A Week in the Life of a Working Mom: A Midwestern Lawyer Mom with Four Kids

lawyer mom to four kids in the midwestFor the sixth installment of our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce CorporetteMoms reader Elizabeth. She’s a 42-year-old consultant/ lawyer mom to four kids; she lives in the Midwest. 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. You can also sort by tag, such as “daycare,” “au pair,” and “lawyer mom.” (We’re working on devising a system that makes sense.)

First, Some Basics

Name: Elizabeth
Lives: Midwest
Job: consultant/attorney — I lead annual strategic planning efforts for hospital clients, as well as hospital mergers.
Age: 42
Home Situation: 

My husband is family medicine physician who covers inpatients at the hospital every third weekend. We have four school-age children: A, 13-year-old son; E, 10-year-old daughter; B & D, 7-year-old twin sons. We live in a 4000-square-foot house in the suburbs.

Childcare Situation: $18,000/year.

We have had Au Pairs for the past four years. The last two have been males. Prior to that we covered childcare with a number of options: a preschool teacher/nanny, a college student that lived in during the summer, hubby took Mondays off and I took Fridays off. We love the Au Pair help. My spouse and I have schedules that change from week to week, depending on his inpatient load and my travel. Having an Au Pair has eliminated the hours of stress and scrambling with multiple care providers to try to cover different hours we needed. For instance, the preschool teacher was a wonderful caregiver but had a family of her own so was unavailable to help in the evenings or weekends. Fortunately, we have a supportive family network nearby that was able to assist in some of those previous pinches. But it is nice now to have that family come to support the kids’ extracurricular activities or have special one-on-one time with the children, rather than serve in the role of an emergency babysitter.

Our Au Pairs transition about every year or so. We have appreciated the ease of picking a new care provider to sync up with the evolving needs of our children. For instance, our first Au Pair was a nurturing female who was excellent with our toddler twins. Or more recent Au Pairs have been active males who play sports and make up fun games to play. I expect in a few years we will be interested in a caregiver that can provide more homework support.

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How to Manage Up With Regard to Family Commitments

how to manage up with regard to family commitmentsHere’s a suggestion for a topic we got from folks who took the survey a while back: how can working moms “manage up” with regard to family commitments? Along similar lines, “how to explain your new life choices to an employer who is used to you working long hours”? I can’t wait to hear what you guys say — what’s YOUR best advice on managing up once you become a working mom, ladies?

(Pictured: Hall & Oates women’s tshirt (I Can’t Go for That- No Can Do), available at Etsy through Exit343design’s shop.) (Affiliate link.)

Just to throw in my $.02 of tips, I think a lot of it comes back to general advice on how to manage up:

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Combination Feeding Tips: How to Feed Your Baby Both Breastmilk and Formula

combination feeding tips and tricks - how to feed your baby both breastmilk and formulaCombination feeding: A lot of moms do it, but for some reason there isn’t much advice out there for the mothers who feed their babies both breastmilk and formula (aka combo feeding, supplementation, and partial weaning). We’ve talked a lot about nursing and pumping, including nursing clothes for working moms and tips for pumping at the office, and when we recently asked what other kinds of feeding topics readers would like to see, the reader/commenter known as CPA Lady offered to write a post on combination feeding. We’re so glad we can share her experiences and advice! In this guest post, she explains her initial plans for breastfeeding and formula feeding, her decision to try combo feeding, details about her daughter’s feedings from birth to six months, and more. Thank you, CPA Lady! — Kate

Picture credit: CPA Lady. AWWWWW.

Background Info: When I First Considered Formula Feeding

I began maternity leave with my first (and only) child with the idea that I would give nursing a try, but I planned to wean entirely to formula by the time I returned to work at 12 weeks. I did not even consider combo feeding as a possibility, since all the literature I read had warnings that if you began supplementing, your supply would dry up. So I actually went into using formula expecting to exclusively formula feed. I found the website Fearless Formula Feeder helpful in figuring out how to navigate the world of formula.

Once I decided to try to combo feed, I flew by the seat of my pants, guided by absolutely nothing, because there was no real guidance that I could find. There were two sort-of-relevant pages in the 700-page What to Expect: The First Year (affiliate link) that I read over and over, desperate for any nugget of useful information. Most of what I found on the internet had the tone of “you should just try harder to breastfeed.” How helpful. So I ended up making it up as I went along.

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A Week in the Life of a Working Mom: Government Attorney in the Midwest

For the fifth installment of our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce a CorporetteMoms reader who asked us to call her HSAL. She’s a 35-year-old government attorney in a large Midwestern city and has one child. 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: HSAL
Lives: Large Midwestern city
Job: Government attorney
Age: 35
Home Situation: 1400-square-foot townhome with husband (researcher) and 18-month-old girl, and a cat. Getting ready to move in the next year.
Childcare Situation: Daycare ($287/week)

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Date Nights for the Win!

date nights for working momsHere’s a fun topic for today: how often do you get date nights with your spouse? Is it a regular event or an “as available” kind of thing? How fancy do you get for your date nights? Do you have any tips for new working moms about date nights?

For my $.02: We try to do a date night once every two weeks — where possible we have family babysit the kids, because otherwise it can feel pretty expensive just to leave the house (if the babysitter costs $20/hr, you’re gone 3 hours, and then you pay for a car home and for her dinner if timing requires it…). Personally I prefer to either do dinner or an activity with just the two of us or to get together with another couple — I hate to “waste” a date night on a movie or something else where we don’t get much opportunity to talk.  (Pro tip for those with new babies: I think it can count as a date night even if your baby is with you — when my second son was born in particular we wore him on most dates for the early months, both because he slept so much during the dates and didn’t fuss, as well as just us being uncomfortable to foist two bedtimes on a family member or sitter.)

As expensive as date nights can be, I’ve found them to be absolutely crucial to maintaining my own sanity, reconnecting with my husband, and just having a fun, grown-up time out.  Regardless of where we go I usually try to pay extra attention to makeup, hair, contacts, etc. — not so much because my husband cares but because I enjoy it and recognize it as a form of pampering, if that makes sense.

Readers, how about you — what do your date nights look like? Does anyone “swap” date nights with another family to cut babysitting expenses or anything like that? Do you prefer to put your kids down and THEN go out, or is that part of the babysitter’s tasks? 

Picture via StencilDate nights for working moms can be absolutely essential for maintaining your sanity and your relationship! Pictured: two glasses clinking on a date night for working parents.

For working moms, it can be challenging to plan and budget for date nights, especially with two working parents -- but it's so important, both for personal sanity but also for the health of the relationship. Working moms discuss how they fit date nights in.

Advice on Work-Life Balance — To Your Pre-Mom Self

Advice on Work-Life Balance from Working Moms to Their Pre-Mom SelvesOver at Corporette, we recently rounded up some of the top advice readers have shared over the years for women wondering about getting pregnant — the planner’s guide to TTC, if you will. But moms, here’s the question for YOU today: What would you tell your younger, pre-kid self if you could? Is there any other major advice you’d impart to someone who wanted to get pregnant? Would you make any serious changes in your life, either on the family side or the career side, if you could? What’s your best advice on work-life balance, as a working mom, to your pre-mom self? 

I keep seeing stories like this one and this one where working moms talk about how they were total jerks to their parent coworkers before they had kids, and NOW they get it — why a 4:45 meeting is a bad idea, why you’re not lazy or antisocial if you don’t want to come out for drinks after work, why occasionally your family is more important. On the flip side, I’ve seen many comments from younger readers who are annoyed at all the work/life balance advice at conferences — they don’t think it’s helpful, they don’t think it’ll apply to them, they don’t understand why we constantly complain about it. I also see articles like this one and this one about how women are annoyed when they’re asked about work-life balance as moms. I understand their point if we’re talking about a situation in which there are, say, five parents on a panel and the men are all asked about their backgrounds and work while the only person asked about work/life balance is the mom — BUT, as someone who struggles with work/life balance, I wish it were talked about MORE, among all parents.

SO: What would you tell your pre-mom self about work/life balance, if you could? What do you wish you had known before you decided to get pregnant? In general, what’s your best advice for work-life balance from a working mom perspective?

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