Saturday, November 19, 2005

Open Letter to Lisa, President of PotteryBarn Kids

So yesterday's influx of holiday catalogs included a "special" catalog from PotteryBarn Kids. It has a new little section called "STYLEHOUSE" with a letter from the president of PotteryBarnKids, Laura Alber. Right under her name and title, it says that Laura is a MOTHER OF THREE. If you click on the title to this blog entry, it takes you to a page on the PBKids website that has a letter from "Laura-President-Mother of Three". I almost did not write this blog entry because as a woman and as a woman in the businessworld I really believe in supporting those women who have acheived business success. It is very hard to do, even in these "enlightened" days of the 21st century, to be successful in business world as a woman. It is even harder to be successful in business without a penis if you are a woman with CHILDREN. Let me also state for the record that "Lisa-President-Mother of 3" is darling and let me also confess that I have purchased items from "PBKids" many times and while it is pricey at times, it does have some good products. Okay---now that I have said all of the nice stuff, even though I really wanted to be NICE---my evil side won out which is why I am writing this blog entry today. I just wanted to say to LAURA to PLEASE STOP THE MADNESS! In my fantasy conversation with her over coffee or even an alcoholic beverage, here is what I want to say to "Laura-President-Mother of Three": Laura, while I think it is totally great you have done so well with your company, I think you could serve your target customers of MOTHERS much better if you would be a bit more REAL. The reason, "Laura-President-Momof3" is because while I am sure this was not your intent, your claim to be a president, a mom and a mom that decorates the tree the entire day after Thanksgiving is one of the major things wrong with our world right now. Because all the moms look at you and then berate themselves for NOT being able to do it "all". I just think it would level the playing field a bit (if you don't mind) if you would have a small disclaimer under your letter that includes some answers to the following questions: How many people do you have on your staff in your home? Do you have a maid? Do you have a nanny? How old are your kids? Who got OUT the Christmas decorations, you or the help? Did your husband actually help you guys or was he really watching football while you put on ornaments? What do you do about Grandpa who is staying at your house over the holiday and is sleeping off his hangover on your living room couch? Then once she answers these questions, I would have her answer the following questions and put the answers in the "disclaimer" under her letter: If you really are "doing it all" without the help of at least 3 full time staffers at home, HOW are you doing it? Does your husband actually help? Is he a robot? If he is not a robot, how can we clone him? Do you sleep at night? Are you taking "speeder" medication or maybe just your kid's ADDERALLXR? Are you perhaps a VAMPIRE? If you are doing it all, would you please make a video/book for the rest of us on how you are doing it? How many times a week do you go to therapy? Laura---while my methods seem harsh, I am only trying to help spread the message of REALITY to the modern moms. As a former "six-figure" executive/mom, I had a full-time nanny, a maid and a fairly modern husband helping me "do it all" and I about lost my mind. I am not looking to bring you down if you are actually the one in a million people who can pull it off. But I am just tired of perfectly sane and hardworking women beating themselves up for not being able to do the job of 3-4 adults at the same time. I know women can work outside the home and have a family. But since being a mother IS a full-time job all by itself, please give us the real story. Because the "Martha Stewart-ish" myth that it is EASY is what really brings ALL of us down. Let's hear your views, my WTM's!


Blogger Serra said...

VERY well said!

11/19/2005 8:37 AM  
Anonymous Nilla said...

Yeah, that about says it all. I HATE it when I see "I'm a proud mom and I work and make lots of money" because them you look behind that and see: MR. Mom or, the full time paid help. Or Grandma raising them. Sheeze. I personally don't think you CAN do both well. I've done both sides, and I'll rather be full time mom, thanks.

11/19/2005 9:34 AM  
Anonymous jaqz said...

you know, all in all this is a great piece but what touched me the most, my dear, is the hung over grandpa part. it's so nice to know i'm not the only one. rock on ladies.

11/19/2005 10:39 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

I actually teared up. I am INCAPABLE of doing it all. I can't even do half of it half-ass! In my head I know that it's unrealistic, but I still think that I should be able to do it. And then the days when I'd rather be single and have a job and live MY own life-well the guilt pool that swim in after those days are is big enough to hold Olympic events in.

11/19/2005 12:43 PM  
Anonymous Misty said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for writing this!!! I have four small kids (7,4,2 and1) and I am going to college full time. With christmas just around the corner I feel like I am on the verge of a craziness breakdown. Thank you for letting me know I am not the only one who feels this way!!

11/19/2005 12:51 PM  
Blogger ballerinamommy said...

Misty, I feel your pain - mine are 2 and 1, and I as well am going to college full time. Sometimes I feel like I'm going to lose my marbles right here in the middle of my living room.
Great entry, WTM!

11/19/2005 1:39 PM  
Blogger kim said...

I bet they all wear matching sweaters while they decorate their tree. Ack.

Two Christmases ago, we had just beads on our tree. Our daughter was one, and she ripped them off any chance she could. We decorated the tree 87 times that year....

11/19/2005 8:31 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

WTM - Once again you ROCK! I don't feel inadequate this week because I cannot do it all. I am a mother of two who works full time, goes to school full time. I don't have help...I wing it everyday and pray that I am doing it right.

No one sent me home from the hospital with a "user's manual" when then discharged me from the hospital after giving birth instructing me on how to be a mom!

11/19/2005 8:58 PM  
Anonymous Sue said...

Thankyou for putting in writing what have been my sentiments for years. These women that seem to do it all have help or nervous breakdowns. My kids are 21,17 and 9. They don't remember the house being beautifully decorated,hell, sometimes they don't even remeber the gifts. What they do talk about is the dart gun fight after the gifts were opened, the sledding, the impromptu bonfire, the turkey being dropped on the floor, the year the oven didn't work etc...
All the things that did not require planning or decorating. Took a load off my shoulders when I realized this when the older two were young teens.

11/20/2005 6:55 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thank you. I beat myself up alot when I see women who are partners in their firms or doing all sorts of stuff with three kids. I am a stay-at-home mom of one. My hubby has a demanding job.

My mom worked and she was a total bitch. SHe always felt overwhelmed and resentful. I don't want my child growing up thinking I hate him.

I don't think there's anything wrong with being a mom who works outside the home or inside. I think every family is different and you have to make the decision that's best for you and yours. But yes, it does make a person feel like a looser sometimes....

11/20/2005 10:36 PM  
Blogger Ditsy Chick said...

You are right on the money. I would really like to know if she has a hubby that helps out. I have not really seen one yet. Your methods aren't harsh they are realistic.

11/21/2005 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get excited if I can fit in a shower...without my baby...or husband...and being able to dry my hair afterwards or apply lotion? Yeah right!
I agree with Sue, it's the chaos that makes it memorable and "yours." I hate the whole mass marketed America and how everyone can get the same thing at one of those huge stores.

11/21/2005 4:51 PM  
Blogger Yna said...

I'm one of those who really truly believes you can "have it all" - a successful career and keep up a house and a husband - call me crazy and niave. As long as "having it all" means being able to settle for less than Martha-perfection. It's decorating the tree with the kids and being OK with having the ornaments clumped 2 feet from the bottom because that all the higher the baby can reach. It's being OK with taking the store-bought cookies to the church Christmas dinner because you didn't have time to bake - and NOT feeling guilty about it. Everyone struggles with the Supermom complex in their own way - we just wish they'd be more open about it :)

11/22/2005 1:04 PM  
Blogger Kimmykay said...

First time posting here. I LOVE everyone's insight. I live in Arkansas and saw a reference earlier about Branson and this area. Anyway, I hate the "I can do it so can you" mentality. It puts so much pressure on women. I KNOW I can't do it all. Raising 4 kids, working part time, house, boy scouts, girl scouts, church... My kids are lucky that I decorate for the major holidays. You are right about the kids not remembering whether the house is clean or not. It's the family fun that is important. Great site.

11/22/2005 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Sue said...

Kimmykay and yna are on the mark - you can have it all - just be realistic about what it is you think that means and you and your family will be happy

11/22/2005 2:54 PM  
Blogger Laura K. said...

I think you aren't being fair or reasonable about her letter. It was a short letter and I believed her every word. How hard is it to get a tree as a family? You perhaps have the people who work at the tree place load it onto your car or deliver it and the manly man at home to help get it in the house, etc. Your kids are excited so you put them to work at the table with some art supplies while you deal with the tree mess. I don't know why YOU WTM find this so hard to believe. Perhaps you are lazier than you let on? So if you can't do what she did.. so what? Don't knock the parents who can. You can do other meaninful things with your family instead. I would dare say that you are just oozing with jealousy.

11/23/2005 3:08 AM  
Blogger Rubys Mama said...

Amen sister mama! oh and I am back online. supposed to be ironing for my big day on TV but no, I am reading your blog. if my outfit is wrinkled it's your fault.

11/23/2005 4:59 AM  
Blogger Tawnja said...

Well, to Ruby's Mama and Sebastian's Mama, when your basis for exsitence is what you children are wearing, that pretty much tells you what your definition of "having it all" must be.
I think having it all is being able to honestly doing your best. No, my best may not be the same as your best. This doesn't mean I am "lazy". And yes I might be jealous of what other women might ba able to accomplish, but that doesn't mean they are better than me. Other women might be jealous of the relationship I have with my husband... We all have parts of our lives that are doing better in than others. I would NEVER trade what I have for someone else's life.

11/27/2005 11:42 AM  
Anonymous Jamie said...

You go WTM! I always get my greedy little hands on the new Pottery Barn catalog (let's face's all overpriced...just surf on over to Ebay and get your PBK fix mucho cheaper) and got a chuckle out of the letter from the prez and the mom of three mention. It's way too easy to get sucked into the "perfect" portrait holiday pressure cooker where your feel compelled to dress your kids alike in their smocked boutique finery. Fast forward to my house and you'll see a 3-year-old chasing the dogs, screaming Jingle Bells at the top of her lungs, eating Play Doh, and bonking her baby sister on the head with a Barbie. Let's all just kick back and enjoy the holidays without all the keeping up with the Joneses crap. Happy Holidays!

11/28/2005 8:37 PM  
Blogger Mistyr said...

Misty R.( mother of two)
This is my first time too. But from reading every comment made by all of you and then reading her letter. I agree with the being jealous of her. I have two little boys and a loving husband. I am a stay at home mother.I enjoy it very much. But do I look up to mother like her? Well of course. But if we had it all. What would we want then? I think you all need to take a look at your lives and fix the problems you have instead of bashing a strong willed woman giving you great ideas for your own home and family.Even if she does have hired help, she has worked for it and she does deserve it. If I could affORD that I would consider it!! But for you mothers out there working and going to school more power to you and that is great. You are doing it all, just in a different way. Just be happy for who and are and not who you aren't. Don't be bashing women who you only wish you could be. You say you don't have all the time to do the things she does. Maybe if you weren't on here bashing a women that is doing those things you would have time.

11/30/2005 9:08 PM  
Blogger echofly said...

You read my mind. after gettting a phone from daycare I was in tears today at my desk thinking what are doing to our kids???
How do we ask soo much from our kids when parents are not even there bc they are too busy maintaning their high income.
Plus I think a lot of men do NOT not understand that not Supermoms
Care for kids.
Bring 6 figure salery.
Do not work late.
Educate the kids
House work and more house work...I agree you can not do both unless you work a fantasy company that pays the same salary hrs 10-2 Mon thru Thurs.

12/02/2005 7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am only using the anonymous option here because for some reason my browser won't cooperate using "other" to post. I have been accused of jealousy and laziness before by so-called ex-friends - I didn't tolerate it from them and I won't from you, Laura! I work 3 (yes, 3!) jobs. Don't you EVER call me lazy! Just because I am not a muffy with a perfect cookie-cutter life does not mean I want to be you. How self-centered are you to think that I would want your life when I am working so hard to improve my own. How nice for you that you not only live in an area that WOULD deliver a tree to your house but that you don't need that service because you have a manly man to put up your tree for you while you deal with "tree mess" - something the rest of us call "my house has lice". How nice for you that you have art supplies on hand for impromptu craftiness! Some of us have to be crafty in other ways just to have gifts for our kids. Again, I do NOT want your life - I have a life. What I DO want is for you to stop contributing to the evil Martha Stewart/June Cleaver ideal of motherhood/supermom/homemaker with your snarky comments and superior attitude. You obviously have no idea what those of us in Realityville go through daily.

12/05/2005 10:47 AM  
Blogger Mistyr said...

This is to anonymous that works 3 jobs. After reading your entry, it sounds to me that you have alot of issues that need to be delt with. First of all, you don't want people calling you lazy or jealous. But it seems to me that you are. Why do you work 3 jobs? When do you have time for family? Maybe if you weren't trying to live the way you are and maybe do with out some things you wouldn't have to work 3 jobs. I think you made yourself look stupid in your entry. There is no way they are all full time jobs. So from what I have gathered, why don't you quit your 3 jobs and get a real job and then you would have time for the Christmas tree and the cookie cutter life.Then your comment on realityville. Well honey, I am living it, and I have crafts and presents both for my children. We have bills like evryone else. When it comes to luck I have the worst. But I think you are jealous and I also think you are obviously trying to live a life you can't afford. But like I have said before, don't be knocking Martha Stewert, or any of the women that did get off thier fat ass to make something of themselves and become someone, just because you didn't.Or maybe it's because you are the self centered one. I am a stay at home Mom and my husband works, very hard to support us, could we use about 50grand more a year? Yes, but do we go around turning our heads at those people and bashing them? No, because I could go out and get a job and make that extra 50 grand, but I would rather stay home and raise my kids in the "Cookie cutter life" as you call it. So before you go and bash people on here, maybe you should take a look at your life and try to figure out what you are doing wrong, and think about the things you could do differently so you don't have to work 3 jobs. I also think that it is dumb for anyone to work 3 jobs. Go to school, get an education, get a real job.

12/08/2005 10:12 AM  
Blogger jenny said...

Okay, I am very disappointed when I hear women tearing other women down based on assumptions, without really knowing. How do we know that Lisa-President-of-PotteryBarn-Kids doesn't do it all. I am a mother of an adopted teenager with special needs, I own/operate a business with two locations, I am going to school full-time to obtain my doctorate, am currently 5 months pregnant, and yes, I was able to get all of my holiday shopping done the day after Thanksgiving, send out holiday letters/photos, wrap all of the presents and decorate the tree all in a matter of three days time. And, no, I don't have a nanny or a maid. I have a husband who did help by actually standing the tree up, but, I did the rest. I DO believe that you can do it ALL and do it well. If you want to.

12/10/2005 6:18 PM  
Anonymous LisaS said...

I really enjoy this blog - but I can't stand to see other women ripping each other apart. To the girl that works 3 jobs and doesn't live in an area where anyone would deliver a tree...I get what you were trying to say, and I'm sorry that people bashed you for it.

Great blog, otherwise.

12/12/2005 4:17 PM  
Anonymous heidi said...

Let's stop the harsh words. We as women should be supportive of each other, and one's decisions to either work and/or stay home. Perhaps staying at home is not an option due to finances. Perhaps working is not an option due to finances. As a mother of two sets of twins, ages 4 and 14 months, my husband and I are doing the best we can (yes girls, it IS a 50/50 partnership in our childrens care)to raise happy, healthy, well adjusted children. I, too, have done "both sides", and I find a good balance between work and time spent at home with my children. And yes, Nilla, you CAN do both well. I'm sorry some of you are bitter with your choices, in that you need to attack the choices of others.

3/10/2006 9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a catalog and it's sole purpose is to make us think that we absolutely cannot live without the products which are inside its pages. Potterybarn is a company which began as a small business and has taken off. The president and the people who work for that company have chosen to do the work that they have been hired to do. If they also choose to have a family they can, right? This is America. I have chosen to stay home. I had the option to. Let's not bash each other. We are all doing the best that we can and of course those of us who want to or need to work outside of the home need help whether it is from a friend, family member or employed help. Nannys need or want the work too. I know that everyone knows this stuff. Like I tell my children, "Please be kind".

6/14/2006 10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am the real grandfather and I have never been drunk in the house at Christmas or another holiday and have never slept off the hangover on the sofa.


4/23/2007 3:00 PM  

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