Squarespace Blog / "WAHM"

Swinger Sunday: TO DO - Werk :)

Meet Ashely - The mama behind AE Photography... Shes Super Mom in my eyes... but like the rest of us WAHM's, sometimes we start to jumble out priorities and get overwhelmed. So I figured, what a perfect Swinger Sunday post with all the supportive and understanding mama's we have here :) Leave her some love!

The other day when Ella was getting her hair cut, it got me thinking. I watched the stylists clean their stations, call over a client, give them a cut, get paid, clean up their station again and move onto the next client. They show up to work on time, do their job, make a living and be done with it. They can head home and leave work behind them. I sometimes wonder what that feels like.

When you have three children and work out of your home doing a job that is both yours and your husband's full time deal, things can become jumbled together. It's safe to say work is never far from my thoughts--even when on vacation, during the holidays or while sleeping. There is always stuff to ponder, stress over and get excited about. I assume this might be much easier for husband and wife photography teams that do not have children, but there isn't much we can't do about that! It takes a lot of dedication and determination to say "I am done with work for the day and will focus only on the kiddos & the husband."

When I see something like this photo, it breaks my heart a little. I know that every child has working parents, and ours actually get to see us more than most children get to see their parents... but I know it can be rough for them, because we are always together, and yet we are focused on work a majority of the time. We have decided to make annual summer vacations a top priority in this household, as well as mini spring getaways. Babies grow up so fast, and as important as it is to be dedicated to your job and work as hard as you possibly can--don't forget to stop, free your mind and focus on your little ones. Work issues may see oh-so-important now, but the only thing you will ever truly regret is not being the parent you always meant to be. You only get one shot.

I have decided to add a little ice skating, monster trucks and bowling to my to-do list. I'll have to have Ella modify the one she made for me on our calendar for this month!

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Mentoring Monday: Children are Water, We are the Glass

As usual, Monday welcomes another post by new mama to Maddie, Aymee. Leave her some love!
Our Children are Water, and we are the Glass      H₂O: the single most important tangible substance for life on Earth. It is what allows all organisms to flourish. This naturally renewable source is a cure-all for when we are sick, tired, and run-down. Water is the most pliable element, taking the shape of whatever container it resides in. Take the simple image of a cool glass of water. What comes to mind? Rejuvenation, refreshment, mmm…a good feeling.
      If our children are water, then we are the glass that holds them. Some glasses are simple cylinders; some are artfully colorful or eye-catchingly shaped. But they all serve the same purpose: to provide a receptacle for water to do its job and reach its full potential. When one thinks of a glass of water, one focuses on the water. The glass is often taken for granted. But if the glass is structurally unstable (i.e. a crack in the side), precious liquid will helplessly leak out making a mess. Parenting is a lot like being a glass. We have a responsibility to stay structurally sound so our children can reach their full potential and fuel a better future.
      Originally, I did not plan to have children until I was finished with college. College-then-kids is the stereotypically expected plan in our culture because college-with-kids is damn hard. But late last year, a burning stillness rose within me to have a baby. Adam had been prodding for children for years. Six months into dating we went to see Jersey Girl in the theater. As the credits began to roll, he looked lovingly at me and said, “Let's have a baby.” --!!!-- “Get away from me!” I humorously thought. Working on my Associates degree, we weren't even married yet (not that you have to be married to have kids). I made him wait five and half years, and I'm lucky he's so patient. When I enrolled in school last fall, I still had every intention of finishing my Bachelors before getting pregnant. But in November, something changed within me. The time came, and I had a peace in my heart and my gut so strong: I knew I had to listen. My mom, who lovingly pressed me to finish college, softly questioned my judgment. “What about school?” she asked. In her head, it probably sounded more like, “ARE YOU CRAZY?! Do you have any idea what you're in for?” But I'm an extremely lucky individual. My mom is amazing, supportive, and keen enough to have always known her strong-willed daughter has to follow her heart, even if she sees otherwise.
      Following my heart paid off. As Adam puts it, “We hit the jackpot.” Our little girl is more wonderful in every way than I ever imagined. I like to think the stars aligned last November, my soul sensed it, and thank goodness I listened. Still, in the back of my mind I wonder if having my plate so full will have a negative impact on my parenting abilities? The conclusion I always come back to is this: the answer is up to me. The answer will lie in how I prioritize my obligations. It is a given that my child and husband come first. Then my job and school come next. And my sanity? Well…
      It would be easy to decline into a slippery slope of sacrificing my sanity for the sake of my responsibilities. But will that eventually make me a cracked glass? Certainly. In the circular method of doing what's best for my child, I have to take care of myself. The battle is figuring out how to deliver on all three planes without becoming overwhelmed and losing hope--but it's not impossible. At my college, forty percent of the student body are working parents. And like them, I am (somehow) still passing my classes and my child is thriving. Or take a lot of the working Moms on Etsy & Artfire: Brooke, Steph, and even our beloved Amber; multiple kids and successful stores they run by themselves. If they can do it and stay sane, so can I. With a positive mindset, it is amazing what we are capable of.
      I find taking pride in my struggle for Maddie yields further motivation. Taking comfort in doing the right thing for my family, regardless of how hard it may be, gives me the energy to press on. To get up before dawn, to stay calm when she's not, to attend class instead of go home and have a beer: all for my family. Yes, water fuels the future. But who knew it fueled the glass holding it?

Amber edit: Thanks Mee-Mee, this could have been more perfect today... today my friend, has been a total whirlwind.. cooking, cleaning, working, parenting, wifing, and i still have about 6 hours to go... its 7:30 (head/desk) doing it with my sanity? I dunno... some days (like today) I swear my heads gunna explode... other days? Piece of cake.. I just keep focusing on the next day... get as much done today because "the next day" will be easier... it seems to help me get buy and stay focused on the tasks at hand... if not, i get completely overwhelmed... i love you!
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I'm a lot of people around this house... Im #1, the mom.... #2, the wife.... the chef, the maid, butler, the chauffeur, the teacher, the friend, the teammate, the seamstress, the designer, the shipper, the customer service representative, the marketing manager, the web designer, the promoter,  the babysitter, the blogger and the list goes on and on.... Im a Stay At Home Mom.... but a Work at Home Mom...... and in my book, that makes me a Never Off the Clock Mom.... sometimes it is so hard for me to shut off... I find myself sitting down to send an email, thinking about what pictures should be edited and listed. I sit down at the machine and think about what packages I should be packing... and I spend hours packing packages, all while thinking about how much I should be getting done on the sewing machine. Finding a balance between work life & home life has been impossible... Why? Because they are the same.  Zaq and I bicker about this often... Its impossible for me to just sit down with my husband and relax, Im always sneaking peeks at the iPhone to check emails, or thinking about what i "should" be doing, even though spending time with him is at the top of my list, it never seems to get the full attention it deserves... there is always something to be done, stuck in the back of my mind... Now don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change my career path for anything... I absolutely love what I have created and couldn't be more happy. Any job you can do in your PJ's, and love.... is a job worth keeping... I just wish that sometimes I could shut off my brain.  For example, last night, it was 4:30 am and I was laying in bed sending work emails... I think most normal people were sleeping. Now, that being said, I'm not exactly normal when it comes to the store. I bend over backwards for customers, and try to keep my customer service very high... (trust me) there are a lot of etsy shops that don't keep up the same standards. And my guess would be that they sleep a little easier at night... Somehow my "days off" have changed meaning... instead of sewing, it just means running errands like shipping packages, and picking up fabric... Maybe even cleaning the office... Or it means the weekly "deep clean" of the house... My dinner plans have changed from elaborate chicken parmesan and steak & potatoes... to crock pot turkey chili, crock pot beef and noodles, tater tot hot dish and baked rotini... these are all things that can be made in the AM while my Keurig spits out its first cup of coffee (out of 3 for the day) and my kids eat breakfast... they either cook on low all day, or get thrown in the oven when Zaq's on his way home... (the dinners, not the kids... i don't recommend baking children.) You dont want to know what I live off when he is NOT here.... but Ill tell you anyways. Lean Pockets - Spinach & Artichoke... & Mr. Changs Microwavable shrimp or vegetable egg rolls. Gross right? Totally... don't worry. I always feed the kids proper, and usually organic meals... I just don't as usual take care of myself in the same manner.

I know so many work at home moms (and dads) that deal with these same daily trials... some just as busy, some busier... but i gotta know. How do you do it? Can you shut off? Even if just for a little while... or Am I crazy? I would love some input on the matter, as Im sure there is plenty to be heard :) Love you guys... and i miss blogging... i just (duh, me) have been so busy I havn't had any time... but today i made time just to share this little rant with you.... look forward to hearing what you have to say!

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