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Monday, July 11, 2011

New series: Balancing work/life/motherhood

When Toby was a couple months old, and I started to work again, I was shocked to discover how hard it was to juggle everything....

We found a beloved babysitter, but when she would leave in the afternoons and Toby would cuddle up in my arms, my mind would still be whirring with tasks left undone. Instead of nabbing a few hours in the evenings to finish up work, Alex and I spent all our extra hours taking care of Toby. There just weren't enough hours in the day to fit everything in, and I felt stretched thin--like I wasn't doing a great job at work or motherhood. I had always prided myself on being an efficient worker who could get things done. But now I was totally overwhelmed. What had happened to me? Was I not who I thought I was? I just wanted to take a nap.

When I looked around, other moms seemed to have it down. Walking down the streets of the West Village, Toby and I would pass countless picture-perfect moms with crisp white shirts, pretty makeup and blown-dried hair (!). How were they doing it? Was I the only new mom who was floundering? I couldn’t believe that I was, but no one else seemed to be batting a mascara-ed eyelash. I desperately wanted to be a fly on the wall and see how people really managed their time with work + baby + marriage + life.

Finally, one evening at the playground, I asked a fellow new mother, a freelance graphic designer, about her specific work schedule. To my great surprise, we ended up having a hilarious talk about the ups and downs of finding balance (she admitted to getting four hours of a sleep a night and working on her Blackberry while breastfeeding). I walked home with a huge smile on my face. I wasn't alone! In fact, maybe we were all secretly in the same boat.

Happily, things took a turn after that. I was able to take a deep breath, give myself a break, and slowly figure out a schedule that worked really well for us (which I'm still experimenting with and tweaking!).

Although people do talk overall about the juggle, I've never heard people talk about the actual day-to-day of how they do it, and I'm always so curious about that, aren't you? So let's talk! :) Let's share openly and honestly how we structure our days with work, marriage, baby and life. Let's reveal the ups and downs. Let's be supportive of and gentle with ourselves and each other.

This week, while we're in England, I'm thrilled to share a series of posts from eight working mothers (including Jordan from Oh Happy Day, Jenny from Little Green Notebook, Deb from Smitten Kitchen, myself, and others) about how they juggle their lives. I found the posts fascinating, and I hope you enjoy them. The first is coming right up!

P.S. I'm featuring women in somewhat similar situations--most of them work part- to full-time for themselves from home, live in big cities, and are married with young babies or children--because I wanted to show how these similar women have all created different schedules that work for them. Of course, there's a huge variety of amazing mothers with different jobs, relationships, economic means and situations, but I hope these posts are helpful, relevant, and, at the very least, interesting to everyone. Thank you so much for reading. xo

Update: Here's the full series.

(Photo of newborn Toby)

160 comments:

sandyb said...

Well, I'm not a mommy, but am very interested in how the comments will spill out from your readers.. such an interesting topic. I'm a freelancer myself and wonder, if when baby does come, how will I manage? Looking forward to the nuggets shared here.

Closet Cravings said...

I'm not a mommy, but I'm certain that this will one day be a life lesson for me too. From everything I've read, it seems like finding "balance" is something you figure out with time and experience - and by having a schedule for all of these things. =)

Need it? Want it? Crave it? Satisfy Your Cravings For Celebrity Style and Fashion

Diana Mieczan said...

This sounds like a fantastic series and I can't wait to read all the different takes on the subject. I am not a mom (yet) but as a freelance writer and blogger I often find myself in a pickle with day to day structure and organization. The one thing I started to do is treating myself to a bit of "dolce far niente" which is simply the little pleasures of everyday life that will make me be happier about myself and this way I'll be more productive at work. Have a fantastic time in England, Joanna. Kisses

Nikkie said...

Oh this is interesting! I do not have kids, yet, but planning to have some within the next couple of years. And since I am not planning to give up my career I am so looking forward to read how other moms juggle their worlds. Thanks, Joanna, for bringing this topic up!

Ana Degenaar said...

This is simply genius. I have been asked that question a thousand times and I am not sure my advice is spot-on but reading other experiences is revitalizing. I can't wait. Have the best time in England!

abigail said...

oh my gosh! perfect timing. I can't wait to read these. Our daughter is 8 months old and I am working from home doing a little freelance marketing and website work. It's been tricky to find the time to work and I too was really surprised at how little time I actually have!

I could go on an on about this topic, but for now I will sit with my hands folded and awaited these great posts!

thanks for having a conversation about this!!

~abigail tiptoethrough.blogspot.com

lori said...

although i am not a mommy yet... i look forward to reading these posts! i expect kiddos in the next few years, so id like to know how others make it all work so i have a clue when the time does come! :)

Laura_NEAPOLITAN said...

I am a designer who stays at home with my two children, 3 and 11 mos. I wish I had some "tricks" or "tips" to share, but I don't feel like I have it all together either! And I finally reached a place where I feel sort of okay about that.

I started a small business from home last year, and right around the time my son was born, it started getting some press. I wanted to take advantage of the increase in traffic so I stayed up most nights till 2 or 3 am, creating product and fulfilling orders, and was up again at 5 or 6 with my baby. Eventually it wore me out so I had to majorly scale back on developing my business, at least for the time being, until a sitter for the kids will be financially feasible.

I look forward to seeing the ideas and experiences posted here! Thanks for opening up the discussion, Joanna.

Lindsey N. said...

I'm not a mom yet, but I will be soon! I'm really looking forward to reading this series. So excited!

The Bombshell Manifesto

Tammy said...

Hi Joanna! Love your blog, I'm a huge fan.
I run a photography business from home with a 4 yr old, 18 month old and one on the way. My main piece of advice would be to pick your number one priority. Mine, as most mom's, is my kids. That way, I am never feeling guilty because they are first in my decision making. I send them to the neighbors two mornings a week, and photograph mainly then, after 4:30 (hubby gets home) or on the weekends. But boundaries are set, 2 weekends a month, one evening a week and two mornings. To all else I say no.
Hope that helps, can't wait to read the wonderful posts!

Paulina said...

My baby is due in just under 3 months so this is great timing. I work in an office full time now, but there is the possibility of working from home in the future. Right now, I'm planning to return to work after my 12 weeks unpaid time off runs out. I look forward to read this series and hopefully learn a thing or two!

Amanda Hill said...

What a great idea! I hope to hear great info from these ladies, anything always helps with the balancing.I have 3 kids, my own shop, run a blog, and I do interior design in the free time {there is NO free time so it over laps everything else :) I love what I do and am pretty good at it , but knowing how women like Jenny do it will be so inspiring to hear! Be back tomorrow for the goodness!

mv said...

I can't wait to read the post...
Great idea!!!
I'm a mom of a 7 months boy and started work about 2 months ago. I'm an architect and I feel like I haven't find the balance yet...
I think it will be really interesting to read about other experiences!

Melissa Blake said...

I'm looking forward to the responses also! Although I don't have kids, I work from home several days a week and would love to see tips from other people on how they structure their time! :)

Michelle said...

I am a mom of 2 young kids, a graphic designer running a solo studio, a ceramic artist, and my architect-husband and I are designing a house for our family and should begin building in a few months. I NEVER feel balanced, my house is always a mess, and my son plays too much Wii. But I wouldn't change anything!! Here's how I pretend to do it all...

I have help from my mom and mother-in-law 2 days a week. They come play with the kids, make lunch and are here so that I can run errands, have meetings and get stuff done.

The other three days are like this... during the mornings when both kids are awake I don't work. We just play, run errands, relax. When my daughter takes her nap, my son plays Wii or legos (if he's not in school) and I rush to get as much client work done as I possibly can in two hours. If I have a big deadline, I will work after dinner or after they've gone to bed.

My husband helps to keep the house semi-clean (because you really need to let go of something), I go to my pottery studio once a week in the evening when my husband is home, and I don't worry if my daughter is awake from her nap and I just need 5 more minutes to myself (sometimes that's the only time I have alone!)

So the short of it is: Call your mom for help, let your house be messy, count down the days your kids begin school full-time, and, oh yeah, have a nice stock of wine in the fridge. Then, you too, can do it all!

maggie said...

i am really looking forward to reading the posts by these women and you! i have a 6-month old son and find it very difficult to balance work and baby. i work full time and it is hard for find a balance between work, baby, marriage, friends, household tasks and free time. i look forward to gleaning some tips! thank you, joanna, as ever!

maggie said...

i second the wine, michelle!!

sian said...

i gave up work as a teacher when my son was born. since then i've been selling my art & a bit o' vintage online. brings in a (very little) bit of extra money & stops the dreaded mummy-fication. now we're living on one income we're pretty skinto, can't afford to pay for childcare & live far away from both sets of Gs, i started doing a swap with a friend. my friend and i both get a day off to make art and our little boys get to hang out which they love. i heartily recommend it.

Leica said...

I have to say that I'm a little (OK, a lot) jealous that you get to work freelance and can afford a nanny just for your baby! Then again, I don't plan on going back to work (as a teacher) until my baby is at least a year old, but I'll have to rely on daycare, and that makes me SO nervous! I used to assistant manage a daycare, and some of those workers are NOT nice to kids! I just pray that I can find a nurturing yet affordable daycare for my baby!

dolittledesign said...

I am very interested in reading this coming series on mothers working from home. I have two children and am a freelance graphic designer and manage three Etsy shops. I agree with the previous comment on setting priorities. I think most of us who choose to work from home have set our first priority to spend time with our children. I try to keep that in mind when scheduling work.

-m- said...

Love this idea!
I am a single mother that works every day and goes to school full time. It definitely keeps me busy! I have had to sacrifice my nights and go to school then, so that I am able to see my daughter more. I also chose a day care that is close to my work so that on a slow day in the office, I can sneak away and give her some kisses:)
I am excited to hear the other responses!

Maggie said...

As a recent college graduate, I am finding myself challenged by choosing the career path that is right for me. I want to have a career I'm proud of, but being a mom is going to be so important to me someday. I am so excited to get some inspiration from these women about how to do it all, and maybe help me figure out a path that will let me do the same some day when I have little ones of my own. :) Thanks Joanna, this is wonderful!

cécile said...

Oh Joanna, again it's a perfect timing...!
i started back at work a month ago, and i feel like i'm drowning sometimes...i'm a frelance textile designer, and i feel i am never enough at home and way behind on my workload. and motherhood is questioning my identity so much...it's hard to figure out what kind of mum i want to be, the new women i am, it's even going to the extend where i don't really know how to dress anymore..crazy no?
i'm lucky though because i have found the perfect nanny and she's mad about our baby girl so i feel really safe when i leave home.
i started back on a part time basis which i find ridiculously difficult to handle, as i share my workload with a business partner, i tend to feel guilty i don't put it as much as him and it's very frustrating. i realise i sound very negative here : ) but i have to say that at the moment i find that there are not enough time in a week to be a perfect self employed, slim-and toned-again, energetic worker/mom/spouse !
i have talked to other moms among my friends and they've all rolled their eyes to say, "get use to it as quickly as you can, it's part of the package! "
so basically i am now trying to do my best, and worry less about everything not being perfect as i'd like it to be!
i am not there yet but it's work in progress...
(i'm enjoying those motherhood monday so much, thank you Joanna!)

Vinyasa Mama said...

I am so excited to read these posts! I am a mommy to a 16 month old and am also a freelance graphic designer. To say that finding a work/life balance is tough is an understatement!! In the early days (with a newborn) sometimes it was all I could do to send one reply email a day and the thought of taking on a new client was completely overwhelming.

Thanks so much, Joanna!!

Christi said...

I can't wait to read the upcoming posts and comments on this subject. I too am a new mom, and I need constant reminders that no one is perfect and that it takes time and lots of practice to be able to balance it all. Thanks for starting the conversation, Joanna!

Mal said...

The posts for this coming week sound fascinating! I can't wait to read them all. Hope you're having a blast on vacation.

I am not a mother, but often wonder how moms get it all done, it's amazing!

http://chicgeekery.blogspot.com/

SmartBear said...

This is a topic near and dear to my heart. Can't wait to hear what others have to say. I remember feeling the same way. Why can't I DO this? Everyone seems to be fine. Slowly...one by one, the confessions came.
"I order take out 4 times a week."
"I go back to work when I put my baby down at 8 at night."
"I don't sleep".
It finally became clear that being a working mom means not getting everything crossed off your list everyday like you did before. Which was hard for me to swallow. I just had to abandon the list.
Me? I hired a housekeeper, a lawn mower and even a dogpoop scooper. I once considered hiring someone to do laundry. I nearly broke my bank that first year and a half hiring out people to help manage my life. LOL!
Enjoy your trip.
Best,
Tina

Sara said...

I am 21 weeks pregnant and planning on going back to work so I am looking forward to this series and get some good tips and ideas. Have a wonderful trip!

Christian said...

I can't wait to see this series of posts!!!

As a full-time stay at home mom to two kids and a writer and managing editor of an online site, I do almost all of my work at night, after the kids go to bed.

I write from about 9 pm - 1 am 4 days a week and then answer e-mails on my phone throughout the day. On Sundays my husband takes the kids for a couple of hours so I can get a jump start on my weekly article.

The worst is when I am having trouble piecing a bit together - when you have such limited time you can't afford to have writer's block! The anxiety of wasting my time away on the inability to get into a groove is the worst. Plus, I'm often exhausted after a full day of tent making, bouncy house jumping, cooking & cleaning up after 3 meals, and 6 loads of laundry that I feel like I'm not bringing my best self to 'work'.

The only way I make this schedule work is to have a housekeeper twice a week so that I am not drowning in housework (our house is tiny and with two kids we make a big mess!)

I try not to think about the fact that the housekeeper makes more money then I do - the big picture is that when the kids are in school I will have more time to write and will hopefully be able to parlay the experience I've had with my writing into more paying jobs.

I know I could likely do my schedule better, but I just can't quite see how. I can't wait to see how others do it!

.Jessica. said...

What an adorable photo!

I cannot wait to read this series! I'm a full time grad student and therapist so I'm all for tips on managing time when I return to work from maternity leave.

the Hawks said...

Joanna,
What a great idea! I work part-time from home and part-time in the office and being in ministry, I also work weekends and evenings each week. Our greatest challenge has been how inconsistent my schedule is, which makes it harder to give our little boy the consistency babies need. I can't wait to hear all that these women provide!

Mandi said...

I don't know how working Mommas do it! I think it takes a special woman to be a mom and a career woman. I am a first time mom and my son is 11 months. I feel like it has taken this entire 11 months for things to get back on track, meaning keeping up with the house work, groceries, and taking a shower every once in awhile haha.

SHC said...

thank God for this series of posts - im just too curious about how other mummies do it! the guilt of being at work full-time just got to me - so ive just told my boss that im leaving my job!! looking forward to being a stay home mum, but at the same time thinking up hare-brained schemes on how to work a little from home to keep my mind going! not to say that it isn't challenging mummy-ing full time, but it's just a different skill set being used. hope you have a great time in England!

Anonymous said...

I just read your post and have to leave for an appointment. Can't wait to come back and read the comments and then the other posts this week. Also, I hope you tell us how YOU juggle your work and Toby. Thanks, Joanna!

Michele said...

When I went back to work after my first child, we had what is called a "garde partage" here in Paris. For almost three years, we shared a nanny with another family who lives on our street. Our two girls where born two weeks apart and really are best friends. One week the girls were at our apartment and the next at the other family's. As all employment stuff is highly regulated in France, our nanny had a work contract that guaranteed her paid vacations, health insurance, unemployment, and a retirement. It was really hard leaving my daughter to go to work, particularly when she was little, but it really helped that she loved her Tata and her little friend. Now I am on parental leave with my second. I'm not sure yet when and how I'll go back to working again.

Rebecca said...

This is going to be so great! I hope I can pick up some tips! I have a 14mo old, and work 20 hours a week. I work 1.5 days in my mom-in-law's study while she watches my son, and then I go in to the office one day a week (she watches him again). I'm so blessed to have her free & loving care for him! Still, I have such a hard time balancing mothering and home-work the other days. And little boy lets me know when I'm not doing a good job! :) Thanks for introducing what I know will be an awesome series, Joanna! (I'm esp. excited about Smitten Kitchen :).

Marie-Eve said...

I'm looking foward to see how other mommy's found their balance. I'm still struggling a little (my oldest is 3 years old and my youngest 11 months old.

The easiest way for me is to plan ahead, and be ready for some changes along the way. And to learn to let go, so what if the house is not sparling clean everyday if I got to spend time with the kids.

Holly said...

There couldn't be a better time for me to read this. I have a 6 month old baby boy and am struggling to keep it all going. I work full time so I am not only physically having a hard time getting it all done but emotionally-I miss him! Monday's are the hardest, I get two whole wonderful days with my little man and then I have to drop him off at daycare for 8 hours. I love your comment about blow drying your hair-I tell my friends that is now a luxury! I somehow manage to eat my oatmeal, drink my coffee, and throw on some makeup all while my boy dances on the floor in the morning. Although, I have yet to get to work on time!I joke that I'm lucky I have pants on when I get to work. I think we all know whats important and what can wait-even though it makes you feel a little crazy to have an un-ironed shirt and no mascara on, our babies get the best of us and thats what counts.

Katharine Fuchs said...

I Just sent you the longest email ever with my schedule..or at least the one we are operating with right now. Love that you picked this topic today!

Joanna said...

thank you for covering this topic! my baby is 6 months old and i'm just itching to getting back to my home based business. i've tried a bit here and there, but it's so hard to get everything done!

Jamie said...

I am excited to read this! I work part-time from home, occasionally adjuncting and finishing graduate school up, and I have a 13-month old. It's always a juggling act for me! It's also been hard for me not to feel guilty about having to work, and we just decided to put our daughter in a part-time daycare program last week. So, yes, this series very much appeals to me...

J+J+K said...

This is so wonderful! I can't wait to read other mother's experiences and find common ground!! At the time I had our daughter, I was just starting my own business (I work from home) and I really thought I could juggle both. Thinking back, I think I was totally insane - I didn't have childcare for the first year. I would basically work while she napped and worked after I put her to bed - and still somehow managed to get 8-9 hours work in a day. I was stretched so thin, but I really felt I was capable. I think I was just trying to test my limits and figure out so many things as a new professional mom. Why not - I was able to run complex projects, and multi-task, what's another thing thrown into the mix, right? (ha,ha) I really wished I had the sense to just stop, take maternity leave and ask for help, but I think your in overdrive as a new mom. The hardest challenge for me was to remain flexible and staying organized.

Joanna said...

My Husband and I are both freelance (he's a musician/composer and I'm an actor/tv host/blogger) and so we work both in and out of the home.

Normally, we take switch off taking care of Baby while the other works, and during naps we both get a chance to work (or in my case go for runs as well).

And when she goes to bed we both continue to work for about an hour, and then get together to be a couple. It's definitely a balancing act though!

ModaMama.blogspot.com

Elissa said...

This is a great idea! I've always wondered how other Mom's do it. My schedule consists of getting things done while I can and trying not to overschedule myself. It's when I try to do everything in one day I get overwhelmed. Now I just do what I can and try not to beat myself up when I don't.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is 2.5 and I still don't feel like I have it down. We have great moments and super bad ones. For me the tricky part is not to feel like I'm an unfit mother anytime I see one of those perfectly groom mother with perfectly behaved children... This is where I'm learning everyday: my family is perfect just the way we are.

Angela {Phit Chicks} said...

I've decided there is NO balance. One day you excel at work, another day you excel at being a mom and hopefully occassionally excel at being a wife or just yourself. It may "average" out to balance, but I've decided to just go with the lack-of-flow and love what is going well (because there is ALWAYS someone or something that needs more from me). I love my girl so much that this craziness doesn't matter. :)

burntcreative said...

I get all the "quiet" stuff done while my son is napping. So research, blogging, updating my Etsy shop, paperwork. I do this less because it's quiet and more because these are all the tasks that he likes to interfere with- typing on my laptop, shuffling papers, reading- these are the things he wants to "help" me with. Then while he's awake, and this is key, NOT hungry or sleepy, but perfectly content to play with his toys, I get all the physical stuff done, including studio work/crafting, cleaning house, dishes, etc.
As long as I don't get distracted, I'm still able to find time to play and read with my son throughout the day.
Whatever's left on my to-do list at the end of the day gets done in front of the TV with my hubby.

prettyshaw said...

I totally understand this post! My son is almost eight months old and both my husband and I work full-time, and it can get hectic! I drop him off at daycare and his dad picks him up. As for dinner, if it takes more than 10 minutes to make, it's not in my house. We all eat by 7:30 pm, then our son gets a bath, a story, and he's asleep by 8:00 pm. The rest of the evening is for me to relax with my love, blog, work on my business, and get ready for the next day. It helps when I am super organized.

Jill said...

This is such a big issue! As a freelance event planner, I still struggle and my daughter will be 2 next month. Rage Against the Minivan once did a fantastic post called "Work at Home Mom: Worst of Both Worlds?" that I thought was pretty great.

Tina said...

oh thank you for posting this -new series- i can't wait to read the interviews. I could start working pretty soon from home and even though my son is already 2 1/2 this would be the first time working since he was born and i have to admit it IM SO NERVOUS, feeling guilty , etc.

rachel kirk peterson said...

so glad you're doing this, joanna. i'm not a mom yet, but lately (after my 27th birthday), i started to wonder how i'll be able to do both working and mothering in the future. i don't want to give up all that i've worked so hard for, but motherhood is enticing! can't wait to hear more of this! great idea. thank you so much.

Mary said...

Oh wow!!! this is just what I need... this morning as I was driving to work I couldn't stop crying thinking of what I was doing wrong and what a terrible mom I was. I have a 7-month baby, work part time + I'm a wedding coordinators and have a side job just for a few hours a month. I'm also a wife and of course I do have to keep up with cleaning the house and cooking. Latetly all what I want is just an hour to take a nap...and I was feeling terrible for not knowing how to balance my time and be there for my little boy. This is really, really what I need... to know that I'm not the only one in this situation eventhough it seems that every mom I know is doing just fine and I'm the only one struggling... thank you... I'm so looking foward to read this... :)

JennySue said...

So funny, I was milling over this same thought while posting my own blog today!
I have 3 under 5 yrs, and stay at home while also running my freelance makeup business and blogging on the side. I find it hard to balance everything, but honestly, after having my kids, I realize now that as long as I constantly remind my children how much I love and appreciate them, I shouldn't feel guilty about popping in a Toy Story dvd every now and then in order to get some work done at home!!
Since I do work from home, I make sure to take time off at every meal I serve and sit down at the table with the kids and just talk- no tv, no cell, no computer. They truly enjoy this round table discussion;-)
Love your site- can't wait to read all the comments.

Caitlin said...

I am so looking forward to this series of posts. We don't have a baby yet, but are starting to talk about what we'll do, how it will work, who will work, one we are parents. We know it will all change as soon as a baby is born but it makes us feel better to attempt to figure it out now! Would love to hear how other people manage the balancing act.

Me said...

I love the idea of this series. As a mother of a two-year old (with one on the way), working full-time from home, I have been amazed at how little other moms talk about how they balance things -- and how infrequently women admit that it is HARD to achieve that balance. Different things work for everyone, but we truly are all in this together. I honestly think that if everyone was pretty upfront about the fact that it is not the easiest thing (while also feeling free to admit that the combo is SO rewarding), all of us would have less of a tendancy to feel like we were doing a bad job at all of our jobs! :)

MaviDeniz said...

This should be an interesting read. I don't have kids and I don't really want any either. I don't know how mom's do it. Especially the single ones. I already feel like there isn't enough time in the day and when I get home from a long busy day at work, the last thing I want to do is go home and do MORE work (i.e taking care of a child) I already have to cook and clean the house so that's work enough. I just want to be able to relax and do my own thing. Yeah, no kids for me sounds good lol

melissa said...

shower and be dressed to kill before 9am and the rest will eventually fall in place!

Shelley (EvenAndy) said...

I am mom of a almost 2.5 year old and an 11 month old. I also work from home as a stationery designer (graphic designer). Finding a balance is extremely hard. At first if I was doing a great job at one that meant that something else was suffering. I had to come up with a schedule quickly. I work in the early (4AM to 6AM) and late hours (8PM to 10PM) hours while the children are asleep. I try to focus on them during the day but I will answer emails and tweet. I also get things done when they nap. I set aside time for husband while the children sleep too. I try to keep my weekends focused on family. It is very hard to create a balance and some days are much better than others. I think having the children have made me realize that I don't require as much sleep as I thought to function (6 or 7 hours during the week and 8 on the weekends is perfect for me). I have learned to give myself a break and not try to get it all done but to get as much done as I can. I think that this will be a great series.

Cassy said...

What a great idea! I look forward to reading more. I'm a full time working mother of two (babies none the less) and I still don't have it down. I'm starting to come to terms with the fact that maybe motherhood and parenting isn't about keeping a tight schedule, but instead learning how to make an inconsistent schedule work for you and your family. Great post :)

www.suite4e.com

Nerissa said...

This topic is very dear to my heart, as an FT attorney/mother to a soon to be toddler. I know exactly the feeling you describe as "how to other mothers manage to look like they have it all together?" On some days, I felt lucky just to be able to get outside the house (with or without my daughter when she was a newborn) and nevermind my matted hair, stained sweatpants. At that time, I lived in DC's West Village equivalent, so I would marvel at how other women do it.

Things are better now. Here is what we do:
1) hire a regular cleaning service. Related note--you guys seem to live well (travel, nice things)--I would love to see a post on this sort of thing--"throwing $ at an issue vs. being frugal).
2) use a label maker. I am serious. I know how dorky that sounds..

Anna said...

I'm so excited for this series! I'll be a first-time mom in late August, going out on maternity leave for 4 months then returning to a full-time corporate job. What I'm most nervous about is that all my "extracurriculars" (blogging, social life, me-time) will fall by the wayside as I try to balance work and baby. Thanks for the insight!

Jessie said...

You are definitely not alone!

I am an American who recently moved from NY to Reykjavik to live with my husband. We had our first baby in February, and thought it would be a great opportunity to raise her here. I arrived here when I was 7 months pregnant in the middle of a dark winter, and felt very alone, which I expected, but didn't know just how difficult it would be.

Once the weather started to change, our baby grew big enough to take outside for long walks, and my moods lifted a lot. I am now starting to get ready to work, and am finding the process very daunting, from finding a babysitter, to finding a daycare center when I don't know the language can be so hard. This culture can be very reserved and it makes it hard to meet people, so most of my friends so far are also foreigners. Some days, I cry from frustration.

My husband was only able to take a couple of weeks off from work (though the leave policy here is overall very generous), which made me feel very overwhelmed and isolated at first. I spent the first two months virtually trapped inside due to the weather (and could not leave before I had the baby due to icy conditions). It was difficult navigating through my days, when I'd have a list of things to get done, and would only get one or two things done by the time my husband arrived home. Some days, when he arrived home, I would almost hand our baby to her father (I hope that doesn't sound mean) so I could take a walk or a run and just have a few minutes to myself. It was also very lonely not having my own parents around at first (especially my own mother), as I often felt I had no idea what I was doing, and really could have used her support.

I think there will be another adjustment when I go to work here. We will certainly have to share more responsibilities around the house, and I am not looking forward to leaving our baby for the day, and knowing how that will feel!

SarahAnn said...

I'm a freelance writer too.
I really thought I'd have it down by now. It seems I can handle some regular clients here and there; it is, after all, regular work and what choice do I have?! But I haven't pitched a story since she's been born. I haven't looked for new work since before then! I feel way too overwhelmed!

Looking forward to these posts for sure!

Ayan said...

i love this post! i always thought you were one of the "other" moms with the perfect balance. i am still juggling everything and i am a stay at home mom and a baby who's now a 3 year old!!!! your posts are always inspiring! and you're right we're all in this together. when i had my daughter i haven't discovered the blogsphere yet and now that i've found great blogs like yours, for our next baby i'll probably be reading blogs on my ipad while breasfeeding too.

justine clay said...

As a first time mum-to-be (my little boy is due in November) and small business owner, I'm hugely interested to hear how you and other new mums manage it all. Like you, I've always prided myself on getting things done and naturally have some trepidation about how well that's going to go come November! I really appreciate your thoughts and love the blog, keep the insights coming!

WhitMc said...

I am so excited for this series. I am a full-time working lawyer with a newly stay-at-home husband, so that is how we "balance." But that does nothing to help create time to actually be a mom and a wife. I am learning as I go, and I love to hear how others manage as well.

Mai Weston said...

When you see a mom who seem to have it all under control, pay close attention the age of the child. I work at home with my nearly 3 year old and I was a HOT MESS for the first 20 months. After that, it was easy peasy. I think that 18-24 month range is when babies gain a lot of independence. They can entertain themselves for a good amount of time (while you blow dry your hair). My Mateo enterains himself for *hours* while I work. It's pretty awesome.

christinamm said...

My husband & I are still a year away from starting to try to start a family, but I feel through your blog, I've learned so much that will help prepare us. I absolutely adore your open and honest stories. Keep them coming!

Jessie said...

thank you thank you thank you!

i'm a full time work at home mom with a 1 year old. sometimes i too am overwhelmed and try to do everything. i don't have help really so i'm on my own. looking forward to hearing some tips from other moms out there.

Girliest Nerd said...

Don`t hate me but I haven't had a problem with balancing anything so far. My husband and I have always worked from home. After my son was born I took 6 months off. I now work when he's asleep, and he sleeps usually from 9-11 and 2-4 pm. I also use that time to do personal care, relax, etc. He's now 14 months old. I know my work schedule will change in the future and I'll scale back my hours. So far we haven't had to use any outside daycare or babysitting. We've only ever had him at his grandparents, and even then only a handful of times since he was born.

I never had any expectation that my life would be the same or that I'd be able to do anywhere near the same amount of work. I wonder if people go into this with high expectations and then are disappointed? I also never beat myself up if the place isn't spotless and I think I've had realistic expectations from the start because I don't recall feeling guilty about anything... as of yet anyway! It also helps that my husband is super, super awesome. Couldn't do it without him for sure!

Lexie said...

I heart you.
Thank you :)

17 Perth said...

I am not a mom yet either, but I find these stories very inspiring and interesting. It is helpful to see what is to come and how you lovely ladies are handling it all!
Great posts. Look forward to the rest.

Andrew and Crystal said...

Thanks for this series Joanna! I'm the sole breadwinner in our house and my husband is a stay-at-home Papa. It's been a work in progress trying to figure out how to balance it all and stay sane and happy. I'm always curious to see how others manage it, or if they are just as flustered as I am (but just good at hiding it!) Looking forward the the rest of the posts!!
-crystal

Elana said...

What a great series! My baby is almost 9 months old and some days I feel accomplished just changing us both out of pajamas before noon. I'm starting to contemplate going back to work, though I'm not sure whether that'll entail working from home, part-time or what. It's always great to hear how others manage to stay sane so thanks for sharing.

k said...

I am a mother of 5 month old twin girls. Last summer when my partner and I got engaged and geared up to move to a new state we discovered that we were also expecting- two! I have not returned to work because this summer we are in the middle of moving to a new state again (as well as next summer). I am struggling with not being back in my work, which I know will soon change and bring struggles of it's own. I am juggling girls, moving, missing the women in my life, planning our wedding (in a few weeks), the area we are staying for the summer almost burned down in Arizona's Wallow fire (now we're dealing with the prospect of floods), my mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer and my partner's father is having heart problems and we are hoping he makes it to the wedding. On a moment to moment basis I am fine. Exhausted, but fine. Grateful, even. But when I stop and say it all allowed it is easy to feel overwhelmed. I think I get through with gratitude. And since you suggested red lipstick, Joanna, I have made it my staple- and it makes me feel great.

Glenda said...

I'd definitely say having a schedule and sticking to it as close as possible.

Of course, some days you will tweak it.

Happy baby...happy mama.

Alexandria said...

I'm so excited to read all of these :) I feel like it's good preparation for if/when I am in the same boat.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy you started this conversation! I would like to start having kids soon and despite being a responsible and successful woman with a wonderful husband, I can't help but be filled with anxiety and doubts that I could handle or afford it. I honestly fear hating my life once it's stretched so thin!

I have a few specific questions to throw out there:
1. This question is for mom's who work in the city— what's your opinion on living in the city so you can commute home to your kids faster vs. having a longer commute to provide a larger home, better public school, and yard for your children? DO any of you balance a long commute with work and motherhood?

2. I'm also curious to hear from moms that went from full-time demanding jobs to freelance. I am a graphic designer working in NYC. I have great benefits and decent enough pay, but consider leaving it all for the flexibility of freelance and for the ability to work outside the city. On the flip side I fear the unpredictable pay and what blurring the lines between time at home and time at work would be like? My own mother freelanced when I was little and despite constantly working through the night, she never made a significant amount of money, and was always exhausted. My father luckily could carry the bills, so her income was more supplemental. My pay exceeds my husband's and is needed. Though, if we left the city, we may actually need less? Also, is having an exhausted mom at home all day really much better than having a mom that works but comes home to give you her undivided attention?

3. Did any freelancers establish their business AFTER having kids? Do you wish you started the business first? Just curious.

My wordiness shows how often I think about these things!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous here again— I think I came across very negative towards freelancing and it was simply my fears talking. I had SUCH a great time with my freelancer mom as a kid and I always admired her work and tried to learn all I could about it. That's why I'm a designer today!

supersparkle said...

I am so in love with your blog! I am a new momma to a 9 month old and I am back at work. I find it soooo hard being polished, keeping the house clean, working and trying to be the best momma to Meadow I can be, all the while trying to not neglect my husband or friends!! Can we have it all? I love your honesty as I think the exact same things!!
How I would love an au pair.....

Kate Lewis said...

looking forward to hearing from other working moms with young children- i'm a mom of 2 (ages 4 and 1) and an artist working from home. oh the joys of juggling it all. :)

Shannon said...

This is such a great series. As a new mom myself (my son is only a few months older than Toby!) I am amazed at how other moms do it as well. I'm glad to see you have incorporated your thoughts on being a mom into the blog, it's a real inspiration. I stay home with my son and try to freelance write and blog, but it's so hard! With no sitter, I barely have time for a free thought! I will be interested to read how all these creative, strong women manage it all. Look forward to it!

Shannon
www.11thandshannon.com

Anonymous said...

So far I relate most to Girliest Nerd's comment. Honestly, I am so fortunate that I have been able to be a stay at home mom for many years now, so I can't comment on the working mom situation personally yet. I will be returning to work very soon, but I know it will work out because I somehow have always kept the priorities quite clear for myself. As long as my child is cared for and content, and the house is basically in order, that's a success. Granted, it gets much easier as the child grows up. My 9 year old has been in full time schooling for years and is at that independent age where I find myself being more and more productive during the day, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel for anyone struggling to find a balance. : )

Leslie said...

I'm a full-time working mom to a 5 month old. My husband works from 8-2 (at which hours we're lucky enough to have an AMAZING nanny) and takes care of our little one from 2 to about 7, when I usually get home. I think that the best advice I can offer (being at the beginning of this process myself) is to do whatever feels best to you. One of the toughest things about being a mom (whether a working one or not) can be the guilt. Even when I don't actually feel guilty about something--say, enjoying time with my husband after our daughter goes to bed--I'm wondering if I should feel guilty. (Should I keep her up later to spend more time with her? Or is it best to keep to an earlier bedtime? Should I spend this time working?) While it's impossible (at least for me) to completely do away with that, I think you have to realize that there's no perfect schedule and you just have to do whatever feels best in the moment. If you need to work late or have a date night with your partner, it doesn't mean that you love your children any less or that your kids will forget who you are. On the flipside, if you're a little late to work because you want to feed your kiddo, your career isn't over. I just try to keep the big picture in mind and tell myself that everything will be fine! And I think it really will be!

Good luck to all the moms (and dads) out there!

Marie said...

Hi again, if that's possible I would love to also hear how working mamas with 9 to 5 job do it... I'm working in an office not from home but I'm lucky enough to have daycare at work (amazing I know). Anyways, I always thought that it would be easier if I was working from home, which is probably not true :)
I noticed too though that it gets a bit easier as the kids grow older. My son is 2 now and he LOVES daycare which then makes me feel less guilty in the morning when I drop him off... I still miss him though but I was raised by a saty-at-home mom who wasn't very happy of being at home (we didnt know back then, she told us later) so she raised her 3 daughters with the mindset of being full time working mamas, probably because she stopped for 15 years to raise us and then had such a hard time getting back in the system... So anyway, getting back to where I was, full time working mamas with daycare and grocery shopping duty on the weekend would be great to hear from. In my house my luxury is to have a cleaning lady every 2 weeks, the-best-investment-ever !!
Long comment, sorry :) xx

Dewey Dell said...

Women have frightening, exciting (and dangerous) abilities to expand to the amount of work thrown at them. When my first baby arrived I was overwhelmed all the time. I am a novelist and when she was six months old I had to go on book tour and so baby and husband came with me. This was a luxury that I wouldn't be able to afford again as I am now the mother of three. When my four year old was only two I learned I was having surprise twins. Wow! My husband and I are both writers and we both usually work from home with some teaching gigs thrown in here and there. We left Brooklyn the week before the twins were born and moved upstate. It's been both magnificent and sad. We miss Brooklyn but I also can't see any way to making our lives work there. And the benefits of having kids in the country are wonderful. We get to spend a lot more time together as a family. We get to eat breakfast and take baths outside.

So here is how we make it work (or sometimes not work): Three days a week we get help from 8:30-3:30. A combination of babysitter, day care, and nursery school. One day we both work half days and Friday I take all three kids all day. The honest truth is there is no balance. Some days it works and we are able to bask in the abundance of our lives. Other days I am frayed and weary and snap at husband and four year old because it seems if anything tests the bounds of an "equal" marriage, it is having a lot of kids. My husband has an uncanny ability to not care if the babies eat pizza four nights a week. I somehow am not built this way. So do I make it harder on myself? Yes, I do. But I also think I make our lives better.

I like to knit them sweaters. I like to grow vegetables and crochet potholders and make sauerkraut but sometimes I realize trying to be everything is a really bad idea. So there's pizza.

I sometimes read this woman's blog http://www.soulemama.com/soulemama/ She makes me feel better since she has FIVE children and she talks about how easy the days are when she only has three at home!

I suppose ultimately the thing having kids made me realize is that we're all going to be dead someday and so I better stuff as much living as I can into this life. Chaos=abundance? Sometimes.

Jessica said...

I went back to work when my little one was 3 months old. I loved her, adored every minute of being with her, but I was so relieved (and guilty) to be away for just a little bit.
I had really awful PPD & it made the world of difference to be able to step away from one role & into another for a short time. I felt I came back a better, calmer version of myself after some time at work. Of course, my job takes me outside our home, but that was a blessing in & of itself. At my desk, there are no piles of dirty laundry or carpets to be vacummed. I can let it go for a while, which is nice.
After a year or so, I asked other new moms how they did it all. It really surprises me how frequently we all just suffer in silence because we think we are insufficient & that makes us bad. I love this series already!! I think new moms (and even us old hats) can all learn something.

Anonymous said...

This is going to be an interesting week reading the juggling stories.

beeka-beeka said...

You wrote:
"P.S. I'm featuring women in somewhat similar situations--most of them work part- to full-time for themselves from home, and are married with young children--because I wanted to show how these similar women have all created different schedules that work for them."

Seems pretty interesting and like a great idea. However, there are a few single moms (single for various reasons) of the like (career and child or kids). Any thoughts on including a post from a single parents perspective?

Kate said...

Thank you!!!

I'm a married, working mom of a 6.5 month old and I struggle every day. It's so nice (and reassuring) to hear other stories of struggles and success.

L.A. Story said...

This is such a great feature! I work from home part-time (and away part-time) and it's definitely a juggle. My 4-year-old daughter is in preschool now, so that gives us some breathing room. But it's so true that you always end up sacrificing something to make things work for the fam. Look forward to reading about more moms!

Laura [What I Like] said...

Such a fabulous idea, I can't wait to read the series!

Ginny said...

I am so excited to read about this. I am a mother of 2 boys (3 yrs. and 15 months old.) My oldest will start preschool in the fall and with that whopping 2 1/2hr daily break i am hoping to find some sort work for me. Although i am more confident as a mom the second time around i still struggle with getting it all done. If my hair gets blown dry more than once a month i considered that a big achievement. :)
looking forward to hearing from everyone.

Anonymous said...

I cant wait to read this.

I have two babies and maintain my website and design services at home. I multi-task, I procrastinate, and i daydream. I praise myself everyday of what a great job I have done - even when its half way completed or such a simple task - because I know its hard with a 2 and half and a one year old. I have a babysitter - that I convinced myself was for me - not the kids. She's there to help me be able to take a shower, eat, and work.

Kim said...

I can understand why you would choose to focus on the experiences of married women who work from home since a lot of your readers' demographic falls along those lines. Any chance of getting perspectives from professional women who do not have the luxury to work from home? or extra income to hire someone to pick up the remainder of the duties that fall by the wayside? Personally, I could use some hints in that vein.

rachel thurston said...

Just what's on my mind! Can't wait for tips from others on how they do it. Thanks joanna for thinking of this!

Gaby [The Vault Files] said...

The balancing act, I wish there was a secret recipe that would go live for all of us stay-at-home working mothers!
When Matthew was born (he's now 15 mo) I used to call myself the breastfeeding multitasker. I used to eat lunch, work on the computer, watch TV, read magazines, read books, all while I was breastfeeding. I even used to cut his hair and clip his nails while breastfeeding!
Now that he's a little bit bigger, I put him on the crib with lots of toys so that I can take my shower, make up the bed and tidy up a little bit. He seems to enjoy it.
Being a runner I had no choice but to get a running stroller so Matthew and I go running together almost everyday.
Matthew naps for about 2 hours, so during this time I water the plants, make lunch, eat it, and work. It has also helped me a lot making his food in advance and freezing it so that I don't spend the whole day in the kitchen.
Having said this, I would love to have some help, because it takes a lot of energy and patience to be with a kid 13 hours a day by yourself (husband works long hours).
Thanks so much for introducing these series, I look forward on reading how the other moms handle it ;)

Carla said...

Thank you so much! I am really looking forward to reading this series.

naomi said...

Ditto to what Kim said. I hope that there will be a part 2 to this series that examines the balancing act of women with different circumstances than just these.

Chessa! said...

lucia is one year old and i'm still amazed by how some moms look totally put together all the time! ALL. THE. TIME. We have a pretty great and predictable routine now that works for us but some days (most days) I find myself rushing to get everything done while she is napping...and it never happens. Then, on the days that I have my babysitter (twice a week) I find myself taking twice as long to do basic things like go to the supermarket or the gym just bc I relish that time alone...so again, only half the work gets done.

I'm sure that at some point things will work themselves out and it's definitely gotten a lot easier but like anything else, I think it's just a matter of time. I really agree with what Jordan said in her post today that we really can't have it all bc something always gets sacrificed. My goal is just to continue to be happy - if that means working less (or working late at night), spending time uninterrupted with the baby when we're alone and taking more time to myself when I have help here, then so be it. Learning to do those things, and not be so hard on myself all the time, have been a job in and of themselves:)

thanks for yet another awesome series, joanna:) x

Katie said...

I'm so excited for this series. Even though I'm not at this stage yet, I will be soon and it's constantly on my mind. Thanks for being so honest with your readers. I've absolutely loved your Motherhood Mondays post. It's refreshing to read about real life issues.

p.s. I read this great profile on Sheryl Sandberg in the New Yorker this week (linked below). She talks a bit about balance in it, I think you'll like it. Check out her TED talk too.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/07/11/110711fa_fact_auletta

Siobhan C said...

For me, managing the things I need to do while looking after children is like a game of Tetris. Sometimes the tasks fit easily in to your schedule, but sometimes things go awry (sick kids, extra work) and you have to work smarter and harder to get everything to fall in to place. The biggest lesson I've learnt is unlike Tetris you won't bomb if it's not all done right this minute. There's always tomorrow. Or the next day. Some days you'll be super productive and other days you'll be lucky to get one block into place (ie get out of your pyjamas). The best present I ever gave myself was the decision to be OK with that. It took me until my second baby was one year old, but I've finally realised that everything will fall in to place in the end. Often, the shapes fit automatically if I just let them hang about a bit.

tpanddz said...

Wow! What a great topic. It is an ongoing struggle isnt it?

I have a 15 month old daughter, and work part time, 3 days a week. This started before I had her, because I was sure that I would be overcome with guilt about many things, and it just made sense to take a new job a year or so before she arrived with this schedule. In many ways this helped me to have my "work days" and other days as "daughter days", and I really stick to it. They know at my job that I am NOT available on those days (although sometimes they still ask!) which is a blessing.

This is great for our family, but I still really struggle with the other chores...like do I really want to be doing laundry all day on a 'daughter day'? If not, then when? It is an ongoing process of identifying what works and what doesnt.

Thanks Joanna!

pws said...

I'm so excited for this series -- I'm a full time freelance graphic designer, work at home, first time mom with a 3 month old daughter. I love her to bits but man, has it been a learning process trying to figure out how to make it work. It's a wondrous thing seeing this little human being growing and developing right before your eyes...until you remember the long list of unfinished projects that are due tomorrow and she's in the phase where she's starting to demand your arms and attention, unless you want to see her throw a fit :p. So as you can see, I'm still deep in learning/balancing mode (and I'm still pulling in the evening hours just to get caught up each day) but you do what you can to make it work. I'm really interested in seeing what similar women have done and look forward to applying some of their lessons learned to my own life!

Sara said...

I love the way this article is set up, in terms of the form: you identified your target audience and are inclusive of everyone. The response can be really open. nice.

Thea said...

I love Motherhood Mondays (and every other day of the week on your blog)..but, I just wanted to add the other side of coin of the working moms who have to leave their beautiful babies with other people in order to get back to work.

Firstly, I am not a mom, but I am an early childhood educator and am currently working in an infant care program. Our babies range from 6 months - sometimes younger - to 18 months. At first I was a bit judgmental (yes, I admit it) about working in an infant program with young babies (4-6 months old) when we (in Canada) get a one year maternity leave. I quickly realized that this program was more about taking care of the parents who were guiltily enrolling their babies in to a care centre while they begrudgingly had to go back to work. Most of these parents are independent contractors so they don't get the full amount of pay on their maternity leave as they would if they worked for a company who had coverage. Honestly, it's harder on the parents to leave in the mornings than it is for the children.

In regards to your post about juggling work and motherhood, we have 10 babies and 3-4 caregivers, so it's a lot of work to juggle this type of responsibility. Most days are full of feeding, eating and pooping (with play time in between), but I LOVE taking care of these babies and feel so honoured that these parents chose me to take care of them.

I am in awe of parents who can (seemingly) juggle it all, but in most cases there is so much more that goes on than meets the mascara-ed eye ;)

Lindsay said...

Being self employed I jumped back to work a month after my baby Oscar was born and at the time resented having to work while other Moms had maternity breaks. But I quickly realized that my situation was an amazing one - I can be home for Oscar when he comes home from school, if he needs me or wants to play while other
Moms "have" to go back.

I end up working in bed, when he naps, whenever I can. It isn't a balanced life but it is our normal, and it works fir us.

Amber said...

I am working two very long days a week and at home for 5 with a 7 month old. A VERY active 7 month old, so needless to say, i still don't "have it together." I just got depressed this afternoon, as a matter of fact. Went to Whole Foods and saw several moms that looked put together and calm. I think I just have to remind myself of how happy my baby and I are together. If our babies knew and understood why we stress over juggling our new life with them, they would be so sad. All they want from us is our love. They don't care if we've done our hair or taken off our pajamas for that matter. I love melissa's comment, "shower and be dressed to kill before 9am and the rest will eventually fall in place!" So great and so true! As a pregnant woman, I spent my entire pregnancy SICK AS A DOG and as a mom that then struggled for several months with hardcore post-partum anxiety, I'm learning to just roll with it day by day. Hour by hour some days. Loooove you, Joanna! Your blog is the best out there!

elisabeth said...

It's like you read my mind! I've been wanting to hear about how other moms manage to juggle it all.
Getting back to my small, home-based business has been so much more challenging than I anticipated pre-baby. Slowly, but surely I'm figuring it out but I've still got a ways to go.

The Slick Mom said...

Balance. Not sure there really is balance but more, "making it work". My husband and I both work full time outside the home and have a 4.5 year old boy and a 10 month old boy. It's nuts, but it's "our" nuts. I wish I had more time with my kids, but it just makes the weekends that much more special and important. We some how manage to get it all done. Not without some hair pulling and freaking out. But it all works somehow. Love this idea for a series and can't wait to read the posts.

SD Interiors said...

Thank you for this post! I'm an interior designer and freelance writer and work from home. My son is almost 2 and until recently, I only worked when he slept or at night. As he gets older, it has become more difficult and I also now have a nanny one day a week so I can schedule clients etc (I should add that my husband has a crazy job and works all hours and any hours so I can't share the load with him). As the business grows, I may be able to justify adding more nanny hours, but where we live daycare is both expensive (about $100/day for one child) and also most of the daycares in our town I'm not comfortable with - they have all been investigated for various problems at some stage!! Balance is always so much harder for women to find than men because we don't just switch off from kids/home/housework/errands when we go to work - we are always thinking and organising so everything gets done. I really think men will never grasp how much mothers and women in general pack into their days.

Poliana said...

I love your article. I was wondering how women, men handle the sex after a vaginal delivery. Is it possible to open such a discussion?

Poliana said...

I love your article. I was wondering how women, men handle the sex after a vaginal delivery. Is it possible to open such a discussion?

I like ruffles said...

It was so refreshing to read this post. I am a new mother and found myself thinking and feeling the exact same way. It has taken over a year, but I feel like we are getting close to finding that balance. Still, I find myself envying these women that seemingly have it all together. I am really looking forward to reading this series.

ilikeruffles.com

Lindsay @ Delighted Momma said...

How in the world did I just now discover your lovely blog?! Maybe I was living under a rock in bloggy land..because it is pretty awesome! Cant wait to read more! yippie

angry birds walkthrough said...

Of course, some days you will tweak it.

Happy baby...happy mama.

Rebecca Matheson said...

much thanks, what a great series - even for those of us who don't have kids yet. I will be in this position one day and any experience shared is so incredibly valuable.

krk realty said...

I can see your a proud mother, and i learned a lot from you on parenting.

Jessi said...

Very excited for this! I am a freelance graphic designer, married mother of 3... I think this series was made for me lol!I feel like I have a pretty good system, but am excited to learn any new tips and tricks!

Twenty's Girl said...

This is such a great idea! Even though I am not a mother or planning to be one any time soon, this will be a great post to look back to some day when I will surely be struggling! Such an interesting and inspiring post! Can't wait to see how it turns out! :)

PS: I gave you a blogger award today! Check it out whenever you get a chance! :)

XOXO

www.allabouttwenties.blogspot.com

*** KITSCH *** said...

I have a little boy 2 years old, I work out of home but i should reduce my hours because it was imposible to go with everything...
We want another baby but we will wait a year or more. By now, we are completed!
I think it is really difficult to go with kids, work, home and your couple, specially for women.
I need holidays!

Anjum said...

I love love love this series! thank you for doing this. I work full-time and never had a "real" maternity leave, working from home until she was 6 weeks and now working in the office 3 days and from home 2 days a week. Am so grateful for my family support and flex work arrangement but totally resonate with the other ladies about not feeling totally effective/efficient as work as I used to but am also very happy to be with my little one. I wish there were places to have these conversations in person over some fro-yo!

Emily said...

It must be fate. I found Oh Happy Day last week, then her post here this week. And I am entering the world of career and children (fresh from the world of college and children).

Although I will probably envy every post because I have no dad to help out with half the day, I'm still very happy to read about daycare and sitter options - and being in the job/kid mix in general. Let me be the 120-somethinged person to thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

I can't WAIT for the series! I've just started working from home recently and am expecting my first child in August.

Taysa said...

I would also be interested in a part 2 of this series that features moms that don't work at home. I live in SF, and don't think my company would ever give me the green light to stay home. At the same time, daycare is astronomical. For the time being, I feel like I can't have kids for these reasons (though it doesn't seem to stop others.)

Anonymous said...

my 11 and a half month old son had his first trial day at daycare yesterday as i will be going back to work 3 days a week. he cried and they called me two hours later to say he was still upset and to come and get him. as soon as he saw me his face crumbled and we both cried! feel so guilty.

Barbara Bussey {The Treasured Home} said...

Wonderful post. Juggling both worlds of work and family is never simple but it does get easier as the children get older. So many moms struggle with this - good for you for sharing and being honest.

janie said...

Thank you for this series! I am absolutely addicted and also now totally in love with the women you featured.

I am a WAHM of two who also hometeaches and occasionally pretends to cook or clean or maybe do my eyebrows. It is so amazingly wonderful to read about other women who do this-now as I go about my day I feel a little more connected, when I look at houses I can think that somewhere is a woman trying to get her crap together in a cramped not really office, office while listening to her children outside the door and I smile. Thanks to everybody.

emily said...

this series is brilliant! can't wait to read them all. I'm having my first baby in a few weeks and as someone who works from home and so so curious to gain some tips on how it might work! thanks Jo :)

The Wanderers' Daughter said...

So glad to see this series. I recently did a guest post on this very subject at DearBaby, and a commenter immediately assumed I was an SAHM. In fact,I work more than fulltime from a home studio. I manage a lot of family time because I work odd hours - early in the morning before my husband and daughter are awake, late at night, during naptimes. We manage not to use daycare, even though it is often very tricky to create enough hours in the day. It is a difficult juggle, and I sometimes feel overwhelmed, but the family time is priceless and I wouldn't trade my odd balance for anyone else's life.

Meemo said...

I work 3 graveyard shifts a week and In order to juggle everything, you just have to let go sometimes. I have 3 boys who are 14, 12 and 3. We are very busy. Tonight is my last work day for the week and right now my house is a total mess. And that's okay. It drives me a little crazy but I just have to cut myself some slack and know that all things will get done in due time. As long as my boys are fed and happy, it's all good.

acp said...

I loved reading this post...I have 2 kids under the age 2 and I work 30 hours a week. It has been a challenge trying to find balance to do everything while still just finding time to "relax". I have come to the realization this is life and it's crazy, fun, exciting and we need to enjoy it and not stress about all the things we need to get it done because it will happen in due time...

Katie said...

I am a photographer that works during the day, nights and weekends. When we were planning for a baby I wondered where that would fit in my schedule. The truth is it doesn't always fit, there is no such thing as a perfect balance. I have to work at making things fit and I am getting better at learning to say no to things. I have finally come to terms with the fact that balance means not always having the scale tip to far one way or the other. Sometimes it will tip towards work and other times it tips toward family. So long as we sway back and forth it works. I love this honest conversation with beautiful women.

Caro's Design said...

Hello,
I read your entire serie and I must say that I really don't know how these women manage it all! Maybe it's the fact that they work from home or the fact that they don't sleep but they are true inspiration. I have a daughter and she is 13 months old. I recently went back to work full time. I'm a graphic designer by day and I try to be an illustrator by night.... but It seems almost impossible to have the time and energy to draw and create after the baby is asleep.... it seems I only have the energy to sleep or relax or spend some time with my husband. I guess it's all about discipline and a clearly define workspace ( something that I need to change in my case)
I really liked your serie and I know that is was really focused on time but the money aspect is also really important and I would have been nice to hear about that too. After all the hours we spend working, the help we can get, is directly connected to our incomes

Bonnie D. said...

Joanna, love this post, as a full-time designer and full-time mommy to two (6 month old and 4.5 year old) I can relate to the delicate balancing act mom's do every day. I am also used to fitting in work during the day during their down times or working after they are in bed in my jammies into the wee hours (thank goodness I work from home) I can also thank my amazing hubby for all of his help and supplying me with endless amount of Chai Tea Lattes to keep me going! Its refreshing to hear from other mommies in the same boat! - Bonnie D. - Gwen Delicious Jewelry

Alice said...

I used to design a entire collection for wholesale, have a boutique and then expanded to 2 locations in east village and brooklyn, and then when my little girl came along, I realized just how much time work was taking up of my life. So sometimes having children BRINGS the balance for you. It makes you choose and prioritize instead of trying to do it all . Now, as a small business owner and a mom, there is definitely some key things Ive learned : 1.) Do not overplan, really. It's come to either food shopping or laundry, but not both in one day! haha 2.) Nothing has to be done today; if it has to be pushed to tomorrow, really no one is going to care as much as you.

and remember to not text in front of your child too much, it's kind of sad to see your 4.5 year old pretend texting to her dolls whilst at a tea party!

Katie said...

I've babysat for quite a few different families and it's very interesting to see how the mothers juggle life, work and children differently. Some have everything under control, while others are still just learning.

Slightly off topic, but I am moving to NYC next month for grad school. How did you go about finding your babysitter? I want to babysit on weekends/evening, but have always met families through friends and previous employers. Is craigslist the way to go?

Thanks!

Miss Kelly said...

I am giving you an over the blogosphere hug right now for putting my mind at ease!

I always gaze in admiration at bloggers as well as random women on the street that are toting a armful of kids and seem to have it all going on...and i stand back in amazement and stare at my chipped nail polish fingers and my flyaways and wait for the heavens to pour down my helping of fairy dust that will make my world as magical as theirs appears to be.

I love that you introduced these moms that have been were i've been and have gone days without mascara.

Great Series fo sho!!!!

BisousBisous,
Miss Kelly

Skinny Jeans Mom said...

Love this. After two and a half years of being a mom I feel like I've learned do much, yet know so little. Best advice I can give? Take everything one step at a time, and savor every single moment. I've written many a post on the balancing act that is motherhood, and somehow we will all survive and thrive from it.

Alicia (Weekly Greens) said...

What a terrific series, Joanna! This topic deserves a lot of attention and you've done a beautiful job showcasing women that are making it work day-by-day. One discovery I've made is that it really is a one day at a time sort of thing. Just when I think I have it figured out, it all changes again! Thanks for seriously captivating reading.

Alicia (Weekly Greens) said...

What a terrific series, Joanna! This topic deserves a lot of attention and you've done a beautiful job showcasing women that are making it work day-by-day. One discovery I've made is that it really is a one day at a time sort of thing. Just when I think I have it figured out, it all changes again! Thanks for seriously captivating reading.

Sheevani said...

This is a huge topic for me right now!! I work full time and my daughter, Faye, is 9.5 months old. As she gets older and more fun with her developing personality, it's becoming increasingly difficult to leave her everyday for a job that isn't supremely fulfilling. That being said, I am scared at the notion of being a full time mom as well. I just feel I could get burned out really fast.

I'm always evolving my schedule since it never seems to afford me as much sleep as I need, but for my husband and me, we co-sleep with Faye, which is very difficult at times, but I also love snuggling with her and seeing her face first thing in the morning. We get her to daycare pretty much right after we wake up (which is a mile away), and then my husband and I have some alone time in the morning while we get ready for work. I pick her up no later than 5:30 in the evening and that allows us a good couple of hours of dinner, play and bath time. I use my lunch hour for errands or the gym, which is a huge stress reliever. I love being a mother, but I also don't feel like I've lost myself either. Again, this isn't my ideal schedule, but for now, I'm feeling pretty good. I am really missing her more and more as she gets older, though. I think the most important thing I've learned in this crazy adventure is that you make the rules for what's best for you and your family. People will always judge and have opinions, but if you are happy that will be projected onto your family and only good can come out of that.

Thanks for the fab post! Working moms unite!!

allie said...

hallelujah! I am a new mommy to a 3 mo. old girl, and I'm starting my own business (from home) PLUS freelance graphic designing from home. Finding time to do anything from the homemaking side of things has had me flummoxed and rather down (like you in your post). Thanks for getting this started, I know it will be an encouragement and hopefully help myself and countless others find a better balance :)

Shaylen Maxwell said...

Wow, fascinating post! I have to agree my work schedule is much of the same. I'd mastered two handed typing whilst breastfeeding via a propped up laptop & a boppy by the time my son was a week old. Audio voice recorded excerpts when he wouldn't nap (so he could nap in the mei-tai and I'd 'write). I always cash in nap time for work time, despite exhaustion. And nap time NEVER lasts nearly long enough. BUT to counter it, I'm always excited to greet him (& miss him whilst he's asleep too!) Oh the work, motherhood balance.

Truly Smitten said...

Just read all your 'My Balance' series and I'm loving it! I'm not a mom yet but reading this series will make me better prepared =) Brilliant, Joanna!

Mami China said...

Thank you for this series. I spent all of last night reading through them and then I posted this on my FB page for my working mother friends. I'm a grad student working on my dissertation with two boys under 3 and although i'm not paid currently I am really relating to the issues, schedules, and strategies many of your contributors and yourself are going through. In grad school it is also a similar situation as not many of my female colleagues have children. Our mentors who are mothers are supportive but it's difficult to get anyone to discuss their day to day strategies. In my case we are lucky to have family help but I recently lost my caregiver pushing me down to one 5 hour day a week to get out and work. I needed this series for my sanity and inspiration/motivation.

PS. As I shared this online one of my friends wrote back immediately to let me know she also reads your blog. She actually said "I need to start every morning with my Cup of Jo."

Anonymous said...

I'm a long time reader and enjoyer of your blog, but this is my fist comment. this series is fantastic- thoughtful, honest, and non judgemental (in a world that likes to criticism moms!) thank you thank you thank you!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Brings me back to when I had 2 little girls (1 year apart) and a husband deployed on active duty 9 months a year. I was losing my mind trying to keep it all together AND run an active catering/meal delivery service AND clean the house AND take care of the babies....and, and, and. I cried a lot. :) I didn't have any family nearby (ah, the military life), but I did have friends I could commiserate with/call upon in times of dire emergencies. It helped. I prepped when they went to bed and I didn't sleep much. It really wasn't a sustainable model or even a desirable one. I ended up taking on fewer jobs and making less money. We decided to have a third child when the first two were in school...just to keep things edgy. :) If I could offer one piece of advice, it is this...ask for help when you need it and don't feel badly about it. Make your children your #1 priority. If you live by that, everything else falls into place. That doesn't mean you don't have a life (well...) or a job or a career, it just helps you keep things in perspective when there are choices to be made. It seems to me that we can eventually "have it all", just in stages. I just wish there was a way we can make life/these decisions easier for our own children..I certainly don't want my girls to have the same level of angst about work/mothering as I did (do). I also wonder if men feel the same anxiety about having "balance" in their life. My house is messy 3 days out of 4 and I still feel guilty when I work late, but my children seem happy and even offer to HELP IN THE KITCHEN (this takes years of mother guilt to foster) and, sometimes CLEAN THE BATHROOM. FYI, my girls are 25, 24 and 17 and only the baby is left at home. I turn 47 this year. Gray hair and all, we lived to tell the tale. Bless you new moms. If you're trying, you're doing a great job.

maggie said...

this series is wonderful and brilliant. sigh, i love you, joanna.

IB said...

It definitely has been hard to let go of my previous expectations of how "it should be" and be happy with partial successes as far as tidiness of the house, no plastic toys only tasteful ones, good food, cleanliness mine and others, etc. The nap is the window for all the quick tasks, once they are no longer newborns. And then after bedtime is when I throw all the toys in bins, the dirty clothes in hampers and the dishes and bottles in the sink. And I'm the breadwinner, so my husband is home and he kind of stinks at running the household which means I do extra duty when I'm not at work. Yikes. But the key is to aim for the top priority, like many have said. Some days it's the kids, some days it's more sleep, but either one means less time for chores and that is okay. Now. Finally.

Anonymous said...

i love the mommyhood balance posts... do you have any contributors who are single moms? i'm a newly single mom and would love to know how others do it (i could use some pointers!)

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Heather B (HomemadeMom) said...

I LOVED this series! I was surprised at how many mom's have help. I hope one day to be able to afford a little part time help, but for now it's just me and my husband. I really enjoyed reading how everyone else pulls it off though. Thanks for the great series!

Mia said...

Hi Joanna! I love this series. I'm a fulltime working mom myself with a toddler at 3 years old and a baby who just turned one. This is something that I think about all the time. How do other mothers handle all these responsibilities? You are inspiring in your effort of juggling work/baby/marriage. I can't wait to finish reading all the posts of your guest moms as well.

By the way, I totally agree to what you said about not just raising happy children but a happy family. I will keep that in mind! My best regards to you and your family.

monirose said...

Jo, THANK YOU for doing this series -- it was just reviving to hear about what other moms do to balance it all, and inspiring also!

I'm a stay-at-home mom of two, with an entrepeneur husband, and big dreams for my own small business/studio. It can be overwhelming, but it is just good to hear that I'm not alone!

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