Before Knox was born, I worked out of our extra bedroom. My little office had quite a nice setup and I spent my days quietly editing, letting the dogs in and out, and occasionally doing a load of laundry. When asked about having kids, people would comment about "how flexible" my job was and I would agree (still do for the most part).
Enter Child #1. I have to tell you that I can't really remember this stage too much. Perhaps I have blocked it from my mind?!? Haha. I took off a solid 3 months for maternity leave (which I definitely needed) and continued to work from home then. I remember some late nights up editing on my computer. We also had my sister in town who was (and still is) always a great help, along with a couple of friends who nannied for us for a while. Friends that don't mind your kid pooping on them are friends forever. :)
Eventually, I felt that Knox was just straight up bored with me at home all the time. And I still needed to get some work done. So, we found a great daycare 3 minutes from our house. He could come and go anytime between 7:30 am and 6 pm- but it was usually more like 10 am to 5 pm. It wasn't long before we opened Culture Clothing and I had an automatic, perfect little office space there. So, I moved everything up to the store and it was really great.
I'd take Knox to daycare, head up to the store, meet with clients, edit in peace....ahhh.....
The whole time we were hoping for another baby- via pregnancy, or adoption, or both. (Guess what?!? Both are happening!) We bought a new, bigger, forever house. It had a wall that was begging me to make into a little office space. I was missing time with kid numero uno. So, I moved my office home, and Knox started a preschool that only went 4 days a week until 2:30 pm. It was a really, really great situation.
And then I got pregnant. (Praise the Lord! A real, true miracle.) I was already all set up at home, so it was pretty much the perfect situation in which to welcome another child. Knox will still be going to school 4 days/week this year- though he's out of school till September (cue Netflix movies and "ok, kid...go outside!"). I absolutely love working from home. I mean, I GET to hangout with my kids, be in my pajamas, and still do what I love. It's incredible and sometimes I don't get how it all works out.
I know I'll never officially "quit" photography. It's too big a part of my life and my passion. I've always identified more with the "working mom" than the "stay at home mom". So I've never really mourned the fact that I'm not completely a stay-at-home-mom. (Because let's be honest- that may be more than I'm cut out for!)
Through all the changes in my work life, my love for photography has not changed. My perspective has, however. Instead of working my tail off so that I can spend time on personal projects and grow my business and travel, I work my tail off to spend time with some new, well..."personal projects" a.k.a. Knox and Liv. My motivation to work (and produce quality work) is stronger- because I have some little people depending on me. And because my time away from them better be really fruitful to be worth it!
Without a doubt, the most difficult part of being a work at home mom has been managing expectations. My expectations of myself, my clients' expectations of me as a professional, my friends' and acquaintances' expectations of me as someone who is home all the time with a "flexible schedule", my expectations of how I want to run my business. It's a lot for one little brain that is sleep deprived and needs more coffee.
The beautiful thing is, as far as other people (clients, friends, my husband) are concerned, there is SO much grace. A sweet, understanding client put a check in my mailbox today so that I could continue putting Liv down for a nap uninterrupted. How amazing is that?!? And the truth is, most of my clients are like this. It blows my mind that I have clients that totally get the fact that I may be covered in spit-up while I return their email, AND they still want to pay me money. THANK YOU for that. I have friends that I know would be glad to take my hungry, bored, need-a-bath kids for a while if I was desperate. But dealing with my self-imposed expectations, ugh. That is another story.
So far, I'm managing. By God's grace, my blessed "village", and coffee. I'm learning to talk to myself (yes, this happens out loud waaaay more than I care to admit)- and tell myself to chill out. That pocket of time will come- be it late at night or whenever- that I will get some serious productive work done. I used to be weirded out when someone sent me a professional email at 1 am. Now, I completely get it. I'm so thankful that kids become more self-sufficient and that babies eventually eat just a few times a day instead of every 2-3 hours. But I also don't want to miss out on the right-now, crazy good chaos.
So, cheers to you all you work at home mommas! Your time and efforts are not wasted. No, you won't get everything done. Who cares if you haven't showered for two days?!? If I could I'd buy you all coffee and a spa package. But I don't have time for that, and you know why. :)