I blog to you right now from my new office: my living room. Even though I have this great office downstairs, with a great desk and great fish tank and where I love to work, since October 29th, I’ve been doing the majority of my work from my couch. My son, Eli, was born October 27th, and when we got back from the hospital 2 days later, payroll was due that day and I began working with him by my side on the couch and this has become my new office. My maternity leave was 6 weeks, but all along I continued to do the billing and accounting. I tried to hire someone to do this and even trained 2 people to be our accountants but in the end neither worked out due to other time commitments. Also, fortunately, November and December are slower months which allowed me to just take care of this stuff myself. The whole “sleep when the baby sleeps” became “work when the baby sleeps”. I tried to make my life easier by purchasing speech recognition software, but their newest software was not working properly yet. Dictating emails into my iPhone and using google hang-outs with talk to text for IM has become the new norm and I’ve become pretty good at one-handed typing on both my right and left hand! So basically, my maternity leave consisted of lurking behind the scenes and taking care of accounting while Meghan (our manager) took care of all the scheduling and contracting. We will likely continue this arrangement with me helping on days that we are swamped or days she has other commitments. As soon as the baby can sit up on his own, I hope to get back down in the office where he will have lots of floor space. Until then, couch-office will have to do.
So back to today: Allow me to paint you a picture of my new life. It is January 8th, (wait for it...) 5:45pm and I am just finishing up the work day. Eli is sleeping soundly on my lap in the Moby wrap (or the silencer as I like to call it) and the laptop is resting on his Boppy lounger. I am in my couch-office and the TV is off as it always is during the work day. Today we were swamped-super-busy and I was happy to help Meghan with some last minute contracts and scheduling. Today was a test of “can I be a stay-at-home-working-mom/business-owner" and I thought at times I was going to fail. When my husband called at noon for his daily check in… I told him that I was drowning and nervous we were going to need to hire more child care help because my parents really aren’t going to be full time day care. At that time I was not feeling confident about the situation and was very concerned about what was going to happen when the baby was mobile. But never the less, by the end of the day, we finished all pertinent work. We sent out a huge email full of jobs, got a ton of responses, did contracts, filled a new client’s last minute job, I got a head start on billing and dealt with website technical difficulties all with a baby on my lap or next to me in his little lounger. NOT BAD!!! I have to also mention that today; the baby is dressed and has eaten 4 times. SUPER WORKING MOM!! Well not really. Actually, there was a short period of time while I was on the phone with the tech support for our website where the baby cried in his crib. I had waited 10 min on hold to talk to this guy and as soon as he picked up, Eli started crying. I just couldn’t call him back and wait again. Also, the majority of the time, he was fussy so I wrapped him in the Moby wrap on me which feels like cheating because it puts him right to sleep. I didn’t get dressed today and there were 2 instances while I was on the phone with clients that the baby made a loud “baby grunts” or other noises and I had to apologize to the client for the cute interruption. And finally, I’m editing and posting this blog now on January 15th, not January 8th when the first 2 paragraphs of this blog were originally written. Also, it's taken me 5 hours to get this edited and posted. The blog has been bumped down a bit on the priorities list and well… This is life with a new baby!
So while it’s not perfect, being a mom and running a business is going to be manageable. (I mean…it’s going to have to be!) I may need to hire a little help or adjust my hours a little once the baby is mobile, but for now… this is do-able. We just aren’t ready to go down stairs to the office yet.
Anyone have suggestions for being a work at home mom? Please share!
PS: That picture above is definitely an internet image and not me!