October 23, 2013

Life as a Work at Home Mom

It's now been over five months since I left my job. Five months ago Evan wasn't yet mobile, and now he's crawling like a pro and has taken his first steps. It flies by so fast, and I'm thankful I've been able to stay home with him to watch him grow and develop.

While working full-time outside the home as a new mom just wasn't for me, I wanted to keep working. Graphic design is part of who I am, and while I may be more selective about clients and projects down the road, I don't plan to ever completely stop. I cringed when someone listed my occupation as "homemaker." There's nothing wrong with that job title, but it's just not me. However, I did give myself two months to focus on being a wife and mom, a redo of my maternity leave if you will. I bought a domain for my freelance business and made a Facebook page, but I didn't do much with either. Once I reached my July 1 deadline of when I needed to get serious about my freelance business, I realized I really had no idea how to find clients. I invited all my friends to like my Facebook page, offered my services in a couple places, and that was about it. I submitted a logo design for a contest and browsed around Elance, but nothing really came of it.

Then, three weeks into July, something really crazy happened: someone contacted me through my website about doing design work for them. And a few weeks after that someone else contacted me. A week later, someone from a local organization contacted me about working for them on a retainer. This local client has given me so much work that I haven't even made much of an effort to find new clients, and I'm able to offer my services to others at a lower rate. And just like that, I was a work at home mom. 

Balancing the work, home, and mom parts of my job has been an interesting challenge. I've found that on any given day, it's usually a choice of 2 out of the 3. If I have a lot of freelance work, I might completely forget about dinner or run the washer through an entire cycle without putting any clothes in it (hypothetically, of course). If the house is clean, I probably didn't do any freelance work that day. On the rare occasion I manage to spend a few hours working and get a lot done around the house, I don't spend much quality time with my son, which defeats the entire purpose of why I'm at home. If I find a true balance between the three, I feel like I accomplished nothing at all. I'm still working out the kinks, but overall, I'm very happy. 

Nathan has been wonderfully supportive. When I told him I ruined dinner (it turns out mixing eggs with shredded potatoes will NOT keep them from immediately turning brown), he brought home Fazoli's. One night recently I was lying in bed reading from the book we're reading for the moms' group I go to on Tuesday mornings. This particular chapter of No Perfect Moms was entitled "No Perfect Marriages." When I saw the title, I thought, "Yeah, that's for sure," yet as I was reading, Nathan was doing dishes and cleaning the kitchen. Our marriage might not be perfect, but my husband is pretty awesome. I never would have been able to handle working at home, let alone working outside the home, without a husband who cooks, cleans, and does whatever else he needs to do to take care of our family and home. I'm thankful he was never set on having a wife who stays home or a wife that works, and supports me no matter what I choose to do.

As for my main client, I think Evan likes that I'm home. He is very happy and healthy and growing well. We're still going strong with breastfeeding with no plans to stop anytime soon. We go to a moms' group, La Leche League meetings, and other places where he can be around other kids (and I can be around other adults). Sometimes I think I'm not providing him with enough stimulation or activities, but whenever I get down on the floor to play with him, he just climbs over me or cruises around me. It's pretty fun being his favorite toy. 

So, when will I be going back to work? I don't know. Some have misunderstood the fact that I actually resigned from my job and am not still on maternity leave. Depending on where the company is if and when I want to go back to work, they could rehire me, but there isn't a job waiting for me. At this point I don't have a set date or age of my child(ren) for when I'll go back to work. I look at this not as "taking a year off" but rather taking the next step in my career. I might want to go back to working full-time at some point, but at this point I'm happy being just a work at home mom.


  1. Sounds to me like you might just have enough work with the freelance stuff to keep you busy. If you could really build that up you wouldn't need to go back to work and might not really want to. Especially if freelance is really what you want to do.

  2. I agree. Right now it's what I want to do. Who knows if that will change after a year or 5 or 10.


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