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Meagan lives in St. Joseph, MI with her husband Jon and kids Clara, Owen, William, Isaac, and Jacob; who range in age from four to fifteen. Meagan celebrates the art of sane + satisfying family life at her blog The Happiest Home, and shares her ideas on being a happier mom in her book The Happiest Mom: 10 Secrets To Enjoying Motherhood, both of which have been hailed as down-to-earth, funny, wise, and helpful.

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Just Call Me Bertha Stewart

By Meagan Francis |

ironing a tablecloth? Bertha wouldn't do that.

Never heard of Bertha Stewart? She’s Martha’s second cousin twice-removed. She inherited the domestic guru’s love of organized spaces, good food and homey comforts, but lacks the drive for perfection, skill, time, and let’s face it – money – her famous cousin possesses.

Okay, so Bertha’s not real (to my knowledge, anyway.) But she’s a symbol for all of us who embrace “good enough” domestic engineering. I put time into my home because I value a cozy, warm haven for my family, not because I want to impress the neighbors with my ironed table linens. And while I love reading magazines like Living for ideas and inspiration, in the end I have to assimilate the ideas that work for me and get over the fact that I will probably never fold a fitted sheet properly.

I thought it might be fun for us to list the ways we’re a little bit Martha – but a lot more Bertha. I’ll go first:

  • I make my bed every day...
    but I never tuck in the sheets.
  • I have plenty of flatware on hand for guests…
    but half of it doesn’t match.
  • I own a lemon zester…
    but often can’t find it. Or a lemon.
  • I do an impressive job keeping up with a mountain of laundry...
    but I don’t remember the last time I ironed…anything.
  • We have a space set aside for overnight guests…
    if they don’t mind sharing a bed with our two-year-old daughter.
  • I clean my range every day…
    but please don’t look inside the oven.

Your turn! How are you more like “Bertha” than Martha?

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About Meagan Francis


Meagan Francis

Meagan Francis is a mom of five who loves everyday adventures and is in pursuit of a big life with her big family. Her love of family, food, home and travel fuel her writing here and on her blogs The Happiest Home and The Kitchen Hour.
Read bio and latest posts → Read Meagan's latest posts →

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15 thoughts on “Just Call Me Bertha Stewart

  1. Ellen Seidman says:

    I have glorious wedding china….
    buried in a closet. Mostly, we use plates that I think I got at Marshall’s ten years ago.

    I have some nice flowers growing in my front yard…
    but I often can’t tell the difference between what’s a weed and what’s not, and so they’re all cohabitating out there, and I never worry about weeding.

  2. erin from swonderland says:

    oh dear.

    um, my bathroom is totally clean! just let me go in first and “freshen up” the toilet that the two year old and four year old use all day. (you know, freshen up? totally clean all over?)

    i make really delicious homemade dinners with lots of ingredients and at least one fresh vegetable. at least, for the first half of the week. then the best groceries are used up and we resort to grilled cheese.

  3. Carrie says:

    Oh man, that’s me but without all the stuff that you actually do in the beginning of the sentences!
    OK, maybe I … I … make dinner most nights. But I don’t bake anything that doesn’t go in the bread machine.

  4. andrea frazer says:

    Hi – I totally relate to this post. Guess “Bertha” is going to be the new “Sophia.”

  5. Stephanie Precourt says:

    Again, we are SO ALIKE. I really strive to be more Martha, tho. Just so I can maybe have a higher starting point so that when things start to slide they aren’t, like, call CPS worthy, you know?


  6. Jen says:

    I so relate to this! especially the range is clean but don’t look in the oven! I definitely get caught up in thinking that “everybody” has beautiful homes and furniture, or if you can’t afford it then you “should” be making it, finding it on the curb or shopping thrift stores for hours etc so thank you for the much needed dose of reality!

  7. kate says:

    Hi Meagan, nice to see you in your new space!

    I bake nice muffins and treats for my family’s lunches ….
    I just don’t do the dishes afterwards.

    I cook a good dinner every night …..
    I just don’t clean up after myself every night.

    I keep on top of all the dirty laundry …..
    The clean laundry just doesn’t always make it out of the hamper upstairs.

  8. Ashley Colagross says:

    Hello Meagan!
    I second Kate. I bake and cook frequently, yet there’s usually dirty dishes in the kitchen when I go to bed. Furthermore, my kitchen cabinets house clean dishes but they aren’t perfectly organized. I stay up on the laundry but it might take it awhile to migrate from the dryer to the closet.

  9. TheKitchenWitch says:

    Have you been looking in my kitchen again?

  10. Kiki says:

    Oh hi! Come on in. Please excuse the house, it’s messier than I would like…
    But it was way messier 15 minutes ago before I started frantically cleaning. And whatever you do don’t open that door, you’ll see all the junk I piled on the bed.

    The worst part? That pile will be shoved into a bag (b/c I’m too tired after entertaining to deal with it) and won’t be put away for months.

  11. Sharon Waldrop says:

    You make your bed every day? You’ve got one up on me! :)

  12. Sarah Cler says:

    I love this! I had to stop reading Martha Stewart’s magazine because it just depressed me and made me feel inadequate every time I opened it up. So here are my confessions:

    I have an organized hall closet because I like to be able to find what I’m looking for, but…
    the storage containers are old boxes with permanent markers labeling the contents.
    I have people over for dinner sometimes but…
    we drink wine from wine glasses, one kind. No special glasses for white wine or margaritas.
    I host Christmas dinner occasionally, but…
    your meal will be served on mismatched inherited crystal because we don’t own china. Also, there will be no cute or elegant tablescape happening because a toddler would instantly destroy it and I prefer to spend any spare shred of holiday time catching up on sleep!

  13. [...] loved and laughed at Megan’s list of her perfectly imperfect home at Just Call Me Bertha Stewart, I can totally [...]

  14. [...] to read are there. It’s like the all star team come to play on Babble. How fun! Plus, we have Martha Stewart’s very own cousin Bertha. Well, second cousin-twice-removed. Or not at all. Still, she’s pretty darn [...]

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