Being A Work-At-Home Mom
Being A Work-At-Home Mom
People think being a work-at-home mom is easy. I'm not going to lie. In many ways, it is easier than working out of the home but harder when it comes to specific issues such as time management.
Back before I had Jesse, I was a jack-of-many-trades sort of person. I didn't have a career. I had jobs - cake decorating being my last occupation before becoming a mom. Before that, I worked as a receptionist in a real estate office and had kicked around the idea of being a real estate agent. I forked over the money for classes but left midway through. I'm not cutthroat, and I'm not a salesperson. I couldn't sell ice in Hell. After that, I worked as a dental assistant, and no joke, if I had gotten into the field sooner, I would have gone to dental school. I'm fascinated at how they can work in a small area and help people find renewed confidence in their smile. But, that wasn't the road I took, and so, I ended up working at Pathmark - a now-defunct supermarket chain once owned by the bankrupt A&P - as a (crappy) cake decorator.
I left Pathmark once I was seven months pregnant with Jesse. After she was born, I couldn't bring myself to return to a job outside the home. Frankie picked up my slack by working two jobs. One as a bakery manager for Pathmark (no, we never worked together) and the other as an exterminator for my uncle's pest control company. But I'm a worker, and being a mom - and only a mom - was one of the driving factors to my mental breakdown. I admire women who can put their entire selves into motherhood. It takes a strong woman to be a mom 24/7 and not lose a sense of themselves.
Me? I felt fractured.
I had also lost my brother when Jesse was five months old. My idle mind was consumed with grief and an unhealthy obsession with mortality. To occupy my mind with something other than sad thoughts, I returned to one of my greatest loves. Writing. I penned four books. Three full-length novels centered around vampires desperate to win their way back into God's favor, and one fallen-angel novella. See the pattern there? Even in my writing, I focused on death.
I had to step away from my writing because it wasn't giving me the relief I needed to escape my mind. Eventually, I hit bottom. The climb out of the darkness was brutal. But once I stepped back into the light, Frankie and I opened Lyrical Press in December 2007. With the launch of the company, I officially became a work-at-home mom. That meant I had to regulate my time. At first, I threw everything into running the company. I worked 'round the clock, which was as unhealthy as allowing the company to drift into chaos. I had to learn time management. It wasn't easy, and it took years to master the art.
Eleven years later, I can confidently report that I am a fully functional work-at-home mom.
We sold Lyrical to a New York house in 2014. I stayed on to help run the line. It's been a blessing. If I wasn't for running Lyrical when we owned it, I might not have found the balance before working for Kensington. People ask me how I resist the temptation of beautiful Spring days or lazy summer mornings. That's easy. I don't see them as temptations. A decade ago I did. But not now, after years as a work-at-home mom. Now, I just open a window or take my laptop into the backyard. And after my workday ends, I kick back and enjoy the rest of my day.
The thing is, my job isn't a job job. It's my career. I'm no longer a nomad, drifting from one position to the next. I've found my purpose, and in doing so, I settled into a career I adore. I think that's a huge help in me not seeing a lovely Spring afternoon, after a freezing Winter, as a temptation. I wake up every morning eager to begin my work day. I allow myself breaks, just as I would have if I worked in an office. But, as I wrote, it took years of experience to get to this point. There were times, when Lyrical was new, that I'd either beg off for the entire day or work until midnight. Finding the balance is all part of working from home.
Is working from home for everyone? No. I know plenty of moms who can't understand how I don't want to leave home to work. I get that. I truly do. Sometimes it gets lonely without being one-on-one with the team. When that happens, I write my friends in the office. They help me feel less isolated.
I think, one of the main reasons I make this situation work is, I hate having open projects. When I end my workday, I make sure I've done my best to complete anything that needed my attention. This way, come the next morning, I'm starting fresh. Occasionally I have a bottleneck, but those instances are few and far between. It's all about that time management.