Working from home can be a wonderful thing and it can also be the most frustrating thing in the world, it’s up to you on how you see it. Seven years ago next week my whole life changed when my son, Jackson, was born. I was very excited about his arrival but I truly never thought how this would change my whole life, especially the working aspect of it. The first three months a very caring and loving boss understood my desire to work from home and allowed me to do so but eventually I went back to work. I cried everyday and found it very difficult to leave him with a sitter. Soon after my marketing managerial position was dissolved due to the decline in the real estate economy. It was the perfect timing to start my own business and now my employer became my first client. The solution to all my problems had been found until I tried to actually work from home.
Working from home officially began when my son 6 months old. He had started to become much interested in moving around and less interested in sleeping. This took some time for me to figure out. I would attempt to work normal hours, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., all the while keeping the munchkin satisfied. Work for an hour while he is in the jumping jack, break for 30 minutes for bottle and playtime, work for two hours while he napped, break for 45 minutes for more changing, feeding and play time…you understand. My days were broken into sections of time; it wasn’t consistent for me at first. I began to get frustrated and I knew there had to be an easier way. Working at night gave me time to make up for some of the daytime work I missed but I was exhausted. Once I got a pattern down he would grow out of it and we would be back at square one. I knew this never-ending circle would have to end and I was bound and determined to figure it out.
I eventually hired a babysitter, a retired flight attendant who lived next store. She enjoyed playing with him and when he napped she would go home and the return when he would wake. This was it this was the perfect solution. The system was working and I felt like myself again. I took on new clients and was able to have conversations without the possibility of a screaming child looming in the background. I even made time to start running again with friends. I participated in the Susan G. Komen annual 5k and ran the whole thing. I was totally on the road to being myself again. I had the work thing down, I had the house thing down, I had a perfect helper to entertain my son and I was finding time to do things just for me. If you are a mom you know this rarely happens. Shortly after the race I felt nauseous. I assumed it was because I had pushed myself to finish. As it turns out, I was pregnant and it certainly wasn’t planned. I cried for a good three hours. My poor husband had no clue what to say to this independent woman he married who was crumbling before his eyes by yet another change. I have had a job since I was 15 years old. I work, it’s in my blood and I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I had to stop. What would happen to me, what would I do about the business, how could I manage all of this? Acceptance came with joy soon after, the next day to be exact. We had always wanted two children just maybe not so quickly. I found out I was having a girl a few months later; she would be named Maggie after my grandmother.
Maggie was born on a Monday and by the following week I was back to work and figuring it all out again with this little newborn angel who slept like, well like a baby, she slept like a perfect baby. About a month into this new routine my babysitter decided to start traveling again and gave me a one-day notice. I can honestly admit I thought I was in a bad dream, stunned to be exact. How am I supposed to handle two kids, a home and run my own business? Once again I set out on a quest and found a solution, preschool a few hours a day right down the street. For a limited amount of time daily Jackson would go and mingle with other two-year-olds while I found time to work, my daughter stayed with me. This went on until she was two and old enough to go to preschool herself.
My son will turn seven next week and my daughter is now five years old. It has not been an easy road figuring this all out. I have cried and I have wanted to quit, multiple times. Most importantly, I never did actually quit. I wanted them to look up to me someday and say that I was Wonder Woman, minus that outfit because let’s face it after kids I could never pull that off.
A little over a year ago I managed to find an office out of my home with a suggestion from a friend. It was a big step for me and I am grateful every single day that I get to go to that space and work. There is no magical solution to working from home. You have to choose to make it work; you have to want it bad enough. I made a promise to myself and to my family, I would be there as much as I could as they grew up and I continue to keep that promise. I love my profession because it allows me to be me, this independent woman who strives to be better and is constantly creating. But, I love being there for my family because that is the most important thing above all else.
I encourage the stay at home Mom and Dad’s of the world to cut yourself some slack. You are your toughest critic. You are in there every day, in the craziness of stuffed animals and Lego bits covering the floor. Nothing is ever cleaned 100% because you are trying to be five people at a time. You are doing laundry while making lunches and talking to your next possible client on the phone trying to keep out loud noises so you sound professional. Just think, that guy on the other end of the phone has no idea and probably assumes you are just sitting in an office checking your emails. Power on and don’t give up!