Life Work


July 14, 2011

Long before Mackenzie was born, I started planning for changes in my work life to accommodate a baby. And as self-centered as that may sound, that is really how I looked at it. My Life + Baby.

But there is so much you can’t know and don’t know until you’re in the middle of it – be it parenthood or a new job, or anything new, really.

And even after my epiphany in the weeks before Mackenzie was born, I still had it set in my heart that I would find a way to make being a stay at home working mom work for our family.

For the last nine months, it has worked. Mackenzie is a sweet baby, my world, and my heart, and I love spending my days with her.

I have a handful of truly amazing clients. I am so thankful for them. And my ideas for growing and expanding Creative Perch are working, albeit on a delayed timeline.

But I was wrong to ever think My Life + Baby was a remotely realistic plan. When you have a baby, everything changes. Baby comes first, before career, before evening plans, before anything else. (Except my marriage — but that’s an entirely different topic.)

Sometimes I wonder where My [Old] Life has gone, but I am so completely in love with my life now that I barely miss the way things used to be.

That said, being a work at home mama with no family support nearby and a husband who works ridiculous hours is HARD. It’s a lot of solo parenting and multi-tasking and not the least bit glamorous. I want to kick people laugh when they say I am lucky to work from home.

Blessed? Absolutely, yes. The last nine months have been amazing. My daughter is amazing. But there is nothing easy about working from home with an infant.

The late nights and not sleeping and diaper changes while on client phone calls are HARD. Not to mention, the financial roller coaster of freelance work is a strain. Chris and I work nonstop, like hamsters in a wheel, with breaks to create family memories that sustain us through the next big push.

Sometimes I look at it all and wonder if it is all worth it. Is any of it really working?

So, Chris and I are looking at making some changes to how we do things. It has been scary and intimidating, but I am propelled by this feeling that something has to change.

We need balance and peace in our home. We need to find our joy in daily life again. We need to feel like things are working.

I would love to learn from you! What do you do to balance work and family? How do you live joyfully and keep peace in your home?

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  • Reply Jen July 15, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    I give you credit for even TRYING to work while at home with the baby. I’ve been a WAHM since Maggie was born, but even at 10 weeks old, I knew I needed help. I started her in daycare just one day a week, and that one day did WONDERS for productivity! Slowly, over time, we increased the days and now she’s there 3x a week (and so is Audrey) We obviously had to examine how much money I bring in vs the cost of childcare and how many days we could afford/made sense (dumb to pay out more than I’m bringing in!)

    But it works. It helps with the balance- for a while, I really struggled with feeling pulled in both directions at once- if I was working, I felt guilty for not playing with Maggie. If I was playing with Maggie, I felt like I should be doing something productive. So having Work Time and Mom Time separated out (for the most part) really helps.

    I hope you can figure out what works for you! It’s definitely not easy, but I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to do what I love, make some money, AND spend time with my girls while they’re little 🙂


    Dee Reply:

    Thanks, Jen! It’s always so helpful to hear how other WAHM make it work. I definitely feel the tension between Work Me an Mom Me. It’s hard to feel like I am doing either one really well, so part-time daycare is definitely a possibility we’re considering. (It’s amazing how much just a few hours can mean in productivity — and how much I used to take that for granted!) But I know that when I’m with Mackenzie, I want to be really with her, and not thinking I should be somewhere else. Just so tough to get it right.


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