Oh JoyOh Joy

how to (not) do it all with two kids...

Oh Joy Family

Throughout the course of my 4 short years as a parent, I have shared a few posts here and there with you about the struggles of being a working parent, feeling guiltyjuggling it all, and how I attempt to keep it all going. "How do you handle the work/life balance?" or "How do you do it all?" is probably the number one question that I get asked when I speak at conferences or when I get to chat with Oh Joy readers in real life. After the birth of both of my kids, I experienced a very long string of guilt as I eased my new baby into my life and eased myself back into work and attempted to figure out how all those pieces would come together. The short answer to those questions is that I don't "do it all", and it's taken me until recently to really be okay with that...

Oh Joy Family

I cried a lot in the first year of having both kids. With Ruby, I had a more gradual transition as I worked from home and by myself at that time. With no office rent to worry about, no employees to have to pay and manage, I was able to work part-time for about a year and work around her schedule and my part-time childcare. But with Coco, I was much busier with work by the time she came around three years later. I didn't have the luxury of being able to ease back into work...I really just didn't get much of a break at all. I worried that people would judge me at my lack of maternity leave or that I wouldn't get to bond with Coco the way I did with Ruby. But you know what...it all worked out somehow. Coco isn't any less happy of a child. She has parents and a sister who adore her, and she has a mom who does her best to run a business while being there for her family.

Oh Joy in the studio

I rearranged my priorities. My husband reminded me how I don't have to do everything and how he is there as my partner, too. As women, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to take on everything.

In my dream world, these are the things that I want to be able do...

- I want to be at every one of my kid's events and play dates and see every milestone they experience.

- I want to keep my work at work and have time to decompress in the evenings without bringing work home.

- I want to remember all my friends birthdays and send them a card or gift in advance.

- I want to be able to design, write, craft, and style everything you see on this blog, in stores, and on social media.

- I want to one of those women who whips up a homemade meal every night and have my kids can say their mom is the best cook ever.

- I want to have a ton of date nights with my husband and reconnect as a couple and not just as parents who are just trying to keep our kids safe and happy.

Oh Joy Family

But the reality of it is that...

- I go to as many of my kid's events and play dates as I can and do my best to rearrange my work schedule around it. And when I can't make it, yes, I feel sad but I also remind myself that is just one things of the thousands events and moments I will be at in their lifetime.

- I end up working most evenings after my kids go to bed. Because I choose to leave work at 3:45pm to pick up Ruby from school, I usually don't get all my work done by the end of my "work day" and I end up on my computer from 7-10pm most evenings after the kids are in bed. It doesn't give me a lot of free time for myself during the week, but it allows me to spend a good chunk of time with my kids before they go to bed.

- I usually don't forget birthdays (thanks Facebook) but I have been really bad at sending cards or gifts to friends that live far away. I set reminders on my phone for my really close friends and I make sure I let them know with a phone call or a text. It's not ideal but I do my best connect with them on their special day however I can to remind them that I care.

- I wish I could design every pattern, take every photo, or style every shot for Oh Joy that you see, but I can't. I would not be able to do half the things that I do without help and without my team. Learning to ask for help and trusting others changed my life as a working mom.

-I rarely make dinner totally from scratch anymore. By the time I get home from work, I have one hour before it's time to eat dinner. Rather then rushing into the kitchen and not hanging with my kids, I'd rather make something semi-homemade if that will allow me to spend less time cooking and more time playing, laughing, and enjoying time with my family. My kids will not come home from college asking for my famous pot roast because I don't make a famous pot roast. But they will remember the cool crafts we did together and the fun things they got to learn from all the entrepreneurial women in their lives.

-One of my goals for this year is to do a better job connecting with my husband. Last year was crazy with work for both of us and we didn't go on as many date nights. Or, I often dive right into work right after the kids go to bed which doesn't give us anytime to catch up or just chat. I have gotten better about it but still need to give my marriage more of a priority. 

So what I am saying is to please know that you should not do it all...because you can't, and no one can. You should do the things that are most important to you. Place priority on the things and the people that you love most. And let everything else come second. At the end of the day, I think back on what happened and if I can say that my family loves me, that I am happy at my job, and that I did my best to make a difference in the world in the way that I know how, then I can feel like I had a good day.

P.S. I am working on a blog post about my typical day to break down how a day really goes for me with both work/life and a bit more detail about how I've changed my work schedule to accommodate my kids' schedule...more on that soon!

{Photos by Casey Brodley & Bob Cho}