I get asked all the time how I “do it all”. My first thought is always: how does anyone do it all? Every family has a different dynamic, and ours is no exception. However, I think finding the right balance for your family is the best advice I can give, and I’ve found that working from home has been, by far, the best fit for me.
In my career, I’ve worked full-time jobs (before kids) and I have been a stay-at-home mom (obviously, after kids). I could make arguments for each option, but honestly, they’re both hard.
Let me preface this by saying that “working from home” for me is more often than not actually not working from home. It’s more like a local coffee shop or restaurant. All I need is my laptop, and I get to choose when and where to do my work. When I’m home, I feel pressured to do all the things (cleaning, laundry, paying bills, etc.), and that takes time away from focusing on working.
After I drop my daughter off at preschool, I have four hours every day to myself. That time flies by. Several days a week, I take a class at the YMCA then spend the rest of the time working. I try to fit in coffee with friends between interviews or writing that need to be done and errands that need to be run.
I also get asked a lot how many jobs I work. Currently, I work four freelance jobs that are paid, all in the writing/public relations/ media industry, and one job for an organizing company. I do several more that aren’t paid, including managing four social media accounts, handling publicity for the PTO at my son’s school, and leading the women’s ministry at our church.
It’s a lot, but having a flexible schedule allows me to still be a full-time stay-at-home mom. We don’t have family that live nearby, so I’m the one responsible for handling all of the day-to-day things. There is, however, no set schedule. Most days, besides working when both kids are at school, I also pick back up working after they’re both home (sometimes even taking my laptop outside while they play) and then again after they are in bed.
My husband has worked at a local television station his entire career. His hours and work days have changed several times in our 14-year marriage. When we had our first child, he was shooting sports and worked nights and weekends and had extensive travel. After our second child, he switched back to news and is “supposed” to work 10:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Monday – Friday, but inevitably he has to go in early, work late, and cover shifts, and he is on call one night every week.
Media jobs may seem fabulous, but the schedule (and pay) is not. Do I wish he worked a normal 8-to-5 shift? Absolutely! Do I wish he could be at every school event, basketball game, and home for dinner every night? Of course! But alas, this is our schedule and our life and I’m trying to roll with the flow.
Disclaimer: I am a control freak. I want everything done and done in a timely fashion, so most of the time, I just do it. This leaves me feeling overwhelmed, unappreciated, and really tired.
When my husband is home, he really does help. He usually makes breakfast and drops one (or both) kids off at school. (They need Daddy time too!) He likes to deep clean, will do laundry, cooks on the weekends, and is always great about making sure I get some “me time”. (I have several great babysitters, too!)
It’s a lot to be at home with kids ALL the time, and I have always enjoyed working. It’s all about finding the best balance that you can.
I love making my own schedule and the freedom that comes with working the hours I choose. While there are disadvantages to working from home, I feel that the pros definitely outweigh the cons. I do realize these jobs aren’t easy to come by, and I consider myself very blessed to be able to do what I love and to have the flexibility that comes with it.
As moms, we can feel inadequate no matter what we do. Everyone needs to do what is best for her and her family, and I’m lucky enough to be able to have the best of both worlds.