Wednesday, March 11, 2020

working from home mom

I have been working from home for the past 8 years now. I quit my corporate job, quit my MBA program and became self employed. I did hold a nanny job on the side to help get me through the hick-ups of the beginning stage of any business. 3 years into my Photography & Blog business I quit my nanny position which simultaneously lined working from home while becoming a mom. Sofia was 5, it was the summer before she entered kindergarten when I learned to balance finally having the chance to work from home full time but also becoming a full time mom. We had about 5 weeks together before she started school. Once she started I would drop her off in the mornings while I scrambled to get my work done all day, then head off to pick her up as school was ending at 3pm.  I entered the Stay At Home Working Mom category. 

Fast forward  4 years when Lyla entered the world which put a whole other twist on things. I was used to having one child who was at school most of the day which allowed me to get into the groove of accomplishing all I needed to for work while still having the stay at home mom vibe. Now that I have a baby it has taken me almost a year, yep you read that right, a year to learn how to get my work/mom balance back. It hasn't been easy and at times my company has suffered but I do consider myself lucky to have the opportunity to not have to leave my baby for 40 hours a week. 

I wish our situation was such where my income was "extra" or we financially didn't need a second income to be stable. Truth is, that is 100% not the case. In the past three years my income has been the provider for the family. We have had a run of bad luck since moving to Canada in consistent work for my husband so we have relied on the company I have built for myself to get us by. It is stressful, at times I think maybe we are crazy, I don't even know the last time I had a night off.  Most of the time I smile and bit my lip when I get comments as "how lucky I am to have my husband provide for me" instead of getting into all the details I simply respond back with, "he's the lucky one" haha! 

I knew it was going to be difficult to balance a new baby and not miss a beat with work. Once wedding season started nap times were going to be my time to hustle. I mean HUSTLE. Lyla was not a napper, she would sleep for maybe 40 mins at a time, which meant I had to literally run around gathering my work, have a list prepared, and always try to be one step ahead. It was a struggle. I was late on deadline and cried countless nights trying to figure out how to balance this new life I now had. I had mom guilt for not being more present when she was awake. For not sitting on the floor with her constantly engaged in what she was doing, for not giving my 100% attention to her all the time. But then I realized, that was okay as long as we had a balance. So over the past year here are so tips I'v learned to have a good balance:

1. Sunday night make a schedule for the week, but know that the schedule may change and that is okay! Flexibility is key.

2. Have a list each day on what needs to be accomplished for work and what babies needs are.

3. Dedicate time slots for each, and hold to it. 
For example: Monday
9:00-9:30 - swim lessons
10:00 - snack
10:15 - 10:30 - independent play for baby/emails for mom
10:30 - read books together
11:00 - nap / work: complete priority lists 1-4 
4. I watched The Skinny Confidential instastories one day and she was talking about being successful through the day. Making a list of 7 tasks to be accomplished in the day. Put them in order and don't move on to the next until the previous is completed. I have been implementing this strategy and it seems it be working. Not everyday, but most days!

5. Lyla goes to sleep early, about 6:30pm so once she is down I am off mom duty for the night and really buckle down on the remaining tasks. I also schedule my phone or in-person meetings after 7pm. My clients always understand why.

6. If you can outsource something to make work easier weigh the cost/benefit. I know for us outsourcing meant money taken away that we really didn't have so I pulled a few all nighters. Then I came up with a plan on how to make up the cost in another area in order to relieve my workload. 
7. It's okay to take your baby to work sometimes! I did many photo shoots with Lyla strapped to me in a carrier. Was it more work? Heck yes! Was I a bit stressed? Yep! Did we survive + earn an income? Yes we did!

8. You will still miss important things in your childs life even is you work from home. I missed the first time Lyla ever rolled over because I was shooting my very first wedding since having her. Prepare yourself for those moments, but it's okay because it probably would have happen the one day I went to the grocery store alone haha. 

9. Mindset is key! You will have to work harder than ever before but you also get your bestie there cheering you on. 

10. Give yourself grace. You may not have the best year yet, you may forget a meeting (or in my case I totally forgot a photo session... embarrassed!) but it is okay. You had a baby and life is different, as long as you are trying your best!

On that note, I hear Miss Lyla Rose waking up so time to go. Hope these tips help! No matter is you are a working mom, a stay at home mom, or a working from home mom it is hard. We are all trying our best!


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