When I changed positions two years ago at my current Fortune 500 employer, I negotiated a work-from-home day once a week. It may not seem like much, but it’s actually been incredibly helpful in managing the chaotic work week. I couldn’t work from home every day, but it’s extremely beneficial when we have somewhere to be right after school, if I have small things to do around the house, or when I simply don’t feel like going through the motion of getting ready for work. Not to mention I can wear comfy clothes instead of my usual business casual attire.
My employer’s flexibility helps, but being a working mom is still very tough to manage and still have some sanity come Friday at quitting time.
When I had my son five years ago, I only took 10 weeks maternity leave … mainly because it was unpaid and we needed the income. That time flew by, and I was sad to see it end. However, it also confirmed my decision to go back to work because I could NEVER be a stay-at-home mom. Kudos to those of my friends and those reading this that are. It’s a full-time job in itself, and I applaud you. I’d be lying if I said I’m not a little envious when I see moms casually strolling their little ones around the neighborhood each morning as I am rushing off to fight traffic and sit behind a desk all day. But, some Monday mornings I am so ready to have 30 minutes of quiet time in my car during my commute, and an adult conversation without being asked to do a puzzle or wipe someone’s butt.
I actually really enjoy the challenge that my job brings and the rewarding feeling I get when I accomplish something. At 5 o’clock though, it’s hardly quitting time. I try and find my second wind to get through the rest of the night because even though I am leaving the office, that’s just the start of my “night shift.” I still have to rush to get my son from school, play a few rounds of soccer or find a way to get us both some exercise, get dinner on the table when my hubby is out of town, argue about bath time, check my emails to see what I’ve missed since I left the office, read bedtime stories, argue about bedtime, get stuff ready for tomorrow and then finally crawl into bed just to lay there and think about the stuff I still didn’t get done that day that will likely have to wait until the weekend.
It takes a lot of coordination, scheduling, prioritization and patience. Most of the time, I am on top of it … all of it. And of course, my husband carries more than his weight with everything. But, some nights I lose it. I snap at my son when he didn’t do anything but ask a question. “I don’t know why the internet is out again, and no, I can’t buy a new one.” My favorite … when I finally sit down for the first time all night, “Mom, can I have a snack?” You just finished dinner 10 minutes ago!!! Would I be any different if I didn’t have a full-time job and spent my days at home? That would likely have its own set of challenges and hurdles that I’m sure many of you reading this can rattle off.
I do have a strong support system for those times when I just need a break from it all. I have amazing friends and lots of family in town, and my mom lives two miles away and will get my son from school so I can run errands, work late or have a night out with my husband. She was a working mom, too, and never skipped a beat. At least she never showed it. I suppose I get my drive and determination to conquer it all from her. Thanks, Mom!
I’m sure everyone has their own routine that helps manage the crazy work week but here are a few of my own in case they can help other working moms:
- Lay work and school clothes out the night before. Yours and theirs.
- Get out bowls, cup,s and cutlery for breakfast and place them on the counter.
- Put backpacks, gym bags, etc., in the car the night before.
- Do a quick pick up around the house so you don’t wake up to a mess in the morning and start your day off stressed out.
- If your car is running low on gas, get it the night before. You never have “extra” time in the morning.
- Put the wine bottle back in the fridge. You might need it again this week.
- And finally, don’t forget to set your alarm! It happens more than I care to admit.
I LOVE being a working mom – I wouldn’t have it any other way. I take great pride in being a career woman and am fortunate to do what I love every day. I hope one day my son will appreciate how hard I work for him and for our family, and that he’s proud of me, too.
The saying “time flies” is an understatement. Would it move any slower if I was at home every day? Not sure, but I really do try to enjoy the long weekdays even when they are just a blur sometimes.