For this installment of our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce CorporetteMoms reader E, who lives in Los Angeles with her husband and twin girls and works as a marketer at a toy company. 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: Los Angeles, CA
Job: Marketer at a toy company
Home Situation: Live in a 1,600-square-foot, 3-story townhome with husband, twin girls (6 years old), and dog. Kids have own rooms; small patio but no real outdoor space.
Childcare Situation: We normally have them in after-school care at their school, but since COVID we have no childcare. (When we contacted E, she added that her company’s office is closed through at least the end of 2020, and her daughters are signed up for full distance learning through at least January 2021.)
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?
I think everything is flipped on its head during COVID. The line between work and home is of course blurry, so it’s harder to draw boundaries. I feel fortunate that my employer and manager are constantly sending reminders to take vacation time, breaks, even five-minute meditation breaks, block your calendar, etc.
How do you handle household chores, such as laundry, grocery shopping, housecleaning, etc.? Who does what, and when — and how often?
I do the majority of it, but I kind of take a do-what-you-can approach. I throw loads of laundry in when I’m working (but not on calls), I’ll wipe down the bathrooms when I get time, and I wash dishes while I’m making lunch, etc. My husband also does what he can, when he can. I constantly feel like there is always something to clean, but at the same time, I don’t have the bandwidth to just spend a whole day cleaning. I’m grateful that work from home has made this easier.
A Week in My Life
7:00 a.m. Wake up, coffee, took the dog out. Planned to make a healthy breakfast in preparation for donating blood but instead sipped on coffee and watched Best in Show on Hulu!
8:30 a.m. Twin B woke up and I gave her breakfast (cereal).
9:00 a.m. Twin A woke up and she also ate cereal. Husband also came downstairs. I showered and grabbed a granola bar and apple as my “well balanced” breakfast.
9:30 a.m. Left for blood donation appointment.
10:00–11:30 a.m. Blood donation appointment
11:30 a.m. Husband called and said he needed me to pick something up nearby for his work. Took care of that on my way home.
12:00 p.m. Back home; kids said they wanted frozen pizza for lunch, then didn’t eat it, so husband and I ate a few slices. Husband then left for work.
1:00–2:00 p.m. Did an unboxing for a toy we are testing. (I work for a toy company.)
2:20–3:00 p.m. Zoom birthday party for one of the girls’ friends from kindergarten. Anna and Elsa made an appearance.
3:00–4:45 p.m. Told the girls to go play; I read a little bit of the book I’m currently reading (What Alice Forgot) and then proceeded to fall asleep.
4:45–6:00 p.m. Made dinner (Colombian pork loin roast, asparagus, salad, rice).
6:00–7:00 p.m. Dinner — husband made it home in time to eat with us! Girls ate salad because they refuse to eat asparagus, though we made them try one tiny bit of asparagus because I heard somewhere that kids have to try something 20 times before they like it. Thankfully they love the pork loin and rice.
7:00–8:30 p.m. Read a little bit more while the girls watched TV.
8:30–9:00 p.m. My husband gave one twin a shower and put them both to bed. I stayed on the couch reading because I couldn’t move! The girls said goodnight to me and I promptly fell asleep on the couch.
12:00 a.m. I realized how uncomfortable I was on the couch, took the dog out, and went upstairs to bed.
When we asked E for advice for moms-to-be expecting twins, she shared this:
Um… it will be BAD in the beginning, haha! But I’m reaping the rewards now that they are older and have a built-in best friend/partner-in-crime. If you can get a family member or friend to stay with you in the beginning to help with the rotation of feedings and diaper changes, I would recommend that. Our niece stayed with us for three weeks until we could figure out more of a routine. And if the breastfeeding isn’t working, there is always formula! I think there is too much pressure on moms, so do anything to make your life easier!
The biggest thing I learned was don’t compare them to each other. Each kid has their own developmental milestones (and mine were pretty far behind the “benchmark” because they were preemies), so whenever one baby did something I always thought there was something “wrong” with the other one if they weren’t there yet. They both eventually caught up to where they needed to be.
4:00 a.m. Twin A came into our bedroom and said she had a nightmare. I told her to just climb into our bed.
6:00 a.m. Alarm went off, snoozed until…
6:30 a.m. Carried Twin A into her bed and made coffee, took the dog out, and started my workday (in our basement/laundry area!). In between, cleaned up the living room area because the internet technician was coming to fix our internet (which had been out for three days!). Not sure why I felt like I needed to clean, but I didn’t want the tech to think we were complete slobs! Also did a load of laundry.
10:00 a.m. Drawing class for the girls on Zoom. One of the toy designers at work taught a free class for kids of employees.
11:00 a.m. Showered and worked.
1:00 p.m. Staff meeting
1:30 p.m. Internet tech came; I took the dog out because he was going crazy.
2:00 p.m. Came back and had to put the dog in the sink because his hair is really long and he pooped, and — well, it was messy.
2:30 p.m Husband leaves for work, and I’m back at my computer; kids are watching their iPad now that we have the internet back.
5:30 p.m. I made the kids dinner, which consisted of salad and leftover pizza from yesterday! I wasn’t planning on eating because my husband promised to make me capellini pomodoro tonight when he is home from work. But seeing the kids eat made me hungry! I ended up having salad and a packet of oatmeal! And also, I made M&M cookies from pre-made dough for dessert, so I may have sampled the goods. While eating, I took a peek at Zillow, only to depress myself because we’ve had months of no success on finding a house. We currently are renting a townhouse, and to add insult to injury, our neighbor’s barbeque smelled like it was on fire. I had to shut all the windows, but I was at least grateful that the day’s heat had mostly subsided. Yes, that’s right, we have no air conditioning.
7:00 p.m. Back at work in our basement/laundry area. The twins are playing a game they made up based on their new favorite show, Miraculous Ladybug. So happy they are entertaining themselves.
8:10 p.m. Twin B came downstairs to say she wanted to call her dad because she misses him a lot. We tried calling him, but he didn’t answer. Sent him a text to let him know she’s missing him. Then Twin A sent him a text too! I just downloaded Facebook Messenger on Twin B’s new tablet.
8:20 p.m. Did an online prerequisite for this weekend’s virtual conference for a national advocacy group I’m very active with.
8:45 p.m. Husband arrived home from work.
9:20 p.m. Finally got my capellini! We all started watching Love It or List It. For some reason this has become our co-viewing show of choice during quarantine. The kids love guessing if they are going to love it or list it.
10:30 p.m. I fell asleep again on the couch! Thankfully my husband put the kids to bed, but Twin A still hasn’t showered!
11:00 p.m. Got up, took the dog out, went to bed.
12:00–4:00 a.m. Twin B sleepwalked three times and kept coming into our room! I think this is a new record for number of times sleepwalked in one night. Usually only happens once in a night.
We asked E what it’s like to have a spouse who doesn’t have a typical 9-to-5 job, and she had this to say:
Sometimes it’s hard to make plans when you don’t know if he will be home for dinner in the evenings or if we want to go away for the weekend or something. The other thing I struggle with is I feel like I can’t always take time for myself when he is home, because then I’m missing out on family time. I love when the four of us can hang out together. But I am proud of the work he is doing and I know he could never survive with a 9-to-5 job, so we make it work!!
6:00 a.m. Alarm went off, but I snoozed and scrolled through my phone until about…
7:00 a.m. Showered, took the dog out, cleaned up the kitchen, gave Twin B a bowl of cereal, threw in a load of laundry.
8:30 a.m. Worked/fielded calls and texts from my kids on Facebook Messenger (!), had a bowl of cereal.
11:00–11:30 a.m. Gave Twin B a snack (banana with a little bit of chocolate syrup and whipped cream!), husband finally gave Twin A a shower, got another load of laundry in, made a grooming appointment for the dog, emptied dishwasher and loaded in some newly used dishes….
11:30 a.m. Back at work in laundry room/basement, husband left for work, twins are watching Elena of Avalor from the beginning! Thank you, Disney Plus!
12:30 p.m. Made Twin B a sandwich, put a third load in the dryer, and put away some clothes. Twin A only wanted Goldfish crackers, so I warned her that is all she is getting until dinner. We’ll see how that goes. Made myself a sandwich to eat while I do my next call!
1:00 p.m. Work call (had to pause dryer), call ended early, finished load in dryer, and took dog out. After I took the dog out I heard a scream from Twin B. The dog ate half her sandwich. Sigh.
1:30 p.m. Worked
2:15–2:45 p.m. Put away laundry, told kids to start cleaning their rooms (no more TV), made them a veggie platter (figured I would take advantage of them being hungry and try to get them to eat something healthy), and made myself a cucumber mint water.
2:45 p.m. Worked
5:00 p.m. Set the girls up to watch a replay of the drawing class from Monday. I made dinner (Twin A likes penne pasta with marinara sauce, Twin B likes spaghetti with salt and butter, and I used the leftover penne with arrabbiata sauce. Yes, I know I am not a short order cook, but sometimes the fight is more trouble than making the food.) I also forced them to eat the vegetables I cut earlier if they wanted dessert.
6:00 p.m. I watched a reunion show to Indian Matchmaking on YouTube!
7:00 p.m. Twin A and I went down the rabbit hole of cleaning and organizing her and her sister’s room. Twin B was having stomach issues and actually went to bed early. :(
8:30 p.m. Husband came home from work and helped us clean and organize. He took over and finished as he saw I was getting kind of exasperated — SO. MANY. TOYS!
9:00–9:15 p.m. More dishes
9:15–9:30 p.m. Answered some work emails.
9:30 p.m. Another prerequisite training for the virtual conference this weekend.
11:30 p.m. Watched CNN, then needed to watch Love It or List it again to clear my mind! Fell asleep on the couch, (again!), took the dog out, and went to bed.
7:00 a.m. Woke up, watched some of the Today Show while I sipped on my coffee. Did a 10-minute meditation through Headspace; showered.
8:30 a.m. Worked
11:00 a.m. Husband left for work; kids are watching Elena of Avalor.
12:30 p.m. Made a sandwich; Twin B only wanted a banana, Twin A said she wasn’t hungry, so I’m preparing for her hangry meltdown any moment.
1:00 p.m. Worked and also put in my Overtone hair color! Love working from home!
5:00 p.m. Dinner for me and the girls. Ordered from Tender Greens.
6:00 p.m. Played Slapjack with Twin B while Twin A played “announcer” of the game. When she wasn’t able to keep track of who had gotten the most Slapjack cards, she announced to the crowd that she was quitting her job. It was a really funny moment.
7:00 p.m. I watched the first episode of The Oprah Conversation. It was riveting. Twin B was also having more stomach issues, so I asked my husband to pick up some Miralax on his way home. He got home around 7:30 and we gave it to her, but she was pretty uncomfortable the rest of the night. :(
8:00–9:30 p.m. Did a birthday Zoom for my friend’s birthday. (Zoom birthdays are not just for kids!) It was three couples, and we played a game called Quiplash after catching up for a bit. It was fun to have some casual adult conversation! (I won two of the three rounds, which I feel is an important detail!)
10:30 p.m. Went to bed (in my actual bed) after scrolling through my phone….
7:00 a.m. Woke up, made steel-cut oatmeal in my Instant Pot for Twin B. Watched some Today Show, took the dog out, and did my 10-minute meditation.
8:00 a.m. Worked
12:30 p.m. Made the girls lunch (mac ‘n’ cheese & broccoli), which I also ate.
1:30 p.m. We snuck out to go look at two houses. We loved one and decided to put in an offer.
5:00 p.m. Ordered Indian food for myself, gave Twin B leftover pasta, and made chicken nuggets and French fries for Twin A. Ate, and then went back to work. Took care of paperwork with mortgage broker and wrote a letter for the real estate agent to send with our offer.
8:00 p.m. Husband came home. We both put the girls to bed and I continued working. (I felt like I needed to make up the time I lost while we were out house shopping.)
12:00 a.m. So exhausted, went to bed.
6:00 a.m. Woke up, took dog out, made coffee. Worked until about 7:30; showered before my first call. Set up the girls’ cereal with individual cups of milk in the fridge so they could serve themselves.
8:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Pretty busy with work calls.
12:30 p.m. My friend came over to pick up a bag of work clothes that didn’t fit me anymore. She volunteers with Love My Neighbor Foundation. I was so excited because I had set them aside so long ago but didn’t have anywhere to take them because of COVID.
1:00 p.m. Twin A had leftover mac ‘n’ cheese & broccoli, I had leftover Indian food, and Twin B just had some snacks!
1:30 p.m. The girls and I dropped our dog off at the groomer.
2:00 p.m. Did a little bit more work while the girls played in their rooms.
4:30 p.m. Went back to pick up the dog from the groomer.
5:30 p.m. The girls and I went to pick up pizza because they wanted to do a sleepover in the living room and apparently you have to eat pizza at sleepovers.
6:00 p.m. We ate and watched Monsters University, then I showered Twin A.
8:00 p.m. Husband came home and showered Twin B. The girls put a load of their clothes away and picked up some toys. Then they decided to watch Little Mermaid 2, which I could not handle! Luckily my husband stayed with them in the living room while I went upstairs to zone out. I started watching Home on Apple TV+ but then fell asleep.
10:00 p.m. Eventually the girls came upstairs (husband also decided to give up on Little Mermaid 2) and said they wanted me to come downstairs to sleep. So they slept in their sleeping bags and I slept on the couch!
6:40 a.m. Woke up, made coffee, and took the dog out.
7:00–8:00 a.m. Morning online yoga class that was offered as a “social” event for the virtual conference.
8:00–11:00 a.m. The girls woke up around 8:30; we got ready, picked up bagels and muffins, came back, and ate.
11:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. The conference! I felt good that I could attend, since it was all virtual, but I got so tired of sitting in front of the computer all day!
3:30 p.m. We found out we didn’t get the house we put an offer on. Someone offered $200,000 over asking, all cash, and no contingencies! I don’t know how we can compete in this market.
5:00 p.m. The rest of the night was a haze. We ate leftovers and I started watching Defending Jacob on Apple TV+. I’m hooked! I don’t remember what time my husband came home, but he took over with the girls and put them to bed. I was still feeling kind of down about the house stuff, because it just seems like rejection after rejection. And then of course I felt guilty because I should not be complaining, especially with everything else going on in the world.
9:00 p.m. I went to bed early, gearing up for Day 2 of the conference and another week of ups and downs. I fell asleep trying to remind myself that ups and downs are the fun parts of the ride!
Thanks so much to E for sharing a bit of her life as a working mom! Readers, what’s your biggest takeaway from her week of work as a marketer as well as her general work/life balance?
Stock photo via Stencil.