A Week in the Life of a Working Mom: Communications Exec in D.C.

For this week’s installment of our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce CorporetteMoms reader Emily, who lives in Washington, D.C., and is a communications executive with a one-year-old daughter. Our usual caveat applies: Please remember that this is is a real person who has feelings and isn’t gaining anything from this, unlike your usual friendly (soul-deadened, thick-skinned, coldhearted, money-grubbing) blogger — so please be kind with any comments. Thank you! – Kat

If you’d like to be featured (anonymously or otherwise), please fill out this form! You can see all posts in this series here.

First, Some Basics about this Working Mom…

Name: Emily
Lives: In Capitol Hill, works in downtown D.C.
Job: Communications executive at a global corporation
Age: 35
Home Situation: I live in a 2,000-square-foot, 3-bedroom rowhouse with my husband (41-year-old public affairs professional) and our one-year-old daughter.  
Childcare Situation: Nanny share, 45 hours per week. Our nanny makes $23 an hour for 40 hours per week, and $34.50 per hour for anything over 40 hours. Her guaranteed weekly gross is $1,092.50. We split this with the other family in our share evenly, so we pay a little more than $500 a week.

A Week in My Life

Sunday

Baby wakes up at 7:00, we get up and have breakfast together. Go to the playroom from 7:30–9:00 or so, then get dressed and either run errands or go do something fun (playground). This latest Sunday we walked to the farmers market and CVS, then went to the playground. Home for lunch around 12:30, baby naps 1:30–4:00. We also nap during this time. I sleep longer and my husband works. Then in the afternoon we clean up the house, do laundry, give kid dinner at 6:30, she goes to bed at 7:30. We make dinner together for ourselves after she goes to bed, usually something we can have leftovers. Go to bed around 10:00 after watching TV.

Monday

I get up at 6:00, shower and get dressed before baby gets up at 7:00. I get her up and dressed while my husband makes breakfast. We eat breakfast all together, then I leave for work at 7:45. Husband stays with baby till nanny arrives between 8:00–8:15 and then he goes to work. He gives her a bath during this time. During the day they go to the park and play dates and then are home to nap from 1:00–3:00 or 4:00. From 4:00–5:30 they usually go to watch dogs at the dog park and run around. I had dinner with my girlfriends so my husband came home at 5:30 and gave the baby dinner (leftovers) around 6:00 and she went to bed at 7:00. He did laundry and picked up, did some work. I got home around 10:30 from dinner with friends and we went to bed.

We asked Emily if she makes it a priority to get together with friends: 

Yes, I do make it a priority to see friends regularly. I am super social and still need that time to feel like myself! My husband has a smaller group of friends so it works easily, we can balance pretty well — we either have a couple or two over one night, or I go out with my friends.

Tuesday

Mornings are always the same. I get up at 6:00, shower and get dressed before baby gets up at 7:00. I get her up and dressed while my husband makes breakfast. We eat breakfast all together, then I leave for work at 7:45. Husband stays with baby till nanny arrives between 8:00–8:15 and then he goes to work. We do the nanny share at our house. The other baby is six weeks younger than ours and is great. She gets dropped off at 8:00 and picked up at 5:30. On Tuesday our nanny takes the kids to story time at the library at 10:00 a.m. with some friends. She usually sends us pictures of them “reading.” They nap from 1:00–3:00. Our air conditioning broke the other day so my husband came home to meet the repairman today. He got home around 1:00 and worked from home the rest of the day. Because my husband was home, I had time to stop at the dry cleaners, so I got home at 5:45 instead of 5:30. Because we were both home before bed, we played outside for half an hour, then we actually ate dinner with the baby, which we never do, around 6:30. She went to bed around 7:00 and both of us had to get back on the computer to do work for a few hours. This is also pretty rare. Went to bed around 10:30–11:00.

We asked Emily about her work/life balance: 

I think the hardest part of balancing work and family is the perception (or pressure) that balance has to be achieved on a day-to-day basis. Some days it works perfectly, other weeks I’m across the world working 18-hour days for two weeks and miss my kid and my husband desperately and I feel totally out of whack. It’s hard to not beat yourself up for that. I think for me, being kind to myself and trying to take a long view has helped me feel like I’ve struck a good balance right now. Also, having a wonderful partner in life and parenting is an incredible gift.

Wednesday

Same morning as usual. The rest of the day was pretty typical. It was really hot in D.C. so our nanny took the kids to the splash park. She had told us the day before so we needed to get out bathing suits for them this morning. They walked down and she sent lots of pics and videos of them playing in the fountains. Very cute. Naps from 2:00–4:00. I got home right at 5:30, and my grocery delivery (Instacart from Whole Foods) was being delivered. It arrived two hours early — I usually get it around 7:30 after the baby’s in bed. Good thing I was home! We either do Instacart delivery or pick up a pre-order from Harris Teeter about once a week. We only do delivery if I don’t have time to stop at the grocery store on the way home. Even picking up stuff that’s already packed is really tight when you’re rushing home for the nanny! She watched some Sesame Street while I cooked and put away the groceries. Regular dinner and bedtime for kiddo. I squeezed a bath in because she was a little grimy from the sunscreen. Husband got home a little late, around 8:30, so we didn’t eat till 9:00. Then went to bed at 10:30.

Thursday

Same morning as usual again. But, I left a little early today, 7:15, so I skipped breakfast but hung out while the kiddo ate (and my husband). Our nanny takes the kids to a little kids’ music concert on Thursdays in our neighborhood called Boogie Babes, where they jam to different kids’ bands. They napped from 1:00–3:00 today. I had to carve out time today to schedule some drs. appointments and home stuff, so got home right at 5:30. It was too hot to play outside, so we played in the playroom for about an hour and then I made dinner. We had cleaning ladies coming the next day so we had to pick up for them after the kid went to bed. Also, we were having friends over for dinner Friday night, so I put something in the crockpot before bed. I wanted to be able to clean up the crockpot before the cleaning ladies came. We have people over about once a week and I normally pre-cook something the night before, either in the slow cooker or regularly so it can just be reheated. We probably went to bed around 11:00.

When asked which is the bigger time-saver, grocery pre-ordering/delivery or a cleaning service, Emily said: 

This is a toss up! If I had to pick one I guess I’d say the cleaner, and we’d probably just have to meal-plan a little better. I know they’re both luxuries. But, I love both services and have given a lot of my friends with new babies Instacart gift cards!

Friday

I got up early Friday to finish the crockpot dinner from the night before (Korean-inspired short ribs). Put all of that in the fridge and cleaned up the crockpot so the cleaning ladies would be able to get to everything. My husband got the baby up and dressed and I got breakfast ready. I decided to work “from home” on Friday but actually went to a local coffee shop to get out of the way of the cleaning ladies. The nanny came as usual and the kids went off — I drove my husband to work and then went to the coffee shop. I worked until about 3:00 and then went and got my nails done. I got home about 5:30 and then played with the baby while getting the food ready to reheat for dinner with friends. Made sides/salad, etc., while she was still awake. My husband got tied up at work and got home at 7:00 (usually swings 6:00 on Fridays), so I put the baby down for bed and then our friends didn’t arrive until 7:45, so I had time to throw together a cheese board. We had dinner with friends, who stayed until about 11:00, then we cleaned up and went to bed. We had several bottles of wine so were feeling tired!

Saturday

Saturday is much like Sunday. We get up at 7:00, hang and lounge around the house until we’re inspired to do something. We usually go see someone in my family for lunch and try to get home by 1:00 for baby’s/our naps. We need to get babysitters more, I’m realizing for Saturday night, because if we’re home we usually just tackle errands and to-do lists in the afternoon and evening, watch Netflix and eat takeout for dinner with a bottle of wine.

Thanks so much to Emily for sharing a bit of her life as a working mom! Readers, what’s your biggest takeaway from her week as a communications executive and her general work/life balance?

Picture via Stencil.communications executive mom in DC with a nanny share

Huge thanks to this anonymous working mom for sharing her week with us -- this 35-year-old communications executive talks about work-life balance with her toddler daughter, a nanny share, and making it all work!

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Comments

  1. Sabba says:

    Thanks to Emily for sharing her week! My main takeaway from this week’s profile is how much your child’s circadian rhythms can affect your own work-life balance. At age 1, my child went to bed at 6:30 or 7:00 and got up at 5:30. It was the best schedule we could swing–an earlier bedtime meant that my child would be awake at 4:30am (!) (although, let’s be honest, 4:30am wasn’t super uncommon even when we stuck to the schedule) while a later bedtime would result in a very cranky child that was still awake at 5:30am. My own work-life balance would have been so much easier to achieve with the baby rising at 7am, but it was not in the cards for us. At least hat is my opinion, as I’m sure the grass is always greener. We have a good thing going now where the kid gets up around 6am and stays in her room until 6:15 or 6:30, but as a night owl, I’m counting the days until my child can be on her own for breakfast in the morning and I can get my power afternoons and late nights back without paying dearly for it in exhaustion.

    Overall, it seems that Emily has a great balance going. I also have to admit being a little bit jealous that they found a nanny-share that is working out so well. The nanny share sounds like a great situation.

  2. EmilyDC says:

    Sabba, totally agree. This has gotten significantly easier for us the past 5 months or so now that the baby will chill in her crib, happily playing with her baby doll if she wakes up early. And the nanny share is amazing. We got really lucky, but to be fair it took us nearly 8 months to find another family that worked. We are so happy to have found people on the same schedule and general vibe as us. Makes a huge difference and the kids are the best of friends.

  3. The nanny share sounds like an awesome situation. I am surprised anyone who is an executive can get home regularly at 5:30 everyday. Coming from BigLaw, my experience is based on my clients, and it doesn’t seem like any of them ever leave the office before 6pm. Maybe things are different in DC because of the government influence?

  4. EmilyDC says:

    B, definitely right. Before I was in this job I wasn’t leaving until 7 normally. But most of my colleagues are overseas so I have a lot of flexibility with my in-office hours. We also have a very well defined busy season that we’re not in. So when it’s on, it’s crazy but when we’re not “in season” it’s better. And I definitely think DC is not as late of a working town as a lot of other big cities because of the government influence like you said. For me, it’s a little boring. But the trade off of flexibility and hours are worth it in this life stage.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I love this series and enjoyed this installment! I used to be a nanny in my pre-serious career days, so I liked reading about your days balancing the nanny share. It’s interesting to hear about it from the other side. :) I was once a shared nanny with two families but every other day I was switching houses, which was kind of a pain. You’re a champ for always hosting the kids at your house.

  6. I loved hearing about Emily’s weekends…as a very big fan of lounging around doing nothing on Saturday mornings, it is very reassuring to hear that we can eventually get back to having that with kids. I’m due Dec. with our first and really like how our weekends currently go. This sounds really not too terribly different than how our lives currently work!

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Loved this post and this series. A question for Emily, do you think you will have a second child? I have a 9-month old and I feel like things are getting back to “normal”. Have a nanny I like, work is under control and hubby and I have a good routine. The thought of having another child is overwhelming. Have you guys thought about it?

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’d love to hear more about how your selection process for you nanny share family worked. We had compatibility issues when we tried to do a share, and communication breakdown between families and family to nanny. Since yours is working well, what’s the secret?

  9. EmilyDC says:

    We actually feel hosting is easier! No logistics involved, and if the baby is having a rough morning or we’re running late we don’t even have to get her dressed in the morning! There are pluses and minuses to both.

    To find our share family we met so many couples in our neighborhood. We looked for people who were equally chill, and who had the same attitude about the relationship they wanted with their nanny. We wanted to treat our nanny like we’d want to be treated (paid legally, paid vacation & sick days, withold taxes, etc.). Candidly one of the reasons we decided not to go with a couple other families was also money. We wanted another family that could afford it — it’s so expensive, but we didn’t want someone who would nickel and dime the nanny (or us) over every 5 minutes. So we basically tried as hard as we could to find a family we really like and got lucky. We also had found the nanny first, so we had the terms and everything all set out, so it was a matter of slotting someone in, not starting from scratch.

    As for a second kid, yes, we are trying now! It’s scary to imagine switching up the groove we have going because it’s working so well. My dream is that the other family gets pregnant at the same time and we continue the share with a second round of kids while putting the older ones in preschool! But you can’t really plan that haha.

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