Thursday: Week in the Life Balancing Baby and Business

4:45 am: Maple wakes up to eat, and I scoop her into bed to nurse her, still mostly asleep.  Suddenly she vomits all over us.  I get both of us cleaned up and changed and then email my playgroup to let them know we won’t be attending today – just in case she’s sick and contagious. It’s too bad, because Maple is just starting to really be interested in the other babies.

6:15 am:  Maple and I drive Ryan to work, then take the car to the shop.  We’re a one-car family now, which takes a little planning but is a great way to save money.  And when we get the estimate for work on the Volvo today, it’s enough to make me never want to buy a car again.

8 am:  Home from the shop with a loaner car!  Maple and I have breakfast outside while we play fetch with Amber.

WITL Thursday Fetch Amber the Poodle

9 am:  Maple takes her nap, and I work on some issues with my website.

10:15 am:  Maple is awake, so I let her supervise as I fold diaper laundry.

WITL Thursday Maple Folding Laundry

Most weeks (except this one, apparently) I can let her play independently on the floor while I get some more work done.  But this week she seems fussy if I try to let her play alone.  So, we have a little early lunch instead.

12 pm:  I get her into the crib for another nap, and I make another cup of coffee.  I’m feeling frustrated with how my week is going, so I give myself a time out with Architecture Digest.

WITL Thursday Coffee Break Architecture Digest

I feel guilty if I take time to relax when Maple is sleeping, because it’s the only true work time I have.  It’s easy to feel like you should always be working when your office is in your home.

12:45 pm:  Maple is up again, so I feed her and play with her a little and I’m planning to set her up on a playmat downstairs so I can sew, but I’m so sleepy I can’t keep my eyes open . .and I know Maple needs to nap more . . .

I get into bed with Maple beside me and we snooze.

2:30 pm: We drive to pick up Ryan from work and then get the car from the shop.  This takes forever because of traffic.  By 3 pm rush hour has started in the DC suburbs.

6 pm: Finally home, I throw the linens in the laundry and wear Maple in my wrap as I prep dinner, since she’s so fussy and won’t nap.  WITL Thursday Wearing Maple Dinner Prep

9 pm: After Maple is asleep I end up at my desk downstairs, trying to edit some product photos.

But at 11 pm I notice a pattern . . . many evenings my brain and body are tired, and when I try to work I don’t focus, and end up “wasting” the night, essentially. I go to bed thinking about how I can use this info to better plan my days.

Wednesday: Week in the Life Balancing Baby and Business

6:45 am Maple wakes up early . . .  I regret going to sleep after midnight last night. . .

7:30 am: We’re in the kitchen and I’m trying to make my breakfast.  Maple’s fussy, and I end up burning my oil three times before I can get the eggs into the pan.

8 am: I realize the source of crankiness is probably sleepiness.  Sure enough, when I put Maple in her crib (an hour before schedule) she falls asleep the second her head hits the mattress.  She always pulls her tag blanket over her face to fall asleep – but don’t worry, I always move it away once she’s really out.

2015 WITL Wednesday Sleeping
I finally manage to cook my breakfast and make coffee, and enjoy it while looking at Christmas fabrics online.

9 am: I test out a more efficient way of sewing an old product, and it works!  My fabric-embellished flour sack towels have always been popular at shows and around the holidays, so I run the numbers for pricing.  Their lower price point complements my higher priced items when I do shows.2015 WITL Wednesday Flour Sack Towel

10 am:   A very happy baby is awake! I try to feed her but she keeps pushing me away and then grabbing for me again.  Eventually I give up and we play on the floor, where I discover my silly noises are the world’s best entertainment.

I put a waterproof mat on the floor of her room and give her “naked time” (no diaper) while I shower.  Maple loves it, and we do it regularly to prevent diaper rash.  So far it’s worked.

Today I manage to get dressed, style my hair, and put on simple makeup and earrings.  I aim to do this every day, because being put together helps me feel like it’s a real work day.
2015 WITL Wednesday Makeup11 am:  Maple’s getting fussy, so I make our lunch early.  As I sit down to eat lunch with her, she suddenly vomits all over and then starts crying. It breaks my heart to see her cry, and I scoop her up and just hold her.

A bath is needed and after that Maple is exhausted and ready for another nap.  Perhaps she is sick, I think.  That could explain her fussiness and tiredness.

I realize that there’s vomit in my hair and all over my outfit.  Time for another shower and an outfit change.  Then I spend an hour sewing before Maple is awake again.

2 pm:   Maple wakes up sweaty, so I check her temp as I change her diaper.  She seems normal but I’m relieved that she has a regular doctor’s appointment today.  We read books, and Ryan comes home just in time to get a photo for this project :)

2015 WITL Wednesday Reading Maple to Maple

3 pm:  We’re off to the pediatrician for a belated 6-month visit.  Maple is a total charmer while we’re there, and doesn’t appear to be sick after all.

5 pm:  I head to a friend’s house for the evening and this evening can’t come soon enough.  I have to admit I’m relieved to be getting out of the house after a cranky first half of the week. Also, while I love being a mom, it’s also nice to have adult conversation that has nothing to do with babies.

My friend has 5 cats (and a shockingly clean and fancy house) but is also fostering this cat who desperately needs a home.  She stopped eating in the shelter due to depression.  But my friend’s cats don’t like the intrusion.

2015 WITL Wednesday Olivia Foster Cat

11 pm: I’m home, where the kitchen is already clean and Ryan reports that Maple had a good night.  I make his cobb salad (apparently the guys at work are impressed because he always brings the most awesome salads) and then head to bed.

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Tuesday: A Week in the Life Balancing Baby and Business

At 4:45 am Maple wakes up wanting to eat, and I pull her into bed and try to feed her.  Except this morning she alternates between grabbing for me and then pushing me away and fussing.

Around 6 am I put Maple back in her bassinet, and I try to sleep more.  At 8 am I scoop her into my arms and she just squeals with excitement, over and over.   I drag myself out of bed, make breakfast, and Maple and I sit outside to eat, because it’s such a beautiful and cool morning.

WITL Maple Jane Breakfast Porch

9 am:  I set Maple down for her nap, but she yells up a storm.  Before I can decide what to do, she falls asleep mid-yell and looks like a peaceful angel once again.

I go outside to play fetch with Amber while I finish off the entire pot of coffee and answer customer emails on my phone.

9:45 am:  I’m settled into the studio, ready to sew, but . . .

My dad calls to talk to me about his recent biopsy results and he’s worried.  I can’t say I’m thrilled either, I’m not ready to have another parent deal with cancer.  And I know my dad doesn’t want to deal with this – especially not alone like he is.

Then my brother calls me and I talk to him until Maple wakes up.

11 am:  I bring her outside to nurse, and I try not to feel frustrated that it’s lunchtime and I haven’t done any sewing yet.

For lunch Maple has homemade baby food – sweet potato, white bean, and apple puree.  She also gnaws on a huge slice of red pepper.  I have some bean chili from the freezer.

12:30 pm:  Maple is really fussy, and I don’t know what to do with her, so we hang out in the hammock.  She doesn’t want to be fed, she doesn’t want to be put down, but she also doesn’t seem happy being held.

1 pm: It’s nap time but Maple is fussy, so I put her in the bouncer while I try to print out orders & shipping labels.  She bounces and giggles for a few minutes and suddenly falls asleep.  Maybe that fussiness was just tiredness?WITL Maple Asleep Bouncer

I take her upstairs to the crib, then head back downstairs to deal with a customer service issue:  A customer didn’t receive her order, even though the tracking code shows that it was delivered.
This hasn’t happened to me before, so I turn to Google.  The Etsy forums are full of advice, and I create a response and email the customer back.  I’m stressing out because I want to replace the item for free if the customer follows the steps I requested, but the high cost of shipping means a financial loss for Janery.  However, customer service is important so I will eat the loss.

Then I break my no-sugar-during-the-week rule and finish off the ice cream that’s in the freezer.  I’m completely aware that I’m stress eating because I’m frustrated with how little true work time I have in a day.

Back in the studio, I finish sewing the Charlie Cushions that I started the day before.  Yes, it took me 1.5 days to sew two dog beds, because of all the interruptions.

WITL Charlie Cushions Done

3 pm:  Maple wakes up happy, but quickly turns fussy and whiny.  I don’t know what to do (because thankfully, she’s rarely like this!)  so she and I just hang out until Ryan is home.

4:30 pm:  Ryan gets home and takes over with Maple, and I head back to the studio to work.  I get more sewing done, which is a relief.

6 pm:  Ryan has made dinner and we eat while taking turns holding Maple, who is extremely fussy once again.  At 7 pm I play with her before putting her to bed.

8 pm:  I finally print out and package my orders, but my computer is still acting up.WITL Packing an Order

9 pm:  Time for “fun sewing” as opposed to work sewing – tonight it’s testing out an idea for a fancy dog bandana that slips on the collar.   Testing an idea I’ve had in my head is always a treat for me.  It’s good for a first run, but it needs a few tweaks before it’s ready to sell.

WITL Merlin Dog Collar Bandana

10 pm:  Ryan, my in-house IT department, has figured out that my computer is freezing up when I’m down in my office, so I sit at the kitchen island with my laptop.  I look at Christmas fabrics and debate adding a Christmas line to Janery.  Last year my holiday pillows sold out quickly, and I’d also like to add holiday pet bandanas.  I really should have decided this in the beginning of August.

11 pm: I take the dogs for a walk, then I make Ryan’s lunch and clean up the kitchen.

12 am:  I straighten up Maple’s room and end up reading a few of her books that I’ve never read before.  It’s strangely relaxing and I finally feel ready for sleep.

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Monday: A Week in the Life Balancing Baby and Business

Would you like a glimpse inside a week of my life balancing my baby and handmade business?

Last week I decided to blog my daily activities for one week, inspired by the many bloggers who had just finished up the Week in the Life challenge.

I always love Week in the Life because I’m nosy by nature.  This exercise gave me some clarity into why I always feel like my business is growing so slowly, and this week I’m trying to improve my schedule and time management based on what I learned last week.

With that, here’s what last Monday looked like.

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8 am:  Wake up, wanting more sleep, but looking at Maple who is grinning gleefully up at me.  She’s been awake for an hour already, talking loudly to herself after I pulled her into bed to feed her at 5 am before drifting back into a semi-sleep state.  Some mornings she allows this more than others, but on this Monday she talked and made wookie yells pretty much nonstop.

I make my breakfast while Maple sits in her high chair at the kitchen island, playing with a wooden spoon and a washcloth.

As I eat breakfast, I talk to Maple and work through my schedule in my planner.  I want to do a lot of work this week and want to kick it off with a bang.

9 am:  Maple goes into her crib to nap.  I’m trying to get her on a daytime schedule now that she’s 7 months.  I drink my coffee in the yard while listening to podcasts and playing fetch with Amber, because, like any younger dog, she needs exercise in order to remain well behaved during the day.  I also sand and seal the shelves for my office, hoping they’ll be dry enough to hang tonight.

10:15 am: Dishes and cloth diaper laundry are started.  I head to the sewing studio to work on sewing some dog beds.

11 am:  I hear the tiniest noise, and know Maple has woken up from her nap.  She’s sideways in the crib, her little feet kicking the rails as she plays and talks to herself. I feed her and then fold laundry in the nursery as she plays.

WITL Reading Baby Books to Maple

After reading her a few books, it’s noon – time for lunch!

12 pm:  I set Maple back in her high chair, and I put a few blobs of baby food on her tray.  She can finger paint with it and maybe get some in her mouth.  I’m prepping my lunch – a salad – when I hear a funny noise. I turn around to see Maple bent over, trying to suck the food off her tray.  Her fingers, face, and belly are coated in the food, and she’s finally discovered that food tastes good.  I can’t help but laugh out loud.

WITL Maple Lunch Fingerpaint Food

We eat lunch together as I feed Maple in between bites for myself.

12:30 pm:  I clean her up, nurse her, and then we head outside to fill the bird feeders.  The weather is amazing so we sit in the hammock for a while and she looks around the yard, interested in everything.

When Maple starts rubbing her ears, I know it’s almost 1 pm and time for her next nap.  After she’s in her crib, I change out the laundry and sit at the kitchen island for a minute.

I’m tired.  Time for more coffee.

My shelves are dry so I bring them inside before the sun can hit them directly, and I clean up from the shelf project.

WITL Office Shelves In Progress

1:15 pm:  Coffee in hand, I head down to my office to check business emails, and print out the orders that came in over the weekend.  But my computer is having issues, so nothing works.

2 pm:  I’ve now wasted 45 precious minutes of nap time, my prime sewing time when I can focus .  I give up on the computer and go into the studio to finish sewing the morning’s Charlie Cushions.

And then I hear Maple giggling in the room above me.  Her nap has ended early.

It’s at this point that I start to feel stressed.  I realize I should have used the morning nap  to sew, and I start to worry about how I’m going to get enough sewing done before the day is done.

But I set that aside, get the laundry from the dryer, go upstairs to Maple.  She greets me with a happy squeal.  I set her in the middle of our bed and fold more laundry as she plays.  Then I shower and put away laundry as she plays in her room.

WITL Laundry Bed Maple

3 pm:  We head to the kitchen to prep dinner.  I can interact with Maple as I work in the kitchen, so I save those tasks for when she’s awake.  I put together a Thai Red Curry with fresh veggies from the weekend farmer’s market.

WITL Veggies Thai Red Curry

3:30 pm:  Ryan is home from work!  He plays with Maple as I cook.

4 pm:  I feed Maple before putting her down for her late afternoon nap.  Then I head back to the kitchen to make chicken vegetable soup for my neighbors.  They’re in their 90s and have come down with Bronchitis and I worry about them eating enough. My mom always made chicken broth for colds and coughs, so I follow her lead.

5:30 pm:  I take the soup over to the neighbors.  When I get home I see Amber skulking out of the kitchen . . . I left the trash can out, and Amber has eaten the chicken skin and bones.  Ryan and I proceed to worry, because chicken bones are dangerous for dogs.

WITL B-Side Cabernet Sauvignon

I open a bottle of wine and take a few minutes to just sit and rest my feet on the back porch.  And worry about Amber.  And remind Ryan that we should get her enrolled in pet insurance ASAP.  I also wonder how the day got away from me so quickly.

6:30 pm:  Dinner time.  Maple continues to nap, which is unusual.  For once Ryan and I get to eat dinner without juggling a baby.  (She usually wakes up just as I’m about to take my first bite, which means I’ve gotten good at nursing while eating.) We watch Orange is the New Black.

7:45 pm:  Maple wakes up from her nap with only 15 minutes before bedtime.  While Ryan feeds Maple, I fight with my computer and then ask Ryan to look at it because it’s still slow.

8:15 pm:  I nurse Maple and put her to bed, then sit with her for a while as she yells.  She seems fussy and kind of clingy, which is unusual for her.

9 pm:  The sugar cravings are hitting me hard, so I make some decaf coffee with cream and a few drops (just a few) of Cointreau for orange flavor.  Have you tried this?  It’s delicious!!
I manage to respond to some email but still haven’t been able to print out my orders and mailing labels.  My computer is freezing up on me again, and then Google decides that I read Polish.

Google Drive in Polish WITL

I think my computer would benefit from being thrown on the floor, but I take it to Ryan to devise a less violent solution.

I try to install my office shelves only to find the screws I got are too short.

9:45 pm Abandoning all hope of working, I take the dogs for a 3-mile walk.  We all need the exercise.

10:30 pm:  I make Ryan’s lunch for the next day and clean up the kitchen and Maple’s room.  After a shower and a spoonful of peanut butter I head to bed.

12:00 pm:  I hit the pillow and tell myself not to worry about my lack of productivity today, because the week is young, and tomorrow I’ll get more work done.

Of course, if Maple could talk, she would tell you she had an awesome day with her mom.