Monday, February 9, 2015

A "Typical" day of a part-time-work-from-home-mom

Many of you have asked me to write a post about what it's like to be a part-time-work-from-home-mom, and to write a post about what a typical day for me is like. Since February marks one year at my new job working from home, it's only fitting to finally reflect on the last year of this new role of mine.
I have never been a person who gets bored at home. I understand the importance and need to work and contribute along with my husband, but I have long felt that even if I were a housewife before we had Natalie, I would have loved it (I cannot stress enough the difference between a housewife and a stay-at-home mom, but that's a different topic for a different day). I can always find something to do at home. There is always a workout to do, always a new book to read, always a new recipe (or 10) to try, always laundry to do, house to clean, files and pictures to organize, weekends and events to plan, walks to take, and grocery shopping to do. If I ever was bored, I think it would just mean that I didn't have any drive interest in anything - and that's a bigger problem than just being bored. But these days, I'm lucky if I am even able to get half of this stuff done (that's also because we're still in the throws of a house renovation and it takes up a lot of time, so I'm looking forward to things calming down once I move). But, suffice it to say, I do NOT have a freshly cooked meal waiting on the table every day when Chris arrives home from work. I do NOT have oodles of time sitting around doing nothing. I do NOT have time to myself to relax, get manicures, or put my feet up in general. I don't know how/if it would be different if I didn't have work hanging over my head for a few hours every day. Whenever I do have some time or Natalie is napping, I feel like I MUST be on my computer working or doing something work related to put in my hours each day.

To give some background on my job: I was a personal assistant to a businessman prior to leaving for my maternity leave. While I was pregnant, he started a new classical music management company with his business partner, who was looking to leave her position at a large music management company. She is now the person I report directly to, and she's an awesome woman. The business is doing very well, but since it's so new, there isn't a ton of work right now. It's one of those things that will hopefully keep growing and growing and the work will increase. I want the company to grow and get bigger, but I also worry that one day she will need a full-time assistant, and then "bye-bye me". The work hours are flexible and inconsistent. No matter the hours I work in a week, I get paid half the salary I was making before I left for maternity leave. That means I could have a week where I work 5 hours, or in turn a week where I work 30 hours (that hasn't happened yet) and my salary stays the same week to week. One day, I could be super busy with work, and then I could go 2-3 days with little to no work. I realize my situation is not typical, or normal, and honestly, some days I wonder how long I can keep this up. Not in that I can't handle it, in that, it seems too good to be true, and I worry that my luck will run out. Nothing is ever really too urgent: the arrangement is as long as I get things done in a somewhat timely manner, it doesn't matter if I work at 11:00 pm at night or 2:00 pm on a Saturday, whatever I need to do to stay on top of work. Occasionally I'll get an email request for something they'd "like to review by the end of the day", which can be a little bit stressful if I'm trying to plan anything else in my day. If I'm away from a computer, I constantly check my phone to see if anything arises that needs to be taken care of right away. As long as I keep my phone on me at all times, and have a good response time on things, I'm pretty good. The opportunity to be home with Natalie full-time and provide supplemental income for my family is truly a dream come true for me, and I wouldn't trade my work situation for anything in the entire world.

I also have the benefit of having my mother-in-law two blocks away, so if anything really urgent ever comes up that I have to devote an afternoon or even an hour to, she is always willing to come right over and watch Natalie for me while I take care of things. There has also been a few days in the last year when I have had to go to the office for a project, and Natalie was able to stay with my mother-in-law on those days.
 
There isn't really a "typical" day here, but here is the most "ideal" kind of day around here. This also changes each season, because in the spring/summer/fall, I'd have various walks around the neighborhood peppered in here, but I am not getting in any walks right now with all the snow on the ground:
cranky baby!

6:00-7:00 am - Natalie wakes up to nurse. For a very long time, she'd go back to sleep after I nurse her until around 8 or 8:30, but for the last two weeks she's been staying up after she nurses. So it's anyone's guess each morning - which is why there is an hour window for each thing listed below.

7:00-8:00 am - Depending on the above, this is when I change her, dress her, dress me, do my hair, go downstairs and make breakfast for us both. On an IDEAL (hopefully soon to be normal, everyday) day, I pop in a work out video and work out for the next half hour and this is something I'm trying to get better at. BUT if we have anywhere to be that day - like a play-date, doctor visit, or shopping for the new house, I'll let her play here before we get out the door by 9:00.

8:00 am or 9:00 am- Eat breakfast in the kitchen: egg whites and toast for me. Typically, a mix of pancakes, eggs, and fruit for Natalie.

9:00 am-12:00 pm - She plays in the living room while I usually do work on the computer. OR, we go out and run errands at this time - house shopping, grocery shopping, etc. OR, on Thursdays we go to Gymboree for a class. I will nurse her again around 10 or 11am for the second time of the day. I may turn the tv on at this point to carry her through the last hour until her lunch if I have a lot of work to do.

12:00pm/12:30pm - Lunch - Natalie has been picky with food lately. She'll eat anything from cut-up fruit, grape tomatoes, hummus on pita or toast, grilled cheese, raisins, or various other items that she may or may not like on any given day.

1:00 pm to 2:00 pm - Nurse her to sleep for her nap. I have about one hour to myself here, so I do a quick clean-up of the kitchen from lunch and sit down to do work.

2:00 pm or 3:00 pm - She's up. She's usually cranky when she gets up, so I like to sit on the couch with her while she eats a small bowl of cheerios and we watch an episode of Thomas the Train at this point. If it was Spring/Summer/Fall, at this point I'd probably go for a walk, but that's not happening right now. Some days, there's a young girl in the neighborhood who will come over after school and play with her at this time, while I do some work around the house or catch up on work emails. It's great for Natalie to get used to other people and I know that in a few years, I will have a great baby-sitter right around the corner who is already comfortable and familiar with Natalie.

Between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm Try to wrap up things with work, or house stuff, and start thinking about prepping stuff for dinner. Since I have started weaning Natalie from nursing, I will give her a sippy cup of milk somewhere in this hour, instead of nursing her. (I'll be sharing my nursing/weaning experience soon)

5:30 pm - Chris gets home, and we all eat dinner.

6:00 pm - Playtime in the living room with Natalie and Zoey before bed. Chris and I use this time to catch up and I really try to devote this hour of the day to just focusing on being together as a family without outside distractions. Unless it's urgent, I am never doing work between 6 and 8 pm. Some nights I'll give Natalie a bath at this time.

7:00 pm - Natalie and I go upstairs. I change her, get her into her pajamas, brush her teeth, and read books.

7:30 pm - Start nursing her to sleep.

7:45 pm - She's in her crib. Sometimes asleep, or sometimes she'll toss and turn for a bit before falling asleep. 9 times out of 10, she's asleep by 8:00. This nursing session used to take at least 30 minutes for the longest time, sometimes longer, which I never minded. But since Natalie turned 1, she's been nursing so quickly that it's not enough time for her to fall asleep. If I'm in the mood to snuggle with her more, I'll rock her to sleep on my shoulder, but most nights, I'll put her in the crib. I'm very happy that she is capable of putting herself to sleep in her crib with minimal to no fussing, and I don't want to regress from that, so I try not to rock her to sleep too often.

8:00 pm-11:00 pm - I shower, get ready for bed, go downstairs, clean-up all the toys if I didn't do it at 7:00 before I went upstairs, clean up the kitchen, and watch tv while I catch up on work emails, facebook, and blogging.

11:00 pm - Go to bed

Rinse, and repeat. What do your days look like?

7 comments:

  1. I just got up to start my day but I'm exhausted after reading about your day so I might go back to bed! This just confirms what I already knew-raising children is for the young!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I work from home one day a week and have a boss who is great with flexible scheduling! If there are nights I have to work late, my mom lives close and can pick up Jeanette from the sitter. But things are about to change a lot since my husband just took a new job where he will be working four, 10 hour shifts. He will also have a longer commute to work and has to be there two hours earlier. I am hopeful that I will be able to work from home to supplement. I'm not sure if I could be a stay at home mom full time, I just love my job so much and have really good benefits. If I stay there till Jeanette is 18, she can go to college for half the price (assuming she gets in there, which in my mind she will lol) so I guess for now, this is life! I imagine once she's in school things will be much easier!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so awesome that you love your job, what do you do? (if i may ask?) And amaaazing that Jeanette can go to college for half price because of it? That perk is amazing! I'm glad you guys have worked out a situation that works for you - and I'm sure things will fall into place with your husband's new job and things will work out for you.

      Delete
  3. I've been wanting to see a post like this for a while. I think you have an awesome situation and you're doing a great job balancing work and Natalie during the day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sharlee! Yea, this post was a long time coming, and I know that what's "typical" now will probably totally change every 6 months or so, but I am very happy with my situation and hope it stays this way for the long haul!

      Delete
  4. This is such a helpful post as I/we start thinking about having a baby and what type of work schedule I would want to have and would realistically be able to have. I love the freelance writing I do from home right now, and I'm hoping I'll be able to keep it up once I have a baby. It's one reason that I haven't seriously started looking for a traditional, full-time commuting job since finishing my master's. Like you, I'm a person who never gets bored being home. I love planning things, managing household tasks and writing in the peace of my own house. It's so awesome that you have the flexibility to work at home and be with Natalie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so great that you are enjoying the freelancing work you've been doing, and I'm sure you'd be great at keeping that up with a baby! And will probably have a whole other genre of information to delve into with your writing when you become a mom too. Agree agree about your last two sentences - I've always loved being at home, there is alwaaays something to do! Good luck with things :)

      Delete

Please leave me some lovin' and thanks for stopping by!