I stay at home, as a mom. And I work from home. I sometimes eat lunch in my pajamas. I sometimes make calls to clients while watching my child in a playground. It is a rare opportunity to be able to contribute for your family while spending all day with them.
When I first became a stay-at-home mom, I couldn’t believe how much I loved it. I know it can be a challenge for some parents to be pinned down in the house so much, but it was a dream come true for me. As an introvert and somewhat of a control freak, I love being home. At home, I’m in control of my surroundings and most importantly, my schedule. When I was pregnant, I figured that a perfectly coordinated schedule would be my ticket to parental and work success. I researched sleep schedules, feeding schedules, and the best brain-stimulating activities for infants. My planner was filled with ideal times for feeding, napping, playtime and of course my work. Over the year I’ve learned that my organized personality complements my take on motherhood and work quite well, but I was also mistaken about one very large thing. Babies, toddlers, work and life in general can’t always be perfectly planned.
Being a stay-at-home (and work-from-home) mom is a constant, 24/7 job full of cleaning, cooking, emailing, creating, photographing, sick child, hyper child, play dates, bumps, bruises, discipline, stress, and unimaginable, incomparable joy. I feel like my work as a mom can be invisible; my paying work can feel invisible too. Many of my friends don’t even realize I work. My husband only knows how many hours I’ve worked in a week if I tell him. At times, it feels like I live in two worlds, and neither world understands the other.
Some moments are wonderful and some are really, really hard. Routine has been an essential part of my day for years. Balancing work and motherhood is something I’m still learning. I’m a firm believer in children needing a little structure to feel secure and work needing a little planning to be done but what I didn’t realize was that trying to stick to a strict schedule for every little thing was just not possible. I felt like a failure every time my list was left incomplete. And I realized that just because I stay at home (and work from home) doesn’t mean I have to be glued to my house or my schedule.
I’ve finally learned to prioritize my day. I thought that cleaning, planning, blogging and teaching was my top priority each day. But, I’ve realized that throwing the plan out the window for the day and ignoring the routine to watch our favorite movie together or ignoring the healthy meal and ordering a pizza are usually the most memorable ones.