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I have a small handful of clients for whom I design fancy holiday cards each year. They know I’m a mom, but I try to be as professional as possible when working with them – dressing up for meetings, taking phone calls  away from the children, responding to emails promptly – so that they know me more for being a stationery-designer than a stay-home-mom. 

Last year, at about this time, I was in christmas card production mode. It is quite often a stressful time for me as I do the bulk of my business during the month of November and I’m not so good at balancing work and home – especially when I work at home. I had made just about every mistake possible when ordering my supplies and remember one night getting the the point when I just wanted to give up.

I felt like such a fraud.

Who did I think I was creating cards for these people? If they only knew I was just a frazzled mommy working late at night, sitting on a milk-stained couch watching ‘While You Were Sleeping’ putting their elaborate cards together. If only they knew how tiny my office was. How amateur my graphic design skills were. How little I knew about running a business.

I cried. I prayed. I probably got in bed and sulked for a while before I fell asleep, woke up in the morning and pulled myself together.

I’m feeling a little bit like that right now.

It probably has something to do with the fact that it is mid-November and I’m in that same busy time of year producing cards.

This year, though, I have a blog. 

I love writing posts and creating projects, coming up with giveaways and sharing our home and family on here. A creativity has been awakened in me like never before and I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

But sometimes I feel like a fraud.

I’m afraid I present myself as this put-together, always cheerful, well-dressed, organized, ambitious, fabulous wife and super-mom. And on top of it all, a professional business owner. I’d like to think I’m these things. I’d really like you to think I’m these things.

But truth be told, I’m not quite there.

And maybe that’s just what I need to admit.

I work so hard to please, to appear professional, to have perfect graphics, a seamless shop, new and fresh ideas, quality products, interesting things to say or original projects to share.

But I think I lose a little bit of myself in that process.

I am just a regular girl.

A wife who loves her husband, but doesn’t always show it.

A mom who adores her babies, but runs out of patience.

A friend who cherishes her girls, but forgets to return calls.

A person so energized by being creative, but not without dry spells.

I am a homemaker who would rather rearrange furniture than dust it, repaint a bathroom than clean it, eat out than sit down and plan meals.

I’m just a regular girl with the privilege of designing cards for a living and encouraging and inspiring others on this blog. It is a blessing and brings me such pleasure but I think sometimes my expectations for myself can get a little out of control.  I’m working on that.

I thank you, sweet reader-friends, for allowing me to just be me – however mightily-imperfect this girl truly is.

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201 Responses to fraud

  1. Erin November 18, 2010 at 10:20 pm #

    Thank you for your honesty, Emily. Your words resonate with me and I am grateful you voiced them aloud. :)

  2. Jen November 18, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

    You are a beautiful woman. Always love to hear your real voice

  3. marci November 18, 2010 at 11:22 pm #

    ummm other than the card making you could have stolen this post from just about any woman out there i think, including myself. we put too much pressure on ourselves to be everything and it just isn’t possible. it’s good you can see it helps! but know that you are not alone!!!

  4. Catherine November 18, 2010 at 11:44 pm #

    thanks and ditto (except for the stationary designer/business owner part).

  5. tammy November 18, 2010 at 11:45 pm #

    I hope you did not write this because of our bible study today. You are awesome at what you do and I always so admire you and wonder how you do it all. Yet , the thing I appreciate about you the most is that YOU are REAL and yet have style, class, talent and most importantly love the Lord and never compromise your values. You are far from a FRAUD! Thanks for sharing your heart and for being such a beautiful inspiration.

  6. a little luxe November 19, 2010 at 5:22 am #

    What a wonderful post. I was sent over here by Julie at Milk and Honey Home. You took the words right out of my mouth…. having just started a new interior design business I definitely feel frazzled most of the time and think ” i have no idea what I’m doing”, the business side anyway. But I guess we all figure it out eventually ( hopefully? ha ha) This is what I love about bloggers…. all so honest and real. Thank you for that heartfelt post.


  7. Heather November 19, 2010 at 6:50 am #

    Posts like this make you a real person, not some paper figure I can’t relate to. Truth resonates, which you can see from the volume of comments you got from this. Thank you for your transparency. Putting your insecurities out there for the world to see is scary.

  8. deb mills November 19, 2010 at 7:52 am #

    you’re not a fraud at all… you’ve just a normal person, with all the self-doubts and human frailties that we all have at times. and thank goodness. how could we all measure up to perfection? enjoy your blog. thanks for sharing your creativity, your idea, and your human side.

  9. Jennifer November 19, 2010 at 7:54 am #

    I LOVE LOVE that you are so real that you can post this. In fact, it takes a really confident, put-together person to do a post like this. Rather than admitting your failures, you are showing us that you are NORMAL! I love that you are willing to let us see that because so many people in this world are so worried about appearances that it is refreshing to be able to read a post like this and feel like a kindred spirit. I have huge expectations for myself too and feel like I am always failing in some way or another but I AM NOT…it is just what I am putting on myself. You put my feelings into words so beautifully that I want to print your post and give it out to all my friends. Your post a few months ago where you included the “I can not do it all” posters totally empowered me. I put your link on my facebook page and printed those suckers out to frame for my sewing room…lol. You would not believe (or maybe you would) the amount of comments and “hurrahs” you got in the FB comments. :) I tend to lose focus so much and forget that my Heavenly Father loves me for being His child and not for all the things I do…for who I AM in Him. Thank you for being a real girl and reminding me of that. :)

  10. Alicia November 19, 2010 at 8:32 am #

    Yes! Me too. I know…

  11. kate November 19, 2010 at 8:47 am #

    Just read this – and you’re already inundated with consolers – but just let me remind you that most of those “real” professionals closed their front door with their bed unmade, curlers on the bathroom counter and dishes in the sink. The problem you have is that your life is seamless – no shut doors for you working at home. Everything will look better when you get some more sleep!

  12. Michele B. November 19, 2010 at 9:12 am #

    not a fraud. a FAVORITE! I think we all feel that way more than we’d like to admit, and get caught up in craziness more than we should. From the other end of this blog, you are the heroine…looking adorable, managing your home and creating (and finding the time to share) beautiful things, all while loving God and your, no, not a fraul AT ALL!

  13. SARAH WOOD November 19, 2010 at 10:59 am #

    well! you just made me cry! you’re the best.

  14. Nonna November 19, 2010 at 11:17 am #

    I love you Emily! The beautiful wife to my son and mother of my sweet grandbabies. What a gift you are to me. Nonna

  15. Paige November 19, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    Just keep in mind…we expect way more of ourselves than anyone else expects from us. Have a great day!

  16. Sara November 19, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    Oh, how I feel for you! I too am a mother/wife/business owner. I have the opportunity to work at home as a freelance graphic designer. I get to take care of my almost-3-year-old and 16-month-old, and am expecting another come June. All the while, my hard-working husband, who is a commercial airline pilot, works away from home 4-5 days a week. Sometimes the world just spins, and I can’t decipher which hat I’m wearing, or sometimes how many I can fit on my head at once. But I am so blessed to be able to have a creative outlet and to have a husband and family that understands if I don’t have that creative outlet, I’d just go bonkers. Sometimes the laundry sits, the dishes don’t get washed, and the kids stay in pjs until 3 pm. But they are loved and happy, and that’s all that matters. Keep plugging away at what you are called to do!

  17. Lindsay kinnick November 19, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

    I can’t help but say this sounds like Jerry Bridges (my husband and I work with the Navigators). He speaks often of ‘speaking the Gospel to yourself daily’. And my, oh, my. Do I ever need it! Thank you for speaking the gospel to yourself and to all of blog friends. I pretty much like you & your heart & your many talents. :)

  18. Ashley November 19, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

    I think the fact that you ARE real makes you all the more appealing to both your blog readers and your clients. It’s hard to expose yourself to the world and feel good at the end of the day as you consider your flaws…but we all have them! You rock, girl. A favorite from Velveteen Rabbit:

    “What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

    “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

    “Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

    “Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

    “Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

    “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

  19. Tiffany from HOLIDAY November 19, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

    just found you via Julie at Milk & Honey and love you already, without looking around yet. and how sweet is your mother-in-law’s comments? this is so refreshing. as a working mom who would love to start my own business but created a blog in the meantime…i feel the same. running on empty, wishing we could do and give more, but want to present ourselves as though we’ve got it all down. i bet you have lots to be thankful for this year! can’t wait to look at your blog & cards, etc. xo warmly, tiffany

  20. keely aka LKP November 19, 2010 at 2:27 pm #

    thank you for your honesty. i see accomplished women such as yourself and think “how do they do it?” or “where did i go wrong?” or “how can i be less frazzled?”…your voice today is refreshing and truly helps me feel more comfortable in my skin and in my lot in life. much gratitude to you for today! ::hugs::

  21. Emily J November 19, 2010 at 3:48 pm #

    i adore your authenticity and your creativity and the way you articulate your heart. thank you for sharing… i may have had a few tears, and a few giggles reading this post and the last as my mom is forever dusting my home and telling me i need to be more sanitary, I discovered 14 voicemails this morning, just yesterday bought the double pack of voluminous mascara (on sale at target, ps) as it is THE best, Heaven was my first perfume in 7th grade, and one of my favorite reminders of late is to not compare my insides to others’ outsides, as the Lord says I am fearfully and wonderfully made and so very unique. settling into the fact that I am only ever going to measure up to ME is a refreshing thing. and the grace god gives is abundant and sufficient. praying for you in this season!

  22. shannon knight November 19, 2010 at 4:05 pm #

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog, your style, and know that we are all feeling the same way. Thank you!

  23. Kelly Meeks November 19, 2010 at 11:20 pm #

    Its so freeing to just admit our imperfection isn’t it? Trying to fake it and pretend like we have it all together is such a heavy weight! Thanks for keepin it real. :)

  24. Kim November 20, 2010 at 1:26 am #

    You are a regular down to earth kind of girl who happens to also be beautiful and talented and posses social grace. Such a good mommy (even if cheese sticks and chocolate milk is lunch or you have your children watch Max and Ruby while you write something on your blog – OK please tell me that you do that – sometimes! lol) and you have such a sunny disposition too! Maybe you don’t feel inspired or inspirational every day through your blog, as a mommy, wife, friend etc., but you still inspire because the real moments or the moments where you are feeling vulnerable make you inspirational too! It is a human thing to doubt yourself every now and then – everyone does – those that say they don’t are not being honest with others or themselves. You are real. You. are. not. a. FRAUD! But the title got my attention ;) I have not made a comment in awhile because life is a little crazy at the moment but I do read all the things you write – your blog rocks Emily!

  25. Lauren Liess November 20, 2010 at 7:49 am #

    loved this post… i think so many of us feel this way & it’s great to see it voiced. but you’re SOOOOO not a fraud and the proof’s in your beautiful work.

  26. krista November 20, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

    I love this post…I think you speak for so many of us and the way we feel. Thanks for putting yourself out there…it’s very inspiring:)

  27. Mindy November 20, 2010 at 8:56 pm #

    thanks, it is nice to hear someone else say it. seems that there is always someone who wants to to try to one up you or make you feel like you need to do better. trying to keep that out of my life because it is not worth it and they are not a real friend.

  28. Liz November 20, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

    It is the weekend, and I’m just now catching up on my inbox. I haven’t read all 100+ comments, so I’m probably repeating what others have said already–you are only human and you are amazing, certainly not a fraud. You inspire so many women (myself included) and we love that you are real. That said, I frequently feel similar–like I’m faking it and all the people at work who say, “wow you just do it all” really have no idea how much is still left to be done. How I was up until 2 AM the night before my daughter’s birthday making decorations, that I have every intention of finding time to bake one of these days, and the amount of dust collecting on my crafty stuff because I 1. am having trouble finding the time and 2. am scared that whatever I decide to try will look terrible an amatuer. So I have no sage advice, just a note to let you know that you are not alone in your feelings but that you are truly amazing, so try to not be too hard on yourself (perhaps I’ll take my own advice). :)

  29. Deana November 21, 2010 at 7:32 am #

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. As I was working on a wholesale order for salon boutique. I was up until 1am trying to finish it. It’s the only quite time I get to work with3 kiddos. Iwas tired and thinking why am I doing this….is it worth it? Do they realize I am this lone woman hand making all these items??? Then I saw this and realized there are many of us, trying to realize our dreams, own a small businesss, be a mom, wife, daughter, friend. And it works sometimes not as flawlessly, as others. But we keep going improving, learning as we go. Thanksfor being real. D

  30. Michele November 21, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    Thanks for being real and sharing your heart. I can relate. Fraud is such a nicer word than poser, which is what I often use to describe myself when I feel like I’m just faking it. I think you’re the real deal because of post like this. It’s encouraging to let others know you struggle stuff that we all struggle with and it’s normal.

  31. LimoncelloSTYLE November 25, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    Oh, I SO hear you on this….could have written it verbatim myself (except I only have 1 child :)

    Our clients believe in us; we need to too.

    Miriam from &
    Aka coasting anon from

  32. Cathy November 26, 2010 at 5:52 am #

    More reasons why I love to visit your blog…thanks for being so humble and sincere…once again, you inspire!

  33. Julie November 26, 2010 at 7:39 pm #

    Thanks for the honesty. A nice post. I think we all feel this way.
    ~ Julie

  34. Carrie December 1, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

    I feel everything you wrote in this post and I got tears in my eyes while reading it. Thank you for making me feel ‘normal’ and for inspiring me through your blog. Now I’m going to decide where to eat out while I leave the vacuum in the center of the living room, and the furniture askew surrounded by a million boxes of Christmas decorations.

  35. Anna Marie Farmer December 5, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    This is Anna Marie, Lindsay Miller’s friend. I’ve been reading your blog for a while and wanted to let you know how great I think it is.! Emily, your site/blog is so beautiful and your honesty and thoughts are so real, I really love what you share. I’ve done your wreath project (w/ book pages) and it was so fun! I made one for me, and one for my mom. Linds and I are getting together to craft this weds and are going to make some of your holiday projects. Anyway, just wanted to say that I really love your blog and your approach and it’s been really encouraging to watch you build it. I love how you follow your own aesthetics and create such beauty. thanks for sharing who you are with the world! xo
    anna marie

  36. Carolyn December 11, 2010 at 8:57 am #

    first of all i love your blog and your designs.
    second of all i do not like reading the perfect blogs of perfect women who have perfect marriages, perfect children, perfect homes, gourmet talent, always smiling and skip-to-my-lou lives. Those kind of women leave me feeling like “a fraud” and a basket-case!
    I’d much rather be (cyber) “friends” with bloggers who are brave enough to believe in themselves but not afraid or ashamed to admit that they are imperfect… and know how to keep their sense of humor inspite of it all.
    that is the kind of woman i find most inspirational and interesting.

    thank you for sharing, i really love visiting!

  37. Barbara January 4, 2011 at 7:18 am #

    I agree with you on all points above. So nice to hear someone else has the same thoughts as me. The way you write them makes them sound …well….normal and ok, which they are! Thanks, I needed that today!

  38. Hannah Kelley January 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    I just read this, and totally related. I too am trying to juggle the mom, wife and professional…being a private piano teacher, but also love to explore my creative side. Thanks for being real.

  39. Jennine Lupo January 21, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    Wow – that was one of the most honest posts I’ve ever seen. And I can totally relate to you. Thanks for admitting how much we all think we suck – operative word there being ‘think’. Because guess what? YOU ARE AMAZING!

  40. Maggie Nunez January 22, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    The more i read your blog the more I am inspired by you and by your honesty…I too feel the same way many a a teacher, wife and mom…thank you for being so genuine because through your candidness we learn that it is ok to just be real sometimes…not perfect but real.

  41. Sherringa February 27, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    I happened on your blog today, and I am not sure how. I think God sent me here. I love honest folks like you, it makes me love your blog already and I have just jumped around on a few of your posts. Keep up the good work , I will be sharing you with my friends.

  42. Abbey Lewis March 10, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    This may have been a post from many months ago, but I am new to blogs and your blog is my favorite! I could not have read this post a better time for me… I know it is about you, but it really spoke to me and how I feel most of the time! I want to thank you and say that yet again, you have given me motivation and inspiration!!! I have so many things I want to do, and be when I ‘grow up’ (even tho I’m almost 35 ;))) All we can do is remind ourselves to breath, pray and keep moving forward!!!!! Thanks so much!

  43. Tricia Schleper March 17, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    Emily-thank you for being so real. I know this was a while back but I have so enjoyed exploring your site and experimenting with your projects. I don’t know you but I do see you as all put together with somehow more time in your day than I seem to have (and I only have two little ones). Your site is an encouragement to me b/c I love being creative but don’t make the time to do it. So it was encouraging to hear you say “I am a homemaker who would rather rearrange furniture than dust it, repaint a bathroom than clean it, eat out than sit down and plan meals.” That is TOTALLY ME!! I want to live in a magazine where nothing is ever out of place or dirty but I can rearrange and redecorate whenever I want…I like to make things look pretty even though you might not ever know by the way my house looks! Thanks for being real and for allowing us in on a little of your own insecurities that if we are all honest we all have as women. Jesus bless you as you continue to spur others on to be who they are!

  44. Melissa April 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    you are me and i am u. i hear your words and i couldnt have said it better.

    off to be ‘fraudulent’ and design a program for a client when I’d rather be heading to my craft room to make more of your adorable ribbon flowers for which I dont know what I am going to do with them but I LOVE THEM!!! mybest, Melis

  45. laurie August 2, 2011 at 4:52 am #

    It is now early August 2011 and I decided to click on “fraud” this early morning with the sun shining so brightly and the humidity broken (for now). I am an avid reader of your blog even though I’ve only posted a couple times. I love that your honesty comes through and you are not afraid to admit where you are in life….not physically but emotionally, as a mom, wife, friend. I read another’s blog post recently and the debate was whether to blog every day vs blogging when you have something to say. I read blogs where people’s integrity, honesty, and character come through not whether they post a beautiful write-up each day. Your words act as reminders to me that I don’t have to aim for perfection but do what I love and things will fall in place. You are a perfect not-perfect role model for me. Admitting that your life is not as put together as we like to think it is and we think ours should be. I believe that you, me, us, that don’t have the perfect life are the happiest of families because we see our faults and can live with them no matter what because we put our husband and kids before all else! Thank you for your honesty and being who you are!

  46. Kelly April 7, 2012 at 12:57 am #

    I just randomly clicked on this post. I know I must have read it when you first published it because I read ALL your posts…religiously (sorry God for not reading the Bible, like I read my favorite blog lady’s posts), but for some reason it really resonated with me tonight. I really needed this today. yesterday. this past week especially. Thank you for your words and for being so real.

  47. Britton Howerton May 11, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    I read this post and it was almost frightening how much you sound like me! Really, I feel this way often. And painting the bathroom instead of cleaning it… couldn’t agree with you more!!!! Thanks for sharing, for being so real.

  48. Sherry April 10, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    Wow!!!! Isn’t it great when you stumble upon something that you so needed to hear. I LOVE IT!!! Thank you for your honesty. :)

  49. Alice October 20, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

    My grandmother taught me that it is not fair to compare our own everyday to the “Sunday best” of others. We usually see what other’s want us to see of them; at their best. Then we get our every day stuck in our heads.

  50. Meagan G. January 23, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

    I just read the post you wrote in 2010 about not wanting to be a fraud. I had to smile, you write so genuinely about being real and not really being perfect after all. Well, I am several years farther down the life timeline than you are (my kids are 21, 18, and 14) and I can assure you that by the time you are my age you will no longer feel the need to guiltily reveal that you are real. After a couple decades of the bumps and dings of adult life (even in the lives of those who seem to “have it all”), we come to the realization that EVERYONE is real and what we see on the surface is not all there is. Nowadays I feel I can look any person in the eye, even the ones who appear talented and fabulous, and just KNOW that they are real humans, with real histories, and real stories complete with ups and downs. The point I am trying to make is, don’t worry, those of us with a little more experience under our belts (i.e. ‘older’) never saw you as trying to pass yourself off as perfect; we knew you were a real woman with a real life—we all are, too. To me, you are clearly genuine!


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