I have been a stay at home mom for the past 2+ years with my daughter. And the only time we ever had a sitter was when my husband was gone for training with the Army for 4 months and I hired a girl to come once a week so I could grocery shop. So really, Bella has been pretty much my sidekick 24-7.
This past spring, I transitioned into what I’ve always dreamed of and worked towards – working at home as a freelance writer. These past two months I’ve worked 30-40 hours per week from home with several different jobs and my own blog.
This is a huge adjustment for our whole family – especially my daughter. When I realized I simply wasn’t able to get what I needed done without her being left alone or plopped in front of the TV, I decided to look at other options.
First we tried a half day daycare but because most moms here work full-time or stay at home full-time, there is a huge need for all day daycare. I understood that Bella only going part of a day took up a full-time slot that they could give to another child.
So then we looked at preschools, but most were too expensive for us at the time, and I didn’t feel at 2 1/2 there was a real need for that quite yet. Besides, we plan on homeschooling our kids.
The last option we decided to try was an in home sitter. I put out an ad on Sittercity.com hoping to find someone like we had before we moved to Texas. After a few sketchy interviews we found someone we both really like and Bella completely adores. She’s always on time, always cheerful, full of ideas, and has a flexible schedule for last-minute changes. She’s been with us for 2 months now and comes 2 times a week (soon to be 3).
While she’s here, I pack up all the stuff I need for work and head out to a local Starbucks a couple of miles away. I thought about just going to my bedroom and shutting the door and then I realized I would be the crazy mom I hated as a nanny. The one that hears her kid crying and leaps into the room to find out what happened, the one who opens the door when the child pounds on it, the one who peeks through the shades as they are outside playing to make sure her child has a hat on…
Anyway. I leave. I leave and for almost 2 solid hours I write, send emails, and edit pictures and posts.
At first I felt incredibly guilty about this. Because I told myself that if I simply managed my time better, we could save that money.
And then I realized I was insane.
Bella loves someone new that is there to give her undivided attention. I love being able to work without being asked 100 times if I can play with “Thomas with no face.” I love coming home to a happy child who made her first watercolor and ran through the sprinkler outside. I am more energized, have things nearly done, and am ready to give her my full attention after nap.
I still work some in the mornings and always at night. I feel that it’s OK to work around her because it teaches her independence and creativity to find something I’m not creating for her. So mornings are half play/half work. That is my time management – when Bella sleeps I work.
But, having our sitter allows me that time to really focus, to do what I love knowing my child is in the hands of someone capable and caring. I never thought I’d want someone in my home this often and now I can’t imagine anything I’d do different.
What’s your balancing act? How do you manage to get work done and juggle kids/household tasks?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our Writer Interview Editor and mother of one in Texas, Diana @Hormonal Imbalances.
Photo credited to the author.