This is not one of those posts where I tell you I have it all figured out and my that my work/life balance is on point. To be honest my work/life balance may never be perfect. Hell it might not even be close to perfect, and that is something that I have to just be fine with. I can’t read any more articles about finding balance, because for us, work and family are very intertwined and that is OK.
As I type this I have a 10 month old under my chair, trying desperately to reach the power strip because he is obsessed with cords. I am not qualified to write this, but I’ve worked from home with three babies now, so I may know a thing or two and if you are just starting out on this journey, perhaps some of my trials can guide you or at least make you feel like you don’t have to have it all together.
So what do my days look like? Well my oldest is at Kindergarten during the week, and my middle child goes to daycare two days a week. Those two days are considered my “work” days. Meaning that I do my best to be on the computer editing or working on other business related tasks as much as possible. Kaden, the baby, is home with me. When he was little we had to take a lot of nursing breaks, but he slept a lot so it was arguably easier than the stage we are at now. He does still take two good naps during my work day and I hustle during those nap times to get things done. One thing I have learned, is that you can not do dishes or scroll your phone during workday nap time. That hour is for work only so make it count. I can also edit while he is awake, but he does require some entertainment at this point. Luckily we have a shit ton of toys by this point in my parenting journey, and I just rotate through them. Obviously that doens’t always work, and he does need/want some of my attention but singing, loud, obnoxious toys do help. I also think he is a good napper because he has to be up early since the older boys have places to be. Him being up with his brothers and having time in the morning with them does help wear him out for later when it is just us.
3:00 pm always comes fast. Then it is snack and I can usually count on them to play together for a bit if I have any other work-related tasks to tackle. We are talking maybe 15 minutes here though and then someone needs something. With three kids, someone almost always needs something so this is not a time of day that I plan to get much done especially because after a day of stimulation, the older two need some mom time. Our evenings are busy with all the things. Dinner, dishes, baths, cleaning up, books, bedtime. Its time consuming with three kids and you may be thinking to yourself that by that time of day, I have my husband’s help. Wrong. Kevin works out of town Monday-Thursday. I’m not saying this for pity, although some nights are very hard and a bit lonely, it is something we have chosen and both agreed to. It isn’t permanent, and it also isn’t unique. This is the case for a lot of families. It just means that I do more of the parenting during the week, and then he takes on more parenting tasks on the weekends when I have shoots because with photography, I do work a lot of weekends. Not going to lie, by Thursday night I am maxed out and countdown until he gets home. The one thing I have learned is that you have to do what is best for you and your family, and that might not look identical to Pamela down the street.