Being a Stay-at Home Mom is hard; it can truly be a full time job. Especially depending on the ages of your children. For me, a mother of 4, some days are easier then others. My youngest son is turning one in a few short weeks! As I reflect on the last year I can see how both my "Mama" skills and my work has suffered. It's challenging to have a set schedule while working alongside a baby all day. He loves to try and grab my lap top and giggles every time he locks me out of my office! I decided that I wanted the freedom of "Stay at Home Motherhood" but also wanted the "Financial Freedom" of owning my own business. So, here's what most of my days look like...
I wake up early to work out every other day. I have a sitter come and basically sit on my couch to make sure the baby doesn't crawl out of his crib. I drive 15 minutes to the gym, put in a very sleepy hour, drive the 15 min back home. My other 3 children have put themselves on the bus to school before I've made it home. (I loved driving my boys to school, but this year I made them take the bus, so that I could work out.) By this time, the baby is awake. He needs changed, fed, dressed for the day, and is in full "MAMA LET'S PLAY MODE"!
I make my first cup of coffee and sit on the floor to play with the baby. In between, I answer email's on my phone, think of new blog ideas, and try and sneak in some website work. Typically my youngest will take a 25 minute nap around lunch. At which time, I ever so quietly tip-toe to my office and work on inventory, purchases, design, wholesale accounts, and the blog. I have to constantly look at inventory. That in itself can be a full time job. Customer service, answering phone calls, emails, booking events, looking for new advertising opportunities, and thinking about how to grow my businesses is also on the list. By now, the baby is awake. I haven't accomplished much, but I did manage to make a hundred different lists of what I need to do today. I make myself a bowl of oatmeal (brown sugar duh!) and warm up my same cup of coffee I made hours ago.
Baby number 4 wants to play, but I have to pick up my older children, from two different schools soon. So, I change his diaper, bundle him up, feed him, put him in the carseat, and head off to the ever so awesome "Pick up line". There I'm surounded by the mom's who DO have their hair brushed, their cute outfits, looking like the sun just kissed their cheeks with the perfect highlighter. The mom's with the fresh Starbucks in their hand with a heart drawn on their cup. I on the other hand, haven't made it out of my workout gear. Oh, not the cute stuff if that's what your thinking...NO NO NO! The "I haven't bought new gear in a few years and have holes in them kind of outfit!" I once even forgot to put shoes on! They are sitting in their beautifully polished huge SUV's listening to whatever the latest songs are while I listen to the same ear wrenching "Hello Everybody" nursery tune. I answer email's while I sit and wait in my powder blue minivan that everyone in town knows is mine...Between the faded Baby on Board signs in every window, the faint smell of leftover yogurt puffs, and the stroller that blocks the rear view window... I have become "That Mom in the minivan."
So now I am a mom of Four again, and they all have LOTS to say about their day, how hungry they are, what project they need help with, how hungry they are, what new video game "everyone else" is aloud to play, how hungry they are... I listen and try not to yawn as they go on and on...Not because I'm bored, but because I'm already exhausted. I think about what to have for dinner that will get the least amount of eye rolls, pull into my house, get the mail. (Inventory has arrived and needs sorted) I make my second cup of coffee for the day, ask one of the boys to watch the baby for "A minute" (That's always a lie, their onto me) and return to my office to try and get some things checked off my list. About this time I remember that all of my children have lives outside of helping me, and have to run them to one of the MANY sports activities. My children play on several different teams, several different sports! UGH! So, I throw on some clothes, work on the "messy bun" and hope my husband comes home soon to help out this exhausted Mama! I now make my third cup of coffee, place it in my Trendy Bunny mug, and get back in the car. So what about work?!?
So heres the thing, I did work. I snuck moment's in between nap time and soccer practice. I worked while my kid was on the bench, at half-time, I sneak in some more after dinner, and when I lay in bed. I stay up on the weekends and work through the night. Should I do more? I don't know. I often think of the extra money I could make if I could work and focus without kids. That's just it though, that's not what I wanted. I wanted to be with my kids. I didn't want to miss the game, the music class, the giggle when he locks me out of my office. You see, I did miss out on all those things when I worked outside of my home. I missed so many things, and that made me feel sad, filled me with guilt, and didn't make a dent in my financial situation.
I'm not saying that working outside the home isn't a great choice. I am a Fem at heart, and want every woman to feel empowered by living exactly the way that they want! For me, I know this lifestyle is what works best for me. All be it, exhausting, and at times lonely. I don't have co-workers, or anyone that really knows how difficult running this kind of business can be. Most of my conversations are with a one year old, who mainly just repeats "Ma-ba-Da-Mo" at an unpleasing volume. Because I am a Stay-at-home-mom, people think I'm not busy, they assume I have nothing to do, that I can do whatever favor they need. I do however, have freedom. I get to choose how to work, when to work, and from where. I have location independence. So when I am so tired I feel like I can't take another day, I remind myself of why I started this in the first place. I wanted to be creative, to be able to make my passion projects, profitable! Juggling both work and motherhood is hard, really hard. No matter how you do it, be proud of yourself. Mama's everywhere should place judgement aside. We are after all, mothers first. We teach our children to be brave, to think outside the box, to be kind, not to judge...So let's follow our own lead. "Now where did I put my coffee?"
Be you, Bravely.
-The Trendy Bunny