Love, Groceries & Photoshop: On Design and Domesticity

mom with sign

Yes, it's true. Kelly and I are both moms. And we both earn a living doing the design thing. She has 3 children, ages 6, 8 and 10. I have a daughter who's about to turn 10 (and a grown stepson). When our kids were babies, and for a few years after that, both of us worked from home as freelancers. It was a good gig, but it had its challenges, as such arrangements always do. 

Over time, when our workload overfloweth, or the rare vacation happened, or one of our kids was in the hospital with something lodged up their nose, we began to call on each other for backup on the work front. Flight 9 Creative, our formal partnership, grew out of that mutually supportive collaboration.

All the kids are in school now, and we've compartmentalized a bit. Though we still work from home when absolutely necessary, our primary workspace is a lovely little office near both our homes. It is the oasis where we keep things organized, let the (crazy fabulous) ideas flow, and work on projects together in relative peace and quiet. Without anyone asking for a snack. Or crying. Or leaving their underwear on the floor. 

(So far.)

All About that Balance

In some ways it's a topic as beat up as a leather sofa in a prison lounge: The "work/life balance" fluff piece. Books, articles and perky discussions on Good Morning America have bemoaned the plight of women forced to do it all. It sounds pretty bad.

Is there stress? Sure. On some days, still, it often looks something like this:

I’m sorry, can you please hold on real quick? [mute]

Honey, I’m on the phone for work. I’ll be about 10 minutes. Go ahead and have a snack and get your homework started. Please don’t interrupt me unless someone’s bleeding or choking.

[un-mute] Hi. Thanks. Sorry about that. So, we were looking at the cover options …

But the more interesting story is also a far more positive one. It's the true tale of the the innovative American mom who is customizing her career to integrate and evolve with her lifestyle. Owing to technological resources and mutual supportiveness, among other things, Flight 9 is part of a growing network of mostly women-owned businesses seeded by motivated parents who no longer have to choose between the stark options of either staying at home or reporting for duty in some remote location for 9+ hours per day.

Many of our clients and personal friends fit this profile, as well. We've found that most clients have become so adapted to this business model that it's no longer taboo, even, to have moments like the one quoted above. Through cloud networking and remote conferencing, even those in more traditional jobs are often working from home to a greater or lesser extent, which has led to a collective sigh of relief now that we can all be more easily forgiven when family and work blend into the same space. We all have each other's backs, in that sense.

We believe this scenario provides great value to our clients, too. Flight 9 is no factory. We keep our schedule and our environment syncopated to a good creative flow, where burnout is never a factor and projects never get lost in a sea of imposed deadlines. We continue to love what we do, and that results in greater creativity, improved communication and better work overall.

Nothing is ever perfect. But this is pretty damn good.

- Melissa