WAHM-the Balancing Act

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. 🙂

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7 thoughts on “WAHM-the Balancing Act

  1. River is my third baby, and he gets alot more breast feeding than the girls did because he loves it and it keeps him quite, I can go on the computer or read a book to one of the girls or listen to them read. I have tried knitting but that can go a bit wrong if exploring hands grab the wool like a kitten. hand sewing small felt things is ok, I can put them down quickly if he comes over (he’s almost one) but I do the cutting out at night or when he sleeps, as small pointy scissors and babies don’t work well together.

  2. I work 4pm to midnight, four days a week as a manager for McDonald’s This allows me to be home with my kids during the day and to utilize a baby sitter who comes to our home for five hours a week instead of taking them to daycare all day. Sometimes I don’t get enough sleep, but for the most part this works well for us. We have three kids and the youngest is three so we are getting to the point in our lives where things are a lot easier and we are able to work on chores and home school together and the younger kids are able to entertain each other while my oldest gets his work done. I also host group buys so I spend a lot of time organizing buys and then packaging and shipping them when they arrive to me. I have relied on nap time to do these things as well as paying a sitter to play with them and keep them busy. Now that they no longer nap, if they aren’t able to entertain themselves or I feel like we haven’t had quality time together that day, the group buys have to wait until after bed time. I am a night owl though and my kids sleep late, so it works for us. It can be very hard to balance work and kids, whether it be the actual source of income or the responsibilities of the house. Our house is pretty cluttered and chaotic at times, but I came to terms with the fact that 20 years down the road, my children won’t care about how clean the house was, but they will hopefully cherish all the time we spent together. It is nice that you are able to do much of your work while interacting with your son.

  3. I work at home… for free 🙂 I also like to get up before everyone else does to get a head start on the day as it makes the morning much less rushed and sets the tone for the rest of the day.

  4. I work from home…for free. I do have my hobby of knitting, crocheting, and sewing that I do on the side that I enjoy the money from but it isn’t enough to call it my job 🙂

    when I do want to work on something it is normally during nap time or bed time. However if it is while the kids are awake then they keep each other occupied. If my son’s at school and it’s just me and the 2 year old, I don’t usually get anything done. But we do turn on PBS and she loves to watch Daniel Tiger, so I get 30 minutes of knitting time in. But she’s the kind that won’t sit and watch…she just needs noise on in the background while playing with her puppies.

  5. I stay home with my son (almost 4). We get together with friends or family a few days a week but usually set aside at least 1 or 2 whole days to just stay home. I don’t feel any responsibility to keep him entertained. Once in awhile I’ll build blocks with him, we read together several times a day and sometimes he helps me around the house or garden. Other than that he plays happily by himself.

  6. i am a stay at home mom of an 11 month old. i find myself searching for purpose. there are some many people who judge you and look down at you for being JUST a stay-at-home mom. i have a blog that i have neglected for fear of judgement of others for our parenting choices and how we live life. we spend most of our days at home, since we only have one vehicle my husband uses for work. i find myself at the end of the day wondering if im just wasting time day by day because it seems nothing gets accomplished. until eden does something that melts my heart and reminds me that the sacrifices that we have made for me to stay at home are so worth it! i babywear eden so i can get housework and dinner done, sometimes she even takes a nap in there!

    • There is no such thing as JUST a stay at home mom. Staying at home with your kids gives them the freedom to do what they want and need to be. I have so many great memories of lazy summer days playing all day or after school games. Memories that don’t even include by SAHM, but were made possible by her. If she had worked, we may have spent all summer in day camps like a lot of kids have to do. Or we may have had to stay in after-care at school every day. Staying home gives our kids what they need. Your baby is only 11 months, you’ll have plenty of time to get things done. If you don’t have to work, enjoy it! At that age, I was getting up a 3 am every single morning to deliver newspapers for 2 or 3 hours. Staying home taking care of children all day IS work, you just don’t get paid. 😛

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