"Mom." I'm still not used to that title.
I reopened my shop a several weeks ago and things have been pretty steady! It's been interesting, adjusting to being both a mom and a business owner. It's definitely do-able but takes a total overhaul in your routine. I'm a creature of habit so I was worried this would be a really hard transition for me. It's challenging, and some days are far better than others, but for the most time I'm falling into it easier than I thought. Although it's only been a few weeks, I've learned some very important things about working from home while caring for a baby.
|Helpers in the studio|
The first thing I've found is that it's important to have a flexible schedule. I was really worried before I had Izzy that I'd feel resentful that I couldn't do what I want when I want. After all, I've been living a very independent life for the last 31 years (ask my parents). There is still lots of time in the day. You just have to arrange your time differently and be prepared to take lots of breaks. I used to have a pretty tight routine. Wake up, work-out, walk the dog, eat breakfast, work, work, work, work, couch, bed, repeat. Now it's wake up, Izzy, exercise, Izzy, let Oliver outside, Izzy, Izzy, Izzy, work, Izzy, work more, Izzy, Dinner, Izzy... you get the idea. We keep Izzy on a pretty tight schedule (she is happier that way and has pretty much fallen into it ourselves), but being flexible with my own schedule has made things so much easier.
Set goals for each day, but make sure they are reasonable. I have super high expectations of myself and can be really hard on myself when I don't come through. I used to set a goal of sewing 5-6 orders a day. Granted, I had about 60 orders in queue at the time... now I have the reasonable goal of 1 order a day. The days when Izzy naps longer and I actually get to sew 2 or 3 I feel super accomplished. I also set goals for what I want to do with Izzy. It's easy to get focused on work and feel guilty at the end of the day that you haven't spent enough time with your little one. I have a goal of tummy-time every day, singing songs in the afternoon, and a snuggle at night. At the same time, you've got to stay cool if you don't achieve your goal. Sometiems your day just doesn't go as you'd like it to.
I think the thing that is hardest for me (and women in general), is adjusting my expectations. My house isn't always as tidy as it used to be, but I've adjusted my expectations to accept that it's more important for me to have an afternoon sing along with Izzy than to have dusted and polished furniture. I might feel a little guilty about ordering take-out every friday night, but the time that I save not cooking might be an extra order out the door, plus time to relax...
I've been lucky to have friends offer to help out with some childcare. Accept help if it's offered. My friend, Aaron, comes over once a week, as he's available and watches Izzy and hangs out with me while I work. In return, I taxi him around as needed, feed him a good meal, and help him out here and there. Also know that it's ok to ask for help. We are in the process of finding a babysitter/nanny for once a week. It's been harder for me to accept than I thought it would be that we need help to juggle all of the things going on in my life, and that internal mommy-guilt is strong ("Am I a bad mom for bringing my baby to daycare?" No no no!). But this leads me to my last point...
Make time for the things you love. A baby is an amazing thing... so sweet and cute and snuggly... they also take over your life! I've found it really important to take time every day to do something that makes me feel good, something just for me! While Isabel has her morning nap, I work out. I love working out. It gives me energy, makes me feel strong, and I like knowing that when the zombie apocalypse (or maybe measles apocalypse is more timely?) happens, I'll be in great physical condition (haha... seriously though, that's always what I have in the back of my head).
The last thing I've learned is it's ok to not get anything done. Baby-hood is such fleeting time, it DOES go by so fast. Enjoy this time. Your kid is only a baby once, and it is pretty damn special (spit-up and dirty diapers aside).
I did want to add that we have had the benefit of having a healthy, easy-going baby. Not all parents have it as easy as we do... We have the good fortune of two incomes, two parents, help, and good health all around! We are also lucky in Canada to have paid maternity leave, so whether you work from home or not, you still get lots of time early on with your new family member... Parenthood can be more complicated in other parts of the world.
One of my biggest fears about having a baby is that my business would get put on the back burner. I had a vision of myself at 40 with two kids, dishevelled, driving a mini-van... the highlight of my day being scouring pots and pans, resentful that I had to quit my business to raise a couple brats. Haha... It's not like that at all. There is plenty of time to do both. Plus, she'll be in kindergarten in a few years (another joke, but also a great reminder on those bad day)!
Joking aside, I am really glad we have Izzy and that I got off the fence about having kids. Seeing her smile up at me each morning when I wake her up, and the sound of her laugh (she's giggling away in her swing as I write this) is just the best thing ever. Being able to work from home and be a mom at the same time takes some serious willpower, but I am so glad that I get to see her grow and change...