Our contributing lifestyle editor Natalie Borton offers a beautiful reflection on her life as a creative mom who balances work and motherhood full time.
I first recognized the concept of a stay-at-home and work-at-home lifestyle when my friend Bonnie wrote about it for Darling Magazine. Before reading her piece, I’d really only considered two options for moms: staying at home with babies to be a homemaker, or going back to work and falling into the “working mom” category. The idea that there could be something in the middle really intrigued me, especially since my career isn’t a traditional one to begin with.
When I found out I was pregnant with my son Jack, my mind was a whirlwind of possibilities as well as anxiety. Before he came into the picture, I felt like I was really on a roll career-wise. I had a lot of big dreams for what I’d do professionally—and even entrepreneurially. A positive pregnancy test, a confirmation at the doctor’s and one more test at home for good measure changed everything. Would I continue blogging? Would I move forward with my existing entrepreneurial plans? Or would I drop everything to be all in for motherhood?
I felt thankful that my new role would at least keep me at home. But at the same time, I was fearful that I’d either resent my new baby for taking me away from work I was passionate about (how’s that for honesty?), or that I’d start to let my work slide and become unprofessional. After tons of conversations over mocktails with my husband Brian while I was pregnant last year, I decided to say goodbye to a few short-term dreams but hang on to my blog and my role as a contributing editor at Glitter Guide—two things that have brought me joy and creative opportunities for years.
Now, nine months into motherhood, I’m fully entrenched in my stay-at-home, work-at-home lifestyle—and for the most part, it’s working out. I get everything done during nap times—precious, precious nap times. When Jack is awake, we play, explore, go for walks and giggle. And when my husband is home, we engage in conversation, drink wine, eat dinner, bond. Laundry gets done when I remember it. Meals are more semi-homemade than made from scratch (I’ve never been more thankful for Trader Joe’s). Cleaning gets done once a month by a very nice lady named Esther, who is a complete lifesaver.
Do I wish I had more time to get things done? Yes, yes, yes. But at the same time, I really love this little arrangement I have going on. I delight in spending this precious time with my baby, who is already growing up faster than I’d like. And I also cherish the time I have while he sleeps—time to be creative and feel like an adult (which gives me plenty of non-baby things to talk about when I interact with other humans during the week). And time to drink a full cup of coffee while it’s actually hot.
Every other week or so, I think about my friends who have chosen one way or the other—staying at home or working in an office—and for a moment, I envy the nature of their time. They know where they need to be and what they need to do, and their hours may not be as undefined as mine. But then I think about my personality—how I basically hate working for anyone but myself, and how grateful I am for the chance to watch Jack learn to sit up, eat bananas with his hands and try his darnedest to crawl forward rather than backward (which, for the record, he finally figured out). This stay-at-home, work-at-home life isn’t for everyone, but I’m sure glad it’s working out for me so far.