About a month ago I introduced a new series to the blog, The Working Stay-At-Home-Mom, A Series on Balance. I am so grateful to so many of you, from around the world, who sent me encouraging words about this new endeavor of mine. More than ever, I am convinced that balance is something that so many of us Working SAHMs struggle with. Myself included.
Bea Wood has been a dear friend of mine for over a decade. We met each other before we met our husbands, and have seen each other through almost everything. She is someone I look up to as a role model – she is a firecracker; she’s ambitious as well as an amazing mom. Without further ado, I’m proud to introduce Episode Two – Introducing Bea Wood of Pilates When Pregnant
Bea, tell me about your family:
We are a three-person family. There’s a mommy and a daddy and a little 3.5-year-old Riley. We would love to spend every morning in bed reading books and laughing together. But we are a modern family with two working parents constantly juggling between devoting our time to our family, our marriage and our careers.
What you do, career wise, and how did you get started?
A friend in NYC introduced me to Pilates in 2001. At the time, I didn’t even know how to pronounce the name ‘Pilates’. From day one I was hooked and I totally fell in love with its precision and mindfulness. I didn’t want to just go to class – I wanted to teach. So I started my yearlong certification journey in 2003 and I never looked back.
I’ve been teaching private Pilates for twelve years. It’s incredibly rewarding. With each new client I learn a little more about the human body each day. I spend one on one time with my clients and together we build trust and with this trust we delve deeper into the functions of the body, exploring why we move the way we do, allowing us to correct the imbalances in our body. I really hope what a client learns in the studio empowers their day-to-day life.
In 2014 I also produced and released my Pilates When Pregnant DVD. I shot the DVD when I was 32 weeks pregnant. I wanted the viewer to see a super pregnant woman doing the workout. In hind sight (after shooting for 12 exhausting hours!) I realize I probably could have shot the DVD a month earlier and clients would still feel inspired. I thought I’d have the DVD ready to go by the time Riley was 6 months old. Talk about being a shocked and overwhelmed first time mom… (And by the way, it’s totally our right as first time parents to act as first time parents.) I finally released the DVD a few years later than I intended, but it’s totally relevant and I’m really proud of it.
Why did you decide to become a SAHM?
So, I’m technically not a stay at home mom. Am I? I’m confused. I like to tell people I’m a part-time worker and a full-time mom. So here’s how I break it down. I’m my own boss. While I long to own my own studio one day I currently rent space from an existing studio. This gives me the maximum freedom to be home with Riley. I teach in the studio 15-20 hours per week. I schedule, correspond, handle accounting, and all DVD related jobs from home, which ranges from 5 to 15 hours of ‘at home’ work a week.
I want to be the person Riley sees the most throughout the day. It’s what I had growing up. I love being at home with Riley and I love being with my clients. I knew I needed to balance both. Even though, honestly, most times I just feel like a crazy person. I don’t think it will ever feel ‘perfect’ so I remember to breathe and when that doesn’t work I eat chocolate and drink wine.
When people ask you what you do, what is your response?
“I teach Pilates and I love it. I only work part-time though. I spend the rest of my time with Riley.” Then I wonder if they think I have free time on my hands and I want to punch them.
What is the most difficult thing about being a SAHM and working from home at the same time? When do you find the time to work or create?
Being interrupted! Then feeling bad about being annoyed about being interrupted. I’m a super organized person. I like to start a task and complete the task. As a working mom I start 10 tasks a day and complete maybe 2 of them. I used to thrive off a to-do list. Now they just stress me out. The truth is, the to-do list is in my head. I really try to work on trusting myself, knowing that eventually I’ll remember everything and get it all done, if not today well then tomorrow. But boy I wish someone else could fold my laundry and empty the dishwasher!
I do my best work during Riley’s naptime. I’m awake, I’ve had lunch, and I’m relieved to have a moment alone. When I have a lot on my plate I also work in the evening but whine like a three year old. I truly hate sitting at the computer at 8pm when all I want to do is have a moment with my husband. Mind you it’s 8:06 pm and I’m typing this out as we speak. But I promise you I’m enjoying writing this.
Have your career objectives changed since becoming a SAHM?
Yes. I think so. I’m not sure. Do I have to answer this question? Owning my own Pilates studio is on the back burner. Which bums me out some times. I was a kid who liked A+’s – as an adult I like being successful. I often think and feel I should be doing more. But if I work more, what will I miss at home?
I like baking with my kid, I like going to the sand park, and I like the sweet moments that happen in just spending time together. At the same time I hate feeling bored and in truth sometimes playing with a three year old is sooooo boring. If I have to make that stupid Elsa doll sing ‘Let It Go’ one more time I’m going to…. and I was a musical theatre major in college. I mean come on!
Do you have any childcare help?
Yes. In the beginning we had a nanny only for the hours I was in the studio teaching. Sometimes when a client was out of town I got to run to the market by myself. I definitely needed and wanted more help then. When Riley turned 2.5 we split the week between a nanny and preschool. I recently changed my schedule to have a full Mommy and Riley day and I love it. So now … Monday is with Mommy, Tuesday morning is with the Nanny, Wednesday thru Friday are Preschool days, Saturday morning is special Daddy time and the rest of the weekend we spend as a family. When I’m not with Riley I’m working and when I’m not working I’m with Riley.
What are some tips you have on balancing those two roles, or keeping yourself sane? What have you found the most helpful in maintaining this balance?
4 pm happy hours and neighbors who will join you. Seriously though, learning to navigate the world as a working mom was a hard transition. How do I give to my husband, my child, my twenty clients, and my DVD business, to myself and still have energy? I’m still figuring it out. I don’t think I’ll ever get it right. It’s just like when you think you’ve figured out your kid and you’ve got the schedule just right – it all changes because kids grow and change. I can’t give less than I do. I love my family, I love my clients, and I love making people feel good. So I do my best to stay present and when I need a moment to myself I take it. I usually realize I need a moment to myself when I’ve raised my voice. I’m human, I do it, but I hate raising my voice to Riley. So when I need a moment I workout – even if only for 10 minutes, I pluck my eyebrows, I wear sexy jeans, and I call my best girlfriend and go to the movies. Not necessarily in the listed order.
Give me a brief rundown of your typical day at home with your baby, and working.
Every day is different but a typical workday is as follows:
6am – Wake up and shower before Riley wakes up at 6:30am. Snuggle, brush teeth, get her out of her diaper, pick her outfit, and braid her hair.
7:15am – Rush out the door with my coffee and breakfast in hand (which my amazing husband has made for me).
7:30am – Teach at the studio.
1pm – Eat lunch, run errands, laundry, dishes, accounting, office work. Lord I need more than 2 hours.
3:45 – Pick up Riley from school, play, park, swim class, dance class, or play date.
5:30 – Cook dinner, feed Riley, bath time, reading time.
7:45 – Riley’s bedtime.
8pm – Pick up the house, pack school lunch, respond to more emails, eat dinner with husband and catch up on our day. Then I either have the strength to sit at my desk and work again or I pass out on the couch thinking I was really going to watch the movie this time.
I fear that a single person will read the above schedule and think I have the most boring life. But Moms, with all that we do, are we not the luckiest people in the world? I’m now crying. It’s 9:06pm. Husband is not home from work yet. I can’t wait till he gets here.
Thank you to the incredible RLH Photo for the pictures, thank you for being such a huge part of this.