A.F. asks from Bellmore, NY on August 06, 2010
Working Moms - Floral Park,NY
For those of you who work full-time in a paid position (outside the home) and are moms' I'd like to know how you balance it all. How do you make time to cook, clean, take care of the kids, exercise, make time for yourself and if you take work home too? I imagine you get into a routine, a kind of "groove."
I am a SAHM but wish to work part-time. I know people do what they have to do but I worry (and overthink things...the "what-ifs") that I wouldn't be able to balance everything if I had to work full-time. I don't think I'm alone either. I have friends who have been SAHM's for eight years now and at least one of them thinks it would be hard.
Thank you for the insight! P.S. I think what really makes a difference is when you have a full-time job you like too.
1 mom found this helpful
So What Happened?™
Thank you moms' for the insight into your lives as working mothers in addition to the job of being a mother. I have one child, a daughter who is almost 17 months old. When she was born, my husband and I were living very far away from family. Now we've since moved back, I am fortunate to have my parent's to baby-sit all the time, although my mother wouldn't want to do it full-time.
I guess I've been lucky not to have to work as I hear so many mothers return to work when their baby is very young. For me I couldn't imagine having to go to a job when my daughter was only a few months old but that's because I knew I didn't have to. Now I am "itching" to be around adults and work part-time in a job I like.
Many of you described yourselves as teachers so you have a lot of time off between holidays and summer vacation. Ironically I was a teacher before my daughter was born but I didn't like teaching. Infact I really don't like to teach at all. But that's me and at 34 almost 35, I am still trying to find my "niche."
Hiring a cleaning service sounds like a great idea if you can afford it. It would be so helpful too because I also have a dog and the hair (even a short-haired dog) is always there. Thanks again for the advice!
P.S. The mom who said she goes dancing I think twice a month has a great idea if you like to dance and I do!
J.B. answers from Atlanta on August 06, 2010
I don't! My house is always a mess. I'm currently between housecleaners, but it's always scattered. We get the kids to clean up after themselves, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the floor still needs sweeping 3 or 4 times a day! I'm hoping that, starting Monday, with both kids going to preschool and PreK, and no longer being at home with a nanny, that the house will stay a little more in order. It's almost impossible to find time to exercise! Whenever I can, I take the boys in the double stroller and walk a long time, but that doesn't happen every day. We're about to rejoin the Y near us, but then I have guilt over picking up the boys and depositing them in yet another childcare playroom while I go exercise!
I have an at-home editorial job that I do at night when they're in bed, and I like it, but I think I'm going to have to drop it. I also work full time M-F outside the home, and I've cooked 2 meals since February. My husband cooks if we cook. I don't have time to do anything (or the energy) to the house after the kids are in bed. I sit down and work more.
I may get slammed for this, but it's the honest truth -you can't do it all, and you can't do it all well. If you want to or have to work while being a parent, then something (many things) have to slide or you'll never take up the time with the kids you need to and put in the work hours you need to. A lot more women than will admit it park their kids in front of the tv for hours, and therefore they have beautiful and immaculate homes! I'm talking about work-outside-the home moms (and some SAHMs too). IF you can find a part--time job that will pay enough to justify childcare -my hat's off to you! That is the perfect scenario, and one where you could do a lot! As far as balancing -if someone works full time, has a perfect home that's clean all the time, cooks, exercises AND spends truly quality time with their kids every day -they're lying! SOMETHING in that equation is going lacking, and you can probably guess which thing it is.
6 moms found this helpful
D.W. answers from Indianapolis on August 06, 2010
The truth is that my husband is amazing. That's how we get most of it done. Not all, just most of what needs to be done.
We've both always been working parents except for 12 weeks last summer when I was laid off. I spent that time primarily looking for another job so I didn't get anything done that I'd hoped to during the time off......except spending a little more time with my kids.
Something has to give, but if you have an incredible husband to help divide and conquer, it makes it much easier. We balance each other. I usually cook. I don't prepare meals ahead of time or in crock pots (I've never cooked in one). I make dinner every night after I get home from work while my husband has them outside playing. I do dishes while I'm cooking so there's never a huge mess to clean-up. We take turns with bath nights. In the winter we do every other night, every night in the summer.
We both trained for 1/2 marathons this past May. Sometimes we'd be side-by-side in the basement on the elliptical/treadmill while the kids played in another area. Sometimes we'd trade nights.
I don't have much of a social life, so that's probably where a lot of the balance comes from.
We have no family close by either (closest is 300 miles away). So, we're on parent duty 24/7. It's the life we chose, and it got hard after our daughter's birth when I went through 5 months of chemo. My husband had a 2 year-old and infant on his own every other weekend while I recovered in bed. But, we made it manage.
Somehow, it just all works out.......you do your best and hope you've done more well at the end of the day than you've screwed-up. :) Good luck.
4 moms found this helpful
T.S. answers from Sacramento on August 06, 2010
I am a full time working mom (and have been all my son's life). I've also been a single parent for the last two years. It IS doable, but it requires that you be really clear about your priorities (so when there really is a conflict, you don't beet yourself up about your decision).
For me, my son is absolutely my priority. That said, I put a lot of effort into researching and choosing the best daycare and school options for him. That way I feel really good about where he is when I'm at work. When I'm working (I'm a middle school teacher) I keep my cell phone on my hip and answer it any time it's his school calling. That way I don't spend the day wondering if everything is okay.
In terms of making time for everything:
Cook- I don't cook meals that take longer than 20 minutes to prepare during the week. That means some semi-prepared meals (trader joes is great for these), some frozen leftovers, some slowcooker meals, and breakfast for dinner every Thursday night (by Thursday's I like the break, and DS thinks its a treat).
Clean- My son (4) is responsible for keeping his own room clean and for picking up his own belongings from around the house. We pick everything up every night after dinner so it's never too big a mess. Every couple of nights, I run the vacuum. On Saturday mornings, we spend a couple of hours doing all the major cleaning (bathrooms, laundry, floors, dusting etc). Before we go out for the day.
Kids- My son goes to school/daycare during the day. In the mornings, evenings and on weekends we're together and I imagine we do pretty much what you do with your kids at those times. I haven't missed out on raising him by working. I was there for his first words and steps, taught him to swim and ride a bike, taught him to read etc. We've got all kinds of inside jokes and he knows without doubt that I love him more than the world.
Exercise- There's a Kid'sClub at my gym. He goes with me on weekend mornings. On weekdays I either go straight for work before picking him up or get him and take him with me. I have time to workout 4 or 5 days a week if I want to.
Time for myself- I'll admit I don't have a TON of time for me, but that's more about being a single parent than being a working parent, I think (I'm off in the summers and still don't have much "me time")
Taking work home- I try not to take work home, because my son is my priority so when I'm with him I try to be devoted. However, when I do have work at home, I just do it after he goes to bed.
Sorry this is so long. Hope it helps.
4 moms found this helpful
V.N. answers from Chicago on August 06, 2010
I have a two year old and worked full-time for the first 21 months. A few months ago I started working part-time (at least 27 hours+per week). I worked really hard to establish my career, but it is emotionally and physically demanding. I struggled with full-time. I struggled for many reasons: my husband and I both do not work traditional hours (which means bringing home a baby past bedtime occasionally), not seeing my son often enough for me (going a day without seeing him), finding time for myself, find time for activities for my son, and feeling like I am missing out.
I did not have trouble managing my home because my husband and I both split the work, we both take turns cooking, shopping, etc, we have a cleaning service. I think if I had to do it myself I would never have lasted as long as I did. The down side is that on my days off all I did was run errands. This made me feel the time I had with my son was not good quality as he tells me he does not like to go shopping and would rather play. Although he still says that and we play a lot more.
I went to the gym 3-5 times per week and walked/ran the other days either on my lunch break, 5:30 am, or late after work. I found me time but felt guilty.
Tips would be to plan your meal for the week ahead, have yourself organized for the next day, have daycare that you love (I do and I never worry about my baby when I am not home), take time for yourself when you can, try not to feel guilty.
4 moms found this helpful
J.M. answers from Boston on August 06, 2010
I wouldn't call it a balance - I'd call it a juggle. Something's up in the air, and something's on the way down. (Sometimes, of course, the juggler drops all the balls and thinks a career as a magician would have been better, but that's a post for another day).
I'm a teacher, so my work ebbs and flows. I have two kids, my oldest is starting kindergarten in a couple of weeks. We also have two dogs, three chickens, and a fish (but the fish is very low maintenence.)
On paper, my life sounds a little crazy, and I guess it is, but it works because a) I like my job and b) we need my job (my husband got laid off in april, and I've never been so glad that I work).
We do have a routine. I prep for the next day right after the kids go to bed - get dinner for the next day set up, figure out lunch, throw in a load of laundry, tidy up. In the morning, hang out the laundry, get everyone dressed and out the door, go to work. Afternoon pick up and hang out with the kids while putting dinner together, have family dinner and play a bit, bath and bed.
Yes, sometimes the house is a total disaster. I am very inconsistent about exercising. Still, I make dinner from scratch 6 of 7 nights. I feel like I do have time in the afternoons to play with my kids, and weekends are family time (and grocery shopping, of course). It helps that my kids are good about going to bed at bedtime (around 8-8.30) and that I'm not new at my job.
Being home with the kids during the summer gives me a nice taste of the "slower pace" of staying home. I like it, but couldn't do it year round. Again, I like my job, and I do have the advantage of some afternoon time with my kids. Maybe I just like being a little crazy : ) Hope this helps!
4 moms found this helpful
L.M. answers from Dover on August 06, 2010
First of all, anyone that says you can do it ALL and have a perfectly straight, organized, clean home without help is lying to you. Something has to wait...usually it is the house (not saying you don't clean but the messes are ever present) and yourself.
If you would like to work part time but be able to do it on whatever schedule you want to set, let me know. I can tell you about my part-time home based business...I work full time or I would pursue it full time instead (one day I will!).
3 moms found this helpful
C.C. answers from Fresno on August 06, 2010
I've always worked full-time (since my oldest was 4 weeks old, and I was able to take 2 months off with my younger child). Yeah, it's tough to balance it all. At this red-hot moment, my job is seriously NOT enjoyable (I've been working 70-80 hour weeks for the past few months). So with that in mind...
1) You have to have help. Whether it's from your husband or others, you can't do it alone. I imagine this is also the case when you're a SAHM? My husband shares in the household chores, cooking, bathing the kids, helping with homework, etc. If you can afford it, get a cleaning lady.
2) You have to be super, super organized. I am tied to my Blackberry, and if it's not in my Outlook calendar, I am guaranteed to forget it. I use reminders in my Outlook calendar to track everything, from work meetings to project deadlines to my kids' ballet lessons... you name it. I live by a schedule. My kids are in bed ON TIME every night because if they aren't, I'm off schedule, and then my household work doesn't get done.
3) You will get less sleep. It is what it is. I work 15 hour days these days, and then I probably need an hour a day to do things like shower, brush my teeth, iron my work clothes, help do my girls' hair for school, get them dressed, get myself dressed... and then let's say an hour a day for eating... and an hour a day for house cleaning, paying bills, mamapedia etc... that leaves about 6 hours for sleep. If I get any exercise, then I'm down to 5 hours sleep. i feel like I could hibernate for 3 months and still not be well rested.
4) You have to teach your kids to be competent on their own. I don't "do" much for my kids - I wish I had time to, but I just don't. Even my 5 year old knows how to sort laundry and load it into the washer (she has to get an adult to help turn it on, that's our rule). She can also clean bathroom countertops, and my older daughter (who is almost 8) has been running the vacuum since she was about 4. Both of them know how to clean windows. They share significantly in the household chores. I think this is good for kids anyway.
5) Keep "easy" foods handy. I always have a big bowl of apples, oranges, etc sitting on the kitchen table. If the kids are hungry and we're busy, they can have a piece of fruit whenever.
6) Remember that work will absolutely suck sometimes. That's why they call it work. =) When you're at home, yes, you have a tough job. But no matter what, you won't be fired. Nobody yells at you if the laundry isn't done, but boy, you drop the ball at work and your boss will be all over you like an angry ferret.
That's all I can think of right now. Tough week at work. I'm going to go have a martini (oh! I guess that's my 7th and final point - stock up your wine cellar! LOL)
2 moms found this helpful
S.B. answers from Redding on August 06, 2010
I've been a single mom for 14 years and it's really hard to balance everything alone. I like working, I'm really good at it, but there are days when you just have to let some things go. There are only so many hours in the day. Part time might be great to start out with. I don't know how old your kids are, but working is a lot easier when they start school. You don't have to pay for daycare, they have to get up and out of the house every day anyway. They don't even notice you're not home because they're at school.
If you have a helpful husband that will work with you as a team it's also easier.
Working can be very rewarding in many ways. And if you HAVE to work or CHOOSE to work, you try to strike a balance the best you can.
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