5 months ago, I birthed my first child. 3 months ago, I birthed a blog and business. Life has a been a little crazy. And amazing. And nothing like I expected.
My husband and I planned on having me step back from my work outside the home as a pediatric Occupational Therapist in order to stay at home with our baby. We also planned on me continuing my part-time work for our church from home and with a reduced workload of 10 hours per week. But what we didn’t plan on was the idea and passion for a blog and business to crop up when our son was 2 months old. Luckily, my hunky hubs is a huge encourager and dreamer like me and so he stood behind me as I stepped away from my role at the church and cheered me on while I dove headfirst into my business. The baby was a little less supportive.
In the past 2 months, I’d say I’ve averaged 3 hours per day of work from home while my husband works full-time outside the home as a pharmacist. We haven’t used any childcare but it’s on the to-do list to arrange a few hours each week of someone coming into our house to play with the little guy while I sew and write – the two tasks that require my full attention.
So, how do I do it?
Wake up early.
I have a tiny adorable alarm clock who usually starts rooting around for his second feeding of the night around 4:30 or 5am. At least 3 or 4 mornings a week I feed him, put him back down and start my day with a steamy cup of decaf (but I NEED it, I promise!). Luckily, I’m a morning person with hormone-induced insomnia so squeezing in two hours of work before sun-up isn’t a challenge for me.
Become a naptime ninja.
My little guy can still nap on the go and sleep anywhere, but I try not to burn valuable naptimes running errands or visiting with friends and family. Outings happen in the morning, since he only catnaps for 15 or 20 in the a.m. I try to be home for his longer afternoon nap time. I fire up the white noise machine, put the dog outside so he doesn’t lose his mind when the mailman comes and avoid the 4th stair – the one with the creaky board. Whatever it takes to maximize those precious moments of snoozing.
Keep that baby busy!
This one’s a no-brainer since my business is promoting creative play for babies. Whether I’ve tied helium balloons to his ankles, dumped a pile of paper towel rolls on the floor or handed him a flashlight to play with in the dark bathroom, my little dude stays occupied throughout the day. “Independent play skills” are this mommy’s lifesaver. I’m always right there, within arms reach but he’s content enough for me to divide my attention and complete some quick business tasks such as social media updates, editing photos and shopping online for fabric.
Make small sacrifices.
I went 7 years without owning a television and although we have one now, we just aren’t TV watchers. But I don’t read magazines or books much anymore. They’ll be there when I have the time again. Just not right now. I try to minimize my time on social media unless it’s business-related.
So that I don’t feel like I’m ALWAYS multi-tasking or missing out on time with Rowan, I decide what time it is. Is it time to go for a walk to touch and talk about the leaves with him? Or is it time to walk so mommy and doggy get exercise and I can learn from a business podcast episode? Is it playtime to sing and dance together or is it playtime so that I can get the floor swept or fabric cut? Is Daddy and baby playtime to give mommy a break? Or is it time for me to sit back and soak in watching my two favorite people in the world play with a ball and a shoebox for 20 minutes. Intentionality is the key to getting a lot done without feeling like you’re missing out.
Where does the day go?! If I don’t plan ahead, I blink and it’s 5:00pm and becoming apparent that we’ll be eating cereal for dinner. Because I couldn’t find a commercially available planner that met my needs, I created my own using Picmonkey. I print it out and complete it each night for the following day. I’ve purposely named the sections to keep myself in check a bit. “Just for Fun” are outings or activities I’ve planned but want to remember to let go of if they feel like too much in a given day. “Be A Good Friend” reminds me to connect because it can be easy to get isolated as a work-from-home-mom. “Real World To-Do” keeps me realistic that I can only do a few things a day (often, 4 is too much!). Feel free to use it yourself or as inspiration for creating your own!