Working from Home with a Baby
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I was going to post this later in the week but since today is International Women’s Day. It seemed appropriate to post today :) On that note, I AM working today. I thought about taking the day off but I’m taking most of tomorrow off for my birthday PLUS my clients are 100% amazing women so by working today, it’s kind of like I’m celebrating the day. Right? :)
I originally started to include this in the pregnancy announcement post (oh hey, did you see that I’m pregnant!!?) but figured it was better left as its own little separate post.
So, here goes.
As we’ve started telling family and friends our good news over the past few weeks, there’s been a recurring theme that, if I’m being honest, has kind of unnerved me. At first I thought that I was over-reacting to what is most certainly just good intentions. Then I expressed my concern to several close friends who confirmed that my feelings were warranted and worth expressing.
Many (and I mean a surprisingly large number) of the “we’re having a baby!!” conversations that we had included the response “I knew you were pregnant when you announced you were working from home!”. Each time I felt both shocked and offended by this statement but each time I bit my tongue. I knew the intention was good and I didn’t want to spoil such a special announcement.
So, now that the announcement has been made and the initial celebrations have been had, I want to explain myself.
The short version:
Here’s what I wanted to say each time someone exclaimed “I knew you quit your day job because you’re pregnant!”: Uhm, no. I put in my 2 weeks notice BEFORE I knew I was pregnant. Me having a baby and me starting a new business that happens to allow me to work from home are 2 completely separate life events.
I worked my ASS OFF to get to where I am, to get my business to where it is. The notion that I’m just working from home for fun while I wait for my baby to come is heartbreaking to me. It discredits the YEARS of hard work I put in on nights and weekends and every single holiday so that I could get to where I am today. It’s important to me that you know how much I love what I’m doing and how excited I am to continue nurturing my career long after our baby is born.
The long version:
I decided LONG before we started trying for a baby that I wanted to own my own business and be my own boss one day. I put in my 2 weeks notice at work before I knew I was pregnant (granted, it was 1 week before) and made the decision multiple weeks before that. Deciding to quit my job and work from home had only about 5% to do with the fact that one day I wanted children and 95% to do with the fact that I LOVE the work I’m doing and couldn’t wait to be doing it full time.
To hear people say “I knew it when you started working at home” says to me “oh cute, you’re making a little extra money while you wait to be a mother”. I know that often wasn’t the intention but a good intention doesn’t make the societal norms I’m being shoved into okay.
Let me tell you a little bit about my new life working from home: 1) I work ALL of the time now. A 12 hour day has become my new normal and it’s okay for now because 2) I love the shit out of what I’m doing. I’ve absolutely never been happier in a career and the work that I’m doing constantly excites me. Like, I can’t sleep at night because I’m thinking of new ideas and different things that I can’t wait to try in my photography and videos. 3) I’m making significantly more money. So far, over the past 2 months of self employment, I’ve made a substantial bit more money than Mr. Britnell and certainly more than I was making in my desk job that I hated. I don’t say this to brag (although I am very very proud of how far my hard work has brought me) but simply to dispel the notion that I’m just having fun and making a “little spending cash”. 4) I am my own boss and therefore free to do whatever I want. If I want to take an extra long lunch on Monday to go see La La Land, I can do that. It means I’ll probably have to work a little later tomorrow but I have that freedom. I can decide if I want to have a busy week or a slow week. I decide when a project is a good fit for me and when I should say “no thank you”. When my child has a school play in the middle of the day, I WILL be there because I’m the boss.
Once the baby comes, I will not be a stay at home mother. I will be at home, I will be working, the baby will be cared for. We haven’t quite figured out childcare yet but we do know that after a couple months of a maternity leave, I will be jumping right back into the job that I love and the business that I worked SO incredibly hard to create.
I hope it goes without saying (but I’m about to anyways) that I have nothing against stay at home mothers. Mr. Britnell and I both had the great privilege of having mothers who, for at least much of our childhoods, were able to stay home with us. So, I promise this is not about that. This is about being able to have both the career that I worked very hard for and about being able to be a good mother. It’s about being recognized for the successful business that I’ve grown and the work that I have produced. It’s about sayings to other women- it’s OKAY for you to want children and simultaneously LOVE your career- you do NOT have to choose one or the other if you don’t want to.
I hope that this post in no way comes across as negative or as a big whiny ramble. At the end of the day, I love the work I’m doing and want you to know HOW EXCITED I am to be both growing my family and growing my business.
AND with that, I hope that you have a VERY lovely rest of your week :)