To be a work at home mom sounds so idealistic. You can make your own schedule and work all of the things you could possibly want to do into your week and still make a paycheck. Right? Wrong.
I (Heather), have a few strong passions and a lot of goals. Some long term, some short term. Goals are important, they keep us centered and moving forward toward something. This blog is about the road to meet those goals.... and I've discovered that at least for me, this path is far from straight OR narrow.
My passions are sewing, healthful cooking, and family. Not necessarily in that order. Honestly the order of importance of these things shifts quite often. And that makes forward motion toward any given goal a little hard. Many times these passions overlap. Bi-annually I like to make 5 outfits for each of my 3 kids. I'm bad a sewing decent pants, so unless it's leggings, usually I'll just make a set of shirts that match the season. I love doing this and I love planning and buying the fabric that meets each kids' personality. The kids love it too. They brag on my work constantly while we are out. I make them sweatshirts every fall and they always get compliments. "My mommy made it." ...My heart flutters every time.
I think it's obvious how cooking can overlap with family as well. I meal plan and TRY to cook a variety of dinners every week. I really enjoy this part of life until it starts to bump into sewing. Sewing and cooking are not related. You can't make them work together. (Well, you can... has anybody seen that blog about the dress made entirely of food?) When I need to cook, or I also need to get my MSR sewing quota fulfilled... something has to give. There just are not enough hours in the day and sometimes being responsible for managing your own time can get you in trouble.
Not that leaving home to work is easy. No. In many ways it is not. But hear my perspective. For me, the idea of being accountable to someone, even a time clock, would make life so much easier to schedule and manage. If I knew I had to report to work every day at 9am, clock out at 5pm, and I could only be on my phone during breaks and lunch, I would get a heck of a lot more done. When being tardy or not on task can have negative consequences (losing your job) it makes it easier to abide by the rules.
Well, what happens if you and your distracted and multi-passioned self makes the rules and schedule? In this scenario, your accountability is to yourself and most people like to give themselves way more wiggle room than they would if they were managing other people for the same task. I love the days I can wake up early and hit the ground running. I get a lot done and I always feel great about having done it. The fact is, I don't always spring out of bed at 5am. I don't HAVE to, so I just... don't. Usually.
My kids are 4.5, 3.5, and almost 2. My husband and I have a mutual passion and long-term goal to have our children be home schooled. My new year's resolution is to keep up with home schooling and I'd be lying if I said that it's going smoothly. Our little one is easy. We can sit with her for ten or 15 minutes a couple times a day and review colors and shapes and body parts. She's so little still that I don't feel as bad on days we skip the color wheel.
The big ones are in the same level together (pre-
school) and they are learning numbers and letters. They are also learning social skills about sharing and boundaries and science things like about light and shadows and how plants grow. They are getting older, to the point where I'm feeling the weight of responsibility for their continued learning. I really don't want my distractions and passions to overtake their right to an education. They could fall behind pretty easily at this point... and the reality of that is definitely stressful.
You'd think such simple things would be easy to fit in the day. For some reason, they jus aren't!! Technology is extremely distracting and sometimes I get lost in it. Other times I get lost in my sewing work or a new recipe and before I know it, it's time to make lunch or put them down for nap. I've discovered that there are receptive windows throughout the day for my kids to sit and learn, and if I miss the window, school is out for the day. At least a structured version.
Many of you know that my husband is in the military. He's currently an infantryman and this year brings a TON of training and he's gone for weeks at a time. I have mixed emotions about his absences. My evenings/nights with him gone are my own and I can use that time how I like and not feel guilty about not spending time with him. (And I get the bed to myself, WOOHOO) Don't get me wrong, spending time with him is the highlight of my day, but having him gone is like getting an extra 3 or so hours to dedicate to whatever other passions I have....it's like having an extra 3 hours tacked onto a normal 24 hour schedule....though he is missed. On the other hand, he's not here to be a daddy to our kids. I'm doing everything myself and when he's gone I realize how much he does in the few hours he's home with the kids awake on the average work day.
So while I feel like I have more time, realistically I do not, and this gets me in trouble. There's a yo-yo schedule of him being home and him being gone and the dynamics of the two schedules are so different. There is a lot of guilt involved in being a WAHM with little kids at home. It's a very delicate balancing act that often topples and needs to be reassembled on a continual basis. I'm constantly working on it while trying not to be so hard on myself for inevitable shortcomings.
I think the road to personal success is subjective. There are going to be many bumps, and constant detours. There will be days I have it all together, and there will be even more days that I do not. The important thing is to move forward and improving over time. Switchback roads are the only way to drive up a steep mountain. It's definitely not a direct approach, but it'll get you to where you are going. It's definitely thrilling and stressful at the same time, but usually there's promise of an awesome view that makes it well worth it.