Business and Babies - Skillful Cook
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Business and Babies

A woman holding a baby.

This is a post about entrepreneurial motherhood.

It's about what it looks like to work for yourself - like being a writer, or a blogger, or a business owner - and also have a baby, which means anyone under 18 years old. Babies, all of them.

It's about answering these questions:

  • Can you get work done with a baby at home?
  • How do you set a schedule?
  • How many hours is too many hours?
  • Should you take a maternity leave?
  • Will you have time to create?
  • What if you just want to quit and be done?
  • Or what if you want to work more than ever?
  • How do you make the most of the freedom and flexibility?
  • When do you STOP working?

When you are making your own way with your work, you don't really have a handbook for this sort of thing. There's no “standard” for maternity leave, if you even take one, and no official rules around how to structure your work once you go back.

And this was the post - the conversation, really - that I wish I would have been able to have with a handful of mindful women who are putting their whole heart into both the Business and Baby parts of their lives.

I'm so excited to share the experiences, reflections, and all-around wisdom that these women have shared. My hope is that this is an encouraging celebration of other moms who are thinking YAY WORK and YAY BABY and maybe a little bit of WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING, which, to be honest, is all of us.

Woman is holding her kid and dog with a broad smile.

It does not feel good to be half there. When I'm with Solvi, I want to be ALL there.

Name: Lindsay Ostrom (hi it's me!)

Business: All-around content producer and director for Skillful Cook

Baby: Solvi (8 month old squisher)

Maternity Leave: I took a solid three months off - like, 100% off! And I chose not to prepare posts in advance. Our team worked on a few things while I was out so that Skillful Cook wouldn't be totally stagnant, but for the most part, things were quiet. I was at home with Solvi, undistracted, just being a new mom, and everything about that was so, so right for me.

Schedule Now: We have childcare so I can work three days a week, and I'm home with Solvi two days a week. There's still a lot of grey area - I often work during nights, weekends, and naps. But the more I move towards boundaries, the more I like my schedule.

Biggest Challenge: Staying present. I often find myself playing with Solvi, reading books, watching her reach for toys, and then in the next moment I am grabbing my phone to answer some emails or do a quick check-in on Slack. And it does not feel good to be half there. When I'm with Solvi, I want to be ALL there. I set a goal of spending at least an hour of uninterrupted, phone-free time with her each day which has been awesome. But yeah, as a business owner, it's surprisingly hard to do that well.

Biggest Surprise: That going back to work was not just “going back to work.” It was leaving my baby - often crying and unsettled - with someone else. It was figuring out when and where to pump (coffee shop bathroom?). It was coming home and realizing we still needed to figure out dinner. It was accepting new limitations on how much I could get done in a day. That whole transition back to work was so much more emotionally and physically exhausting than I was ready for, and I wish I would have done things more slowly. Now, six months in, I am finding my feet again. And by that I mean I am more confident as a mom and I'm realizing that working at “full capacity” is forever going to look different for me than it did for the last 8 years. Splitting my energy between my business and my family is a new skill that I get to learn in this season. And I'm excited about it.

Advice to Yourself: Focus on what will matter 5 years from now. Go slow. Be good to yourself. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

A woman smiling while being hugged by her daughter.

I get to tell her “I missed you” when I pick her up every day from preschool now. And I mean it.

Name: Melissa Coleman

Business: Blogger, designer, writer at The Faux Martha

Baby: Hallie, age 5

Maternity Leave: I can't remember! How telling is that? A little over a year before having Hallie, I took the leap towards working full-time for myself. Juggling new clients, with a husband in grad school, we weren't in a position for me to take adequate time off—financially or business-wise. I'm also one of those annoying people who thinks I can figure out a better way to do things. Sometimes, I can. But I fell flat on my face with the whole working-mom thing.

Schedule Now: I try to work part-time hours, but always end up working more. Managing my workload, calendar, and expectations have slowly gotten better over the years. I've learned my capabilities (and lack thereof) and organized my time accordingly. Hallie is in school every day from 9am-1pm. Next year she starts full-day kindergarten.

Biggest Challenge: I've always tried to do everything. Everything all at once. I thought that must be the beauty of a flexible schedule, of being able to work for yourself. It was my best idea that turned out to be, well, maybe not my best idea. Five years deep into motherhood, I've finally learned that even a flexible schedule needs a lot of boundaries and structure. I'm not a natural planner, so this has added to my rough transition into working mom-hood. If we were ever to add to our family, I would put a consistent childcare system in place from the start. I have always been in too many places at once and seemingly nowhere at all, if you know what I'm saying.

Biggest Surprise: It's really good to get the chance to miss someone you love a whole lot. I didn't get or give myself that chance her first couple years of life, which resulted in a lot of resentment. I get to tell her “I missed you” when I pick her up every day from preschool now. And I mean it.

Advice to Yourself: Know yourself well. Advocate for your needs. For her needs. You can do both.

You can find Melissa at The Faux Martha or on Instagram (@TheFauxMartha).

A pregnant woman poses.

It’s been such a learning experience for me. I don’t always get it right, but I learn daily, which I’m leaning into with pride & grace lately.

Name: Alex Elle

Business: Author, wellness consultant, and podcast host.

Babies: Charleigh (like Charlie) age 11, Ila (like eye-la) age 15 months, and baby girl number 3 who is due in September.

Maternity Leave: Each pregnancy has been very different. With my first daughter, I was working and in school. My second (10 years later), I was well into my career as an author, so I made time and space for healing and connecting after her birth. I turned in my last manuscript of the year, went on a hiatus from my podcast, and took a step back from teaching retreats and workshops. When I was ready, I took my time easing back into work. With this third baby, I plan to do the same.

Schedule Now: I’m home with the little one 5 days out of the week, and my husband takes over fully every evening, and on his off days which are Tuesday and Wednesday. His schedule is perfect for our familial flow because I get the bulk of my work and recording done when he’s off. And after he’s home from work, I sneak away and get my writing done. We have such a great rhythm down. I’m not sure what that will be like when our new daughter joins us. We will likely get a nanny to help out.

Biggest Challenge: Harmonizing motherhood, wife-life, career, and self-care. It’s been such a learning experience for me. I don’t always get it right, but I learn daily, which I’m leaning into with pride & grace lately.

Biggest Surprise: How fast time really does fly! It has wings.

Advice to Yourself: Slow down, enjoy the mundane moments, and know that all will be well.

You can find Alex on Instagram (@alex_elle) or for in real life connection and community building.

Sally smiling and resting on her elbows in her kitchen.

I felt immensely guilty when working. I suppose it's because my business isn't a traditional job. It's more personal, so I felt selfish to work. In reality, that's not the case at all because I'm supporting my family and doing something I love.

Name: Sally Quinn (McKenney

Business: Sally's Baking Addiction (food blog)

Baby: Noelle, age 19 months

Maternity Leave: I tried to take a maternity leave by preparing blog content for the 12 weeks after my daughter was born. I worked my tail off photographing and developing recipes in my 3rd trimester, but never had the chance to write the blog posts because I was so tired. After my daughter was born, it was nice to be off my feet in the kitchen, but when I wasn't caring for Noelle, I was working on the computer. It was incredibly hard and I wish I gave myself more of a break.

Biggest Challenge: Dealing with the unnecessary guilt I placed on myself. When we put childcare in place, I felt immensely guilty when working. I suppose it's because my business isn't a traditional job. It's more personal, so I felt selfish to work. In reality, that's not the case at all because I'm supporting my family and doing something I love.

Biggest Surprise: I work less now! With childcare, I only have a limited amount of work hours each week, but I make the very most of those working hours. Work stops at 5pm, so there's no more wasting time or mindlessly scrolling on social media. It's taken months of adjusting, but now I work smarter, not harder... and my business is stronger than ever!

Advice to Yourself: As a business owner, it's difficult to prepare for and understand the workings of life after having your first baby. Just relax, everything falls into place, and if you make the most of your family time and work time, your business can bounce back stronger than ever.

You can find Sally at Sally's Baking Addiction or on Instagram (@sallysbakeblog).

Woman holding her kid with a broad smile.

I love being a mom way more than I even expected and so getting to be with her during the day or taking time away from work to feed her is cherished time for me. Motherhood definitely softened me in a new way.

Name: Jenna Kutcher

Business: Podcaster, educator, influencer — basically I inspired people online to chase their biggest goals and pursue a life that's filled with passion and presence.

Baby: We had two miscarriages in two years and were then blessed with our baby girl, Conley Kate who is almost 5 months old.

Maternity Leave: It was amazing - the lead up, not so much! It was a ton of work to prepare content for three months of down time. The truth was though, while I didn't HAVE to work, I did find that logging in an hour here and there was fun for me and helpful as I transitioned into motherhood. I wasn't sure what I would want and it turns out a mix of motherhood and then work felt best for me. I am thankful I prepared so well that nothing HAD to be done, but that I could login and check in with my team and tinker away at ideas while still being a present mama.

Schedule Now: To be honest, we're still figuring it out. Drew is a stay-at-home-dad and is so helpful but it's still hard to get focused work done when we're all home together. My mom comes over one day a week so we can both get out of the house and run errands and get work done, but right now I am just working in 2-hour time chunks between feedings and trying to figure out what will be most conducive to running my business and not feeling split between entrepreneurship and motherhood. The balancing act is tough and so we're exploring a few different options whether it be getting an office space, building a she shed in the backyard, or creating a better schedule for work!

Biggest Challenge: I love my time in the mornings with Conley, it's my favorite. Drew loves to workout, so he usually goes to the gym in the morning and I have a few hours with her to read, feed, go on walks. She usually takes her first nap and that's when I start working but I hate when I could be snuggling her and have to choose work. I always feel like I'm half in on both business and motherhood and yearning for full presence in both aspects of my life.

Biggest Surprise: How much I love being a mom... seriously. I wasn't sure if I would feel held back or selfish, I worried what having a baby would do to my drive and it's safe to say I am more driven than ever but more relaxed and mindful. I've learned to go with the flow, to do what I can, to focus when I sit down to work, and then to shut down for family. I love being a mom way more than I even expected and so getting to be with her during the day or taking time away from work to feed her is cherished time for me. Motherhood definitely softened me in a new way.

Advice to Yourself: Honor the slow down, honor the desire to work, honor each step of this uncharted territory and feel the growing pains and allow them to truly represent the growth you're experiencing in this season!

You can find Jenna at or on Instagram (@jennakutcher).

A smiling woman holds a baby girl.

Working for myself and continuing to do what I love has made me a better mom.

Name: Jessica Merchant

Business: Entrepreneur, food blogger and author

Babies: Max (4 years old) and Emilia (17 months)

Maternity Leave: With both babies, I created enough content ahead of time to have blog posts for 10 to 12 weeks. I still actively worked on my blog from the computer (and loved having something to do!), but had all recipe development, photography, styling, photo editing, etc. done ahead of time.

Schedule Now: I have childcare 2 full days per week. I could probably use more, but I don't want to miss out on the fun moments with my kids - the ones that I remember my mom being present for when I was young!

Biggest Challenge: I wish I could do both, all the time, at 100%. I love being a mom even more than I thought that I would. I also love my career that I didn't expect or anticipate creating! It's tricky to feel like I'm giving both things I love enough attention.

Biggest Surprise: Working for myself and continuing to do what I love has made me a better mom. I never expected to have a job that allowed me to spend so much time with my kids and I am so insanely grateful.

Advice to Yourself: I give this advice to myself frequently: I am doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing and will always remember and treasure these moments that I get to spend with my kids. Comparing myself to others on social media totally steals that joy!

You can find Jessica at or on Instagram (@howsweeteats) and Facebook.

A blond woman named Nora, standing with a half smile with a wearing a black top and red lipstick.

Photo credit: Brandon Werth

Watching two people I loved dearly die without realizing their full potential really lit a fire in me to contribute something important to this world. I’ll teach the kids that part of life.

Name: Nora McInerny

Business: I’m a writer, host of the award-winning Terrible, Thanks for Asking podcast, and founder of the non-profit Still Kickin.

Babies: We have 4 children ranging in age from 2-17 years old, in a messy, blended family full of love and noise.

Maternity Leave: Almost nonexistent. With my last baby, I had recently written my first book and got a podcast deal. I hid my pregnancy (probably not that well) until I called my producer one day and told him I just had a baby and I would be back to work 3 days later. That’s how afraid I was and how eager I was to prove I could do this work. I’m not recommending it as a strategy and I think lots of women share this fear. Honestly, I never wanted to stay home with kids, but I do hope to make enough money that my husband can work less or be the stay-at-home parent.

Schedule Now: My husband handles most of it, but at one point we had two little kids in daycare and wow that is like another mortgage expensive! I also have two amazing mother-in-laws who are very good at showing up for the whole family. I travel a lot and trust that my children will see that while I was not a parent who made every talent show and soccer game, I was a parent who helped finance their college funds. I want to model how to be ambitious and show them what it looks like to pursue creative dreams. Watching two people I loved dearly die without realizing their full potential really lit a fire in me to contribute something important to this world. I’ll teach the kids that part of life.

Biggest Challenge: Feeling needed in every corner of my life and like I’m not doing any one thing particularly well.

Biggest Surprise: How little guilt I feel about loving my work. Sometimes I feel guilty for not feeling guilty which is a fun little gift courtesy of the patriarchy.

Advice to Yourself: Slow down enough to actually enjoy your accomplishments. Let them sink in more. Don’t make work that makes everyone happy. If you’ve made everyone happy, you’re doing it wrong.

You can find Nora on Instagram (@noraborealis), hosting the award-winning Terrible, Thanks for Asking podcast, and at the non-profit Still Kickin.

A smiling couple holding a girl and and infant who is yawing.

Photo credit: Paisley Ann Photography

It took my third baby to realize it is okay to slow down. I'm measuring my success a little differently these days and it's made me a whole lot happier!

Name: Patti Wagner

Business: Rental Property Owner + Content Creator + Product Designer at Target

Babies: Ava (5), Livy (2), and Jack (4 months)

Maternity Leave: I took 16 weeks off vs. the 12 weeks with my first two and learned to truly enjoy this “time off.” That meant putting projects on hold and only doing a few partnerships on my social media platform that I felt were manageable. But for the most part, I truly wanted to savor this time because I learned from my first two how quickly it flies by.

Schedule Now: My husband and I both have a salaried full time job working Monday - Friday so our littles are at a neighborhood daycare center. Anything related to our rental properties or my social media, we work on in the evenings or weekends when the kids are in bed. We really value the time with them and make an effort to not be on our phones and laptops when they're present.

Biggest Challenge: There's not enough time in the day! My kids are my first priority so I find myself working late into the night trying to finish a deadline for work after they are in bed. People often don't see that back side when they see someone’s success story. It takes dedication + hard work + late nights and it’s important that my audience see that I’m a human being behind the content that I create, so there is genuine appreciation for it.

Biggest Surprise: I'm kind of a workaholic and have been delightfully surprised that it took my third baby to realize it is okay to slow down. I'm measuring my success a little differently these days and it's made me a whole lot happier!

Advice to Yourself: My best advice to myself and others is value your time. I want to be smarter with how I work while feeling like I've been the best mom that I could be at the end of each night.

You can find Patti on Instagram (@patticakewagner).

A man and a woman together with a baby and a dog.

Time is so much more precious these days and my working hours have to be SO MUCH MORE productive than ever before.

Name: Kate Kordsmeier

Business: I'm the founder and CEO of Root + Revel, a food and wellness blog empowering people to live a more non-toxic life with real food, natural + holistic wellness advice.

Baby: I had my first child, Jackson Owen, on September 18, 2018. I also have 3 fur babies - 2 cats (Scout and Boo) and a wild and crazy Border Collie named Finch. Yes, like the book. 😉

Maternity Leave: My husband took 4 weeks off (I took 3.5 months “off”) and it was the first time in our entire lives that we had nothing to do but just be; be present, be with our new baby, be with each other. We definitely got lucky and our little Jackie is basically a perfect angel baby who eats and sleeps really well and has a generally very happy and content disposition, but breastfeeding was super hard for me, and as a business owner, it was difficult to completely check out while still keeping the business running. it took A LOT of pre-planning and getting posts and emails done in advance; and my assistant worked part-time while I was on leave. Without her, I would've been very, er, screwed.

Schedule Now: I am so fortunate in that we found an amazing holistic daycare a mile from our house where Jackson goes 3 days per week. Then on Thursdays, my mom comes down for the day and essentially is my nanny and housekeeper (I totally hit the Mom jackpot with her!) so I can get some more work done. And on Fridays, I'm home with Jackson and it's our day together.

Biggest Challenge: Time is so much more precious these days and my working hours have to be SO MUCH MORE productive than ever before because there isn't time for me to waste on social media or online shopping or reading all the blogs like there used to be. My first 3 months back to work were really hard. I just felt spread so thin and like I was never going to catch up, let alone get ahead. But with lots of therapy and yoga and support from my husband, I've learned how to give myself a bit more grace, and slow down my schedule/shorten my to do list so that I'm actually able to enjoy my life and my business.

Biggest Surprise: The fact that nobody really knows what they're doing - social media can lead you to believe that everyone else has it figured out, that they've mastered the work-life-mom balance. The more I talked with other moms, the more I realized that nobody is putting away their laundry the day it's done, nobody feels confident in their post-baby body, everyone second guesses themselves and deals with guilt and overwhelm.

Advice to Yourself: I wish I'd eased back into work a bit more. I came back in January full-force and burnt myself out really quickly. Learning to take time for myself to exercise, meet friends/colleagues for lunch, go for a walk and just take breaks during the day was so important - at first, I felt like because Jackson was in childcare, I had to use every free moment I had to work. But that's no way to live and everything suffered when I approached it that way.

You can find Kate at Root + Revel and on Instagram (@rootandrevel). Kate has written more about her maternity leave business wise here, and the fourth trimester here.

A man, woman, and child in a kitchen with their dog.

I’ve embraced more of my intuition and my spiritual side and that’s led me to have more space for everything. What seemed to be overwhelming is now something I can (mostly) embrace.

Name: Saukok Tiampo

Business: I own SeeFood Media with my husband, we make videos and take pictures of food, with some healthy living and lifestyle videos in the mix too.

Baby: My little man T is 3 years old.

Maternity Leave: I took three full months for maternity leave (my dear husband picked up my duties while I was out). After 3 months I slowly dipped my toe back in part-time, doing some easy shoots, going in the office a few hours a day, and gradually ramping back to full-time. It wasn’t until about one year out when I was done breastfeeding that I fully got back in the swing of things.

Schedule Now: I have a full-time nanny who’s here Monday to Friday. This is when I work, do yoga, breathwork, see my friends, go to the doctor. I usually pop into work around 10ish and head up home at 6ish. Nights and weekends are baby time – nothing messes with my baby time.

Biggest Challenge: I was really walloped by how much having a baby changed me. My relationship with myself, my body, my husband, my work. For two years, it was incredibly difficult. I struggled, and my relationship with my husband really suffered. When things were at their toughest, I took a week off to go on a retreat where I really looked inward and made some deep changes in how I see life. That time really changed me.

Biggest Surprise: How much my child teaches me. He is always present, always open, he knows what he needs. I want to be just like that. I’ve embraced more of my intuition and my spiritual side and that’s led me to have more space for everything. What seemed to be overwhelming is now something I can (mostly) embrace.

Advice to Yourself: I am not what happens to me, I am what I choose to become. And another good one from Eckhart Tollet (who has a great IG): “Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no real purpose.”

You can find Saukok at or on Instagram (@saukok).

And now, it's your turn. I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and experiences.

Are you an entrepreneur? Blogger? Creative? Business owner? What has it been like for you to merge both of these big loves of your life?

Or are you a mom who has a regular day job? What is good and bad and hard and awesome about your experience?

Or what has it been like for you to choose to be with your babies full-time? Fun fact: my mom was a stay-at-homer and I always thought I would do the same! I ended up in a strangely different place, which one of those “surprise! this is your life!” moments, but I have Level 10 love and respect for both working and stay-at-home moms.

One last thought: there is an often invisible group of people whose hearts hurt when things turn to Mom Talk, and I know this because I was in that group after we lost our son Afton in 2017. If that is you right now, I just want you to know that we see you, we love you, and we hold space for you. ♡

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Wow this is so inspiring, motivating and comforting all at the same time. I am recently (left my 9-5 job to be more present for me kids ,both boys are 3 and 6) a full-time blogger and nutrition consultant. It’ s nice to see how other mom’s juggle everything.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo


      So happy to hear that you turned your side hustle into your full time gig and left your cushy day job. I’m glad to connect with you & Lindsay because we all have like-minds and absolutely LOVE the side hustle. Hang in there any because soon enough, you’ll achieve “side hustle millionaire” status with your affiliate marketing and blogging work from home gig. 🙂

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    I loved reading all of these and the different careers all the women have and what their schedules look like. Thanks for this!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    What a beautiful post!! I have an almost-6-month-old and work a salaried full-time job out of the home. I took 11 weeks of maternity leave and truly was ready to start work again. Things were all grand until we hit the 4-month sleep regression (that I think we are JUST NOW getting out of – yay) and I was trying to juggle work and taking care of a baby while also not sleeping. It was a rough couple of months and some days I felt like a shell of myself at my work. I hope/think that maybe we’re getting more into a groove now. Thank you for sharing this!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    I absolutely LOVED reading these stories. I work full time in a traditional office job, and my husband works full time as an electrician. My 2 kids go to full-time daycare M-F. I can so relate to what Melissa said about telling my kids “I miss you” when I see them at the end of the day. Kid time is PRECIOUS to me, and I just love being around them. Saturdays are my happy day 🙂

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am so grateful for this post! I just came back to work last week after a 4 1/2 month maternity leave and I am struggling to find balance. My heart feels like it’s being ripped from my chest, feels so unnatural to be without him, yet I want to work! It’s such a relief to hear from all of these working mothers. Thank you so much for putting this together!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I know there will be a gazillion comments on this awesome post (thanks Lindsay!), so I just want to especially thank Jenna for this comment that spoke to me: “Honor the desire to work” — maybe I need to stop feeling guilty that I LIKE working and just honor that part of me that is driven to succeed?!


  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Just a regular old day jobber Mom here.

    Maternity leave was… well… HR told me I was “lucky” because I had a c-section and “got” to have 10 weeks instead of their standard 8. I got an unexpected extension because I had to have my gallbladder removed 7 weeks postpartum and the doc extended my leave to recover. I will say that my employer was amazing about having a space to pump and I took full advantage of that and was able to pump for 9 months, at which point I wasn’t producing enough to make a full feeding and we switched over to formula (but my kiddo nursed at home and on the weekends until just before turning 2).

    I have always known that being a stay at home parent is NOT my calling. Staying home with your kids is a 24x7x365 job that you have to be called to do, and the ones who are called to do it are absolutely amazing. I guess my biggest struggle is the mom-judgement and the “how can you go to work every day and let someone else raise your child” comments.

    We were fortunate to find a magical woman who did our daycare for 5 years. She’s creative and smart and caring, and has taken special classes in how to be amazing at teaching little minds the little developmental things that I just don’t have the skills to do. My child got the benefit of that knowledge and experience. I cried more when our magical daycare lady left the biz than the day I dropped my baby off in her totally capable hands for the first time. No lie.

    I do struggle balancing work and home sometimes. I see the disappointment in my kiddo’s eyes when I tell her that I can’t attend a program at school because I have a meeting I can’t move. However, when I CAN make it to things, it is all the more special. Much like one of your featured writers, I get to pick my daughter up from her after school program and genuinely tell her that I missed her and soak up everything she has to tell me about her day. It is our bonding time, and I love it. And I am a better Mom for having a little separation in my life. I get to indulge my creative and professional needs every day at work. And I get to indulge my parent needs every day when I go home. I’m biased, but I think I’ve got a pretty good gig going on. It isn’t always easy, but dang is it worth it.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    At least the good news is….you don’t have to get up in the morning and go to a day job anymore! 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Look up Brene Browns video on empathy- “at least” is one of the least empathetic things we can say.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    My kiddo is 14 months and I teach high school part time. My mom watches my son 7:45-12:30 every day, which lets me work 8:15-12:15. I feel really lucky and grateful to both my school and my mom for making this setup possible for me. It has been ideal!!

    I’m due with my second in September, and
    for a handful of reasons I’ll be staying home full time for the coming school year and I’m TERRIFIED. I really feel like working (a little bit) has made me such a better mom, and I’m worried that I will be miserable/exhausted/overwhelmed being home all day. So if you are a mom who has made the transition to being home full time I would love to hear what worked for you to make it a good transition!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I was also a teacher before I decided to stay at home full time. I was so nervous to stay home, but something in my heart really pulled me in that direction. In the beginning I felt lonely and isolated. So what helped me was to find a community. I joined a local mom group, I take my kids to the library story hour, and I drag them with me to the gym. I’ve met amazing moms that get what I’m going through and that’s made all the difference.

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      Lindsay I really enjoy your recipes and your posts! A friend directed me to your site when a mutual friend lost her son, and we were trying to learn how to support her. I want to offer a bit of a long view here. My kiddos are older now (12 and 8) and I have worked FT (wth the exception of maternity leave) throughout their entire lives, while they were in wonderful, expensive, full-time daycares. There were times when it was super hard (constant ear infections!) but I never considered quitting because I love my job outside the home. Fast forward from their babyhoods to now: my husband was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer last fall. It never occurred to me, until that moment, how fortunate it is for our family that I did not sacrifice my career advancement and earning potential while my kids were younger. My advice (aside from not feeling guilty about working if you want to, even if its just to be able to pee without a toddler in tow): If you are going to move to a single earner household, make darn sure you have adequate life insurance coverage on the main earner (and not just coverage that is linked to a job). Also think about what your health care coverage would look like in the event the person who carries the coverage is unable to work due to illness or other unforeseen circumstances.

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      I appreciate your reflections! Going from a vocation outside the home, I did wonder if life would feel like one big non-scheduled blur for me, and that was overwhelming 🙂 I now stay home full-time and I’ve actually found a lot of freedom and creativity in it – its also grown me in my scheduling and prioritizing, not necessarily something I’m natural at 🙂 Its been a learning curve…and I’m amazed at the many women who have done this for years across cultures and generations. Homemaking and mothering really takes both strategy, and cultivation, as you already know! It seems like too often, in its full time form, its portrayed as sans-brain, but I’ve actually found it to be the opposite 🙂 I hope you can find rhythms and joy both in your new endeavor – its a worthwhile pursuit!

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    I really love this post! I’m 4 months post partum with my second and it’s been a rough ride. I quit my job both times to be with my be baby and I don’t think that was the right choice for me personally. But at the same time I struggle with the idea of being away from my tiny little baby who needs me so badly. I’m working on it. 😀 It’s really refreshing to see ALL these different perspectives. This quote especially resonated with me: “It’s really good to get the chance to miss someone you love a whole lot.” I’ve been struggling being with my 4 year old so much. Two days a week he goes to a Mother’s Day Out and pick up is basically the best time of the day with him, which feels terrible, so I’m glad I’m not alone!

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    Interesting perspectives 🙂 Have you read Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist? The title says it all. Well wishes to you as you find your new rhythms – my kids think I’m the best cook because of you. Xo

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    I have 3 kids, ages 4, 2, and 6 months. I worked full time outside the home and had a nanny for my oldest until he was about 20 months, then started my food blog when my second was 6 months old. I have no childcare for my 3 kids now, and the days are long and busy but I’m so happy doing both! My blog is still in the “hobby” stage, if I was making a salary from it I think I would feel differently about childcare. But for now what I’m doing works!

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    Wow, this post was really insightful and I thinks it’s so helpful for moms to know they aren’t alone in the challenges/struggles/overwhelm/awesomeness that is motherhood. I have a 4-yr- old and a 17-month old and I have definitely dealt with my share of anxiety and depression at times mostly when I feel like I can’t take care of everyone’s needs at once.

    I started my food blog 4 years ago and it’s been an enormous challenge trying to learn everything from scratch within the small amounts of free time I had (couldn’t have done it without Food Blogger Pro). But this month I’m launching a photography backdrop business! It’s overwhelming to think about, however, I’ve become so used to things never going as expected that I’ve learned to really manage my expectations, especially when it comes to timelines. I’ve realized this is a season in my life that I should really cherish, and at the same time realize that I need to ask for help. I thank good for my mom and in laws who are so present and excited to be with their grandchildren. My husband and I couldn’t do it without them!

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    Loved this post! So interesting to hear all the different perspectives. I am a physician who works 70 hour weeks … but I “only” work 2 weeks a month! So I like to think those two really heavy weeks pretty much equal a regular full time job. My daughter is 3. She currently goes to daycare M-F, and I send her on my off weeks too, since we have to pay for it anyways; and I just don’t enjoy staying home with her multiple days in a row (call me terrible but … it’s the truth). The most stressful part of being a working Mom for me, is that I can not leave my job for any reason whatsoever (for obvious reasons…peoples lives are in my hands). So if she’s sick, or hurt, I can’t go to her. Which feels so wrong. I really struggle with it. My husband also struggles with it, as he grew up with a stay at home Mom; so the idea that he’s the primary person on call for her has been the source of some struggles for us. So basically, I have no idea what I’m doing and I’m constantly thinking abotu ways to make our situation better or less stressful. I can’t even fathom adding more kids to the mix because I feel like I don’t have it figured out yet with just one!! Hopefully I’m not the only working mama who is a giant mess.

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      Andrea, thank you for sharing this! You are AMAZING and I can’t imagine working 70 hours with little kids, two weeks a month or not. Having a service-to-others job can be so tough, but think about what you and your spouse are showing your child! Men can be the go-to comforter, women can save lives and still be amazing parents at the same time. Cheers to you!

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    This is a fantastic post!

    I’m a full time stay-at-home mom and have been since my first child was born. (I have a 4.5 year old, almost 2 year old and baby due late September.) I absolutely love staying at home with my kids, but it’s a much harder job than I thought it would be.

    I actually started blogging as a creative outlet since becoming a stay-at-home mom. Recently, I’ve become more serious about blogging but it’s incredibly hard to find the time to grow my small business with 2 (almost 3) young ones. But, I just take things day by day and do what I can when I do have the time. I figure there’s always time in the future to grow 🙂

    Thanks again for this wonderful post!

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    Thank you so much for this post! I’m all over this! I love reading how other creative business owning moms make it work.

    I am a food blogger, ghostwriter, and health and wellness writer along being an essayist. My daughter is 4, my living son is 5 months. With my sons, I was sending client invoices the day after their birth. I continued client work for my steady clients without ever telling them I was expecting. I never mentioned my other son’s death either. I did however take almost 3 months off from my blog and longer off from pitching publications. I just started consistently blogging again about a month ago and have only just started pitching publications essays. My 4yo is in preschool 6 hours per week and goes to my in laws once a week. I work a lot of late nights and early mornings to try not to interfere with family time. But balancing it all is hugely challenging. However I wouldn’t trade being able to work from home and spend so much time with my kids for anything. I do sometimes fantasize about throwing my phone and computer out of the window though l.

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    I’m a parent of three teenage daughters, and the delight of being with them doesn’t diminish as they get older. It does happen less frequently. Of course, they are in school all day and have lots of activities, but I was lucky to work in a school setting for a few years and really enjoyed the after school hours before dinner to meet the firends they invited to the house, or drive them somewhere (lots of conversations happen in the car). I still miss them when I’m at work (I have regular 9-5 job now). For more eloquent writing about teens, read “Dinner a Love Story” blog and the beautiful Catherine Newman on “Ben and Birdy.:” Love the baby stage, and all stages.

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    Oh my gosh Lindsay this post was amazing and something every working mama needs to read. I so identified with Nora here, in that I love working outside of the home (most of the time anyway!) and then feel bad that I don’t feel guiltier. My current struggle is wanting to spend all my home time with babe while also trying to clean/cook/wash bottles/toss in laundry/etc. I feel guilty not giving her 100% of my attention. On the other hand, when else will that stuff get done?! Thank you for showing that there is no such thing as balance and we’re all doing the best we can!

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    Not a mom, but just wanted to say I love this post and I love all the ladies you featured!

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    Thank you for that inspiring post, Lindsay!
    I am a mother of a four year old child, employed full time and also a food blogger. It is not easy to handle the three things at the same time but I have created some kind of routine with the years. I work on my blog during weekends, after my son falls asleep, even during holidays. I try to spend enough time with my son and keep a healthy balance between work – blog and family. It is very, very hard. I suppose it would be easier if I only had the blog but at this point it still doesn’t pay the bills. Hopefully some day I will get there 🙂

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    Thank you for this post. I think there needs to be more of these conversations about working and being a mom/parent. I love being a mom (so much!), but I also love my career. I am truly grateful that in Canada we have the option of taking an 18-month maternity leave. I felt a lot of guilt returning to work after my maternity leave, and like so many of you have said, it was overwhelming trying to balance being a mom and working. I’ve definitely learned to take things in stride. Family time is family time. Work time is work time.

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    Wow…The timing of this post couldn’t be more perfect! My husband and I are trying to start a family, AND I’m in the process of pivoting from full-time employment for “the man” to launching my own creative business. I’ve had a LOT of questions and fears about what it might look like to combine parenthood with self-employment…Wondering how in the heck people “make it work.” Thank you, and all the contributors, for sharing your experiences and words of wisdom!

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    What a great post! Good job taking a maternity leave. Our culture doesn’t support moms well. My path to current involved first being briefly part-time after my first was born (and surprisingly being jealous that my husband’s limited time and funny/goofiness made him the “special” one).

    I went pretty quickly back to fulltime+, and my hours can be anytime 24/7. I’ve felt like this gives me extra time with the kids, but no time to myself. My husband became the at-home guy, which helped with my work sadness. Something that surprised me: How often I would be called Daddy! It’s the kids’ knee-jerk call-a-parent saying, and I respond without batting an eye.

    In just over a year, my third will be in kindergarten and my random Tues off will be by myself. I used to feel sad about that, but I’m starting to look forward it. I could use some downtime. But now I’m starting a blog (creative outlet? early mid-life crisis?) about getting my kids outdoors, and I’m nervous it will take all my time vs be a satisfying and circumscribed project.