November 3, 2009

TCB Tuesday :: Work at home Mom

[an older photo of little B "helping" me in my home office. Apparently doing some design research...]

The question I get most from people when I say that I'm a wedding photographer is "So what do you do the rest of the week?"

Hahaha..that's funny! Looking at my photography related to-do list next to me and the fact that I have a crazy-active toddler the answer is....where do I start? Often on Twitter and such it may seem like we're always working and getting things done, but sometimes I wonder about others, "how are they doing all this?" Especially with kids?

When B was about 9 months old I had reached the end of my rope. I was routinely working until 2am each night just to stay afloat. He still wasn't sleeping through the night so I would work until he woke up and then usually end up nursing him back to sleep. Then sometimes I would even GO BACK to my computer after that to finish up. I got sick like, so many times.

I wanted to write today about being a "work at home mom" and share my little amount of experience with this. Sometimes I feel this (imaginary, I'm sure) pressure to be all things to all people - a super mom every day of the week, available to all my clients 8-5 Mon through Fri, and a homemaker on top of that.

I wrestled a lot with this - thinking I COULD do it all by myself and wanting to...but ultimately accepting that if I wanted to keep my business and sanity I needed to find some help. I tried a "mom's" helper type of thing with someone watching B in the house, but I found that if I was in sight he wanted me and that didn't help me get much done. When B was about 11 mos. I found a wonderful woman who runs a small home daycare in our neighborhood. I started out just three hours one day a week. Soon after B started napping there it became 8-1, then 8-5, and now he goes two full days a week : ) It has been a LIFE SAVER - so affordable and so worth it.

B loves her and the kids, and I have 16 hours of uninterrupted work time. It's amazing what you can do with a full day to focus on work! This doesn't mean I don't have to work the other days or nights, but I balance it better and don't feel like one eye is on him with the other on the computer so often.

I could ramble on and on, but I think the thing to remember as a mom who works at home is that it's okay to get some help if you need to. I am so thankful to have a job I can do from home, but it's still a job that requires attention and time to be successful. Separating work + life a bit has helped me be more present in each. And sometimes if I get my work done I sneak off to the antique shops for an hour in the's called a lunch break ; )


Laurie, Mobile Mommy/Halo Secretarial said...

I just started sending my youngest to a dayhome 1 day a week this fall, for the same reasons! I work a lot at night still, but I feel so much more in control having a day to schedule phone conferences and such in especially. I plan to move to 2 days a week soon!

Tori Higa said...

such a great post, raya! i can really relate. i think that so many people think that being a work at home mom is easy (myself included before i had a child!)

it's a balancing act - that's for sure. so glad that you still make time for "lunch breaks" at antique stores. we all need to find time for a little inspiration as well. :)

Camille Panzarello said...

Babysitting is mandatory: working pleasantly at your home office while the kiddo plays independently at your feet is a total myth! I can work for about 15 min. before Jordan realizes what I'm up to and sabotages my plan. I have help for about 20 hrs a week and the rest gets cranked out at night and on my man's days off. My clients probably don't receive the attention they did pre-baby, but like you said: you CAN'T do it all, perfectly. Like they say, women CAN have it all, just not all at the same time.

Mary Jo said...

thank you so much for this post. while i was pregnant i thought it would be so easy to finally get my small business really up and running (special event cakes) but now that my daughter is 6 months old i realize how challenging it is. i know i'll get there but the path is a bit different than expected.

Amber Events said...

Someday soon (I hope) I'll become a work at home mom too. I love your candor--thanks for sharing!