Lisa Leonard Designs

working at home

July 2nd | older posts


After David was born I worked outside the home (about 20 hours) as a behavior/curriculum specialist with special needs kiddos. I enjoyed my job *most of the time* but felt frustrated leaving the boys at home. I started my business when David was about one year old and hoped it might enable me to work from home so I wouldn’t have to have sitters and be away as much.

I was thrilled and terrified when the business grew enough for me quit my job and stay home with the boys. But suddenly I was faced with a new reality. I still had work to do and two little boys who needed attention. I could be home with them, but I wasn’t necessarily focused on them and I felt spread very thin.

Working from home is great, but challenging as well. I am definitely aware that I can’t do it all. I have an awesome sitter who comes in two mornings a week to help with the boys and laundry. I also have some help with the business which has been an incredible blessing. Sometimes I feel like the boys and I are in a good rhythm and sometimes I want to pull my hair out.

I try to bust through emails first thing in the morning and then during nap time. When I get behind on emails I start feeling stressed, so keeping up means keeping my sanity. I set aside a few hours everyday for focused playtime with the boys. I also have to be flexible and willing to take breaks (sometimes every ten minutes) because the boys’ needs take priority over the business. When it’s time to work, I work, and when it’s time to play I clean up my work bench and put my computer away and focus on playing.

How do you juggle home, kids, work, friends and all the other demands we moms face?

27 Responses

  1. Sarah Markley says:

    probably not as well as you. sometimes i feel like we need to get OUT so i can focus on them: park time or some place like that. i leave my phone in the car, and just try to play with them. its hard at home not to be distracted.

  2. Rays Family says:

    Lisa, you should have never mentioned what you did before working out of your house, I may be emailing you for some advice.


  3. Lisa Leonard says:

    hey anne-email me any time!

  4. Heather! says:

    I read on some blog or another about one mom who would work for 50 minutes and take the last 10 minutes of the hour for emails, calls, whatnot. It is a juggle being at home with small ones. I think the hardest part is that it changes as they get older, what and how they need you. I’ve always done better work at night after bedtime, so I guess that’s to my advantage.

  5. Chrissie says:

    This is the same thing I wrote about today on flipflops and applesauce! It’s SUCH a juggling act.

  6. Melissa. says:

    Only by the grace of God! :)
    Just another way you are trusting him.

  7. MotherhoodByters says:

    I’m not sure you ever just “get by”. You just have to manage or rearrange all of the demands, and hope above all, that you get through it with some sanity still intact. It’s that hardest thing in the world. Sometimes it’s like wrestling with smoke, you can see it, but to get a physical hold on it is impossible.

  8. Forever Greatful to be a Wife and Mommie says:

    I get overwhelmed so easy! I’ve found that if I just focus on “today” then I don’t get as flustered by tomorrow. With that said, I do transcription for a psychiatrist from home and I hardly ever get anything done.

    I have good intentions :)

  9. Pinkalicious says:

    I am still trying to find the answer to this one myself. I am convinced there is no answer. I just try to take in a moment each day, reminding myself that my daughter is only going to be this age, this stage, just once and I better enjoy it. She’ll remember going to the park, the zoo, the pool, McDonalds, and love every minute of it. She’ll never remember how clean our house was or how elaborate dinner was. I just remind myself of that.

  10. spear-britney says:

    I, too, work from home
    and have quickly learned the art of asking others for help. It’s not always easy to admit I am not super-mom/wife, but I’ve learned the importance of being humble enough to admit I can’t do it all on my own. Not that I always am, but I know it’s important.
    Great post!

  11. nicole says:

    I have kiddos close to your kids ages, 6 & 4.5. My younger is also a special needs kid…deaf. Somedays it is hard to accomplish anything but I have to remember this i s a good life and this is the life God gave me so I try to relax and enjoy the moments. The fun and crazy moments and try to get a task or two done in between the moments.

  12. Beth and Jared says:

    I haven’t ever left a comment before, even though I read your blog regularly and have ordered 2 necklaces from you. (i love them~!) I had to comment on this post, though, at times it is so overwhelming being a mom. It is hard not to feel that I am lacking in at least a few areas. I sometimes feel like I will never get anything done and that my kids are going to grow up neglected because I am too busy trying to GET everything done. I have to just tell myself that I am doing the best that I can and leave it at that. We moms are always the hardest on ourselves, always thinking of how we could be better. I just always try to put my kids first, because in the end, they are what will matter the most.

  13. caliconurse says:

    I am a mother of 4 boys-my oldest is 25,my next is 10 1/2 and has down syndrome and then I have a 9 year old and 7 year old. I am a registered nurse and a few months ago I went part time and I’m working evenings. I’m really really trying to make this a fabulous summer for them and that has meant working less and being home and in the moment so much more. I also do homecare and I’m hoping to go all summer without doing that so I can just BE with them. I believe for me/us the situation is a constant juggle depending on what’s going on in life. Good luck…trying is half the battle I feel.

  14. Camille says:

    Oh, I have this same juggling act, and I know exactly where you are coming from. I used to think working from home would be easier than working outside the home, but some days I’m not so sure. I just keep plugging along, and do the best I can. One thing that has definitely benefitted from my business is my boys. They are so good at figuring out things to do on their own, safaris in the back yard, coloring, building things out of legos. As long as it isn’t too much time, I think the time they are on their own, entertainment wise, is really good for them.

  15. Sasha says:


    I don’t know how you mom’s do it. I teach 6th grade, am married and have only a dog and cat. I am in awe of all my parents and how they do it. I can not yet imagine coming home after working and immediately going into another job: being a mom. I guess you just do what you have to. Just the same, I think all moms are amazing. Some day I will tackle that part of my life, but for now, mom’s are on a pedestal for me!

  16. Ann says:

    A lot of multi-tasking and doing things late at night. I have four children, one of whom is medically fragile/chronically ill and I work full time outside the home. I rely on the help of my husband, my sister and my son’s nurse and I’ve also learned to function on very little sleep! It is tough to be a parent under any circumstances, but it’s even tougher when you have to juggle the demands of a child with special needs. It sounds like you are doing a fabulous job!


  17. heather says:

    Lisa, thank you for this post! It is nice to be reminded that I am not the only one who struggles with working from home.

    The only thing I have learned is to just take one day at a time…and to remember to remind myself: some days will be easy, some days hard, but both are a blessing because I am home with my little boy.


  18. Deborah W says:

    I hear ya! I work at home also, but I’m an empty-nester now. However, I’ve found that instead of concentrating fully on my work, which I can do now, I have extended my “mom” care to other people around, like my niece and her two little boys! I guess it’s just in our nature, once a mom, always a mom! I need to be able to spend part of my day nurtering people. So, yeah, I’m still in the juggling act, too!

  19. Stephanie says:

    You seem to do a much better job at it than I do. I work part-time outside the home so that makes it a little easier but it’s hard to do email, calls, etc. when the kids are pulling on your leg.

    I usually give my daughter a project to work on or suggest something she play with while I’m busy. That usually works.

  20. Baysmom3 says:

    I was unorganized before Baylee & CdLS and continue to be so today. I’ve learned to deal with it with the very basic advice “Don’t sweat the small, because it’s all small stuff”. It helps me to keep perspective when I get stressed about all the things that need to be done and all the things I think I should be doing for Baylee. At the CdLS conference there was a wonderful presenter that reminded of us of all the things we already do as parents of children with special needs, and I think everyone there came out with a new perspective on having better balance in our lives. Most of all, we realized we had to leave the guilt behind. Life is too short to feel guilty about our inadequacies and what we don’t get done.

  21. Simply Me Art says:

    Lisa, Frequent Reader of your Beautiful Blog. I am also a working at home mom and I too try to juggle everything. I get up very early to handle emails,flickr uploads and blogging. I work when I can thru the day. With Summer it has been rather difficult cuz there are activities with the kids. Mine are older so there is more indipendent time but I still want to do as much as I can with them. Evenings are after dinner,dishes and nightly chores, listing items into my shop.Then after they go to bed, I get the chance to blog around and see what everyone is up too. It is difficult to juggle the demands of life. My BlackBerry has made a huge difference too in the email returning.. LOL,Have a wonderful July 4th with your Gorgeous family…Jamie

  22. MyAwesomeOliveShoots says:

    I work from home during the school year but my boys are in school usually at the same time. During the summer, I try to work less hours so I can spend time with them. It is a hard juggling act. I also found that I needed some work boundaries and I hired an organizational consultant. She had a very frank conversation with me about how many hours I was working and I made some very necessary adjustments. It was difficult in the begining but turned into a big blessing.

  23. Carolina Mama says:

    Happy 4th! Thanks for sharing. It’s a juggling act.

  24. katarinas mama says:

    Keeping all the balls in the air is indeed an art form…I know, I’ve dropped many when I worked outside the home and continue to drop them as a SAHM!! I think the key is to focus on our little ones and take time to enjoy the tiny moments we have…they grow up too quickly…and you’re doing an amazing job!

  25. Joyful Weddings & Events says:

    Oh, I am so there right now. Just trying to figure it all out as a new mom and a business owner. Just wanted to let you know that our conversation at lindsey’s party was so encouraging to me- understanding that it is okay, and necessary, to get help. Thanks for that!

  26. NielsNadja says:

    I found a book that helped me a lot. I bought it because the title sounds like what I try to be every day (“Busy but balanced” by Mimi Doe).
    Some days are still stressful and hectic but now I’m working on it :o))))
    Greetings from Germany!

  27. Margaret McInnes says:

    hello sounds like my world two boys and I am a jeweler as well it is a tough job to do with little ones because the materials are not child friendly so there is always clean up and wrangling of little ones around the bench. I find I e-mail in the morning set up for afternoon work and then leave the house to play (woods,beach or park) then when lunch is finished the guys have quiet-ish time and I work as quickly as possible I try to wrangle some time in the evening (when daddy is available)for the loudest parts and then do finishing work when the boys are in bed. Some days are better than other! I try to remember to be happy with the little successes and that “this too shall pass” and I might miss it!
    Sounds like you are doing a great job:)

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