For the fifth installment of our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce a CorporetteMoms reader who asked us to call her HSAL. She’s a 35-year-old government attorney in a large Midwestern city and has one child. 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…
Lives: Large Midwestern city
Job: Government attorney
Home Situation: 1400-square-foot townhome with husband (researcher) and 18-month-old girl, and a cat. Getting ready to move in the next year.
Childcare Situation: Daycare ($287/week)
Last Week in My Life
H doesn’t have to go to work, so it’s family day. We all get showered and dressed and go for a family trip to Target. H has to remove baby while I check out because she’s howling that we won’t let her roam free to get hit by a cart. Then we all play outside for the rest of the morning. Sidewalk chalk is a big hit. Baby naps at 12:30, we furiously clean for our friends coming over with their two kids at 3:00. Play, mess, they leave by 6:00 and we have dinner, bath, and bedtime. H and I stay up and watch shows until 10:00.
Wake up at 6:20, H gets in the shower while I go snuggle with baby for a little bit. I get in the shower when he’s done while he gets her dressed and takes her down for breakfast. We both leave around 7:30 — he does drop-off and then calls me to tell me how it went and we chat and discuss podcasts during our commutes. Work by 8:15, catch up on emails, make a plan for the day. Ignore that plan and read the comments from the Weekend Open Thread. Squeeze in a yoga session during lunch. Have a meeting with another agency that is incapable of doing things right the first time. Leave work, home with baby by a little after 5:00. She eats leftovers, we play, H gets home, we all hang out until bedtime. Baby goes to bed at 7:00, I stay upstairs to catch up on my shows while H plays video games downstairs.
Here’s what HSAL told us about doing yoga:
I used to do yoga semi-regularly, but I totally stopped when I got pregnant 2 1/2 years ago. A few months ago I decided I wanted to start exercising again, so I downloaded a great yoga app (Down Dog) and told myself that if I did yoga 10 times in April, I’d reward myself with new workout clothes. And I did it 12 times! I was really proud of myself. I’m down to a more “typical” twice a week now, which I’m hoping to stick with. It’s been really great and I can already tell a difference in my strength and flexibility. I keep a yoga mat at work and I’ll do a short routine in my office during the day, and get in a longer practice at night once a week. It’s primarily for exercise, but it’s also nice to clear my head for awhile and be away from a screen.
Wake up to alarm at 6:30, morning otherwise the same as Monday. H goes out for a long lunch with work friends, I work and do conference calls all day. Stop for a few groceries before picking up baby, home, dinner, bath, bed by 7:15. I do yoga while H gets garbage out and cleans up the kitchen. Television and bed by 10:30.
Up at 6:00 hearing the kid cough. Lay in bed playing on my phone until 6:30 when H gets in the shower and I go get the kid. I shower while he gets her dressed and takes her downstairs for breakfast. Cereal. I make lunch and get out the door by 7:30. He follows soon after, drops kid off at daycare, and then calls me to chat for the rest of our commutes. Work: meetings, conference calls, use a little flex time to leave a half hour early. Pick baby up, go home (husband also leaves early), play, eat quesadillas, play a little more, then bed for baby by 7:00. Husband and I watch TV for an hour then separate — I go to read and he plays video games. Bed by 10:00.
When we asked HSAL about her job flexibility, she said:
My schedule is decently flexible for a government office job. As long as I get my total hours in over the pay period, my boss isn’t really concerned about when I’m there. Our standard day is 7 1/2 hours, and I’m generally there between 6 and 8 hours. It’s hugely helpful — it lets me take care of random errands during the day. I can go get groceries in the morning before work, fit in a hair appointment without using PTO, or, uh, go home early and watch House Hunters for an hour before the daycare pickup.
Wake up to baby chattering at 5:30. She’s happy, so I leave here there for awhile and check emails while H sleeps. Rest of morning is a repeat of Wednesday. Work: conference calls, research, squeezing in a short yoga routine. Leave work, home with baby by 5:00. Try to decide what to do for dinner, end up heating up microwave tamales for me and baby since H is going to be late. He shows up in time for bedtime at 7:00, we clean up the house and watch TV until 10:00.
Repeat of Wednesday but with pasta instead of quesadillas, and a bath for baby before bedtime.
Husband had to go into the lab; home alone with baby during the day. We play outside, she flips out when I tell her it’s time to go back inside, but is easily lured in by a nibbly finger. Husband gets home in the late afternoon, he’s on baby duty for the rest of the evening while I have a girls’ night with a large group of friends. I have dinner, go to a bar I’m too old for, and am home by 11:00 (with McDonald’s because alcohol).
We asked HSAL about her girls’ night, and she said:
This particular girls’ night was a bit unusual — a friend managed to get 20+ of her girlfriends out for dinner, drinks, and dancing, but I try to do something fun for myself once a month or so. Last month I went to a concert out of town with a friend and we stayed overnight and did some shopping the following day, and later this month I’m going to see a friend in a cabaret. I’ll see friends with the kid in tow, but I think it’s important to make sure I still some “adult” friend time in.
Thanks so much to HSAL for sharing a bit of her life as a working mom! Readers, what’s your biggest takeaway from her week as a government attorney and her work/life balance?
Picture credit: Deposit Photos / © Kzenon.