Today I’m excited to share a chat with my friend and fellow blogger, Natalie Borton about her life as a working mom from home. Natalie recently launched a jewelry business and has an active toddler on her hands, she’s also a contributor at Glitter Guide and just bought a new home. To say she has her hands full is an understatement! Since I work from home, I’m always curious to see how other moms do it and what works for them. I especially love Natalie’s advice in the very last question. Thanks Natalie!!
Read more interviews with inspiring mama’s right this way!
Hi, I’m Natalie! I’m a jewelry designer and lifestyle blogger living in San Diego with my husband Brian and our 2-year-old son Jack. I design minimalist, California-inspired jewelry for everyday wear. Each piece is handmade in limited quantities in San Diego with new designs released weekly. When you buy something from my shop, you can rest assured that you are one of a small group of people who owns it! Because it is a cause near and dear to my heart, I donate a portion of every sale to NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association).
I’ve been working from home for years, so when Jack was born it was natural to just continue working from home as a stay-at-home, work-at-home mom. At that time I was focused mostly on blogging, but also working on getting my jewelry business going. I launched it in October 2015 just after Jack turned 1 and it’s been the best career decision I’ve ever made! I love that I get to be my own boss and most importantly, always be available for Jack. Being a mom is my favorite role in life!
Being self-employed has been a great decision for me, but I know it’s not for everyone. In order to really succeed in the blogging industry or any other creative, entrepreneurial endeavor, you have to be able to set boundaries between your work and personal lives, and you have to be incredibly self-motivated. If all of that sounds doable to you, then I say GO FOR IT! Being your own boss when you have young children is such a blessing and can offer not only a creative outlet but an immense amount of flexibility so you can be available to those you love.
I have part-time childcare and am otherwise home with Jack, working only during nap times or after he goes to bed. Our nanny—who is also my intern!—is with him all day on Tuesdays and in the mornings on Friday and then she stays through his nap time to help my with the business stuff. I really don’t know what I’d do without her at this point!
I usually wake up whenever Jack wakes up. I know a lot of successful entrepreneurs talk about setting your alarm before your kids and getting ready and all that, but honestly that just doesn’t work for me! Becoming a mom has made me the opposite of a morning person and I find I just have a way better day if I let myself sleep as long as possible, even if that means my hair doesn’t get done that day! That being said, Jack is always up by 7am so it’s not really “sleeping in,” haha.
Once I’m up, I quickly get myself together—wash my face, fix my hair, put on a little makeup, etc—though I often stay in my sweats until I know the plan for the day. Then I’ll go get Jack from his crib and we’ll hang out downstairs while I drink my coffee. If it’s a work morning, we’ll play together until his nanny Sydney arrives and I can get started. If not, I’ll usually make a plan for us get out of the house, whether it be for a play date at a friend’s house, the beach, or the local botanical gardens (one of our favorites!).
Jack naps from 1-4 every day so that time is usually work time no matter what. I love to work on making whatever current design I’ve been working on and turn on a movie or a show in the background to have a productive-yet-restful time. The afternoon is usually spent at home and then when my husband gets home we’ll chat about our day and play with Jack until bedtime, which we tend to do together because it’s more fun that way.
I’ve pretty much given up on the idea of working when Jack is with me! The only thing I’ve found that sometimes works is to keep my laptop on the kitchen island so if I can get him to play solo for awhile I can sneakily answer emails. But it’s definitely not a super productive time and I’ve decided to just accept the reality that while I have little kids, I won’t get much done when they’re around. This season is so sweet and so short so I always try to cherish it rather than resent it!
Lately I’ve been relying on a Simplified Planner to jot down all of my to-do’s, projects, appointments, reminders, etc. And if there’s something really important, I’ll also add it to my phone calendar so that I can set it up to give me a reminder beforehand.
My intern Sydney takes my style photos. We’ve done a lot of shoots around the house while Jack is napping, but recently started to get out of the house on Friday mornings together and just bring Jack along with us. He’s a pretty easy, chill toddler and as long as he gets to be in some of the photos and knows there are good snacks to be had, he thinks it’s pretty fun.
I always love to spend time with Brian on Friday nights, whether with our friends or just the two of us. We love to have friends over for at-home happy hours/takeout dinners and let all of our kids run wild in the backyard, or if it’s just the two of us we’ll relax with some wine and a good show after Jack goes to bed. We are definitely homebodies!
Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley, Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist and The Cool Factor by Andrea Linett. I’m definitely a non-fiction girl.
Oh gosh, that’s hard! There are so many good ones. I love the Little Blue Truck series because my son is OBSESSED with trucks and they all have a good lesson in them, but my favorite is probably King Jack and the Dragon, mostly because it’s about an adventurous little boy named Jack and has cute illustrations.
This is a wild season of life that requires so much of you. But if you have to let anything slide, let work take the hit rather than your role as a mom. Our little people depend on us so much and one day we’ll be wishing they still wanted to just spend hours with us doing nothing!
Images by Sydney Roach