For this week’s installment of our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce CorporetteMoms reader B, who lives in upstate New York with her husband and two kids and works as the finance director of nonprofit. 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…
Location: Live and work in small city in upstate NY
Job: Finance director at nonprofit
Home Situation: I live in a 2,000-square-foot home with my husband (48-year-old project manager), our kids (4-year-old son, F, and 2-year-old daughter, C), and our dog.
Childcare Situation: My mom watches C in our home 40 hours (paid) per week and son goes to preschool with wrap care 37.5 hours per week. Cost: $315/week.
How is the work-life balance in your industry in general? What are common ways of juggling responsibilities that you see your colleagues and coworkers doing?
There is quite a bit of flexibility if I have appointments or need to come in early or late, which helps with work/life balance. Typically I can work any overtime hours at home, but due to volume of meetings have to be in the office the majority of the workweek. Nonprofits are often not flush with resources so the demands of the position can be quite high at times because we don’t always have adequate staff for projects. I have worked to set boundaries, though, and communicate what is reasonable with my manager while ensuring I am still putting in my fair share.
How do you handle household chores, such as laundry, grocery shopping, housecleaning, etc.? Who does what, and when — and how often?
I typically handle all of the shopping and the kids’ laundry. I also do most of the housework. My mom helps with dishes and picking up during the week when babysitting as my daughter takes three-hour naps. Husband will help pick up occasionally and does most of the yard work.
A Week in My Life
7:10 a.m. Wake up to F letting out a loud “Mama!” from his room across the hall. Go over to comfort him and see dad is already in bed with him and he already fell back to sleep. Go back to bed and sit with phone reading newspaper app and Facebook. Typically me getting out of bed = kids waking up, so I try and relax and enjoy being awake while they are sleeping.
8:00 a.m. Everyone is still sleeping so decide to take the dog on a very rare morning walk alone.
8:30 a.m. Arrive home and husband and F are up. F plays with his toys while I make breakfast; husband plays video games. He’s sore from staining our fence yesterday.
9:30 a.m. C wakes up, get self and kids ready for a trip to the splash pad with Grandma.
3:00 p.m. Arrive home. C fell asleep during ride home so I put her in her bed to finish her nap. F gets screen time during nap time. I clean out car and throw in a load of laundry. Husband prepared dinner while we were gone and its simmering for another few hours.
3:30 p.m. Relax around the house. Typically I would grocery shop but started doing grocery pickup which has freed up 2+ hours each weekend. So in love with this free service. Order birthday presents for F because his birthday is in a week and a half.
5:30 p.m. C up from nap. We eat dinner together than husband goes to mow the yard while I clean up and hang out with the kids.
7:15 a.m. Head to store to pick up grocery order.
8:00 p.m. Baths for both kids and bedtime snack
9:00 p.m. Stories, then lights out cuddling with kids until they fall asleep which takes about an hour. Watch a TV show.
10:30 p.m. Go to bed.
5:30 a.m. Up earlier than usual because I have a training out of town an hour away. Get ready.
6:45 a.m. Out the door while everyone is still sleeping. Order an Uber for my mom who watches C in our home during the week, since I wasn’t able to pick her up this morning. Husband is up at 7:00 a.m. and out the door at 7:15. Husband takes an extended break from work at 9:00 a.m. to run home and take F to preschool and dog to kennel today since I am out of town.
7:45 a.m. Arrive at training, which lasts all day. Stay on top of emails during breaks and lunch.
4:45 p.m. Arrive home. Husband and then take my mom home with F. Daughter is still napping at home with husband who also just arrived home after picking up F and the dog.
5:15 p.m. Play with playdoh and velcro balls with the kids while eating leftovers and scrambled eggs with the kids.
7:00 p.m. Husband takes kids to visit his mom, who is in town from out of state. Brush teeth before they go in case they fall asleep on the way home. I veg on the couch.
9:00 p.m. Husband arrives home. F is sleeping. C stays up another hour then I put her to sleep with me at 10:00 p.m.
6:00 a.m. Wake up and check email, etc., until 6:20 then get myself ready.
6:45 a.m. C wakes up so I entertain her while packing lunches. Husband is up at 7:00 a.m. and out the door by 7:15. F wakes up at 7:30. I make a work-related phone call while making breakfast.
8:25 a.m. I’m out the door to drop dog off at kennel, pick up my mom and bring her to my house to watch C, and drop F off at preschool.
9:10 a.m. I arrive at work five minutes before my first meeting. Meetings, put out fires, various tasks all day, no progress on any projects.
4:30 p.m. Husband picks up F and dog and brings my mom home.
5:00 p.m. Leave work to meet my sister for pedicures. I gave her a pedicure date for her birthday a couple weeks ago and we’re cashing in today.
6:15 p.m. Arrive home, husband is already feeding kids. I join them for dinner.
7:00 p.m. Take the kids outside to play. Spread some compost from our farmers market composting program while kids dig in the dirt and play with worms.
8:15 p.m. Go inside to have a snack, brush teeth, and wind down for bed.
9:30 p.m. Lie down with kids for bed. We all fall asleep around 10:00.
We asked B whether this was a typical week regarding the amount of free time she had (or didn’t have):
Yes, pretty typical, and what has made transitioning to motherhood difficult (even five years later!), but I’m starting to see that it doesn’t last forever as little things are starting to change that don’t take my time like they used to, such as my son showering pretty independently and being out of mommy-and-me activities. I’ve always focused my time on work and relationships so I don’t have many formal hobbies. It would be nice to have more time to exercise or take a class or two.
6:20 a.m. Wake up. Get self ready and pack lunches. Husband up and out the door at the same time.
7:45 a.m. F wakes up and I feed him breakfast.
8:15 a.m. Wake C up and we all leave for morning to drop off dog, bring my mom to my house to watch C, and drop F off at preschool.
9:10 a.m. Arrive at work and have solid meetings from 9:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Stay another hour trying to tie up loose ends. No progress on projects. Order pizza and pick up on my way home. Husband picked up F and dog at 4:30 p.m. and brought my mom home.
6:15 p.m. Arrive home and eat dinner with the kids while they argue over a pencil eraser.
7:00 p.m. Baths for both kids. Realize there is only one clean towel left so do a load of laundry. Than we watch a movie with some random playtime in between.
9:30 p.m. Both kids’ bedtime with dad, and they fall asleep around 10:15 p.m. I watch a few shows before falling asleep at 11:00 p.m.
We asked B whether she plans to stay in the nonprofit field for the foreseeable future:
I think I will. I previously worked in the for-profit industry, and the work environment wasn’t as enjoyable due to the focus often being on profit over everything else. I like being a part of the mission at the nonprofit I am at.
6:20 a.m. Up and get myself ready and pack lunches. Throw together a crockpot meal to cook on low all day.
7:45 a.m. F gets up and I make him breakfast and get him ready.
8:15 a.m. Wake C up and we all leave for drop-off routine.
9:10 a.m. Arrive at work and review notes for presentation this morning. Meetings until noon. Complete various tasks in the afternoon and start work on a project in the afternoon for a couple hours.
4:30 p.m. Husband picks up F and dog and brings my mom home.
5:45 p.m. Arrive home and feed everyone crockpot dinner.
6:30 p.m. Color with kids and then they play while I do grocery shopping on app and schedule for pickup when I get out of work tomorrow. Since F’s birthday is soon I feel inspired to sort through old toys and box up some for consignment store and others to donate to make room for new gifts and get rid of items that are no longer played with. This doubles as cleanup/organize time.
10:00 p.m. Husband lays down kids for bed. I stay up and binge on a TV series I’ve been catching up on this week.
1:30 a.m. I go to bed. Felt good to relax for so long but know I will regret it in the morning!
Here’s what B had to say when we asked her about the pros and cons of having a family caregiver:
Pros are definitely that she is willing to watch the kids when they are sick, as most daycares/sitters won’t, so I don’t have to take much time off when my kids are sick and I know they are being cared for by grandma when not feeling well. A con is that we don’t have many other resources for babysitting in the evenings and on weekends and I don’t want to ask my mom after she already babysat all week. I am very picky about who can watch my children before they are verbal enough to communicate how the time went, so once C is a little older we’ll use other resources to be able to get out occasionally during evenings/weekends.
6:50 a.m. Wake up. I knew I would regret the late night. Have to figure out how to get ready a half hour quicker and I succeed!
7:15 a.m. F is up, and C wakes up at 7:45 a.m. I get myself and F ready and pack lunches.
8:25 a.m. We are out the door for regular drop-off routine.
9:10 a.m. Arrive at work. Various meetings, work on a few projects, and send followups because it seems all of my large projects are stalling out due to waiting on deliverables from team members. One item I am waiting on will be finished this weekend. Contemplate taking my computer home to work Sunday night but decide against it because we just ended a six-month busy streak and it really started to wear on me and decide relaxing this weekend is a better choice.
4:30 p.m. Husband does pickup routine and brings my mom home.
5:00 p.m. Leave work and pick up grocery order. After arriving home we unpack the groceries and leave for dinner out of town about 40 minutes away with family visiting. It’s a large buffet, which is my preferred choice when going out to dinner with the kids because they don’t do well waiting for food.
9:00 p.m. Leave dinner and head home. Both kids fall asleep on the way home so we put them to bed when we get home. I am in bed soon after.
F wakes up. He relaxes with dad while I shower. C is up at 7:15 a.m. I make breakfast for everyone.
8:30 a.m. We all leave to take my mom to the local farmer/vendor market and help her set up. She sells crafts she makes and plants.
9:30 a.m. Arrive back home and take C and dog for a walk. F doesn’t want to go. When we get back me, F and C play outside until I have to leave for a haircut at 11:30 a.m. Husband stays with kids and puts C down for a nap while I go for haircut, shopping for supplies for F’s birthday this week and party next weekend, and order catering for the party. Go back to farmers market to shop for produce and help my mom pack up and bring her home.
3:00 p.m. Arrive home. C wakes up. I then clean and cook dinner for the next few hours while C plays and F spends more time on screens than I prefer, but it’s a rainy day.
7:00 p.m. Play with blocks with the kids. Then baths.
8:00 p.m. Movie and then bed for everyone.
Thanks so much to B for sharing a bit of her life as a working mom! Readers, what’s your biggest takeaway from her week of work as the finance director of a nonprofit as well as her general work/life balance?
Stock photo via Stencil.