WORKING FROM HOME WITH A TODDLER

The transition from being a self-employed woman to a self-employed mom was less of a gradual process and more of a drastic change.  I remember leading up to my due date debating in my mind whether or not I should bring my laptop with me to the hospital so I could fulfill orders while waiting for Silas to be born.

Right. 



Although the passion for running my own little business hasn't dwindled, thankfully my idea of work-life/family balance has changed.  

The first 6 months or so of running my business after Silas was born is a complete blur and it felt very rocky.  Partly because Silas had no idea what a normal sleep schedule was and partly because I had no idea what I wanted my schedule to look like for work.  

These are the times I typically get work done with a 19 month old.

Naps and End of the Day
These days Silas takes one nap every day in the afternoon and sleeps 11-12 hours every night.  9 times out of 10 I use nap time to get the bulk of my work done.  If I'm lucky, Silas naps for 2 hours, but usually it's closer to and hour and a half.  There's no surfing the internet, reading blogs or catching up on Instagram.  I work until everything is done or Silas is awake.  If there's any work left over or I have an idea I want to come to fruition, I save that work for when he goes to bed at the end of the day.  And even then, I do my best to stick to no more than 2 hours of work at the end of the day.  Getting in bed at a decent hour is my goal every night.


When he's at Daycare
When Silas was about 4 months old, I realized a regular and reliable babysitter would be helpful for my business.  I casually mentioned this to a friend one day when we were hanging out and to my surprise she offered to watch Silas two days a week.  I couldn't have asked for a better deal.  Typically Monday and Wednesday mornings are when Silas goes to her place and I devote all of my time to work.  This is very helpful & keeps me sane - I'm not sure I could run my business without this extra time.




Quick edits on my phone or laptop
A good part of my business is responding to inquiries.  Thankfully this can be done on my phone, anywhere and anytime.  Occasionally I have clients who need a quick edit done on their files in Photoshop and e-mailed back within a certain timeframe.  The laptop comes in handy when these times pop up.  Silas isn't at the age yet where I can work on my computer while he plays in the room - if I'm lucky, I get 10 minutes in, but those 10 minutes are all I need for the quick edits.

Adjusting for being able to work 8 hours a day at my leisure to waiting around for the toddler to nap or go to daycare has been a great lesson in time management and prioritization. 

Project Life: End of June '16 - Beginning of July '16







Summer's flying by - I'm glad I'm documenting it and storing the memories away in my scrapbook!  

These spreads include our adventures at Kennywood, trips to the local zoo, walks in nearby neighborhoods, visits to the city and regular day-to-day happenings.

No wonder time is flying by - we've been busy!

SOME OF MY FAVORITE THINGS RIGHT NOW...

Large diet cokes with extra ice in styrofoam cups (I'm picky)


A toddler that goes down for his afternoon nap in his crib without a peep




Christmas Eve yankee candles (Every store should have this scent as an air freshener)

This song by For King and Country

4:00 pm....because that's when the Ellen show is on and we know that Daddy will be home soon.



Blue Line Trail: 1.5 miles with a toddler


Silas and I hiked a 1.5 mile trail this past weekend.  Actually, I hiked the entire trail and he hiked about 3/4 of the trail, which is more than I expected him to do.  He sat on my shoulders when he was too tired.  Next time I'll bring our backpack carrier, because carrying 25 lbs on your shoulders is no easy task......especially when your toddler decides to lie his head on yours.

Between stopping to play, eat a snack and observe nature, our hike took us about 2 hours to complete.

 When we finally made it out of the woods and back to where we started, Silas clapped his hands out of excitement and said "yay!"

WE NEED A COOL DOWN


It was such a hot week - it felt like we were constantly running every single one of our AC units, even if we were in the room.  I try my best to keep curtains closed and doors shut, but this week that wasn't enough to fight the heat.  

We replaced the light fixture above our bathroom mirror.  This was a project that was actually started a few weeks ago, but we ran into an unexpected issue.  The electrical hookup area wasn't centered.  In fact, it was very off-centered.  So we (any time I say "we", I mean Rob) had to mull things over and figure out a plan that wouldn't cost us a fortune and still accomplish what we originally set out to do.  The picture above was taken after I painted over the part of the wall we removed (and then patched back into place) - it gives a good sense of where everything was connected before.

Today I learned that we have eggs in one of our Boston ferns.  That explains the territorial robins I've been seeing lately.  Actually, yesterday I learned Silas is deathly afraid of male robins when one showed up on our front yard and wouldn't stop staring him down.  Silas literally ran after me and grabbed my leg in terror.  

I took Silas to a spray park this afternoon in an effort to keep cool while playing outside.  Turns out he only likes to play in controlled areas of water - nothing that involves water splashing in his face or being dumped on his head.  Thankfully there was a dry park right next door, so we spent a little over an hour there instead.

Signing off for the weekend.  Have a great one!

TWO BOOKS THAT HAVE HELPED MY SMALL BUSINESS

Aside from blog posts and peer mentoring, physical books are one of my favorite ways to learn how to better run my business.

I lack the motivation and time to read too many books now-days, so I have to very selective with what I choose to read.  These are two of my favorites that I've read within the last couple of years:
Rework & How to start a Home-Based Etsy Business.  Both books can be found at Barnes & Noble (that's where I got mine!)


The first book, Rework, gets straight to the point in every chapter.  It walks what it talks.  This book is all about taking out the unnecessary fluff and bells and whistles of being self-employed and focuses on what matters.   Rather than worrying about your competition and making super long to-do lists, this book just wants you to start and keep going.




In a way, this book gives you permission to stop stressing out about trying to keep up in the race of life and instead carve your own path and make your own rules when running your business.  It's a breath of fresh air and packed with inspiration.


The next book, How to start a Home-Based Etsy Business is geared more towards individuals who want to start from the beginning with opening their own Etsy store.  When I read this book, I was almost three years into running my own Etsy shop, but there weren't any books around like this one when I started selling.  I mostly picked this book up because I was curious as to whether or not there was anything in it that I was unaware of.


There are a lot of great reminders throughout the books - every single detail is laid out.  Reading this book was a great way to ensure that I tied up any loose ends with my Policies page or About page or my branding.


One of the most helpful tools in this book was the Social Media spreadsheet that offered tips and ideas for what to post on your business Facebook page.  I just started my business Facebook page this year and haven't been that great at keeping it active - mostly because I run out of ideas for what I should post and what would be interesting for those who see my page.


Would I read this books again from cover to cover?  Yes - if I had the time.  Usually after I read a book I like to pass it on to someone else who could use it.  These have a spot on my shelf in the office as reference books - that's how good they are.


SILAS' WORDS: 19 MONTHS

I realized at Silas' last pediatrician appointment that I hadn't been paying close attention to what words he knew.

At 18 months, the pediatrician wanted to know anything and everything about Silas' development.  Communication was a big point - both verbal and non-verbal.  I couldn't, for the life of me, decide on how many words he knew.  Surely he knew more than 3 words, but did he know more than 5?  The survey they gave me to fill out offered numerical ranges and those ranges threw me off.  Did he know 5-8 words?  9-10 words?



We now keep a running list on our fridge of his words.  His favorite word (and his first word) will forever and always be "Doggy" (although he says it more like "day-dah")

If there's a dog barking outside, "day-dah!"

If Cooper's barking, "day-dah.  no!"

If he sees a picture of a cow, "day-dah!"

We're always trying to teach him the difference between dogs and other animals.   It's a work in progress.

By far, Silas' comprehension outweighs his ability to verbally communicate with us, but this list reminds me of his progress everyday.

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