Since I primarily DIY on the blog and you hear only bits and pieces about my girls, here is a quick background of my working mother journey and my current season of life before we start on how I juggle it and make it somewhat work. I have 2 girls- a 4 year old and a 20 month old. Both are home all day and I recently hired a sitter for 12 hours a week to continue the blog and my freelance work (once my eldest daughter’s nap time ended, so did my productivity). My husband is the full time breadwinner which makes me the “go-to” parent as my husband cannot leave his job as issues arise if we want him to stay employed. Kids get sick. Mom drops everything, etc, etc… That makes it difficult when you are managing your own business but thankfully I can be there when one may need all day cuddles from a high fever.
Also, this is MY experience as a working Mom and what has worked for us. Every parent, family, kid is different! I fail and I also succeed here and there. My kids are happy, house is relatively clean and I run A Bubbly Life. (I should add another tip- keep your standards low 😉
Let’s get to the 5 Ways to Juggle Being a Work At Home Mom
1- First, I think “Balance” is bullsh*t-
If there is ever any moment when I feel “balanced”, reality comes crashing down. The baby wakes within 20 minutes of her nap with a fever, the 4 year old found my Sharpie markers and colored herself, my husband called to let me know he has to go out of town and the dogs tracked in mud all over the house.*
*based on real life events
So, balance is bullsh*t. Life/parenthood/working is a juggling act. Sometimes I have about 60 balls in the air (whew hoo!) and 40 dropped balls on the floor. My dropped balls usually have to do with cleaning. Therefore, I
Right now in order to stay home with my girls and work at A Bubbly Life, juggling means working out only 30 minutes at a time, missing church more than I like, getting less sleep and barely seeing my friends. (Hi Mel, one of my bestest friends ever, you probably aren’t reading this but its been 6 months, I miss you!) Also, I am not saying what I do is healthy, I am sure one day I will get more sleep, but I prioritize family time and work time over most activities because I cannot do it all. I also do not know any parent or entrepreneur that sleeps a lot. Is it the healthiest way to get things done? Probably not. But, there is only so much time in day.
2- Outsource. Outsource. Outsource.
You need help. Get help. Admitting you need help is awesome and freeing. I cannot do it all and if you can, more power to you, but I need all the flipping help I can get. Of course, you cannot always afford to pay someone to help you out, but consider offering your services in exchange for theirs. Know & capitalize on your strengths and outsource your weaknesses.Fiverr is a great affordable place to hire quick help when needed.
Outsourcing does not always involve paying someone- Surround yourself with a supportive crew. I could not in anyway do the blog if my husband did not help and support me. I skype my sister, an entrepreneurial genius, to help me with negotiations. My parents come over and occupy the kids when I have a deadline (although that is not really a favor, they are insanely in love with their grandkids)
Childcare- As I said above, I hired a sitter that comes 12 hours a week. In order to continue A Bubbly Life, I needed outside help. I chose 12 hours of dedicated childcare because I want to (and thankfully can choose) to be at home with the girls most of the time. Outside of those 12 hours, I work every weekend when my husband is home & every night after girls go to bed. When I had only my first girl, I worked like crazy during nap time, but I needed to reassess the situation after nap times were gone! Also, I am looking to bring on an intern to help me out some more!
I once read that multitasking is actually bad for your brain and that you will not be doing either of the tasks very well. All that may be true, but if I did not multi-task I would not get food on the table, shower, clean the very little I do, answer comments on social media, shower, change a diaper, SHOWER (for the love of pete, I would give anything not to multitask while taking a shower, but my kids do not get the memo to leave Mom alone in shower)
My phone makes multi- tasking possible (although, I do have a love/hate relationship with my phone and always being “connected” but that’s another post) . Standing in a long grocery/post office/thrift/ Michaels’ line, I can answer emails and upload Instagram shots as needed. At the doctor’s office, we clean out my purse- I type in receipts for my taxes I need into my phone and the girls throw the receipts I do not need in the garbage like a basketball. They love the game, I love having a clean purse. I listen to entrepreneurial/business podcasts while working out. I drink wine while editing photos. (come on now, some fun needs to be had)
4- Involve the kids when possible.
Kalia is 4 so she is old enough to paint next to me and I can give her other tasks she finds fun while I am making any given DIY. It is my preferred method to work without the kids around but it is not a realistic option most of the time. All this has to be done during the baby’s nap time because she is just too young to get any work done while she is awake. When she gets older, I envision I will have two partners by my side!
5- Celebrate ALL the successes.
One of the most difficult parts of blogging and staying at home with the kids is putting the brakes on my ambitions. I could always be going for the next big thing: advertising,branding, gramming, pinning, pitching, selling, etc etc… But, since I have chosen to stay home with the kids as my primary ambition- they get all the extra time.
Therefore, I have to remember to celebrate every success and have gratitude for the success I have achieved. I may not have the largest Instagram following, but I love every single follower that I gained while balancing Colette on the hip, playing My Little Pony with Kalia and recognizing the beauty in our life. (thank you to my followers on all my social platforms & the blog, I heart you) This is not really a tip for parents only, I think if we all had gratitude for every achievement and celebrated every success, we would all be much happier. Set your goals high, but let’s not forget the journey that got us there! Do not let ambition steal the joy of the successes we achieve!
6- Choose the kids.
Work will always be there. I do want to follow my passions and I do not plan on giving them up. I want to be a role model for my girls and I think following my passions makes me one. But, baby snuggles, puddle jumping, dancing every chance we get… these moments are fleeting. It is a tiny season of life and one I want to enjoy.
7- At any given time, I may be losing my shit 🙂 This post has been in draft form for over 7 months, I did not have time to edit it & choose photos. I have very productive weeks and then more typically have the August-Sept-Oct I just had- with multiple kid sicknesses, husband away, sitter away, etc and deadlines from brand work & freelance work that supports the blog hanging over my head (and ALWAYS completed, do not worry) … I am a real person trying to accomplish career ambitions while raising my sweet girls. I say this because I think in the world of blogging, Instagram and Pinterest we think lives are perfect. That everyone has their shit together. I think, mostly, we are all just trying to figure out what works, what is best for us and hopefully, trying to be the best version of ourself & raise little people that will be awesome big people.