Sometimes a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do in order to get anything done. For work-at-home moms, that could mean you tuck the kids in
and then work past midnight to make deadlines. Or you get up at 5 a.m. to get
in an hour or two of quiet before the kids wake up. Maybe you need to wrap up a
project or sneak in a workout without being jumped on. Or maybe you just enjoy the
It's what we all do to keep our sanity.
I never thought of myself as a night owl
until I had my boys. I was still working full time after my first was born. I
was lucky enough to be able to work from home part of the time. If you have
never worked at home with a baby in the house, there is one thing you need to
know: It is impossible to get it all done between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. I quickly found
myself working through nap times and well into the night, exhausting myself
even more since I was still up with nighttime feedings.
This pattern continued as I left my
corporate life and made the switch to freelance so I would have a more flexible schedule. In
theory, it would be easier. I could spend time with my kids and do a little work
while they played. Naturally, that is not how it happened. I ended up staying up
later than ever to make my deadlines.
Now, even though nighttime feedings—and naps—are a thing of
the past, I find myself still working odd hours. I work while
my youngest is at preschool in the morning, sure. But that nighttime habit hasn't
gone away. Once the boys are settled in, I might watch a show with my husband to
let my body unwind from a day filled with, "Mom, can I have some milk?" or "Mom!
I'm bored." In front of the TV, my brain starts to come out of mom mode and is finally ready to be
productive. No matter how hard I try, I am just so much more productive at
night when there is no chance that anyone will need me.
I find the same is true for other
work-at-home moms I know. I have a friend on the west coast that is already
responding to emails at 6 a.m. PST, by the time I sit down to work after dropping
my kids at school after 9 a.m. EST. It makes it easy for us to get projects done
together, but I can't imagine being up by 6 and my brain functioning to work.
By the time we're working, she has even gotten in a morning run. My brain still needs more coffee
at 9! But that is just how she is wired.
For a long time, I beat myself up over my nighttime working. Yes, it is exhausting. Yes, I would rather be vegged out on
the couch with my husband watching episodes of "Chuck" or reading the Eloisa James romance novel I just downloaded. But I
have to roll with when my brain is able to work.
Sometimes, this weird and unpredictable schedule means I go back
to sleep after I drop my boys off, since I was up until 2 a.m.
Sometimes it means I take a nap on the couch after the kids get home from
I'm doing the best I can and, right now, that is OK. Life will change
again as my youngest goes to kindergarten in just over a year. I look forward
to seeing where my brain leads me. I can't wait to finally find out when I am most productive. Maybe I won't
be a night owl forever.
Although I dread the day when I have to be up and
productive at 6.