For this week’s installment of our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce CorporetteMoms reader Amelia, who lives in the Southwest with her husband and son. 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 a large city in the Southwest
Job: Instructional designer for a government entity
Home Situation: I live with my 46-year-old husband and 11-year-old son. We live in a 2,300-square-foot, single-family house that we moved into 16 years ago, before our son was born. House is four bedrooms, three bathrooms. (Not having to share a bathroom with anyone is amazing!) We love our neighborhood and know everyone on our street, and have watched several kids grow up while we’ve lived here. Lately, we have been considering moving into a suburb of our city, because crime is getting worse in our general area and we also would like to live someplace quieter. We have a four-year-old mutt dog, no other pets. My parents live about 45 minutes away from us, which is great as they provide backup childcare when we need it.
Childcare Situation: Son is in middle school 8:30–3:30 every day. Prior to this year, I would drop my son off at school and be at work by 9:00, and my husband would pick him up after 4:30. We are really lucky to have him at a school that has a school-managed beforecare and aftercare program. However, we are trying a new experiment this year, where my husband works 6:30–3:30 so he can pick my son up before 4:00 and not have to have him go to aftercare, which has gotten expensive ($15 per day, regardless of whether he is in aftercare for five minutes or two hours). So far it’s working, although school’s only been in for a week. If I have early meetings, I have to drop my son at beforecare, which costs $10 regardless of how long he’s there. My son hates beforecare (but loves aftercare because he has friends in there) so we avoid beforecare if at all possible. Prior to this year, we paid $250 a month for before and aftercare.
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?
How do you handle household chores, such as laundry, grocery shopping, housecleaning, etc.? Who does what, and when — and how often? [I know you did address cooking duties.]
A Week in My Life
Sundays are usually the only day we don’t have some kind of planned activity happening — my son is in karate and chess club and does engineering classes at a local enrichment center, and it’s rare that we have a free Saturday, so we try to keep Sundays open. Usually, my husband goes to the gym at 7:00 (he is a natural early riser) and is back by 8:30, about the time I wake up. I make breakfast (sometimes it’s pancakes, sometimes it’s toast) and then I go to the gym about 10:30. On my way back from the gym, I stop and do my weekly grocery shopping — we always need food for lunches as we all take our lunches every day, and I always need fresh veggies for dinners during the week. Later, we usually watch a movie or take a nap, and then during pool season (which is unusually long because of where we live) we hit the pool at about 5:00 p.m., swim till 6:00, come home and make dinner, and then get everything ready for the week (which includes laundry, packing briefcases and backpacks, etc.).
I get up at 6:45 and wake up my son; my husband’s already left for work by that point. Monday’s generally one of my days to make dinner, although my husband will sometimes jump in if he has an idea of what to make. Today I put chicken in the Crock-Pot before leaving for work so we can either have barbecue chicken sandwiches or tacos when we get home. (We decided on barbecue sandwiches.) Getting out the door with an older kid is so much easier than when he was younger — when he was 5, our morning routine took over an hour, but now that he’s 11 he can get himself dressed, make his own breakfast, pack his own lunch, get his stuff together and put the dog out, so after I pack my own breakfast and lunch, I only need 30 minutes to get myself ready, and we’re out the door. I love the time I have with my son driving him to school; we do a lot of good talking on the road.
Tuesday and Thursday nights, my son and husband go to karate together, so they have sandwiches for dinner and head out by 6:00, and are gone for about two hours. I usually run on the treadmill and have a smoothie for dinner. They get home, my son takes a shower and goes to bed. My husband and I usually watch a one-hour show and then go to bed ourselves.
Yay, takeout night. We only eat out one night a week, and tonight’s the night, so no one has to worry about cooking or cleaning up afterwards. Tonight it’s takeout pizza and salad from our favorite local pizza place. My son tells us about his new schedule at school (it’s his first year in middle school) and we talk about what we might want to do that weekend.
Every other Wednesday, our housekeeper comes to clean, and so that usually warrants both a frenzy of picking up on Tuesday evening, and then last-minute efforts from me to make sure everything is corralled. My housekeeper is amazing and wonderful, and is really flexible. I try to make her job easier for her because she makes life so much easier for me.
I’m lucky because my job, at the moment, involves work that I can’t take home with me due to security issues. My husband does bring work home, and tonight after dinner he has to work. I help my son with his homework, throw in a couple of loads of laundry, sweep the kitchen and family room, and then get my son in bed. After he’s in bed, we catch up on this week’s episode of Game of Thrones.
Husband and son go to karate after work; I have a meeting for a professional association where I sit on the board. I’ve tried to make my outside-of-work professional activities more of a priority lately, although sometimes I feel like it’s just one more thing I have to manage and make time for. I get home at 7:30 and my husband and son get home not long after. We talk a little about our day and everyone goes to bed fairly early.
My husband makes beef tacos for dinner, one of my favorites. We eat and then go outside and sit on our patio with cocktails and watch the sun go down; this is one of our favorite things to do together. My son has invited some neighbor kids over to play Xbox, and we can sit on the patio and keep and eye on them at the same time. I love Friday nights.
Saturday is all about errands this weekend — shopping for school clothes, taking the dog to the groomer’s, doing some returns, shopping for a new garden hose, etc. We have a late lunch with my parents, go home and take a nap, and then have family movie night. Trying to treasure these Saturdays that my son still wants to hang out with us instead of his friends.
Thanks so much to Amelia for sharing a bit of her life as a working mom! Readers, what’s your biggest takeaway from her week of work as an instructional designer as well as her general work/life balance?
Stock photo via