A Busy Year Ahead.

DMW1007_r1 copy

I realized today that I had only shared some exciting news via social media and not on the blog! The horror. :)  We all know 2016 will be a big year for me because of my little lovebug who will make his debut in November.  Hopefully by the time the calendar flips to the new year I will be starting to get the hang of taking care of another human life.

But as if that was not enough, I also signed on for two OTHER big projects this year– my first product line (home accessories) that will be available online and in specific retail stores nationwide (actually, world wide!) September 2016 and a second book that will be officially coming to you in 2017.

via GIPHY

Yeah, I know. I’m straight up crazypants. I think I need to sit down.

The thing with me is, I am always in fear that this amazing ride my career has been is going to end at any moment. That all these awesome opportunities to decorate homes, write for you, design products and write books will just- poof- dry up one morning when I least expect it and I’ll be left feeling the worst feeling of all the feelings- regret. So I try to approach my business with the attitude of “stay hungry”- let’s do as much as we can now while we are being offered these incredible opportunities so if and when it ends, by choice or not,  we can look back and say “I did it” and feel content. Rational? Not really, but it’s how I’ve operated for many years and I think when you lose that hunger and drive and get too confident it can be trouble.  That doesn’t mean I’m saying yes to everything, far from it actually. But the big things that excite me I will find a way to do.

Now, I also want to have no regrets when it comes to raising my son (a high/ impossible order, but I do tend to be a rabid perfectionist so why stop now?)  I don’t want to be too busy to miss out on time with him, but I want to keep my career going.  Not working is not an option (both because I love my job and I need to financially). The plight of many working moms the world over! Hello, can I join your tribe? Can you teach me the ways of “having it all”?

It’s a concept that has been debated, discussed and written about (famously in The Atlantic as of recent).   Being a full time mom is a full time job on it’s own, so how do you do both and succeed?  I am lucky in that I have flexibility in my job- I don’t punch a clock or work for anyone else- so if I want to come home at lunch to spend an hour with my son I can.  And my job provides the ability to hire full time help within our home (which is proving to be scary and hard).  I have a loose idea of how I want to do this, but I also know that once this baby arrives all my plans will probably go out the window.

Any tips from you moms who work and have families would be wonderful to hear.  Your struggles, your successes- I love having this platform to open the discussion not only for me but for others who may be in the same position.

 

 

 

91 comments

  1. Congratulations on all of the big things in your life right now! I’m so glad you started this conversation. My daughter is almost 12 weeks, and I started easing back into work when she was 8 weeks. I’ve really enjoyed reading all the comments (made me feel better about some of the struggles I’ve faced). I would love a follow up post to this one to hear about how you made (or are trying to make) things work, and any advice you may be able to pass along soon enough.

  2. Congratulations! My best piece of advice is to remember every now and then to give yourself a break from “the working mom guilt.” You are doing your absolute best and your baby will feel that.

  3. Hello Erin,

    Thank you for the wonderful book and your active blog.

    I would say that that does not really matter when you return back to work after getting a baby, as long as you create and maintain a strong bound with him.

    Good luck with everything,
    Julia

  4. Erin,
    There is so much good advice here I don’t know that I can be any more helpful than all of your readers before me. So I’ll just share how I make it work.

    My story – I work full time and have an 11 month old daughter.

    How I make it work? My mother lives with me Mon-Fri and takes care of her full time. I have a babysitter whom I adore that I found through a friend who helps supplement when my Mom needs it and that we use occasionally on the weekends.

    So I will second, third and fourth what a lot of people have said here – HELP IS ESSENTIAL. My mom makes so much possible for me – work travel, evening events, me time etc. But I realize this is not an option for most. I am extremely fortunate. She is the one that told me to OUTSOURCE everything possible. Don’t clean your house, don’t mow your lawn, don’t feel the need to cook gourmet meals. Your priorities are your baby, your husband and your job (and okay, the dogs too!). The other stuff – hire someone else to do it. I also had a baby nurse for 2 weeks when I first came home from the hospital and that was very helpful for my recovery and I learned a lot from her (esp for me since I had a c-section).

    I make time for myself. This is crucial. This is typically what falls through the cracks – you will get the job done and you will spend time with your child but you will forget about yourself. Even if it’s a yoga class, a manicure, a coffee with a friend while the baby naps and Andrew stays home – DO IT. You will be shocked at how rejuvenating it can be to have 1 hour to yourself when you have a baby. My husband and I do a lot of “swapping” on the weekends – one stays home with her while she naps while the other goes out. Then we switch for the afternoon nap (this is of course after baby gates is older and on a nap schedule). We both get to do what we want (and errands, groceries etc) and when we ARE home together – we are HAPPIER because of it.

    Which leads me to my next point – I truly believe that I am a more present, happy Mom because I work. And I know for certain because you love your job that you will be too. When you are home, try to make a rule about putting the phone/computer away and BE THERE. You can always answer emails when baby gates goes to sleep.

    Most of all – enjoy the ride. Being a parent and watching your child grow and develop – It is truly the most fun I’ve ever had and the happiest I’ve ever been. Get ready to fall in love!

    Kaajia xo

  5. Like others have said, help us everything! I can say this as a Mom of two small children and someone that has worked and not worked over the last three years. When I wasn’t working I needed lots of help because they were so small and I got PP Anxiety, which so many people overlook. Having a caring nanny who could let me take a break, listen to my anxiety filled rants, and help navigate those first bumpy months was everything. And as they got older I started working again and now I need it professionally and still for those breaks. Whether it is date nights, book club, errands, or just reading a book/Vogue in the quiet for a bit (I’m that mom reading solo at Starbucks sometimes! No shame!) take time for yourself. It makes you a better mom, wife, and co-worker. So excited for all your upcoming adventures and accomplishments!

  6. I only work part time so I can’t give advice as others can, but I do want to say this…I think being a mom means feeling guilty a lot. And maybe that’s just my personality, or a new mom who needs to figure it out, but it did surprise me at first. I felt guilty for leaving him anytime but then I felt guilty for not leaving him. I think it just comes down to loving your kid so much that you want to do the best…but having to realize that you need or want to do other things too, whether for yourself personally or for your family…you can’t do it all so just enjoy your time together.

  7. I haven’t worked since my son was 6 months old, so not since 2002 (and that was by choice, and I did not leave a career that brought me any joy!) I think the article you linked was good….if you have the patience to read it. If you were to print it out, it was 38 pages long, and if you were the working mom she was making the point about, you seriously don’t have time to read an article that long!

    I think if you are presented with an opportunity that you want to take advantage of, and it balances with your priorities (i.e. family, or other commitments), then go for it. We only get one shot at life, so make the most of it, no matter if you work, stay at home, or do something in between!

  8. Au Pair! They key is the flexibility. You can change schedule week to week depending on whether you’ll be at home, meeting with client, etc. some people balk at having their help live with them but you’ll be all smiles when you hear your baby wake at 5 am and you drift happily back to sleep knowing today is the au pair ‘s turn to get up with him. And it’s affordable. Works out to something like $8/hour.

  9. One tip: if you use an agency, of course they will have checked references for you BUT be sure to call each and every one personally. I formerly owned a nanny agency and we did our reference homework but always encouraged clients to call references and ask their own questions. You’d be surprised how much more a former employer is likely to tell you as opposed to what they may have shared with the agency.

  10. My biggest piece of advice (something I am working hard on trying to do myself!) is to not compare yourself career-wise to people without kids, and not compare yourself as a mom to people without careers. You can do both well…but you simply can’t devote 100% of your time and energy to each.

    I try to think of life as a pie…everyone has to decide for themselves how big each piece is going to be. There’s family, work, travel, exercise, stuff like getting your hair & nails done/shopping for new clothes, reading, volunteering, staying caught up on current events, etc, etc. Devote the time, money, and energy that feels right to you to each, and take pride and satisfaction in a full life, well lived.

    If someone else’s career is going gangbusters, or they’re talking about all the amazing things they did with their kids last week, or they’re super put together with perfectly shiny hair….know that they are sacrificing other pieces of the pie and making the choices that feel right to them.

    Best of luck with all the exciting things coming your way!

  11. I went back to work when my “baby” (she’ll be 7 this month!) was 12 weeks old. I had zero guilt until she was a little older (like 3 years old probably), but my husband I made some life changes that now afford us the “luxury” of being able to be more present in her life. (By luxury, I mean selling our new construction dream house and moving to a fixer upper closer to both of our jobs so we can be more present in her life, and spend less time commuting.)

    The most important things to remember is “having it all” is relative. Having it all doesn’t mean being a full-time SAHM, or being a workaholic who takes no maternity leave. What do YOU want? If you have what YOU want, then you have it all. Even if all you want in a given day is a nap and an iced coffee. If you get to take a nap and sip your coffee before all the ice melts, you won the day.

    1. Oh, and I may be calling on you at some point to consult on some projects in that previously mentioned fixer-upper. We’re just a few miles west of you!

  12. HAVING IT ALL
    You already have it all. However, even the best lives, greatest husbands, fulfilling career and adorable kids come with challenges. Your love for your son will trump your love for you career and it will feel weird at first but it will teach you that your heart can love many different ways.

    MOM GUILT
    I have a unique perspective on mom guilt. I believe moms have guilt hard wired into us to make sure we stay the course. Trust me there will be days you will want to run for the hills (totally normal) but then your mom guilt will guide you back.

    Don’t be afraid of mom guilt just know it is your subconscious telling you that you love someone more than your rationale mind can grasp. An example of mom guilt….I really wanted to come to your book signing today but I live 2 hours away. My husband said just go and while we figuring out the logistics to get me there my kids heard us and said, “No mom, you can’t go we will miss you at bedtime”. So although I really want to meet you my mom guilt is telling me to stay home. Tonight when I am snuggled up reading a book to them after a long day at work I will know I am in the right place.

    MATERNITY LEAVE
    I own a business and took 6 weeks maternity not because I had a set maternity leave but because my business needed me. Be leery of coming back slowly. If you have a demanding business once you walk through the door it will swallow you up and your maternity leave will be gone before you decided it was over. Maybe it can be done I just never achieved it.

    I had a colicky baby that I could not get to stop crying and I had no idea what I was doing as a mom. My career was taking off whether I wanted it to or not. My only saving grace was my husband who made me laugh when my life was spinning out of control. Don’t be afraid to admit when you are being crazy, to cry when you need to and when all else fails make yourself a cup of tea and remind yourself that you are Rock Star because all moms are Rock Stars.

    CRAZY PANTS
    You have the personality and drive to be successful and a great mom so take advantage of your gift. I tell this to all my mom friends….If there is a choice of living your life on a merry-go-round or a roller coaster…I am running for the roller coaster. So go get em tiger….it will be crazy, messy and downright unbearable at times but so rewarding. Good luck. Can’t wait to read all about it.

  13. share a nanny! It links you with another mom going through the same things and provides a fantastic network for you and your child. I lived in Australia for 20 year where I had my kids and where public health sets us up in mothers groups – to form a support system in that first year especially. “mums” that went back to work often would share a nanny in one of their homes. so good for socialization of the children and so nice to have another mom to go through it all together. I also actually worked as a nanny while I was in College there doing my teaching degree ( Education majors- a good source for nannies) and two children are often easier and more fun than one. You also might find a baby nurse is more appropriate in the beginning and then a nanny for the second year. I was the college kid that stepped in after a baby nurse and loved the playing in the sand box, doing art projects, making play dough , singing songs and going for strolls….after a baby nurse got the families through the first year of sleeping and feeding. I also did laundry and dinner prep during nap time! But I must say my mantra was child first- chores second. And one family I work for had someone who ran errands- grocery and dry cleaner., etc……the more you can delegate the more time you have for the fun stuff with your little one. As a mom though- I always loved baby bath time- save that one for yourself….the baby massage with lavender oil, stealing kisses from your gorgeous baby, and the sleepy snuggles afterwards- divine! With your flexible schedule you can also do the fun mommy and me toddler classes- and leave the nanny at home to do things like dinner prep….then drop little one at home for nap time and back to work for you…..you can have it all ….but you definitely can’t do it all! lots of helpers required

  14. I’ve been a reader for years, so you don’t have to remind me that you are a perfectionist. HAH!!

    I would start by re-imagining a full-time schedule. Maybe you can work 8-6 a couple of days and work half days the rest. And who says full-time means 5 days or 40 hours. Once I had a baby I didn’t focus on time working, I focused on the outcome of my work. Figure out what needs to get done, WRITE IT DOWN, and when you’ve done it GO HOME. I know, easier said than done.

    Juggling is BS. The key is to take as many of those balls as possible and throw them to someone else altogether!!! Outsource as much as you can stand – housecleaning, grocery shopping, laundry. Use online shopping and save yourself time on shopping trips. Menu plan at least a week out so you do one shopping trip a week. Use a meal delivery service and you can spend time with the baby instead of cooking. Have yoga sessions at home and you won’t have to spend time driving to and from a studio. Whatever frees up time.

    Don’t scrimp on child care. Peace of mind at work comes from believing that your child is cared for by someone amazing, so spend what it takes to give you that peace of mind.

    Finally don’t just expect the unexpected, learn to love it.

    Good luck!!!

  15. Reading all of these comments just reminds me that working moms are a tribe. I have found that having close friends who are also working moms has been some of the best support for me. It is nice to have people around who understand your struggles and confirm that you are not crazy! Also, you get to steal their good ideas for making it all work. I work full time as an attorney and have a one year old. So far the key for me has been teamwork with my husband and figuring out shortcuts that give me more time with my daughter (like grocery delivery and pre-cooked meals). Also, we use an accredited day care and it has been an awesome experience for us. As other commenters have mentioned- having good child care is worth every penny for your piece of mind. Good Luck!!

  16. I am a single mother by choice of a 3 year old and I work full time. It isn’t easy and a lot of times it is super hard. But there is so much joy that makes it all worth it. Ask for help and accept it readily when offered. Most of all, be gentle with yourself. Most of the things we worry about, are inconsequential in the life of a child. All of the stress we put on ourselves is just dragging us down. Need to put the baby in front of the television for a few minutes or an hour so you can have a breather, make some coffee, do a laundry, wash the dishes, read a magazine–it’s fine. Need to stay late at work to finish something up once in a while—the child will not be emotionally scarred for life……remember it’s all good and you’re doing fine.

  17. One day at a time. And make peace with who you are. There are days that my kids would rather I stay home with them than go off to do the job I love, and it – honestly – never gets easier to walk out that door. But I also know – having been down this road a thousand times – that the answer about whether to continue working has always been the same… yes yes yes… for so many reasons, yes. And I can either trust that and respect my own choices or I can drive myself and everybody else completely insane. No regrets. Do the best you can, and then let it go. It will be wonderful. And sometimes it won’t. And becoming a mother will make you so much WISER professionally. And there are times when I realize that being a professional has made me better humored and more gentle with my kids, too. It’s a long road, sometimes bumpy, but always powerful and larger than any one of us. Go for it, Darlin! Congratulations on the new ventures!

  18. I’ve been a mom for almost 7 years (I have two girls 20 months apart) and work full-time. Truthfully, some days are great and some really suck. What saved me in the early years was hiring the best nanny I could find and then treating her with the utmost respect and affection. Yes, I was the employer but I always listened to her advice and when we had issues related to the kids (which everyone does), we worked them out together. Some people treat their nannies like they’re servants and hover over them, nitpick, micromanage, etc. I just couldn’t see myself doing that. Too exhausting and emotionally draining. Also, the best nanny isn’t always the most experienced. Go with your gut (and don’t forget the background check!). I cried crocodile tears once the kids started school full-time and I let her go. Luckily, I still see her around the neighborhood!

  19. I’m not a mommy, I’m a grandma and part of the patchwork solution for our grandkids. We babysit on theater nights and every few months we take the kids ages 3 and 9 for three days and mommy and daddy enjoy a spa weekend, catch up on sleep, get massages and just enjoy each other without worrying. They NEED this.

    It’s what works for them. You’ll find your own path. But find time to be a couple.

  20. Hi Erin

    I read your post and later that day opened up an Agatha Christie called ‘Taken at the Flood’. This quote is on the opening page and made me think so strongly of you!

    There is a tide in the affairs of men.
    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
    Omitted, all the voyage of their life
    Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
    On such a full sea are we now afloat,
    And we must take the current when it serves,
    Or lose our ventures.

    It’s originally from Julius Caesar. Your post says to me that you are taking life at the flood. You have a great support system and recognise yourself so you can see where your danger areas are likely to be; perfectionism, need for medication etc

    That makes you strong. Just remember to be kind to yourself as well and you’ll continue being a success.

    All the best x

  21. I think the most important thing to remember is that you are going to feel like a failure at somethings sometimes. It’s natural, and part of what being a working mom is. Getting past that, and looking forward to the successes is the key. Mom guilt? You’re going to have it. Work guilt? I have that too. But, I try to focus on things that I have done well at, and hopefully those sink in.

    I think having a partner who is 50/50 is incredibly helpful as well. My husband gets that picking up the treats for the birthday celebration at daycare is something that doesn’t take very long, but is ON MY LIST OF THINGS TO DO. And the simple act of taking it off my plate and adding it to his can make me feel that much more capable of handling the rest of the items on the list.

    Lastly, I think there are areas in my life as a mom that I have chosen to just not be perfect at, and I’m okay with that! I’m never going to be the perfect Pinterest Mom and have a perfect birthday party for my daughter, but I can guarantee that she’ll be surrounded by family that loves her and we will celebrate the heck out of her while eating pizza that I just ordered.

    So, in sum, accept the guilt, ask for help, and choose to be happy with yourself and your parenting! The simple fact that you are even contemplating this before you have your child means that you are leaps and bounds ahead of a lot of parents out there.

  22. I’m so happy for you! I’m a mom of two small ones, age 1 & 3, and since we live in Sweden we get to enjoy pretty good benefits what comes to child care – they go to kindergarden which they love, and both I and my Mr work. An excellent thing I noticed when we had kids: nobody is as insanely efficient as parents with small kids! I built my design business while at home with #1 and kept building it while at home with #2, we also renovated a house, sold it, built a new a house and I resigned from my previous IT job, and now work full time with my business. It’s exactly as you say, Being your own boss you can pick the kids at lunch and just hang out, of work when they sleep, whichever suits your family and business. You will find a way! Oh, remember to get some extra sleep anytime possible :)

  23. Oh, pretty please–cherish raising your son and don’t leave the moments to a nanny. Accept the nighttime feelings, the stomach bug, the mud that boys love to play in. I went back to work when my boy started 1st grade, and everything just fell into place. He’s in college now, and chose to go 1200 miles away to a very prestigious school. He is such a confident, compassionate, hard-working young man full of integrity and great stories! I miss him so much I ache, but all those sacrifices have reaped great rewards– I get to stand back and say wow! Look at the man-child I raised!

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