Happy Friday morning friends! Being a “working mom” can mean lots of different things, and today, I’m welcoming my friend Katie to the blog to talk about being a small-business owner and work-from-home momma of two (Jude – 3 and Carter – 3 months). Katie’s husband is on staff with Young Life, a ministry near and dear to my heart, in the North Shore of Boston. In addition to supporting his ministry, and taking care of her kiddos full time, she runs the successful internet business, One Delightful Button, where she sells adorable handmade button earrings, burp cloths, bunting, hair accessories, and key fobs*. She also occasionally blogs at OneDelightful.blogspot.com. 🙂
*She didn’t ask me to share about her shop, I just wanted to because everything is so so cute (and I love supporting talented mommas doing what they love)!
Anyway, here are Katie’s responses:
1. What is your typical day like?
Every day is pretty different for me being a work at home mom. I always love those “day in the life” posts where people pull back the curtain on what their day looks like, but I generally am not in that much of a rhythm, so I’ll try to give you a glimpse of an average day. For me right now, my typical day starts with nursing my three month old somewhere around5:30am. On a good day, I’ll get up right after that and jump start my day, spending a little time with my coffee cup and the Bible or getting some emails done. However, on a more typical day, Carter and I will go back to sleep and my husband will get up with our son. Jude is a super early riser – like sometimes 4am. Thank goodness my husband can function at4am and be with our son, so I can keep sleeping. If I have elected to sleep, my husband will come wake me at 7am so he can get to work and then I’ll enjoy my coffee while making plans for the day and listening to Jude watch PBS kids or play with legos. It sounds so peaceful, but it’s not always that calm. I’m use the term “enjoy” my coffee loosely as it is rarely savored with two hands.
Carter will usually wake for the day between 7 and 8am, and I’ll nurse her (again!) and then get Jude ready for preschool, which he has two mornings a week. Here he is on his first day this year! I made the bag…from a strange bag that I acquired for free and covered with cute fabric and embroidered…excuse me while I pat myself on the back.
We’ll either walk or drive to school depending on what’s on the docket for the day and the weather. While Carter is little and immobile, preschool is major work time for me, but I recognize that it’s totally hit or miss as far as if I will get a lot done or not. She’s generally happy watching me as I work for now. We’re usually up in my office (the third floor of our house pictured below) sewing, making button earrings, or doing online work like editing photos, responding to emails, etc. (Seriously, have you ever seen a more wonderful work space? I want to live with Katie!)
The other preschool morning, I’ll typically run work and home related errands, like going to the bank, post office or a shop that I do wholesale or consignment with. As Jude has gotten older, it has become much harder to do anything that requires thought with him so I try to do those sorts of things while he is out. After errands, I go pick up Jude in the early afternoon and he typically comes home and naps while I potentially get a little more work done or house work…or catch up on a tv show while doing those things. I do some house work, but a lot of it is shared because my husband is a lot more efficient than I am and it’s just the system we have worked out. I also volunteer a lot of time with the organization he works for (Young Life) so him doing housework is sort of part of the trade off.
Once Jude wakes, we’ll go on a walk or to a park with a friend or stay around the house and play. I very rarely do work besides maybe a quick email or two while Jude is around besides maybe something on the computer. I used to try to do a little craft type work while he was awake, but now he is so curious it just would not work. There may be a time again where it will work for me to do some work while he is awake, but now is just not that time. We’ll usually eat dinner together – if my husband is home (he works a crazy schedule and is out a lot of evenings). After bath time, teeth are brushed and stories are read, Jude goes to bed around 7:30. If I’m feeling like I have a lot to do, I’ll grab some supplies and do some mindless work while sort of watching a tv show.
2. Why do you work?
I always thought it was my dream to be a stay-at-home mom, and I suppose it still is in some ways. I also have found though that I need a creative outlet to stay sane. This has been especially amplified with the terrible New England winters. My little business gives me a lot of life. My house would probably be a lot cleaner, and we might eat more homemade baked goods if I didn’t work, but I love my little business. I also enjoy the relationships I have built with shop owners and bloggers. We also are living in one of the most expensive areas in the country, and my husband works in ministry and have found we need my extra income in order for me to be able to stay home with our kids.
3. What’s the best thing about being a working mom? What’s the worst or hardest thing?
In my situation, I feel like I have the best of both worlds. I get to set my own schedule, do something I enjoy and be with my children. It also allows me to have a break from my kids that I crave sometimes.
Hardest thing for me is guilt. Sometimes my work feels silly and selfish. I could probably make a lot more money doing “x” and it would require less of me, but I also think there is some calling in what I am doing. Because I used to work for a Christian ministry, I have guilt over, why am I not doing something more useful with my time than making jewelry and accessories? But I also believe that God can use Christian business woman, moms, teachers, etc, just as much as he can use some in a formal ministry position. (He absolutely can, and IS!)
4.What items or tips do you recommend to help “make it work”?
Something I am still learning, is how to draw boundaries with work. Because I love my work so much, I could very happily do it most of the time, but what kind of life is that for my children and husband? It’s easier for me to enforce rules for my husband than for myself and notice when he is responding to emails too quickly on the weekends, etc. Because the line between work and play is a little fuzzier for both of our jobs, it’s hard to draw lines, but we try to set aside at least one day a week where we have do no work. We also try to keep a scheduled date night and set down our phones during that time too. I love the Tiny Twig’s idea for an analog weekend, but have yet to try it. (I love this idea – I might just have to try it too!)
5. What encouragement, scripture, etc. has been important in your life and might be meaningful for another working mom?
Mommy guilt is tough whether you stay home with your kids, or if you work, or you do a mix of both. If you’re home, you are probably frustrated with your children at times, tired some days and it looks appealing to be at work, have a break from your kids and have a reason to wear something other than yoga pants saturated in spit-up.
If you are working full-time, there’s possibly guilt over being away from your kids and just normal hard work things to deal with, too and you wish you could be home with your kids. In either situation its easy to play the “what ifs” and think the grass is greener. Sometimes that means we need to reflect and adjust what we are doing with our lives, but sometimes I think we are exactly where God wants us to be and instead of feeling guilty or jealous or wishing for something different, we need to learn to be trust that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing and give up on the comparison game and the wishing game and just try our best to enjoy. This is not something I have mastered (or even close), but it’s a reminder for me as I type this now and maybe it’s helpful for you too. (Such truth, and a good reminder for me this morning too!)
Enjoy your weekend everyone! Ours is jam packed with fun things like brunch, pumpkin patch, and a birthday celebration on Saturday and a Halloween Party and a Going Away Party on Sunday. Whew… Hopefully I can also squeeze in some rest and time to catch up on all.the.grading too! What about you? What are your plans?