A couple weeks ago I had a chance to meet Lindsy in person as she took photographs of me for some head shots where she took this amazing shot of me!
We’ve been chatting, though for a while and found each other through twitter. And really, we started chatting more once I saw that she became a new working momma as she’s in the process of fostering to adopt almost 1 year old “BB.” I remember she tweeted one day saying she got the call and the next day a baby would be arriving, and this was just 7 months after she and her husband Dan began the process of fostering to adopt. And in 24 hours she became a full fledged working momma! I knew she would be perfect to do a Q & A with as her working momma situation is unique as a WAHM with two jobs and a touring husband.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do for work?
For the past five years I have been working from home as a project manager for a marketing group. We do a little bit of everything. There are busy times and slow times so it can be hectic or flexible. I have also had a photography business for 5 years. I photograph weddings, babies, families and do some commercial work as well.
When BB is grown up, what do you want him to remember about you being his working momma, and any other additional kids you may have?
I want him to remember that I really tried my best to give him the love and attention he needs while also providing a steady income for our family. What I don’t want him to remember is him staring at me from across the room while my eyes are glued to my computer screen.
What are some key parts of your work week routine that make things go as smooth as possible.
I used to have a ‘no computers after 5pm’ rule because my husband, when he’s not touring, is working from home, too. If I didn’t establish a quitting time, we would have just kept working. We still abide by the 5pm rule but after we put BB to bed we usually do a bit more work so that our mornings aren’t so hectic. BB has lots of appointments and places to be so I try to schedule meetings during those times.
As you awaited the arrival of BB, how did you mentally prepare to take on fostering him, knowing you’d get a moment’s notice before he came to live with you?
We had about 7 months from the time we submitted our application until BB was placed in our home and during that time, my husband and I analyzed everything. I was constantly asking myself, “What will this situation be like once we have a child living with us?” I had less than 24 hours from the time we got the phone call about BB until he was living in our home. I don’t know if any amount of preparation prepared me for that! I am so glad I was blogging and journaling because that first week is kind-of a blur. As we settled into a routine, those questions and analysis before he arrived really helped.
What is one piece of advice you have to expecting working mommas?
Explain your new, busy schedule to your boss and clients but don’t use the baby as a ‘crutch’ or an excuse for not working hard. Realize that you can’t get everything done. Find the strength and support to get your work done and be a good mom when you ‘clock-out,’ LWM has been a great resource for me in figuring out this new life.
What’s the hardest part for you as a working mom?
Getting enough quality time in with BB and having the energy to do fun things with him while still doing my job, keeping the house clean, seeing friends, taking pictures, blogging, and taking a shower once in a while.
What is a rewarding part for you as a working mom?
In these tough economic times, I am happy to be working. I am very lucky to have a job and that I’m getting photography business. Dan isn’t making a TON of money, definitely not enough for our family of three to live off of, so I’m proud that I can support us.
As a WAHM and photographer with flexibility, what kind of childcare did you choose and how did you come to this decision?
When BB was new to us, we hired a friend to nanny in the afternoons. I would spend the morning with him, put him down for a nap and the nanny would come over for a few hours and then he’d go down for another nap until my work hours were over. It was working for a few months but the naps started to get shorter and shorter and I was making mistakes at my job. It was just too crazy. So, we started to shop around for a daycare and we found one we really like. It was difficult decision. I felt guilty that I couldn’t balance my jobs, errands, and child-rearing and make everything work. I like to have my cake and eat it, too. We ended up finding a small, home daycare that is close to home. BB is the youngest baby so he’s been challenged and his development has really improved (he was developmentally delayed when we got him and now he’s all caught up). He now goes to daycare almost every day which gives me the time to give him my full attention when we are together.
How do you balance…ahem…try to balance (who really has balance) the demands of your job, the demands of your blog, the demands of photography and the demands of being a momma and wife?
I’ve always been a multi-tasker and a busy-bee so I feel that in many ways I’m less busy than I was before I became a mom. Since I work from home, I used to go out and do something (shop, dinner, movie) almost every evening, especially when Dan was out of town. Now that I stay home every night after BB is in bed, I have all this wonderful free time that I didn’t have before. Sometimes I end up working or cleaning the house but I am trying to appreciate this quiet time and utilize it to the best of my ability. As for being a good wife, I am lucky to have a husband that doesn’t need too much from me. He just likes to be with me and hear that I love him. I know that putting BB in daycare helped me with getting my job(s) done.
How does Dan support you, even as he travels a lot with the band?
Dan and I have always worked well together, but through being a new dad, Dan has amazed me. When he’s home, he helps with everything from chauffeuring BB to his many appointments or emptying the dishwasher without even being asked! He lets me wear ear plugs and he gets up in the middle of the night to soothe the screaming baby (as long as I let him sleep in- marriage is about compromise, did you know?) He is awesome. When he’s touring, he supports me by always answering my phone calls – unless his phone is dead or he’s on stage – anytime of day or night. He patiently listens to my rants or stories. It’s so nice to be able to have that contact with him.
As Dan travels, what kind of support system do you have to help with BB?
We have a great community where we live and a lot of people who are very happy for us and BB. We get offers for babysitters all the time! The majority of our friends don’t have kids but they’ve been so kind and understanding about our new situation. It’s much better than I thought it would be and I am so thankful for that.
What are some important things you make time for you…that elusive “me time” that we seem to forget about once baby arrives?
I pushed back my work hours so that I can take BB to daycare and go for a run or go grocery shopping by myself. I know that not everyone has this luxury, but if you can make it work, I highly recommend it. Since I’m not a morning person, I usually take my showers in the evening after we put BB to bed. There are no time limits so I can just relax and get really clean!
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Sure! I am so thankful for resources like Liberating Working Moms. I love it when I see people getting together to support one another. Keep up the good work, Tracy! [Sidebar: I contribute to a blog called Road Widows that is about being a wife of a traveling, rock-star husband. Personally, I think being a road widow is a lot harder than being a working mom.]