Finding Presence As A Work-At-Home Mother

When I got pregnant over 6 years ago, I knew I wanted to try for the best of both worlds. I wanted to work, and I wanted to be the primary caregiver for my daughter. I figured I could do this by starting my own business and working from home.

I was wrong.

While I may have been home, I was not always there. I had tea to mix and invoices to bill. I had marketing to do. I had a website to manage. I tried to run the business alongside raising my kids. Literally. Which meant I did neither at full speed and I always felt spent.

Possibly my greatest regret as a mother so far is that I have not always been present for my children.

But, there’s a light and a shadow side to everything. I was able to breastfeed my daughter on demand through her toddler years. We spent copious amounts of time together. We still do. She received plenty of unstructured undirected play time. Now, she has a wild imagination and she can play “pretend” like no body’s business.

I had high hopes for working at home. I thought my daughter could learn a strong work ethic by seeing me work. I planned to automate most of the business so I could make money and still be at home with her AND have time (and money) to write. I thought Timothy Ferris’ book, “The Four Hour Work Week,” offered the perfect blueprint. I just needed to fill in the blanks. Reality proved far more complex.

When my second daughter was born, my attention became divided once again. My older one came up against a brick wall of jealousy, and I struggled to carry her over it. I could not physically care for everything and everyone. Running the tea business became a burden that ceased to pull its weight. I learned the lesson we all learn sooner or later, sometimes more than once: I needed to do what I loved most. I couldn’t divide my attention into so many pieces. I needed to edit and discard.

I continue to grapple with presence. I carry around books and notebooks, hungry to read and write at every opportunity. Though the books mostly remain unopened, I like to have them close by. They bring comfort. As I mentioned in my post about winning, you never know when a thought may strike or the children may become so absorbed in their play that I can read a few lines.

Modern humans have a billion different things to do and watch and read and be. Meanwhile, a bit of undivided attention goes a long way, whether it’s applied to a child or a website or a novel or a movement. When faced with a gamut of opportunity, how do we prioritize? Ideally, we do it according to love. Not prestige. Not expired ideals. Not outside expectations. Not habits. Not other people’s passion. But our love and our passion.

When my daughter erupts with emotion, what she needs is my full and honest presence, with a side of snuggles. In those tender moments, I see how motherhood can be simple. But this simplicity requires, without exception, presence.

This is day 11 of 30 consecutive days of blogging. I’m glad you’re along for the ride. If you liked this post, please share using the buttons below. If you have something to add, feel free to comment openly or anonymously.

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  1. Such a wonderful post. As you know, I struggle so much with this — the balance of being a mom, a writer, a keeper of the calendar for our family, etc. I actually DO find that I am happier — and so is my toddler — when I take time for my own pursuits (though dont’ get me wrong – it’s HARD) so even though it must have felt like such a challenge, it sounds like your daughter DID reap the rewards of a momma who was busy but also THERE. xoxo


  2. Though it appears in about 1 year late in seeing this article I feel compelled to tell you how much peace I feel reading this. I’m batteling not only exhaustion from trying to “do it all”, but the immense sorrow and guilt for the loss of so many hours I stole from my children by not being present. It’s comforting to know others feel the same. Eloise behaves much the same as you describe G. Self discovery and a thirst for knowledge on how to improve has led me to understand myself in ways I never knew existed. My children are just as sensitive, if not more so… and taking a step back to realize that has been healing in itself. I’m sure you’ve stumbled across this already, but I’d have no doubt you and G are both Indigo souls. The parenting books directed at understanding this unique soul type has been so refreshing!

    Hope now that’s it’s been a year’s since this post ( sad to hear there is no more Herbal Philosphy as I was hoping to get some herbal rejuvenation) but I sincerely hope yluve flu d your balance and light in all aspects of who you are and love to be!

    Xoxo- Jen


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