18 May 2015

Mommas Makin Moola #5: Mother and Writer

Mommas Making Moola is a new guest-blogger series about the non-traditional ways  moms can bring income into their home (outside of the 9-5 job). In this series, I will be joining forces with Swag On, Momma to feature the experiences of our guest bloggers. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, please contact me for more information.
By Breanna Olaveson

I’m 27 years old and have been building two different careers since college. But I still don’t really know what I am.

I usually say I’m a stay-at-home mom. I stay home all day, where I snuggle babies and change diapers and clean bathrooms and make dinner and fold laundry like any other mommy. I have the stretchy pants. The SUV. The works.

But I still don’t completely fit in with many of my mommy friends, because I also write articles, meet deadlines, edit photos, send emails and answer to bosses. I am frequently published online and in magazines and I recently published my very first book.

I anticipate there will be more to come. More babies. More books. More laundry. More deadlines. More time spent balancing priorities, more early mornings and late nights spent working and more afternoon play dates.

I am two halves of a whole. I am a stay-at-home mother. I am a writer.

I am both.

Becoming a writer

I've tried to identify exactly when I chose this life, but I can’t. All I know is that I always wanted to be a writer and always wanted be a mother. Fortunately for me, the two are not mutually exclusive. (This work/home balance would be impossible if I were, say, an astronaut.)

I played “Publisher” as a child while my friends were playing “School,” but I also played “House” sometimes. I read voraciously and also loved to bake cookies. I practiced my signature for the inevitable book signings in my future. I also wrote down names for my future children.

So I naturally looked toward both as I built my foundation in college. At the end of every internship, I discussed working remotely in the future and learned how to submit my pieces as a freelancer.

When I met my husband, I shared my dreams with him. As the son of a mother/business owner, he was completely on board.

I closed no doors and burned no bridges. Every door and window was left wide open.  

Becoming a mother

Some girls are born nurturers. They love babysitting and usually grow up to own day cares or teach in elementary schools. I was never one of those girls.

Never, that is, until November 13, 2011.

My Lyla was born when I was 23 years old. I’d had five different writing jobs, been married for three years and endured one heartbreaking miscarriage. I wanted that baby, loved her, prayed for her and adored her. I became a baby person when I met mine.

As it turns out, babies sleep a lot. When Lyla was born, I had no job other than caring for her and our tiny apartment. She was a dream baby who took good naps and slept well at night. Vacuuming our entire place took about 15 minutes. Even with shopping and cooking and everything else, I had a lot of time on my hands. Even though I loved my new job as a homemaker, I found myself cranky and bored more often than I liked. I needed something more to do.

Becoming both

That’s when I dusted off my childhood dreams and got started on my first book. In between research sessions at the library, I wrote little blog pieces or news stories for people who hired freelancers. I sent emails to old contacts and took any writing job that paid. The extra couple hundred dollars every month or two helped with groceries and brought the thrill of the deadline back into my life. I became myself again—only better this time, because I was a mother as well. As both mommy and writer, I became a fuller, more complete, happier version of myself.

Every year since 2012, my freelance business has grown. Word of mouth and happy clients led to more jobs, which led to even more jobs. I spend a vast majority of my time caring for my two small children, my husband and our home. I also work on the side.

Admittedly, it isn't always an ideal situation. Every day I wonder if I spent enough time with my kids or enough time on my writing. Some days my husband plays with the girls at the park while I finish up a piece on a deadline. Sometimes I don’t touch my laptop for days, just because I need more mommy time.

True to his word, my husband has been my biggest support and best friend. He helps me care for the children some nights, and I help him supplement the family income. We both have our primary jobs, and we help each other in between.

I still don’t know what to say when people ask me if I stay at home or if I have a job. I guess I’ll just tell them the truth: I do both. 
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