (laughs) And that’s important and really helpful.

Emma: For sure. Oh, yeah. I have already had a night where, you know, I woke up in the middle of the night and it was like, “what am I going to do about the car seat!?” I’m just like “what if I put it in wrong?!”, you know, and then I can’t go back to sleep and I’m like, you need to just write this down on your list and when you get your carseat, practice. You can text your friends and be like, is this right? And just, you know, know that you probably will get it wrong sometime, and you can just then correct it. But yeah, I already had a night, I do that all the time lately — I wake up in the middle of the night and I’m worried about one weird thing and I just get fixated on it and I’m like, OK, you need to put this on your list because you’re getting a little a little nutso here — and the car seats definitely on the list. (laughs) I’m like, “ah!”. So…

Elsie: Mmhmm…

Emma: Those things look confusing!

Elsie: But don’t don’t get overwhelmed. You’ll get the hang of it. And yeah, I just defer to my one, my one mom friend who teaches me all that kind of stuff, and then I’m good.

Emma: And now we’re going to take a short break and hear a word from our sponsor.

Raise your hand if you love cereal. Healthy cereal does not have to be boring. As an adult, it’s amazing to find a cereal that reminds you of all your childhood favorites but doesn’t have all the sugar. Magic Spoon cereal tastes amazing and is gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free, low carb, and non-GMO. This is not a diet cereal. It’s a way to get more protein in your day. And they released a brand new variety pack, now featuring Peanut Butter! They released Peanut Butter as a limited-edition flavor in 2020 and it sold out three times. It’s been so popular that it’s been added to the best seller variety pack along with Frosted, Fruity and Cocoa. I’m excited to mix Peanut Butter and Cocoa. We are not joking when we say we are loving this cereal. Just wait until you see the nostalgic packaging. Go to magicspoon.com/abeautifulmess to grab a variety pack and try it today. And be sure to use our promo code BEAUTIFULMESS at checkout to save five dollars off your order and Magic Spoon is so confident in their product it’s backed with 100 percent happiness guarantee. So if you don’t love it for any reason, they’ll refund your money. No questions asked. That’s magicspoon.com/abeautifulmess and use the code BEAUTIFULMESS to save five dollars.

Working with a professional therapist has so many benefits and Elsie and I have both had great experiences with counseling, so we’re excited to partner with BetterHelp ensure an exclusive offer with our listeners. Better`Help is an online resource that will assess your needs and match you with your own licensed professional therapist. You can start communicating in under 48 hours. It’s not a crisis line. It’s not self-help. It’s professional counseling done securely online. There’s a broad range of expertise available and you can schedule weekly video or phone sessions. BetterHelp is committed to facilitating great therapeutic matches, so they make it easy and free to change counselors if needed. Just visit their website and read their testimonials that are posted daily. Financial aid is also available and you can visit betterhelp.com/abeautifulmess. That’s BetterHelp and join the over one million people who have taken charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional. ABM listeners will get 10 percent off your first month at betterhelp.com/abeautifulmess.

Elsie: If you’re listening and you have unsolicited parenting advice for Emma. You can text it to her at 417-N-O-T-H-A-N-K-Y-O-U with the extension, “please stop”. (laughs)

Emma: (laughs) Elsie is very proud of her joke.

Elsie: I’m very proud of my joke! (laughs)

Emma: It’s good. I like it.

Elsie: Thank you. OK, so before we go, we need to do our Sparks Joy segment where we talk about an affordable find that’s bringing us joy, helping our daily lives. I can’t wait to get my sparks joy tattoo.

Emma: I like it. Yes. OK, I’ll do mine first.

Elsie: Okay.

Emma: Mine is something that you encouraged me to buy because you had bought one and you loved it. So it’s the Always Pan by our place.

Elsie: Ohhh yeah!

Emma: I have the kind of pink one. It’s like a pink terracotta type and I love it. It’s a great size for like making all sorts of things and it’s the best nonstick pan I’ve ever had. So I’m very into it. And I also think it’s really cute. So if I ever, like, leave it out on the stovetop, I actually think it’s like kind of — it doesn’t look so junky because it’s kind of this cute pink color. So I love it.

Elsie: Yeah, I want to say something about it too. So I posted about it so many times recently because they’ve had a bunch of sales and it’s just a great pan. A couple of times people were like, did they send you these pans for free? And first of all, I paid my own money for all of ours. We have three of them. We have the gray color, the lavender color and the like, terracotta salmon color and never got one for free. And I would love for them to be our sponsor. And I hope they still will be but they’ve never sponsored us. It is — it’s a great pan. It’s just the best pan. And then when they did the steaming basket, I thought it was genius because I love the little, it’s made of spruce I think. But it kind of, you know, it has like the bamboo look, you know, we make dumplings all the time. It’s just very beautiful. It’s easy to clean. I was getting the green pans before and we were just replacing them at least once a year because we cook at home a lot and they just didn’t last. So, yeah, the thing I would say about these pans is they really last we’ll link them in the show notes and they have other things. I’ve been thinking about getting their drinking glasses. They have really pretty little stackable drinking glasses. So I hope that they keep expanding. I was talking to one of my friends the other day about how they really need to make a mini version of Always Pan so you can just do like a fried egg or something. Do you think that would be useful?

Emma: Yeah, that would be kind of nice.

Elsie: A baby one? (laughs) I like small things. OK, so mine. Oh my gosh, this is going to be groundbreaking mine is boot hangers. All right. So I have — I’m going to talk about my dream closet in like every episode for 2021. Just warning you now, I love my dream closet every single night when we go to bed we lay down the bed and I and I like cuddle up to Jeremy and say, “I love my closet”, I just like… (laughs) I just like, feel like I’m in a nineties rom-com wen I walk into that closet, it’s like light pink. It’s like everything is displayed. I can see all my stuff even like in my underwear drawer it’s all organized and pretty. Anyway, boot hangers. So I have one…what do you call it…curtain hanger rod. Rod. (laughs) I have one closet rod (laughs) devoted to boots which sounds so like…”How many boots do you have?!” Well I have like, I don’t know like six or seven pairs of high boots. I’ve been collecting them for a few years and I really like tall boots. They’re very vintage, they look really cute with short dresses and there’s lots of different ones. I’ll link to some of the ones I have. They’re very inexpensive, like I have a couple of splurged pairs, but like the black ones that go up real high, those are like, you know, they should only be like thirty dollars or something. And anyway, I started hanging them in my last house just because I had this one really long pair and like there was no way to like prop them up or like, you know, put a mold in them and they were to tall.

Emma: I have a pair like that so I’m listening closely because I’m like, I think I need a boot hanger because I have the over the knee black boots that they just kind of how do you store them, you know? This is what I need.

Elsie: Exactly. OK, so they make these little hangers and I will link them in the show notes where you can hang your boots. And at first I was like, is it going to leave marks? Is it going to…but it’s actually so clean looking. It just looks really nice and clean. All my boots are there, I even like, you know, added a couple more pairs this year, and it’s like I have my complete boot collection all together and they’re so pretty and I just think that they’re much easier to store this way. I don’t know how I would store them otherwise because the really tall ones that are almost like fabric, like, you know, I don’t know, I feel like I’m not describing it well, but, you know, like the really tall black ones that fashion bloggers always wear?

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: Those are not like leather anything. They’re like fabric. So they’re not ever gonna stand up.

Emma: Yeah they’re like a suede.

Elsie: So anyway, I did a part of my closet that’s boot hangers and I will show it in the show notes I’ll link to them — all of the boots if they’re still available, I’ll try to find them. And yeah, it’s just a really delightful little thing. I love organizing and I just — it just makes me feel so happy when I see them all in a row together. Like anything you can display all in a row. I feel like that’s like the peace and calm that we all need.

Emma: Yeah, it’s just easy on the eyes and you’re like, look what I organized and it’s nice rather than just a jumbled pile, you know.

Elsie: Yeah.

Emma: Yes. Thank you so much for listening and for sharing our podcast with your friends. It means a lot to us when we see you sharing it on Instagram or Facebook or wherever it is that you like to share your news. And we just really, really appreciate the support as we keep trying to grow this little podcast. So thank you.

Elsie: Have a good week!

Emma: Bye!

Read More
  • Loved this episode and agree WHOLEHEARTEDLY with Elsie’s wise advice to listen to your instincts. I am also a researcher who has to read every book/article before I do anything, and that carried over when I became a mom. It was helpful for some things – I’m SO GLAD I read a book on baby sleep before my baby arrived. Trying to read/figure that out when I was exhausted with a newborn would have been way harder. But when it came to other things I realized I was overthinking and allowing all the “expert” advice to drown out my own instincts. All to say that Elsie is totally right that your instincts are there for a reason and you should always trust that inner voice. You’re going to be a wonderful mother! xoxo

  • Elsie, beautiful advice from a caring, loving sister. Emma, you got this! Annnddd….the car seat conundrum still plagues me! My daughter is 8 and my husband and I have been deliberating if it was “time” to take the backseat of her booster off or not because she meets the weight limit but not the height requirement. It’s like Elsie said, just trust your own judgment and learn to laugh (and sometimes cry). 🤣

  • Good advice! FWIW, I’ve appreciated Emily Oster’s data-driven approach to all things pregnancy and parenting. Best wishes to Emma!

  • Love the podcast, and want to say a big thank you for making it live so I can listen mid morning in the UK on my dog walk!
    So strange how the internet labels people ‘mummy bloggers’ just because they have a child, even if they never talk about parenting. Happens to me all the time, and find it so frustrating. Emma you’ll find your own boundaries, and navigate it wonderfully – lucky you have Elsie there to support you! Sending lots of love xx

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.