Full-Time Work and Life Balance

Updated on May 08, 2011
A.F. asks from Bellmore, NY
10 answers

I am a SAHM to a two year old girl. My husband and I bought a house in Long Island seven months ago. While I knew it would be difficult to live on one income, I thought it was enough. My husband makes a good salary but he works nights and sleeps days so he cannot get a second job.

I have always wanted to get a part-time job to have something else to do and to have adult contact. The reality is a part-time job will barely cover daycare costs and I will not bring any money home.

I am looking for some advice about balancing a family with a full-time job. I know that so many women make it work out of necessity. My husband is not suggesting I get a job full-time but it would be nice to have my own money again and to help out with a bill or two.

With my husband's hours the way they are, I am/will be at least 95% responsible for our daughter before and after a job. My husband helps when he can and I am grateful for that. I do think that if I can find a job that pays well enough to have money left over, I might look into hiring a sitter one or two nights a week to give myself a break to attend a class or go to the gym. So working full-time may be worth it.

Thank you for any advice on balancing work/family life such as preparing meals in advance so I do not need to cook daily and cleaning tips.

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for the advice. I am taking it all in to see what is best for me. My daughter is only two years' old so she isn't ready for school full-time. My husband is usually not home early in the morning so I will have to get Alyssa ready for daycare when the time comes but I know that if he is ever home and it's winter time with snow and I needed help, he would shovel me out eventhough all he would want to do is go to sleep. One mom said she went back to school to become a teacher. That is wonderful but I was a teacher for many years and did not like it. Although I would consider substituting or a teacher assistant position in a middle school. All things to consider and thanks again!

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answers from Greenville on

While many women make it work out of necessity, I make it work because I love my family AND my job. My employer is very supportive and is a family friendly place to work. I make the higher income between my husband and I, and even if I had the option to stay at home, I would work. It's really not that difficult to juggle a job and a family, as long as you have a supportive husband and a flexible, family friendly employer. Both are very important. Also, it's important that you stay organized. For example, keep a family calendar on Google calendar, plan meals out for the week (you don't necessarily have to cook in advance), and save the hard core cleaning for the weekends. Hope this helps!

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answers from New York on

Hi A. F,

I have been where you are and I learned to plan meals ahead of time (relishrelish.com is an awesome way to do that), and as far as keeping the house tidy check out FlyLady.com. She sends you emails each day letting you know which part of your house to de-clutter or clean.

Getting super healthy was always on the bottom of my list, I brought that one to the top and am now helping others do the same. Give me a shout if you want to learn more about this. Can't believe I'm making money while getting people healthy--beats going back to work full time!

Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Shreveport on

I have been working for a year after being a sahm and I still don't have a set routine! My husband is a chef and works 15 hour days, so I do not have help from him. How old is your daughter? If she is close to kindergarten or a prschool program, try that and see if you find a job that you can work around her school schedule. Another idea, and you will not get paid much, but look into a part time job, like Bath and Body works or a corp. company. Alot of times, they just need help with floor moves ( putting out new product) or a few days a wekk, which can work around a mother's day out. I know you said full time, but I am all for staying home if you can make it work.
I have some frozen items that can be cooked quickly for those evenings when we get home later. I do not like frozen already cooked stuff, but we keep it for those nights. I try to always have dinner around 5pm and baths soon after and then we sit at the table and work on art and watch tv. I work on my stuff. Laundry is my biggest issue. I never have it all put away, and there is always something in the machines!! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

While it isn't easy (I stayed home with my first two who are now teens, when economy was much better than now), it's workable. I teach and love it, in fact, when back to school for a teaching license when my second was in kindergarten. So I worked very hard to enter this career and then life blessed us with our delightful surprise little girl. My position provides us with health benefits and extra income. We would otherwise be quite stretched. Husband pulls much of the morning - gets little girl ready in the morning so I can get ready, then I take her to a home daycare on the way to work (she has really blossomed in this environment, LOVES the other kids and her caregivers, a mom, grandma, and great-grandma). I pick her up at 4 and head home, play with her, and get things ready for the next day. Often I'll stop somewhere and get a walk in with her, so I keep my tennies in the car. Prepping the night before is essential, and I do laundry every other day as I don't want to drown in it on the weekend and want to enjoy some free time.

I rely on my crockpot, and other meals are relatively simple; we prefer either steamed vegetables, salad, or broccoli or mushrooms cooked w garlic/olive oil, do one night steak/shrimp w veggies, turkey melts or BLT's, spaghetti, and an occasional rotisserie chicken.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I work full time and my husband works nights and sleeps until just after lunch. We have three boys 3, 4, & 6. I do all the morning, drop them off at school and daycare, then go to work. Hubby usuallypicks them up after school. I'm afraid my dinners aren't great, but they have hot, nutritionally balanced meals at school, so I'm no too worried about giving them sandwiches and fruit, or baked beans and toast for dinner. I have all the school bags ready the night before, as well as their clothes. I use a roomba to help me clean, and the dryer for the clothes (yes, very environmentally unfriendly I know). My hubby heads off to work as soon as I'm home, so I do all the evening stuff as well. I like to have them in bed by 7.30 pm, then it's clean-up and a little wine time. I don't have much time for other pursuits, but I'm pretty fulfilled, and that's a great feeling!

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answers from Johnstown on

I LOVE my Mary Kay business. It's something you can do at home or away AND it gives you the flexibility you need because YOU are your own boss and you control how much you're worth.

As far as household duties: Pick one day a week and cook. Make up 2, 3 or 4 big meals that you're able to pop in the freezer or whatever (lasagna, roasts, casseroles, etc). I do my laundry on Tues. and Sat. My house has 17 rooms to maintain, so I do atleast 2 rooms a day, sometimes 3 if I have the time. You may have to give up an hr's worth of sleep a day, but you can do it! Good luck!

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answers from New York on

It will be tough at first -- I went back to work full time when my son was 5 months old, and I cried a lot at first. You may feel like you can't do anything well, job or home (at least, that's the way I felt). I was teaching at the time and, like you, didn't like it. But now I have a full time job at a local college as a mid-level administrator, and it's really great. It's a very short commute and I rarely have to take work home with me (of course, the salary isn't great, but it has good benefits). To me, that's the key -- if you go for a high-level corporate job, you'll have little time for anything else, but with a regular 9-5 type of job near home, it will work (especially if you like what you do). I have limited the activities my son does, beyond play dates (he is busy all day at preschool so really doesn't need the various lessons, sports, etc.). I have a selection of fairly quick recipes that I rotate, or sometimes I'll have my husband cook something for himself (he and I have different tastes but he'll always eat what I cook) and that helps with the evening routine. When I'm really organized, I get clothes and lunches ready the night before. You can clean your bathroom when your daughter is taking a bath, and load up on laundry on the weekends and it will work -- as long as you like your job. Good luck!

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answers from New York on

Hi A.,

Have you thought about taking kids in for daycare, off the books, just an aside job so you get a little money of your own? How about Avon or Mary Kay? You could take your daughter with you. How about eldercare? You take your daughter with you to your clients' homes.

There are only two of us at home now, so when I make a casserole, I freeze half of it for days when I'm too busy to cook. Comes in handy.

from the Pocono Mts. of PA

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answers from New York on

Have you asked if any friends or families can pitch in? I am an executive in healthcare so my job is 365. I have a great group of friends and we help each other out. One of my friends picks my daughter up from the bus stop along with her kids she is a SAHM and she does her homework with her and entertains her until my husband picks her up. I take my 4 yr old to pre-k program and she goes to a great after-school program. I pick her up after work and we head home. At least twice a week I do little chores during my so called lunch hour. I do the food-shopping during lunch, running to the cleaners, etc. I do the light cleaning daily, Friday night is laundry night and cleaning the bathrooms. Saturday is the play-dates and whatever the kids want to do and Sunday morning bright and early is the meal planning for the week, the major cleaning and pit stop to the grocery store. Every-other weekend I have girlfriend's kids all three on Saturday's to give her a break and in exchange for picking up my daughter. You find a way to make it work. It's difficult and you feel pulled in so many directions but where there is a will there is a way.

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answers from Kansas City on

as a working mom i feel like i am pretty laid back about the house. it does NOT have to be spotless - i clean as i go and do a couple hours of in depth on the weekends. i am not and never have been a runner, when i am off work i am HOME unless there is a family thing or my son has something going on (he goes to 1 soccer class, once a week, and we go to church). but those are things that i am doing with my son. my point is that when i am home i am 100% with my son, so i feel like the time we have together is more quality time than if we were together 24/7, which i think would just burn me out and wear me down.

My actual advice is to read dave ramsey's "the total money makeover". we have always been tight but this book is really helping us get our stuff together and i just paid every bill for the month (it is the 7th) and we have plenty left over, with another check coming for each of us this month. also, my mom works nights, she is always available in the evenings (she goes in at 10) so i don't really get why your husband can't be there during the evenings to help you out? does he feel that since he's the only one who "works" that he shouldn't have to? or does he work an insane amount of hours?

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