When There’s a Will, There’s a Way

Since Logan was born more than five years ago, no two days have been the same. Being the type-A planner that I am, I spent a good portion of my pregnancy trying to figure out the whole mom/work/life balance. And I was certain I had it worked out, too, from our childcare arrangement to divying up parenting and household responsibilities between my husband and I. But as the saying goes, “If you want to make God laugh, just tell him you have a plan.”

In five years, we have dealt with my little guy’s eye condition and surgeries, my husband’s cancer battle and subsequent death, a move from Miami back up to New York, and figuring out life on our own – just the two of us. It has been a life in transition to say the least. And, of course, it looks nothing like the plan I spent hours ironing out while pregnant.

During these five years, my work situation has changed quite a bit, too. Part of how I have made it all work is by working various positions and jobs from home. It all started when we transitioned from a nanny to daycare. Nolan was already months into his cancer treatment. Logan suffered from many, many (many!) ear infections and my husband clearly could not care for him when he was too sick to go to go to daycare.

My boss decided he needed my contributions – however I could make them. And so I began working from home when Logan was sick, cordoning off one side of the house for my husband and the other for my son and I. Sure, I looked like a mess, was up from 4 a.m. to get work done and stayed up late into the night disinfecting every possible surface. But all needs were met. I had worked and earned income that day. My son was recuperating, and so was my husband, in a germ-free part of the house. Then, when my husband’s cancer progressed and he required treatment out-of-state, I would work from cancer center waiting rooms, hotel rooms, hospitals and doctors offices. My years working in a newsroom and as a journalist had prepared me well to work and write in just about any situation.

Our childcare situations has morphed right along with my career, based on my needs and his, but there are always some times when I am working from my home office with my son in tow, whether it be when I was launching a freelance career while he napped on days off from my full-time job or even now, catching up on some projects for two hours on a Saturday morning before a trip to the park during an exceptionally busy week.

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Now I work from home full-time, commuting into the city a few times a month for meetings, and Logan is in full-day kindergarten. My mom helps with homework some afternoons a week and the neighborhood moms and I also trade on-and-of so we can work and get things done.

So how do I do it? Everyone always comments that it must require discipline and drive to work from home – and there is no doubt that it does. But that has never been a problem for me. I find it harder to stop working than to get started. But when you throw children into the mix, it also requires creativity. I shared some of my tricks and lessons-learned today over at The Happiest Home, where writer and fellow work-from-home mom Meagan Francis has been running a series on working from home. I hope my suggestions help others who are trying to balance parenthood and a career, or even taking a passion or dream to the next level while also spending quality time with loved ones.

No matter what the situation, the most important thing to remember is: if there’s a will, there’s a way. It might not always be easy, and the progress might not always be much as you’d like, and it will require a lot of sacrifice, like early mornings and late nights. But if it’s something you really, truly want to accomplish, then you can figure out a way to make it happen.

As always, thanks for reading!

 

  1. Kathleen, I really appreciate this post and your tips in your guest post. I also have a difficult time stopping work. Your advice reminds me to take a moment to slow down and think ahead. That little bit of prep work goes a long way.