Happy Fall and Happy October, friends! In this month’s Coffee Break, I’m chatting about how I finally accepted the role of “Working Mom;” rounding up some products, movies, and books I’m loving lately; and am celebrating a pretty huge blog milestone. So grab your favorite Fall beverage, and let’s catch up!

Rear shot of a girl in a blue shirt facing a computer with text overlay.

On Being a “Working Mom”

You all will remember that back in January of 2020, I hired my very first “regular” childcare. At the time, the extra 12 hours a week was a huge step for me (the first time I hired childcare just so I could work on the blog!). And while it did quell the late nights and weekends a bit, it more so opened my eyes to the fact that I really liked to work during the day. I don’t know why…but that fact has been really, really hard for me to acknowledge and accept.

I told myself that 12 hours/week was enough. My work was “supposed” to be a side gig anyway. I tried to convince myself that my work would always be there, but my kids would never be this young again.

But on the days I didn’t have childcare and was supposed to be enjoying my Mom time, I still felt this intense pull toward my work. I felt frustrated and even a little embarrassed that I was incapable of putting my work aside to be mentally present with my kids. At the end of the day…even though I was “with my kid(s)” all day…I didn’t really feel with them. I felt scattered, stressed, and…down.

Earlier this year, I was on the phone with my sister and I said something to the effect of, “I think deep down, I know I wasn’t meant to be home 100% with my kids. If I was perfectly honest with myself, I’d admit that I’d rather work during the day.” Objectively speaking, I see absolutely nothing wrong with that sentence. I’ve told friend after friend after friend that we are all different kinds of Moms, we all need different kinds of fulfillment, we all enjoy different things. I’ve never judged working Moms (my own Mom included!)…but for some reason, I didn’t allow myself that same grace.

Never in my time as a Mom had I so fully thought or articulated that exact sentiment. But speaking those words out loud changed something in me. They felt so real, honest, genuine. And it didn’t feel wrong or scandalous or controversial. Just…very matter of fact. Finally admitting my feelings out loud suddenly made me feel okay about wanting to work.

Starting this past August, I now have childcare 5 days/week for a few hours each day. I expected to be consumed with guilt about it. But the truth is…I think I’m a better Mom this way. My bucket feels full…creatively, professionally, emotionally. I feel more myself. I am happier, less stressed, and am more on top of everything…both in work and life.

At the end of the “work day”…because I’ve had real hours to get things done…I am ready to step away. I can look my son in the eye while he tells me about his day (rather than my usual sideways glance because I’m trying to finish something up). When the little boys are up from naps, I’m happy to go to the park or play (instead of putting on the TV so I can get one more thing done).  In the last month, I haven’t worked a single night or weekend. I’m watching TV and going for walks just to listen to Podcasts. Greg and I finally went on our first date since before our last baby was born (2+ years ago!).

What felt like the very wrong thing for our family has turned out to be quite the opposite. By giving myself dedicated time to work, I’ve also given myself dedicated time (and energy and brainspace) to be Mom. I feel like I’m (finally…just maybe) doing both jobs well…instead of failing to do both…at the same time…all the time.

Things I’m Loving Lately

Well…that turned unintentionally heavy, so I thought I’d lighten it up with a few things I’m loving lately!

Collage of favorite products from Amazon and other shops.

  1. LulaRich. Have you watched LulaRich on Amazon Prime?!? Documentaries like this are one of the few genres Greg and I can agree on, and we watched the entire thing in a single day. The documentary didn’t pull back the curtain quite enough for me, so now I’m knee-deep in Season 1 of The Dream podcast, which explores multi-level-marketing companies even more. If you haven’t watched LulaRich yet, I highly recommend carving out a good 4 hours to knock it out because you won’t be able to turn it off!
  2. The Ultimate Book of Outfit Formulas. Alison (who developed the Capsule Wardrobe I use and love!) just released The Ultimate Book of Outfit Formulas that dives deeper into the concept of wardrobe basics. I just started it, and I’m hoping it will help me move away from relying on outfit guides and more toward dressing myself instinctively with confidence!
  3. Timer Cube. For so long, I wasn’t used to having dedicated work hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So during the first few weeks, I struggled to get into a productive mindset right away. Then I discovered this timer cube, which has worked wonders for keeping me on task. With a flip, I can set it for 15, 20, 30 or 60 minutes; and I tell myself I have to stay on task until it beeps. It’s helped me cut down mindless social media scrolling and Amazon hunting; and is even what I’m using for my email office hours. (I’m actually tempted to buy the 1, 3, 5, and 10-minute one for timeout sessions!)
  4. Intentional Weekly Planner Notepad. This notepad has also been key to keeping me on task during my work hours. It’s not a planner, but serves as a perfect spot for jotting down tasks that need to be done each day so they aren’t forgotten or overlooked!
  5. Hidden Pictures Books. Our 5-year-old is the type that has to be doing something all.the.time. (Wonder where he gets that from?!?) He is constantly coloring, drawing, cutting apart paper, sticking stickers onto walls, and asking to do projects. At the end of the summer, I felt I had exhausted everything to satisfy his busy brain but then remembered good ol’ picture hunts from Highlights! They are quick and easy to pull out (compared to paper, glue, scissors, and more!) and they are also fun for us to do together (the color pictures he can find on his own, but the black-and-white versions are a bit tough for him to do by himself).
  6. Crafty Printables. You guys know I love creating organizing printables, and especially coming up with creative ways to use papers, labels, etc. So it likely won’t surprise you that I’m a touch obsessed with Amber’s YayDay projects on Instagram. The cute and clever things she does with a digital file, paper, and a good printer are so darn good!
  7. Reusable Ziplock Bags. I ordered a bunch of reusable silicon bags on Amazon Prime Day because they were a good deal, and I liked the concept of using less disposable versions. I didn’t realize how much I’d love these! While they can be a bit tough to seal up initially, I love that we can use them for all sorts of foods (e.g., frozen jelly sandwiches for the week, leftover pancakes, veggie strips, cut up fruit, and more!) Because they are more compact than plastic or glass containers, they are much easier to toss into the fridge, freezer, and drawer bins!

10 Years Since I First Hit “Publish”

Finally…there’s cause for a little celebration around here!

It’s pretty hard to believe, but this past Monday, September 27th 2021, marked exactly 10 years since I hit publish on my very first blog post. (You can see it here if you want a good laugh!) Never in a million years did that Megan from 10 years ago realize what a life-giving, sanity-saving adventure this blog would become. What was really supposed to be a simple outlet for a brand new stay-at-home Mom (who didn’t know the first thing about “staying at home”)…turned into one of the biggest surprises, challenges, and blessings of my life!

I could go on and on and on about all the things I’ve done wrong over the years. Which is why…in this moment…the thing I am most proud of is that I am still here. Sure I’m proud of the projects I’ve done, the online presence I’ve built, the homes I’ve made. But to still be here…just as passionate (if not more so!) about inspiring you all to “transform any space into a place you love”…on that, I hang my hat.

Once upon a time, there was no one out there reading. But now, I know you’re there. Some of you leave comments every chance you get. Others of you are silent. But I know you’re out there all the same. Whether you’ve been here from the beginning, just discovered me last week, or joined the ride somewhere in between…thank you, friends…with all my heart…for being on the other end of my dream. ❤️

See You Soon!