Mar 12, 2009

Being a working single mom.

I saw this question on the Etsy forums and I decided to create a blog about it. It was a great topic and I'm so glad I found it so I could share my tips with other working & artistic moms! :) I'm a single mom and I have two girls. (3.5 and 1) They are my life, but being a single mom, I need a way to support my kids as well as keep my sanity in tact. I worked at home for a very long time doing Customer Service from my home office. That was my full time job, besides being a mom, for almost 3 years. I enjoyed that because I could spend time with my kids as well as bring in an income, which is very necessary when you're the only one bringing in an income. I loved working from home and I was bringing in a good amount of money, but it required me to work 65 hours a week, and that was tiring for me and still difficult for me as a mother. I had to step back and think as a mother who was exhausted physically and mentally and a mother who had to put her kids best interest first. I decided to put my job on hold, as hard as it was, and I decided to take on my other love; art. I had a lot of friends who were great and very successful at selling their products and I wanted to do that as well.

Art has always been my main emotional outlet and I knew that I could make an income while also keeping my sanity. Granted, I would have to do my art once my kids were asleep, but it was still a way for me to earn something and still be able to stay home with my kids. I hoped, prayed, and worked on a plan to get my business off the ground. That's when I found Etsy and thought it was a great idea, and felt very hopeful about the business that I was about to venture on!

Unfortunately, my business hasn't been as profitable as I hope, but I still put my all into it. Besides this, now, I have a real full time job. It's hard...very hard...but supporting your family is first. Supporting your family, single parent or married, engaged, etc... it's what you have to put first over your business.

How do I balance everything is difficult to explain because I don't even know! 1. I do take days where I just do things for myself. Be it going to get a manicure, getting my hair done, getting myself a new outfit, new makeup, etc... That is the most important thing. To relax. 2. When my kids nap (which is sometimes at the same time! lol) I take a nap myself. If they don't nap at the same time, when one is napping, I take a "mommy and me" time and lay down with the other, watching TV or playing a game. Something quiet and relaxing. 3. I go to different activities with my kids where I can relax and talk to other parents. If you'r working at home, communicating with other adults is vital for sanity. ;) 4. When you're working at night, I know it's important to get things done, but don't just sit there for 4 hours straight without getting up every once in a while. That's how you get even more tired, is just sitting there. I know how important it is not to break your concentration, but you don't want to go crazy with exhaustion either. 5. Let your kids help you! If you're going to work with Polymer clay, give them some to play with as well, if you're beading, get out some large pony beads and some yarn for them to make necklaces or bracelets out of, if you're making candy, let them mix it or give them a piece to eat while you're making it, if your sewing, maybe let them press the peddle or something. Try to make them a part of what you're doing if you are working when the kids are around.

A lot of people feel it's impossible to work and be creative when they have children and even I put my creativity on hold for the first year of my oldest daughter's life, but you can juggle it all. You just have to come up with ideas and ways to relax. :) You can do it!


Tara said...

Thanks for the post about parenting and being artistic. It's difficult, but very well worth doing.

Jillianmackowiak said...

What great advice! What an be able to fit in everything you love and still hold it together. I do not yet have children and feel like my life is crazy hectic now...I can't even imagine, work, art, doing things for yourself and for you kids. You truly are an inspiration!!