A Week in the Life of a Working Mom: Finance at a Fortune 500 Company

For this week’s installment of our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce CorporetteMoms reader R, who lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and two young children and works in finance for a Fortune 500 company. 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: R
Lives: Chicago suburbs
Job: Finance
Age: 36
Home Situation: Typical suburban 2,500-square-foot house with my husband (airline pilot), kids (daughter, age 4; and son, age 1.5), and 60-lb. dog.
Childcare Situation: Daycare, $600/week

Stock photo credit: Shutterstock /  sirtravelalot.

A Week in My Life

Sunday

6:00 a.m. – Up with kids and dog, lazy cartoons and breakfast for all. Lots of coffee for adults. Slowly get showered and dressed.
9:00 a.m. – Short walk around the neighborhood to get some fresh air. We look like a parade with dog, Husband, wagon with Daughter, buggy with Son, and then me.
9:30 a.m. – Snack and then playtime for the kids while we clean the house and do laundry and generally chat.
10:30 a.m. – Husband leaves for a baseball game. I get out the art stuff out and color with the kids.
11:30 a.m. – Lunch
12:30 p.m. – We head out for errands and a stop at a toy store. They act surprisingly well and I only lose each of them once in the toy store, so I consider that a win.
1:30 p.m. – Ice cream next door to the toy store.
2:00 p.m. – A very late nap and quiet time for the kids. Should be work time for me, but Son fell asleep in the car and doesn’t do well with transitions, so I spend all of naptime holding him. I’m not super upset about this — I won’t be able to hold him for an hour for much longer.
3:00 p.m. – Small snack and then outside in the backyard. Lots of bubbles and baseball and swinging. Neighbor kid comes over to play too, talk to his dad for a while about preschools.
5:00 p.m. – Daddy is home. Lots of happiness ensues while I check my email.
6:00 p.m. – We’ve ordered a pizza for dinner. We have beers. Kids have milk.
7:00 p.m. – Bath and reading and bedtime for the kids. I put Son to bed most nights by myself since he’s still young, and if he’s home, Husband does the whole potty/teeth/pajamas routine with Daughter in the meantime. Daughter is more adaptable now but likes both of us to do the final song/prayer/kisses if we’re home.
8:30 p.m. – We watch the Amy Schumer comedy special on Netflix since some friends were talking about it last week. It’s okay but not very funny.
9:30 p.m. – Chat for a while, then bed around 10:30ish.

Monday

6:00 a.m. – Up to shower and get ready. This is my busy week at work, so Husband is on kid duty when he’s home so I can get a few more minutes of sleep. I eat a quick breakfast at home with everyone.
7:00 a.m. – Try to leave for work. Kids need more kisses.
7:10 a.m. – Actually leave for work. Need to stop for coffee.
7:45 a.m. – Work like crazy. Text with Husband to make sure kids are dropped off at daycare and happy. He is doing a thousand house projects this week, plus laundry and mowing and running errands, plus doing some at-home training for his work. This is the off-week for the cleaners, so he runs a vacuum and picks up the house. He also does all the meal planning and grocery shopping for the week before he leaves.
11:45 a.m. – Run to Verizon to get a case and charger for my new phone. Eat a bar in my car for lunch on the way back.
12:15 p.m. – More work. Getting lots of input, verifying the numbers a thousand times, and refining the scripts.
4:45 p.m. – Head home.
5:15 p.m. – Get home. Husband is making dinner. The kids are watching Paw Patrol and are very engrossed. I check personal emails and texts, and scroll on Facebook and Instagram. I rarely go on there but like to check out the local events pages to plan activities for the weekends.
6:00 p.m. – Dinner together as a family. We chat about our days.
7:00 p.m. – Playtime. We have a random dance party to KidzBop songs on Alexa. Yes, my 4-year-old knows how to operate Alexa. Generation Alpha!
7:30 p.m. – Stories and bedtime.
8:15 p.m. – We watch a second comedy special, Dave Chappelle. Even less funny than last night. When did comics get so unfunny? Maybe we’re just old and talking about sex isn’t as scandalous? I guess we’ll go back to watching shows. We just finished Big Little Lies, maybe it’s time for Stranger Things? There’s a different one Husband wants to watch, Les Revenants, maybe? We only watch TV together a few nights a week, so it needs to hold interest longer than a binge.
9:15 p.m. – I work a bit while chatting with Husband.
10:30 p.m. – Bed

Tuesday

6:00 a.m. – Shower and getting ready. Skip breakfast this time; I’ll eat a bar at work.
7:00 a.m. – Leave the house. Stop for coffee.
7:30 a.m. – At work. More running around. Take some time to email about my sister-in-law’s baby shower that I’m helping host. My mom texts some old Mother’s Day cards I sent her, and they are the cutest things I’ve ever seen. I declare myself a child Monet and then get back to creating a graph in Excel. Text with Husband — kids are happy at daycare and he’s still doing a ton of stuff for work and home.
12:15 p.m. – Eat a super quick lunch at my desk while working.
12:25 p.m. – Back at it. Starting to go over all the logistical stuff to make sure call goes well, in addition to putting final touches on the actual material. Our admin left the company a couple weeks ago, so I’m doing all of this logistical stuff in the meantime.
2:00 p.m. – Have an impromptu conversation with HR team about hiring. I explain that we aren’t offering high enough salaries to be competitive in the market, that I have to fight with my HR rep every time I put an offer together. The male manager says “Why are all the women I work with like that? You, X, Y, Z. You’re all the same. No, it’s a good thing, I promise. You’re just … direct.” I laugh it off and say “Maybe you just need a direct approach” and don’t say anything else since I’m the only female there, but am annoyed on the inside.
5:00 p.m. – Head home.
5:45 p.m. – Get home, they’re just starting to eat dinner. I join and we all talk about our days. Daughter tells an elaborate story about looking for worms in the dirt with two friends.
6:30 p.m. – We all play together.
7:00 p.m. – Bedtime. It’s rougher since the kids are a little wound up. I try really hard not to rush them when I need to work, but still. My Son could be read to for hours if that would delay bedtime even further.
8:30 p.m. – Work.
11:00 p.m. – Bed.

Wednesday

5:30 a.m. – Shower and ready. Need to be in earlier, so rushing out the door.
6:30 a.m. – Try to leave, but kids are up and want snuggles.
6:45 a.m. – Leave the house for real.
7:20 a.m. – Grab a coffee at work on my way to a meeting for a dry run of the call. It goes really well, which is a good sign that all this work was in the right direction. Still worried about the logistics and technical pieces though. Luckily I work with awesome people who are stepping up and helping out wherever they can.
9:15 a.m. – Text Husband for updates on Son’s dr. appt. I’m nervous about this one.
9:45 a.m. – Hear that appt. went really well, and no changes to his prescription. Super happy. Just need to check in after another six months. We’ll schedule that later; I never know who is home on what days until the week before the month starts.
10:20 a.m. – Realize I forgot to make plans for the dog for this weekend while we’re gone. Text Husband in a panic. He handles it — gets a neighbor to save the day. They’ll come let him out and feed him several times while we’re gone. Phew.
2:00 p.m. – Get mildly annoyed that I miss a meeting I wanted to be in, because I’m doing the admin stuff. I know they won’t think less of me, but it still stings.
6:00 p.m. – As I’m packing up, get a compliment from the CFO that this quarter’s work is the best yet. I say a professional thank you, but happy dance on the inside.
6:45 p.m. – Check up on texts before I walk in the door — another daycare mom friend says there’s a lice outbreak at daycare. Lovely. Read a bedtime story and do a lice check on both kids, then bedtime.
8:30 p.m. – Have a small glass of wine with Husband. Gloat about my compliments. Grumble about missing the meeting. Work a little, but then decide to just lie in bed and chat with Husband instead.
10:15 p.m. – Bed

We asked R if/how her priorities changed after she had kids: 

Not so much that priorities changed, but we have to work a lot harder to make them happen and they look really different now. We really enjoy traveling, but now that involves shorter-but-more-frequent trips to see family rather than visiting new countries. We enjoy outdoor time, but now it’s lots of playing at parks and riding bikes in the driveway rather than multiple barre classes each week.

Thursday

4:30 a.m. – Up and shower
5:15 a.m. – Leave the house. Before I leave, write small notes for everyone and leave them on the table. Stop for two coffees, this is going to be a long day.
6:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. – At the office. Prep everything. Earnings call goes great. Everyone happy. Now time for analyst and investor calls. Those also go well.
(9:00 a.m. – Text Husband for quick update on kids. Morning was good but since he’s leaving for work, they were a little clingy. Days when he leaves are rough.)
(2:00 p.m. – Husband texts to verify he made it to hotel.)
4:30 p.m. – On kid duty again, so must leave the office at 4:30 to get to daycare on time. Luckily my boss knows this rule and is okay with it.
5:10 p.m. – Grab dinner and ball glove from home, feed dog and do quick walk.
5:20 p.m. – Pick up kids from daycare. Daughter has drawn me a picture with lots of hearts on it. Told everyone I “had a big day” at work. Dad must have told her that’s why I was gone early this morning. Cute! My heart melts. Son has a meltdown because he doesn’t want to put his coat on.
5:45 p.m. – Get to gym early so kids can eat dinner (aka crackers, cheese, and raisins) at the little tables in the vending area.
6:00 p.m. – T-ball practice for Daughter. She is the smallest one in the class, the only girl, and we haven’t taught her anything. It shows. Other kids are actively fielding the ball while she is trying to throw it while still in her glove. This is a class for 4- to 6-year-olds, why in the world are they doing baseball drills already? She has fun though. Son sits on the sidelines with me, playing and watching Moana on my phone.
7:00 p.m. – Home from practice. Son is throwing more of a fit, so turn on cartoons for Daughter while I get him ready for bed. He’s not having any of it. Tantrum city.
8:00 p.m. – His tantrum turns into her tantrum. I didn’t floss or brush her teeth the right way. She doesn’t want to go to bed. She hits her head on the headboard. It’s a total meltdown and the dog is running back and forth between the kids, trying to help them stop crying.
8:30 p.m. – I give Daughter an ice pack for her head, I sing a song to Son until he calms down, I say proper goodnight to Daughter and promise to check on her. They calm down and are finally quiet.
9:15 p.m. – I call Husband. Tell him about the evening and we laugh about the insanity. Then I read a book for a while and am asleep before 10:00 p.m.

Friday

5:30 a.m. – Shower and get ready before kids wake up.
6:15 a.m. – Kids up. Get them (and dog) ready and fed. It’s Dress Like a Superhero day at daycare. Son picks out a Batman shirt. Daughter can’t decide between Batman, Batgirl, or Ninja Turtles. Then decides on a ninja dress.
7:10 a.m. – Usher kids out the door. They don’t want to wear jackets so I stick them in their backpacks anyway when they’re not looking. It’s show-and-tell day, so we have a mini-panic until we find Batgirl. Sing Moana songs on the way to daycare.
7:30 a.m. – Kids are dropped off, and head to work. Gas station has long lines so I have to skip my coffee run. Grab a Coke inside the station. Wonder if it’s a holiday or something, can’t figure out why it’s so busy. Quick chat with Husband to let him know kids are dropped off and happy, and see what his day looks like.
8:00 a.m. – Work. Catch up on blogs then need to do my non-earnings call job that I’ve basically ignored for a week. I catch up with my team and make sure they’re doing okay. Start prepping for forecast cycle.
10:00 a.m. – More investor and analyst calls. Eat a couple granola bars. Count that as lunch.
11:30 a.m. – Run to Target over lunch to grab stuff for Teacher Appreciation Week next week. The school has a theme for each day, so get some chocolates, drink coozies, cute socks, and something flower-related from the dollar spot. Times six — I’m not entirely sure how many teachers they have. I know of four for sure, plus maybe a floater or two? I need to ask someone at pickup. Make a note on my calendar to grab coffee and donuts for the whole staff to take into daycare on Thursday. That will cover anyone I forget.
4:30 p.m. – Leave to get kids.
5:15 p.m. – Pick up kids and make sure we didn’t forget Batgirl. Play in the driveway when we get home even though it’s overcast and drizzling. Forget to ask how many teachers they have.
6:00 p.m. – Husband planned something easy for dinner — mac & cheese and hot dogs. The kids watch cartoons while I make it. Then we all eat together and talk about our days. Get them excited about seeing family tomorrow. Realize I haven’t packed anything. FaceTime with Daddy.
6:45 p.m. – Pack the kids up for the weekend.
7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m. – Bath and bedtime. (And a second lice check, just in case.)
8:30 p.m. – Start packing. It’s only an overnight, so not hard, but need to get the pack n play in the car and make sure we have changes of clothes, diapers for Son, pajamas, etc. I pack little activity bags for the kids in case they get bored there. I’m sure they’ll be fine, though.
10:00 p.m. – Read and then bed.

We asked R about her Target trip and whether she or her husband is typically in charge of that sort of thing: 

Somehow, Teacher Appreciation Week sneaks up on us every year, and we’re woefully under prepared for other school theme things, too. Whoever happens to be home, see the flyer, and has the ability to run to Target is the one who buys the stuff. Usually we talk through rough ideas via text before the person goes to the store. We’ve talked about the need to be more organized about school stuff so we don’t have to scramble all the time, and maybe we could be more thoughtful about it, but neither of us has made that happen yet. I suppose we won’t until the kids are old enough to be upset that they didn’t have the perfect costume for Dr. Seuss day or whatever.

Saturday

5:30 a.m. – Shower and get ready. Make sure car is packed. Make coffee.
6:30 a.m. – Kids up, get them (and dog) ready and fed.
7:00 a.m. – Get on the road. It’s about a three-hour drive to family, which is why we’re spending the night. I get too tired to drive there and back in one day. We have a Potette potty in the car and have definitely used it in a cornfield, but don’t need to this time. Listen to kid songs on CDs until they fall asleep for the last hour of the drive. This means naps aren’t happening today. Fun.
10:00 a.m. – We arrive. Kids play with cousins. I chat with adults. I feel relaxed and happy and so calm to be back in my tiny little hometown. Love watching my kids play with the same toys and find the same nooks I did 35 years ago. Eat wayyyyyy too much food. Talk a mile a minute.
7:30 p.m. – Son goes to sleep in pack ‘n’ play. 30 min later, he’s quiet. Then Daughter goes to sleep in bed in the same room. (I’ll sleep in the bed with her later.) I stay up and chat some more.
11:00 p.m. – Crawl into bed. I’ll pack back up in the morning before we leave.

Reflecting on her schedule, R added: 

I guess I didn’t realize how busy we are until writing it all down. It makes me worry a little bit that we’re not getting enough downtime — and the kids aren’t even in school yet. I wonder if we need to protect certain time as “schedule free” and maybe that would give us some breathing space. But since my husband has such a varied schedule each week, it’s hard to say definitively “Mondays are always family time” since he isn’t home for half of them, and if he is, we want to spend that time catching up on all the family/friend/activity things he’s missed. I wonder if we’ll need to do it anyway though, especially as the kids get older.

Thanks so much to Reader R for sharing a bit of her life as a working mom! Readers, what’s your biggest takeaway from her week working in finance at a Fortune 500 company, as well as her general work/life balance?working mom in finance at a fortune 500 company

 

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Comments

  1. AuntE says:

    I, too, worry about having too much scheduled time and not enough free time. But, I like having an activity planned or an outing for several reasons: gives me something to look forward to, gives my daughter something to look forward to/plants the seeds for teaching her about expectations, scheduling, etc., and means that my house is not getting destroyed by a toddler.all.the.time. On the other hand, am I too Type A and not freewheeling enough? I know my husband would, in theory, prefer more unscheduled time, but after a few unstructured hours, he’s planning an activity for us all, out of the house. I just try to strike the balance day by day, week by week and hope we’re doing the best.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Enjoyed reading about someone else who works on the quarterly earnings call! I liked the way you talked to your daughter about your big day. I need to start working on that so my 4 yo starts to get an idea about what I do at work.

    • I started out telling my 4 year old (when she was 2 and 3) that I worked with numbers. Turns out, she thought I went to my office and just counted all day, like literally sat and went “1,2,3,4…” out loud. Adorable, but I wanted her to understand a little more. Now that she’s older, we have her do things like count out $5 to pay for blueberries at the farmers market, and then explain that I do that at work – make sure my work has enough money to pay for things. My (now) 2 year old doesn’t understand either concept yet, but hopefully they’ll both increase their understanding as they get older.

  3. Your comment at 2:00 on Sunday about how you held your son at naptime tugged at my heartstrings. I take snuggled up naps whenever my 14 month old offers them and will work on my phone/catch up on emails. You’re 100% right: we aren’t able to hold them for naps like this forever.

    Thank you for sharing!!

    • I wrote this a few months ago, and he already won’t let me hold him for naps anymore. I choked up reading that part and realizing how quickly it ended!!!

  4. Goosebumpy says:

    I like all of these, but I really enjoyed this one. R, I like your sense of humor and wish we were friends!

  5. Cornellian says:

    I don’t have a comment, but I love this series.

  6. Maria says:

    I love this. Your schedule reminds me of my own, and I like your sense of humor. Especially the part about getting gifts for teachers… I wish we could be more thoughtful but we end up doing gift cards and chocolates almost every time.

  7. Sarah says:

    Thanks for sharing! I’m annoyed for you about that comment from HR – hope you got that admin!

  8. R – Thanks for sharing! Your days remind me of my own, in particular the double tantrum at bedtime when Daddy is out of town / working late! Also the Teacher Appreciation scramble to Target… Luckily, our day care sends a list of all teachers and floaters with full names. Still wish they would do photos though since I know there are some floaters my kids like but I’m on Pick Up duty only 1/x week and can’t keep everyone straight!

    Oh, but you are much better at getting out of bed in the morning! Our kids end up waking us up half the time and we’re already behind before the day has started!

  9. Leslie Knope says:

    Wow! You are working incredibly hard and long hours, but it sounds like your husband is a great equal partner. Lucky kiddos to have you as a mama!

  10. I know these posts don’t get that many comments, but I love them! Keep them coming!

  11. AnonAnon says:

    Another person who loves these posts. I appreciate you for sharing!

  12. CPA Lady says:

    Thank you for sharing. It sounds like we have really similar lives… :)

  13. Pretty Primadonna says:

    Really enjoyed this. :-)

  14. Amelia Bedelia says:

    Loved this one. And you are a warrior! thanks. can you let me know why you decided daycare rather than home care? I’m struggling with this decision right now.

    • I would choose daycare a thousand times over home care.
      – They’re open 6-6 every day, no matter what. I don’t have to worry about an individual caregiver being sick or going on vacation or whatever.
      – There are always multiple adults around. Ours doesn’t always manage the proper ratios (especially at drop off/ pick up) but I know there is an oversight from other teachers and parents that just isn’t always present in a home daycare.
      – Our daycare follows a sort of curriculum, where the activities and play have some kind of theme or educational goal. While I don’t think that’s totally necessary at young ages, I do appreciate that they’re getting all their sticky-hands and development activities (like painting and sensory tables and stuff) at school, so I don’t have to worry about ~having~ to do fingerpaints or talk about seasons on the weekends.
      – Meeting other local families. While I could meet parents at a home care too, there would be a much smaller selection and they wouldn’t necessarily have kids the same age. It’s been awesome to connect with other families who were looking at preschools at the same time we were, or trade tips on biting issues, or just get to know people in the area.
      – Finding reliable babysitters. We’ve been fortunate to have a lot of great daycare teachers, some of whom have turned into babysitters for us. They’re clearly great with kids, and our kids already love them, so it’s been relatively stress-free to schedule.

  15. Love this series! I totally emphathise but R you need a massage and some serious me-time at least 1x in your week!

  16. Anonymous says:

    R, I really loved reading this – I found myself rooting for you! As a mom of a toddler, the most relatable sentence was, ” Son has a meltdown because he doesn’t want to put his coat on.”

  17. Ifiknew says:

    Love this series! As a fellow mom in finance, so great to see this.

    OP, is it ever an issue to leave between 430 to 5 pm? Do you have other colleagues that do the same?

  18. Caitlin Durkin says:

    also in finance! I love this whole series, but especially related to this! jealous your daycare is open 6-6; ours is 8-6 and so many times I have said an extra an hour or 2 in the morning would be so helpful for those early meeting days. I just had my 2nd and need reassurance I can do this once maternity leave is over! thanks for some inspiration:)

  19. also in finance! I love this whole series, but especially related to this! jealous your daycare is open 6-6; ours is 8-6 and so many times I have said an extra an hour or 2 in the morning would be so helpful for those early meeting days. I just had my 2nd and need reassurance I can do this once maternity leave is over! thanks for some inspiration:)

  20. whoops sorry for the post 2x

  21. Violet says:

    I’m not a mother (I only found out Corporette Mom existed today, an hour ago) but I loved this post. It’s so nice to peer into the life of a family for a week and realize that – just like a childless existence – it has its high points and low points, sweet things and sour. Thanks for being willing to share a slice of your life with us.

  22. Sara C. says:

    Love this series!

  23. Fellow Chicago Suburbanite says:

    Love this series! R, this line made me laugh out loud: “I only lose each of them once in the toy store, so I consider that a win.” So relatable! :) I’m rooting for you guys! Hope you are able to carve out a bit more time for yourself when it’s not so crazy busy! Good luck with upcoming year-end!

  24. Rebecca says:

    I love this series! I can relate most to this schedule. I love seeing how partners share the household/parenting responsibilities. R, I agree 100% with you on the reasons for daycare vs. home care.

  25. elizabeth says:

    Oh the Target scramble to find something suitable that looks like I spent more time and thought than I actually did… Your effort in the midst of a crazy busy week is admirable!

  26. I love this series so much. This was such a good one. Thanks for sharing, R! Love seeing the shift in duties for your busy week, and then the rebound with your husband out of town.

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