Feb 20, 2018

How I Make it Work- Working From Home

Work and life has gotten in the way of posting, which is rather boring, but I'm squeezing this into my day while waiting on return phone-calls and emails.

A reader asked for a run-down of how I handle working from home with little ones.  I don't know if I do the best job, but it's always interesting to read how we all manage things.  I'm interspersing some cute pictures of my children in case you don't care about working from home.

So quick background-  I'm an attorney for my family's business.  I work from home as I am needed.  This is great because I'm not twiddling my thumbs from 9-6 when I'm not busy.  Of course, it also means that sometimes I juggling a sixty hour work week with part time childcare.  It's a tradeoff that works well for me and my personality though.

The boys are in school four days a week from 9-2:30 (this fluctuates some, as Deeds goes to 2 schools- more on that later).  Dell Harper is in kindergarten, so she goes from 7:45-2:35 each day.  While they are at school, I work, prep dinner, switch out laundry, and (if I'm slow) exercise.  Having a limited window forces me to really focus and buckle down.  Also, I know if I don't get my stuff done, I will be working from 7-11 PM that night.

Sometimes that switch is worth it to me.  For example, today I wanted to do my group training class at 10, so I headed to my office at 6 AM and worked for an hour to get a head start.  Other times, when I'm super slammed, I know that it will be 9-2:30, plus nights, plus early mornings.  And I'm down with that!  I value the flexibility of my job so much- it makes it easy to sit in my office revising documents until late at night, knowing I can take my kids to the playground after school the next day.

Also, I love not having to put on work clothes and do my hair everyday.  After seven years of suits and panty hose, it is glorious! Wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt knowing I'm going to get kid gunk on me is great.

So that's the good things about straddling both working mom and stay at home mom worlds.  The bad is that I straddle both worlds.  I feel the childcare, housekeeping and volunteer expectations of a stay at home parent, as well as the work demands of a working mom.

What ends up suffering is self-care and time with Morgan.  I very rarely sit on the couch and watch tv with Morgan after the kids are down.  It's either housework, prepping dinner and lunches for the next day, or work.  My house gets messy because the kids are in it all afternoon, but I don't have time while they are in school to clean, because that's work time.

Also, I feel guilty if I use that kid-free time for myself- I don't mind sneaking off for an hour to exercise, but haircuts or eyebrows, or nails, etc.?  I just can't justify it.  That's why my hair is so ratty!  I make it for a haircut about 2x a year.  I also quit coloring my hair when I quit working full time.  It was just too much time and money to spend on myself.

The last tricky thing is childcare.  It doesn't make sense financially or otherwise to send the kids to daycare full-time.  Instead they go to preschool (except DH now that she's in kindergarten).  Last year the preschool at our church (where we have been since DH was 18 months old), cut Deeds' days from 4 to 3.  This was huge for me, because (as mentioned above), although some weeks I could get by with 2 days a week, other weeks I need full time.  So 4 days a week is the baseline for my sanity.  I can make it all work with that amount of time.  So, luckily I got Deeds into Tommy's school as a sibling.  Tommy attends a different program (that Deeds used to attend) that allows babies.  Next year, we are quitting my church's preschool and both boys will go to the same place.  It's bittersweet, as I loved my church's program.  However, as flexible as my job is, I can't take a chance on not having consistent days.  The other issue is snow days, illness days off or sick kids.  I'm in the same boat with working parents all over.  When school is out, I am scrambling.

Ahh, no botox, no makeup, dirty hair in ponytail selfie.  HAAWWWWTTT.

Here's the thing, though.  I would much rather have non-highlighted hair, big pores, and bushy eyebrows, and get to spend more time with my kiddos, yet work too.  If I was fully stay-at-home, I might go absolutely insane.  I need breaks from my wild and crazy crew.  It makes me (just me, personally) a better parent to have away time.  I love working for my family.  I love using the analytical part of my brain, as well as this degree I worked so hard to obtain.

I feel like I should end this with some grand inspirational quote.  I got nada.  Instead, I will tell you the truth.  I always feel like I have a window open.  For example- I'm taking work calls in the middle of making cookies with my kids, or answering emails on my phone on the playground or when snuggling. At work, sometimes I'm on a call frantically motioning to my kids to be quiet in the car.

I read all this stuff about being intentional and present.  And I think, "shit."  Because I'm not doing that.  and I wish I was.

Instead, I'm doing the best I can.  Like we all should.  So I'm going to try and continue that- intentionally doing my best.  And that's okay.

Oprah time is done.  Just call me if you need an inspirational speaker.  I'm the one in the ratty Old Navy running tights and no shower for a few days.
This picture is old.  Tommy doesn't have bottles anymore.  I look tired.  Because I am.  But I also look content.  Because I am.


  1. THANK YOU for this post! Love reading about how other real working mamas are doing it and love the realness and authenticity of your blog!

  2. Such a beautiful family. Interesting post! I love reading how people do their days! You will be happy to have the boys at the same place!

  3. I appreciate this post so much. I work full-time and have two little girls. Luckily, I have a very flexible job that allows me to leave early, work from home when needed, etc. However, I typically feel like I have multiple tabs open on my internet explorer in my brain (if that makes any sense). Keep it up!

  4. I loved reading this! I also have 3 little ones. Thanks for posting & sharing. I have a similar set up although I work out of the house. I really appreciate the flexibility that I do have. My husband also has a very predictable job which helps a ton - no travel or late nights which is huge.

    I hear you on trying (and failing) to be present when there are a million things going on. I just was reading a study where the recommendation was 5 min/day/child of focused attention. At least I can do that!!

  5. Love this! I have two kids (5 and 3) and have done it all from working full-time at a global firm to staying home and am now at 20 hours/week. It's a juggle no matter what you are doing, but I am lucky that I've always loved my job. Thanks for sharing how you make it work!

  6. Thanks for answering my question! This might be my favorite blog post ever! :) While I wish you had some secret you were going to share about how you balance it all, it's nice to know I'm not the only one in the trenches. I always tell people--it's both the best and the worst of both worlds. Thanks for sharing and being real. Now back to work during my 6 hours of preschool time today...

  7. Loved reading this, Samma! I am SO MUCH HAPPIER back at work "three-quarters" time, but it presents a whole new set of challenges, and I empathize completely with the part-time child care struggles. I love being able to do a lot of the same things I did as a SAHParent and I love using my Adult Brain, but I don't feel as if I ever stop hustling... and not in the cool, hip-hop way ;)

  8. This is a great post! I love reading how other mothers juggle their children's lives along with work. And, I agree with your ending that it'd be nice to have an inspirational quote, but we're all just doing the best we can. My schedule is that I'm working 9 months of the year and off in the summer (which is a great for having children), but it poses an expensive daycare question because we need full-time care for 3 children during the school year but not during the summer. It's not typically optional to drop a child in and out of a full time daycare. Anyway, I appreciated this post on the "juggle."

  9. I love this post too. I am also an attorney who works for the family business (in my case, that's a law firm.) I'm able to work from home about 90% of the time and I have part time child care for my two young (non-school age) children. I LOVE that I get to have the best of both worlds- being home a ton with my kids while using my degree BUT it is lonely! It is hard to totally fit in with my friends who stay home full time or work full time. So thanks for making me feel less lonely! Sometimes I just have to encourage myself to keep going, knowing it will all worth it in the end! We can do it!

  10. Can't your husband help??

    1. Of course! But he works full time out of the home, so he can’t stay home with the kids while I work. On snow days we scramble depending on who has meetings, etc.

      Is that what you meant?


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