A day in the life of a work-at-home mom

The great debate: to work or stay home? West Michigan moms share their stories.

Michelle and her family
Michelle and her family

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) We know parenting is hard work, but there remains the debate — is it harder to be a working mom, a work-at-home mom, or a stay-at-home mom? We know there isn’t an easy answer, it just depends on the day! We asked some West Michigan moms to chronicle a typical day with their kids to show just how tough being a mom really is. Here is Michelle’s story:


Working from home has been a blessing. Being able to do what I love on my terms is great for flexibility as a parent. It has its perks, but it can also be stressful.

I am married with two children, Dexter (6) and Wrenly (3). I  have a photography business, Michelle Corrine Photography, that includes a newborn photography studio in my basement. I also go on location shoots for one year, maternity, and family photographs.

Michelle at work in her photography studio
Michelle at work in her photography studio

Recently I sold a hair salon I owned for 12 years and worked at for 20. I was full time until I had kids. My husband and I decided it was smarter to not have to pay so much in child care. I kept cutting my hours more and more until I finally decided to sell. Photography made more sense since I could schedule easily around my children and had less responsibility being in charge of a business.

Right now, I do photography part time, three days a week. My son goes to kindergarten and my daughter goes to Goddard School full time two days a week, and one day a week with Grandma.

A common morning for me looks like this:

Most mornings I wake up to my three-year-old’s feet in my face. I quietly get out of bed and try to sneak into the bathroom to get ready so I don’t have to fight my husband for space to brush my teeth. Hair goes in a top knot and I go to my six-year-old’s room to wake him up for school. I throw an outfit to him so he can dress himself and grab two waffles and slide them into the toaster. I make sure Dex is dressed and pour him some milk. My husband is already in the shower getting ready for work.

Since Dex is pretty much good to go, I get Wren out of bed and plop her in the living room to eat while watching cartoons. I grab an outfit for her and she dresses herself. At this point, I am still in pajamas. I get dressed and slap on some make-up. Luckily my attire for shoots is yoga wear.

Wrenly, 3 and Dexter, 6
Wrenly, 3 (left) and Dexter, 6 (right)

If I didn’t pack lunches the night before, I decide Dexter will have hot lunch at school, pack his two snacks, and pack Wren’s lunch and label it for preschool. In my head, I am telling myself, “Was everything I packed nut free? Okay, okay, I am good.”

The kids brush their teeth and Wren gets a ponytail. I grab their backpacks, hats, coats, gloves, boots, and put them by the door. My husband kisses everyone, brings the garbage to the end of the driveway, and heads off to work.

I go downstairs to my photography studio to start my space heater before the shoot. When photographing newborns, the room must be toasty! I run back upstairs and ask the kids to start getting ready to leave while I throw dishes in the sink and turn off the TV. Everyone is ready to get in the car. Hallelujah! It takes another few minutes to get them both in their car seats.

I drive to the bus stop and chat with the other parents, my few minutes of adult banter to get the morning going. Dex gets on the bus. Yay! One down, one to go! I drive Wren to preschool and kiss her good-bye. I’m home free!

Editor’s note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of WOTV 4 Women, its staff and/or contributors to this site.

RELATED STORY: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A STAY-AT-HOME MOM

RELATED STORY: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WORKING MOM

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