For the first time in my adult life, I have been "unemployed" for six months. Yes, yes, full-time motherhood is not by any means unemployed. I am busier now than I ever was in the workplace and forget days off and sleeping at night! Managing three kids keeps me constantly on the move: cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, driving to and from school/activities, grocery store outings, playground visits, cuddle time and crisis control (sicknesses, temper tantrums, lost binkies and other tragic events). By the end of the day, it is hard for me to define exactly what we have accomplished - other than we just survived! Everyone was fed, cleaned and loved.
But let me return to the original purpose and mantra of this blog: BALANCE. Spending all day in the confines of our house or minivan, moving from one task to the next, isn't the balance I am accustomed to. Ever since Ayla was born, I worked outside of the home on top of my motherly duties. With one child, I worked an average of 40-50 hours a week in a hotel. With two kids, I downgraded to 30-40 hours in an office. By the time Elliot popped out, I was happily working part-time at a maximum of 20 hours a week in a restaurant.
Some women are happiest when they continue full-steam-ahead with their careers. Other women are horrified by the concept of leaving their children and find the most satisfaction being home with their children. Most families face this decision with the unfortunate realities of life: time and money. A lot of moms want to stay in the workforce, but the insane cost of childcare changes those plan; just as some women don't return to work after having children despite its' financial downfalls. Children thrive in all sorts of scenarios and I don't place judgement on how anyone balances the work/mommyhood dilemma. We have a lot of options in this day and age!
That being said, I am a lot harder on myself than I am on other Moms. I never felt I had the luxury of staying home after Ayla was born (or Jackson or Elliot!). We depended too much on my income and I really needed to feel that I was contributing financially to our future and well-being. I was able to downgrade with hours, which made me feel that I had some control over the madness at home and that I wasn't missing crucial Mom moments like bedtime, breakfast and trips to the park.
Up to almost a year ago, I was happily managing that balance: thanks to Gregory's flexibility with his job and my bosses at the restaurant where I worked. We alternated our work schedules so that we only needed babysitters once or twice a week (although we never saw each other) and I was able to live up to my own standards as an involved mother AND a citizen of the workforce.
Then... jobs changed and we moved to Buffalo. Away from our babysitters. Away from my luxe serving job across the street from our house.
I will admit that I am now "working" in a different capacity. Without the stress of an outside job, I can focus more on the details of managing the homestead. I have more time for my creative projects, for laundry, for meal planning, for gardening, for coupon cutting... all the thrills of life, right? I am in a support position. A crucial support system. Gregory can thrive at his job and have the whole family package: because I am working just as hard to manage our money as he is working to earn it. Managing a family budget is just as important as being the family breadwinner. In fact, I'm the breadmaker (literally, get it?) because I now have the time at home!
I am a lucky woman. I am living the dream that so many mothers have for their families. I am, for the most part, living the dream I had for myself.
But here is where the pursuit of balance gets me: I just want a little....more.
It made sound insane, but I want to accomplish more! I am inspired by the Moms I know that have developed home-based businesses and have flourished. In my idealistic mind, having a successful business from home during your own free hours (ha! the fifteen minutes before dinner is finished and when you are dead tired at 10 pm) is the perfect blend of motherhood and industry.
Here's the catch: I am not the only one with this dream. How do I transfer my years in customer service and restaurant management to a business from home? I don't, in fact. I start over with something new. Anyone and everyone is selling their wares on the internet. And I would like to join the crowd.
In the hopes that my public declaration will motivate me to get things started: I would love to open up an Etsy shop. If you don't already shop there, you simply must start. I plan on starting simple with useful, modern pillowcases and baby items. How hard can it be to park my butt in front of the sewing machine for an hour each day? I certainly find the time to park it in front of this computer screen!