But What Do You Really Do All Day?

Many people seem to feel that as a stay-at-home parent or when you work from home, one would have time to sit around with their feet up, enjoying themselves. Time to volunteer at the many school functions or elsewhere, time to do all those things that people who work don't have time to do. While usually unspoken, that stay-at-home person often perceives others thinking, "But she should have plenty of time, she's home all day..." Maybe it's hard to consider it "work" when someone is still in their pajamas. Maybe the problem really is our own perceptions, that, when you're still in your pajamas, you don't feel like what you're doing is legitimate work.

I have been a stay-at-home mother since my first son was 11 months old (he's now nearly 21, so it's been a while). Let me tell you, the LAST thing you do is sit down with your feet up! When my kids were little, and there were four of them in 8 years, it was crazy. We homeschooled, each of the kids was involved in several different activities, and my husband traveled quite a bit. We were always on the go, and I loved it. While I didn't work, I worked endlessly.

Now that two of my kids are grown and have "flown the coop," and my remaining two are teens (how does that happen so fast?), I find myself in a different situation. My life has changed from stay-at-home mom to business owner, and I'm loving this, too. But, having a jewelry business is far from making a few pretty things and having people knock down the door to buy them.

The Many Hats of the Self-Employed

As a self-employed artist, one ends up learning far more than how to make pretty things. In the past few years, since I opened Korte Jewelry Designs, I have learned not only about improving my jewelry, but also about photography, photo-editing, taxes, graphic design, website design, marketing, finances and budgets, writing, blogging, inventory control, insurance, licences, art shows, social media... the list continues.

Now, I realize that not all self-employed artists work from home, and not all work-at-home people are self-employed... But I believe that the perception (whether it's our own perceptions or that of others) on how busy someone is changes once the work is moved outside the home. It's probably related to the pajamas... However, when one works from home, the work day never ends, and you are in your office the moment your feet hit the floor. This might be an explanation for the pajamas - there's just no time to change!

It wasn't until I became "self-employed" that I really realized what that truly entails, and how much time I would be spending on things outside of creating. Especially as one is starting a business, it's just cost-prohibitive to pay people to do some of these things, and you manage to find a way to accomplish it yourself. 

My Last Month

So, for the last month I've taken a step back from jewelry design and have really focused on the back-end business stuff. I now have new inventory management software that makes tracking my pieces and supplies so much easier. I have redesigned my website (again), and have learned so much about the mysteries of cyberspace, and have also improved my photography set up. I have been working to get everything ready for the show in Chautauqua Institute in a few weeks. In between all of that, I have become fascinated with the technique of chasing and repousse and have signed up for a week long course in late July.

Of course, as a stay-at-home mom as well, there's also the laundry, cleaning, cooking, shopping, errands, end of school year stuff, and spending those wonderful precious moments with my kids. Phew. No wonder I forget to change out of my pajamas!

1 comment

  1. Well said! And, now you are writing...Finally!


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