Week in the Life of a Working Mom: A Manager-Analyst in TX

For this week’s installment of our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce CorporetteMoms reader S, who lives in Texas with her husband and foster child and works as a project manager/data analyst. 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

If you’d like to be featured (anonymously or otherwise), please fill out this form! You can see all posts in this series here.

First, Some Basics About This Working Mom…

Name: S
Location: Live in Houston but outside the loop, relatively short commute: 20–45 min. each way
Job: I’m a hybrid between a project manager and a data analyst. I work in the oil industry.
Age: 31
Home Situation: I live in a 1,500-square-foot house with my DH (financial analyst, 31), FB (foster baby, 14 weeks), and dog (retired, 9 years) [Here’s an update from S, since it’s been a while since she submitted her Week in the Life: “Foster baby is now 15 months, walking, testing boundaries, but is still very sweet.”]

Childcare Situation: Daycare 40 hours per week, $850/month. DH and I have mostly flexible schedules. Our families live over 250 miles away. Friends babysit sometimes.

S added a little more about her experience fostering a child: 

The foster process has been a challenge; he is now 15 months and still no adoption date is in sight. The system is definitely broken, but our case has been unusually quiet and easy (if long) and foster baby is so sweet. We would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

A Week in My Life

Sunday

5:00 a.m. Dog woke up due to thunderstorms. I comforted him, fed/burped baby (whom he woke), put baby in swing to nap (no comments please), and fell asleep on couch.
9:00 a.m. DH gets up and makes coffee for us. We eat cold pizza, watch The Three Stooges, play with baby, and feed him.
11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Baby naps. We make lunch together: fried eggs and sauteed spinach.
1:00 p.m. We decide to return some items to Home Depot. We run by friend’s house to return something, feed baby in car while DH runs into antique store, back home.
4:00–5:00 p.m. Baby naps.
5:00 p.m. The storms start again, DH messes with electronics, we both have a beer, snack on leftover pizza, and play more with baby.
6:00 p.m. Feed baby, more swing time.
8:00 p.m. Baby swaddled and in crib. I have to go to bed too because baby won’t sleep without someone in the room with him. I start to read Dracula and can’t put it down.
10:00 p.m. I fall asleep; DH comes to bed soon after.

Monday

7:30 a.m. Baby sleeps til 7:30, which he never does, so I am suspicious. We trade nights getting up with baby. It was DH’s night, but everyone sleeps through (even the dog). We all get up and I shower/get dressed while DH feeds baby. My boss is back from vacation today and I really want to get to work on time so I ask DH to drop off baby at daycare. He agrees.
8:00 a.m. I’m out the door.
8:30 a.m. I get to work, “on time” for me. I put on makeup and eat breakfast at work (order from work café). Boss and I meet and I get assigned a bunch of new work, which is great because I’ve been bored lately. I spend the rest of the day planning how I’m going to execute all this new work. I work through lunch (grab café food again).
5:00 p.m. I’m not allowed to leave early so I stay til 5:00. DH picks up baby around 4:30. When I get home, we both notice baby has pink eye.
6:00–9:00 p.m. We spend time at pediatric emergency clinic (fed baby while waiting to see the dr.), then the grocery pharmacy, where we get meds for pink eye. I grab dark chocolate almonds because I am starving and I feel a little proud that I did not grab a pint of ice cream like I wanted to.
9:00 p.m. We get home, feed baby again, swing, swaddle, sleep.
9:30 p.m. We make dinner (egg sandwiches) and I eat half the box of dark chocolate almonds.
10:00 p.m. In bed — I still read Dracula for 30 minutes because I’m obsessed.

Tuesday

My night to get up, but baby sleeps through. His cough from a cold two weeks ago is still lingering. I worry about this for the rest of the day.
6:30 a.m. Baby and I get up, I give him a bottle, and we play a little. He’s so happy in the morning.
7:00 a.m. DH gets up and does chores like bottle-washing, dishes, and makes us coffee. I notice that DH did laundry yesterday too. He’s the best. He offers to stay home with baby today (his work is extremely flexible but he normally works 40 hours, usually M–F; last year he worked a lot of night events, 5:00–11:00 p.m., but this year has been slow for him). Baby could probably go to daycare, but that’s where he got pink eye and I’m not confident the other kid is being medicated (yes — there is ONE other kid in his class and we still got pink eye).
8:15 a.m. I rush out the door later than usual, but traffic is mercifully light.
8:30 a.m. I still make it into work by 8:30. Eat breakfast, put on makeup, have a few meetings. Nothing eventful happens at work. DH texts me all day how cranky and difficult baby is being: very out of the norm for him. We both google whether he might be teething. I later decide he’s just feeling poorly and DH doesn’t have the magic touch (even though baby seriously adores DH).
5:00 p.m. Leave work. We are supposed to go to a weekly friends group, but there will be new people there with kids, so I tell the hostess baby is sick and we won’t make it. I pout for the rest of the evening about this: I really wanted to see my friends tonight. DH putters around garage for a while: He is trying to “reset” from baby’s all-day crankiness, so baby and I hang out. Baby seems pretty chill for being sick. He thinks it’s funny to complain-chatter, so we do this for about 30 minutes. I send a video to my mom, who also thinks it’s cute/funny.
7:00 p.m. I give him a bottle and put him to bed. DH said he napped poorly all day, and I believe it because he is asleep within minutes of being swaddled (normal bed time is around 9:00). We leave him in the swing and make dinner for ourselves (egg sandwiches again — we are really boring) and chat. DH has gone and picked up formula for baby and run a few other errands during the day.
9:30 p.m. We all get in bed and I read Dracula for like 10 minutes before falling asleep.

S talked about her husband’s support: 

My husband’s flexible schedule has been fantastic. I probably would not have continued working if it weren’t for him helping out so much, and especially trading night duty with me.

Wednesday

6:30 a.m. Baby wakes us up with cooing and gurgling. DH agrees to stay home with him again today. I get ready.
7:30 a.m. I leave for work.
8:00 a.m. Feel very proud of myself but then remind myself it’s on the late side of normal for this industry. (Most of my colleagues start at 6:30 but they also live in suburbia and commute an hour plus, each way.) All of my morning meetings cancel. I spend my newfound free time trying to schedule the next two weeks of work. DH will be traveling for a wedding and I want to make some headway on work projects so I can maybe work from home some of that time. Daycare calls me four times. They want to know if baby is OK. They acknowledge that he got pink eye from other baby and apologize. OB’s dr. said it wasn’t contagious (I google “non-contagious pink eye” and apparently it is an actual thing).
10:30 a.m. DH calls and asks if I can come home: He needs to go into the office. My boss is out of the office, so I tell one of my colleagues that I’m going to work from home. He says cool.
11:00 a.m. Baby is finishing up a bottle. DH puts him down for a nap, I log into work, DH leaves.
12:00 p.m. Baby gets up for a bottle then back down for a nap. I eat lunch (you guessed it! egg sandwich) and am actually getting some work done.
1:30 p.m. Baby gets up again for a bottle and I text DH that baby is hungry today. Baby then naps until 3:00 and I work. Baby gets up and spits up, so we do a wardrobe change (both of us) and I decide that I want to cook dinner tonight.
4:00–5:00 p.m. Baby and I go to the grocery store. When we get home, DH is home and decides to work out in our garage gym. Takes baby out there with him (strapped into his bouncer, which he decided on Sunday that he loves). I make dinner.
6:00 p.m. We eat and I have a glass of wine. I am proud of myself that I haven’t had any alcohol so far this week. Baby is happy, so we put him in his stroller and go for a walk around the neighborhood with the dog, who is elated to be getting some exercise. Dog wants to give up on the walk about 0.5 miles into our 1-mile walk. Baby enjoys looking at the trees and other scenery.
8:00 p.m. We get home and DH puts on the NBA finals game. Baby watches it with us while he drinks a bottle.
9:00 p.m. We swaddle him and put him in his swing.
9:30 p.m. Baby and I go into the bedroom and I read Dracula while baby sleeps. DH comes in after the finals game is over.
10:00 p.m. We both go to sleep.working foster mom work-life balance - image of young businesswoman ordering clothes online for her foster child

We asked S whether she feels any judgment from her coworkers for her schedule, etc.: 

My boss doesn’t have children so honestly she’s been the least understanding about my sleep deprivation and lack of maternity leave. My other colleagues are pretty gracious about it and some are upset on my behalf that I wasn’t granted maternity leave.

Thursday

6:30 a.m. Up with Mr. Chatty Baby again. He tells DH a long babble story during diaper change. Feel like I’m getting a sinus infection (sick week for us!) so I email that I will miss work. DH asks me to make coffee for him (I spill it three times before making a successful cup), and by the time that’s done I start to feel normal, so I shower and go into work. I take baby to daycare. His caretaker is so glad to see him, but he makes a minorly panicked face like “Don’t leave me here!” and that makes me feel guilty. I try not to think about it as I listen to my podcast on the way to work. Everyone is surprised to see me at work but I promise them I’ll keep to myself and I do. I feel like I can’t afford to take a sick day for myself because I might need it for baby (seems like I will, at the rate daycare sicknesses are going). I put makeup on at work but don’t eat breakfast because I don’t feel like it. I reschedule all my meetings so I don’t come in contact with anyone. SIL asks about our plans for the 4th of July, so I spend most of the morning looking at VRBO. I am annoyed by their hidden fees and we can’t coordinate who gets time off when, so we don’t decide anything. DH wants to go to Austin for the weekend. I find us a place, but none of our Austin friends are available (because we waited until the last minute to make plans), so DH decides we can go some other weekend. We discuss other weekend plans but don’t really decide anything.
4:30 p.m. I’m feeling poorly so I decide to leave work. I pick up baby. He seems fine, as always. The afternoon caretaker is chatty as usual but I try to get out of there as quickly as I can and get home. We eat leftovers for dinner, go for another walk, and then discuss weekend plans again.
8:00 p.m. Baby goes to bed.
9:00 p.m. I go to bed myself.
10:00 p.m. DH watches TV and then comes to bed.

Friday

6:30 a.m. I get up.
8:15 a.m. Out the door. DH takes baby to daycare. My colleagues didn’t tell me they were all taking off work today. So I am lonely and annoyed. I submit an online grocery order for pickup later. I organize my budget, look for actual work to do (unsuccessful), do a few online trainings. I have scheduled to meet with a friend for lunch but she goes to the wrong location and we miss each other. I don’t want to take a long (1.5-hour) lunch to meet her at new location so I spend $18 on lunch that I now have to eat by myself. Head back to work, putter around some more, and then go pick up online grocery order, get cash out because I forgot today is the last day to pay daycare, and pick up baby. We all go over to our friends’ house, order takeout, and watch a movie together. Baby is really happy and well-behaved. I’m proud to share him with our friends, who are expecting. We all stay up til midnight, which is the latest we’ve ever stayed up since baby got here. Baby falls asleep in carseat on the way home and we go to bed pretty much as soon as we get home.

Saturday

6:30 a.m. DH gets up to feed and play with baby.
9:00 a.m. DH lets me sleep in. He’s the best. A friend has invited me and baby to join her for coffee (at a coffee shop) but none of us can get it together, so we end up not going. I really would like to have seen her, but getting out of the house on the weekends (especially mornings) are really hard for us. DH and I chat, drink coffee, play with baby, and listen to the radio. Baby seems extra playful this morning. I put him in the baby wearer and clean the house. DH grouses at me for having cleaning products around baby and I get defensive because I know he’s probably right. We have a “discussion” about how baby can’t stay in the swing all day. But then baby is sleepy, so he goes in the swing, and to me that seems like DH won. I try to let it go. DH decides to run errands (clothing donations, return items to Home Depot) by himself since baby is sleeping and I am cleaning. I finish cleaning, eat lunch (I forget what — probably leftovers) and take a nap. Baby and I wake up and play, DH returns from errands, and we try to decide what to do for the evening, but fail. We end up ordering pizza (which DH picks up) and watching a couple of movies.
8:00 p.m. Baby goes to sleep and I let him sleep in his swing until we go to bed around 10:00.

Thanks so much to S for sharing a bit of her life as a working mom! Readers, what’s your biggest takeaway from her week of work as a project manager/data analyst as well as her general work/life balance?

Stock photo via  Stencil.

A working foster mom shares her work-life balance as a manager-analyst, including her life with a foster child, a husband who has a flexible schedule, and a female boss who's not always understanding about the challenges of being a working mom.

 

Comments

  1. I just wanted to say how impressed i am that you managed all this without any leave! I feel like having a baby – especially a first – is such a big adjustment logistically and emotionally; I’m not sure how I would have managed if I couldn’t take any time off for it. Good for you for powering through! I hope the adoption process comes through soon.

    • AnotherAnon says:

      Thanks for your kind words. Looking back on this I feel like my post is a bit whiny – DH helped SO much and that really got me through. That and the community on this board who reminded me “this phase won’t last forever.” And for better or worse it doesn’t. I also learned that no one will advocate for you – you have to do it yourself. Ask for what you need! Even if it’s maternity leave and you think HR will say no. It looks like the adoption will finalize some time in the next 3 weeks! We are so excited to finally officially say he’s our little guy!

      • anon from 1:03 says:

        That’s so great! Congratulations!

      • Mrs. Jones says:

        Congratulations! I’m happy for you and baby.

      • That’s fantastic! I realize I don’t know you but this really just made my day – and obviously your family must be over the moon. Congrats!
        And I don’t think your post is whiny in the least :)

      • rosie says:

        Congratulations!

      • govtlawyermom says:

        I’m so happy for you! I don’t think your post is whiny; it’s refreshing that you were honest. The combination of sleep deprivation and juggling work demands definitely makes little annoyances seem unbearable during those early months! You deserve extra credit for managing the newborn stage with no maternity leave. You are a rockstar.

        • First of call – Congrats! Secondly – Love reading posts from fellow Houstonians! I’m a native, and we hope to relocate in a year or so, and I love reading how other working mums juggle in my home city, child care options, etc. And I was grinning about those good ol’ gulf storms! Finally – No Mat leave? Ugh. American companies are so behind the times :(

    • Everlong says:

      I agree! I am also thrilled for you and also outraged that you did not have maternity leave. Your post isn’t whiny and you are a super hero!

      • AnotherAnon says:

        Thanks! I want to be clear that it’s possible I /could/ have taken paid maternity leave but I didn’t pursue it. My (female) boss pushed back on granting me maternity leave based on the fact that we were not sure whether our foster would stay with us long-term. So I caved. I should not have, but I was sleep deprived and on edge about his situation and honestly I didn’t know how to play hardball. I should have insisted that she go to HR and ask if I was eligible for paid maternity leave, given that the statement from our company included maternity and paternity leave “for adoption purposes.” If I still worked for that company today, I would be eligible for maternity leave when we adopt him in a few weeks. He will be 17 months old. You can bet your a$$ I’d be taking it too, whether or not he went to day care the whole time.
        TL;DR – advocate for yourself. No one is going to do it for you. Don’t back down: if something is presented to you as an option, pursue it until you get a hard stop.

  2. I think it is so so great that you are fostering a child. My heart breaks each time I hear about an orphaned child so I’m so glad this one has loving foster parents.

    • AnotherAnon says:

      Thanks! DH is actually the one who always wanted to adopt: it took me about 7 years to get fully on board. I know our experience is a bit unusual, but it has been so great, even with all the flaws and roadblocks that the system has. I highly encourage anyone who wants to be a child advocate to become a CASA worker or consider fostering! It’s not for the faint of heart!

      • Anon in NYC says:

        Yay! How exciting about the adoption!

        Just curious but was there ever a point where you thought that this might only be a temporary foster arrangement? I feel like I would struggle with becoming so emotionally invested in a child only to have it not become permanent.

        • AnotherAnon says:

          We initially thought this placement might be temporary (there are SO MANY unknowns in fostering) but we decided to accept knowing full well he could leave. After the first court date – 3 weeks after he arrived, it became clear that his placement would likely be long-term and we might be able to adopt him. The thought of giving him up was almost unbearable, but I tried to keep in mind that a lot of people were looking out for his best interest. It’s only been in the past five months (after parental rights termination) that adoption seemed more certain, so the whole process is not for the faint of heart.
          One positive aspect of fostering is that you are able to choose how much risk you will accept. We have benefited greatly from working with an adoption agency who works hard to collect all possible information from CPS to help us make our decision.

  3. I applaud your commitment to egg sandwiches.

    • avocado says:

      +1. Egg sandwiches are really the perfect quick and nutritious breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

      And, on a more serious note, congratulations on the adoption!

    • Anonymous says:

      We eat a lot of eggs in our household too. They are fast, super easy, reasonable healthy, tasty for adults but still pleasing to picky kids.

  4. rosie says:

    S, I know you made a comment upthread that you thought the post might seem a bit whiny, but I wanted to say how much I appreciated all the details you put in about the little convos with your husband, your grumpiness when you couldn’t go to the friends meet-up, things not going as planned (like the lunch meeting). It felt so honest and relatable.

    • farrleybear says:

      Agreed! And honesty about being obsessed with a book and staying up reading when super-tired…that’s totally my jam:)

    • Agreed! I appreciate you including when you were frustrated with DH or how you ate chocolate almonds – very relatable!

    • AnotherAnon says:

      Haha, thanks! I think my original post was twice as long but I self-edited before I submitted. One thing this board has made me appreciate more is that most of us feel like we’re failing either at discrete times or in some general aspect of our lives. I really appreciate everyone’s honesty on here about your fears and failings. It makes me feel connected to y’all and less lonely and more like we are all rocking it together the best that we can. I’m glad I could make you feel that way too. Cheer to internet strangers!

  5. mascot says:

    Congrats on the pending adoption!
    Also, what did the dog retire from? That description made me laugh. I’ve got a couple of old dogs myself- maybe they would also like me to give them better titles instead of furry tripping hazards who also steal my pillow.

    • AnotherAnon says:

      Thanks! Our dog is a rescue who failed out of hunting school so we joke that he “retired” from hunting school. In reality he’s retired from pretty much everything but disposing of food scraps. :)

      • mascot says:

        Haha. Our rescues are on parole (rescued from a kill shelter) and former street rat (found wandering the streets of a posh neighborhood). Retired sounds so genteel.

        • AnotherAnon says:

          They sound so worldly with their new titles! You should make them instagram accounts and post real or made-up exploits for them.

        • rosie says:

          Our dog was retired from racing (greyhound adopted after her track life) and she was quite genteel :)

  6. Emily S. says:

    I think we can all relate to being bummed to not meet up with friends. I feel like my disappointment when plans with friends fall through has only increased with kids and aging over 30 because, (1) it is so.hard. to get anywhere with toddlers and a baby and (2) it is so.hard. to make friends in your 30’s. So thanks for sharing your disappointment and keep trying to make it happen! And congratulations on the pending adoption! Like AIMS said, this made me really happy! Yay for good news!

    • AnotherAnon says:

      You said it! I had no idea it would be even more difficult to get out with a toddler than an infant. I know we are really lucky to have a friend group that is in the same stage of life so we are more gracious with each other and more flexible.

  7. Spirograph says:

    I loved this one, and your update about the adoption. Congratulations! I’m glad your baby has a loving forever home, and glad the long process has a happy ending for you, too.

  8. Congratulations!! This made me so happy, and you sound like an awesome mom.

  9. Betty says:

    Thank you so much for sharing!! I want to echo the others above that you sound like an amazing person and wonderful mom to your little guy! Congrats on the upcoming adoption!

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