For this week’s installment of our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce CorporetteMoms reader M, who lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter and works as a management consultant in NYC. Our usual caveat applies: Please remember thaft 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…
Location: Live in central NJ; work from home, my NYC office, or at a client site
Job: Management consultant at a Big 4 firm, specializing in customer experience and strategy
Home Situation: Live in a 2,300-square-foot home with my husband (37-year-old lawyer at a small firm) and our nearly 2-year-old daughter
Childcare Situation: Our daughter attends a local daycare from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00/6:00 p.m. for $300/week, which includes an employer discount. Her grandparents pick her up once or twice a week, depending on whether husband and I are traveling or will have a late night in the office.
A Week in My Life
My best friend’s bachelorette party was this weekend, so I spent Friday through today out of state. My husband hung out with my daughter and his parents. I returned home Sunday evening (after many flight delays) around 1:00 a.m.
7:30 a.m. Up early to get my daughter to daycare. I haven’t seen her much between personal weekend commitments and a new client that requires travel, so I relish the day to do drop-off/pickup. I work remotely today from my home office, directing my team that’s onsite, and spend most of the day working on deliverables and reviewing my teams’ work.
12:00 p.m. My husband and I pop out to grocery shop for the week and pick up lunch. He doesn’t cook while I’m away, so we try to buy a combination of “easy” items like soups and healthy pre-made meals for him and my daughter. I will also make dinner tonight to last them a few days while I’m traveling for my client.
5:00 p.m. I pick up daughter from daycare. On days that I work remotely, I have a standing agreement with my team that I’m off-limits (barring any disasters) so I can spend time with my daughter. I typically work longer hours when I travel or am in the office, so it balances out.
6:30 p.m. Homemade soup for dinner. Daughter is starting to get randomly picky with her food (too bad for us…), so it can sometimes be a struggle. Today she eats most of the veggie minestrone, so I chalk it up to win.
8:00 p.m. Bedtime routine, including three stories before putting her to bed
9:00 p.m. Catch up on emails, then pack for my three-day business trip
11:00 p.m. Out like a light
Here’s what M had to say about her daughter’s eating habits:
We try to get her to eat whatever we make for ourselves, and if she doesn’t, we’ll make sure she gets some pureed vegetable packs at the minimum. She gets healthy, balanced meals and snacks as part of her daycare, and due to some magical toddler peer pressure she seems to always eat what they serve. Frankly, if she gets picky when she gets home for dinner, I at least don’t feel like a monster if she’ll only eat a meatball or a squeeze packet since I know she ate well at school. I’m sure this is just going to be a phase. Phases last until kids are like 14 though, I hear.
5:30 a.m. Lyft arrives to take me to the airport. Not a wonderful time to wake up, but not the worst. When I first began my consulting career, there were many 4:00 a.m. pickups. I nap during the ride.
7:45 a.m. Flight leaves for my client trip. I nap during the one-hour flight (got to grab those extra Z’s where I can).
8:00 a.m. Husband drops daughter off at daycare before heading into his office.
10:30 a.m. I get to my client site and get to work — lots to do this week with multiple deliverables and a few client workshops on the agenda.
4:00 p.m. Tuesdays are grandparent pickup days, since I’m away and my husband has to go into his office and work late. They pick daughter up from daycare and bring her back to our place to play, eat dinner, and do the normal bedtime routine. Husband usually returns from work around 8:00, so he might be able to take over bedtime duties depending on the day.
We asked M to share advice for other moms who travel a lot for work:
I have found consistent check-ins to be key. Things like FaceTime and Google Hangouts make it really easy to stay in touch visibly. That helps make me feel connected to my husband and daughter. I also try to text my husband randomly throughout the day to keep our relationship and friendship strong. It’s equally important, though, to set boundaries at work where you can: Carve out a few hours of “do not disturb” time, and learn how to say No. Block off my kids’ school “parties” and things like that into my day so when I am home, I’m visible. I didn’t feel that I was able to do that earlier in my career, but I see that flexibility changing. I hope it will be more commonplace soon. On a more fun note, I also use my travel as a fun thing to discuss with my daughter — oh, Mommy goes to work on an airplane, etc. When kids are young they can definitely get into those mundane aspects that we take for granted. Having help really underpins all of this, though, and without my husband and our family members I don’t know if all of the aforementioned advice helps all that much.