I get asked a lot from friends that don’t yet have children or those who are stay at home parents, “how do you do it?” “How are you able to work so much and get so much done while still finding time for your family?” Well the truth is, I have no idea! I don’t feel like I ever get anything done and I am equally amazed at the parents I know who are able to accomplish so much more than me. Or those who juggle multiple children (or twins Ah!) at once. I have no idea how you all do it and I am always amazed to see how you make it work.
I am incredibly blessed to have a flexible schedule as a self-employed mother. This allows me to have two days a week where I “work” from home with Joey and work the rest of the week at my office. On my work-from-home days, little ‘real’ work gets accomplished! What has worked is that I no longer attempt to complete any activity I can do when Joey is awake when he naps. His naps are so rare and so inconsistent, that I have to take full advantage of them. So, I no longer workout when he sleeps. Instead, Joey & I either exercise together or he goes to the childcare room at the gym while I workout.
When he eats, I work on cooking meals and snacks from him as well as preparing dinners, etc. He is a slow eater and enjoys food, so typically I can get an actual meal prepped and prepared during this time. However, on days when he isn’t feeling well, he won’t eat, so I don’t cook. Those are the days where a bag of pre-washed salad and precooked chicken is my friendJ When he naps is when I answer emails, write, make work calls, etc. As much as I can accomplish in the brief 20 minutes or he allows me (I have learned to work fast and multitask!). However, because no matter how hard I try, he has no consistency to his naps, it’s hard to schedule any real work related activities on the days we are home together.
I am lucky enough to live very close to my family, who are huge helpers with watching Joey on non-daycare days. With my work, my schedule can change day to day, so having this flexibility is a lifesaver. Of course, when I don’t have another childcare option available, I try to get Joey to be as quiet as possible when I do need to do work while he’s awake. He very loud in everything he does, so this is definitely a struggle. For instance, take this picture of the result of Joey “coloring” quietly while I was on a work call. Thank goodness for washable markers!
Juggling work and motherhood is definitely a balance. What is comes down to is just focusing on priorities. Some days the house isn’t clean. Some days we eat take-out. Some days I am so tired I just need a nap instead of hitting the gym. But I just try my best. At the end of the day, all that really matters is that Joey knows how loved he is and that he is well cared for. Everything else just falls into place. Some days it’s very frustrating, but most days it’s incredibly rewarding. I wouldn’t change it for the world!