wednesday evenings

I’m sorry to break this to you guys, but this post marks the end of the Wednesday Evening series. We’ve been to San Francisco, Napa, Sacramento, Boston, Cambridge, Birmingham, Montgomery, Chicago and more—inside the homes of 12 different families.

It’s interesting to see how the series has evolved since Monday Mornings. Even though I am only interviewing the moms, Wednesday Evenings seemed much more about how the entire family worked together as a whole.

I wanted to thank Allstate for being such a great partner and letting these stories continue to live and breathe on their own. Without Allstate, I never would have been able to fly Raquel across the country to document the comforting similarities that unite us as parents and the amazing differences which make us unique.

If you would like the Wednesday Evening series to continue, PLEASE leave a comment under this post explaining why. Your feedback is what drives this entire series and will go a long way in determining if it is a worthy program to continue next year.

Your comments not only mean a lot to me and Allstate, they mean the world to the families who participated. With that in mind, I asked each featured mother to share her favorite picture and her response to the feedback she got from my readers. While 95% of the comments were supportive, there were a few negative responses that squeezed their way in there, and you’ll see that reflected in their answers as well.

MARCY from san francisco:


What was your favorite photo?

I have two favorites: the one of me and the girls lying on the kitchen floor playing. The picture will be a reminder of this amazing time in their lives when they WANTED to play with me!

The other one I LOVE is of me, my mom and Dave talking at dinner. Dave had just started a new job, I was working harder at my job than I had in the past 4 years, the girls were transitioning from school to camp, responsibilities were shifting from our beloved nanny Gladys to my mom…things were not easy in our house. BUT my mom was an incredible rock for us. She picked up SO MUCH SLACK. I love this picture because it shows how, thanks to my mom, we were able to make time to have an adult dinner with real conversation. Her time with us this summer was such a gift. 


How did you feel about the response to your post?

It was nice to get support and a bunch of, “me, too!” from women who, like me, are doing their very best in these early years of familyhood. I felt lucky that anything about our family life could potentially help anyone else feel less judged or crazy.

A few people thought I was hard on my husband. I thought that was interesting and it caused us to reflect a lot about the experience. His reaction was not that I made him look bad, but rather that the pictures reflected our reality and maybe he could be doing more to help. “I guess sometimes the truth hurts,” is what he told me. It was kind of awesome, actually, because we got to talk about what we needed to shift in the evenings so I could get more of a break.

At the same time, I was saddened by the commenters who wanted to remind me that eating together as a family is best. We really are doing our best as parents and partners. We make conscious choices about how we spend our time and it bummed me out that people felt the need to scold me on my parenting decisions.

Anything you would like to add about the experience?

I was so impressed with my girls. I didn’t know if they would cooperate but they were lovely, hilarious and so welcoming to Raquel. My husband was a sport for agreeing to do it. Our evenings are our precious time and I’m grateful that he indulged my desire to see our family through someone else’s eyes.

Read Marcy’s full evening here.

Stephanie from napa valley:


What was your favorite photo and why?

My favorite photo is the one where I am holding Olivia and she’s leaning in to give Simon a kiss. It shows so much love between my daughter and her daddy. Those two are as thick as thieves!

How did you feel about the response to your post?

I was moved by how many people were so positive about the post, especially in this day and age when there seems to be so much negativity. It was nice to be surrounded by positivity, especially over a digital medium where it seems people find it so easy to be cruel.

Read Stephanie’s full evening here.

AMY from sacramento:


What was your favorite photo?

It’s so hard to pick just one! The one that most sums up our everyday is the one where I am trying to give him a bite at dinner and he’s blocking it and looking up at me. You can see his mischievous little smile. 

How did you feel about the response to your post?

The response was so positive! I’m under so much stress to keep all the balls in the air it was nice to have cheerleaders that I didn’t even know. I’ve also had a hard time losing my baby weight so I was worried about the pictures but there were positive comments about my outfit which made me feel so much better.

I cherish these pictures so much. They are a daily reminder to see the beauty in the everyday. Because we moved shortly after, it is also a neat snapshot of how our lives were before this big change.

Read Amy’s full evening here.

JESSICA from birmingham:


What was your favorite photo?

My favorite photo is the one where the boys are playing in their room and Mateo is mid-leap. Even though they are doing something they aren’t supposed to be doing, it is probably the most accurate depiction of our time together.

How did you feel about the response to your post?

I never thought the Superman prayer would be such a big hit! It also just helps knowing that there are other moms out there doing their best and trying to hold it all together no matter what their circumstances (single, married, working or at home).

Anything you would like to add about the experience?

I am just incredibly grateful for this snapshot of our lives. The last few years have been such a crazy time that it’s hard to remember the little moments. This is such a great reminder that the daily chaos might actually be creating happy childhood memories! Easy to lose that perspective when you are just trying to “get through” the day. I cannot tell you how comforting it is to see the boys’ smiles after all that happened with their dad. Whenever I need a boost or a reminder that “the kids are alright” – I scroll through the photos. I’m a good mom! It’s good to remember that when I feel inadequate or worried.

Read Jessica’s full evening here.

ELIZABETH from MOntgomery:


What was your favorite photo?

My favorite photo was the one of Tom and Linus on the couch—they just both look so happy!

How did you feel about the response to your post?

We really enjoyed the response to the post. It was great to have people from our town respond! Also, since we live so far away from so many of our good friends, it was wonderful to give them the opportunity to see our daily life.

Read Elizabeth’s full evening here.

RACHEL from birmingham:


What was your favorite photo? 

My favorite photo is the one of us sitting in the bed and the boys are rough housing with Jorge. On Saturdays, the kids have this game where they come in our bed and snuggle and then they yell “get daddy off the bed!” and all try to push him out. Right now it’s a struggle. But one day, they will straight up own him.

How did you feel about the response to your post? 

It was very sweet. I always get nervous though, when I hear people say “oh this family is doing it right” because I don’t want anyone to think we are doing it all correctly. I cleaned up before the photo shoot. And you can’t hear my vocal range when talking to my kids in the pictures. Let’s do a shoot where you sit in a minivan with me and four kids for the 20 minutes it takes us to get to basketball practice. That’s real life!

Anything you would like to add about the experience in general?

It’s great to highlight routines. It reminds me that we all have, what seems like “mundane” weeknights. But seeing them through someone else’s perspective helps us see the bigger picture. You realize those mundane evenings are what’s shaping our families.

Read Rachel’s full evening here.

MELISSA from cambridge:


What was your favorite photo?

My favorite photo was definitely the one of Elijah after his bath, with the towel on his head. That boy is such a joy! I loved so many of the photos. They really captured my family in ways I didn’t expect. Each time I go back I appreciate different details. Raquel really did a wonderful job and I am grateful.

How did you feel about the response to your post?

I was really nervous about the response! I expected more negative comments and was really pleased by how positive they were, almost exclusively (of what I saw at least!). I was pleasantly surprised by how many people were appreciative that a queer family was included. And I was touched by the number of people who mentioned that they really felt they could relate to us. We’ve even had a few people we don’t know come up to us and mention that they saw the post!

Anything you would like to add about the experience?

I did have some qualms about how positive it all turned out. It was all real but understandably it left out many of the struggles we face. Like every family, we have challenges, daily and ongoing, but those don’t show up so much in the photographs. Our lives are complex and beautiful and the struggles only make the joy shine brighter.

Read Melissa’s full evening here.

NATASHA from boston:


What was your favorite photo?

My favorite photo is the one where we’re all in bed reading together because reading together is my favorite family activity. And I love the look of love on George’s face.

How did you feel about the response to your post?

I was so pleasantly surprised and got warm fuzzies from the responses. It was so sweet to hear people say we were fun and happy, and the best was “patient.” No one has ever called me patient before! It was really gratifying to see our lives from an outside perspective, and a nice reminder how lucky we are. I’m so grateful to have these photos and the post as a snapshot of what our lives were like during this one crazy period of time.

Read Natasha’s full evening here.

KIRSTEN from boston:


What was your favorite photo and why?

I have at least 5 favorites! My top two are of the kids. My first is the one of Charlotte holding “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.” The expression on her face is one of my favorites. I can imagine the giggles and squeals that come with that face! It is pure Charlie!

My other favorite picture is of Isabel and Mason sitting on the couch. Isabel loves Mason so much and wants to be a great, helpful big sister, but his facial expression is priceless.


How did you feel about the response to your post?

I was excited and a bit nervous to see the comments from other readers. But, some (actually, most) of the comments brought me to tears. All the responses were touching and uplifting. It’s a great feeling to have other parents let you know that you aren’t alone. To know that people relate to me and think I am doing a great job is amazing. Sometimes, you just need a little outside reassurance! Thank you to everyone who left comments!

Read Kirsten’s full evening here.



What was your favorite photo?

I think my favorite picture is Otis giving Odie good night “nosies” (they do nosies instead of kisses). I rarely see their nightly “nosies” because I’m putting books or toothbrushes away or whatever, so it was cute to see that.

The picture of Odie eating dinner on my lap is another favorite because I secretly love that he always wants to sit in my lap. I cherish it because I know it won’t last forever.


How did you feel about the response to your post?

I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments about how Otis and I are a good team. My brother lives in Australia with his wife and after he read it, he emailed and said “Did you read the comments?! Wow!” I felt the same way. Wow! Thanks to all the readers and commenters! Also there was someone who commented on IG that we went to high school together, so that’s crazy! Our high school had 2400 kids, so I don’t think I know her but maybe she knows my husband! He was hard to miss in high school.

Read Allison’s full evening here.

SHIRA from Chicago:


What was your favorite photo?

My favorite picture is Oren with a big smile on his face. Oren is our middle child and often feels left out, despite our efforts to make him feel special. He’s pretty shy and often doesn’t have a lot of confidence in himself. But in this picture, he is beaming and looks so happy! I just love seeing him like this, so full of joy! When our Wednesday Evening post went live, my husband showed it to him and he was so excited. When I got home from work that night, he ran up to me saying, “We’re famous! We’re famous!”

How did you feel about the response to your post?

I loved the responses. People were so supportive of our family and my husband for being a stay-at-home dad. Since my husband is a member of various dad groups on Facebook, the post got shared a lot among the at-home dad community and I loved that Ariel got some love. It’s just great to see such positivity and not a single derogatory comment.

Anything you would like to add about the experience in general?

We absolutely loved the experience. Raquel was wonderful to work with and seeing these pictures really does bring beauty to the everyday. The post just shows our family doing our thing. It’s what I want to remember 15 years from now when my kids are all grown up and I miss the everyday stuff.

Read Shira’s full evening here.

LAURA from Chicago:


What was your favorite photo?

My favorite is the one where Meredith is laying on Tom while he’s putting her to bed. Most nights, we’re both home for bedtime and use a divide-and-conquer strategy. Tom reads and sings to Meredith while I’m nursing Conor to sleep. Since that is their special time together while I’m off in another room, it’s something I never get to see. I also thought it was funny how our cat photo-bombed so many of the pics!


How did you feel about the response to your post?

I had hoped that the message of seeing parenting as teamwork would come through in our post, and really enjoyed hearing from others who see shades of their own families in ours. To us, equality in parenting is finding the right balance in managing the tasks demanding each of our time. I was a little taken aback by negative comments concerning our family roles. 

Feminism, to me, is making sure my daughter is able to choose her life roles from the full breadth of options. Pushing women too far away from traditional roles is just as detrimental as pushing them into traditional roles, as sacrificing one for the other still limits their scope of possibility. I wish that parents could take a more inclusive and supportive approach to how we view one another.

For the record, on nights when I’m on my own, I usually simplify their bedtime by skipping baths too!

I know there were a couple negative comments under your post, but did you happen to see the comments on Instagram?

Wow! Tons of positive comments there! I’m not on Instagram (one of those things I “keep meaning to do…”) so I missed all that. I really like how this has sparked conversation about going back to school. So great to see we’re not alone in this and there are tons of other families doing the same thing.

Anything you would like to add about the experience in general?

We all go about our days, rushing from work to home and juggling so much, that I think it’s easy to feel secluded in this parenting thing. What has been so interesting is the response from those I know in real life who have taken this opportunity to share the ways in which their lives are similar or something about their own challenges. This has opened the door to commiserating in a way we wouldn’t have done otherwise. What is so important about this series is the opportunity to see shades of ourselves in others and to use that as a conversation starter to support one another.

Read Laura’s full evening here.

Thank you to all the lovely families that participated and to everyone reading for being part of such a wonderfully positive community (most of the time).

Please remember to comment below if you would like Wednesday Evenings to continue next year!


This post is part of the “Wednesday Evenings” series sponsored by Allstate. From bath time to bed time, every family has a special evening routine. This series aims to show the beauty in the day winding down. As the nation’s largest publicly held insurance company, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most—but to guiding families to live the Good Life, every day.