One of the topics we get the most messages about is trends. In this episode, we’re going to talk about how to filter trends for your style so you know what works for you (and what to skip over).
We’re also chatting about Elsie’s recent trip to France, and what we’re leaning into to make this season more cozy.
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Let’s Talk Trends …
How do you know if you really love it or if you’re being sucked into a trend?
-Create a Pinterest board and see what the common theme is.
-Know what fits for you and your space.
Trends that are harmless vs. a big regret?
Big Regrets: Era pieces, going against the style of your home (with flooring and tile) and major purchases over $1,000.
Harmless: Adding trends as accessories instead of big items.
How to define your style so you can filter trends through what you KNOW you love:
-Put time into your mood board, try it out in a small dose first, and book a hotel or Airbnb with a style you like.
Home tours we love:
How do you explore a trend you like when it doesn’t fit your style?
-Use it in your house in a small way, like tea towels or a candle, gift it to someone else, or use it as seasonal decor.
Things that make our lives cozier:
Emma – reading with her husband in bed.
Elsie – books on paper pages, watching obscure horror movies, making art, and having a fresh start mood.
-We mention Ramit’s I Will Teach You to Be Rich Journal
Voicemail Question: How to savor moments with your kids more?
-Keep a list of words your child says in your notes app on your phone, say out loud the things or milestones that you love about them, and cherish your photos.
Call our hotline anytime! 417-893-0011
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Episode 157 Transcript:
Elsie: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess Podcast. One of the topics we get the most messages about is trends. Love it or hate it, the majority of popular design magazines, websites, and TV shows are trend focused. In this episode, we’re going to talk about how you can filter the trends for your style and how you can know what works for you and what you should skip over. We’re also chatting about my recent trip to France and what we’re leaning into to make the season more cozy.
Emma: Oh, yeah. So yeah, let’s talk about your trip to France because you’ve told me a little bit about it but we’ve been saving a little bit so we could catch up now on the podcast. So this was a trip you did with friends. It wasn’t a family trip. When’s the last time you took a trip that was just with friends? Not your husband, no kids, just adults you’re friends with, and not me.
Elsie: Not a lot this past spring. Remember when I went to California for Andy’s wedding dress shopping weekend? That was like the only girls weekend that I’ve done so this was really special. I went with Sherry Peterstick to France and we went to Paris. We also went to Strasbourg. We also went to, I can’t remember the city’s name, but a part of Germany that was like on the border of France, so we got to also go to Germany. We had an amazing time, it was an art retreat. So we did art classes, which was so fun, really inspiring. We also did quite a lot of shopping, a lot of flea market shopping and vintage shopping, that type of thing. And then a lot of very long dinners, the European cliche of a five hour dinner, we had lots of those. So that was very fun. And lots of, you know, wine, champagne, it was just a nice girls’ weekend. We walked to the Eiffel Tower for an hour during the sunset. It was very romantic, and beautiful. So I definitely had a great time and most of all got inspired to focus more on my own creative ventures, which I think for this season of life was really helpful and made me feel more like a human. You know, like when you’re in mom mode. It’s nice to have those moments where you focus on your own stuff.
Emma: Yeah, I was very happy for you. Because I was like, Oh, she’s getting some time to just talk to other adults and do hobby stuff for you. It’s so easy to kind of not feel like a full human when you’re just like, I work, I do mom stuff and then I maybe take a shower if I’m not too exhausted. And that’s your whole life for a long time. So yeah, I was like, Oh, good. I was kind of expecting you to come home and be like, here’s all the things we need to do in our business but really, you came home and you had a few things, of course, but you were more like, it was just a good chill time, had fun, drank wine, did some painting. It was great. And I was like, “Oh, she just really relaxed. It’s a good, good trip.”
Elsie: Yeah, I really wasn’t thinking about work, which is nice. With what we do for a living it’s easy to revolve everything around our work, and I am a work-focused person. It’s part of how my stars are aligned and my astrology, how I’m made as a human. I’m a person who just really likes work. But yeah, every once in a while, I think it is good to think about other things. Leave a little bit of margin, which has been hard to do in the little kid years. So yeah. Anyway, it was fun. We went to this flea market that was miles long. And that was probably the best flea market of my life. So I feel like I really checked something off the bucket list.
Emma: That’s fun.
Elsie: Yes. Okay, so we’re gonna have a trends episode. I love this topic because people message us, I would say, every time we take requests, this is something that people are asking about. I think we’re gonna focus this episode more on home stuff but I definitely think it applies to fashion as well because obviously fashion trends, home trends, anything that you’re interested in, there’s trends. I’m interested right now in reading fiction and I’ve been on the BookTalk. You know, there’s so many trends even within that, which I never would have guessed. So anything you’re interested in can be full of trends, which is hilarious. Home trends are definitely what my mind is fixated on because it’s my number one, it’s my biggest area of interest. So do you feel like you’ve been more interested in that with designing your home? Or do you feel like you’ve been kind of just laser-focused on your vision that you’re doing?
Emma: You know I really don’t think of myself as that trendy of a person when it comes to really anything I guess, but definitely not home decor, not because I don’t like trends, but just, I don’t know, I think I, you know, just I’m always trying to find a good fit for our family, things like that. So our house is really not going to be all that trendy, it’s definitely a lot more like stuff that essentially we liked the look of it, and it fit our budget and made sense for the kind of home that we have, which is like a split level that was built in the late 70s. We have a young child, and I food blog, and work from home so I don’t know, just things like that, just all the little considerations of life because I think that’s what’s kind of interesting about home decor is there are so many trends. There is so much about decorating and things like that but it’s also such a functional place that has to do with living. And if you work from home then that, too. Also sharing it with a partner or roommate or children or whoever’s in your life, if you live with someone else if you don’t that’s cool, but if you do, then it’s kind of like, you know, you have to kind of share it with them. Unlike fashion, I could just buy any old weird thing I feel like wearing but it’s like, oh, I need to make sure my husband might like the tile in our bathroom. Hopefully, because it’s his bathroom too. So, you know, that kind of thing. So yeah..
Elsie: That’s true. Unless you marry someone who zones out on every decor decision, which was my path in life, and I love it. It’s one of my secrets to marriage. One of my personal recommendations. Okay. So yeah, I think trends is a topic that I’ve gone, I think all the way around the spectrum of how you can feel about it. From one side of it, I would say is just do whatever you like and don’t worry about what anyone thinks, or what anyone says, or whether it’s trendy or not, just do it, just pick something and like it, and do it. And going around that to being like, but how are you going to feel about this in five years? How is this going to go when you go to sell your home? Is this going to be something that can grow with me as I evolve and change? I think that I’ve lived with some trends for long enough to know that they’re not all things that you should just do without thinking like I would have said when I was in my 20s. There are times when I think it’s good to be a little bit more conservative before spending a lot of money on trends. So I’ll talk about all that. But then there’s also a lot of areas where I still defend it, and think that people should be able to just not care, especially, most specifically the area when something has just been the biggest thing in the world and now it’s kind of like a trend that’s losing its steam or something that’s sort of getting overtaken by another trend. For example, right now, white kitchens are a little bit shamed, people will be like, “you don’t need an all white kitchen.” And like, just go on about it. I think that now is the time that if you pick an all white kitchen, you do know that you really love it, especially if you’re someone who’s aware about trends because you’re having to hear a lot of people saying that it’s not cool, and you’re still picking it anyway. So I think that’s a really good way to test those times when you pick something that is a little bit out of style, or not the newest coolest thing, and you still know that it’s definitely what you want. I think that’s a good way to sort of test yourself. But when it’s a brand new trend that you haven’t seen for very long, that’s the hard part. You know, where you’re like, “Am I still gonna like this in even a year?” Because you’re just excited, my eyes just get very excited about something new. That part I think is the tricky area.
Emma: Yes. Yeah. One thing I’ll say to add to that is, I think it can be really good, especially home decor, but I would even say this for fashion or other areas, too. You can use anything you want but what I think is the easiest and great is Pinterest. Just make a pin board and every now and again, at least once a month, or however long, be pinning stuff that you like. That way you kind of have this record of things that you can notice that you like consistently, and things that you know are like, Oh, well that was random. I do really like that but it’s random. It doesn’t fit in with all the other things I picked. Like if you pick out, let’s say, you know you’re going to be renovating a kitchen in a few years. So you want to kind of get ready and think about what you really want. So you start this Pinterest thing and you notice that out of the 10 kitchens that you pin consistently. One of them is a wild color. It’s like burnt orange and all the other ones are usually a green. Then I’d be like well you need to go with the green kitchen friend and now that you’ve kind of like been able to, you know, sort of notice these patterns of things that you’re drawn to. Same thing with clothes. If you notice you’re consistently drawn to things, then you can know that that’s not just a trend. Maybe it is trendy right now. But for you, it’s more of a thing you like all the time.
Elsie: Yes, yeah, I totally agree with that. I think that making mood boards is definitely the number one thing you can do if you want to further define your style, figure out what you really like, sort of figure out how to see your wants and needs for a home, past trends, is to be making your mood board. I have a private mood board on Pinterest that is for my future next home and it’s called, just in case. It has over 1000 pins and when you go through it, the whole thing, not the whole thing, but for the most part, it’s very cohesive. So now that I look back on that, it’s taken me, I don’t know, a year to make it. Now that I look back on it, I can see exactly like how I can make a mood board, an ‘at a glance’ mood board, that I could have on my phone from highlights, and sort of make cuts based on what doesn’t vibe with that, because I know that that is the thing I’m coming back to over and over. And the other, appreciating and loving something that’s different from your style is also good. It’s just something that can’t affect your decisions for your home but it’s also very good. I don’t think it’s good to only like one kind of home. It’s kind of silly.
Elsie: So it’s just being able to tell what’s for me, and what really fits what I want to do and what is just fun for other spaces, you know, it’s just not on my theme. Okay, so let’s talk about trends that are harmless versus the big regret ones. I have only had a few times in my life that I did a big regret decision. They were bad, you know, they were expensive. And for me, I’ve moved quite a few times so I’ve had a chance, like a fresh start, a chance to try again. So one of my big ones is era pieces. I think you have to be very careful with era pieces. Like when you buy a home. This is advice specifically for homeowners or for renters, who are heavily renovating, renovating their homes, like New Yorkers. You have to be careful if you love mid-century, but you pick a 1920s home, infusing those two things together is, well, it’s like tricky. Tricky at best.
Emma: Takes more talent than you might think.
Elsie: Yeah, unadvisable at worst. So I think that that’s probably the biggest thing is, if you’re obsessed with one type of decor, then I would try to pick your home based on what goes with that, if you can, obviously, you know, there’s not always an option. But I think that going in a really different direction from what your home is, is not always the best thing for the home. Okay, so the things that I would be really careful with are flooring, tile, and major purchases over $1,000. So like a brand new sofa, a huge rug, things like that, those can just be so frustrating to regret. And so I think it’s just worth it if you have a chance to buy samples. When you get your wood floor color done, have them put down three or four colors to choose from on your real wood so you can see how it’s going to look and check the return policies for sofas for sure, that can be tricky. Don’t worry as much, and don’t sweat it on trends that are like accessories, they are pretty much always harmless. So if you are into the checkered trend this year then buy checkered pillows and buy checkered sheets, but just don’t buy a giant wool checkered rug if you’re not sure how you’re gonna feel about it next year.
Emma: Yeah, yeah. Cuz I think the big thing is usually the price tag, because you’re like, Oh, I just wasted all this money or like, I spent that money and now I can’t afford to change it, but I hate it so now I have to live with this thing that I hate. And that’s always tough. So I think another thing is, sometimes I find myself in this place where I’m like, I kind of like, let’s just say wallpaper. Let’s just say that’s what I’m doing. I’m picking the wallpaper for a bedroom. Let’s just say, I’m not, but let’s just say. Maybe I have a couple that I’m like, Oh, these are kind of wild, but I’m really into them. Or maybe they’re very trendy or whatever. And then I might have a couple that I’m like, these are safer. I feel like I’ll definitely like these fine, but they’re not necessarily the most exciting thing. So then one thing you can do when you’re like, What do I do? Do I go with the more safe choice? Or do I go with a wild thing? So one, like Elsie said, if you’re able to get samples and hang them up, just tape them, you don’t have to paste them up or anything, just tape them up. That’s one thing to try. And then also, I would think through, how big is the room? How much is it going to cost to wallpaper? Is it a cost where if I hate it a year from now, or six months from now, could I afford to change it? And would I be willing to do that? And if the answer’s no, then well, maybe err on the side of the safer choice, depending maybe, just kind of thinking like, Would I be able to change this, either labor wise, or cost wise, things like that. Because those are sort of the big regrets, is when you can’t change it, it’s a done deal and you know, you don’t like it, and you’re just stuck. Because then you have to keep looking at your mistake for years in your house. And it’s just such a bummer.
Elsie: Yeah, and for me, those mistakes have always come from not putting enough thought into it. A lot of times, it’s what I did in my last house, and I liked it in my last house, so I just pick it for the new house. Or what I’ve seen in pictures, and I liked it in this picture so I just said, let’s do this. I think that anytime that I put an obsessive amount of thought and do the pin boards and do the mood boards, I don’t think I’ve ever had a regret after putting in that much effort. So that’s a great way to safeguard yourself and just test your true feelings about a trend, because yeah, I as an Enneagram seven, I’m very infatuated by trends. Especially when I first see them, if it’s something you know like home decor trends can be like eye candy, they’re very catchy and appealing. I also am a person who likes sort of catchy designs. So it’s hard to tell sometimes if it’s something that I truly love, or if it’s something that, you know, is the flavor of the year, that’s going to be different next year. Okay, so let’s talk about how to find your style so you can filter trends that you know you are going to keep loving. This is something that I wish I would have learned in my 20s. But that’s okay, I’ll know for my 40s instead. It all comes down to the mood boarding time that you put in. The other thing I would say is to try it out in a small dose. A lot of times with trends, you can just try it in your home in the smallest way, like a patterned tablecloth, pillows, something like that that’s under $100 and just see if it feels right. A lot of times I can feel right away, Oh, okay, I actually don’t love that for this home. I just liked it in pictures, which are two very different things.
Elsie: Yeah. Have you ever had a way to test yourself?
Emma: Yeah, two things on that because I also want to bring back the thought about designing a space with a partner, or whether it’s a roommate or husband or whatever. So as you’re doing the mood boarding, I would also highly recommend, show your partner, constantly show them. Elsie is a very like Pinterest at night while her and her husband watch TV, that’s kind of her time. It’s like, turn your computer around and show your partner a kitchen that you’re like, Wow, isn’t that cool? Because a couple things on it, one, if they hate it, then you can have these conversations about somebody else’s kitchen on Pinterest and not yours and that’s good. So you can explore what each person likes in you know, a more hypothetical, looking at other people’s kitchens or whatever it is. Also genuinely just showing them how interested you are in home decor, how much you’re looking at things, kind of showing, maybe you don’t consider yourself an expert but if you’re putting in hours and hours looking at different options because you want to pick the very best thing for your home and you’re just excited about it because you like home decor, because I like home decor, and if you’re listening to this podcast you probably do, then I think sharing that passion with your partner is really important. They might not even realize how much you’re looking at stuff on Pinterest and you’re excited to renovate your next home or decorate your next space or whatever it is. So sharing that passion with them I think can be really important. And then the last thing I would say is for trying things out, if at all possible, and I know this involves money, but it involves a lot less money than making a big mistake, so think about that. Try to book a hotel or an Airbnb next time you’re getting to travel, especially with a partner, that is the kind of style that you’re really wanting to go for. Because then you can be in a space, that is the colors or the vibe or the era that you’re really excited about and that might help them to see it in a different light. Or you might both discover while you’re there, this is really cool and what a fun trip. We don’t want to live here all the time, though, this is actually not what we want. So then you can kind of try it on for a weekend. And it’s fun because then you can also initiate a little trip with your partner or your roommate or whatever. It could just be a fun thing anyways, so yeah.
Elsie: No, you stole that right off my list. I have hotels, restaurants, etc. I think it’s very important to test the way you feel in a space. So if the type of space that you’re imagining is very minimalist versus a very patterned, very colorful space, it doesn’t matter how it looks in a photo, versus how it feels when you’re in the room. So yeah, find places where you can go where you can be in those rooms for hopefully longer than the first impression zone. If you can stay there, at a hotel, I think that’s a great idea. It’s an excellent tip. Yeah, Airbnbs might be a good way to do it. And just get to the point where you can start to see it like you’re used to it. Do you know what I’m saying? Where it doesn’t have that brand new feeling to it anymore. I think that finding what types of homes you like the feeling of is one of the most important things you can do and can really help work past trends. Because trends are honestly, a lot of times, they’re better in photos, but living with it in real life, It’s like you get sick of it so fast that it doesn’t even matter. It’s like not even there.
Emma: Yep. Oh, another random one is with a partner, planning a space with a partner watching room tours on YouTube, or watching the Architectural Digest YouTube channel. There’s one night, Trey and I were watching, I think it was Gwyneth Paltrow house tour. Of course, her house is beautiful. It’s the celebrity home, it’s millions and millions of dollars, there’s nothing about her house that our house is going to be like because that’s just not our budget, obviously. But I still think you can kind of again, it’s kind of like showing them things you’re pinning on Pinterest, it’s just getting them involved in the process and letting them flesh out what they like about a space, what they don’t like about a space and letting them hear you and your excitement or your dislikes about a space. I just think it’s another way to kind of try to get on the same page while you’re discussing someone else’s house instead of maybe fighting about something that’s already in your house, or that you’re trying to get into your house but they’ve never even seen it before. So just trying to bring them along. What I also love about those tours is they’re pretty quick, I feel like they’re less than 10 minutes. So it’s not like committing to watch an hour and a half movie that they may not really even enjoy. It’s a quick thing that you could just watch and then kind of be like, Oh, I love that they painted their bathroom purple. What did you think about that? Or, you know, whatever it is?
Elsie: Yeah, a lot of times I just enjoy hearing them talk about their art that they’ve collected and things like that. A lot of times there’s nothing about their house that I would replicate from my own but it’s just fun to watch. I had down a couple of my favorite tours recently. Okay, so the Emma Chamberlain one that just came out. It’s really, really trendy. So I think it’s interesting for this trend topic specifically. Did you see the Kirsten Dunst one?
Emma: Oh, no, I haven’t seen it.
Elsie: There’s a new Kirsten Dunst one. She has a really bold kitchen. There’s also a new Sienna Miller one that’s like an English cottage with a thatched roof.
Emma: Yes, I saw that one. Loved it.
Elsie: They’re all different but I do think that there’s a thread running through all of them that’s pretty similar too. So anyway, I think that looking at celebrity houses is a great way to get ideas, get inspiration, and see how trends look in a fully design because a lot of times these homes are designed by designers and styled by stylists, they’re professionally done to their full potential. So there’s a lot of inspiration that you can gain from that. I definitely think if there’s something from Gwyneth Paltrow’s house that you really liked, there’s probably a way that you could replicate it in your own home on a budget. I don’t know, I didn’t see her tour, but there’s always a way right.
Emma: Oh, yeah, and I think I love to be inspired by something that might be beyond what I can do myself. I don’t think that’s bad at all. I love to see, like I’ve said, I don’t necessarily buy high-end designer clothing, at least not often. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love seeing it. It’s very inspiring and beautiful and a part of it, you know, so yeah, that’s no problem.
Elsie: Yeah, I totally agree. So, how to explore a trend that you like, but doesn’t seem to fit your style. So I think this is a great one for small accents, like tea towels, or a candle, you know, definitely not like a rug or wallpaper, but put it in your home in a smaller way so you can still appreciate the trend and love it. And if you don’t love it a year from now another idea is to gift with it. Give to someone who you know, it would fit them better. You are attracted to it but you know it doesn’t go for you, but maybe for one of your friends, it would go with their style perfectly. Then the other idea is to use it somehow as a seasonal decor idea. I like to make a lot of my seasonal decor, I change it every year. I reuse some of it and I donate some of it. I never put out my fall decor the exact same way the next year, if that makes sense. So I think it’s a great way to use trends because it’s ever-changing.
Elsie: So yeah, I hope that this has been encouraging. If you are moving into your first home, I think a lot of people get a little bit paralyzed by the pressure of, is it too trendy? Is it bad to use trends. I think if you follow this advice about really spending time making your pin board and your mood board, I think you’ll be able to navigate it in a way where you have the fewest possible regrets, and having a regret every once in a while is normal. So don’t think, I don’t even think it’s avoidable. Like every once in a while we’re gonna have a regret in our homes where we live with something that we would have done differently if we would have known but we didn’t. I think that that’s not a big deal. So anyway, I hope it’s encouraging. I think that trends are fun and I’m glad that they exist. I just don’t think that they should hold us back from doing something, especially if it’s something that was trendy three years ago.
Elsie: So let’s talk about cozy season for a little bit now that we’re well into October. What are some things that you’re leaning into this season to make your life cozier?
Emma: Yeah, I don’t know if I have much that’s new or different from many of the things we’ve talked about recently. One thing I will say is my husband’s recently gotten into reading a little bit. He’s been reading a murder mystery. So now we have a little more reading time in bed.
Elsie: What book?
Emma: I’m trying to remember the title. It’s the one by Ashley Flowers. It’s fairly new. I don’t know if you know who that is but she’s a true crime podcaster. But yeah, he says he loves it, although he’s not telling me much about it because it’s a mystery. So you know, he wants me to read it. So I really don’t know very much about it other than he’s really enjoy it. I love reading all year round, obviously, but I do think there’s something about reading in the colder weather months that just feels very cozy to me. So it’s fun to have reading time together.
Elsie: Oh, that’s so cute. I wish I could get my husband to read a fiction. Okay, so my first one is books on paper pages. So I am having the same feeling. I did a lot of audiobooks this year and I love audiobooks because you can work. I like to listen to them when I’m at Target or at the grocery store or you know, just driving. There’s so many reasons why audiobooks are good but I kind of burned myself out with them. To the point maybe it’s just because I did so many, but to the point where I was just like not in the mood for them ever right now. So now I’m going through a phase of trying to learn to just enjoy a paper book where you have to do one at a time. Yeah, it’s a different type of experience. It’s something I want to lean into and be excited about for fall and it’s so much slower. So I think that that’s good for my personality to work on my patients. Okay, my next one is obscure horror movies. Every year we do a horror movie season. We just always watch horror movies, like a new one that comes out but this time of year we try to find old movies because I specifically like 70s horror movies that we haven’t seen yet, which is getting very hard to do, but we still sometimes find them. So far this year, we’ve found two new old horror movies that we had never seen before and they were both good and great. And that is such a feat. Yeah, I love this time of year for that reason and also do some rewatching. I always watch Rosemary’s Baby every year. There’s lots of other ones that I watch every other year. We were wanting to watch E.T. I was wanting to watch The Shining, just some that I hadn’t watched in a few years. And then other than that I had down making art, I’m just really in the art zone right now. So I want to make art every day and it’s making me really happy. And then the other thing is having sort of like a fresh start vibe. I don’t know why but the fall gives me the fresh start mood. It doesn’t even really make sense like New Year’s or like spring kind of make sense but for fall, I don’t know. But it feels like the beginning of the year to me, maybe it’s because it’s the beginning of the school year. But yeah, I have been doing Ramit’s, I Will Teach You To Be Rich journal and I wanted to give it a shout-out. It is so much more than a money book. It really is, I feel like the thing that I’ve learned from it the most so far, it’s just a workbook where you fill out questions, it takes a long time, lots of sittings like I’ve been working on in the mornings with coffee and the thing I like about it is that so many of my answers have nothing to do with money. It’s just defining priorities that I want to do like taking more walks or reading more books, or it’s just telling me what kind of lifestyle I want to have. And obviously, you can use money to build the lifestyle that you want but it goes so far beyond budgeting and money goals, like what you think it’s going to be. So anyone who’s interested, we will link in the show notes. It’s seriously, I think at some point, maybe I’ll do a fuller review of it. Maybe we do a book report or something. But it is a 10 and I didn’t want to have too long before I recommended it.
Emma: Yeah, yeah, I bought it too. I also bought a second copy for my husband, because I thought it’d be fun to compare our answers.
Elsie: What a great idea!
Emma: And I also thought it’d be a good tool to get on the same page in some areas and things like that. We’re honestly like one of those couples that we’re so similar about money. And then every now and again, when we find something that we are very different on, it’s like we’re staunchly different. So it’s like, Okay, I think we just need to understand what’s important to each other. And I think that’s kind of like how you’re saying, it’s not even always about money. It’s kind of more about priorities and what makes you happy and how you see yourself and who you want to be. It also has to do with family stuff, things like that. So anyway, yep.
Elsie: It’s giving me a very strong fresh start feeling. I am feeling very inspired to create a better lifestyle for ourselves.
Emma: I love it.
Elsie: Yeah, fix the things we don’t like and make some improvements. Yeah, it’s great. Okay, so Oh, we have a listener voicemail to do today.
Voicemail: Hi, Elsie, and Emma. My name is Martha. I’m from Kansas City but I’ve lived in Stockholm, Sweden, for the past 10 years. I just recently had a four month old daughter. One of the biggest things that has surprised me about parenthood is that it’s so hard to really be present in those moments and things happen so quickly. I feel like I’ve already really missed a lot of moments and I haven’t really appreciated small things. An example is, you know, a couple of weeks ago, I stopped swaddling my daughter. She just stopped the, you know, it didn’t work anymore. And now that it’s a couple of weeks later, I really wish that I had appreciated that a little bit more. So to be a little bit more proactive, I want to ask other moms that I respect about what moments really stand out to them looking back. What things they wish they could have been more present for, they were really glad they were present for. So I wanna pose that question to you, and I know Emma you just had a son. So, you know, these moments in the next year that we, that I, should be looking forward to, and as well, Elsie, as she gets older, what do you miss? So thanks, and I really love the podcast. Bye bye.
Elsie: Hi, Martha. I definitely relate to this. I have a severe like, I think that when some people are like, where did the time go? I always know where the time is going because I think about it every single day.
Elsie: And I overthink it. And I feel like from your message maybe you’re more on that side with me. I think that raising little kids, it is sometimes so important to sort of just live life and enjoy it. I think that having a journal is good. I think that taking a lot of photos is good. Making a scrapbook is good but none of those things can really fix the sad part of nostalgia. That’s just hard. There’s a sad part of nostalgia, were raising kids is just like a permanent 10 to 20 year long sense of loss in some ways to some people, and it just sort of is this little small, constant pain. So I guess I hope that maybe you can just feel acknowledged for that, and it’s normal to feel that way. I don’t have a solution to make it go away but I think that it sounds like you’re already doing a good job.
Emma: Yeah, I totally agree. I think that was probably the number one thing I didn’t understand about parenting, or I didn’t hear that as often from people until I got into it myself, which is that it is kind of a constant, never ending stream of pain because they’re growing up. And little things are over before you know it. And it’s just a lot. And yeah, I didn’t realize that was what a lot of parenting was going to be, kind of being sad as they grow. But I will say the richness and depth that my son has brought into my life is worth all of the little sad things for sure. So yeah, it doesn’t make it go away. But it’s worth it for me anyway. Okay, here’s a couple of more practical things. So my son’s in that era where he’s starting to talk. So one thing, I have the Notes app on my phone, I have an iPhone, I imagine there’s some similar thing on Android. Anyway, I have a lot of random things in there. One is just a list of words that he says because they’re very random. And sometimes I think he might have said that but I’m not sure and then it kind of becomes more of a pattern, and then you realize it. So as your kid starts to talk, which Martha would you say your kids four months, so you’re not there yet, but it’s gonna be there, you know. Some other mom told me this, make a little list of the first words somewhere. I just did it on my phone because it was the easiest thing. So I did that. Another thing I’ve done all along, I will just say out loud the things that I love about him, the little milestones that he’s going through. I used to say all the time, I love your little gum smile because before he had teeth, he had the all gum smile and I just loved it. Now he has almost all of his teeth and I kind of miss the gum smile, but I also love his teeth. But you know, it’s just a little thing that I miss. So I feel like for me, saying it out loud, which I’m not really the type of person who sort of gushes and says everything on her mind all of the time, you probably can’t tell from this podcast, because it’s constantly us talking. Not that I’m a quiet person, I just don’t necessarily say every little thought that pops into my head but for whatever reason, I feel like it helps me to say out loud, the little things that I love about my son. Acknowledging the size of his shoe, or just whatever it is that he’s doing or about him that I know isn’t going to last forever. I just say it out loud and that kind of helps. The third and final one that I really have is probably something you’re already doing, which is just cherishing the photos. My husband and I have this thing where we text. So I don’t have time hop, that app, I don’t know why I’m just a moron and I don’t download very many apps. Anyway, I have a whole folder of Oscar photos, obviously, because it you know, it does the face recognition thing on your phone. Every day we text each other a photo or a video of Oscar from this time last year and in a really small way, it makes me feel like I’m getting to live that year over again. It’s both sad and just cute and fun. It feels like I’m getting to live it a second time in a way. I like that, it’s a little habit that I like. So the very last thing I wanted to say, this is not a tip, this is more of a pep talk. I can’t tell from Martha’s message where she’s at with this but this is maybe just for me, or anyone who has a mindset like me. I sometimes do this thing where if I’m not being very present with my son, I just kind of make myself feel really guilty about it. And the thing that I would like to put out there for the world and for myself mostly, is here’s the thing, no matter how much you love your child, and I love my son, they’re still babies and you’re a grown adult, so they’re not going to entertain you for hours on end, it’s just not what it’s like. So it’s okay if you need little breaks throughout the day. Or if you need to scroll your phone for 10 minutes, still keeping an eye on, making sure they’re in not choking, making sure they’re not putting something in a light socket, but you need a little break now and again, because you’re a grown adult and you just have a different level of interest then they can really hold, you don’t need to feel bad about that, that’s really normal. For me, what I do to kind of work within that and not feel so guilty is I, especially on weekends, when he’s home all day, we kind of plan little things like, we’re going to do this walk with my grandma, this was last weekend, we’re gonna make a little spooky village. There was one other thing we were doing, I can’t remember. All these activities took like 30 minutes or less. So really, it was only like an hour and a half of very intentional, I’m not doing anything else, I’m not thinking about anything else, I’m just doing this little thing with my son. So it’s actually not even that much time. Because if you’re like, oh, I need to be present for six straight hours, while they roll around on the floor. It’s like, well, your mind’s gonna wander, you’re a grown adult, you just kind of have to give yourself a little more of a break than that. Don’t feel so guilty if you’re not hyper-focused on them every single minute of every single day. You need your own thoughts and conversations with adults and all those things.
Elsie: I agree with that.
Emma: So just think of it more like we’re going to do these things and I’m gonna be really focused during that time. You know, if you’re having a family dinner as they get older, like no phones, good rule for the table, but then once you’re done with dinner, and you’ve spent time and you’ve chatted, maybe you do want to go read your book, or call your friend who’s also an adult or whatever. And that’s normal, and you don’t need to feel like I have to be a mom 100% Or I’m not a good one. That’s just not how it works.
Elsie: Absolutely not. Yeah, I thought that was a great pep talk. It is sort of a thing to get used to. I think when you first have kids, just the feeling of how short every season is and every phase and every stage. It is shocking. Oh, okay. Well, thank you, everyone, for listening. This was a fun episode, we would love to hear your topic requests anytime you can email us at podcast@abeautiful mess.com. A quick reminder, call our hotline and leave us a message and we might play your message. Ask us a question or whatever, you know, whatever you’re feeling. Our hotline number is 417-893-0011 and we will also put that in the show notes. Our show notes every week are on the blog at abeautifulmess.com/podcast. Okay, we’ll be back next week.