Tag: mothering

July Chat With a Mom: Surprise Mama

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Surprise Mama is my second blogger feature in my Chats with Mums and Dads portion. My first blogger and first Dad interview was with The Secret Father. To be honest, I’m having a bit of a hard time finding bloggers to be featured. You see, I’m not very good at approaching bloggers, I’m really shy. However, I’m going to plod on. I think it’s so much worth it, especially when they (the bloggers) say yes and finally email their answers. I absolutely love each and every answers – all of them are heartfelt and so insightful. As a new parent, I learn from all of the answers.

The lovely woman behind Surprise Mama and I have one thing in common, we both had our little ones in our late 30s. I can’t speak for her but for me, it wasn’t really a choice, life just happened that way. Read on to know more about this beautiful Mama’s journey into motherhood.

Tell us something about yourself, your little one (age & sex).

My name is Michelle and I am a first time mom who just turned 40 (my baby girl was born when I was 39). I work full time in the public health field, when I am not working or mommying I like to sing, read, blog, exercise, and spend time outside. I met my husband only 11 months before our baby was born, but meeting him truly made me believe in love at first sight.

What was your child’s Birth Story like?

They say you get the birth story you want not the birth story you planned (or something like that).  My husband and I found out we were pregnant late in 2012.  I had never thought that I was going to be able to have children of my own so finding out that we had conceived was a HUGE surprise.  We kept it a secret for a long time, as I thought that it was not going to “stick” (as I would say to him).  Our intention was to have a natural birth but in the hospital setting.  I had spent weeks with my husband in a Bradley Methods class and I was very adamantly against any type of unnecessary intervention.  Being however, that I was 39 when she was due, I knew that I did not want to have the baby at home or at a birth center, I wanted to have the comfort of a hospital in case anything went wrong.  My pregnancy was very normal and my goal was to wear high heels throughout (which I did).  My water broke at 11:00 pm exactly 1 week before my due date.  I did not have anything ready as I was convinced that I was going to be late.  As soon as my water broke (and I figured out that is what had happened), I had my wonderful husband install the carseat, I started putting up curtains in the babies room, I packed a bag, I folded laundry.  I just wanted to try and remain calm.  Ultimately, we went to the hospital (about 7 hours in) and my contractions stopped completely.  After about 5 hours, they had to give me pitosin (which I was COMPLETELY AGAINST) to get the contractions going in a reasonable way.  I was on the pitosin from about noon to about 7:00 pm before I could not stand the pain any more.  At this point I was only about 3-4 cm dilated.  I had really wanted a drug- free birth, but my body was jus tnot letting go of the little one!  So – I ended up having an epidural (actually 3 because the first two didnt work) and then a little more than 2 hours later, a perfect little girl was born.  We did not know whether we were having a girl or boy at the time so the doctors let my husband call the sex (girl) and we were able to show her off to all the family before the end of visiting hours that night.

What you wish you knew about being a mother, before becoming one:

People who do not have kids do not understand what being a parent is, that you are never able to get it all done, and that down time is okay – it is necessary in order to maintain sanity.

How do you manage your “me-time”?

I have a great husband who loves us both so much and loves spending quality time with the little one.  Whenever I need a little me time, he is highly in favor and usually offers to pay for the pedicure!

Do you have a favourite anecdote of your Little One?

She loves to dance.  She started bopping to music when she was about 4 months old.  No matter what kind of music is playing she will jam.  She keeps a good rhythm and when we sing or play music, she is at her happiest.

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What is it about Motherhood you absolutely love about?

I love how my daughter smiles at me when I go to pick her up out of her crib in the morning or after a nap.  I love how she is excited to play independently and then comes back to check in with us to make sure that we are still there, I love that she is social and that she smiles a lot.  I love watching my husband be a father.  I love how soft her baby skin is and I love that right now, I am the most important person in her little world.

If there’s anything about Motherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

 I feel like I am constantly worrying about what is going to happen next.  I feel very confident in handling today, but how am I going to deal with all the stuff that happens as she gets older like: picking a good school, having hard conversations, encouraging her to make good decisions, helping her to avoid drugs, not texting and driving, not drinking too much…AACK – the list of things that I fear might hurt her is overwhelming and it gives me a great deal of anxiety. At the end of the day, I really just want her to be happy and confident (and not addicted to anything) and I don’t want to screw her up too badly!

What’s a typical day like for you and your Little One?

Sadly, I only see her for about 30 minutes in the morning and 2 hours in the evening.  I try to squeeze it all in and I crave the weekend time together.  I love singing and taking walks.  We love to run errands together.  She loves being outside more than just about anything and she is very curious so I try to give her lots of interesting stimulation.  We have lots of friends that want to see her often so we visit people frequently.  She is a very happy baby so we are easily able to tell what she needs when she is unhappy. We are very lucky because she is very predictable so we are able to have a good schedule and accomplish a lot together as a family.

Best advice you’ve ever received about Motherhood?

Keep everything in perspective and be kind and loving with your partner.  When a baby/child sees a kind/loving relationship, they have all the stability that they need.

If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming a mother, what would it be?

As long as you are doing the best that you can to keep your child safe, happy and healthy, you are doing all that is necessary.  It is way too easy to beat ourselves up too much about every decision and every aspect of parenting, but you can only do what you can do.  Love is the most important.

How do you manage your time between work and your Little One?

Managing time between work and parenting is hard.  I basically feel like I am never giving anyone 100%.  Currently my job, though flexible, is not pro-children and so I feel like being a mom is looked down upon.

Thank you so much Michelle!

Don’t forget to say Hi.

You can also connect with her on Twitter.

Mothering, according to Mrs. Darling

Since tomorrow is Mother’s Day here in the UK, I thought it would be nice to share how Mrs. Darling does it. Yes, JM Barrie’s Mrs. Darling, mother to Wendy, John and Michael in the much-loved classic Peter Pan.

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Picture credit here.

Mrs. Darling first heard of Peter Pan when she was tidying up her children’s minds.  It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day.  If you could keep awake (but of course you can’t) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it every interesting to watch her.  It is quite like tidying up drawers.  You would see her on her knees, I expect, lingering humorously over some of your contents, wondering where on earth you picked this thing up, making discoveries sweet and not so sweet, pressing this to her cheek as if it were as nice as a kitten, and hurriedly stowing that out of sight.  When you wake in the morning, the naughtiness and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind and on the top, beautifully aired, are spread out your prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on.

While I know it sounds a bit like the nosy kind of mothering (smothering), the kind who goes through her children’s things and reads through their journals, I still find it sweet though – the words and how it was written.  Don’t you think?

Happy Mother’s Day not only to the mothers out there, but as well as to women who have been like mothers to others!

March Chat with a Mom: Asanempoka

Just like Mariah, I met Asanempoka in Ghana.  She was supposed to be my house-mate.  But as all volunteers know, things don’t exactly pan out as planned.  So she ended up in Bolgatanga, a town located at the upper east region of Ghana and I was left in Tamale (the largest city in the Northern Region).  The distance however, didn’t stop us from visiting each other.  Feeling adventurous, Asanempoka and I travelled from Ghana through Togo to get to Benin where we spent Christmas ’07.  Yes, you could say it was a bit mad for us to travel through two French-speaking countries when neither of us could understand nor speak a word of French.  But we managed.

That was almost six years ago. Today, she is a mother of a beautiful and smart four-year old and I too have my own daughter and the best bit is that we are still friends.

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Tell us something about yourself, your little one (age & sex).

I am a teacher and performing artist who is moving into Public Health. I have lived in a small, remote town in northern Australia on and off for 10 years, in between my trips to Africa, specifically now Ghana. My daughter has just turned four. She was born in Ghana, as that is where my husband is from, and lived there for the first 2 years of her life before we all moved to Australia 2 years ago.  We try and return to Ghana every year or two. Both places are our home.  We are a bi-lingual cross-continental family who embrace both cultures but mostly hold Africa in our heart of hearts.

Your child’s birth story: What was it like giving birth away from family and home country?

I chose to give birth in Ghana and wanted a home birth in my husband’s traditional house. When that looked unsuitable I looked at clinics in our town but they were awful blue-tiled, silver metal-bedded rooms with high windows, so I went with my Obgyn in the capital and gave birth at his clinic. We travelled 850km to give birth and stayed in a guest house in the capital until she was a week old before heading back up north. I wanted a natural birth but found out a few days after we arrived she was breech.  I argued with my Obgyn but he explained the layout of Accra and the traffic situation: – ‘I live here, the anaesthetist lives here, and the matron lives here so if there was an emergency it would be problematic’. I caved and said okay and that tomorrow would be good like he’d mentioned.  He said, ‘Nope, I can fit you in today.’

That was the day the President was inaugurated in the capital so imagine the bad traffic times 10!  My husband had about 3 hours to go back to our guest house and return with things for the baby and for me.  He just made it as I was being wheeled into theatre.  I had been about to jump off the bed with my legs crossed.

I had an epidural whilst we all listened to Salsa music and joked about Mugabe.  Then before I knew there she was.  I looked over at her and… I knew her.

(Wow, I’ve never told that story in only 3 paragraphs before =)

What you wish you knew about being a mother before becoming one

To be honest I kind of took it as it came.  I chose to raise her in our town Bolgatanga when she was a baby because I knew that I would be left alone to figure it all myself and if I did need to ask something there were plenty of women around to give me advice which I could take or leave.

If I must choose something I wish I’d known just how much patience I’d require.  I would have practiced a lot more beforehand.

How do you manage your “me-time”?

Hmmm…. What is that?  I don’t really get ‘me-time’.  Well, I didn’t for years.  I took time out when I could see an opportunity and I guess it’s still like that.  I had to work from when my daughter was 8 months and that was extremely difficult.  Since then I took time when we came to Australia and didn’t work for a while to be with her and last year I took a school term at 3 days a week instead of 5 so I could spend time with her before she went off to school this year.

I count special time with my daughter as ‘me-time’.

I don’t look for time off as such.  If I am feeling like I need some space I may go to the café before I pick her from day-care or I may go there on the weekend.  I may go into my room and write or relax.  I usually inform my husband I am going out and he should stay with her. I take time when I can and as she grows older it’s easier because she will engage herself in certain things for longer but can be difficult because at present she is an only child and demands a lot of attention.  I am a homebody and I like my time around my family.  I don’t always want to be alone.

Any favourite anecdote about your child?

My daughter is hilarious! We knew from 5 months of age that she had a sense of humour.  I sometimes have to remember to not cut her off with impatience and let her be funny so she doesn’t lose that carefree spirit.  She is also a story teller and loves to make up stories as if they are fact.  I don’t often correct her on what we all know she is making up because it may squash her creativity and really she is connecting her knowledge and memories in threads that can make sense to her.  She is a child that needs to do that.  She is a very rational creature, always has been.  If she can rationalize it to herself then she can accept it.  I like that about her because she doesn’t just believe anything she hears.

She constantly amazes me, especially on our recent trip to Ghana, how resilient she is, how accepting and open-minded.  She reminds me how to view things simplistically and see them from ‘the mind of a child’.

I think the funniest things are when she says things to me and I realize that she is giving back to me what I give to her.  It totally keeps me in check.

What is it about motherhood you simply love about?

The unconditional love.  The affection. The hugs.  The kisses.  The softness. The gentleness.

I became myself the day I became a mother.  I know it’s not that way for everyone but it was for me.  I found my confidence and I found something worth standing up and fighting for.  I had the family I’d always yearned for.  It was worth waiting until I was a bit older (only 30) so I could appreciate what it is to be single and then what it is to have what I have today.

If there’s something about motherhood you dislike, what would it be?

The constant demands.  I have a book I’ve been writing for over 3 years but with full-time work, part-time study and motherhood… and wifehood, it is the one thing that keeps getting put on the back burner and I wish I could put more time into it.  It’s hard to completely stop and clear my head of the things I have to do so I can re-focus on something else entirely.  Lists of things I must do, want to do, really should do constantly run through my head.  I feel good as I go through them but with a family it is never-ending.

What’s a typical day like for you and your little one?

Workdays and weekends are very different.  Workdays this year are me up at 6.30am getting ready for work.  I will wake my daughter at about 6.45am and she will have breakfast and I’ll make her lunch.  I will go off to work and my husband gets up and takes her to school.  In the afternoon I’ll finish work anywhere from 3.30 to 4.30pm and go and pick her from her day care and come home.  I’ll make dinner and we all have dinner together.  Ideally she is in bed by 7.30pm but this never happens.

On the weekends we get up as we do.  Eat breakfast and hang around, visit friends, do jobs around the house and generally hang about at home all together.  We live in a town that is very transient and a lot of our close friends moved on at the end of last year so the beginning of this year is quiet and family-focused.  It’s nice.

 Best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood or mothering

My mother said when I was young that she always gave me more information than I needed to know when I asked questions.  When my daughter asks me questions I speak honestly and I don’t treat her like a child and have never talked to her like a baby.  As I said she is a rationalist so this suits her.  It can be exhausting though as it does take time and energy but the results are that she really understands things around her – from objects and how they work to people’s relationships to us, where they come from and who they are, etc.

If you could give yourself advice long before you became a mother, what would it be?

Motherhood is a gift and is not a given in life just because you are a woman.

If I’d known this I may not have suffered so much when I miscarried twins last year.  But I know it now because I have one beautiful daughter.  Whatever comes after her I cannot force it to come just because I want it. When it does though I will know what a gift it is and just how blessed I am.  If I could have clicked my fingers for the family I wanted it would look very different to what it is now but life throws things at you in ways you do not expect and when I do step back and look at what I have been given it is wonderful.

 How do you balance your time between work and mothering?

Day by day.

Thank you!

Do check out her blog here.

February Chat with a Mom: Mariah Mambo

There are some people you meet in life and you know right away that they will always be your friend, no matter the distance or the lack of communication.  Mariah is one of them.  We met in Ghana, West Africa, where we both worked as volunteers and instantly hit it off.

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Six years later, we are both mothers and despite the distance our friendship still thrives.

Tell us something about yourself, your little ones (age & sex).

I am a lawyer by profession, a mother by choice, a wife through love and divine intervention of course. I live with my husband and two children in Nairobi, Kenya. Apart from these truths my true passion lies in recreating spaces and fictional writing. I intend to pursue the two this year more faithfully.

I have two. Amara my first is a girl four years old, never encountered a more loving, cheeky and smart person. She never ceases to amaze me, she has a great sense of humour, bigger than herself and her age and she always cracks me up. I actually look forward to walks with her and stuff like that when the strangest of things will be uttered and silent moments shared when I know for sure I want to be around her for very long. My son Muriuki is nine months now, speaking of energy ball! He is all over the place at any one given time, never wants to stay still and is generally a very happy person, he is a bit of a mama’s boy but I am not complaining, I love to be needed.

Your child’s birth story(ies): What was it like?

Well, both my babies were born via caesarean section. I was intended to have a normal delivery up till eight months for Amara when I realized reduced foetal movement, I was hospitalised and she was born two weeks before her due date. I remember not being afraid (which is very unlike me considering I have control issues let’s read lightly into this ok?) My options were discussed with me and I opted to have a spinal block (again trying to seize back some of the control I had lost) so I could be awake when I had her. I spoke to my obgyn and anesthesiologist all through the procedure and even managed to crack a few jokes here and there. She never cried when she was delivered and that’s the only point when I really went cold with fear. I remember asking her pediatrician why my baby was silent but she assured me she had it under control. She cried what seemed ages after (could have been not more than 5 minutes, just felt like eons!) and the rest is well a long story.

My OBGYN decided not to allow me to have a normal delivery for my son no matter how much I begged; he presented me with a whole list of medical reasons blah blah blah so I just decided to go with him. I was afraid this time round, I am not sure why honestly. I opted for a spinal block as I did for my daughter; for the same reasons. My husband was with me during this delivery and it really helped calm me done. I will never forget how loud and long Muriuki cried; it was so shocking, just like the movies actually (so much for expecting birth to be close to movies huh, this was as close as it got for me!) He still cries like that sometimes, that piercing wail that brings my heart to a stop sometimes! He really needs to stop that!! His birth was uneventful; we spent a few very long nights at the hospital and we continue to spend long nights together.

What you wish you knew about being a mother before becoming one.

That it would totally change life for me, forever! I knew there would be changes but I did not realize how monumental they would be.

Every possible thing you could think of as a human being changes; say for example sitting through a meal, sleeping seven hours straight, driving in silence, watching a movie to the end in one sitting, listening to the music of your choice whilst driving, some unmentionables, grocery shopping; please don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining it’s just that I never had that ‘aha’ moment until my kids came along (now laughing hysterically) I have embraced my life with all its changes because I cannot envision it without my munchkins!

How do you manage your “me” time?

This I must admit I have not been very good at (blame it on my control issues) It has taken me very long; actually the duration of my daughter’s life to realize that hey, I need to rediscover myself.

I now delegate two days in the week where I consciously drive away from my house and just be me. I have to leave because although my daughter is away at school, my son is always around (hehe). I spend this time doing all sorts of things from just sitting and having a cup of coffee, to meting up with a friend, to window shopping, getting my hair done to even having a solo glass of wine. I have started the year being bolder by even taking a weekend off with my husband, just to reconnect and just be us.

Any favourite anecdote about your child?

My daughter has never had problems with feeding; she does a fantastic job and I know I am truly blessed to have one of those. Well she also believes that the faster she clears all her meals the faster she will grow (she wants to be as big as mama tomorrow please!) so after clearing her breakfast in one fast swoop one Saturday morning she comes to my bedroom and declares ‘Papa, I finished all my food, tomorrow when I am big like mama I will have big boom booms like her’. Safely figure out what big boom booms are…..

What is it about motherhood you simply love about?

Motherhood has changed me for the better. I know what it means to honestly in love and care for someone else regardless of whatever situation I find myself in. It has forced me to slow down and take in life one day at a time, appreciating everything about it. Motherhood has seriously done a number on my spirituality; I witness God and his faithfulness every single day through the lives of my children. I can say that I am a better person because of them.

If there was one thing about motherhood you disliked about, what would it be?

I totally dislike the unsolicited advice! Everyone has a tale; yes a tale on how you should be raising your young ones! ‘If you do this, this is the definite outcome’ ‘It’s too hot for that, too cold for that’: ‘Try this home remedy!’ SO UNSOLICITED!

What’s a typical day like for you and your little one?

Amara is in preschool so our day starts off with breakfast and then a frantic session of getting her into her uniform. She runs around the room, has a story to tell, she can also have a session where she refuses to wear the undies and shoes you picked out for her despite double checking with her the night before. She stays in school until 3.30pm when she returns home. She will often have a play date with my neighbour’s daughter or take a walk to a bridge a few meters away from our house with her nanny and her brother; then it’s time for a shower and dinner and some TV time before bed at 8. Kindly note this is on a good day…things go horribly wrong most of the time! What with tantrums and all!

I have help (thank God) so Muriuki will have his cereal around 8 (he has had a bottle around 6.30) he watches Amara get ready for school; gets kissed goodbye if he is lucky and has a schedule that he mostly adheres to during the day; he takes a nap around 10 for two hours has lunch when he gets up; watches some cartoons or lazes in the garden with toys, takes another nap at around three for 45 min and spends the evening with Amara, myself and his papa until he goes to sleep at 8.

Best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood or mothering.

Was from one of my best friends; considering she knows that I have the urge to be a perfectionist (this will never be a good thing for anyone to suffer from, more so a mother with multiple children) she advised me to just take each day at a time; there are not enough hours in a day to be a mother to two children, a wife to my husband, a great cook, a perfect housekeeper etc, so I have learnt to chill and just go with the flow.

If you could give yourself advice long before you became a mother, what would it be?

I guess I would have to go with Kala on this one. For too long I suffered from this feeling, it never went away and I wish anyone becoming a mother could embrace this FACT and realize it’s ok to feel this way.

How do you manage your time as a freelancer and as a mother?

Sorry to say but I have put too much aside for too long and I am only now seizing back what is rightfully mine, guilt free. I have official assignments on and off and for these I work night and day literally to deliver on deadlines. I am now taking a few hours off each day to start writing again and trying to make a business idea I have a reality. I have realized that I come home; after those hours feeling lighter in the head and heart and ready to deal with ALL the demands that come with being a mama.

Thank you Mariah!

January Chat with a Mom: Kala Barba-Court

I’m really excited about my first feature for my “Interview with a Mother” section. Like I said, I’m jump-starting this little project of mine with people I know, so the first “chat” is with my friend Kala Barba-Court. She is by the way, the coolest Mom I know. In Paris, where she’s based, she watches concerts on her own. And not everyone is brave enough to do that – so in my book, she is the coolest!

Tell us something about yourself, your little one (age and sex).

I’m an artist and web designer, born and raised in Manila, Philippines and moved to France in 2003. Due to my husband’s job we are often sent to other countries, and we’ve lived in Qatar, Rome and Saudi Arabia and return to France in between projects. I’m currently living in Paris with my husband and 3 year old daughter.

Your child’s birth story: What was it like giving birth away from family and home country?

I had a hard pregnancy but a very unremarkable birth story. I was asked to stop working when I was 5 months pregnant and had to lie down for the duration of my pregnancy. When my contractions started, we went to the hospital and gave I birth naturally 2 hours later.

The whole giving-birth and taking-care-of-a-newborn experience was tough, but all new mothers out there, however sleep-deprived and clueless, manage to wing it – with or without extra help from family or friends.

But it definitely helps if you speak the language of the country you’re in. Not everyone speaks English in France, and it could’ve gone horribly wrong if I didn’t understand a word the nurses or doctors were saying.

What you wish you knew about being a mother before becoming one:

I wish I didn’t expect to feel a connection with my baby once I gave birth. They put my daughter in my arms and I kept on waiting to feel something special, but (like other mothers I suppose) I didn’t feel anything. Also, I wish someone had told me that newborns are really ugly. No, seriously. They’re all wrinkly and hairy and splotchy when they come out and that lasts for weeks or even months. Someone commented that she looked “just like me” and I felt insulted.

How do you manage your me-time?

Most weekends are reserved for family stuff, but I always make it a point to go out by myself at least once a week to see an exhibit or a movie, have dinner with friends, or just walk around Paris. I often book a babysitter and take afternoons or evenings off as well. And I don’t do chores during my me time!

Any favourite anecdote about your child?

Having a toddler means every day is anecdotal. I never believed the “They grow up before your eyes” cliché until my kid became a toddler. Six months ago, when she was two and half years old, she came up to me and told me matter-of-factly that she had a “hypothesis that dinosaurs walk on four legs but they make a lot of noise”. I had to stop what I was doing and ask myself, did she just say ‘hypothesis’?

What is it about motherhood you simply love about?

I love the conversations I have with my kid, because it’s all so straightforward and pure and innocent, nothing like conversations with adults. Also, when I pick her up from school, she runs to me with open arms and a huge smile like we’ve been separated for three years instead of three hours. No one is ever that happy to see me, really. So I feel pretty special, when I’m around her.

If there was one thing about motherhood you disliked about, what would it be?

I hated the helpless newborn stage, it really isn’t my thing.

I also dislike the fact that a lot of people judge you on how you raise your child. I didn’t breastfeed, didn’t co-sleep, let her cry it out and I speak to her in English instead of French. I get a lot of unsolicited advice about this.

What’s a typical day like for you and your little one?

Now that she goes to school, the day starts with breakfast, a few minutes of cartoons on TV, and then walking to school. I pick her up at noon and then it’s lunch and she takes a nap. In the afternoon it can go two ways — either we have a good time, or I spend the next few hours putting out tantrums, depending on her mood. I bring her along on errands or we go to the park. During bath time and dinner I place calls to my husband, each call getting more and more frantic, telling him to come home immediately because by the end of the day I’m exhausted from it all.

Best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood:

The best spot-on advice about parenting in general came from a taxi driver. We were living in Rome at that time and were loading the bulky carseat and stroller into the tiny taxi, bitching about how much stuff a 6 month old needed. The driver looked at us in the rearview mirror and said, “You shouldn’t complain, this is the easy part. The smaller they are, the smaller the problems. The bigger they get, the bigger the problems. I have a 15 year old daughter, and she has run away with her boyfriend. For two days she hasn’t come home!” That sobered us up.

If you could give yourself advice long before you became a mother, what would it be?

It’s normal to feel like the world passes you by during the first couple of years with a child. It actually does pass you by. But as time goes by and your child gets older, you eventually get your social life back. Also, never skip date night with your husband!

How do you manage your time as a freelancer and as a mother?

I have a 3 hour window of freedom four times a week when my daughter is in preschool, so I treat these hours like gold. During this time, I don’t clean, cook or do anything chore-related (which I’m pretty bad at doing anyway – so please don’t drop by unannounced at my place).

Instead, I work on projects, personal or professional, while listening to music (because I almost never have time to listen to new albums when my daughter is around). I make a list of priorities every weekend and schedule my “Freedom Hours” accordingly (the meaning of freedom has evolved ever since I had a daughter; it now means being able to work uninterrupted). I make sure to turn off my internet connection while working to avoid surfing distractions and to get the work done faster.

When my daughter is home, I make sure she’s surrounded by activities and explain to her that I have to work. It’s inevitable to take breaks now and then, but it’s still possible to get things done, if you focus. It also helps that I don’t need a lot of sleep, so I work best at night when everyone else is in bed.

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Thank you Kala!