Babies & Business : A Day in the Life of a Work at Home Mom

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.
WAHM-Cthis 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.
WAHM_postofficeSUPER HELPFUL : drive-through post-office outside, 24/7 mailing inside (amazing) - and a stroller with a huge basket

4ish - 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!

New Year : New Habits

I've never been a huge fan of New Year's resolutions; rather than try and revise and rewrite parts of myself I may dislike, I like to develop new, positive habits.....same me, but better.  So, here are my 4 new habits for 2013 - 1-ORGANIZED

I'll admit that until our daughter was born I rarely made a meal for dinner during the week.  I got home late from work, had 4 million other things to do and didn't like the idea of having to plan and prepare meals on top of all my other responsibilities.  I didn't have the time to figure out what we would eat each night and shop for those ingredients - so I would often end up frustrated when trying to cook because we would inevitably be missing a key ingredient (or three).  Since Caroline was born and we decided that I would stay home with her and focus on ChelseyEmery I tasked myself with preparing meals for our family, luckily I have found that when I put in the time to plan - I actually enjoy it!  I'm looking forward to planning and trying new meals this year (thank you Pinterest!) and made this weekly meal planner / grocery list to help me stay organized.  The dinners for the week are listed on the front, and there is space on the back to list needed groceries - when I go shopping I just grab this page!


You can download your own set HERE >> ChelseyEmery_MealPlanner, it is meant to be printed double-sided and then cut in half to fit into a half-size binder, mine is from Russell & Hazel.

Since I decided to take ChelseyEmery full time my sales have increased drastically (yay!) which also means I need to be more dedicated to managing my business finances so I don't end up with a huge mess come January of next year.  I use a number of tools to keep all my transactions in order, but I need to be better about double-checking, as well as keeping paper receipts organized.  I scheduled monthly check-ins both in my planner and as alerts on my iPhone.


My goal is to NOT have to spend 30 minutes power cleaning before people come over because I am embarrassed of the state of our house.  I guarantee it won't be perfectly clean all the time, but I know it can be better.  I dread cleaning since it has always been an all-day task and therefore I often procrastinate until I must clean for company.  Hopefully by keeping up with small daily tasks, I will be able to incorporate cleaning into my routine and maintain a relatively orderly home without feeling like I'm constantly cleaning.


You can print your own copy HERE >> ChelseyEmery_Cleaning Schedule


I enjoy shopping.  I buy things because I like buying things - but I've realized I often don't need things.  I need to remind myself that I don't need to buy things just because they are on sale.  And if I don't buy them, I don't have to store them, and I don't have to clean them (see Habit #2).  I will still buy things, but I think twice about them first - I will buy quality rather than quantity.

4-TAKE-CARE Just as it says :)

It's a new year, my first full year as a Mom, and my first full year with ChelseyEmery as my main source of income.  I cannot know the challenges this year will bring, both personally and professionally but I hope to rise to them and overcome whatever life may throw my way, knowing that at the end of the year I will only be a stronger person because of it.  Cheers to 2013!

What are some of the new habits you are hoping to maintain for the new year?

Behind the Scenes :: Welcome Caroline

We recently welcomed a new member into the ChelseyEmery family -

Caroline Emery was born on Friday, July 13th and has been delighting and amazing my husband and I ever since.


Although I didn't document it, I feel very lucky to have had an easy pregnancy.  I didn't have any of the morning sickness, heartburn, aches and pains one normally associates with being pregnant (I know, you can send me hate mail if you wish).  On the day of her birth I went to the hospital for a routine non-stress test, I had been having them two times a week since 35 weeks and this day felt no different.  (I was even working to revamp the ChelseyEmery color palette that morning, right up until I left for the appointment!).  I had been having fairly regular braxton hicks contractions for about 2 weeks prior to this, but they were painfree and didn't seem to be progressing anything - they were more annoying than anything else!

If you've never had a non-stress test what happens is this : you sit in a reclining chair for 20 minutes with monitors hooked up to your belly (one monitoring contractions/movement, one monitoring the baby's heartrate).  Sometimes they will bring you snacks, my preference was cranberry juice and graham crackers, to help get the baby to move.  (I went through LOTS of magazines and books on my Kindle while listing to the beating of my sweet baby's heart during this time.)

At my last appointment, the baby didn't seem to be moving much - she didn't respond to the juice and crackers like they wanted and the nurse told me that I wasn't going home and that they were going to induce me.  Cue crying.  I know it doesn't sound like a big deal, and you'd think that at that point I'd want that baby out no matter what, but I had my heart set on going into labor naturally.  I wanted to be able to tell my husband that 'It was TIME!' and to labor in the comfort of my house for as long as possible instead of a sterile hospital bed.  I wanted a med-free birth and neither of those seemed like options anymore.  Thankfully, my husband had decided to work from home for the day - so, after one crying phone call, he left for the hospital and while waiting for him they started the admission process.

The doctor waited until my husband arrived to go over our options for induction.  Knowing my desire for a med-free birth, our doctor said she could break my water and see what happened or we could get started on pitocin immediately.  I elected for her to break my water and hoped that things would progress naturally from there.  Thankfully it worked!  We walked, we bounced and we breathed through about 5 hours of labor.  At this point I was having terrible lower back pain and we decided to try the labor tub to help ease the pains - again, it worked!  I 'relaxed' in the tub for about 3 hours while breathing my way through piggy-back contractions.  I had been drinking loads of water to stay hydrated since I wanted to avoid getting IV fluids if at all possible, (I'm one of those people that feels like they cannot move their arm *at all* if there is an IV in it) and felt like I needed to use the bathroom.  The nurse came in to drain the tub and immediately once I stood up I felt an overwhelming desire to push.  The nurse saw the look on my face and said 'You can't push yet!'  This was probably the worst part of my labor - I hadn't been checked in a few hours and they had no idea if I was fully dilated, therefore I had to literally cross my legs while they wheeled me back into my own room.  The doctor quickly checked me and said I was ready to go!  12 minutes later our precious baby girl was born.

Having a baby has been a game-changer, it has caused me to rethink my decisions and priorities almost everyday.

Not surprisingly, I wouldn't change any of it for the world.  Welcome to the team Caroline :)