For our third Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce Reader D, who is a 31-year-old project manager in Atlanta with two young kids. 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…
Job: Project manager
Home Situation: I live in a large house with my husband (31, marketing), our 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son, and our dog.
Childcare Situation: Daycare/Preschool, $460/week
Last Week in My Life
Family woke around 9:00, we had pancakes and played outside until 11:00. We came back in and the kids colored/did puzzles until 12:00. I worked on cleaning the house — laundry, bathrooms, dusting, while my husband made the kids lunch at noon. After lunch (around 1:00), I ran an errand with my daughter while my son slept. We got smoothies afterwards and made it home around 4:00. My husband did yard work while we were gone, periodically checking on my son. At 5:00 we picked up our favorite takeout for dinner and woke up my son (who makes up for bad daycare naps on the weekend) and watched a movie while we ate. We then had bath time (6:45), read a few stories together, sang some songs, and I put my son to bed (7:30). My husband then read a story to my daughter (8:00) while I was back to folding laundry. After my daughter was asleep (8:30), my husband did the dishes and we watched one show before going to bed ourselves.
6:30 — I wake up and get ready for work, then wake up my daughter around 7:00. She isn’t ready to get up, so I wake up my son. I change his diaper and put on his favorite Mickey shirt. He goes to hug my husband, who is still getting ready. My kids are downstairs ready to go, eating whole wheat waffles by 7:45. We put on shoes and make sure everyone has pottied and teeth are brushed. I do my daughter’s hair and we are in the car headed to school at 8:00. I drop off the kids at daycare and make it to work at 9:15. After a day at work, my husband picks up the kids (5:45) and must have a snack for them in the car. Otherwise, they will lose their shit. I leave work around 5:00 or 5:15 and stop at Whole Foods to pick up dinner on my way. The kids and my husband make it home around 6:15 and the kids don’t want my healthy dinner. They eat leftover pizza. I pick up and eat an old macaron. The babysitter is coming over at 7:00, as my husband and I have a group we attend. The kids go to bed at 7:30 and 8:30 respectively, though my daughter stays up reading until we get home around 9:15. I eat my leftover salad and my husband and I watch a show, then he does dishes and takes out the dog while I am completing my getting ready for bed regimen. We are in bed at 11:00.
We asked D about her kids’ daycare, and she said, in part:
Our new school’s teachers have a tenure of ~10 years on average. They also have all the policies in place that will not allow them to sit my baby in a jumper all day long. Those were my requirements. They also have kids outside 90 minutes a day, which I loved and, as a bonus, they serve all snacks and lunches. That is a life changer. The only thing I don’t LOVE about our current daycare is that as I am driving there I pass 5 other centers, but I know ultimately it is great that I was picky, as my kids don’t despise getting dropped off, love their teachers, and typically don’t want to leave at the end of the day. It makes my work day much more pleasant not worrying about how they are doing.
6:30 — I wake up and get ready for work. I have to change since I have selected a sweater and it will be 80° today. I try to wake up my daughter. No dice. I wake up my son around 7:10. He has monster face, as he has had a massive nosebleed overnight. Perfect. I have a conference call at 8:00, so must get my daughter out the door with my husband by then and get my son happily watching an educational show, as he has his 2-year check up today! I made it on the call by 8:00 and pay attention to what I can. I mute and give my daughter kisses and wave to my husband, taking her to school today. I check on my son eating his waffle. I decide to eat cereal on mute, and my son decides he will eat my cereal too. 8:30 and my call wraps up. Plenty of time to get to the doctor by 8:45 for our 9:00 appointment. I put shoes on my son and wash his hands, as I didn’t do a good enough job earlier and they’re still a little bloody. I look at the clock when he is buckled in his seat. 8:45?! WTF? At least the doctor is only 10 minutes away. Oh wait, traffic. We are late for the appointment. My son has a good checkup, but is very small (always has been, so not a huge concern). Because his BMI had dropped slightly, we need a recheck of his weight in 2-3 months. My son gets his shot, handles it well. Does not handle the hemoglobin test well. He pulled off the bandaid too soon and now he is bleeding all over the doctor’s office and touching everything with his bloody finger. Sorry, doctor! I drop my son off at school, which he is disappointed about. I sneak a peek at my daughter in her class. She has bunny ears on. No one else has any costume on. I love my weirdo. My husband picks the kids up at 5:45. With snacks. I have the kids eat the healthy dinner I picked up yesterday while I get ready for the gym. I leave at 6:45 for my 7:00 class. While I am at class, my husband gets the kids ready and puts them to bed at 7:30 and 8:30 respectively. I get home at 8:15 and kiss my daughter while my husband reads to her. I eat some dinner, shower quickly, then hop on a 9:00 conference call. During this time, my husband does the dishes, then works on a work proposal. At 10:00 I am finished and my husband and I chat for a few minutes. I crochet in bed while he reads. I am not sure when or how he is taking care of the dog, but I am impressed that my husband fits this task in somewhere in these busy days.
6:30 — I wake up and get ready for work. I get my daughter up and dress her. She’s awake! I get my son up, change diaper, and dress him. Everyone gets a whole wheat waffle. I take the kids to school. We are late, but just normal late. Not too late. I arrive at work at 9:15. My husband picks up the kids at 5:45 and they arrive home at 6:15 when I am making breakfast for dinner. My tiny son only eats the tater tots. (I only make them because I know this will be the case and hate to not feed a 5th-percentile kid.) We take a bath with lots of bubbles. When my husband washes hair, hair doesn’t get too clean, but when I wash hair, children cry because the water gets in their eyes. I wash the hair anyway. We get out of the bath and dress the babies. It’s time for story/song/bed time. We give the small boy an extra cup of whole milk to bulk him up. The girl needs to be bulked up too, but at least she’s 10th percentile. My husband puts my son to bed and I attempt to put my daughter to bed. This results in me in bed with a loud cat, a dog that followed us upstairs, and a crying daughter. I can’t recall why she was crying, but my husband walked in on my terrible scenario and told me he feels confident that I can’t live without him. I agree.
6:30 — I wake up and get ready and realize I have to pack since I am going out of town today. I get the kids up and dressed and try to prepare them for not seeing mommy for a day and a half. My daughter seems more upset, but I am more worried about my son, who is very attached to me. I love it. My husband offers to take the kids to school. I consider it, as my daughter has warned me she will be crying because she will miss me. I take them to school anyway. E was right. She cried. I head to work and I am there by 9:30, which I consider a success, as I had to pack. I map my way to the airport since the highway has broken on my typical route. I plan for an hour and a half. I head to the airport around 12 and it takes an hour and 15. I take off at 3:15 and worry about my husband and the babies. They will pick up Chick-fil-A today. I assume my husband will pick up Whole Foods or supplies for tacos or hot dogs on Friday. Maybe he’ll surprise me and pick up my favorite tacos. We typically don’t eat out this much, I swear. I didn’t realize I was leaving town until Tuesday. I call my husband at 9:00, after the babies are in bed. He has fed them chicken, read stories, and put them to bed. He is great. I imagine he is now working on chores, as is our usual routine.
Here’s what D had to say about how she and her husband divide up the household responsibilities:
My husband and I split making dinner, depending on who picks up the kids — unless the other is volunteering/working late/out of town, the non picker-upper makes dinner. I meal plan and grocery shop, I do the bathrooms and laundry. My husband does the yard work, cleans the kitchen every night, picks up toys at night, and vacuums. It is a pretty natural split based on our strengths and the chores we hate.
I was out of town and didn’t see my littles today. I flew in and got home around 11:00, so everyone was fast asleep. While I was preoccupied with work, my husband woke and got the kids ready for school. He dropped them off and headed to work. Once a month at their school there is an activity, so he had to leave work at 2:30 to get to school on time for “flower math fun” at 3:30. He has to jump between classrooms, as he is only one parent. He takes the kids home and lets them play and color in the playroom. He attempts to answer a couple last-minute work emails. He makes dinner (hot dogs and broccoli) and feeds the babies. They have a relaxing movie night. No bath tonight, just stories and songs and off to bed at 7:30 and 8:30. I assume my husband used this time after kiddos were “asleep” (my daughter will walk downstairs with requests until 9:00 or 9:30 typically) to wrap up some work items. I got home, we ate a snack, and talked. I prepped for my son’s birthday party tomorrow (not at home).
My son’s birthday party! I wake up at 8:00 to pick up the cake and balloons. We let the kids sleep in until 9:00. (I know, I’m lucky.) I go home and the kids are waking up at 9:00. I make eggs, bacon, toast, and hash browns. Both little ones eat! We dress and head to the birthday party at 10:30 to get a little extra jumping in. I outsource the birthday party to a jumpy house place. Totally worth it. The kids exhaust themselves, then eat pizza and cake. We head home at 1:30 and my son naps. My daughter watches a movie. I begin meal planning and packing lists for next week’s trip to a cabin in the Tennessee mountains. My son wakes up at 4:00 and we head to the neighborhood Easter egg hunt. At 5:00 we head home and have spaghetti for dinner. We open my son’s presents and have more cake. We take a bath and do bedtime routine. My son goes down at 7:30. We can’t get my daughter to sleep until 10:00. Thanks, sugar. While my husband works on getting my daughter down, I clean the bathrooms and work on laundry. She finally drifts off and miraculously my husband does not! We watch a show together and snack. Date night.
Here’s what D said when we asked about date nights:
Unfortunately, we have been down to about once a quarter for 2017 so far. This doesn’t include, however, when we rent a movie and pick up dinner for ourselves, which I find to be almost as much fun as going out. Last year, our average was about once a month. We typically go to a nice restaurant, walk around the city, and head back home on date nights. I am surprising my husband with dinner and a concert for his birthday, so the sitter will get the 4:00-to-bedtime shift. Best of luck, babysitter!!
Thanks so much to L. for sharing a bit of her life as a working mom! Readers, what’s your biggest takeaway from D’s week as a project manager in Atlanta and her work life balance?
Picture credit: Pixabay.