27 answers

Managing Time with Kids and Work.

Ok moms, you all have never lead me astray before so I thought I would through this one on you and see what you all think. I stay at home with my kids and also do work at home. I do advertising and marketing which is quite demanding and use no form of daycare or babysitting with the exception of a few days in the summer when I have a young girl in college come over and help.

I am so lucky that I can do my work at home and not have to deal with taking my kids somewhere every day and having a boss to contend with. However, here is the problem, I have three kids ranging in age from 1 year to 9 years. They are the absolute light of my life! What I am running into, especially since the third one came along, is being able to do work at home, manage the household, and rear three beautiful children. My husband works extensive hours in that he will work during the day, come home for a few hours at night for dinner and family time and then head out to work again until wee hours of the night only to start it up again the next day. I find myself struggling to get the kids to bed only to find myself working until wee hours of the night myself to get my work done. Basically I spend my entire existence trying not to flip out, I run on 3 to 4 hours of sleep a night, I never see light at the end of the tunnel, and I do not get out on my own very often. When my husband and I have spoken about it, he says that there are mothers everywhere that are able to work 40 hours a week and hold it together and does not understand why I cannot. I have repeatedly explained that those mothers have daycare and go to a job whereas I am at home doing 30-ish hours a week, where the house gets messier because we are there, the kids have constant demands so I cannot really concentrate until they are asleep and they have to eat, etc. I am getting to the point of massive frustration and feel like I am starting to take it out on my kids since my patience is thinning.

I never want my kids to feel unhappy or unappreciated by me. I would have 10 more of them, they are so wonderful. I just need to know that I am not crazy and if any of you are able to handle a lot of hours working, with your kids and household responsibilities at the same time. Is there a better way to manage this chaos without seeming like your going to have a nervous breakdown?

Thanks in advance!

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More Answers

T., first of all, please let your husband know that women all over the world do not raise three kids, work full-time in home, and keep up the house without help. I don't know how you have managed as long as you have. There's no big secret tip that I can give you except that you need to give yourself a break and get some help. You need at least a part-time (25 hours/week?) nanny/college student to help you. If that isn't workable, the little ones need to go to day care. If you aren't making enough money to make this worthwhile, I would think you need to reconsider working. I have 2 kids, work full-time. The kids are in day care and I can barely manage. Working at home would be impossible. Please don't look at day care as a bad thing. My kids learn a great deal there and I love the staff. Anyway, my opinion is that you need help, not criticism from your husband. Good luck with everything!

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It sounds like your hubby isn't being very understanding. My opinion though, I don't know him so I can't judge. Maybe you should look into more permanent daycare-even a few hours a day so you can avoid working to the wee hours of the morning. With both of you working such long hours, hopefully you can afford some outside care. That gives you time to work steady while the kids are at daycare. With you working while they're gone, hopefully you can get more accomplished & be able to spend time with the kids. You didn't say, but it sounds like neither of you get much quality time with your kids... maybe one of you needs to cut back on hours.

Hi T., I have an eight month old and work from home 3 days a week and have a nanny come in during those hours to take care of my son. Personally, I'm just going to lay it out there and say that I think your schedule sounds completely insane and your husband's expectations are absolutely unrealistic.. You are essentially a single mom (because your husband isn't around) juggling three kids and a full-time job without any help or childcare on four hours of sleep. Yes, if you keep this up, it will affect your patience for your kids and you will likely have a nervous breakdown. I have never met a woman who is trying to do as much as you are. Most women who work get care for their children, or, if they don't, they have far fewer hours, fewer children or older children. Even managing one 1 year old is a full-time job given they are into everything.

Either get childcare and help around the house, or, if you're not bringing in enough to cover that and you can make ends meet without your salary, quit your job. I can't imagine that in your situation you're able to spend the kind of quality time you'd like to with your children.

And, BTW, families are a two-way street. It isn't up to you to hold everything together. If your husband wants things more clean and doesn't want to pay for childcare, he needs to be around so he can help out and watch the kids while you work. He also needs a serious reality check. If at all possible, find an excuse to leave him with the kids for a couple of days (visit family for a weekend) -- after all, if it's so darn easy to keep it all together, it shouldn't be a big deal for him to take them for a Saturday and Sunday, and he can just continue working while he has them for the weekend, all the while keeping the house spotless for your return.

I hear you. I am a single Mom and work outside the home. I subscribe to Flylady.Net. She has been a blessing to me in my life. My house has never looked better and by mid morning I can say to my 3 1/2 year old hurry and pick up your toys and then we go do something fun. It wasn't always like that, but taking babysteps I slowly got my house in order. It can be ready for company in 15 min. Even my MIL has noticed. Don't be overwhelmed by the e-mails from Flylady. Just do what you can when you can and before you know it you'll be flying and teaching your family how to help you. Maybe once your husband has some responsibilities at home and starts to help you he'll be more sympathetic to what it's like to be a "Stay at home Mom". Just because we're at home doesn't mean we're sitting around eating Bonbon's. I stayed at home for a while and it was the hardest thing I've ever done. You're never "off".
I also had a hard time leaving my son with a babysitter. I felt guilty. I now understand getting out helps Mommy stay sane. I work away from home and sometimes just getting away reinvigorates me. We live in a weird time when we are expected to do everything and not complain. It's impossible to be everything to everyone. Follow your instincts and take some time for yourself. Good Luck! Your kids are lucky to have Mom at home.

Hi T.,
I can see why you are so stressed, you have alot on your plate and an un supportive husband who makes you feel even worse! I would like to say you are ok, but pushing yourself like this is not good for anyone! Kids need a mom who is fully present when you are with them, not torn in five diiferent directions and exausted all the time!
First of all, just because you work from home does not mean you can take care of the kids at the same time. This is a myth, hire a nanny or put them in day care or camps for the summer. Yes it may cost more $ but no one is winning the way it is set up now( except maybe your husband who expects you to work full time, run your household and manage the kids, how fair is that?). Do you like your work? Does it fufill you and leave you feeling energized? If so make it work! And a nanny might help with the housework too, or hire a housekeeper! You are a working mom, you deserve some help! It doesn't matter that you aren't leaving your home, you are still working!
If you are not liking the work you could think about staying home( if that is what you really want). Just comb your budget and see where your $ goes, you'd be suprised at what you can cut back on. Downsize your home or drive used cars, no "commercial" vacations. The kids will enjoy a calm, happy mom without all of the "stuff" our society pressures us in to thinking we "need"!
Put yourself first in a healthy way! You can't be healthy emotionally and physically with 3/4 hours of sleep! You need some balance! And it's ok if you work or don't work, do what makes you feel good!
Are your kids doing chores? They may not do it perfectly but every little bit helps! We use love and logic ( books, seminars, etc. it works), our kids get an allowance set by their age, they have specific chores they each do on a daily basis, if they choose ( their choice) not to do it they pay me from their allowance. This works, don't cajo;e or remind, ask them once, be ready to do it if need be. They will do it though. And the 3 year old can: put toys away, unload silverware, clean room, help set table, lots of stuff!
And try the fly lady, she has good suggestions on house management. It's all about doing routines and doing thing's daily and not letting thing's pile up. There is a web sight and it is free! Hang in there, you just need some tools and some support!


I love the other womens suggestions and just want to also add that women who work full time, are full time moms, and keep the house spotless only do it with help. That "do-it-all" mom is a myth. If you have any more trouble with the hubby offer to switch responsibilities for a day. See how much he gets done one weekend with the kids around and you can be out of the house all day. Its a lot harder then people think! :)

(As a side note, I did this to my own hubby. I have an infant who likes to wake up at 4am so every morning, so when the kids go down for breakfast around 630, I take a nap. My hubby was kind of grumbling about it so I let him take the infant for the night. The next morning he was so tired and I got great sleep! He asked for a nap. lol.... He doesn't grumble anymore. :) )

You're doing awesome. Don't get down on yourself. Find a schedule that works and enjoy this time with the kiddos. Goodluck!

Ok, here is my two sense. Until just recently I worked full time during the days and my husband worked full time during the nights. This was a very stressful situation. Because I would work full time and would have to come home and be a full time mom. The way we made it work, is we each had our set of chores. WE would usually not do any chores until the weekend, but on the weekend that was our time to clean, cook and get caught up. I cooked enough meals for the week on the weekends, and froze them, so we would not have to worry about cooking. My husband helped out a lot. HOwever, this was not good on our marriage. We lived like this for 7 years. Although only 2 out of the 7 did we have a kid. We never saw each other, and when we did we were both so busy wanting to get things done, we forget each other needed time to do stuff. Just recently my husband got a day job. This met we had to put our kid in daycare. It broke my heart so so much to put him in. One day, after dropping him off, I went to work just in tears. Not to mention the money that we are now waisting. This was so hard, it cut down on our budget so much. This being said, our marriage is a lot better then it use to be, my son is not so shy around other people, he has learned more social skills, plus we can give him more attention when we are with him. If there is a possibilty you can put your kids in daycare, I would try it for a little bit. If it does not work out, you can always go back to your regular schedule.

Just adding another two cents' worth... I'm at home with a 2 1/2 year old, trying to work VERY part time. We're also spending between my husband and me probably 20 hours a week helping his elderly mother. My house is a disaster, I need to work more to help make ends meet... but my daughter is happy. I told my husband, we're just not going to have a nicely organized house for a couple of years, because I would rather have it that way than put our daughter in daycare. I'm having teenagers come in during the summer to play with my daughter, and that's helping me get more work time in, but I'm not sure what I'll do once school starts. Anyway, just chiming in to say, I am amazed by how much you are accomplishing. Anyone who's never done it (male or female) just cannot understand how impossible it is and needs to be kindly and gently educated to appreciate what you're doing. Good luck!

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