Sunday, September 20, 2009

Workin' for a livin'


I've been asked by lots of folks whether or not I'll be going back to work or if I'm already back to work. It's interesting timing for these questions because I have no freakin' idea what's going on with that. At least officially. I know that the issue Work vs. Stay at Home can be a touchy and sensitive one for any new mom. As a graphic designer, I already ran my own business from home. I figured I could resume as usual once Paige fell into a regular nap and daily routine. Well, that all sounds great on paper, but in REAL LIFE! it is not quite so simple. Each day is different and naps can be great or scant at best. My energy levels rise and plummet like the daily tides; who knows when I'll be in the "mood" or find the "energy" to design 5 custom wedding concepts for the most discerning of brides who wants a scripty font...no wait--a sort of scripty font that is still legible...no wait...maybe something more like calligraphy?....or no...maybe I could see several versions and decide? I just don't have the time to properly serve clients like I used to. And frankly, I want to focus on raising Paige. It was a long and rocky journey to get her here and I want to selfishly soak up every second in her blue eyes for as long as possible. So, for now, I've decided to be a Stay At Home Mom. I don't know when I'll dip my toe back into my career as a custom designer. Perhaps soon? Perhaps in 7 years? I just don't know. I'm taking each day as it comes and I'm happy with where I am at. It's not to say it hasn't been an adjustment. The focus is off my OWN interests and goals and more onto guiding the hands of a little one. And that's the change. It's just plain different and a hell of a lot more selfless than I'm used to being.
I've had many discussions with others about the Working vs. Stay at Home Mom debate. And here's my two cents: There shouldn't be a face-off. I believe in Mothering and in choice. I believe in the ideal of what works for YOU and makes you happy is what is best. If you like to work in a separate career and want to work, then I applaud you for doing so. If this works for you AND your family then that is all you can ask. I don't think anyone should be ashamed to say "I love my job, I like to work and I'm going to continue to do so." The same goes for a Stay at Home mother. If that is what you WANT and enjoy and are lucky enough to be able to do, then I'm glad for you. In my mind, if Mom is happy, then things have a way of falling into place as they should be. Many women are able to do both by having a part-time career AND stay at home mother the rest of the time. I also, though, believe in balance. I believe that children need to be well cared for no matter WHO is caring for them. I believe ALL mothers need special time for themselves, special time with their children, and special time as a family. I think about all the wonderful mothers out there who want to stay home with their children and desire to...but cannot due to financial restrictions. These are cases where choice holds no place over necessity. It is a difficult place to be when you are caught between 2 completely different worlds. Where there is constant pull in one direction and then the other when you just want to be in ONE place. Here, the challenge is to find the good in situation at hand and to make it great. At the end of the day, we all work to find a balance for what works best for OURSELVES and for our families. No 2 families are alike and no one solution is the cookie cutter answer for all. I believe in doing what is best for YOU in YOUR situation and making it great. What could be more right than that? In my case, I'm choosing to stay home. With careful budgeting, I'm fortunate enough to be able to do so. For this, I am sure to give my thanks and appreciation every day. I enjoy the challenges of motherhood...so far. I'm sure I'll have my frustrated moments. As far as my career goes, for now I think I will design a cohesive line of letterpressed cards that I will sell in my online shop; I can print at my discretion during my free moments. This way, I can keep a toe in doing what I love without the pressure of needing to please a particular client. I can always get back into it later on when we are ready, right? But for now, the precious moments with Little P are fast and furious and I just don't want to miss any. This decision works well for me, and for wee (my family). I hope that whatever decision you have made is working for you and yours. And if it's not, I hope you can find some sort of way to make the best of your scenario to make it great, or change it if at all possible. Let's not judge each other's choices. Let's encourage each other to strive for what we most want out of life, whatever that may be, and support it. As I've said, I don't believe what works for me should work for everyone. In my upcoming posts, I'll expand more on what I'm trying to do to make the best of my decision and how I'm trying to keep a balance. Hugs to you!

6 comments :

Poppy Letterpress said...

Thankyou for writing this post. I'm glad to see another mother and letterpress designer in a similar situtation and finding a good solution. I'm being pulled in both directions in my life - baby and work. I want to do both, but am trying to find peace with just concentrating on one at a time for now.
It's so lovely to see the cards you printed for Paige though. She's so lucky to have such a talented mother. Make sure she does a few designs for you later down the track :)

fattyamy said...

It's interesting that you say choosing to stay at home is a selfish decision when we all know mothers are among the most selfless people in the world. It's lovely that you find so much joy in mothering (I must admit I struggled for the first four or so months). I fall into the catagory of someone whose financial situation necessitates returning to work, which is ok I suppose because working casual hours gives me some 'adult' time. But I would love to have the choice, so enjoy it as long as you can!

peesticksandstones said...

I've also recently made this decision, but am surprised how hard it's been to really relax into it and be at peace with my choice -- not feel I need to justify myself/qualify it with a "...but I hopefully will start freelancing soon" or some such.

Like you, I work in a creative field (advertising - writer/creative director) that technically has a lot of flexibility. However, I find I generally all my projects end up being way more consuming mind-wise, energy-wise, creative juice-using-wise than a couple simple hours at a computer. And how to commit to that with an unpredictable little one? Sigh -- I look forward to finding a balance someday.

Wishing you all the best! I enjoy your blog so much -- it's always like a preview of what's ahead with my own little guy in the next month or so.

Martine said...

Thanks for this post! I've been a lurker on your blog since I spotted your lovely nursery pics for Paige :)
I'm a new mom too, and am on maternity leave. I'm also torn between going back to work as I work a regular 9-to-5 shift. I am frightened at the thought of leaving my child at home, so I'm still praying about what to do. I suppose the best approach is to be frank about what I feel is right for now, and that is staying at home and raising my baby.

Wanderluster said...

Thanks for writing this post. I'm still struggling with this decision myself. We have it a bit better here in Canada (maternity leave is 1 year) - but that doesn't make leaving little one in someone else's care any easier! You are lucky to be in a position to choose to work or not. I wish I was too. Enjoy your time with Paige! We don't get these moments back.

Home Sweet Home Place said...

Great post. I am a lawyer turned SAHM and know first hand that this is a hard decision. I just posted something similar on my blog. Perhaps it will help those struggling with this decision. It helped me. Good luck to all!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...