Ever wondered how to work from home with a new baby? Lara from Frankie & The Lamb is here to share a snippet into her daily routine with son, Luther and the board game of motherhood.
Working from home with a baby has its challenges. Predictably, your supply of disposable time diminishes to near zero as soon as your little tot arrives. But oh, for a routine! If there was only some semblance of a routine, and you knew when your chances were coming, it might be easier; but baby clearly didn’t get that memo. In fact, for one particularly enchanting week my baby boy decided that he was far too grown up to nap. He was only 12 weeks old! I can hardly imagine the energy he’ll have as a toddler…
That said, this week we’ve had a routine. Well, up to a point. We’ve had a routine right up until 11.30am, but after that it’s anyone’s guess what the day may bring. 5.30am we wake hungry so we breastfeed and have a nice cuddle in bed. I have a ten minute window to make a cup of tea and put some laundry on/speed unload the dishwasher/go for a wee while he stares at the light coming through the curtains. Then play ensues from about 6.15 until 8am. I then bath him for half an hour, including a bit of soporific baby massage, then we have a long feed during which I’ll make shushing noises for so long that I often end up dribbling onto the pillow. Once he’s relaxed and released his grip on my finger, I grab my iPad and answer emails, write a blog post (yes, he’s feeding now) or do research for an illustration (this week it’s been medieval alchemy), hoping all the while that he’ll sleep for two hours that seem to have become the norm this week.
Two whole hours – brilliant! Now you have a choice to make: do you shower at breakneck speed, scoff down some cereal, throw on some more laundry and start to clear up the pit of horrors into which your home appears to have morphed despite the fact that your little angel cannot even yet walk; or do you make a cup of tea and sit down to do some drawing?
More often than not, the drawing has taken a back seat as I felt a messy home was a surefire indication that I was losing at the board game of motherhood; that I had failed to pass GO, would not collect £200, and might even be sent directly to jail. But in a year, or even a week’s time, I’m not going to remember a day of dirty mugs/unwashed hair/weetabix for lunch but I will remember, and will still have my art. Messy art isn’t happening right now, because I simply haven’t got the time to get out paints and play with them. But I have become more focused and far more creatively efficient. I haven’t got days or even weeks of fiddling and musing on ideas. If it’s an editorial it needs doing fast, so that’s how I have to work.
Finishing off pieces I’ve started or meeting deadlines can find me bouncing Luther on one arm and trying to work with the other (intermittently) free hand. Or singing at him whilst he stares up at me as I try to draw the wing that I had hitherto failed to notice that the poor dragon was missing. I’ve worked standing up with him in a sling, in bed whilst he sleeps on my lap… anything that can possibly keep him peaceful and me productive.
As soppy as it sounds, my art has taken on far greater meaning with Luther in my life. I’m endlessly creating artwork for him – for his nursery or baby book. I’m reflecting the my joy at having him in my life. He has inspired me to launch a new series of nursery prints under the label Pickleberry Bean. I’ve always been fond of nicknames – the husband has loads, and Luther has even more! I’ve illustrated a number of pet names that we use for Luther and that other parents also tell me that they use. The illustrations are cute but engaging and designed to appeal to adults and children alike. Each one has been Luther-tested and approved!