real-talk-workingThis month’s ‘real moms, real talk’ topic is on working and childcare, which I find SO interesting. I can’t wait to hear what the other mama’s are doing. Going into motherhood, I had no idea how I was going to feel, what I was going to take on, or how I was going to do it. Before I had Archer, I was busy with just work. I had more than enough projects and a to-do list that didn’t quit, so I knew I would need help… help with him and help with work. I wasn’t sure how it would shake out but after a lot of trial and error, this is my current situation that is working for me.

When Archer was around 2.5 months old we brought on a nanny two days a week. It was a huge help to be able to ease into working again and to also get some much needed rest. Now, 8 months later not a ton has changed, well a million things have changed, but I mean as far as childcare goes. We still have the same nanny, and she still watches Archer for two days a week. On those two dedicated “work days”, I am in the studio for a full day, or taking meetings, doing shoots, designing, etc. But I am still close enough (i.e. in the backyard) to pop in for a quick snuggle, make sure Archer stays on schedule (remember I’m a sleep nazi) and nurse Archer at feeding times (or I pump if I’m extra busy). On the other three days a week, I have my studio assistant/shop manager working in the office while I have Archer. She starts just as Archer is usually going down for his first nap, so I work alongside her for 1 to 2 hours depending on how long the little sweet pea sleeps. This gives me more than enough time to get her started and give her enough work for the day. She also runs A LOT of errands for me. In the afternoon Archie sleeps for another 1-2.5 hours where I will cram as much work as I can. He then usually goes to bed for the night around 6:45, and that is when Rupert and I have dinner together, (lately we have been ordering A LOT of Munchery. TOTAL time saver folks) and more often than not, I do a bit more work at the end of the day. I currently try to get to bed somewhere before 10 as Archie wakes up around 5:45 and that is just SO early. Luckily… once I feed him, I pass him off to Rupert at 6am and he takes him for the rest of the morning and I get back into bed and either try and catch a few more z’s or start the work day from bed.

It may sound a lot like I am either working, or watching/playing with Archer, or sleeping… and that sounds about right, BUT a lot of the “work” I do also doesn’t feel like work at all. I LOVE design and creating, making, doing… it’s all ingrained in me. I thought maybe that would change after I had Archer but it didn’t. My passions are still my passions and I still feel fulfilled by my work. I was kind of worried I would completely lose myself in motherhood which you hear so much about and yes, there are new passions and new parts of me surfacing (and I should probably run a comb through my crazy tangled hair more than once a week) but I am also pleasantly surprised about how much I still feel like me. I’m hoping that feeling continues. Of course Archer tops it all, which is why I only have someone watching him for me two days a week, and maybe that will change after the first year… or maybe not, but for now, I am soaking up as much mama/son time as I can and still keep my business going/growing.

sarah-archerOf course, working and being a new mama isn’t easy (being a new mama, period, isn’t easy amirite?). I actually didn’t feel like I got into the groove until Archer was around 6 months old and then it took until he was about 8 months to really, really start enjoying it all. I don’t know babies, I am the youngest of three sisters and have never spent any kind of extended time around a newborn. So for me, the first 6 months was an insane stress filled, sometimes panic stricken period and yet each day was still sprinkled with magic moments. I found myself often thinking… I don’t know what I am doing, I am not very good at this, maybe I am not cut out for this. And funnily enough, I think my work had a big hand in keeping me somewhat balanced. It felt good when I could do something familiar, something I was good at, and accomplish something concrete. Somewhere along the line the magic moments lingered around longer and while it isn’t all pure bliss, it is pretty darn great.

I also have the tendency to try and do it all, which just can’t be done. No one can do it all on their own. So here is my summary of my crack team I’ve put together to keep this train going…

1. We have a nanny that watches Archer two days a week, OH and I forgot to mention… on top of that she also comes one half day each week just to clean. Which is HUGE. So she is nanny/housekeeper. She cleans, does dishes, laundry, makes our bed each day she’s here, and is pretty much a saint for picking up after me constantly. She basically takes care of the household things that I would completely sacrifice doing, over work, until the clothes and dishes and dirt were piled up to the ceiling.

2. I also have a studio assistant/shop manager working in the office the opposite three days from the nanny (the days I am not in the studio for the full day).

3. And finally I have an a very supportive and involved husband, who walks the dogs, makes (or warms up) dinner and spends every morning with Archie while I get an hour or so to myself (even though a lot of times it means I fall back asleep).

So in a nutshell of a nutshell, I work whenever and wherever I can, get help where I need it, and have a really supportive and involved husband.

So what’s YOUR secret mama’s?!

See all the other mama’s thoughts on working & childcare here:
Apartment 34
Could I Have That
The Effortless Chic
Ave Styles
The Refined Woman
Parker Etc
A Daily Something
Sacramento Street
Our Style Stories

See the rest of the series here

Photos by Alissa Noelle Photography

  • […] Effortless Chic // Sarah of Smitten Studio // Alex of AVE Styles // Em of The Refined Woman // Amy of Parker […]

  • […] Effortless Chic // Sarah of Smitten Studio // Alex of AVE Styles // Em of The Refined Woman // Amy of Parker […]

  • […] Effortless Chic | A Daily Something | Could I Have That | Parker Etc | Sacramento Street |Sarah Sherman Samuel | Our Style Stories | Ave Styles | The Refined […]

  • This sounds about perfect to me. Your situation/set-up. Unfortunately I am a freak about who is alone with my children when I am not close by so both of my children attend a school/daycare that I scoped out, has camera access, plus lots of friends adore it 4 days a week. I work 10 hour days four days a week and we have long weekends. I would love to be able to work from home and hire a nanny but alas my career is not able to do that as of yet. Perhaps one day. Though I need to hire some sort of home help now as I am just realizing I do not have enough hands or want to clean the house on top of cooking dinner, and seeing my children and husband at the end of the day. Where to begin my search?? Your Archer is beautiful – you are doing amazing!

    • sarah

      Yes!! The cleaning part is huge. My husband is the neat freak in our house and we have had too many squabbles over the house cleanliness than I care to think about. And now it’s a total non issue and it is amazing to have a clean house that you didn’t have to spend time cleaning. We had a just cleaning lady before and both times went from friends recommendations. There are services too but I like the idea of getting to know the person and only having the same one in my home. Good luck!!

  • Susan

    Thanks for the post. I have a 6 month at home and just returned to work full time after taking 12 weeks off completely and 12 weeks at 1/2 time. My husband is currently doing primary care for two months then we are sending our kiddo to daycare. I’m not looking forward to the pick up/drop off situation but that’s part of the deal. Your schedule sounds about right. An hour here or there to yourself can do wonders. I’m having a hard time finding time for exercise. I’ve always been a bit of an exercise junky but always in the outdoors. Since my free time has been severely cut down after baby, I’m trying to find some working mom hacks (like running to work) to get my endorphins. Any tips?

    • sarah

      Hi Susan! Unfortunately I haven’t started exercising either. the best I do is walking Archie to the park and carrying him around counts for strength training right?!

  • You have to know this series is like gold for me to read! This topic is oh so current right now as I’m in the thick of trying to figure out what our plan is going to be. Working is really important to me and keeping my business on a path of growth. Needless to say, figuring out how to do that with a baby in the mix is extra challenging. Thanks for your insight! xo

    • sarah

      Ah so glad! We need to get together asap so we can complain and gush in real life. 😉

  • Tash

    I have really enjoyed reading these posts, especially this one! I am 38 weeks pregnant, and I work as a freelance designer from home. I still haven’t wrapped up all my projects (it’s so hard!) and I have no idea what I’m going to do work wise when bub is born. My mum has offered to help me and take the baby off my hands so I can sleep and do bits of work, but I don’t know if I’m being totally unrealistic. I don’t want to lose clients I’ve worked so hard to get, but I don’t want to put myself under too much stress. It’s one of those situations you can’t plan for, just have to see how it goes. It is nice to read that you worked when your boy was 2.5 months, even if it’s only a couple of days a week.

    • sarah

      Hi! I was so glad that I had already made the transition to working from home a couple years before I had archer because I am not sure I would have been able to handle both a new baby and suddenly working from home so you already have that going for you too. 🙂 I actually put up an auto reply on my email that I was on maternity leave for the first three months. This helped take any work stress away because I knew that people knew I was out and I didn’t need to field emails. Then I was able to email back only on items that were extremely pressing. Those first few months go by in such a blur! It was the best gift I could give to myself. Good luck mama! X

  • Hi Sarah –
    Love following this. You are so right about so many of these things. I too thought I would change into some mom-being and only want to mother and not do anything else. I’m so glad I stayed myself and that I have still have a life and work outside of my kids (even though they are amazing – it makes the times when they aren’t more bearable). I started my hardware business (which I think you would love for your design business) when my son was 8 months old and it was tough. Unfortunately it gets a little harder when they become more clingy and take fewer naps. But it is fun to watch them get bigger. Working from home is both a blessing and a curse and having that support is so essential (we have a live-in au pair and I have two part time workers who are life savers). Can’t wait to watch your progress on the palm springs house.

    • sarah

      Hi Jessica! Ah, I will probably eat my words later but I wouldn’t mind a little cling. ha Archer is the LEAST cuddly baby I have ever heard of. Even when nursing he gulps as fast as he can and then jumps off trying to get on the ground immediately. Oh and thank you for sharing your hardware line! Such gorgeous pieces. Bravo for STARTING a business with an 8 month old! That must have been insane! Super human. ha x

  • Hayley

    Love your site and this series you’re doing now. It’s interesting to hear how moms balance work and baby. My husband and I are planning for baby now while simultaneously opening our first restaurant together (a whole other “baby”) and the childcare discussion keeps coming up. I love the idea of a nanny a few days a week (since we also work from home and live near our business). Any suggestions for finding good, trustworthy help in the LA area?

    • Hayley, I don’t live in LA (we’re in Washington DC) but I found our nanny through a local community Mom’s group. Our nanny has been with us for almost a year and came highly recommended from another family she worked for 7 years! Word of mouth is the best referral! I’ve also heard that Nanny Poppins or local domestic staffing agencies are a great resource. I’ve haven’t heard great things about though.

    • sarah

      Hi Hayley! We lucked out in finding ours through a friend. Word of mouth referrals seem to work best but we did think about looking into nanny poppins before we found ours! Also, depending on where you are in LA if you’re on the west side there is a Venice moms yahoo group that often has good referrals! Good luck with both babies!! 😉

  • Morgan

    This is so helpful, thank you! Thank you for your honesty and candor, it is really tremendously helpful!!

  • Sarah – we are in the same boat! We have a nanny watch our 13 month old son 5 days a week. I work a corporate job and my husband owns his own business (which includes Saturdays) so we needed the flexibility of a nanny. My in-laws are also very helpful and live near by. I still find it a struggle to balance my interests (interior design and fitness) with caring for our son. Still trying to get the hang of this parenthood thing!

  • […] by everyone. How do you balance your time working/being a mama? I wrote a whole post on this! I don’t really have any free time right now, but there are quiet moments when caring for Archie […]

  • […] continues and this week we are all talking about childcare. We touched on childcare in our working topic, a while back and as Archer keeps growing and changing so has our childcare situation although not […]

  • […] wrote a whole post on this! I don’t really have any free time right now, but there are quiet moments when caring for Archie […]

  • […] Sarah Sherman Samuel admits she “had no idea how I was going to feel, what I was going to take on, or how I was […]

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