For this week’s installment of our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce CorporetteMoms reader Emily S., who lives in a medium-sized town in the South with her husband and daughter and works as a state government attorney. 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
First, Some Basics About This Working Mom…
Name: Emily S.
Location: Live in the suburbs and work in the city in a medium-sized town in the South.
Job: State government attorney
Home Situation: I live in a 3-bedroom house with my husband (34-year-old self-employed consultant/writer), our 2-year-old daughter, and our dog. We have a nice backyard and plenty of play space. (Since submitting her Week in the Life, Emily has given birth to her second daughter, who is now four weeks old! Congratulations, Emily!)
Childcare Situation: Church daycare full day, 3 days a week ($150/week); stay at home with Dad or Grandma 2 days a week.
A Week in My Life
Up at 7:00; breakfast for everyone, and playtime until 10:00 a.m. or so. I try to start a load of laundry or sneak in some cleaning while playing with my toddler. 10:00 a.m. is snack time, and then toddler and I leave for the grocery store or Target to do the weekly shopping. Around 12:00, Husband, daughter, and I go out to lunch and a bookstore. When we get home, it’s nap time from 1:30–3:30. I do some weekly cleaning and workweek prep and try to read a book or spend time with Husband. When my toddler wakes up, we play outside or inside until 6:30 dinnertime. Husband usually makes dinner, and we eat as a family. Then, bath and bedtime around 7:30. After dinner, Husband and I have some dessert and read, and then I fall asleep on the couch around 9:30 p.m.
Up at 6:30, feed the dog and get coffee started. Wake the toddler up around 7:00 and give her breakfast and make my lunch. Then I get her dressed and myself dressed, and all of a sudden my 7:45 a.m. “need to leave now” alarm is going off. We rush out the door in a mess around 8:10 a.m. I drop her off at daycare and am at work by 9:00. I try to go to the gym for half an hour around 12:00 or 12:30, then eat lunch at my desk before leaving at 5:15. I get home around 6:00. Husband picks up our daughter from daycare around 5:15. If the weather is nice, we take a family walk with the dog; otherwise, playtime until 6:30, when I feed the toddler. After her dinner, read some stories and get ready for bed at 7:30. Meanwhile, Husband is fixing dinner for us. Husband and I eat around 8:00, then talk about our day, watch an hour of Netflix, and I collapse into bed while he stays up to do work.
This is what Emily said about fitting workouts into her schedule as a working mom:
Getting exercise during my lunch break is the only way I’ve found to make time for exercise. It helps me get 4–5 workouts in per week (instead of 2 on the weekends during my daughter’s nap time). I just don’t have it in me to go to the gym before work or after her bedtime.
Get up at 6:30 and start coffee and feed the dog. Husband gets up to sneak some work in. Let my toddler sleep until 7:15 because it’s not a daycare day. Give her breakfast when she gets up and make my own lunch. After she finishes breakfast (45 long minutes later), get her dressed and get myself dressed while Husband works. Leave for work around 8:00 a.m. and arrive around 8:45 a.m. Work is either at my desk or court appearances. I go to the gym or take a walk on my lunch break and eat lunch at my desk around 1:00 p.m. I leave work around 5:15 and get home around 6:00. Go out to dinner as a family, then some family playtime, and the toddler goes to bed around 7:30. Husband and I have some alone time, then have dessert and watch an hour or so of TV before I beg off to check personal email, pick out an outfit for tomorrow, etc. In bed at 10:00, and falling asleep on my book at 10:20 p.m.
We asked Emily how her life would be different if her husband weren’t self-employed:
He probably wouldn’t be as happy with work, which would put stress on our relationship. Our daughter likely would be in full-time daycare, which would give me extra guilt, and depending on income, I might try to quit the job I enjoy for part-time work, to be a part-time, stay-at-home mom. It would also take a lot more juggling for her doctors appointments, who stays home when she’s sick or daycare is closed, etc. This is to say, it would be different, and I don’t think it would be for the better!
Get up between 6:30 and 6:45 and feed the dog and start coffee. Get my toddler up before 7:00, because it’s a daycare day. Eat breakfast with my toddler while Husband sleeps in. Decide to buy lunch out today to spend a few more minutes of quality time with my daughter. Get us both dressed and we’re out the door around 8:15 a.m. Drop her off at daycare and get to work around 9:00 a.m. Work until I take a full hour lunch at 1:00 and relish reading a book without interruption. Back to work until 5:15, and then drive home in traffic to arrive around 6:00 p.m. We take a family walk around the neighborhood and then I feed our toddler around 6:30. Family playtime until 7:30, then bath and bedtime for her. Husband fixes dinner for us while I give her a bath, and we eat around 8:00 p.m. Dinner conversation stretches until 9:00 p.m. or so, when we settle onto the couch and read until I fall asleep on my book at 9:30 p.m. I head up to bed while Husband continues to read until 11:00 p.m. or so.
We asked Emily about how becoming a mom has changed her perspective on work:
I believe it has changed the way I look at my career, and that’s to see my career as more than a job but only one aspect of my life. I want to show my daughter what it means to have fulfilling work that is more than a means of income. However, as much as I enjoy being a lawyer, I don’t have ambitions of being partner or running the office, because being a staff-level attorney means I have a pretty regular 40-hour-a-week schedule [with] nights, weekends, and plenty of paid holidays and vacation time to spend with my family. It’s no longer about making partner in seven years and a six-figure income, but doing a job I enjoy that allows me to be a happy wife and mom, too.
Get up at 6:45 and feed the dog and start coffee. Daughter wakes up at 7:00, ready to go. Husband gets up to do some work. Make my daughter and I breakfast and make my lunch while she’s finishing. Read a book with her before herding her upstairs to get dressed (I know it will make me late, but I can’t resist when she asks to read with me.) Get myself dressed and pick out an outfit for her, but can’t get her to slow down and actually get dressed. Throw up my hands and deliver her to my Husband in pajamas. Leave the house, disheveled, at 8:15 and get to work at 9:00 a.m. Husband takes our daughter to his parents’ house (20 minutes away) so he can go to meetings. I work at my desk or have court until 12:30, eat half of lunch at my desk, then go to the gym for half an hour at 1:00 p.m. Eat the other half of my lunch when I get back to my desk and work until 5:00. I leave at 5:15 and get home around 6:00 p.m. Husband has just gotten home with our toddler when I get home. We take a family walk, then I feed her dinner while he finishes up work for the day. After her dinner, we read some stories, and I chase her around until she consents to put on pajamas and go to bed, around 7:45 p.m. Husband makes us dinner, and we eat around 8:15. After dinner, we watch some Netflix and I head to bed around 9:45 p.m.
Get up at 6:30, start coffee, and feed the dog. Wake the toddler up at 7:00, and we eat breakfast together. I make my lunch while encouraging her to finish breakfast because, as usual, we’re running late. Get her dressed and get myself dressed and then we’re out the door at 8:10 (late, but earlier than usual! Yes!). Drop her off at daycare and then get to work around 9:15. Work until 12:45, then take a short lunch break because I was so late this morning. After lunch, work at my desk until 5:15. Traffic is light, so I’m home at 5:45. Husband and I agree that, after a long week, dinner out is necessary. Head out to one of our staple family-friendly-restaurants-that-also-happens-to-have-decent-food around 6:00. Back home and ready for stories and bath time around 7:00 p.m. Daughter is in bed around 7:30 p.m., and we binge watch Netflix until 10:00, when I go to bed and Husband stays up to read.
Sleep in until 7:00 a.m.! Feed the dog, start coffee, and make French toast, bacon, and fruit for a big family breakfast. Wake the toddler and Husband up around 7:15 and 7:45, respectively, for breakfast. After breakfast, Husband goes to the gym and my daughter and I go to the weekly library story time at 9:30. After the library, we have a snack at Starbucks, then come home and have lunch together around 12:00 p.m. Husband, daughter, dog, and I play outside until nap time at 1:30. While she’s napping, I make the weekly grocery list and do some cleaning. When she wakes up, around 3:30, she and I go to the grocery store; she loves to help me shop. When we get home, Husband entertains her while I unload the groceries and straighten up the house. I feed our daughter dinner around 6:30 p.m., and then Husband and I play with her until she goes to bed at 7:30. After she goes to bed, we guiltily order a pizza and watch Netflix until I fall asleep on the couch at 9:30 p.m. Husband stays up to read until 11:00 or so.
Thanks so much to Emily S. for sharing a bit of her life as a working mom! Readers, what’s your biggest takeaway from her week of work as an state government attorney, as well as her general work/life balance?
Stock photo via Stencil.
Stock photo via Stencil.