Like many women, I always knew I would want to be a stay-at-home mom once I had children. And for some, this decision is a very cut and dry situation. You have a baby, you quit your job. But for me, the transition was gradual – like literally years of baby steps and figuring out the perfect balance between working outside the home, from the home, and sometime not working (for money) at all.
I don’t think I’ve ever told the story, or my journey of how I became what I am currently – a work from home mom. So if you’re interested in hearing how I made the transition from cubical space to have laptop will write anywhere remotely quite – this is my story.
I’ll try to be concise as possible – but I have a decade to cover so bear with me.
18 months into my marriage, I was (pleasantly-ish, ok extremely freaked out) to find out I was pregnant. I was only about a year into my dream job as a corporate interior designer at a large architectural firm in the city – and had high hopes of becoming a fancy-pants senior designer someday. And at 25 years old, didn’t have becoming a mom anywhere on my near future radar.
Right before I gave birth and went on maternity leave, I approached my boss and asked what he thought of me doing 3 days in the office, and the rest from my home office. Since many of my work hours were spent creating construction documents (blueprints) in front of a computer screen, much of it could be done off location.
He agreed (WooHoo!) and off I went on a 14 week maternity leave. Those first few months with new baby Piper weren’t without hiccup. While I adored being a new mom, I wasn’t used to this new lifestyle. At one point, around 8 weeks I remember Michael saying “wow, you’re miserable here – you really need to go back to work or something”. Looking back, I totally had a mild case of postpartum depression, although I wouldn’t realized my feelings had a name until after Gage would be born, over 5 years later.
When I returned to work after giving birth 4 months prior, sunshine and rainbows were nowhere to be found. I missed my baby, and the juggling of work deadlines (honestly, so! much! stress!) plus responsibilities of home sent my anxiety skyrocketing.
Plus, now I was paying to put Piper into a daycare facility which once you subtracted that expense from my meager interior design salary, my take home pay was comically nonexistent.
About a year into this no so perfect situation, I was approached to leave the firm and go out on my own with a group of other interior designer that I respected. Work from home, set my own hour, take Piper out of daycare? DONE. I would be working less, making more an hour, from home. Yup, this was a no-brainer. I left the firm and started working from home.
(PK and I – just the two of us before the circus was born, circa 2008)
I set up my home office, complete with a small finish library and everything. I found a collage student to baby sit Piper on a need-be basis when I needed to schedule on-site client meetings, everything was awesome.
Around this time – I also got pregnant with Nola.
(41 weeks pregnant with Nola, in July.)
I continued working from home as a interior designer until Nola was around a year old. At this point, because of the recession my work load declined drastically, and I naturally (happily) faded out from the collaboration I had started with the other designers.
There was a defining moment when Nola was around 18 months old that I will never forget – making me realize it was time to move on from the design field. One morning, I accidentally left my office door open with some hand drawn elevations and renderings on my table that I needed for a presentation later in the afternoon. Since I had finished the drawing late the previous evening, my markers and ink pens were still sitting on the desk. My little Nola (still to this day the first one to steal my Sharpies) helped herself to putting the finishing touches on the presentation board.
Instant mortification and panic ensued.
Working from home as a designer wasn’t working anymore. The girls were getting into my work, I found myself increasingly taking conference calls locked in the storage area of our basement with my drawing laid out over the deep freeze while the girls watched TV – so my clients couldn’t hear what was really going on. I wasn’t doing justice to my job, and I was ignoring my children.
Soon after, I got pregnant with Gage. At this point – I quit interior design 100% to become a bonafide SAHM.
(Gage’s first trip to the ocean. Notice I said “trip” not “vacation”.)
Gage will be four this fall, and somewhere around 3 years ago I unintentionally started making money via freelance blogging and social media. This blog has been around around for almost 8 years (which is mind boggling) and I never EVER intended for this to turn into a part time employment opportunity. And while I still roll my own eyes that blogging has turned into a part time job, it truly a blessing to be able to get paid to do something I really enjoy.
(Baby Paul, 11 months old, captured by Casey. He had just farted. )
So there you have it. Interior Designer turned freelance blogger. My road to staying home with my kids, paved with dirty diapers and temper-tantrums on every corner.