This week Jonathan has been without child care. Actually for almost the entire month of August we've been without child care. First my best friend was visiting, then we were traveling and now this last week in August daycare is closed as she is on vacation. Having gone from no child care, to day care at 9 months, and now back to a month of being at home, I have to say it's been a strange transition. I've actually really enjoyed my time with Jonathan (did I mention he's the world's BEST kid!) and I think I know I will miss him when daycare begins again in September.
But with Jonathan being home it means that my usual workday schedule has gone out the window. Once again I have found myself relegated to working when if he naps. When Jonathan was a baby bay he REFUSED to nap. Didn't he know I had work to get done?! It was incredibly hard on this OCD Mom who was used to rules, schedules and control. Before I had Jonathan I would map out my day down to the HOUR. I knew exactly what was coming next and this allowed me to get projects done. But with a new baby I found this just didn't work anymore. I spent many days crying, frustrated that I couldn't figure this thing out. How was I ever going to get anything done?
Now, that's all changed as we have help. And come September my schedule will change again from relying on naps to relying on the help of daycare and babysitters. But as a new mom or mom with out daycare how do you get things done when your baby/baby/toddler/annoying dog just won't nap?!
There are three things that I think I needed to work through in order to survive, get work done and still enjoy every moment with my baby:
1. I had to rethink the work day.
2. I had to work in between.
3. I had to have grace.
Ok so what do I mean by all of that? First I had to rethink the work day. Like I mentioned before I was used to having complete control over how my work day (and personal life) looked! Having a baby (especially one who didn't like to nap) meant that I had to rethink what my work day looked like. For me that meant working at night after the hubby came home. Was it ideal? No. But I knew that for our family it was necessary to continue to grow my business while raising a child. I would wake up early and work after Jonathan went to bed. I made sure that every moment of those working hours were productive and time well spent. My work day probably looks a lot different than other working professionals (I have to schedule Skype calls during nap times or shoots during daycare hours) but as a Mom this is what works for our family, and as a business owner THIS is how I get work done!!
Which brings me to working in the in between. During those months of parenthood when Jonathan just wouldn't nap, it didn't mean that my work stopped. It meant I had to get creative in order to find time to get things done. Throughout the day, if I could sneak it in, I would work in the in between. If Jonathan had a moment of down time (few and far between for this busy boy!) I'd answer an email, I'd pre-blog a post, I'd work on an edit, or begin whatever task was on my plate. I made use of whatever time I was given to slowly chip away at my to-do list. And while I might not have accomplished tasks as fast as I'd like, slowly but surely I'd start to see items checked off this list. Jonathan eating his lunch meant I could answer an email. Play time out on the deck (supervised of course!) meant I could start that blog post. Some quiet play time in the crib meant I could upload that submission. You get the idea!!
Finally GRACE with a capitol G -R-A-C-E. As someone who likes to check off their to do list like a badge of honor, not being able to accomplish a magnitude of tasks throughout a day was a hard pill for me to swallow. But I quickly came to realize that it just couldn't work like that, for me anyways. I had to have grace. Grace that it was OK to only accomplish a few tasks on my to do list a day. That in of itself was an accomplishment!! I also had to learn how to have grace for my son. It was incredibly difficult to walk through those moments when he didn't want to nap, even though those were the moments I needed him to nap the most. A lot of prayer happened in these moments of frustration and doubt and I'm happy to say that we made it through:)
I'm home alone with Jonathan today. He decided to nap but didn't want to nap for as long as I needed him to. So that means I'm putting the to do list away, I'm closing the computer and I'm hanging out with him. I'll work a little when the hubby gets home and after Jonathan goes to bed. I'll rethink the day, work in the in between and have grace for all that will (or will not) be accomplished today.
It's a balancing act for sure but I'm finding that the longer I'm a Mom the more I love this. It's never a smooth and predictable road but I sure do love being a Mom and a photographer. I love learning the balance between the two and I love teaching my son that caring for a family while pursuing a passion are two incredibly important things. Modeling that for him will be my life's goal.