Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Two Year Mark

See that? That's my office. I used to toil all day in a miserable gray cubicle but now I work on my laptop in my pajamas, on my bed. I work there because I can only work when my kids are asleep, and my two-year-old has some kind of mommy homing device that detects if I've left the room and she wakes up screaming if I try to work elsewhere in the house. So in order to work, I sit on the bed with my laptop, my notebook, my breakfast and my coffee, typing away while my two-year-old sleeps a few feet away in her toddler bed (my four-year-old is usually also sleeping in there, on the floor... that's another blog post...).

I've been a work-at-home mom for just over two years now. I formally quit my full-time job 6 weeks into my maternity leave with my second daughter, on my 34th birthday. It has been the best birthday gift I've ever given myself, and one that keeps on giving!

So, how have the last two years of working part-time from home on top of taking care of two small children been? At first it was pretty unmanageable. When I started working part-time from home, I only had one child, a two-year-old who slept pretty well and napped very well. Still, staying home all day with a two-year-old is a very intense, demanding experience and I had just gotten used to that when my second daughter was born. Having two kids is a totally different ballgame from having one, and the fact that my second daughter was (and at two years old, still is) a particularly needy baby made working from home shall we say, not work very well.

There have been a lot of challenges and a lot of exhaustion and painful learning experiences, but about six months ago, I finally started to feel like I had a handle on not only staying home with two children all day, but fitting work in as well. Lately I really feel like I have a system down and it's great.

I am blessed with a part-time, work-from-home job in my former field, software testing. It can be done any day, any hour, any schedule I want. I get up at about 6:00 on weekdays and work until my children wake up, then most days, I'm done for the day. Getting up that early isn't fun for a decidedly non-morning person like me (especially since my two-year-old STILL doesn't sleep very well...), but it means that after all the cooking, cleaning, washing, scrubbing, caring for my kids, playing with my kids, playdates, errands and other duties are done, any free time I can scratch out is MINE, ALL MINE. Believe it or not, I am able to scrape together some free time, which is easier as my kids are getting older, and I adore every second of it!

I'm a whirlwind of activity from 6:00 AM to about midnight most weekdays, but that's how it was when I worked full time, outside the home, too, only I hated every last minute of that. Being home with my children is something I demand out of life, and it is worth every second of hard work, juggling and sleep deprivation to make working part-time from home work!

Work-at-home moms, what hoops do you jump through to make your work work? What goofy office setups do you have? Tell me I'm not the only one who works in bed, in my PJs!
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