Work from home mom Sara Regnier is mom to two toddle boys and is the owner of Green Elephant Prints. Her shop offers printable stationery, party decor and wall art – she also does custom work as well. Sara shares how she balances motherhood and running an online business – and how she’s created a successful work from home business in almost under a year!
Did you always plan to be a WAHM? If not, what made you decide to work from home?
Not at all! It’s something I sort of stumbled upon. Before having kids, I worked in the finance department of a bank. Then the cutest little blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby boy helped me decide that I wanted to put my college degree to good use and be a full-time stay at home mom. Flash forward two years. I made the invitations and some of the decorations for my son’s birthday party in February 2012. After lots of compliments and making invitations for friends and family, I finally found the time (more like courage) to open my own Etsy shop in August 2012. It was (and still is) something I did in my free time for fun. I felt like I had found a new hobby with the perk of making a little bit of extra money. I figured “why not?” and the response has been great so far.
How long have you been a WAHM?
I started selling in my Etsy shop last August. Getting close to 1 year!
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
I have two boys ― Ryan, 3 and Blake, 1½.
What is your workstation setup like? (ie. In the kitchen, room to room, in an office/study, etc.)
I have a desk and my computer printer set up in our bedroom, but I hardly ever sit down and work there. I usually end up sitting at the kitchen counter or in the recliner in the living room. Today I’m enjoying the view from a balcony two blocks up from the beach. I take my laptop with me whenever I leave town so that I can work from anywhere.
What days/hours do you typically work?
I end up working on something almost everyday. I try limit my time on the computer to only when my kids are asleep ― during naps and after bedtime ― or when my husband is home. TRY is the key word. There have definitely been times that naps just plain don’t happen, and I put movie on to keep the kids occupied while I get some things done on the computer. A majority of my work is done late at night, like from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.
Do you have a nanny/mother’s helper while you work?
Do coffee and Disney movies count? Those are my biggest “mother’s helpers.” My mom and mother-in-law have come to my rescue several times though. Grandmas are the best.
How does being a WAHM affect your husband/partner?
Green Elephant Prints is still very small (compared to what I’d like it to be), so it’s usually pretty manageable. But when I do get overwhelmed, my husband, Tim, is amazing! There have been times on the weekends when he’ll hangout with the kids all day so that I can spend hours at Starbucks getting caught up. He also gets home from his 10-hour work days, then cooks us all dinner, and does most of bath and bed time. (I know, right?) I’m not usually working while this is going on, but it helps the kids get to bed on time so that we have our time together. He’s also there with a (friendly) swift kick in the pants reminding to stop going to bed at 3 a.m. when it happens too many nights in a row. He’s loudly snoring by that time, but I’m sure he notices the grouchiness that comes with it.
What are some of your frustrations with being a WAHM?
I can plan all I want, but when it comes down to it, the 1- and 3-year olds are really in charge. Not really, but if my boys don’t take naps one day, then there goes my chunk of time to get work done. Finding a work-life balance (even though they’re both at home) can be tough for me at times. I’ve found myself stressed out and even complaining that I had too many orders to keep up with. (I realize that this seems like the stupidest thing to complain about. That should have been exciting. I’m sure I was sleep-deprived.) Sometimes I feel like I spread myself too thin, and there just aren’t enough hours in the day, which leads to staying up until 3 in the morning, which causes a grumpy mom with no patience. I hate being that mom! Those are the days I have to remind myself that I’m doing this for FUN.
What is the single most gratifying part of being a WAHM?
It feels good to be able to contribute a small part to our family income (what I refer to as our “fun money”) without having to physically go back to work and miss out on valuable time with my kids. Wouldn’t change it for the world.
Describe a typical day in the life for you as a WAHM.
I get up around 6:00 so I can look somewhat presentable before the kids wake up. The boys usually wake up around 7:00. Then it’s a cartoon and milk for them, and coffee and checking emails for me. The rest of the day flies by ― breakfast, play (usually outside or in the playroom), snack, visit grandma, lunch, play. Nap at 1:00 for them (fingers crossed) means I get to work on any new orders I have and return emails. After nap, it’s usually snack, play, then DAD GETS HOME, the boys’ favorite time of the day. They don’t usually want much to do with me me after that, and I’m okay with it. I welcome the break. We eat dinner as a family, then it’s bath time, play, and bed around 7:00. I hang out with my husband until he falls asleep in the recliner and then I’ll get back to work. If by chance I’m all caught up, then I’m somehow able to make countless hours fly by while I nerd-out (as my husband lovingly calls it) on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Etsy. Am I the only person that does this?
What food/toys/technology/etc. could you not live without as a WAHM?
coffee, iPhone and computer for me; the playroom, TV and movies for the kids
How do you think being a WAHM has helped you and your family?
It has been a great creative outlet and a big learning experience (I’m teaching myself everything as I go). I also enjoy the communication (even if it is through a computer) with other adults after only talking to toddlers all day. The extra income has been a big help! I’m able to stay home with my kids instead of going to work. We save what I make from my Etsy shop for doing fun things as a family, like our week-long family camping trip in July and our Vegas getaway with my in-laws in August!
What advice would you give to a mother working outside the home who wants to transition to being a WAHM?
For me, being a WAHM is the best of both worlds. I’m able to be home with my kids all day while doing something I love that brings in some income for our family. It’s not always easy, but nothing worth having is, right?
What sacrifices have you had to make in order to be a WAHM?
Sleep! Sometimes I stay up until 1 or 2 a.m., and then get up at 6. Thank goodness for coffee and cute smiling faces to wake up to!
What sounds do you like to hear the most while working?
Two toddler boys can be pretty noisy during the day, so I like peace and quiet while I work! Some background noise that isn’t kid related (usually trashy reality TV or the Food Network) is good for keeping me awake during the late-night hours.
Thank you so much Sara for participating in my interview series! I really loved reading your story – you are so inspiring and a great role model for WAHM’s!
Are you a work
at home mom?
If you would like to be featured in my WAHM interview series please contact me to see if I have any openings and for an interview questionnaire.
Can’t wait to chat! ♥