A Day in the Life of … a Work-at-Home Mom

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A Day in the Life of ...

My days are long ones. In September, I traded in my life working outside the home for one as a work-at-home mom so I could focus on my health and taking care of the kids. I miss the challenges and knowledge I gathered every day working outside the home, but I am making new challenges and teaching myself new things as I build my business, Trendy Babywearing.

My husband, Jonathan, works a minimum of 48 hours a week at his company’s plant in Orangeburg. As the company has plans to expand production, his hours grow longer and he sometimes works 12 days in a row. We are both tired, but things are much better now that I’m home when Jonathan is and there are no opposite shifts and passing each other in the hallway. When I worked outside the home, I was working the second shift, which definitely put a strain on our marriage.

When I was working outside the home, after paying for childcare, I was actually losing money rather than making it. Money is still tight as I build my business, but I know I wouldn’t trade this life right now for anything else. Since my business is an online retail store, I am able to work around doctors’ appointments for myself and the kids; I don’t have to pay for day care; and I am able to share my love of babywearing and attachment parenting with the world.

The details of my day

8:30 a.m.: Asher wakes up screaming. He usually sleeps in the playpen next to my bed, but I moved him into bed with me after my husband left for work at 4 a.m. Asher is hungry again after waking up to eat at 2 a.m. I’m still half asleep and I forget that we’ve been weaning; but when I start to unsnap my bra to nurse him I see the cabbage leaves there and remember. I run downstairs and prepare a bottle for him. Then I hear Lucie yelling “MOMMY!” from her room. I go open her door. She comes into my room with her tablet, watching Caillou.

9 a.m.: I take a shower. Lucie appears content with her tablet and breakfast, and Asher is happy with his bottle, so I take my time. I actually let my conditioner sit in my hair the recommended 3 minutes before rinsing. I feel much better after my shower, but I am worried about the fact that Lucie has been so quiet. With a two and a half year old, silence is suspicious.

9:30 a.m.: Done with my shower. Nothing to worry about from Lucie, for which I’m grateful; a shower without little hands banging on the door is a luxury. I get dressed for the day and tell Lucie to get some clothes on, too.

10 a.m: I’m wrapping Asher to my back and trying to get a good seat, but he keeps straightening his legs, which undoes all the work I did to create the seat. He’s what babywearers call a “leg straightener” and a “seat popper.” I have to be extra careful when wrapping him as a result, and it is a bit of a workout. Meanwhile, I’m taking candy away from Lucie; she found her bag from Halloween and has been chowing down on chocolate as a morning snack.

Wearing Asher makes it Easier to Get Work Done!
Wearing Asher makes it easier to get work done!

10:30 a.m.:  Time for work — the paying kind. I check my email and see I’ve received an order through my website. I prepare that order for shipping, plus the three I received on Saturday. Then, I check tracking for a big shipment that’s supposed to arrive today. All of these items have been pre-ordered, meaning they’ve been sold and paid for already, so I need to ship them out ASAP when they arrive. I’m out of flat-rate boxes, so I’ll need to head to the post office to get some before the mail comes. I tell Lucie to get out of her nightgown and put on some clothes, again.

11 a.m.: The doorbell rings; my shipment of wraps is here. Lucie is finally getting dressed. It’s time for my husband’s lunch, so I call him briefly. While I’m on the phone, I’m multitasking, printing labels for the shipments I’ll send out today.

12 noon: In the car, we head to the post office. At a light, I change the time on my dashboard clock, as yesterday the clocks changed for Daylight Savings Time.

12:15 p.m.: We arrive at the post office. I put together my double stroller, pile boxes and envelopes on it. I put Asher in my Tula soft structured carrier and Lucie in the front seat of the stroller. In welcome a show of Southern hospitality, people open doors for me as I walk in the post office. I drop the packages off and take the flat rate boxes I need for the rest of the shipments. Realizing I haven’t yet eaten a thing today, I pick up some lunch on the way home.

1 p.m: Asher falls asleep for a nap. After she’s eaten her lunch and some of mine, Lucie asks to watch Daniel Tiger on Netflix. Since she’ll be distracted, I can get some work done. I turn my laptop on to print some shipping labels.

2-4 p.m.: Lucie is still distracted with Netflix, and although Asher has woken up, I have him wrapped and I snuggle him as I work out some orders with three suppliers of silicone teethers and silicone beads. I need to check that their FDA paperwork is in order because these are food-grade silicone and will go in babies’ mouths. I pack a few boxes to go out in the morning. I also need to research new washing machines … not for work. More multitasking.

This shipment will be brought to the post office tomorrow.
This shipment will be brought to the post office bright and early tomorrow.

4:30 p.m.: Exhausted, Jonathan calls me to tell me he is on his way home. We talk for 40 minutes; Lucie is grabbing the phone, chattering away to him, and I am multitasking crunching numbers for teethers, all the while wearing Asher.

5:30 p.m.: Jonathan’s home! I empty the dishwasher as he entertains Lucie, and then I start on dinner.

6:30 p.m.: A local customer arrives to pick up a wrap she ordered. We talk for a few minutes, and then I head back to the kitchen to eat dinner. Lucie doesn’t like what we’re having, so I give her some yogurt … which ends up in her hair.

7 p.m.: After dinner, Jonathan gives Lucie and Asher a bath (paying careful attention to Lucie’s yogurt-y hairdo). I am exhausted and lie back in bed, reflecting on the day’s events. It may not seem like I’ve done a lot of strenuous tasks today, but my energy is really low. I feed Asher a bottle and he falls asleep in my arms. I transfer him to his playpen next to my bed. I kiss Lucie goodnight and she goes to sleep in her own room.

8:30 p.m.: Jonathan and I wonder when we both became so old that we want to go to sleep at 8:30 pm. Our minds are young, but our bodies are getting older. I’ll be 30 next month, but I feel so much older than that. Around 9 p.m., I fall asleep snuggled up to Jonathan and listening to Asher snore in the playpen beside me.

This was a busy day, but I hope for more busy days like this, because busy days means my business is booming and I will continue to be able to stay and work from home for many years to come. I will be able to support my family while still attempting to care for the needs of  the household. I am happy knowing that right now, I am being the best mom I know how to be, and that I have the best partner I could ever pray for by my side in all of this.

 The good, the bad and the tiring

  • What do you like the most about being a work-at-home mom? I’m there when my kids wake up most days (unless I have an early doctor appointment, and then a sitter is there), and I’m there to put them to sleep at night. I didn’t always have that when I worked outside the home.
  • What is the biggest challenge? When customers call on the phone and I’m trying to talk to them while my kids are grabbing the phone. It’s hard to be professional when your infant son is blowing raspberries in your ear.
  • What would you change? Right now, I’d love to make more money. It’s something that will come in time as I build my business, but it’s disheartening sometimes starting out and just breaking even. I don’t make enough with my business yet to pay myself regularly. Most businesses report a loss in the first year, and I have done pretty well considering I only just opened for business in October.
  • What’s the one thing that can make your day go smoothly? If both my kids nap at the same time (by some miracle) and it’s not when we’re in the car, so I can go on my computer and get website updates done.
  • What’s the one thing that can torpedo your day? Getting an order after my mail has been delivered and before the post office closes. I do my best to ship all purchases that are in stock the same day, and if an order comes in after the regular mail delivery, it means I have to take both kids to the post office.
  • What is the best part of your day? When my husband gets home from work and upon hearing the garage door opener, my daughter squeals, “Daddy!” running towards the garage.
  • If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do with it? I’d take some time for me. Read a book, take a bath, just … relax. I’m going, going, going, every minute of every day from when I wake up until I fall asleep, and I really wish I had a moment or two to just relax.
  • If you could choose again, would you choose this life for yourself? This is a new venture for me, but having been a stay-at-home mom and a work-outside-the-home mom previously, I can honestly say I enjoy working from home most of the time. There are other days where I crave the intellectual stimulation of working outside the home, but I know I love owning my own business and sharing the babywearing love. I know I would never ever give that up. I might be able to be persuaded to work outside the home in addition to that though, if the right opportunity presented itself.

Are you a work-at-home mom? Share the highs and lows of your day in the comments.

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Barbara Reggio is a wife, mother, and small business owner. She has been married to Jonathan since May 2011, and they are partners in parenting their two children, Lucie (January 2012) and Asher (April 2014). The Reggio family relocated to West Columbia from Long Island, NY in March 2013 when Jonathan accepted a job transfer. She has the best of both worlds working both outside the home at a Customs House Brokerage and running her home based business, Trendy Babywearing. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Maritime Studies from the State University of New York at Maritime College. When she is not working or writing articles for Columbia SC Moms Blog, Barbara enjoys walking at the Riverbanks Zoo with her family, babywearing, reading, singing along to the radio (loudly) in her car, loom knitting, documenting her children's lives with photography, and writing on her personal blog http://www.trendsettermom.com/. Barbara is currently working on her goal of becoming a lifetime member with Weight Watchers.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I’m interested in wrapping when my baby gets here to keep her close but am curious how to balance the time between wearing the baby and having them work on their skills (sitting on the floor playing with toys, learning to crawl, etc.) Is that tough to balance? Do you feel like your son is on schedule for milestones? Thanks for the advice!

    • Hi Melody!
      My son is actually very much on time for milestones, and in fact, he is doing things like pulling himself up at a much younger age than his sister, who I did not wear as much. Lucie did not walk until 16 months, and I put her down all the time for tummy time and I had her in an exersaucer quite a bit too. Things we see talked about a lot on baby sites today, IE tummy time, and devices like walkers and exersaucers, were created because our society does not babywear as much as our children need to aid natural development. My son learned head control by three months simply by being worn in an upright position, able to look around, but supported and wrapped in such a way that he could rely on the support as he learned. His leg muscles developed as his legs were in a frog position against me and his muscles moved as I did. At 9 months, he is crawling like an expert, pulling himself up to stand, and walking while holding on to things. He has even taken a few steps without holding on to things, but the minute he knows I’m watching, he promptly falls on hit butt due to stage fright. He plays with toys both on the floor and while he is worn on my back. I have toys that attach to my carriers. I don’t wear my son any more than I would be holding him without a carrier at this point, but when he was younger, I definitely wore him as much as possible- not only because it helped him, but it also helped me. I loved the snuggles, and it actually helped me to decrease feelings of postpartum depression by allowing me to have a deeper connection and maternal bond with him. Hope this helps Melody, and thank you for the excellent question!

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