Today I’m going to step out of my comfort zone and do something I hate the most: I’m going to get personal. I have for the longest time held blog after blog and written about my personal life. You didn’t know that because I’m always so paranoid about people I know in real life finding it. I’ve held several domain names and written under fake names. I know there’s nothing to be afraid of, since mostly I only write about my knitting or the garden or what I’ve baked lately. But the idea of people I know reading something I’ve written, and then the possibility of them talking to me in real life about it, terrifies me. It’s probably totally ridiculous, but there it is. I don’t want to be paralyzed by that fear anymore, so here’s my attempt to break out of this cage of fear: The Business Mom Life posts.
We’re 6 months into this new baby thing and it’s been such a huge adjustment. Sean and I were both accustomed to working a lot. When I wasn’t working my “regular” job (i.e. the one that pays our health insurance) I’d be home on the computer catching up on client work, new designs, etc. Sean would come home from the Neighborhood Image office only to have server issues to fix or meetings or whatever else came up. Workaholic might be an understatement. With a baby? It’s not possible to keep that kind of routine up. We tried, that’s for sure. Before the baby was even here I was confident that I’d be able to keep up my Monday work-from-home routine. Even after, on my maternity leave, I tried jumping back into my routine. Do you know how much work you get done with a baby who doesn’t like to nap? Exactly zero. My Mondays have gone from a perfectly productive day to just plain stressful: if I try to work, I feel guilty for not spending time with/paying attention enough to my kid, and if I try to spend time with him I feel guilty for not getting work done. Mom guilt is the worst. I don’t even want to talk about the fact that this kid is almost mobile – I’m pretty sure any spare minute I get now to attempt to work will vanish instantly with that first proper crawl.
I’m not sure how everyone else manages to balance work and life, and I imagine most people out there aren’t trying to do two different jobs on top of it, but here’s a few ways we’re managing to survive so far:
- I’m home Mondays and Sean’s home Fridays. We like to call it “daddy day” for Declan, or when Sean talks about it it’s “Declan day.” Not only does it save on child care costs, but it also gives us each a day to spend time with him. We’re not as productive as we used to be, but we make up for it with weekends and after bedtime work and I like to think it balances it out. Also, there’s a large part of me that enjoys this because I don’t feel like I’m the only one sacrificing some work time for family time – having us as a “team” on this kind of schedule is absolutely wonderful.
- Declan goes to meetings with us sometimes. Life happens: meetings have to be held on a Monday or Friday, or there’s an issue with our child care schedule (like today, which is probably the only reason why I’m writing this on a Tuesday instead of a Saturday or Sunday) or it’s something going on in the evening. We try to gauge meetings and whether it’s something we can take him to if we can’t find an alternative – we know a lot of our clients don’t mind and like seeing him, and with both of us there it’s easier to manage.
- We eat dinner at the table now. It wasn’t something we’ve normally done – when it was just the two of us we had a habit of coming home, fixing dinner, and eating it while watching TV. There’s still nothing wrong with that, and I do kind of miss it. But when you’re constantly busy, communication starts going downhill. By forcing ourselves to eat dinner at the dining room table we’re able to have conversations without distraction (well, minimal distraction at least).
- I write everything down. Digital calendars work for a lot of people, but not me. I’ve found that if I’m not writing it down, I’ll forget it. I try to keep my planner out and nearby so I can write in it constantly – appointments, notes from the day, random things I want to look up, reminders to take my vitamins… if I need to remember it, it gets written down. I don’t even use anything fancy – just a lined notebook with a cute cover that tucks into my purse. I’ll write more about my planner and how I use it later.