Before I was born, my Mom worked as a nurse. When I came along, she decided to stay home with me. Except she needed a little extra income to add to my Dads paycheck. So she and her mother banded together with their uber-craftiness and started a quilt shop. While they did make and sell their own quilts, the majority of their income and work came from quilts that they would do for other people. Someone would bring them a “top” that they had pieced (or sometimes it was something like a flat sheet that they had bought somewhere), and then would pay them to quilt that top. Mom and Grama invested in two professional grade long arm quilting machines, and built up quite a business.
Since my Grama passed away in 2005, my Mom has been manning the business solo. When we put a house on the farm last May, I decided to get in on the gig.
For my family to “make it” with bills, groceries, and other necessities, I need to bring in about half of my husbands paycheck. Thankfully I am able to do this by working “at home”. I put at home in quotation marks because technically I work from the house next door, but its all on the same farm property so I think it still counts!
When Keevia (my 14 month old daughter) was younger, it was both easier AND harder to work. My job requires I walk sideways back and forth while controlling a machine with my hands. Both hands. So when you have a screaming 6 month old, it can get pretty fun. Thankfully, I work with my Mom, who is always willing to help with the baby. But when the baby JUST wants you, and you desperately need to finish the quilt your working on so you can pay your student loans the next day…. What are you to do?
Baby-wearing has been my lifesaver. I can’t wear Keevia on my front (a problem when she was younger, not so much of one now!) but I can easily put her up on my back. When she’s fussy, or clingy, or sleepy, I strap her on in our Beco Butterfly 1 carrier. She loves to just hang out back there and chill, or eventually drift off to sleep.
Sometimes even that doesn’t work though. It’s so easy to get frustrated at the little person who is interrupting my quota. I constantly have to remind myself that she’s not doing it on purpose, and that her needs should always come first. As I said before, I have the best job in the world though. My boss (my mom, or more importantly, Keevia’s Mamaw!) always understands when I need to take time off to comfort my kid. When Keevia is sick or extremely fussy, I can wait until she feels better to work. I can work any day of the week, any time of the day. Even when I worked around the clock before Christmas, I was always able to have Keevia close.
It’s still hard — when I either need extra money because of an unexpected bill, or there are orders that NEED to go out, my house sometimes falls below the standards I have set for it. And it’s difficult. At those times I thank my lucky stars that I’m not a full-time working mom. I don’t know how they manage to do everything, but I am so in awe of them! I’m blessed to have a wonderful, understanding husband that helps me with housework when it gets me down (even though he does work full-time!) and I ultimately try to remember that a dirty kitchen is NOT the end of the world.
I would love to be a full-time stay at home mom, able to leap tall buildings, exude craftiness from every pore, and have a kitchen-floor that could be eaten off of. But I’m not. I have dust in the corners, craft projects left unfinished, and bills to pay. But it’s okay. I have my family, my faith, and there’s not much more I could ask for!
Shaina is from the hills of eastern KY. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Carl and mom to a 14 month old bouncing toddling baby girl, praying for God’s timing for baby #2! She blogs at The Diva’s Mom.