I’m super excited today!
On Monday I thought, “hey, it would be so awesome to interview Work From Home Moms now that I have first hand experience in how crazy tough it is”…any work that needs to be done between changing your boss’s nappies, is going to be difficult me thinks.
I sent out a message into the social networking sphere asking if any moms would be willing to chat to me between their spa days and personal trainers (HAAAAAAAAAAAAAA they wish) between the school drop offs and stock taking rather, and the response was overwhelming.
Today I start with Mandy from Pregnant in Cape Town and Ever After, I love her blog and her supermom series and was really thrilled that she agreed to chat to me…here is what she has to say.
The former PR exec whose hair makes Rapunzel jealous, works from home as a freelance writer with her bundle of joy Charly and like me she is lucky enough to have her mom help out with the baba
Tell us about your family.
Brett and I were married on our 7 year anniversary because we wanted to start trying for a family. One month later exactly we fell pregnant with our honeymoon baby 🙂 Charlotte Rose (Charly) was born a teeny weeny 3.19kgs on 10 February 2014. She is now a scary smart little action madam, who is happiest wearing a tutu and gumboots, running full pace and kicking a ball or “reading” a book out loud to anyone who will listen. My mom is an integral prt of our little family as she “works” for me by taking care of Charly 4 days a week from 8:30 – 3:30 (excluding nap time when Miss C only sleeps with me); we are incredibly lucky to have her here. The timing worked out perfectly as her company changed locations out of her range and I realised there was no way I could continue working at home while taking care of C on my own; so we made an arrangement that gives her the financial freedom to not have to go in search of a job and I don’t have to worry about my daughter for a second. Winning all around. Brett, Charly and I live in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town with our two cats, Trigger and Gizmo.
Why did you become a work from home mom?
I was headhunted a few short months before my wedding to work at incredibly busy PR agency. I adored the job and the people, and we worked incredibly long hours under intense pressure, which was fine at the time. I found out I was pregnant at 5 weeks and resigned a week later. The long hours and stress weren’t good for me or baby and I always planned to work from home when I became a mom. I am a writer first and foremost and one of my previous clients insisted they wanted to be my first client the second they found out I was freelancing, so they signed a retainer and I was officially a business owner with my own client getting paid to do what I love 🙂
What was the most unexpected part of becoming a wahm?
I love that I get to keep my mind stretched and engaged and I get to practice my writing and editing skills; and I am loving even more helping small businesses get out there and build their brands more effectively. I have always been incredibly dedicated and focused. At the same time, I love spending time with my daughter and knowing that she knows she always comes first. The unexpected part for me is how much I struggle to do both effectively at times; feeling like I’m never quite focused on one or the other. I have always been great at multitasking and splitting my focus without being distracted, but being a sleep deprived mommy seems to have messed with that superpower. While WAHMs definitely have many of the benefits of a SAHM and working mom, we also definitely have all the worst of both too.
What has been the hardest part?
Focusing enough to be able to deliver high quality work without falling asleep on my keyboard. Tied closely with balancing my time with big blocks of time taken up with my relationship with my baby. I stop no matter what the deadline or how engaged I am in the process, to visit with her if she needs it, to “come see mama”, to calm a bad tantrum, to give her kisses or play a game of hide and seek, to breastfeed her and settle her for her nap when she is ready between 11 and 12 and then I have to stay next to her until around 1:30 (because she wakes often to check if I’m there and won’t sleep if I’m not). I work on my phone so it’s not the end of the world, but it can be very disruptive.
What is the most rewarding part?
I don’t miss anything. I’m there for every milestone, every accomplishment, every new word, every nap, every giggle. Even if I’m in the next room I can get to her if she takes a fall or gets a fright or just needs her mommy. I am so lucky to have that.
I also don’t work on Wednesdays. My mom can’t be here and I can’t work when she’s not here, so Wednesday is Charly and mommy day. I love that I can choose to do this and be there for her!
What is your day like?
Charly still wakes at least every 90 minutes all night, but she mostly (on a good day) only gets up for the day just before 7. We wake daddy and head downstairs about 7:30. While Brett makes me toast and coffee (yip, I’m that lucky) and Cs fruit and cold meat and sometimes toast; C and I cuddle a little.
Once she goes into her highchair in front of Curious George for breakfast around 8, zombie mom drinks coffee and starts her work day by checking mails and messages online on her phone.
My mom arrives at 8:30 and I head upstairs to my home office. I start with client work or PiCT posts (on feature days)nor deadline stories for other publications, and I do that until Charly demands a visit around 10:30. I stop for a cup of tea and a cuddle or a story, and then she plays with granny again until she comes and tells me it’s time for her nap. I then continue working on my phone, checking mails and usually writing for PiCT.
At 1:30 my mom comes and sits with her (coz if she wakes then she has slept long enough), and I head down and prepare lunch for myself and sometimes Charly too bad if there is prep needed. If she wakes we eat together, if she doesn’t I go back to work around 2 and my mom feeds her after some mommy cuddles.
From 2-3:30 I try to focus fully on PiCT work for my series or giveaways, the things that take research and contact and in depth writing.
It’s then mommy-Charly time from 3:30-4:45 when daddy comes home. Daddy spends about 10 minutes catching up with his girl and then preps dinner and puts it on bits then family time until around 6:30 when we sit down together and eat.
Bathtime around 7, family story time and then I feed miss C to sleep. Once she’s out I log back into my phone and check my mail, social media platforms and do some writing.
Sometimes there is some mommy-daddy time, other times we both work and yet other times I pass out right alongside Charly to start the cycle all over again 🙂
Tell us about your business.
I create content for businesses, everything from blog posts to journal columns to newspaper articles to website copy and advertorial and and and..
I also do some proofreading and editing if I find projects I am passionate about, like the awesome entrepreneur business advice book that just went to print 🙂
I am also passionate about helping small brands; particularly mom-owned businesses and blogs. I use my PR and Marketing experience, my love of consistency and attention to detail to help look at their brand identity and whether they are sharing the story of who they are and what they do effectively.
I have just taken on another big project, but that announcement is not quite ready to be made… I will be sharing it all soon enough 😉
Where did business idea and name come from?
The business idea was easy; I took what I was best at, looked at what parts of that I loved and focused on that. My blog has also given me the freedom to practice and stretch myself and my skill set and I am loving being able to use these new skills to help others.
Haha, since I am my brand I decided to keep the name simple as Mandy Lee Miller and I added a .com to make it official. I love my married name and all its Ms and Ls 🙂
What sets you apart?
I am not only passionate about what I do; I am exceptionally good at all of it.
By focusing on what I love, I have been able to constantly improve and expand in specific areas, which means I don’t get bored and wake up every day excited to get going (even when I’ve had no sleep the night before).
I also practice what I preach; I write and edit every single day for my own brand Pregnant in Cape Town & Ever After. I have also just done a complete brand review of my own and have seen phenomenal growth in a very short time.
Where do you see it going?
I hope it stays exactly on track as it is! I love the direction I am growing, expanding more into parenting writing for other brand and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about my new venture… No really, I can’t tell you no matter how much I want to!! It’s of the bounce up and down, squeeeeeee level of excitement though.
YOU CAN GET IN TOUCH WITH MANDY