Recently a few people have contacted me inquiring about how I'm managing 'Babies & Business'. Some have little ones of their own already, and some were thinking about the future. While I (unfortunately) don't have any great answers or magic solutions, I shared what is working for me. If you have a baby, you will know that as soon as I write this and hit publish, baby will inevitably change and my schedule will be completely thrown....but I digress.
[ETA - Life got in the way and I never ended up scheduling this post to run (shocker), then Jen
approached me and some other WAHMs (work at home mom) about our daily routines and so not only do you get to read about my day, you can also read about all of theirs! Links are all at the end of the post :) ]
In its most basic form, my days are broken down in the following way : (in an effort to 'keep it real' all pictures in the post were taken from my very real, everyday iPhone photos)
6:30 AM - Caroline wakes up. My husband gets up with her, changes her diaper and brings her to me for 'breakfast' while he takes a shower. After breakfast, she goes downstairs with my husband for 30 minutes or so while he gets ready for work, and I get ready for the day and glance at my email for an items that would require an immediate response.
this is Caroline, she has to wear big bows because she has little (and blond) hair and everyone thinks she is a boy otherwise
7:30 AM - My husband leaves for work and Caroline and I play or read for a bit until she is ready for her first nap of the day (almost exactly 2 hours from when she gets up, although it varies). When Caroline is awake I try to devote my time solely to her, although she is honestly very good at entertaining herself and I will answer an email or two while she is in her jumper or otherwise occupied.
8:30 to 10:30ish - Caroline naps. I start my 'work day', by responding to emails, checking site stats from the day before, and then starting on design work. This is usually when I try to complete my daily chore as well, but now that 'Wedding Season' is here - that happens less and less as my workload increases.
a dedicated shipping & packing station keeps me organized and efficient
10:30 - 1:30ish - Caroline wakes up and we usually get ready to go to do our daily activity. Monday & Friday we run errands and schedule appointments, Tuesday we go to Little Gym, Wednesday we go swimming at a local pool & grocery shopping, and Thursday we have a rotating play date with her friends. She loves watching other babies and looking at the lights in the ceiling of the grocery store, so I think this is really the highlight of her day :) While we are out we often stop off at my local printer's office to either pick up order or approve proofs.
1:30 - 3:30ish - Get back into Business Mode with emails and design work. This is usually the time when I print and process small orders (I outsource printing for large orders, letterpress items, and some smaller non-paper items - like iPhone cases).
3:30ish - Caroline is up again and we usually walk the dog to the post office downtown to ship orders, weather permitting. If the weather is unpleasant (because we do live in New England) we drive, and I secretly thank whoever invented drive-through post-office boxes. As a somewhat crazy side-note mail is often delivered to our house 3 to 4 times a day. USPS Priority comes in the morning, followed by Fed Ex, then regular USPS Mail and finally UPS.
SUPER HELPFUL : drive-through post-office outside, 24/7 mailing inside (amazing) - and a stroller with a huge basket
- When we get back, I start dinner and Caroline gets her jump on in this brilliant baby distraction
for ~20 minutes. After dinner is in the oven, we play together until her dad gets home.
5:15ish - Hubs gets home and plays with Caroline until dinner is ready. If things are still cooking, I'll do another quick round of email. Usually by 6:15 we have eaten (we eat together, at a real table, as a family - something that definitely didn't happen before Caroline was born!) and I clean up the kitchen while my husband gets her ready for bed.
By 7pm Caroline is in bed. During the busy, 'Wedding Season' I head back to work for another few hours, usually until 8 or 9. This time typically involves processing orders from the day, making a list of everything I need to do the next day and other business related tasks. I try to only read and answer emails during my office hours (M-F, 8:30-5:00) and use the time at night and weekends to grow and promote my business.
10pm - My husband and I head to bed and I feed Caroline once more before going down for the night.
We have bad days. We have days where the house is a mess, dinner does not get cooked and there is a minefield of toys and clothes scattered across the floor. We have wine for days like this.
Caroline is a priority in my life, but my business is also a priority, my clients are a priority. Sometimes when Caroline wakes up from her naps I wait 5 minutes to finish whatever I'm doing before I go up and get her (I promise this is not neglect, she wakes up very happy and talks to herself in her crib - if she happens to be crying it means she is still tired and will likely have fallen back asleep before 5 minutes are up). Sometimes, I check emails while nursing and am the mom who checks her email at play dates, I'm not answering these emails or constantly on my phone, just occasionally take a mental inventory of what needs to be done when I get home. I'm sure some people will judge me for not devoting 100% of my attention to my daughter 100% of the time, but working from home is what allows me to be here with her at all - if I have to take 2 minutes to check my email, I will - and that doesn't in any way make me a 'bad mom'. Being a work-at-home-mom means my work/life boundaries are very blurred. I know I am far from perfect, but we are making it work.
Check out how the other ladies handle their days below!