All Moms Work

All Moms Work | Twin Cities Mom CollectiveThis month’s topic of “You can do hard things” has never been more on point. Is there anyone who knows this more than a mom? We do hard things all of the time and we encourage our littles to be courageous and attempt hard things too. We understand the importance of setting an example for our kids and working hard to overcome hard things and accomplish magnificent goals in every area of our lives.

Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, go-to-work mom, or work-from-home mom, you do hard things on a daily basis while working towards really challenging long-term goals too. I always love being reminded about how differently we each navigate the world, and hearing about the ways people go about their day-to-day lives. So, in case you feel the same way and find reassurance in hearing about people facing similar struggles, or inspiration in finding new ways to approach things, I’m here to share a glimpse into my work-from-home, #mompreneur (I hate that term) life. See some of my greatest work-from-home challenges below and how I approach them.

The decision to stay home

For me, it wasn’t a hard decision. I knew I would have no patience for my own children if I stuck with my career as a middle school teacher. The challenge was in deciding what to do part-time that might allow me to stay relevant should I decide to rejoin the workforce full-time down the road. My husband’s stable career allowed the flexibility for me to start my own graphic design/brand management business and take a big risk, so I went for it. The way I see it, our kids are only little once (and at first they’re drastically changing on a weekly, or even daily basis), so I didn’t want to miss any of it if we could afford to make it work.

Balancing work & play

As I mentioned, I’m firmly in the camp of “they grow too fast, so try to enjoy the moments and put time with your littles first.” This attitude obviously isn’t conducive to growing a business, but that’s where the hard work comes in. I choose the snuggles, the meals, the play-time. But I also choose the early morning and late night work sessions. I plan client calls and projects around my kid’s naps and activities, and I bring on subcontractors to help tackle certain projects that would be too large to take on by myself. I make it a point to not let my daughter see me buried in a computer or on my phone all day, and elect to go on adventures with her instead. The most important part in finding this balance has been my relationship with my husband. If it weren’t for his endless support of me, our kid, and the housework, I would never be able to feel like I have a grasp on the work/mom-life balance.

The other thing that’s been a game-changer is getting my daughter into preschool a couple mornings per week. This has allowed me to keep up with an increase in work and still get some sleep, while also providing her some much needed socialization with kids her own age and adults outside of the family. To be continued post social distancing…

Prioritizing adult time

This is one of the most challenging things for me because my aim to choose my daughter/family first is so deeply rooted, but SAHM/WAHM life can get oh so lonely. Like any mom, I would choose my kid over and over again but I also know that time with other adults fills my cup, and a couple of hours where I don’t need to be focused on the immediate needs of a two year old is great for recharging. I make it a point to schedule in-person client meetings when I can, get girls’ nights on the books, and volunteer in my community. The balance of all of these things shifts throughout the year as work ebbs and flows, but all are deliberately planned. The one thing that never changes though, is the fact that way more often than not, I will choose good old family fun.

Finding what’s right for your family

My daughter has been a stage-five clinger from the get-go. She took over a year to warm up to our closest (and absolutely wonderful) family, who she saw often. She didn’t take a bottle consistently well and it was simply just unimaginable for me to consider putting her in full time daycare. Between that and the overwhelming fact that I didn’t want to miss a second of her earliest moments and the chance to love on her 24/7, my decision was a no brainer.

Your little might be way more outgoing and receptive to the care of others. You may have a career you are passionate about that may not be so accommodating to traditional motherhood. You may highly value the social aspect of daycare for your kid, or simply just need consistent time with rational adults. There are a million factors that us moms and dads consider when making this huge decision for our families.

Whatever side you land on, let’s face it, it’s hard. The good news is though, you know your family and what’s right for them, and you don’t have to justify it to anyone. And THE BEST news is, you will work hard to make it work, overcome hard things, and meet magnificent goals…and your kids will take note. Just remember, you can do hard things.

Melanie Winters
Melanie is a mama and wifey first, small business owner and non-profit diehard second. She owns Pixel Loon, a graphic design company that focuses on logo and brand development. From stationary to print marketing and websites to mobile apps, her goal is to provide businesses with the collateral needed to convey a cohesive brand personality that resonates with their target market. Her work schedule revolves around toddler naps and bedtimes and she is fully appreciative of her tribe that enables her to keep Pixel Loon and melaniewinters.com alive while still putting everything she has into being a mama. Aside from her immediate family, Melanie also has a very special second family with her local delegation of Special Olympics. Melanie has been coaching basketball and other sports for them since 2011 and does a variety of other events with them throughout the year. Her time with this group always fills her cup and inspires her to continue living her dreams and enabling others to do the same.

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