Being a mom was something I always knew I wanted to do. When the moment finally came for me, I was elated. It was a surprise, but the timing was just right. I had a perfect job where I was working from home. I knew I was lucky because I would be able to work from home while staying with my son all day. It was a dream!
After months of pregnancy and six weeks of just me and my baby, I went back to work. In the beginning, it was a dream. I worked while he slept or cooed away in his swing beside me. But then he started getting older, more mobile, and overall more demanding.
It became difficult to balance a 40-hour job with a 9-month-old. I wasn’t able to sit down for 2-3 hours at a time and bang out work. I was being pulled away often to keep him from crawling or walking someplace he shouldn’t. His feedings started changing.
It got to the point where I would try to work all throughout the day, not get everything done, and need to continue my work well into the evening after my husband came home. I felt like I was literally working all day. It was exhausting.
So, I made a change that would allow me much more freedom to do all the things: freelancing.
I’m In Control
The beauty of freelancing is that I can make my own hours. I’m in control of how many jobs I take and how I divide my time to focus on my projects. I don’t have a strict schedule to keep, no 9-5.
I used to feel so guilty for having to work while he played. Yes, I was at home to watch his milestones, but I sometimes missed out on the day-to-day fun of having a baby because I was stuck behind my computer.
For the first time, I’m able to take him to mommy and me classes during the day or run off to the park on a nice day. We have time for fun! I can make doctor’s appointments without worrying about letting my boss know and getting behind on my work that day. It’s a freeing feeling!
Freelancing has also allowed me the privilege of working on my own projects. I’m an author and after over ten years of playing around with my dream, I’m finally working on my debut novel. I have my son to thank for that. He has motivated me to finally get my butt in gear to make it happen. I want him to follow his dreams, whatever they are. It felt important to me to practice what I preach.
Being a stay-at-home mom is a job, I don’t care who says otherwise. It’s hard work. You’re taking care of another human’s needs as well as your own, planning meals and activities, and doing miscellaneous tasks around the house, whichever ones you can make time for. Throwing work into the mix just adds a whole other layer of hard work.
Time management is the most important skill to making everything happen. The beauty is that babies and toddlers need a schedule anyway. That’s how they thrive. I created an eating and activity schedule that works best for him. It took time to perfect it, I had to really evaluate his process. Now that we have a schedule that works, his needs are taken care of and in the meantime, I can find time for myself.
For whatever strange reason, most of the time my son does not allow me the luxury of being on my laptop. I could be sitting on the couch scrolling through my phone while he plays with his toys and he doesn’t bother me or even notice I’m there. But the second I walk over to the dining room to fire up my laptop, he’s right beside, begging to be held. That doesn’t exactly make it easy sometimes. If only the word ‘no’ worked for us right now!
I’ve had to get creative and investigate which times of day will work best for both of us. Breakfast time is one that works well. His morning eating schedule is a little different from mine, so I don’t eat breakfast when he does. But, it gives me a chance to start my day! I have my laptop and coffee and he has his Cheerios and fruit. We’re both happy!
Naptime is really my bread and butter. I get him off to sleep and that’s when I can really get a good chunk of work done without being distracted.
It’s Hard, But It’s Worth It
Finding a method that worked for us wasn’t easy. It came with trial and error. Before my son walked, I could get so much work done. But now that he’s running around and starting to talk, he’s getting more demanding. He’s a toddler, he needs me!
Things have definitely gotten hard at times, like when I have a deadline approaching and my son refuses to nap. I won’t pretend it’s all sunshine and rainbows. It can be frustrating. The most important mindset I’ve adopted is knowing that I have to be flexible.
We may have a schedule that works, but it won’t work every day. Some days will be harder; sometimes my son refuses to nap at naptime. Some days he’s upset and needs more of my attention. I have to be kind to myself (and to him) on these days and just roll with the punches.
There are some things that are simply out of our control and instead of letting those frustrating moments take us down, we just need to remain calm and let it pass.
That’s what being a mom is all about. No two days are like another. You have to accept the challenges as they come and just go with it. Stressing out over what’s not working out only ends up doing more harm than good.
Even though there are rough times, I know in my heart that this is the right thing for me and my family. I’m able to stay home with my son all day, every day. I get to watch him grow and learn new things. At the same time, I can focus on myself and my dreams. It’s hard, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
– Written by Kate Fann, Young Adult Author and Ghostwriter
One For Women is honored to have Kate Fann, Author & Ghostwriter, share her voice and her important message as part of our One Voice to Hear series.