Working from Home as a Mom - A Letter from Elayne Miller
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My dear sister in Christ,
As children, people constantly asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. My answer changed at least once a year, and I envied those who were so sure of their future path. I changed my major three times from when I applied to undergrad to the first week of my freshman year. My graduate degree is unrelated to my undergrad major. My talents and interests vary widely. I thought that in order to pursue one passion, I would have to let go of other areas. Have you had these thoughts?
Let me back up a little.
I’m Elayne, a wife, mother, teacher, artist, and business-woman. I’m so blessed to be able to stay at home with my little boy, and yet I felt that I had callings outside of the home as well. I began an artisan business to fill my need for mental challenges, for stimulation, for problem-solving, for incorporating my faith into my daily life, and for community. And running my business from home has given me all of those things without taking me away from my primary vocation as wife and mother.
Working from home is not without its difficulties. I struggle to put down my work and be present to my family. Social media is a part of my work, but it’s so easy for me to start working and end up scrolling. But the big picture keeps me going – I am so lucky to be able to provide for my family inside the home and outside.
"Working from home is not without its difficulties. I struggle to put down my work and be present to my family. ...But the big picture keeps me going – I am so lucky to be able to provide for my family inside the home and outside."
My dear sister, who is happy to be home with her babies but longs to continue her education, start a business, nurture a hobby, continue with her professional contributions, or simply provide financially, I see you. I understand that the bittersweet feelings you have toward what you sacrifice are real, and do not negate the joy of the chaos in your home. You have gifts to offer the world that should not be kept hidden away!
Working from home requires a commitment to balance that is unique. If you run your own business, you may be able to choose your own hours. My artisan business is created and fulfilled during naptime or between bedtime and wake-up. If you work for an employer, you may work set hours. As an online teacher, I am required to be in my classroom at a certain time each week. No matter the circumstances, working from home is a demanding task. I believe that your talents, interests, goals, and charisms are important! They are meant to be shared in ways that bring about good, both for your family and in the world!
"I believe that your talents, interests, goals, and charisms are important! They are meant to be shared in ways that bring about good, both for your family and in the world!"
As Pope Saint John Paul II wrote in his “Letter to Artists,” (1999), “Those who perceive in themselves this kind of divine spark which is the artistic vocation…feel at the same time the obligation not to waste this talent.” In my opinion, that advice is as true for engineers and fashionistas and travel agents as it is for artists. Do you have a divine spark to a meaningful profession? Please don’t waste your talent – the rest of us are counting on it.
Ad majorem Dei gloriam,
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I'm Elayne Miller, a 29-year-old wife, mother, teacher, and small business owner. My family resides in Ohio and I'm blessed to teach Math online. I've always enjoyed creating and designing, and I launched my business, Annunciation Designs, in 2016.
What does your vocation look like on a day-to-day basis?
Day-to-day life in the Miller household is a balancing act. I work hard to give my son opportunities for growth while I myself create and learn. I cook and clean with my little assistant, and then do best to slow down and savor our family time each evening.
What prompted you to start your business? How did you navigate the early days of learning how to run your business and be at home with your kids?
My business grew out of a desire to provide for my family as I transitioned to life as a stay-at-home mom. I saw a need for modern Catholic greeting cards (and then Catholic goods) that I knew my hand-lettering could fill. The early days were complete chaos; I was completing a Master's degree, teaching part-time with a challenging course-load, starting a business, and caring for a newborn. The following year, when I was able to transition to very part-time online teaching and my business was a little more stable, I finally had the chance to figure out routines that worked for my family. I was very blessed that my husband (who was finishing a degree as well), was able to keep us above water and on the right path. I know everyone says starting a new business takes a ton of hard work, but it really can't be overstated. It does get easier!
Do you have any tips for new moms on how they can find the time to pursue a passion of theirs?
My only tip is that it is essential to make time. I sat down and wrote out all the things I do throughout each day and found a few hours a week. I used to clean like crazy during my son's nap, because it was more difficult to clean with him awake. But then when he was awake I wasn't getting anything done! So, I saw an opportunity to keep house with my son tagging along (learning!). It takes longer and might be undone the second I finish, but my son learns to play independently and I have naptime to work. Look for those opportunities!
Where can we keep up with you?
Fill in the blank
My favorite liturgical holiday is…
Easter. I love celebrating Jesus' triumph. I love gathering family. And I love that it's not a huge consumer holiday!
A saint I identify with the most is…
St. Zelie. She raised her beautiful family while working from home. I love reading more about her and her saintly family!
My favorite quote is…
'God Answered, "I will be with you."' (Exodus 3:12) God sent this quote at a time when I really needed to know He was near, and it soothes my soul. How could I worry when God is at my side?
I feel most at peace when…
My house is clean. I have so much to learn with housekeeping, but I keep trucking on, because a cluttered house leads to disorder in my thoughts!
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