One of the most frequent questions I get is how I ‘balance’ all of my different roles — mother, Brand + Creative Partnership Director at Glitter Guide, co-founder of Kruse & Vieira Events and of course running this site, The Mama Notes! Since this week I’m working without our nanny before Piper starts school, I thought I’d share an overview of what I do and how I divide my time.
Typically I have childcare MWF. Tuesday and Thursday are always changing, sometimes my husband watches Piper and sometimes I’m alone, so I’ve gotten used to being able to manage and balance working odd hours.
There are four things that I’ve learned in the past two years of working this way.
#1: I finally stopped feeling guilty when Piper was around 20 months about working while she was at home with me instead of playing with her 24/7. I realize that it’s not the most ideal situation to be on my laptop in front of her, but it allows me to work from home. I have dedicated time that I give her my undivided attention and she’s wonderful at independent play. I used to feel an incredible amount of guilt about this but now I look at it in a whole new light. I’m so grateful that I can work from home with her some of the time.
#2: I sacrifice a lot of my personal time in order to make this arrangement work. But again, to me its worth it. I wish I wasn’t always working late after dinner, but if it means I can work from home and watch my kids grow it’s worth it. It’s why my house is far from being decorated after a year of living in here and has so many unfinished projects, my yard looks like crap and I rarely wear makeup or do my hair during the week! I wish I could be a more thoughtful friend, spend more time with my friends AND my husband.
#3 I’ve not always been able to work this much while at home with Piper, by any means. Right now she’s at a golden age where I can get a lot done during the day with her. It won’t be like this for much longer!
#4 Mornings are my optimal time to work. I’ve always loved working in the morning and am super productive during this time. It’s usually always worth it to get up an hour before Piper to spend more time working. Mornings also work great for Piper right now – she is so content and happy entertaining herself or doing different activities I set out for her.
First – here’s a look at my goals going into the week. This schedule doesn’t always happen but it’s what I strive for….
An Example — how this Monday looked when I was alone with Piper from 9am-6pm!
6:30-9:30am: Worked on Glitter Guide while Piper played independently. We always hang out upstairs first and I work on the couch while she reads books etc. I had a few “new” games for her to play with (puzzle, stringing beads). Rotating her toys, games and books and always having something “new” helps keep her occupied. She rarely asks for my attention during this time. Around 8:30am we move to the playroom where ALL of her toys are. She played again independently and I set out a “new” activity for her — stamps!
9:30-10:00am: We both got dressed and “ready” for the day.
10:00-11:00am: Outing outside of the house. If I’m alone all day with her we almost always take an outing somewhere. On Monday we went to the library and then stopped by the fabric store to pick up a few things for upcoming projects.
11:00-12:30pm: Outside play. It’s was so beautiful that I brought my laptop out and was able to knock out another hour of work while Piper played in the yard! It was pretty great.
12:30-1pm: Lunch + nap time prep!
1:00-3:00pm: My second block of work for the day. I take care of calls during this time or anything I really need to concentrate on. On Monday I spent an hour working on Glitter Guide, quickly checked Mama Notes email for about 30 minutes and then sent a few KVE emails & worked on a floral proposal for another 30 minutes. It always flies by.
3:00-3:30pm: We always read books together when Piper wakes up, she’s usually much more needy in the afternoon and it takes her a while to wake up. Then we both have a snack together, usually a smoothie! I don’t typically count on getting much work done after her nap, but if I can squeeze in a 30 minutes to work on a post, browse the web for shopping round ups etc. I do!
3:30-4:00pm: Cosmic Kids Yoga video! Piper loves doing these videos and it’s screen time I’m OK with during the week. I sneak in another 30 minutes of work here.
4:00pm-4:30pm: I finished up a few emails while Piper read new library books.
4:30pm-7pm: Shut down my laptop for the work day. We took a walk and I did a new workout while I pushed Piper in her stroller. Then it was time for dinner prep, bath, bedtime routine. I also try to CLEAN up the mess that we made during the day and have Piper help me. I just let it go during the day and by dinner it’s usually a disaster.
7:00pm: Took a long shower
7:30pm-10pm: Evening work, mostly on Mama Notes
10:00-10:30pm: Read in bed
Phew, that’s a lot! Let me know if you have any other questions, I’d be happy to share more about specifically what’s helped me get to this point and more about what I do with Piper :)
Image by Anna Reynal