As you may know, I expecting my second baby girl in mid-late August! My first daughter will be 27 months around that time. For 27 months I have been a Work at Home Mom (in that time I’ve learned that I can officially use the hashtag #WAHM). Before Riley was born I was concerned about how much work I would actually get done, and whether or not I would continue working, or just collapse the business and raise my kid. Or would I crack and send her to day care. Can I really be a work at home mom?
Somehow, I managed to not only continue working but to actually grow my business in the process. I’ve raised an incredibly intelligent, sweet, little girl. I’ve raised her the way I wanted her to be raised. She gets my attention when she needs it and all of her needs are met. And the best part is I don’t feel guilty about working while I am doing it. The worst part is… it’s hard. Some days it’s really hard. But I remind myself that my baby has quickly grown into a toddler and before long she will quickly grow into a pre-schooler. With that in mind I continue to make this work for as long as I can.
In writing this I hope to inspire other moms who are seeking to spend more time with their kids without sacrificing income or doing what they love to do. Let it be known though, that I am aware that this is not for everyone! Some moms love leaving the house to go to the office, they enjoy the time away from their kids, or maybe their jobs don’t afford them the flexibility (from home or not) to work with their kids without help, or they love their nanny or day care. Everyone does what they have to do to make it work for their families and for that I applaud you!
How have I done it thus far? Advice for anyone else attempting to be a work at home momma (or dad)!
- My clients understand. I don’t keep it a secret that there is a babbling baby in the background during unexpected phone calls, or that emails may not come through until 9pm at night. People are usually surprised to hear that I am very selective with my client base. It’s been a key element in growing my business, and keeps me incredibly sane and happy to work with people that also know that family comes first.
- My mom comes over 2 times a week for 3 hours at a time. It’s not much in the grand scheme of a 40 hour work week, but it gives me guaranteed weekly time slots to schedule conference calls, or get focused on major projects.
- I work at night. Sometimes late at night. Sometimes after working all day. Sometimes on weekends. But it’s so worth it after I’ve spent 2 hours on the beach some mornings, or when Riley needs to go outside to burn some energy so we take a 2 mile walk to the playground, or we can go to Birch Grove Park and have lunch with the geese. And sometimes I prefer working after hours because I don’t feel pressured to respond to incoming emails (and not to mention it’s a lot quieter when the kid goes to bed)!
- A schedule. The same schedule of breakfast, get dressed, ipad, independent play time, lunch, nap, quiet time, outside play time, and parent play time, before the bed time routine. Every. Day. She knows what’s coming, and we get through the day together with as few meltdowns as possible.
- A rotation of toys. I kept 5 baskets (one for Monday, one for Tuesday, etc) in my office, different toys in each one. This maybe.. MAYBE.. buys me an extra 20 minutes a day because she hadn’t seen the toys in a week so she was somewhat interested. Every minute counts.
- Quiet time after naps. Girl can crush a 1 – 2 hour nap, and then will sit in her crib and read board books to her lovies for another hour or so. She’s contained, focused, and entertained, which increases my productivity.
- She is on the iPad. A lot. Some mornings for about 3-4 hours. But from playing ABC Mouse, Sesame Street/Elmo’s ABC and 123 App, and watching every episode of Daniel Tiger, she’s learned her colors, all her letters (and can trace them too!), can count to 20 (working towards 30), is 85% potty-trained, and loves to clean up (THANKS, DT!). She’s only 2 and has a bigger vocabulary than some adults.
- Some days, she is the HOT JOB and my other work has to wait. She’s having an off day and refuses to nap, or won’t follow the schedule. She needs an extra snuggle, or an extra book before nap, or a car ride to get her out of the house.
- Most importantly, she gets our undivided attention from about 3pm until she goes to bed. I don’t have travel time to and from an office, so every second of my day is spent either working, taking care of myself, or taking care of the needs of my family.
- My husband. He keeps our house and clothes clean, and even does his best with dinners some nights. He encourages me to continue to focus on the kid and the business while he handles so much more of the housework. Anddddd… the fact that he is a teacher gets him home in the afternoons to help with entertaining the kiddo.
Here we are, weeks away from welcoming another beautiful babe into the world and I find myself asking, “am I going to be able to still work at home with TWO kids?” That sounds crazy. The truth is, I don’t know! I’ll try at first, flounder my way through it, and then figure out a plan. Maybe that means hiring a nanny for Riley, so I can give the new baby the same 27 months of attention that I gave to her sister. Or maybe the new baby will just fit into our schedule. Like every mom, I am going to do whatever is the next best right thing for MY kids. But at this moment, I am really proud to have worked my butt off for the past 27 months.
Read part two (life after the second baby): Here!