Coffee Break #25
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!
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!
- 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!
- 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!
- 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!)
- 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!
- 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).
- 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!
- 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. ❤️
29 Comments on “Coffee Break #25”
This is so great. Congratulations on ten years in the business, that is amazing! Particularly considering how much that business has changed in those ten years.
I found what you had to say about being a working mum so powerful and honest. I’m so glad you found a rhythm that suits you and makes you feel like yourself.
Thanks so much Elisha!
I particularly look forward to hearing from you – so thanks for always making time for me 🙂
I love your blog; it always feels refreshingly honest, probably because you are!
Whether its a project, your wardrobe capsule, or working, I know you’ll review honestly if it’s just not right.
I also love watching your style transform, while clearly always being a fit for you and your family, not merely chasing trends.
I forgot how long I’ve been reading, but here’s to many more years! (If you feel so inclined, of course.)
Thank you so much for such a kind note, Rebekka!
Isn’t it funny – when I stopped chasing the common “blog trends” is when I feel like I was really able to hone in on what I love and what works for us. And readers seem to respond to that so much more than having all the “latest” stuff!
Wow has your vision changed over time! But you’ve had fun …
I was a SAH mom for 23 years so I get where you are coming from. Along with volunteering, my creative outlets included sewing and music. We all find our way. My kids often talk about how they were “free range”… but you could do that 30 years ago.
Your blog has given me a lot of inspiration since I’m renting now. And I have the time to “play”.
Thanks so much Linda…I love hearing that others find my ideas useful and inspiring!
I think I may have been one of those “free range” kids too – my parents both worked full time and I did my own thing…A LOT. But I think I still turned out pretty good 😉
I have always had a part time job. I think all moms need a part time, no more than 20 hours a week job. It really helps you to focus on being present with your kids when you are around them. For me, it helps me to accomplish all my “chores” in a timely manner. I tend to try and mulltitask to complete things. But I also love being around other adults and having adult conversations. I realize this idea isn’t one that some people like, but it has been a benefit for me. And my kids. My kids were lucky enough to be with Dad, when mom was working. They learned quickly that dad is just as good as mom at homework, or fixing a ouchie. There are things my kids talk to Dad about and some things they talk to Mom about.
I can’t say I have been here from day 1, but it was pretty close after. Thanks for all your hard work, practical solutions, and just how you do things. It helps me. I don’t feel alone, especially in this crazy world. Here’s to 10 more years!
I’m not sure when you started reading, but I can find comments from you preeeeeeeeettty far back. I always look forward to comments from you when they pop up because you feel like an old friend! I love knowing it’s mutual 😉
Congratulations on your blog anniversary and congratulations on finding a work-home balance that works for you!
Thank you so much, Isabel!
Congratulations on your blogiversary! Your clever ideas have helped me a lot while transitioning into retirement, after being out of the house every day for 40 years. Organizing, downsizing, the capsule wardrobe thing, exercising at home – you have some pretty great ideas. Now I’m off to order some more reusable ziplock bags. 🙂
Thank you so much for such a kind comment. I absolutely love hearing that others find my ideas helpful – it’s definitely what keeps me showing up for you guys week after week!
Thanks for sharing your heart! I have taken on homeschooling my kids during the pandemic, and I feel all the torn ways you were feeling – this gave me hope that once we transition back to public school, things really will get easier with that dedicated time.
Thanks so much, Mindy! I am so happy to hear this post gave you some hope!
I can’t imagine how hard homeschooling has been – we didn’t make it even a few weeks right when COVID began, so kuddos to you for sticking with it and making it work! Fingers crossed you find some relief from the crazy soon!
Thank you for being here, too! I believe I’ve been here since you were in North Carolina, and I’m always happy to see when there is a new post to read, or even old ones to refer to on a skill (pillows, sewing, organizing). On the working Mom subject, if you had more of a “regular” job to earn “regular” pay, you’d be away from your boys a lot more – probably 40 hours plus commuting time. So I think it’s so great you are able to earn money while making your house a gorgeous home for your family. Take care and stay well! Aloha, Tenney.
Thanks so much, Tenney!
Yes – I certainly count you among the ones who have been here with me for a long…I always look forward to hearing from you when comments pop in my Inbox! So thankful to have you out there reading all these years!
I love your honesty. Jill
Thanks so much, Jill!
Sometimes, these Coffee Break posts are the hardest to write, even though they don’t require photos or step-by-step. Finding the right words for what’s on my heart takes a lot of effort, but I always feel so fulfilled by it. Glad to hear it’s appreciated on the other side too!
Congratulations on 10 years my dear sister, you are amazingly creative, one savvy business woman, and an inspiration to us all, love you,
In the early days, Mom was always sure to read my posts and leave comments when appropriate. I feel like you’ve stepped into that role and it means more to me than you know 😘
Congratulatins!!! 10 years is amazing.
Thank you so much, Theresa! I so appreciate you stopping by to read my thoughts and check out my projects!
I’m so happy you’ve found joy in your working hours! Thank you for sharing so much creativity with us over this last decade. I live in a rental apartment, and I love reading your ideas for storage and decor in a home where we can’t make all the changes we might like. Congrats on 10 years! We’ll be here to read and enjoy your work for as long as you wish to share. Have a wonderful day!
Awww…thanks so much, Alicia!
I love hearing from readers who are able to use my ideas – that is definitely what keeps me coming back week after week!
Thanks for supporting me all the years, and you better bet I’ll be here for a while…who knows how many homes are still in our future, lol!
As your FIRST follower and father of our children (sorry about all the noise BTW), I can truly attest to what an amazing journey this has been for you. You should be extraordinarily proud of what you’ve accomplished and the people you’ve inspired along the way…myself included. As someone who has had the unique opportunity to live in the Homes You Have Made, I feel blessed to have a partner in this life who has created homes where our whole family can bloom where we get planted. One of these days I’ll try to find us a garden where are roots can grow a little deeper than they’ve been able to over the last 16 years. Until then, keep handing me the level, ladder, and drill along the way!
You’re the best, Babe. My biggest cheerleader, confident, and supporter by far. Definitely wouldn’t have made it this long without you 😘 (Nor would I have “gotten the chance” to live in so many great homes! 😜)
Aww, Greg’s response was the sweetest. Congratulations on 10 years!!
I’ve been a (mostly) silent reader along the way, but I always appreciate your posts even if I don’t comment. Your honesty and true-to-yourself blogging style is just so much more enjoyable to read. There are several “big names” I just don’t even bother with anymore because 1) I can’t afford what they’re doing anymore 2) they’re following the trends sooo much it’s ridiculous & I honestly couldn’t even pinpoint their style because they change it up so much 3) their “DIY” has become so technically advanced that I can’t implement the same things in my house. All that to say – you still offer the truly DIY/affordable projects and I AM HERE FOR IT! Can’t wait to see what you do in the next home. 🙂
Wow – thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a nice comment – this really made my day!
I can’t tell you how much I struggle with not being able to keep up with the “big bloggers” – I just don’t have the budget, crew, or time that so many do. Your comment reminds me that I still have value to add in my own way and there is still a need for it – so thank you for that…I needed to hear it 🙂
Congratulations on your “blogiversary!” 😀 I am glad to have found you in this space. 🙂 xoxox