Week in the Life of a Working Mom: Business Manager in Boston

business manager in tech in boston shares her work-life balance as a working momFor this week’s installment of our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce CorporetteMoms reader K, who lives in the Boston suburbs with her husband and son and works as a business manager in tech. 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 About This Working Mom…

Name: K
Location: Lives and works in a Boston suburb
Job: Business manager in tech
Age: 32
Hours worked in a typical week: 35–44
Home Situation: I live in a 2,500-square-foot house with my husband (engineer in biotech); our 9-month old son, C; and our cat.
Childcare Situation: $1,200/month. We have a unicorn childcare situation: a licensed, in-home provider in our neighborhood who watches C and two other babies his same age. It is essentially a nanny share, but at a fraction of the cost.

We asked K about how she arrived at her “unicorn” arrangement for childcare: 

Mostly by luck, sorry to say, there is no magic secret. We toured several big-name centers, one independent center, and two in-home providers — in our area there is no shortage. I do recommend checking with your state’s child care licensing agency when looking for in-home providers, because many do not advertise. That’s how we found ours, but it was purely luck that all her kids were “graduating” to pre-K and she was starting with two other babies C’s age. And because of mandated ratios, she can’t take any more kids right now. We also got lucky that we click really well with the other families and the kids all have similar temperaments.

A Week in My Life

Sunday

5:00 a.m. I hear C babbling, but he’s been doing this recently and falling back asleep so I don’t even check the monitor.
6:45 a.m. I wake up and enjoy lying in bed for a few minutes before I hear C stirring — this time when I check the monitor his eyes are open. It’s like he knows! I nurse him in his room and then bring him back to our bed for some more snuggles.
7:30 a.m. Husband makes the coffee, and I give C his breakfast. C plays in the family room while we read and enjoy our coffee. Husband turns on a cycling race, which I don’t mind as background noise.
9:00 a.m. C goes down for a nap, and I head out for a run. Husband works on our taxes while watching his cycling race.
9:45 a.m. I get back from my run and take a long, luxurious, hot shower.
10:30 a.m. Husband makes another round of coffees for us. We sit down and do some planning, talking about the week ahead and upcoming travel (weddings, my 10-year reunion). I also go through my work email and plan out my workweek.
11:20 a.m. C is up from his nap, so we nurse and snuggle. C and I have lunch, then I do some chores in the kitchen while he crawls around. Husband lowers C’s crib, since he’s more and more mobile.
12:30 p.m. The whole family, including the cat, heads outside for some yardwork. I put C on my back in the Ergo while I rake and pull up dead leaves from my garden.
1:45 p.m. Bring C inside for his afternoon nap. Husband goes for a bike ride while I give myself a manicure and watch Netflix.
3:30 p.m. C is up from his nap and husband gets back from his bike ride. After I nurse C, he hangs out with Daddy in the living room watching golf.
5:00 p.m. We go to mass as a family. C is so wiggly and loud now, but he still gets lots of smiles.
6:00 p.m. We stop on the way home for ice cream, because we’re adults and we can. When we get home, I give C dinner while husband watches more golf.
6:40 p.m. Husband does bath and bedtime with C. I swoop in at the end to nurse. While husband makes dinner, I start a load of cloth diapers.
7:30 p.m. We eat dinner and then chat while we clean up the kitchen. We watch a little Netflix together.
9:15 p.m. I go upstairs to read, and husband joins me around 10:00 when we turn off the lights.

Monday

5:00 a.m. As is his custom, C squawks.business manager in tech in boston shares her work-life balance as a working mom - image of two women working over a contract
6:20 a.m. I hear C again and check the monitor. He’s awake, so I go in and we nurse and snuggle. I get him ready for daycare. Husband comes in and plays with him while I shower. We trade off who is getting ready and who is watching him now that he’s mobile.
7:30 a.m. Husband deals with the cat while I give C his breakfast. I pack C’s daycare bag, my lunch, my pumping bag, and my laptop bag. Husband makes us coffee, and I take mine to go. Husband drops C off at daycare after I leave.
8:30 a.m. Arrive at work and crank out some edits on a document before my first call at 9:00.
9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. I have back-to-back calls and meetings all day, but luckily I get a break for lunch. My husband is working from home today, so he stops by to have me sign one of our tax documents before he mails it in. I am able to squeeze in two pumping breaks, during which I watch videos of C on my phone and read Corporette.
4:00 p.m. Since husband is home today, he’s doing pickup too. I get an extra half hour of work!
5:15 p.m. Arrive home, nurse C. Husband stopped at the butcher today, so he’s grilling. I give C his dinner and do bedtime.
7:00 p.m. When I get downstairs from putting C to bed, husband has dinner ready. We eat and complain about our respective work days. We chat while cleaning up the kitchen and then relax on the couch watching Netflix.
9:30 p.m. I head up to bed to read, and husband follows soon after.

Here’s what K added about pumping at work: 

I don’t have an office so I have to decamp to the lactation room, which I currently don’t share with anyone. If you have this flexibility, I recommend scheduling your pumping sessions on a daily basis — I check my calendar first thing and look at when would be best given all my meetings, including which meetings I can miss part of to pump, which I could call into while pumping, and which ones I absolutely have to attend. Originally I’d planned to block the same time every day, but I find this works better.

Tuesday

5:15 a.m. I hear the sleepy babbling start.
6:00 a.m. Babbling escalates to whining, so I go in and nurse C. While we shower, we try a new system and put C in a baby containment device. He protests. Husband makes me a coffee and I head to work; he drops C off at daycare.
8:00 a.m. Arrive at the office. I have no meetings this morning, so I can actually catch up on work!
12:00 p.m. Lunchtime yoga! My office offers a free class, which I love.
1:00–5:00 p.m. The afternoon has back-to-back meetings. I have to be late for one because I can’t find a good time to pump. As usual, pumping time is my break — I watch videos of C and read on my phone.
5:30 p.m. Arrive home. Husband worked from home again, which was a nice treat, because he did pickup again and he’s already started on heating up dinner (leftovers). We eat as a family for once.
6:30 p.m. Husband does bath and bedtime.
7:00–8:00 p.m. I finish up some work on my laptop while husband works in the garage on … some project for the house. I hear power tools.
8:00–9:15 p.m. We relax on the couch together, then head up to bed to read.

Wednesday

6:30 a.m. I wake up naturally, to silence, which is a precious gift. I check the monitor, and C is sleepy babbling but very quiet. He is laying on his side snuggling with his bunny. My heart. I get him up and nurse him, then dress him for daycare. Baby containment day 2 goes much better!
7:30–8:45 a.m. Husband and I work in the kitchen while C plays in his bouncer. Husband often works from home in the morning for a bit, which is why he does drop-off. I have a dentist appointment so I’m doing the same.
9:00–10:00 a.m. Dentist appointment. No cavities. Yay!
10:15 a.m.–4:30 p.m. In the office, working on a technical document and keeping up with email. I have a few calls in the afternoon, but I have no problem leaving on time today to do pickup.
5:00 p.m. Pick up C and head home. Get both of us ready for a run (for him that includes a snowsuit, because it’s still so cold out). Just as we are heading out, husband pulls up. I decide to still take C with me because the snowsuit is such a bitch to get on and off.
5:15–5:45 p.m. C and I go for a run. Well, I run, he naps. Husband does yoga in the sunroom and goes in the hot tub while we’re out.
6:00–6:30 p.m. C eats his dinner while I do chores in the kitchen — starting on our dinner and prepping C’s food for the next week at daycare.
6:30–7:00 p.m. I do bedtime with C. Husband finishes getting dinner ready and throws in a load of diapers.
7:00–8:00 p.m. We eat dinner and chat. Husband watches some TV, but I head up to bed to read around 9.

Thursday

6:00 a.m. Same morning routine as Wednesday, except I’m out the door by 7:30; Husband does drop-off.
8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. I have a full day of meetings with a partner on a joint venture. When I step out to pump at lunchtime I see a text on my personal phone from C’s babysitter — I forgot to pack his food! Luckily, he’s got plenty of milk and babysitter assures me he’s happily eating a banana.
4:30 p.m. I duck out of the meeting early to pick up C. I nurse him and field texts on my work phone from coworkers still in the meeting.
6:00 p.m. Meet up with the project team at a local restaurant for dinner. It was a tough but productive day of meetings, so everyone is glad to relax a bit. While I’m at dinner, husband puts C to bed. I admit I log into the Nest to watch him read C a story.
8:30 p.m. Head home. Husband is working on his laptop and watching TV. We chat for a bit, then turn in early.

Friday

6:00 a.m. Another early day in the office, so I’m up at 6:00 and out the door by 7:30. At least today I remember to send C’s food!
8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Meetings again. In the morning we have internal meetings and in the afternoon the joint venture partner comes back for presentations to management. I manage to squeeze in an hour of catching up on emails before I leave to pick up C. It’s a stressful day, especially following yesterday’s marathon meeting. As usual, pumping is my only break!
4:30–6:30 p.m. I play with C for a bit, feed him dinner, and nurse him. I head back out to dinner, this time with my VP and the managing director of our partner company. Yes, it’s a Friday night, but it’s good networking and the dinner is at an oyster bar I’ve never been to. Husband does C’s bedtime again while I’m at dinner.
9:30 p.m. I get home from dinner, chat with husband for a bit, and read in bed.

Saturday

5:40 a.m. C wakes up howling, so I bring him into bed with us and nurse him. We all snooze for another hour or so. Yay!
7:00 a.m. Husband makes us coffee and pancakes. After breakfast, C plays on the floor while we finish our coffee and read. I start a load of laundry.
8:45 a.m. Time for our weekly FaceTime date with my husband’s parents in Florida. C demonstrates his new crawling skills.
9:15 a.m. I take C up to nurse and go down for his nap. While he’s napping, I go for a run. Husband is out working in the yard.
10:15 a.m. When I’m back from my run, I do some yardwork while I listen to a podcast.
11:00 a.m. C is still napping, so I enjoy a hot shower and lunch. Husband takes a break to eat with me, then heads back outside to do more yardwork.
12:30 p.m. C wakes up and we nurse. While he plays in his room, I put away his clean clothes.
1:30 p.m. I give C lunch, and then he plays while I clean up in the kitchen. Husband finishes up in the yard and goes out for a bike ride.
2:45 p.m. C and I both go down for a nap!
5:00 p.m Husband gets back from his bike ride, and I get C up.
5:30 p.m. My parents arrive — they try to come see C at least once a week and we take the opportunity to have a date night! C gets some playtime with Grandpa, and then my mom gives him dinner. Husband and I get ready, I nurse C and we kiss him good night. My parents put C to bed while we’re on our way to dinner.
6:30–10:00 p.m. We have a lovely dinner while my parents try to stay awake (lol). We have too much wine and pasta, but that doesn’t stop us from getting dessert. We talk about going to the jazz club next door to the restaurant but … we’re exhausted, just like every day, so we’re still asleep by 10:30 even on our night out!

We asked K about grandparents as caregivers: 

My parents moved to be near us, and they are devoted grandparents. My mom has been very involved since my son was a newborn, coming over for a couple hours most days during my maternity leave. She helps out 1–2 nights a week when I’m solo parenting (50% of the time due to husband’s travel). My dad still consults part time, so he’s less available during the week but will come over on the weekend. I always have the understanding and expectation that they’re spending time with C for fun, and that they come over when they’re free and it works for them. I didn’t choose to have my mom watch C on a scheduled basis because I wanted her to be able to spoil C and be “fun Grandma.” Most of the time, my parents will suggest a date and time to come over and from there we decide what to do — sometimes we have dinner together at home as a family and sometimes we will go out while they put C to bed. It works well for us because I always keep in mind that they’re not at our beck and call, and they’re not our employees. That way I don’t set myself up for disappointment (with either scheduling or parenting style).

Thanks so much to K for sharing a bit of her life as a working mom! Readers, what’s your biggest takeaway from her week of work as a business manager, as well as her general work/life balance?

Stock photo via Shutterstock / Oleksii Shalamov

Our featured working mom this week is a business manager in tech -- she shares her work-life balance, including how her toddler son likes his licensed, in-home daycare provider, how she and her husband share parenting duties, and general life in the Boston suburbs.

Comments

  1. Boston Legal Eagle says:

    Thanks for sharing. Your life sounds like ours, about a year and a half ago! And not just because we’re both in the Boston area :) We paid about double that amount for infant daycare though, so glad you were able to find something cheaper and still high quality! My husband also works in tech, although doesn’t travel, thankfully for me. I have a much more erratic work schedule at certain times of the year, so it helps that at least one of us can consistently do pick-up at the same time.

    My parents also moved here to help with kids, and I totally agree on keeping their relationship as fun grandparents instead of full-time or even part-time caregivers. It’s great when they’re able to help out for sick days, weekends, our travels, etc. but I think it would create some tension if we tried to rely on them for something more consistent. And now that we have a toddler, I can’t imagine my poor dad trying to keep up with him! We can barely handle the weekends, and there are two of us.

    To ask a very location-specific question, how did you pick your particular Boston suburb? You don’t have to name it, obviously, but a general area and maybe proximity to the city (or, North v. South commuter rail). We’re having a tough time narrowing down where to settle down, and it doesn’t help that we’d be on different commuter lines for our current offices.

    • Not the original poster, but also work in Boston and live in suburbs. For us it was an easy decision because both my husband and I grew up in the same South Shore town so that is where we gravitated to, but it would not be doable for us without the commuter rail. Door to door (including daycare drop off which is near the train stop we get on at) my commute is about an hour and 15 minutes. My office is also very near South Station so it works and my husband has about a 15 minute walk from there.

    • Reader K says:

      Hi! Originally I worked in the city so we did consider commuter rail. We looked at adjacent towns to where my husband’s office was (Burlington) and narrowed by school district. Like the other anon my door to door in financial district was about 1:20. Since then I moved to a new company which is also in the suburbs, so my commute is 15 minutes by car now!

      If you’re both in the city, that makes it a bit trickier to start, but do you have an area you feel more at home in? We’ve always been North Shore people (even though I grew up going to the beach on the South Shore) so that played into it too. We have always liked the feel of the Lexington/Concord/Carlisle/Bedford area.

    • We’re in the Boston burbs as well. We lived on the south shore for a while [Hingham] and now live west of the city.

      We loved the south shore, loved the ocean and the feel, but the commute to anywhere other than the seaport/south station/downtown [but not really cambridge] was terrible. it also felt very “townie” in a way that would be great if we were born and bred in MA, but we are not. I’d have moved to Duxbury in a hearbeat except the commute is horrendous.

      DH and I both work in industries that tend to be more in the Waltham/95 area if they are not downtown, so when we left our starter home we looked for something that could be somewhat easy access to the waltham/95 area as well as downtown. We travel enough [monthly, not weekly] that we needed to be somewhat close to Logan, but didn’t need super easy access. We like our own space–so we wanted somewhere where we couldn’t see into our neighbor’s window or be paying north of $1M and still have to park outside. We wanted good public schools, because with housing costs how they are, we are not funding private school until college.

      We live in Concord. We considered, but were priced out of, Lexington, Wellesley and Winchester for the amount of green space and square footage we wanted. We almost bought in Wayland and Sudbury, but decided the lack of commuter rail access (you’d have to drive to Weston or Natick or Framingham) would limit us in the long run, and we were looking for our forever house. Right now, neither of us work downtown BUT that could easily change–I worked downtown when we moved in. FWIW, there are more SAHMs in Wayland and Sudbury than there are in Concord– the nanny and au pair scene is hoppin’ here.

      • Oh and yes on the daycare unicorn. We paid $2000/mo in 2011 for infant care, and prices have only gone up (but we switched to a nanny, whom we pay $38k/year + preschool fees, since we still have a non grade schooler)

        • Reader K says:

          Yes, infant care is usually around $2500. We got incredibly lucky, she’s basically a nanny who instead of an employee is an LLC, so I have none of the taxes or HR stuff to deal with. And I can use FSA dollars on her. She’s also a baby whisperer and got our kid to nap when we never could, I seriously credit her with all my sanity today.

    • Boston Legal Eagle says:

      Thanks all – very helpful! We’re looking at suburbs at and just north of 95 (Reading/Wakefield/Melrose/N Reading)… but then I also really like Natick and Needham (although this is probably too pricy for us). School districts are important, as well as the commute. We like the Bedford/Concord area, but I fear that would make both of our commutes hellish! I think one or both of us will eventually want a job closer to where we end up living, it’s just a matter of picking that city first.

      • Reader K says:

        Melrose is great, such an easy commute into the city. We wanted a bit more land that our money would get us there, though. Wilmington is decent in that area as well.

  2. August says:

    Also Boston-area and interested in your commute times. Both my husband and my offices are only about 18 miles away…(offices are pretty close, but we live close to family who we are close to (both sides). But the average commute time for us is 45-75 minutes daily each way with traffic (all on 128). It seems like rush hour is 230-6pm each day now.

    I work from home 75% of the time which is a huge help (I can eliminate about 2.5-3 hours of childcare per day this way since I need to really allow about , but I feel like i need to allow 90 minutes each way to be comfortable about not being late/cutting things too close. If I ever want to lean back in and be in the office more… I really think I’ll need to have more facetime realistically and find a different job closer to home.

    Husband works longer hours to avoid commute. Its tough though!

    • August says:

      In mod…and so many typos. sorry my comment may be hard to follow.

    • Reader K says:

      Husband is on 128. He also works from home when not travelling and goes in or comes home at off times. It’s terrible, no way around it (and I think his office is only 12 miles – but it’s ~45 min). He rides his bike some days, too, which takes the same amount of time but at least he gets exercise.

      As I mentioned above I used to go into the city and it was over two hours of my day, which would not have been sustainable with kids. I definitely chose my current company partly based on its proximity – 5 miles. I only have to go one exit on the highway and I can also do back roads if I need to.

  3. Sara C. says:

    Glad to see someone else with a husband who takes off on long bike rides (and subjects the house to cycling races). My husband still races with a local team, and it requires a lot of training time, but it truly makes him happy so I’m supportive.

    My son (now three), thought for a long time that the TV only played bicycles. ;-)

    • Reader K says:

      I am pretty sure my son also thinks the TV is just for bicycles! That’s the only reason we have the TV on when he is awake.

      I tolerate the bike rides because it does make him super happy, and I will take off to run or go to yoga so I figure it’s fair. He only races mountain bike, and very occasionally, thank goodness. I don’t know that I could support a road racing habit (money flying away emoji). He owns 5 bikes as it is, and says he needs a new one!

  4. Exercising while Preggo? says:

    Wondering what types of exercises folks do while pregnant? I’m 27 weeks and have kept up my spin routine (modified) but I’m getting a bit bored. I used to run but haven’t in awhile so don’t think starting now is a great idea. All prenatal yoga in my area is offered at like 10 am on Tuesdays (um thanks, I work). I want to stay active but need some ideas? TIA!

    • Last time around for me it was lots of elliptical, long walks outside, some light hiking. I ran pre-baby but stopped sometime in the first trimester, and everything I heard was that running was totally fine if it was something you were already doing, but not recommended to pick up mid-pregnancy. I’m just now coming out of the nauseous fog of the first few weeks of pregnancy for #2 and planning to get back into the above plus maybe some light weight lifting. I hear you on the 10am Tues yoga classes – it sounds interesting, and I’ve read it’s beneficial, but I gave up trying to find classes that I can actually attend!

      PS – you’ll probably get more replies if you post this in the daily thread today or tomorrow.

    • BigLaw Sr Assoc says:

      I maintained a (modified) weight lifting routine until the last few weeks. I maintained running, cycling, and swimming for cardio for a good while, but in my third trimester, I shifted to swimming almost exclusively. Swimming was very comfortable and the little ones didn’t get in the way if I stuck with freestyle and breaststroke. I felt more comfortable in the pool than on land, so I would often float around in the free rec area when I was done with the exercise.

    • Ha, I feel the same way about the 10am Tuesday yoga classes. I’m primarily a runner, but at 28 weeks I think I may have run my last steps of this pregnancy – it’s just getting too uncomfortable. So I’ve been walking as much as possible – home from coworking space (3-4 miles), to run errands (2-3 miles), etc. Work has been crazy but once it settles down a bit, I hope to swim and pool run more. I also use a couple of paid workout apps – Aaptiv is one, and they have a maternity program that is a bit hit or miss, but I can do most of the workouts at home with minimal equipment. And Jasyoga (also paid) just released a set of ‘yoga for pregnant athletes’ videos.

    • Spinning and walking was all I could do. Once I got deep into the third trimester, my knees hit my belly when I cycled. And I was pretty much chained to the treadmill because I could only walk about 15 minutes without having to pee. But it was really worth it.

    • NYCer says:

      Barre classes are great while pregnant. They all will give you modifications for the abs portion of class.

  5. I too have a 9 month old and a) wish she slept through the night and b) napped for longer than 30 minutes at a time. That seems heavenly. Oh to be able to do all of the things. Reading these posts I’m always amazed at how much “free” or hobby time people have. I think it comes down to me not being as well organized as the rest of you ladies and the fact that I work 55 hours on a typical week (and quite often much more), so those extra 10-15 hours others don’t have really add up.

    • Reader K says:

      See below – we did have a time when he didn’t sleep (at all. day or night….), so I’m that much more grateful for the naps now! His napping is a big part of how husband and I are able to pursue hobbies/work out. I realize we’re super lucky in that regard, and I know that all goes away if/when we have #2…

  6. So jealous of the long naps and baby who sleeps through the night!

    • Reader K says:

      He didn’t sleep from months 4-6, so I totally realize what an amazing sleeper he is now. He is super active when he’s awake (per his babysitter who has taken care of way more children in her life than I have!) but when he’s out, he’s out. Plays hard, sleeps hard.

      • Did you all do anything differently or was it just something that happened with time? Our 5 month old has devolved from 3-4 30 min to hour long naps at daycare into 20 minute naps and sometimes only two a day since around 4 months. She’s also getting to where she is a terror to get to go to sleep at night and I’m pretty sure its because she’s overtired.

        • Reader K says:

          We tried to sleep train but there was lots of crying on both sides, so we gave up. Honestly, I don’t think we did anything to get him to nap/sleep. His babysitter got him napping well (I really don’t know how, she’s just amazing) and his night time sleep improved from there. It was a hellish few months, hang in there!

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