When Marleigh was three months old, I made the decision to quit my full time job in advertising to become a part-time stay at home/work at home mom. It was a giant leap of faith and a pretty substantial pay cut came along with it. I was fortunate to be able to find an amazing store to sign on with doing marketing work and the owner was willing to let me work part time in retail there on the side to help make ends meet. It was the start of a new season of my life. We were tight financially, but we made it through, and I even landed a couple more clients and side projects along the way to help us along.
Fastrack to now, two+ years later, and I am still going strong working part time from home providing freelance work for various clients and companies (and hey! Shameless plug: I'm always looking for new clients, so connect with me on LinkedIn to learn more) while also working part time at a law firm downtown. I leave the house on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in my business casual attire and stay home on Tuesdays and Thursdays cranking out work in my leggings and messy topknot. I've been able to find a pretty good balance of work/home life in my experience over the past couple of years, and I'm so grateful for my husband and for the opportunities I have had to be able to spend so much time with our babies while they grow.
But it's not all rainbows and butterflies.
Working from home with two kids two and under (and a puppy) can be difficult. It's sometimes noisy and my hours are anything but the normal 9-5. When I would usually take a lunch break at the office is when I am putting the kids down for their afternoon naps. The time that I would usually be just getting home from work is now the time when Luke gets home and I retreat to the computer for a few minutes (or hours, depending on the day) of uninterrupted work time to finish checking items off of my to-do lists.
While my peers are out wining and dining at networking events in the evenings, I'm wiping tooshies, making bottles, tucking two sleepy little heads into bed for the night at 8:00, and crashing into my own bed soon after.
When I made the decision to quit my day job, I also made the decision to put that part of my life on hold for a while. It's something that I struggle with almost daily. It's hard to see people that I graduated with or acquaintances getting promotions and landing new positions. I think back to my plush office with my giant windows and sometimes I look back at it and I miss it. I miss morning meetings and client conference calls, I miss having adult conversations, being able to concept new ideas with other creative minds.
But when that regret of leaving that life behind starts to creep in, I remind myself of some things I would miss infinitely more: waking up slow to smiling faces and making "dinner" (breakfast) for Marleigh, "concept meetings" with her "making lists" on the couch and "doing work" with me on her purple computer, rocking Huck to sleep for his nap instead of wondering what he's doing all day long, watching my babies learn and grow right before my eyes. My professional life, a career, I can jump back into that world when I am ready again. But my babies will never be this little again. I will never get this time with them back. And that, to me, is much more important than any corner office I could be in.
Wherever you are in your life... whether you are single and just starting out, dropping your littles off at day care and climbing that corporate ladder, or if your "only" job is to take care of your home while taking care of little lives, your work is important as the next person's. Keep on keepin' on and keep that coffee hot. Lord knows we all need it!