Working From Home… With a Toddler
and saving your sanity?
I’m not sure I would ever really know how to work in a 9 to 5 office environment again. I’ve been running my own business for so long, working from home and building my own schedule, that anything else would feel completely foreign to me at this point.
And probably completely suffocating.
I love what I do and the flexibility it provides. I love that I get to pursue this creative outlet of mine on a daily basis, and that I’m able to do so on my terms.
And now that I’m a mom? I’m all the more thankful for each and every one of those things.
Of course, it’s also taken some adjustments. Yes, part of the beauty of my career has always been the flexibility. But things still need to get done. I get to make my own schedule, but the work still has to happen.
Which can be a little harder with a toddler now underfoot.
I have a kid who is forever demanding my time and attention, and if I fail to give it to her? Well, that’s when I’m liable to walk around a corner and find her painting the walls in egg yolks.
Or something to that effect.
So how do I get anything done with a toddler at home? Well, through careful planning, that’s how!
Our mornings are mostly spent playing and exploring. A walk to the park. A stop-in at the local coffee shop. Time together, hopefully outdoors and under the sun running and climbing and getting her ya-yas out.
Then, if I’m lucky, she takes a nap. And that’s when the work begins. When I frantically reply to client e-mails, set up meetings, retouch images, and arrange my schedule for the days to come.
Though, her naps never last long enough.
Which is where my husband comes in. Having a partner I can rely on to help with the parenting duties allows me to get some work done at night, after he comes home. And I do even more after our girl has gone to bed.
But I’m going to let you in on a little secret: every once in a while, I need more work time than our daily routine allows.
I love being a stay at home mom, and I love having that time with my girl. But life is all about balance, and I love my job as well. So sometimes, our daughter might get a bit of screen time while I work to finish up some editing. Or I may call in a babysitter to keep her occupied while I wrap a project up, or even jet off to a mid-week wedding.
Working from home with a toddler means being open to a variety of solutions. And it means recognizing that no two weeks are ever going to work out exactly the same. Sometimes, my little one doesn’t nap at all—which means a crankier baby and less time mid-day to get things done. Sometimes my husband has his own deadlines to compete with, or a babysitter isn’t available when I need one. That’s when I have to start getting creative, maybe calling upon other stay at home mom friends to barter a play date swap, or getting an extra coffee and staying up a bit too late.
The thing is, my passion for my career (and my daughter) is what keeps me going. And I’ve come to believe that motherhood has actually enhanced my photography in this really exciting way; it’s changed my eye for the world around me. I live much more in the moment. And it’s increased my excitement for capturing families.
It may mean finding new ways to work, but hey, that’s life. And sometimes, a few new challenges can actually shift our perspective in the very best of ways.