Can I Be a Work At Home Mom of Two Kids? The answer is still… YES! But with more help.
It took me until about December – when Riley was 2.5 years old and Isla was ~4 months (sorry second child, your age seems to always make me think a little harder… stop growing up so fast) – for me to crawl to care.com to post a plea for help. Being a work at home mom of two became impossible to me at this time. I had to choose one or the other.
The toddler demanded more of my attention than ever before. The iPad was becoming the babysitter, and Riley was even over it. The infant stopped sleeping the majority of the day and was ready to start exploring more of life’s curiosities. Sure, my mom and mother-in-law were helpful when they could be, but it just wasn’t enough time for me to get the amount of work done that was needed for me to keep up with my clients. I regretfully, was starting to resent my kids for not allowing me to get work done. That just ain’t right!
Emily entered our home office, and started out at 2 days a week, and quickly got bumped to 3 days a week to cover all normal work days between her and my mom. Phew. What a relief. I suddenly was looking forward to the days when Emily came. I was less stressed, and the quality of the undivided time that I was now able to give my kids improved. Quality ALWAYS trumps quantity. I believe this to be true in business as well.
I am SO beyond grateful to have my kids in an arms reach, always and whenever. I am so grateful to still be able to stop mid-day and prepare the meals that I want my kids to eat (flax seed smoothies and all), or pre-emptively divert a toddler meltdown when needed, and nurse my infant (still) around the clock, or let her pass out on my chest for a quick nap because she’s exhausted from teething while the babysitter entertains the toddler. I realized that I really really enjoy working, and I didn’t want my business to suffer. I built this business, and I sometimes treat it like my first baby. I realized that having help, and having someone else exhaust my toddler, made me a better mom because I wasn’t (as) exhausted myself.
For those of you interested in the logistics of making this “work at home mom of two” thing work (and still on a budget), the toddler is now limited to 2 hours maximum of screen time per day (though I proudly report that it’s usually less, and I think her preference is SnapChat right before bed… hahah). No tv is on as background noise at any time during the day anymore, except for some mornings for mom to watch the first few hours of the Today show. We’re actually trying to cut the cord completely with cable when we move into our new home/office. No screen time is allowed at all when anyone is over. Family and hired help leave by nap time since I am here to watch the monitors (and that’s a big gamble every day that my kids ACTUALLY both nap at the same time), and my husband is home relatively early from work. It saves on costs because I am never paying a full day for anyone to be here.
I think I have found the perfect work/life balance. It does exist. I created it, I live it, I’m productive, and my kids are flourishing. My days are hard too, I still work after the kids go to bed and it’s a constant struggle for me to find any “me” time. But I think that’s part of being a mom (plus wife, plus business owner). My days are also so full of love and accomplishment in all facets. As I have said before, we all do what we have to do to raise our kids, for me it’s to be a work at home mom of two WITH HELP. There’s no guide book, no instruction manual, no right or wrong way. Just do the best you can to raise good humans.
This post is a follow up to my first post: Can I Be A Work At Home Mom?