This month’s ‘real moms, real talk’ topic is on working and childcare, which I find SO interesting. I can’t wait to hear what the other mama’s are doing. Going into motherhood, I had no idea how I was going to feel, what I was going to take on, or how I was going to do it. Before I had Archer, I was busy with just work. I had more than enough projects and a to-do list that didn’t quit, so I knew I would need help… help with him and help with work. I wasn’t sure how it would shake out but after a lot of trial and error, this is my current situation that is working for me.
When Archer was around 2.5 months old we brought on a nanny two days a week. It was a huge help to be able to ease into working again and to also get some much needed rest. Now, 8 months later not a ton has changed, well a million things have changed, but I mean as far as childcare goes. We still have the same nanny, and she still watches Archer for two days a week. On those two dedicated “work days”, I am in the studio for a full day, or taking meetings, doing shoots, designing, etc. But I am still close enough (i.e. in the backyard) to pop in for a quick snuggle, make sure Archer stays on schedule (remember I’m a sleep nazi) and nurse Archer at feeding times (or I pump if I’m extra busy). On the other three days a week, I have my studio assistant/shop manager working in the office while I have Archer. She starts just as Archer is usually going down for his first nap, so I work alongside her for 1 to 2 hours depending on how long the little sweet pea sleeps. This gives me more than enough time to get her started and give her enough work for the day. She also runs A LOT of errands for me. In the afternoon Archie sleeps for another 1-2.5 hours where I will cram as much work as I can. He then usually goes to bed for the night around 6:45, and that is when Rupert and I have dinner together, (lately we have been ordering A LOT of Munchery. TOTAL time saver folks) and more often than not, I do a bit more work at the end of the day. I currently try to get to bed somewhere before 10 as Archie wakes up around 5:45 and that is just SO early. Luckily… once I feed him, I pass him off to Rupert at 6am and he takes him for the rest of the morning and I get back into bed and either try and catch a few more z’s or start the work day from bed.
It may sound a lot like I am either working, or watching/playing with Archer, or sleeping… and that sounds about right, BUT a lot of the “work” I do also doesn’t feel like work at all. I LOVE design and creating, making, doing… it’s all ingrained in me. I thought maybe that would change after I had Archer but it didn’t. My passions are still my passions and I still feel fulfilled by my work. I was kind of worried I would completely lose myself in motherhood which you hear so much about and yes, there are new passions and new parts of me surfacing (and I should probably run a comb through my crazy tangled hair more than once a week) but I am also pleasantly surprised about how much I still feel like me. I’m hoping that feeling continues. Of course Archer tops it all, which is why I only have someone watching him for me two days a week, and maybe that will change after the first year… or maybe not, but for now, I am soaking up as much mama/son time as I can and still keep my business going/growing.
Of course, working and being a new mama isn’t easy (being a new mama, period, isn’t easy amirite?). I actually didn’t feel like I got into the groove until Archer was around 6 months old and then it took until he was about 8 months to really, really start enjoying it all. I don’t know babies, I am the youngest of three sisters and have never spent any kind of extended time around a newborn. So for me, the first 6 months was an insane stress filled, sometimes panic stricken period and yet each day was still sprinkled with magic moments. I found myself often thinking… I don’t know what I am doing, I am not very good at this, maybe I am not cut out for this. And funnily enough, I think my work had a big hand in keeping me somewhat balanced. It felt good when I could do something familiar, something I was good at, and accomplish something concrete. Somewhere along the line the magic moments lingered around longer and while it isn’t all pure bliss, it is pretty darn great.
I also have the tendency to try and do it all, which just can’t be done. No one can do it all on their own. So here is my summary of my crack team I’ve put together to keep this train going…
1. We have a nanny that watches Archer two days a week, OH and I forgot to mention… on top of that she also comes one half day each week just to clean. Which is HUGE. So she is nanny/housekeeper. She cleans, does dishes, laundry, makes our bed each day she’s here, and is pretty much a saint for picking up after me constantly. She basically takes care of the household things that I would completely sacrifice doing, over work, until the clothes and dishes and dirt were piled up to the ceiling.
2. I also have a studio assistant/shop manager working in the office the opposite three days from the nanny (the days I am not in the studio for the full day).
3. And finally I have an a very supportive and involved husband, who walks the dogs, makes (or warms up) dinner and spends every morning with Archie while I get an hour or so to myself (even though a lot of times it means I fall back asleep).
So in a nutshell of a nutshell, I work whenever and wherever I can, get help where I need it, and have a really supportive and involved husband.
So what’s YOUR secret mama’s?!
See all the other mama’s thoughts on working & childcare here:
Could I Have That
The Effortless Chic
The Refined Woman
A Daily Something
Our Style Stories
Photos by Alissa Noelle Photography