Fears

Working from home while I have a new baby has not been a walk in the park.  In fact, since Markus was born last January,  I think I have slept through the night twice.  Twice!  And not because of him, but because of my own body.  My health has suffered (just one example: I’ve had four colds since the beginning of September, when I normally get one or two colds per year), my marriage has suffered (Husband wants me to quit, but then has no suggestions as to how we would make up the difference financially), my spiritual life has suffered (Quiet Time?  What’s that?), my social life has suffered (I don’t have much time for hanging out with friends).  I say these things not to complain, because I am so thankful to have work and to also be able to be home with my kids.  But as they say, “something’s gotta give,” and a lot of somethings have.

Since we got married, our goal has been that when we had children, I would stay home with them.  That didn’t work out with Anja, but my work was flexible enough to allow me to work two 10-hour days, and Husband’s employer let him work four 9’s and a 4.  Anja only had to be in daycare one and a half days per week.

As of October last year, I was able to quit my other job and work from home.  I thought this was a huge blessing at the time, and now I’m starting to wonder if it would be better for my health, our marriage, the kids, and my soul if I worked ONLY 20 hours per week again.  Being self-employed has its benefits, but the fact is that you are never. away. from. work.  As soon as the kids are napping, I’m working.  As soon as Husband gets home and we’ve eaten, I’m working.  Then, after the kids are in bed, I’m working.  Usually until midnight or later, when I fall into bed stressed and exhausted.  No time with God.  No time with Husband.  Time with the kids, but I’m often running back and forth between them and answering emails or packaging orders.

So here’s where the title of the post comes from…I still would love to make mothering a FT occupation (at least while the kids are young), but I have some fears and some legitimate concerns.  Would you help me out, those of you who are making it work somehow?  I’ve wondered how people manage to make ends meet for years, but I don’t know that I’ve ever had the courage to ask anyone in person.

FEARS

  1. That if I don’t keep current on some sort of job, I will never be able to find work I like again upon re-entering the workforce.
  2. That I will grow bored with “only” mothering.
  3. That I will take my boredness out on my children, causing them to feel undervalued.

LEGITIMATE CONCERNS

  1. Even with the new house (and lower monthly payments), there is no way we can make ends meet without me contributing to the family income.  I cannot “penny pinch” $1000/month.  We have no car payments.  Our one luxury is a gym membership, which we’re not willing to give up (and wouldn’t make much of a dent, anyway).
  2. I don’t know that I could make enough doing a PT job outside the home to cover daycare for two kids.  PT daycare is usually more expensive, too.
  3. I enjoy photography, and I don’t really want to fully give it up.  But I can’t really do it halfway and expect to have any sort of client base.

So what’s a girl to do?  Keep burning the candle at both ends at the expense of everything I hold dear?  That seems to be my only option.  Prayers and advice welcome.

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8 thoughts on “Fears

  1. I feel silly even giving an opinion on this, since I have no kids yet, but here are some of my thoughts- I think you should continue your photography business… you do such amazing work and I think God’s blessed you with your skills to use to bless others! BUT not at the expense of your marriage, your family, and most importantly, your relationship with God (obviously you know this!). Even if it does mean going “half-time” and maybe not having a consistent client base and possible not making nearly as much as you do now or as much as you think you need. God will provide for you and he will take you through each season and give you what you need (which might not be what you think you need). All you need to do is honor him and keep him #1 and your family second. I’ve been learning this with my job lately and our future plans. My husband does not make nearly enough right now to be able for me to stay home in our current living situation when we have kids, so we are planning to REALLY downsize in a couple years (only because we have significant debt to pay off) so that I will be able to stay home with kids and not have to work (or maybe only have to work a little). Though it will mean giving up a lot of things and living in a small house, I know it will be possible and that we will have all we need. God will provide! Sounds simple, and I think we need to keep it that way. Something I’m definitely learning! Hope this helps, Heidi… praying for you as well! I miss seeing you and the SG girls regularly!

  2. Everyone is different, but speaking from my own personal experience, you don’t get bored. You find other things to do. Now-a-days, I have six kids and homeschool them. There’s plenty to do. You grow into your role. I’m unsure if you can both have a job and embrace it full and have kids and embrace their care fully. Although I know many, many people that start business from home and thrive (I would not be one of them). Maybe you could supplement your income by putting advertising on your photography website, that way you could work a little less and still be bringing in an income. I’ve heard it’s lucritive, especially from the likes of MckMama! I bet she’d be a good one to ask.

    Either way, I pray that you have the peace of God with you as you figure it all out.

  3. I think it’s all about boundaries and discipline. You have to set them for yourself and abide by them or everything goes out the window!

    Here are some random thoughts:

    Treat yourself like you would treat an employee.

    Work on photography stuff x amount of hours per day.

    Give yourself 2-3 extra days to get your proofs out or orders prepared.

    Allow only 2-3 photo shoots per weekend and stack them back to back to economize your time.

    Have a specified day to pick up/process orders, run errands.

    I think once you establish healthy boundaries for yourself and your clients, you’ll be able to breathe again.

  4. I agree with Erica – if you want to try and make part time photography work you just need to set hours and a certain number of appointments you can do in a month and stick to it. We have a good friend here in Fargo who does photography part time with 3 kids and she just sticks to a certain schedule and tries to schedule appointments on certain days. Obviously she does more family/kids photography than weddings, but will do weddings when her schedule allows.

    Even if business does slow down more than you would like if you are not doing photography “full time” at least it is still somewhat between working and not working at all. That was kind of the approach I took with working part time after Anne. I wasn’t sure if I would like it, but I wasn’t sure if I would like staying home full time either. It has been nice to have a little income, but still stay home with Anne. After subtracting out daycare costs, I sometimes wonder why I even work, but every little bit helps.

  5. Building on what others have said about boundaries…what about hiring a mother’s helper type of girl a few days a week? You’d still be home, so you could get someone who’s a little younger than if you’d be gone. The younger age your presence should mean you could get by with paying a little less than the going rate. Plus, you’d be “grooming” someone who would eventually be able to sit when you’re not at home. Of course, this would only work if you have the space to be someplace where the kids can’t see you.

  6. There will always be work. I stayed home for 12 years and don’t regret a single minute. (Not that every single minute was a piece of cake or filled with perfect adoring children!) I’ve had part time jobs here and there to make ends meet but they were never really relevant to the job I do now.

    When I read the mommy blogs and see pics of babies and toddlers, I am so thankful that my 3 kids had my full attention. Even if it meant me sitting on the floor with them folding laundry and just being there. Those days are gone forever…

    If you are talking about photography. Your work will speak for itself in the future…there are plenty of avenues for that kind of job these days (newspapers, magazines, online, etc.)

    As for penny pinching, we did have to move once because we our mortgage was too much and we downsized. I cried because we built that house and it is still my favorite, but what kind of home would we have if we were miserable all the time because we could not afford it! And I learned quickly that sometimes, vacations, clothing, eating out were “wants” I would have to give up in order to be a SAHM. That’s just reality!

    * If you have to work full time and are considering daycare (because sometimes that becomes the option that couples choose) ask your church about grandmas and moms and network through them to find a safe, loving place for your children.

    I’ll be thinking of you Heidi! Take care!

  7. I’m glad to see that you’re getting some good advice in the previous comments. Not being a mother myself, I can’t offer much insight. I can say that I have the utmost respect and admiration for moms. I think being one has to be both the most amazing and the most difficult job ever. Blessings to you…

  8. How I wish I had read this before we met up! Needless to say, I’ve been a stranger to the internet these past couple weeks.

    I think if there was an easy answer you’d have jumped on it. God knows your heart for your home and your children; how could He not have placed the desire there? I pray He guides you to the more ideal place of balance you would love to achieve.

    I hate that I’m writing this from the position of a SAHM but our situation is definitely not the perfect scenario. Living so far from family has been hard, as has adjusting to a much different environment and culture than I am used to. Yet for me it’s been worth it.

    You talk about the fear of growing bored with staying home. Sounds to me like you would probably prefer to keep that side-job (photography) but with an optional/limited work load, always second to your children. Extra money for the family and a way to still feel professional.

    I can’t say I grow bored with, as you say, “only mothering”, although there are many days that seem beyond tedious and I get restless so far from town. I don’t know about the future (like when we make a schooling choice) but right now I don’t feel a pull toward working. Some days I feel like the grass is greener but mostly I have so many ongoing projects on my list that my days are over before I know it! So maybe that’s my outlet, it’s just not business-related. But I cannot forget that circumstances may change and I may have to return to work. I don’t want to take this time for granted.

    I pray, pray, pray that this is no more than a short in-between season for you Heidi and that while you wait that He will sustain you through all the stress and exhaustion. I know we can trust God’s plans for our families. He gave them to us to steward for Him and He is sure to give us the means to do that the very best we can. *Hugs*

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