The fact that I get to be friends with so many passionate, creative, and driven mommas is a BLESSING. Andrea checks all of those boxes! Andrea and her husband Bryan relocated to Colorado from Austin, Texas in September of 2018. Andrea is a newcomer to the work-at-home momma role and is learning to do it after moving to a new city, which has to be HARD! Andrea is momma to two super-cute boys Jaden (5) and Owen (2).
This girl has creativity coming out of her ears and I’ve loved watching her develop J+O Designs! J+O Designs is a hodgepodge of various roles and responsibilities. Primarily, it is a consulting business for eCommerce sites with a specialization in Shopify. She is a Shopify partner and frontend developer, so she has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to running an online store on this platform. She also runs a small Etsy shop of the same name. The Etsy shop is her passion. She is a sucker for a good graphic tee, so she started designing her own. She works with heat transfer vinyl and she loves it so much! She calls it her “side hustle to my side hustle,” but it gives her a creative outlet which is so important to her. Andrea took some time to sit down and answer some questions about what is like to be a work-at-home momma and I hope it encourages all of you out there to pursue your dreams and do what you love!
When did you decide to start working at home and why?
Andrea: This is my first time to work-from-home. At the time of our relocation, the company I was working for wouldn’t allow full-time employees to work remotely, but they would put me on contract as a consultant which is how I got my start with J+O. It’s been a real blessing to be able to be home with my boys for the first time while still helping to provide for our family financially! It’s been hard and a MAJOR adjustment, but right now this is what is best for our family- me being home with our boys.
Talk to me about moving your business to a different state – what has that been like?
Andrea: Well, for the part of my business that is thriving the most right now, I didn’t really start until we got to Colorado. It’s been HARD! I’ve been praying for a really long time that I could stay home with our boys. Jaden just turned 5 – I mean, I’ve been praying a REALLY long time, but it never felt right. But beginning to work in a totally new capacity plus adjusting to being a stay at home/work at home momma has been a little bit like riding a roller coaster without a seatbelt for me. We are almost 4 months into being here and I can now say that we are finally starting to settle into a bit of a groove.
What’s been the hardest part of being a work-at-home momma?
Andrea: Knowing when to work and when to just be present with my kids has been huge. Knowing when to turn work off was an adjustment for me since I had always worked full time. I found myself dropping my kids to jump on anything work needed. Disciplining myself to not do that and has been a huge step to making working from home more successful for me. We all cried a LOT when I first started working from home. It’s getting better!
What is one piece of advice you would give to a mom out there who is scared to step out and work-at-home?
Andrea: GO FOR IT!! I would say to know your strengths and weaknesses and tendencies in work and to walk into an opportunity to work from home KNOWING those. I was fully UNAWARE of my tendency to drop my whole life to work – or that I was a workaholic. I am good at what I do. However, I let work define me and fulfill me in places that needed to be defined and fulfilled with Jesus. It’s been a painful lesson. But I think knowing where you excel and where you struggle and making a plan to address those during your day is huge. I have a journal that I write in every morning. It’s a bit like bullet journaling. I write down my top three each day and try my best to accomplish those things.
What would you say to a mom worrying about feeling guilty for working instead of focusing their time 100% on their child?
Andrea: Ahhh. Mom guilt. Bless. I struggled with this a LOT. Every woman is different. I could not be a stay at home mom. It would be so terrible. Our family would crash and burn. I need mental stimulus and challenge, and more than just joining a moms group. I need to be needed and counted on in an adult capacity – not just making sandwiches and wiping bottoms. I mentioned earlier that I prayed for a really long time to find work I could do at home while staying home with my kids. My oldest is 5 and this is the first time in his life that I’ve ever been able to stay home with him. We had our own groove for that, me working full time, and we’ve found our groove for me working part-time from home.
I think with time that you figure out what works best for you and your family. Every family is different. But also, I would say that you can’t pour from an empty cup. If you come across an opportunity that excites you and fills you up, or even if you just need the extra income, it’s ok to find your joy and your passion somewhere other than in your kids. They know you adore them. They feel secure and loved and cherished. In my case, I love building websites. I love designing t-shirts. It fills me up. When I’m filled up, even if it is work, I have more to offer my family. You will find what works for you!
When do you find time to do the work?
Andrea: This one is hard. Every day is different. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday while my oldest is at preschool, I can get a LOT done at naptime. On days that he is home, it is hit or miss for sure. A lot of days, I will wake up before them to get some work in and if (and only IF) I need to, I put in a few hours at night after they go to bed.
What do you find is your biggest obstacle as a work-at-home mom?
Andrea: Time management is probably my biggest issue. I am so ADD. I can literally have 5 things going at once. I spend so much time bouncing around that I don’t have time left over to really focus on building my business, getting clients or learning new trends to make my business more successful. This is where the journal I mentioned earlier comes in handy.
Andrea’s Etsy shop for J+O Designs opens with new designs TODAY! She is also offering OrdinaryMomma.com readers a 20% off discount for the next week! Use the code MOMMA20 to receive your discount! Also, if you need any custom orders made, be sure and reach out to Andrea – she would love to work on your project!