Cecily has been working in marketing, PR, and event coordination for over fifteen years. Since 2008, Cecily has used her highly successful blog and social media presence as well as her influence and access to create social media campaigns and blogger outreach projects for multiple organizations. In addition, Cecily does Social Media 101 and Momosphere 101 presentations to organizations, and speaks extensively about social media at conferences. And her hair is really awesome.
Tell us how you came to be a WAHM, Cecily - did you work at home prior to having your daughter, Tori?
No. My husband has been working as a freelancer off and on for over 20 years, and has been working from home since 2002, but I didn't become a freelancer until a year after Tori was born. I tried to keep the job, but every day I left Tori at home killed me a bit.
What's your childcare situation - and how did you come to that decision?
By the time Tori was eighteen months old, it was clear she was a little bored with us. So we started her in a local church's "Parent's Morning Out" program, from 9-12 three mornings a week. This went so well that a year later we went to five mornings a week. Then just this winter we went to 9-3 five days a week; once Tori gave up her afternoon nap, we were finding it very hard to actually get work done. Now she loves school. This fall she'll be doing a long day again.
How does your daily schedule work?
My husband and I are NOT morning people. Because we're both home, we alternate who gets up with Tori every morning. My day typically begins, work wise, after Tori has gone to school, although I do usually check email and check in on Twitter, of course, before starting to actually work.
What's the most challenging aspect of WAHM-dom for you?
Probably time management. I have a difficult time making the best of my time.
Since you and your spouse work from home, you spend a lot of time together, how is that in terms of your relationship?
Challenging. Mostly our parenting relationship is fine, although sometimes I feel like my husband "gives in" to Tori's manipulative behavior more than I like. Other than that, we're fine. Personally, we need quality time alone together; hiking, hanging out in the city, something like that. We don't get nearly enough of that.
I'm guessing you're a pajama worker. Am I right?
I'm in my nightgown right now. Admittedly, I've only been up for a half hour or so.
What are the biggest benefits that you perceive from being a WAHM?
The freedom and flexibility, by far. The ability to not work with people I don't like. The lack of staff meetings.
You are completely entrenched in social media as a widely sought after social media consultant. How do you disconnect (or do you?) - and how do you maintain a personal and professional identity when they are often one in the same?
I don't know, honestly. I'm still figuring this shit out. I'm going camping this weekend, and it will be the longest I've been away from a laptop in, well, years. But I'll still have my iPhone. Disconnecting feels scary to me, like losing an arm. But I know that I need to get better about the time I spend in social media, and focus that time on other things.
What do you perceive as the most misunderstood aspect of working from home?
The cash flow. I am constantly working hard, yet constantly waiting on paychecks. People don't realize that companies often sit on their invoices from subcontractors, and I've had to wait 60 to 90 days for payment on work I've done. This makes balancing your budget impossible.
Secondly, a lot of people get impatient with me when I talk about money and suggest that I should just "get a job." But the truth is, the work I do pays very well, and finding comparable pay in this economy as an in-house employee is impossible. Trust me, I've tried.
Looking back, what advice might you give yourself when you started working from home? What advice can you offer other moms who are finding the balance to be challenging?
Don't join Twitter. It eats up my whole day.
Really, though, I'd just say try to have a schedule. I feel like I've gotten worse at managing my time instead of better. I could easily increase my productive time with better discipline.
What's been the biggest tool to making your life more organized as a WAHM?
Using a calendar. Stupid, I know, but I have only recently gotten diligent about using it.