One thing I hear over and over again from other working moms, is that they feel bad and guilty that they are working (from home) while their kids are awake. I do understand this. I do understand what it means to have the computer staring you in the face, taunting you about all the work you’re NOT getting done, and to anxiously sacrifice what is truly important to you just so you can get some work done. I understand completely. I know how this feels all to well. I have to make a conscious decision every day to not work while my kids are awake. And it’s really, really hard. But at the same time, it frees me up to be a mom and to be present in their lives. And not just a slave to my job or computer.
So since I don’t work while they’re awake, this obviously means that I have to work while they’re sleeping. And anytime both of them are sleeping, you can pretty much bet money that I am working. And I manage to get in almost an 8 hour work day every day doing this.
You might be thinking, But Jess, I don’t want to get up at 5:30 am and stay up until midnight every night.
I wish I could tell you that I manage to get in an eight hour workday all while getting eight hours of beauty rest at night. Sadly, this is not the case for me. Sacrifice for me, in order to achieve being a stay at home mommy who doesn’t use day care, is my sleep. It’s the first thing to go in my life, at this point. I hear women ALL THE TIME say that they could NEVER make it work with the amount of sleep that I’m getting (which is anywhere from 4-6 hours of sleep each night). The schedule that I have for me and my home is what works for me. And I can honestly tell you, that although it’s hard and very hectic, I don’t struggle with knowing when to be present with my kids and when I need to work. It’s a constant balancing act, but it’s one that my kids will always win. I’m hugely aware that I can and do work too much in my job. But I love it and there is A LOT to get done. Every day I decide that my kids can’t get the short end of the stick in this deal. I decided to be a stay at home working mom. They didn’t choose this. So I refuse to let the TV babysit them.
In order to accomplish that for my life, situation and work load, I work only when they are sleeping. And that means that I am up very early and I am in bed very late. My sleep gets sacrificed, but my kids don’t know the difference and that’s what’s important to me. I wholeheartedly think that you can take on this similar approach and make it work for your life. It might not mean sacrificing as much sleep for you! And girlfriend, if you can get eight straight hours of sleep, then MORE POWER TO YOU. But I know that you can still look at what a typical day looks like for you and schedule in your ‘working hours’. If you maximize the time that they are napping or in bed, you really honestly can and will get more done than you think. Get organized, make a to do list, and as soon as you close their bedroom door for nap time, make a bee line to your computer and start attacking it.
I have more on my plate than I even know what to do with right now. I easily work 60 hours a week, including almost 100 emails a day (on most days), edits galore, social media, publishing, album designing, calendar organizing- the list goes on and on and on. But I really try to never lose sight of the fact that I have two little boys that could easily get swept away in the craziness that is my work. They could easily be ‘baby sat’ by the TV while I ferociously try to meet deadlines, answer a million emails and work on edits. I could get so consumed trying to provide for them that I forget that they don’t even care what kinds of things we have and how much money we have.
They just want me. And they do not understand, nor do they care, if I’m late on a deadline or not.
At the end of the day, while I am BEYOND blessed to do what I love to do in the capacity that we do it, I try to never lose sight of what God has REALLY blessed me with. I see all the blessings of our work and how God has allowed me to stay home with the boys. I work hard and try to remain faithful to all that He’s blessed us with because I am so thankful. I love doing this and I pinch myself all the time that this is my job. A lot of my wildest dreams have come true!! But what God has REALLY blessed me with is an amazing job that is allowing me to be home with them. And he’s blessed me with THEM. And I refuse to miss them growing up just because I was so consumed with work.
Which is hard because I am a workaholic at times.
Getting my work done while they sleep is essential to me for a variety of reasons. Mostly, it allows me to relax in my ‘mom’ role. I know that once 1:30 hits it’s going to be nap time and that I will have about 3 straight hours to get some work done. So I really try to plan and do fun things with them in the mornings. That way, once it’s time to work I know that I can ease into that role happily because I know that I spent quality time with them and the TV didn’t baby sit them.
It’s a constant balancing act.
I encourage you, friend. Work will always be there. Someday, when we die and this life is no more, our inboxes will still be full. We will still have emails. We will still have phone calls and tasks that we have not crossed off. Our time with our kids is precious. Working hard when they sleep and being mom when they’re awake is a MUST and will help ease the ‘mom guilt’ that we all experience. It’s hard. It’s hectic. And it’s worth it.
So much so, that it’s worth sacrificing MY sleep for.
*Both of these photos were taken on my iPhone for Instagram. You can follow me there as well at @stellardayblog.