Working mom.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I've done a few difficult things in life:
... Getting a BSN nursing degree in 16 months.
... Sitting perfectly still during active labor while a long needle was inserted into my back.
... Spending a summer in the Amazon, when I'd never even been camping before.

But growing a baby and a business at the same time? It is, beyond a doubt, the hardest thing I've ever done.

I feel like I'm on a very steep learning curve, learning more from my mistakes than anything. I'm thrilled for the opportunity to stay home with Liam and make a living at the same time, and I'm equally overwhelmed by it. I've tried doing it all at once - holding a drooling baby in one arm, and sewing or responding to emails with the other. It doesn't work. He gets fussy, I get fussy. It's not a pretty picture. As he's nearing 5 months old, he's getting a lot more active, and also more clingy to mommy. If I'm not holding him or interacting with him, he doesn't stay occupied for more than a few minutes (this is a new thing).

This isn't really a post asking for advice (though if you're a work-at-home mom who can relate, I'd love to hear it!). It's more just to let you know I don't have it all together. Not by a long shot. My blog and shop might look pretty, but the woman behind them is often a mess. Just last week, I didn't make one dinner, stayed up past 2am on three occasions, and wore a shirt soaked in spit-up about 90% of the time. I am impatient, prideful, broken.

At the same time, I know that for this season, this feels right. God is undeniably blessing our business, and He's blessed our family immensely with this precious little boy - and He chose for it to all happen at once. He's created a beautiful season for me in which I need Him every hour. And as messy as I am, He loves me. Adores me. Died for me! I'm redeemed, and I don't know about you, but I desperately need to be reminded of that good news every day.

PS - As I've said before, I think all types of moms have the toughest job in the world. Just because I'm not a stay-at-home mom who doesn't work or a working mom who isn't home with Liam doesn't mean I have it any harder than any of you... I am in awe of the strength of mothers out there! Seriously!

31 comments:

  1. I hear you! I teach college level ESL writing courses online, and it's getting more and more challenging as my Kayleigh (18 mos) gets older. I started teaching from home when she was 2 months old, and back then, I thought, "This is so easy! I could do this forever!" But as she grew and became more active, I quickly realized that "easy" wasn't the word anymore. These days, grading papers and creating assignments is restricted only to her naptime. Otherwise, I end up fishing rubber duckies out of the toilet or wiping lotion off the walls. Not to scare you, just to let you know that you're not alone :)

    Also, just for a smile, have you seen this gluten-free Les Mis parody? As soon as I saw it, I thought of you! There's a bit of language, but the song itself is pretty cute. One Grain More

    I love following your blog and seeing how God is blessing your work-from-home ministry by turning your passion into a business. It's so exciting! I know He has big plans for you. Know that you're not alone--there are a lot of us "messy" moms out there. I don't know a single one who wouldn't admit that she is, too. God will see us all through!

    Blessings!
    Bethany
    www.happyhomemaker.me

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    1. Bethany, Thanks so much for your constant encouragement. It's such a blessing! And lotion on the walls? Yikes. I'm not sure I know what I'm in for. :)

      And YES! Love that Les Mis parody! There's a lot of truth in it.

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  2. Keep on keeping on Whitney, you can do it. You're both so blessed. I had a quick question to ask if it was okay, how long did it take you to get your first sale on Etsy and was that with the support of your wonderful blog??

    Keep going, your doing great and Liam is adorable. Good Luck

    glitter-bug-blog.blogspot.com.au

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    1. My first sale on Etsy was from my best friend just a day or so after I opened the shop. The first sale from someone I didn't know was a few days in, but after that, the sales trickled in very slowly for a year or so. I was making jewelry/scrabble tile pendants that were all over Etsy, so there was nothing that special about my shop (nothing that would make people want to shop with me instead of someone else who was making similar items). Once I started making bags, which were more unique and couldn't be made by just anyone, the sales started coming in more frequently. So that's my best advice - be as unique as possible, find a niche (mine has been brides/bridesmaids), and be patient!

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  3. Whitney,
    I don't comment often on your blog, but come here every day it seems like. :) {did that sound stalkerish?} I love to read your honest posts and see your DIY projects, but mostly what I see when I come here is what I want to see in myself. :) You are doing an awesome job from the outside looking in! And your little Liam is SO CUTE!
    ~Ashlee
    http://ashleenikol.com

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    1. Thanks, Ashlee. What a huge compliment!

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  4. The only advice I have as a mother of 3 working part time, and starting my own little home based business is the power of the word "no", or "I can't right now". Not trying to do it all.

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  5. This post. This is why we all love you so much. All of us messes. :)

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  6. I admire your ambition to grow a business and stay home with your little one! I read your blog and have looked at your shop and it does look oh-so-put-together from the outside, but of course there is always the reality and you are kind to be honest and show that side as well! And really, that is inspiring because the rest of us ordinary people can see that lots can be achieved, even with imperfection :) God bless you as you continue to figure this all out!

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  7. Fantastic picture.such a cute baby!
    www.louisvuittondeutsche.com

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  8. I'm gonna cut to the chase and just tell you what I've been thinking through for myself. I have 4 kids and run a sewing business from home as well. My three youngest are home still: 5, 3, 11m. When I have large orders and need to be sewing a lot, it's gets hairy around here! Laundry backs up, the bathroom gets nasty, the LR needs serious picking up, and the kids room...well, we won't discuss that. ;) So, in a recent effort to try and do BOTH I decided to limit my sewing time to the evenings between 8P-1A. I don't let myself sew later than that because I need my sleep. I will be one grumpy mama if I stay up much later than that. After I read your post, I was thinking of things that might help YOU and your situation with a baby who wants your attention frequently. (I had that very recently with my youngest). A couple toys that might help are the jumperoo and exersaucer. These two have helped me get many hours worth of work done in my home over the past 7 years. You might also try after he is mobile the play yards: they have 8-10 sides and are octagonal shaped. (I need one of these pronto) My other thought was to create a schedule/plan/routine for yourself and Liam. It will help you if he can learn to play by himself but you obviously need/want to spend time with him as well. So create a work/play schedule. For me, this would help me not feel guilty if I took time to play with the kids because that's what I'm supposed to be doing. (and vice versa) Give yourself 30 min to sew and then play for 15. (or whatever works for you) If he begins to cry after 15 min...if you know he's ok, just let him cry. As he gets older, it WILL get better...the needing you to entertain him. Mobility is great for this :)

    Julie

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    1. And btw, take it or leave it :) Just know that you are not the only one who struggles with the balance. It is VERY HARD!!

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    2. That is definitely so helpful. I've been trying to figure out how to be "all there" while he's awake (which doesn't necessarily mean being on the floor playing with him the entire time) and it's so hard not to feel guilty for not sewing... or to feel guilty for sewing when I should be with him. Glad I'm not alone.

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  9. This is such a lovely post. Thnx for posting Liam's pics..i think i was missing him.;)

    Aditi
    So-Saree
    www.sosaree.blogspot.in

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  10. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to combine those things!
    I`m not sure if you have one, but have you ever thought about those Baby Bjorn Carriers? I`ve seen a lot of parents using them!

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  11. It is really, really hard to be a WAHM, for me, mostly because it is so hard to not be "at work." I can always be at work, right? The laptop, the phone...I can always call more shops about wholesale orders, always list more items in my etsy shop. I just find it hard to separate everything. But I just do my best. My boys are 5 and 1 and it does get easier once the baby is out of the first year. Best wishes to you as you figure out what works! Just know that your baby needs to have you meet his needs first. Always. When they cry and are kept waiting, the brain makes patterns of stress and anxiety that will stay with them. This season is short, just do your best!

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    1. Yikes! I am thankful for God's grace that, I believe, is way more powerful than my shortcomings - even when he's kept waiting for a bit. Definitely a tough balance!

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  12. Whitney, this is the first time I'm commenting, but I recently stumbled upon your blog and I just love it. There are so few blogs out there that aim to put only beauty and positivity into the world! I worked outside the home until my daughter was 2 and now work from home (I'm a doctor and I do consulting, so I have to have childcare while I work) and it is always a challenge! I agree with the previous poster who suggested making a schedule. I find it a lot easier to fight guilt if I know I'm working during my "working time" and will have time to snuggle, read stories, go to the park or whatever strikes our fancy during my "mama time." God bless you, sister!

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  13. Can totally relate: I own a nanny agency that just went national a year ago and in the next couple weeks will have 3 kids under the age of 3 and I try navigating working from home 40 hours/week and being a full time stay at home mom while we redo a house...IT'S INSANITY some weeks, but I also love that my kids get to observe a mom chasing after some big dreams and working hard! I'm lucky to have a husband who took over all the cooking, most of the grocery shopping, and a lot of cleaning/laundry! Unless you're in the thick of it, no one can relate to how challenging being a work from home mom without childcare is!

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  14. I work 30-40 hours from home ever since I became a 'stay-at-home-mom'. Most of the work needs to be done a computer, and I remember how frustrating it was to entertain a baby while working. I've tried everything! My 'baby' is now nearing 21 months, and it still is difficult. While I work, she breaks glass, or applies make-up, or writes on the wall with permanent marker. Every stage is difficult and it seems like there's never enough time. Not enough time to soak in your child's growing up years, and not enough time to finish work. I don't know about you, but if I spend too much time in either arena, I usually end up paying some sort of consequence or at least feeling guilty. So anyway--all this to say that you're not alone! Hang in there! When there's so much on one's plate, it's good to reach out to our families and friends who are willing to help. I had a mother's helper for a little while. She was in 6th grade and just played with my baby while I worked or cooked dinner. It was great!

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  15. This right here. This is why I love you.

    You talk about life in a way that is REAL: honest, open, transparent. You are a woman of integrity--you take the time to make sure all your sides are seen, to present your self as ONE, whole, pure of heart. And you do it without complaining; you point everything to Jesus Christ. You blow my mind. I want to be like you when I "grow up" (says the *gulp* 23 year old.)

    Thank you for inspiring me, and showing me that there are solid people like you that are in the business world, not just in the ministry world. You bless my heart.

    Thank you.

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  16. Thanks for your honesty, Whitney.

    I can definitely relate in so many ways (I recently became GF, work part-time from home and have a 17 month old son, and love doing DIY projects). I love reading your blog. I really appreciate your love for God and your family. I always feel so encouraged and pointed towards Christ when reading your entries.

    God is using you in mighty ways not only in your home as you try to juggle so many different things but outside of it as well.

    Thank you!

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    1. Thank you Laura! What an encouragement!

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