When Toby was a couple months old, and I started to work again, I was shocked to discover how hard it was to juggle everything….

We found a beloved babysitter, but when she would leave in the afternoons and Toby would cuddle up in my arms, my mind would still be whirring with tasks left undone. Instead of nabbing a few hours in the evenings to finish up work, Alex and I spent all our extra hours taking care of Toby. There just weren’t enough hours in the day to fit everything in, and I felt stretched thin–like I wasn’t doing a great job at work or motherhood. I had always prided myself on being an efficient worker who could get things done. But now I was totally overwhelmed. What had happened to me? Was I not who I thought I was? I just wanted to take a nap.

When I looked around, other moms seemed to have it down. Walking down the streets of the West Village, Toby and I would pass countless picture-perfect moms with crisp white shirts, pretty makeup and blown-dried hair (!). How were they doing it? Was I the only new mom who was floundering? I couldn’t believe that I was, but no one else seemed to be batting a mascara-ed eyelash. I desperately wanted to be a fly on the wall and see how people really managed their time with work + baby + marriage + life.

Finally, one evening at the playground, I asked a fellow new mother, a freelance graphic designer, about her specific work schedule. To my great surprise, we ended up having a hilarious talk about the ups and downs of finding balance (she admitted to getting four hours of a sleep a night and working on her Blackberry while breastfeeding). I walked home with a huge smile on my face. I wasn’t alone! In fact, maybe we were all secretly in the same boat.

Happily, things took a turn after that. I was able to take a deep breath, give myself a break, and slowly figure out a schedule that worked really well for us (which I’m still experimenting with and tweaking!).

Although people do talk overall about the juggle, I’ve never heard people talk about the actual day-to-day of how they do it, and I’m always so curious about that, aren’t you? So let’s talk! :) Let’s share openly and honestly how we structure our days with work, marriage, baby and life. Let’s reveal the ups and downs. Let’s be supportive of and gentle with ourselves and each other.

This week, while we’re in England, I’m thrilled to share a series of posts from eight working mothers (including Jordan from Oh Happy Day, Jenny from Little Green Notebook, Deb from Smitten Kitchen, myself, and others) about how they juggle their lives. I found the posts fascinating, and I hope you enjoy them. The first is coming right up!

P.S. I’m featuring women in somewhat similar situations–most of them work part- to full-time for themselves from home, live in big cities, and are married with young babies or children–because I wanted to show how these similar women have all created different schedules that work for them. Of course, there’s a huge variety of amazing mothers with different jobs, relationships, economic means and situations, but I hope these posts are helpful, relevant, and, at the very least, interesting to everyone. Thank you so much for reading. xo

Update: Here’s the full series.

(Photo of newborn Toby)