Have you ever heard the phrase, “thank God I don’t look like what I’ve been through?” That’s my current (and daily) mood.
I know it sounds cliché but being a mother is by far the hardest (and most thank-less) job that I’ve ever had. Ever! I don’t care what you read or how perfect and easy things look on Instagram. Behind the scenes of those carefully staged and edited photos is a whirlwind of activity that you can only relate to when you have a child of your own. Take it from someone who thought I could imagine and predict what being a mother would be like. (I laugh at the audacity every day.)
I’m sure my experience is different because (a) my son is a 7-almost-8-month-old BUSY body, (b) I work part-time in the studio and part-time in the home and (c) my son doesn’t go to daycare or a babysitter besides when my mom watches him for us. Those factors contribute to my overwhelmingly busy life and inability to always perform at a level that I deem sufficient. It gives me a new respect and admiration for single parents – I cannot fathom having to do this on my own.
Regardless, I’ve learned a few techniques through trial and error that help me get s*** done whether I’m at home or not and I’m sharing them with you below!
Prepare in advance – for everything you can think of.
Becoming a mother has taught me how to best manage my time. Before Marley made his debut, I had no idea how much time I was wasting. Of all the tips I can offer, preparation just may be the most helpful. Time is so valuable to me that I like to minimize down to the minutes I spend on doing a particular thing. I keep diapers out on his nightstand to save myself from trying to keep him still and fiddling for a diaper. I keep his container of wipes fully stocked. I section his formula every morning and refill the container every afternoon. I choose his outfits the day before. I pack extra in case we spend more time out of the house than I initially plan for (like when we ended up at the ER). As it relates to my work, I know that I’ll get the majority of it done when he’s asleep so while he’s awake I do other things like the laundry, cooking, etc. I kid you not…whenever I neglect to do these things I always, always regret it.
Don’t sleep when the baby sleeps.
This is the most BS advice I received during my early days of motherhood. I encourage you to get your rest while recovering in the hospital (limit your visitors) and during those first 2-3 weeks after giving birth. After that though? You need to work when your little bambino is asleep otherwise you’ll never get things done! Here’s the thing. Babies sleep a lot and it’s tempting to sleep with them but you will literally sleep and nurse all day. I remember consecutive days where I stayed in my pajamas the entire day and night. (I totally understand the moms who wear yoga pants everyday lol.) Choose a time of day to stay awake and work at least for 30 minutes to an hour. It can be during their morning nap, afternoon nap or once they’ve been put down for the night. I began with Marley’s earliest “nap.” He’d wake up to be fed around 5 AM and then he’d go back to sleep until about 8 AM. In between that time I would complete little tasks that needed to be done like responding to emails or posting on my social media accounts. Based on my experience, it’ll be much easier for you to get back in the swing of things if you practice as soon as you’re physically and mentally able to than if you waited.
Plan out every hour (but be open to changes).
Disorganization cannot exist when you’re a “mompreneur.” I quickly learned exactly how valuable time is when I had to adjust to devoting the majority of mine to my child. During undergrad I worked in the Corporate Communications department of an international vehicle manufacturer. I remember the HR Director telling me how the company lost thousands of dollars for every minute that the factory line goes down, no matter the reason. So if an employee was found to have caused a problem that stopped production, there was a good chance that they’d face some major consequences, not excluding the possibility of losing their job. I thought it was so mean and heartless but now that I understand how valuable every single moment is, I get it. Spending too much time on the phone or scrolling social media comes with a price. This doesn’t mean that you can’t take breaks but I hate to be the one to inform you that you’ve gotta kinda plan those if you want to be productive and get your work done.
This last advice I want to share is to have fun. Yes, working from home is exhausting. Yes, you’ll become frustrated often. Yes, there will be days when you can’t get so much as an email sent. But guess what? You can never, no matter how much you may wish or pray, get these days back. Your baby will always be your baby but will only be a baby once. Every single day that passes is just a day closer to your child being independent. Before you know it, he’ll be driving a car and going off to college. Savor these moments. Take lots of photos. Tell those clients that you’ll get back to them when you get a chance. Give your little one as much love and attention as you can muster because you’ll miss when they depended on you for everything. My son doesn’t need me to hold his bottles or cups anymore already! I can’t even explain how bittersweet it is. Just trust me on this one.
Now while I go stare at my son sleeping and cry because these past almost-eight months have flown by so quickly…
If you have any tips for work from home moms, or moms in general, please share them in the comments section!