A Week in the Life of a Working Mom: Project Manager Mom in Atlanta

project manager mom work life balance tipsFor our third Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce Reader D, who is a 31-year-old project manager in Atlanta with two young kids. 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, cold-hearted, 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…

Name: D
Lives: Atlanta
Job: Project manager
Age: 31
Home Situation: I live in a large house with my husband (31, marketing), our 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son, and our dog.
Childcare Situation: Daycare/Preschool, $460/week

Last Week in My Life

Sunday

Family woke around 9:00, we had pancakes and played outside until 11:00. We came back in and the kids colored/did puzzles until 12:00. I worked on cleaning the house — laundry, bathrooms, dusting, while my husband made the kids lunch at noon. After lunch (around 1:00), I ran an errand with my daughter while my son slept. We got smoothies afterwards and made it home around 4:00. My husband did yard work while we were gone, periodically checking on my son. At 5:00 we picked up our favorite takeout for dinner and woke up my son (who makes up for bad daycare naps on the weekend) and watched a movie while we ate. We then had bath time (6:45), read a few stories together, sang some songs, and I put my son to bed (7:30). My husband then read a story to my daughter (8:00) while I was back to folding laundry. After my daughter was asleep (8:30), my husband did the dishes and we watched one show before going to bed ourselves.

Monday

6:30 — I wake up and get ready for work, then wake up my daughter around 7:00. She isn’t ready to get up, so I wake up my son. I change his diaper and put on his favorite Mickey shirt. He goes to hug my husband, who is still getting ready. My kids are downstairs ready to go, eating whole wheat waffles by 7:45. We put on shoes and make sure everyone has pottied and teeth are brushed. I do my daughter’s hair and we are in the car headed to school at 8:00. I drop off the kids at daycare and make it to work at 9:15. After a day at work, my husband picks up the kids (5:45) and must have a snack for them in the car. Otherwise, they will lose their shit. I leave work around 5:00 or 5:15 and stop at Whole Foods to pick up dinner on my way. The kids and my husband make it home around 6:15 and the kids don’t want my healthy dinner. They eat leftover pizza. I pick up and eat an old macaron. The babysitter is coming over at 7:00, as my husband and I have a group we attend. The kids go to bed at 7:30 and 8:30 respectively, though my daughter stays up reading until we get home around 9:15. I eat my leftover salad and my husband and I watch a show, then he does dishes and takes out the dog while I am completing my getting ready for bed regimen. We are in bed at 11:00.

We asked D about her kids’ daycare, and she said, in part:

Our new school’s teachers have a tenure of ~10 years on average. They also have all the policies in place that will not allow them to sit my baby in a jumper all day long. Those were my requirements. They also have kids outside 90 minutes a day, which I loved and, as a bonus, they serve all snacks and lunches. That is a life changer. The only thing I don’t LOVE about our current daycare is that as I am driving there I pass 5 other centers, but I know ultimately it is great that I was picky, as my kids don’t despise getting dropped off, love their teachers, and typically don’t want to leave at the end of the day. It makes my work day much more pleasant not worrying about how they are doing.

Tuesday

6:30 — I wake up and get ready for work. I have to change since I have selected a sweater and it will be 80° today. I try to wake up my daughter. No dice. I wake up my son around 7:10. He has monster face, as he has had a massive nosebleed overnight. Perfect. I have a conference call at 8:00, so must get my daughter out the door with my husband by then and get my son happily watching an educational show, as he has his 2-year check up today! I made it on the call by 8:00 and pay attention to what I can. I mute and give my daughter kisses and wave to my husband, taking her to school today. I check on my son eating his waffle. I decide to eat cereal on mute, and my son decides he will eat my cereal too. 8:30 and my call wraps up. Plenty of time to get to the doctor by 8:45 for our 9:00 appointment. I put shoes on my son and wash his hands, as I didn’t do a good enough job earlier and they’re still a little bloody. I look at the clock when he is buckled in his seat. 8:45?! WTF? At least the doctor is only 10 minutes away. Oh wait, traffic. We are late for the appointment. My son has a good checkup, but is very small (always has been, so not a huge concern). Because his BMI had dropped slightly, we need a recheck of his weight in 2-3 months. My son gets his shot, handles it well. Does not handle the hemoglobin test well. He pulled off the bandaid too soon and now he is bleeding all over the doctor’s office and touching everything with his bloody finger. Sorry, doctor! I drop my son off at school, which he is disappointed about. I sneak a peek at my daughter in her class. She has bunny ears on. No one else has any costume on. I love my weirdo. My husband picks the kids up at 5:45. With snacks. I have the kids eat the healthy dinner I picked up yesterday while I get ready for the gym. I leave at 6:45 for my 7:00 class. While I am at class, my husband gets the kids ready and puts them to bed at 7:30 and 8:30 respectively. I get home at 8:15 and kiss my daughter while my husband reads to her. I eat some dinner, shower quickly, then hop on a 9:00 conference call. During this time, my husband does the dishes, then works on a work proposal. At 10:00 I am finished and my husband and I chat for a few minutes. I crochet in bed while he reads. I am not sure when or how he is taking care of the dog, but I am impressed that my husband fits this task in somewhere in these busy days.

Wednesday

6:30 — I wake up and get ready for work. I get my daughter up and dress her. She’s awake! I get my son up, change diaper, and dress him. Everyone gets a whole wheat waffle. I take the kids to school. We are late, but just normal late. Not too late. I arrive at work at 9:15. My husband picks up the kids at 5:45 and they arrive home at 6:15 when I am making breakfast for dinner. My tiny son only eats the tater tots. (I only make them because I know this will be the case and hate to not feed a 5th-percentile kid.) We take a bath with lots of bubbles. When my husband washes hair, hair doesn’t get too clean, but when I wash hair, children cry because the water gets in their eyes. I wash the hair anyway. We get out of the bath and dress the babies. It’s time for story/song/bed time. We give the small boy an extra cup of whole milk to bulk him up. The girl needs to be bulked up too, but at least she’s 10th percentile. My husband puts my son to bed and I attempt to put my daughter to bed. This results in me in bed with a loud cat, a dog that followed us upstairs, and a crying daughter. I can’t recall why she was crying, but my husband walked in on my terrible scenario and told me he feels confident that I can’t live without him. I agree.

Thursday

6:30 — I wake up and get ready and realize I have to pack since I am going out of town today. I get the kids up and dressed and try to prepare them for not seeing mommy for a day and a half. My daughter seems more upset, but I am more worried about my son, who is very attached to me. I love it. My husband offers to take the kids to school. I consider it, as my daughter has warned me she will be crying because she will miss me. I take them to school anyway. E was right. She cried. I head to work and I am there by 9:30, which I consider a success, as I had to pack. I map my way to the airport since the highway has broken on my typical route. I plan for an hour and a half. I head to the airport around 12 and it takes an hour and 15. I take off at 3:15 and worry about my husband and the babies. They will pick up Chick-fil-A today. I assume my husband will pick up Whole Foods or supplies for tacos or hot dogs on Friday. Maybe he’ll surprise me and pick up my favorite tacos. We typically don’t eat out this much, I swear. I didn’t realize I was leaving town until Tuesday. I call my husband at 9:00, after the babies are in bed. He has fed them chicken, read stories, and put them to bed. He is great. I imagine he is now working on chores, as is our usual routine.

Here’s what D had to say about how she and her husband divide up the household responsibilities:

My husband and I split making dinner, depending on who picks up the kids — unless the other is volunteering/working late/out of town, the non picker-upper makes dinner. I meal plan and grocery shop, I do the bathrooms and laundry. My husband does the yard work, cleans the kitchen every night, picks up toys at night, and vacuums. It is a pretty natural split based on our strengths and the chores we hate.

Friday

I was out of town and didn’t see my littles today. I flew in and got home around 11:00, so everyone was fast asleep. While I was preoccupied with work, my husband woke and got the kids ready for school. He dropped them off and headed to work. Once a month at their school there is an activity, so he had to leave work at 2:30 to get to school on time for “flower math fun” at 3:30. He has to jump between classrooms, as he is only one parent. He takes the kids home and lets them play and color in the playroom. He attempts to answer a couple last-minute work emails. He makes dinner (hot dogs and broccoli) and feeds the babies. They have a relaxing movie night. No bath tonight, just stories and songs and off to bed at 7:30 and 8:30. I assume my husband used this time after kiddos were “asleep” (my daughter will walk downstairs with requests until 9:00 or 9:30 typically) to wrap up some work items. I got home, we ate a snack, and talked. I prepped for my son’s birthday party tomorrow (not at home).

Saturday

My son’s birthday party! I wake up at 8:00 to pick up the cake and balloons. We let the kids sleep in until 9:00. (I know, I’m lucky.) I go home and the kids are waking up at 9:00. I make eggs, bacon, toast, and hash browns. Both little ones eat! We dress and head to the birthday party at 10:30 to get a little extra jumping in. I outsource the birthday party to a jumpy house place. Totally worth it. The kids exhaust themselves, then eat pizza and cake. We head home at 1:30 and my son naps. My daughter watches a movie. I begin meal planning and packing lists for next week’s trip to a cabin in the Tennessee mountains. My son wakes up at 4:00 and we head to the neighborhood Easter egg hunt. At 5:00 we head home and have spaghetti for dinner. We open my son’s presents and have more cake. We take a bath and do bedtime routine. My son goes down at 7:30. We can’t get my daughter to sleep until 10:00. Thanks, sugar. While my husband works on getting my daughter down, I clean the bathrooms and work on laundry. She finally drifts off and miraculously my husband does not! We watch a show together and snack. Date night.

Here’s what D said when we asked about date nights:

Unfortunately, we have been down to about once a quarter for 2017 so far. This doesn’t include, however, when we rent a movie and pick up dinner for ourselves, which I find to be almost as much fun as going out. Last year, our average was about once a month. We typically go to a nice restaurant, walk around the city, and head back home on date nights. I am surprising my husband with dinner and a concert for his birthday, so the sitter will get the 4:00-to-bedtime shift. Best of luck, babysitter!!

Thanks so much to L. for sharing a bit of her life as a working mom! Readers, what’s your biggest takeaway from D’s week as a project manager in Atlanta and her work life balance?

 

Picture credit: Pixabay.work life balance for a project manager mom in AtlantaA project manager mom from Atlanta shared her week with us -- she and her husband have two kids who go to preschool and daycare; both parents work. Great series if you're trying to figure out how parenting with two working parents is going to work for your family!

Comments

  1. avocado says:

    I am glad to see a contribution from someone who doesn’t have a nanny, au pair, or housekeeping service!

    • + 1 million!! This mirrors my life, although the childcare price tag was staggeringly small (ahh, LCOL areas – we pay double that in a HCOL region.)

    • Anon in mpls says:

      +1

    • Anonymous says:

      Completely agree – we pay through the nose (HCOL) for a daycare center that our kids LOVE and it works well for us. This piece mirrors our day to day in a lot of ways… including “date night.” We almost never do “real” dates – some gardening, a snack, and a mini marathon in the DVR is so much more relaxing and we can do it in our jammies.

    • anne-on says:

      I LOVED our daycare, but unfortunately having a nanny/au pair/some sort of adult at home becomes pretty necessary once your kid hits school age, especially if there isn’t after school care available, or if it ends early (5pm). I would KILL for family in the area, or heck, even a part time nanny (we couldn’t find anyone willing to work less than 30 hours a week in our town).

      • avocado says:

        It may be necessary, but it’s not always feasible. I would absolutely love to have a part-time nanny for our school-aged kid, but we had similar problems finding someone willing to work the limited hours we needed, and even if we could have, the cost would have been prohibitive. After-school care options in our area are very limited and for a while I worked from home in the afternoons (almost killed my career and my sanity–I do not recommend it)!

        • anne-on says:

          To this point – SOMEONE needs to be home after school when you have kids if there are no (or no good) after school options. Kat – I’d love an open thread that talks about what your family has done and why to manage the school situation which is so obviously NOT set up for dual working parent households – especially when you do not have family to help!

        • In this vein, I’m trying to get my MIL–who currently provides before/after school care–out of the daily life of our family by proposing that the kids let themselves in after school. I don’t think we’re going to be able to pull it off because my youngest (2nd grade) would hit the door before my oldest (6th grade).

          But I’m dreaming of the day when my kids can just let themselves in and chill for 2 hours until I get home at 5:30. I hate the daily drive of home-MIL’s house-work / work-MIL’s house-home. I’m in the car for an hour each way just sitting at red lights in suburban hell. Plus, MIL is all up in the kids social lives, homework, clothing choices and the girls are just sick of it. My car rides home consist of the oldest complaining about grandma riding her.

      • D - PM mom in Atlanta says:

        OP here. I am already working on our strategy when both our kids hit elementary. I think when my daughter is in K and 1st, we will do after school with their current daycare, since my son will still be at the school, but as soon as he hits Kindergarten, I think I will either ask for the early shift (unlikely in my office of European influence, most work 10-7) or get a nanny.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Expecting ATL mom here, desperately wondering where you found such good daycare that you love at a low cost. Tell me your secrets!

    • mascot says:

      Can you share where you are/where you work? If the northeast quadrant ITP is convenient for you, we liked Briarcliff Day Care center. It’s close to Clairmont/N. Druid Hills.

    • D - PM mom in Atlanta says:

      We moved OTP :(
      When we were ITP, we had a really tough time finding childcare centers with availability. My recommendation is to look now. We had a 9 month waiting list, so I ended up having to leave my job for a bit when my daughter was born.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks! We are definitely ITP and on wait lists but the uncertainty is making me worry. I haven’t caved into looking OTP just yet :)

  3. 2nd on the way says:

    Any specific recommendations for a yellow shade low VOC paint color for the nursery. I’ve picked Fun Yellow but wasn’t sure if that would be too bright.

  4. Rebecca says:

    Love this! It’s nice to see how the household/parenting responsibilities are shared between spouses. My daycare cost is substantially higher, but I also chose a less convenient daycare because it provided higher quality care. Keep these coming Corporette!

  5. ChiAtty says:

    I love love love this series! It’s great to “see behind the curtain” at how others approach keeping the bases covered.

  6. I really enjoyed reading this. I’m a project manager–but I don’t have to take work home with me and pick it back up in the evening, and I don’t have to travel. (I’m sure that’s reflected in my pay.)

    What do you and your husband do for lunches? Do you pack leftovers…have fridges in your office…order out?

    I like that whoever has to handle kid pick up DOESN’T have to handle dinner. Since I have the shorter commute, I handle pick up and dinner. I wish there was some way to make that more equal in our family.

    • D - PM mom in Atlanta says:

      For lunch, I try hard to pack. In order to provide an incentive, our lunches out must come out of our individual ‘fun’ budgets. Unfortunately this week, I am off the wagon and have purchased every lunch.
      Typically, I’ll make all my lunches Sunday night. My husband prefers to buy, but has more time during his work day to do so.

      We have recently struck this balance where dinner isn’t always on me. It’s working out really well.

  7. I just love this series – pls continue. Also like hearing from all walks of life, as I pick up ideas anyway.

  8. Loved this post. And I laughed at loud at the hair washing scenario. My husband will always acquiesce to my son’s request not to have his hair washed. I’m usually with the new baby during bath so I haven’t been able to get in there and actually get his hair clean. I recently showed my husband our son’s scalp as an incentive :)

  9. Anonymous says:

    “large house” Thank you for the qualifier!

    • D - PM mom in Atlanta says:

      Haha sorry about that! I absolutely didn’t mean to sound snooty! The example was like ‘small apartment’ so I was following the model.
      We unfortunately live in an area where more efficient housing is not common. We moved from the NE, so the house sizes were definitely a shock!

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