It’s not easy, balancing my time–especially when it comes to managing family time. It was a challenge at first for The Beau and I to figure out how best to coordinate our schedules. Plus, as a full-time mother and full-time business owner–working from home most of the time–it’s safe to say my work is 24/7.
It took some getting used to, for The Beau, myself and Bebe Mae–but I think we’ve worked out all our kinks and have come up with a pretty good system! The Beau works unusual hours occasionally, so between our two schedules, every day is different.
I know some parents prefer a very strict schedule, especially for those mothers returning to work outside the home. I often meet with clients, run errands during odd times of the day, or am training for my next marathon at any given part of the day. So for me, I chose not to keep a schedule. Sometimes Bebe Mae and I are at home in the morning where she can take a full morning nap in her crib. Other times she’s sleeping in the jogging stroller while I log in some miles or attend Stroller Strides.
Typically our day looks a little something like this:
- 7-10 am: Get Bebe Mae and myself ready for the day and take care of a few household chores like assembling her diapers and putting away dishes in the dishwasher. Or generally we head out to Stroller Strides or a run, followed by a few errands.
- 11-1 pm: Nap time for Bebe Mae while I work and consume lots of [half-decaf] coffee.
- 1-3 pm: Time for a little baby-wearing in the Boba Wrap while I do a little gardening, tidying up the home, or photography for the blog.
- 3-6 pm: Nap time for Bebe Mae again. This isn’t always the exact range she’ll sleep, but thankfully at some point of the day, she’ll take an afternoon nap that is 2-3 hours long. I get a big chunk of client work accomplished during this time.
- 6-8 pm: The Beau is home, my favorite part of the day! We’ll sit outside with Bebe Mae, enjoy a glass of wine on the porch swing and catch up on our day. I take a lot of photos and videos of Bebe Mae so he can see what we did while he was at work. During this time I also start making dinner and The Beau or I will feed Bebe Mae her dinner concoction of fruit and veggies.
- 8-11 pm: Bebe Mae is down for bed and I get to work, as well as get ready for bed.
- 11-4 am: At some point Bebe Mae wakes up to nurse, generally not until 4 or 5 am. The Beau will retrieve her from her room and bring her into our bed so I can nurse her and then we all go back to sleep.
And there you have it. Of course, the above schedule changes every day, but for the most part that’s my day. What you don’t see is me scrambling to get it all done in 24-hours. Some days are easier than others, but unfortunately most of it is dependent upon the length of Bebe Mae’s naps or whether she’s teething that day.
Here are a few secrets I’ve learned along the way . . .
Work when the baby naps.
This has been the biggest adjustment for me. I am the type of person that will clean up after dinner, immediately after finishing dinner. If I have a few moments to myself I will put away laundry, the dishes, or straighten up my home. Unfortunately the stop watch is set when Bebe Mae is down to sleep. I have learned the hard way that I cannot think, “Oh, let me clean up the kitchen real-quick and then I’ll get to work.” Before I know it, she’s awake again and I’ve yet to even check my email.
Know what to do when.
I instagram when I’m breastfeeding. I email more from my cell phone than my computer. I clean up and vacuum when I can wear the baby in the Ergobaby or Boba Wrap. I assemble Bebe Mae’s diapers when The Beau is home and we’re hanging out in the living room, talking about our day over a glass of wine. I’ve learned a lot about how to best multi-task when.
Have an understanding with your spouse.
The Beau works in military/government. He rarely brings his work home and he can go into his office whenever, so typically he leaves our home early and returns early. For me, as someone who works in the creative industry, my job has no set time. When I worked in an office it was easier, because I had nine dedicated hours to devote to work. Though I always had a little extra to do at home, it wasn’t quite the same.
A good bit of my afternoon is spent interacting with Bebe Mae, so when she’s asleep I really need that time to work. Luckily with my company, not every day is filled with the same amount of work hours. Some days I’m working while The Beau and I watch a Netflix show–other days I only need to get in a couple of hours of work. I just make sure to keep The Beau in the loop so he understands if there’s a night I need to ignore him after dinner to take care of business.
Know where to be flexible.
This has also been a challenge, but a big help. Similar to letting a mess sit longer than I’d like, there are other areas I’ve had to add a little flexibility. Essentially there is a hierarchy to what I do.
My husband and the baby come first, followed by running or exercise. Not only do I want to get rid of the baby weight, but running keeps me sane. I eat better when I workout, I’m overall happier and I feel more productive.
Next comes work. My paying clients come first in the chain of who gets my attention foremost. I’m extremely active in Junior League, but I’m a volunteer. Though the work is sometimes easier to tackle then my paying clients, The League cannot be my priority.
Last but not least, my blog. I love my blog and it’s often my favorite project to work on, but unless I have a set sponsored post I need to get out, Clean & Proper is at the bottom of my hierarchy. If I have to bump a blog post, then I bump a blog post. In fact, today’s blog post was supposed to go live two weeks ago. It pains me when I cannot write and post each day, but for now, it’s what works for me and my family.
Reach out for help.
My mother and sister have been a big help. Bebe Mae is a very easy-going child. I bring her to client meetings. I take her on set with me for client photo shoots. I take her to most of my Junior League meetings. We run errands together and yes, The Beau and I often take her with us out to dinner. But, she’s still a child and still consumes 95% of my time and energy.
When The Beau is at work, my mother and sister have been great about swinging by last-minute when I realize I need a couple of hours to work on a design layout or meet with a client for a non-baby-appropriate meeting. I’ve tried to keep official “office hours,” which has yet to work out. But what has been a big help is asking for help, even if it’s last-minute.
Know who to call.
As supportive as The Beau is with my new company, my blog, and my role as a mother and wife, he’s still a man. Which is to say, sometimes men don’t quite understand the challenges us women face trying to be superwomen. Luckily, I have a few best friends I can call when I start to freakout, just a little! These friends will sympathize and commemorate with me. A few have children, a few do not. Luckily we’re all in the same boat so I know I have a supportive place to turn when I need a phone-hug!*
*It would be a real hug if my silly best friends didn’t insist on living in different state. Thus, we provide each other with “phone-hugs.”
**A big thank you to my talented sister, Missy Dunaway, for capturing some of these moments of my day at home with Bebe Mae.