Today I thought I’d share some of the ways that I combine my work with my parenting. Especially this time of year, I have to work a lot. My toy making is the only source of income that we have, and as I am fond of telling my son: we gotta make hay while the sun shines (he thinks it’s hilarious).
In December, I work pretty much all day, but during the year, I tend to work about 4 or so hours a day on the actual making of toys, I also do customer service, packing, blogging. I work every day though: 7 days a week. I prefer to do it that way, because then I can take off whenever I don’t feel like working or if it’s a nice day, and I want to go to the lake (in the summer). Working every day also allows me to knock off at 2 or 3 p.m. most days to focus on my son.
The biggest thing that I’ve done recently to allow me to get more work done is to get up before my son. I’ve been trying to get up before 7 a.m. I used to stay up later than him, but it didn’t work. I never got any work done, because at night, I’m tired. I don’t feel like working. But if I rise before my son, then I am ready to go, and I can actually get an hour of work in before I have to come up and make breakfast and play games.
During the non-Christmas season, I try to spend no more than an hour in the basement while my son is awake. In this respect, I think it would be better to have multiple children, because they could keep each other company playing while I was working.
The time not in the basement is spent on customer service, gluing, assembling, finishing, wood burning. And it is a significant portion of the time spent on a toy. While I’m finishing toys or painting, I can play with my son. I make the people or animals talk, and he moves them around or we play games where we are the animals. This is the time that we talk, and he might work on a craft or a letter to his Nana or uncle.
I also spend a lot of time sanding. When I’m sanding with a power sander, I enjoy doing it outside if the weather isn’t too cold. If I am sanding outside, Caleb will go outside and play. If I’m sanding by hand like for small animals or keys, I put them in a bag with 2 sections. As I sand them, I move them from one section to the other. I take this bag everywhere-to the park, to the beach, to the lake, while Caleb is riding his bike, on walks, to the dirt piles. I do a lot of hand sanding, and it’s more fun when my attention is elsewhere.
While I’m in the basement, I generally put a video on for my son. He may watch it, or he may find something else to play with, but he likes to have some noise or at least the potential for noise while I’m working in the basement. I do prefer the time before he was aware of videos when he would just play, but … I haven’t decided to cut them out completely yet.
So those are my main strategies for working and mothering. Other tips would be to take frequent breaks. Make sure you have proper meals. Try not to feel guilty about working-kids have no qualms about spending your money and they really like things like water and electricity and groceries.
Whenever I start feeling guilty because I can’t spend every waking minute doing fun stuff with my son, I remind myself that there are trade-offs to the life that I have chosen, and my son will be a better person for having to entertain himself for some time each day.
So what are your strategies for getting things done with kids around? Do you work from home for pay or for free like all mothers? What sort of work do you do? I loved all the comments from yesterday, by the way. 🙂