Work, Life, Baby……..Can We Really Have It All?

Author: Boho

Work, Life, Baby

As women we are often told that in this modern society we live in, having it all is now possible. The dream Job, The dream man, the dream family……yes the dream life. However I am here today to discuss the fact and question if we really can have it all.

Dexter is now 6 weeks old and I go back to work in exactly 4 week time, if I’m totally honest with you I wish I had longer. Being self-employed is never going to be easy when you are bringing up children, and I knew this when I got pregnant. I love my work and I am incredibly proud of how I have built up my business over the last 5 years. However I was never ever prepared for just how much Dexter would steal my heart.


I’m not going to lie to you, I wish I could take much longer off to spend with him properly, everyone tells me how quickly they grow up and it seems to be true, he has changed so much in the last few weeks, I can only imagine this will carry on and his development will get even quicker. As much as I am totally career minded and Boho weddings and now A Boho Life has been my baby for the past few years, now this little baby of mine is all I can think about.
I have begun to feel jealous of other women with normal 9-5 jobs who have the standard 9 months off, who have left their jobs in the hands of someone else and haven’t had to think about work since their baby was born.
I’m not saying I never want to go back to work, I guess I just wish the 3 months I allowed myself was longer!

Before I had Dexter I had this rose tinted view that my maternity leave would be spent backing cakes, going for long walks, honing my photography skills, doing all those things I never had time for before I had him, after all I had 3 months off.
The actual reality of this has been pretty different. From Dexter being 1 week old I was back at my desk answering emails. Yes I have employed someone to cover my work while I am off, however my working day used to be 70 hours a week and Bran is only covering 20 hours a week…….so you see there is still much for me to do. As much as I have streamlined both blogs while I have been off to bring down the work load, there is still much admin for me to do, submissions to take in and organise, social media to stay on top of, endless emails……general stuff that only I can do that keeps the business ticking over.
Because of this I have felt that my maternity leave so far has been spent in a constant juggling act….while at the same time a massive guilt trip!


When I’m working I feel guilty that Dexter is sat next to me asleep, and when I am out with him doing baby stuff I am thinking about when I can get back to my desk to answer my emails. I constantly beet myself up for being a bad mother and then worry that the blogs are going downhill as I am taking time away from them.

However as time goes on and Dexter gest older I have come to realise that no matter what I do, I will still feel guilty! People have told me that it’s natural and that as working women we can only do our best!
OK so I may not be baking cakes, but I am building and maintaining a business, a business I hope one day my son will be able to see is what mummy has done all on her own. I hope my work ethic will rub off on him and make him proud of me.


I will also admit that there have been times over the last few weeks that I have considered jacking it all in. As I have got more and more frustrated with myself I have wondered if it’s all worth it, could we live on Nik’s wage alone so I could actually be a proper mother and look after my son as a full time job? Looking at nurseries and discussing child care arrangements has left me feeling guilty yet again, why leave my baby with strangers when I could be looking after him myself?
However that just isn’t me, I’m a worker and I always have been. I enjoy my job, it makes me more than a mother, it make me me! The money I bring in gives us a certain life style, it will give Dexter the things he needs and it makes me happy! My mother always worked and she worked hard, and I believe that it is as important for a women to go to work as it is a man.

So my question is as women can we have it all? Can we have the job, the family, the social life…………my answer is yes we can, but with it comes compromise and a whole load of guilt thrown in!
We have to wear so many hats and be all things to all people.

I’m not going to apologise for posting pictures of my son on the internet, after all to me he is the cutest most gorgeous thing in the world ever. I’m not going to apologise for writing more baby posts on the blogs, after all I’m a mother now and no matter how much I fight it, being a mother is now part of me. However I am still career minded, I still think about work when I get up to do the 3 am feed, I still need to answer emails each day, and there are days I won’t see my son as much as I would like because mummy needs to go to work….not just for the money but because that is who I am!


What I need to do now, and what I’m sure so many women need to do, is to stop beating myself up about it! We can’t be everything to everyone, but we can do our best at being the best we can be. I may not be baking cakes but I am splitting my time between work and baby the best I can.
So when I go back to work properly in a few weeks’ time I’m going to do my best not to feel bad about it but count my blessings that I can do both! That I have the luxury of two lives. Work Kelly, and Mummy Kelly………oh and of course wife Kelly, friend Kelly and daughter Kelly………it all just takes a bit of juggling and a whole lot of companies thrown in!


So what do you think? Are you a working mum? How do you find it? or are you a stay at home mum?
I would love to hear your thoughts and if you have any advice on how to incorporate the two then please let me know, I need all the help I can get!


Big Boho Love 

Kelly xx


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  1. Jo

    Great post Kelly. Your comment about being a “proper mother” and looking after Dexter full time definitely hit home with me and is something I can wholly relate to. It is taking a lot to get my head around the fact that just because I will be going back to work full time after Baby T arrives does not mean I am not going to be a “proper mother”!
    Stay at home mums, part-time working mums, and full-time working mums are all still proper mums! They are all just trying to do the best they can for their own situations.
    I have always heard parents talk about that feeling of guilt that starts as soon as you’re pregnant and stays with you for at least the next 20 years or so, if not forever! I think I’m starting to realise they weren’t overreacting….oh heck Xx

  2. Laura Babb

    I am not hugely qualified to comment, as I don’t have children, but I do have friends and family members with small children and I would say guilt seems to be the default position for all of them, irrespective of their circumstances. Even my full time mummy friends, who haven’t had to return to work because of fortunate financial circumstances, constantly feel guilty about the choices they make.

    I think as long as you are aiming for balance between what baby needs, what you need and what your relationship needs and you’re doing the best you can, you shouldn’t worry.

  3. Sally Anne

    Great post Kelly and all so true. As you know, I have three children (your nieces & nephews) and a dog and a husband who works crazy hours!! I was fortunate enough, financially, not to need to return to work after having all three and, unlike you, was not in a job I particularly enjoyed enough to want to go back!! However, I now work 3 days a week and really enjoy it. My hours are school hours so I am still able to do school drop off/pick up etc. and be around for assemblies school shows etc. which is important to me. I love the balance I have now and it’s a great feeling dressing up for work being Sally Anne not Mummy for a few hours a week. I know that you love your job and you have worked so hard to build a successful business, it would be silly to throw all of that away. Dexter is so new still that you will feel guilty but you shouldn’t as you are doing what you do to make you feel complete and provide a good life for the three of you. I feel every day there is a compromise in my life some things have to give and you do become to realise what is important and worth worrying about and what’s not. You will get there, all will work out, it’s early days and I think yes we can have kids and work just get the balance right.
    Ooh and also get a cleaner!! I have and it’s awesome!
    Love Sal x

  4. Dom

    This is a super post Kelly, I honestly don’t know how to contribute to the discussion (not having children myself) but I do know how consuming our jobs are so I just want to say I think you are doing amazing and your little boy is so lucky. Lots of love Dom xoxoxox

  5. Sarah Richardson

    It’s the same feelings for so many of my self employed mummy friends, if I can offer you anything it’s that in the past three years as a self employed mother of two..I have learnt to do whatever you are doing at the time, do that not try to juggle. So don’t answer work calls when you have the kids and when you are at work don’t do home stuff ( hard as I walk past housework that needs attention ) I try to be as productive as possible at what I am doing in that moment. If you want to see your boy more just employ someone for a bit more, he will grow so quick so if you want to see him more do it! I think working has kept me sane, not sure the 9 months + off others get would have suited me! Good luck and here if you need a chat Xxx

  6. Kelly

    When F was between the age 2-4 I can quite honestly say she spent more time with her grandparents than us. We were setting the business up and we got nothing but stick from friends and family alike how we wern’t spending time with her.

    I do kind of regret the amount of time we spent away from her but I can honestly say it was worth it now. She is 5 and at school. We both work on the photography business so mummy or daddy take her to school everyday. We are able to attend every school assembly, play and sports day. We can even help with activities. A lot of parents at school say we are lucky to do thids and you know what, we so are. We now get to have tea alltogether when we get home from school. I would say a lot of parents don’t get t do this and then in the evening we may work for an hour on the lap top when she is in bed. Saturdays are out but grandparents want to see her.

    Working for ourselves gets the time we want with her and I know that I certainly couldn’t do this working 9-5.

    There have been a lot of tears along the way. A lot of people judging, a lot of friends lost but right now I could not be any happier.

  7. Suzanne

    Try to be at peace with your choices because only you know what is best for you and your family. If it’s not right for you in x amount of time then you could make a change.

    I work evenings from home when my boy is in bed. I have done since he was born. I often miss time that probably should be spent relaxing with my partner, sleeping, cleaning or doing nothing. It’s half exhilarating and I’m half ruined. But I like it that way because I’m driven.

    Some of the little things I have learned:
    -not to spend time re-reading my emails before I send them. Mistakes will have to be ok.
    -As I work in weddings the service HAS to be perfect so my deadlines are way long so I can guarantee I meet them.
    -I am learning to turn down work.
    -I got Wonderlist ap to help me manage my work to do list and baby to do list (one is much more fun than the other)
    -when I’m feeding my boy I am on my phone doing work every other time. The other times the phone is off and I watch him.
    -I learned not to get frustrated if he won’t sleep so I can’t work. He will always sleep eventually and I give myself over to comforting being the only job I have right there and then. Everything can wait. Having something to get back to would just drive me to frustration (this is where I get to thank myself for being kind to myself with the long deadlines).
    -dry shampoo.

    Hope these might help a bit!

  8. Julie

    Hiya Kelly, you have hit the nail on the head…you just feel guilt no matter what you do, as soon as you become a mother you suddenly become very raw with emotions and guilt is certainly one of the big ones!! I worked at Vintage and Cake the whole of last summer and found it very hard too juggle Henry as well, then we moved to Wales so I was forced to stop my business for a while so now I am a full time mummy, which I love but I still feel guilty when I feel fed up of it all and so tired etc. I will be setting my business up again as soon as I can and will be a working mummy again, so I know it from both sides…my advice is absolutely do what makes you happy, your business is something you have worked hard at and you love it, you will make it work I am sure you will and Dexter will get all the love he needs from you and your hubby no matter what you do. Guilt is silly but we just can’t help it. Go for it and if 6 months or so down the line you are thinking that you need to re think then that’s ok too. You are certainly not alone in all of your feelings on this 🙂 Lots of love xx

  9. Kelly

    Thanks everyone. Great to hear so many points of view and also lots fo great advice as well.
    It seems that as working mums we are all in the same situation and we can only do what we can. I guess we all muddle through it and in the end do teh best we can.

  10. Emma

    Hi Kelly,
    Great post – I don’t think we can sadly! I have a 6 and a 4 year old so am seeing school on the horizon for no 2 in September (which makes me sad, it has gone so quickly). I have tried to build up my wedding business whilst looking after the kiddies and to be honest it’s been exhausting as I’ve tried to put them first and thus have ended up doing a lot of night work plus I think probably slowed down the growth of my business in the process. I don’t regret it though – I have felt very lucky to be able to enjoy them for the last 6 years even though it’s been a little stressful at times – my one tip would be to stay in the moment whether that moment be being with baby or catching up on work. I am guilty of trying to sneak a peek at my emails when I should be playing dollies with my little one – or feeling guilty when I’m working because I should be with my family at weekend – which is all a waste of time and energy. So enjoy both ‘lives’ and do the best you can in each – and maybe that is how we have it all. Love your updates on your little one xx

  11. Rebecca Prigmore

    Basically its hard. As everyone else has said, try not to feel guilty. Try not to rush things either, the early bit really does fly by. With a 7 month old and 3 and a half year old, with 19 weddings this year to photograph, plus editorial shoots that pop up last minute, it’s pretty full on. I process/email/do marketing/paperwork from 7.30pm after all day with the boys plus cleaning/cooking etc etc. two days a week the eldest is at nursery, the youngest is asleep less so I am feeling mega guilty on those days getting the computer out to get on with work. I do it a bit. I do look at my phone when they are here. I feel bad about that. I don’t have any time for me. But I do spend most of my time with the boys, and as my husband works mon-fri, he has them sat if I’m shooting. Working for yourself is hard at the best of times, trying to fit it in around everything else is mega hard. I’m shattered! But I love my work. I really love that feeling that I’ve done it for myself and that I’m successful (to some degree!) and I really want them to be proud of me. So I do fun things with them, but I also do work things, and sometimes I just put the telly on for a quiet half hour. I think I’m a good mum. I hope I am. I’ll ask them in a few years. Good luck, you’ll be fine.


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