PDP Exclusives by Rebecca

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Strategies to cope with being a "Work from Home Mom"

Who better to dive into this realm of insanity then Brooke, Union Riveter, owner of successful DIY shop Brooke van Gory Designs, and mom to a toddler and a pre-teen?

I am going to preface this post by saying,  there is really NO easy way to be a WAHM. None. If I knew what was eventually going to be involved, I would have chosen a different path. This is the hardest job I have EVER had, and I do it while scrambling to help with alphabet songs, removing toys from the toilet, and working on school papers. It can be done, but you have to have a method to your madness.  Juggling both a family, kids, and a full time (and then some) business calls for strategic planning, and organization.

The first step in being a WAHM mom is to become organized, and plan a schedule. This not only helps with your business in general, but it also helps with the kids. Children thrive on a schedule, and if their schedule is in any way switched, things can become a bit hairy. Now, this was a bit easier when my toddler was a bit younger, and would take a nap. He has not done that since he was one, though, so I will tell you how I schedule my days around working and being a mom. Each week has specific "days" where there is a theme. This is how I worked my weekly schedule:
Monday: Library day
Tuesday: Science Day
Wednesday: Numbers and Letters
Thursday: Colors and Shapes
Friday: Fun free Day

Then Saturdays and Sundays, the kids get to have fun with dad, so he usually does one special thing with them, so I can pull two (usually just one) days of extra work. Now, all of these "themes" usually are only for the toddler, but my 11 year old jumps in when he gets home from school.  So for science day, for example, we will cook breakfast together, and talk about measurements. We usually do a science "experiment" like baking soda/vinegar volcanoes, water beads, ect. On the letters and numbers day, I usually run errands and do grocery shopping, so we have a "number and letter of the day" and look for those at the different stores we go it.

So how about hour-to-hour you say? Here is a typical day for me. Let's just say it is "Numbers and letters day"
6am: Wake up, and kids get dressed and eat while I check e-mails from the night before, and get packages in the car to drop at the PO. We pick a letter and number of the day.
7am: Drop oldest at school, drop BVG packages at the PO, and come back home.
8am: re-check e-mails, take product pictures, and place flash cards on floor in a pattern, and find the number and letter of the day. We do a LOT of counting, and alphabet reciting, and spelling. All while I am answering e-mails.You need to multi-task here. And sometimes the kids love to "help". That usually turns into something like this!
9:30: Pack up and head to the errands. I like to bring flashcards with me, and an etch-a-sketch. We toss all the flashcards into a small tote, and fish one out at a time. For each one, I will write it on the etch a sketch, and there will be a "hunt" for it as we go from errand to errand. Once he finds the letter or number, we just pick another one. This is awesome for grocery shopping, and for the fabric store, where there is usually a really long wait for the cutting counter.
12:00:Back home for lunch. I usually eat lunch while updating the fanpage, and do fabric searches while eating. Again, you need to multi-task.
2:00 pick up oldest from school. When we get home, we all sit at the kitchen table, oldest goes over his homework, I usually will cut orders, and toddler will color in his coloring books. This is also an awesome time to bust out the "dump buckets". I fill buckets full of small items (pom poms, large wooden beads, foam letters, ect) and let him dump and sort them. This is awesome for counting, sorting, and fine motor skills.
4:30: Both kids help me make dinner, and we incorporate measurements, and following directions. My almost 3 year old can make a mean mac and cheese. ;)

5:00: Dinner
Then usually for the rest of the night, I sew, while the kids watch a movie with dad, or play outside.
Now, When I say "for the rest of the night, I sew" I really mean that. I usually am sewing until 2am or later. 7 days a week. This allows for me to do "fun" things during the day with the kids, and I am able to keep up with the high volume of orders I get.
Some awesome resources for some amazing activities to get the kids into while you are at home with them (if you are working or not) can be found in a variety of places. Play at Home Mom is AMAZING for sensory activities, Color me Katie always has some really cool stuff going on over there, and my newest favorite, A Magical Childhood.

The main goal here to remember, is that you are allowing yourself to stay at home with your kids, while making a living. This means sometimes will mean that your 2 year old is in the bathtub with green jello for an hour while you sew in the hallway, or you take your smartphone with you to do a fabric search from the park. This is what we CHOOSE to do, so we have to have a plan of attack.

Now if you will please excuse me, I have customer e-mails to answer, and paper snowballs to throw! :D

Brooke is the owner and seamstress at Brooke Van Gory Designs. She lives in The Chicago suburbs with her two kiddos, and her rock star husband! You can shop BVG here, and follow her on Google+ here.


  1. Wow... I just feel tired only by reading it!!

  2. Brooke you have an awesome and well thought out plan of attack. I get the bulk of my work done during the day while my 5y is at school and on the weekends. One of the things I struggle most with being a "WAHM" is giving myself time to relax. It's hard to walk by my home studio knowing there is fabric to cut or orders to fill- I mean literally there is something that can be done 24 hours a day! I think you're right, there is no easy way to be a WAHM- but i it's great to be able to drop your scissors and have a silly dance contest or snuggle whenever you want to!

    oh... and I love Color Me Katie. awesome blog suggestions- thank you for sharing!

  3. It really is great. I think the biggest downer for me is honestly, those people that tell me "Oh, you must have it REALLY easy, because you don't have a 'real job' " It makes me want to SCREAM!!! LOL!

  4. Oh gee... I'd go nuts with working as much as you do from home. But you might go nuts with 7 kids, which by the way, I am going nuts with them all. If I stayed up til 2 I'd be a wreck! awesome job mama!