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8:00 a.m. Husband drops daughter off at daycare before returning home for a remote work day. Lucky him!
9:00 a.m. Two hours into my workday and I’m ready to go home for the week. I typically travel Monday through Wednesday when I’m working at a client site — to allow for some mother-daughter time — but due to some specific workshops we’re running (and my travel weekend last week!), this week is a little off.
6:00 p.m. Husband picks up daughter from daycare before starting the dinner routine.
8:00 p.m. Husband is rocking the equal parenting thing, getting our daughter down for bed on schedule. She’s beginning to talk and has started asking “Mama, home?” so at least I know I’m missed. I try not to think about how she must miss me, because I’d feel bad. I could never hack it as a SAHM, though, so I just resolve to focus on the good role model I will be to my daughter when she’s old enough to understand. Plus, I figure she’ll get used to the schedule eventually and it won’t be as much of an issue.
We asked M how she and her husband make decisions about dividing parenting duties:
It’s almost always been 50/50. We bottle-fed from the get go, so from Day 1 I made it clear to my husband that I was not getting up every two hours for a feed. He loves interacting with our daughter, doing the bedtime routine, all of that stuff, so it’s rarely a fight over who needs to do what. He also doesn’t have much of a choice when I’m traveling, and when I return home I need my toddler-fix, so it seems to come naturally for us. I used to feel really guilty when I’d schedule time with friends, especially when it came after a work trip. I imagined that my husband was probably really annoyed or frustrated with me. I don’t really think he was, but I still get in my own head when I take time for myself like that. I’ll be the first to admit that I feel as though I still carry most of the emotional labor in the household. Whenever I feel really overwhelmed, my husband and I will have a talk and he’ll pick up some slack for awhile. It’s an ongoing discussion for us (and probably for a lot of other people).
8:00 a.m. Husband drops off daughter at daycare before heading into his office
5:00 p.m. Husband’s parents are able to pick her up today, since he had to pull another day in the office instead of remotely at home. We’re so lucky that our parents are local-ish and don’t have any other grandkids. We know this arrangement will change as soon as our daughter gets some cousins, so we’re going to take advantage of this as long as possible. We also treat our parents to multiple bottles of wine whenever we see them as a partial (though inadequate) thank you.
5:00 p.m. I head out of the client site toward the airport for a 7:30 flight home
8:00 p.m. In-laws have the bedtime routine down, and husband arrives after daughter is sleeping
10:00 p.m. I get home from the airport. I catch up with husband on his week, our daughter, and our weekend plans before passing out.
7:30 a.m. Up for an early daycare drop-off! After an initial excited “HI!” my daughter has decided I’m now chopped liver and is asking for Daddy. Oh well. She has started to display some separation anxiety when we drop her off at daycare (surprise, surprise), but her carers are wonderful and know how to distract her (breakfast? yes, please! bye, Mom!).
3:30 p.m. I wrap up work for the day. It’s been a long week and there’s nothing I can start on now that I could finish before the end of the day.
4:00 p.m. I pick up my daughter from daycare early and we head over to my parents’ house for an impromptu BBQ. We bring bubbles for my daughter to play with outside while we all catch up. My husband arrives later that night for dinner.
7:00 p.m. Family dinner.
8:30 p.m. I decide to stay over at my parents’ house so they can spend more time with my daughter. I know I stand no chance of leaving, since my daughter has been attached to my hip all day. She goes down relatively easily, given the circumstances. I’m happy to spend the extra time with her.
11:00 p.m. I quietly slip into bed next to her pack ‘n’ play. I noticed that she pops up to look over at me throughout the night. Probably checking to make sure I’m still there. Nothing like some Friday-night guilt, kiddo!
8:45 a.m. Daughter sleeps in later than usual, but we eventually get up to watch some Sesame Street downstairs while the rest of the house wakes up. We snack on berries and bananas.
10:00 a.m. Family breakfast means pancakes for my daughter. She’s a total goofball and we all enjoy watching her eat them, one pancake per fist.
3:00 p.m. We arrive back home, and daughter has fallen asleep in the car. I carefully get her out and up into her crib for an official naptime.
3:30 p.m. I catch up with my husband. It feels like it’s been weeks since we’ve properly interacted. It probably has. I definitely miss him.
6:00 p.m. Dinner together as a family
8:00 p.m. I handle the bedtime routine. Now that I’m traveling more, I find myself volunteering to do these routines more often. We split it 50/50 for the most part, but the opportunity to spend more time with my daughter and relieve my husband is too good to pass up. Looking forward to a beach day tomorrow (the first of the season) with daughter before headed back to my client on Monday.
Thanks so much to M for sharing a bit of her life as a working mom! Readers, what’s your biggest takeaway from her week of work as a management consultant as well as her general work/life balance?