Full Time Working, Part Time Mom

Updated on August 11, 2008
K.S. asks from Aurora, IL
8 answers

I'm a full time working Mom, feel like a part time Mom. My daughter is 21 months old and I'm 7 months pregnant with #2. Working 40-45 hrs a week, with commuting to the city thats 10 - 12 hrs not home. There are days were I don't come home until 7pm and don't get to see my daughter, because she's asleep. The few and occasional days I get off early and come home, I get fustrated and impatient with her. Instead of enjoying the moments that I have with her I'm thinking about the million other things that need to be done before I go to bed. I'm always tired and by the evening I'm exhausted. My husband is out of work and actively looking for a job, so he is not home most of the day. It seems he's gone more now than when he was working full time. He is also going to school part time online. Thank GOD for my mother who sits with my daughter 4 days a week, two days she sits my kid and my sister's kid and 2 days just mine, she does as much as she can for me like laundry. I'm just fustrated that I can't be there for my daughter. She's such a bad eater 50% percentile, and has diaper rashes all the time. So for me to try something different,ie.. from foods to daiper creams, it never gets followed though by others. My in-laws watch her 1 day a week,they are in thier 80's, but quite active, but hard of hearing. So there are things that I'm apprehensive about with them. Money is tight I know things could be worse. But I can't be the only Mom with these feelings.

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answers from Chicago on

First, take a deep breath and try to relax and if possible, abandon your guilt. There are some things in life you are not going to be able to control and the sooner you recognize those things, the better you'll feel and the more energy you'll have to spend on those things you CAN control.

Is there a way you can change up somethings about your work situation? For example, can you ask about flex time where you get into the office very early, but are then home earlier so you have evenings with your daughter? Or, can you arrange to telecommute one or two days a week from your home?

If there is no flexibility at your job, have you considered looking for a job that is closer to home to significantly reduce the commute?

The other thing that will help will be to talk calmly with your husband. Let him know that you understand the pressures he's under and that you also need some more help when it comes to things around the house/your daughter. You'll need to be specific though -- outline exactly WHAT you need help with. If you just say, "honey, I need more help," he won't know where to start or how to help you and you'll end up frustrated that he's not helping.

Are there things you can simplify? Think about those things you "have to do" before bed vs. those you'd "like to get done" before bed. Are your expectations realistic given circumstances or do you need to take a long, hard look and let some things go, knowing that most parents don't have the neatest house? Can some things be moved to the weekends when you're home and more calm?

Some things that come to mind -- I find that doing laundry throughout the week makes it less daunting of a task in that I can toss in a load before work and move it to the dryer when I get home. I don't bother folding one load at a time - otherwise I'd feel as if I was always folding laundry. Rather, I wait until there are 2-3 or more loads of clothes and then sit down and knock it out at once. Perhaps for you, the folding is a husband thing or a weekend job.

Meals -- if you have some extra time on the weekends, make a meal and double or even triple the recipe. That way you have plenty to freeze one for another time and another for lunches (as you clean up the dishes, sort out your lunches right then and there so all you have to do is grab a container in the morning.) Same with salads -- if you eat them throughout the week, spend some time cutting everything up at once and assemble a few day's worth so all you have to do in the morning is add dressing - or see if you can store a bottle in the office fridge.

Perhaps along these same lines, start thinking about and prepping things you'd like to see your daughter eat. If you think she needs more veggies, steam up a big batch and put them in small containers where they need to simply be re-heated at mealtime. More fruit? There are plenty of them that can be cut/prepped ahead of time.

You mention she's a bad eater. How? Find out what your mom is making for her and realize that some kids are simply picky. I wouldn't focus too much on percentile - if your pediatrician is happy with her weight and development, give yourself a break and remember, toddler nutrition is to be measured by the week, not the day as we all know there are some days when they eat like champs and others when they simply won't touch their food no matter what is offered to them.

Would you be comfortable sending prepared snacks/meals for her when others watch her? Then you'd have some control over the things she receives.

Diaper rash -- what I've learned the hard way is that if my son has bad diaper rash, it's time to get a good pack of dipaers (pampers) and change him every hour to two hours until it clears up - even if it's a dry, clean diaper. The cheap diapers don't seem to wick away the moisture as well as the good ones. If it's a bad rash, invest in the good diapers (pampers) until it's gone and request that she be changes more often than she is.

Naked time works wonders as well as they have a chance to air out. If you don't think your mom or in-laws would be able to help in this area, then make time on the weekends for a few minutes (5-10 can make a huge difference in the condition of their little bottoms) each weekend day and maybe one or two week nights to run in the backyard free. (Plus, she'll LOVE it which in turn will help make you happy.)

Deal with mail twice a week -- put it in a spot where it'll be safe until you can get to it and then open it at once.

Housecleaning: see if you can figure out what takes the longest. Is it dusting where you have a lot on display? If so, give yourself a break and pack some of it away for a few months (see if you miss it - you may be surprised) that way surfaces are clear and require a quick dust vs. an in-depth clean everything on the shelf kind of cleaning.

If you can, clean the bathroom on the way out of the shower - really bathrooms don't take that long. Especially if the counters are kept clear. Having said that, minimize clutter where-ever you can - baskets on bookshelves are wonderful for collecting stuff and providing peace of mind when you walk in the door.

Make a list of those things that seem to stress you out the most and then start figuring out ways to fix them.

Relax. You're going to have another baby and life is just going to get more crazy. Spend some time now looking at ways to change some of the things that you can and that bother you most. It's going to be a process and not something you'll accomplish overnight.

If you can, sneak in a "sick day" where you feel perfectly healthy. Send your daughter to your mom's as you normally would and spend a few minutes on you. Sit and have a cup of coffee while you game plan what you can do. Spend a few hours accomplishing some of those changes and then go pick up your daughter for a fun-filled afternoon. You'll feel better because you've accomplished something and she'll love the extra time with you which will also be a feel-good for you.

Hugs to you and congrats on the upcomming baby.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Hi K.,
I completely understand how you feel. I'm a full time working mom of an 18 month old - I also commute to the city. My son is in daycare for 11 hours a day. There are many days where I feel just awful that he's in daycare for so many hours during the day. It's definitely a balancing act - I understand the frustrations after getting home as well. The best thing to do is get in the mindset that when you're home, your focus is the baby - everything else can wait until your daughter goes to bed. My hope is to one day be able to stay home but for now the family needs the extra income so I'll make it work. I was in daycare from the age of two and I tend to think I turned out ok. It's good for your daughter to be exposed to others and it will probably just strengthen the relationship she has with her grandparents which is a wonderful thing! Try reading I was a Great Mom Until I Had Kids. It talks about the whole guilt thing and it'll make you laugh and feel not so alone.
Good Luck!



answers from Chicago on

Definitely know you are not alone! Although I don't work away from home now, I did before my second child was born. And I have felt your same feelings a lot...it just comes with the territory. A sick day is greatly needed every once in a while to just gather yourself (especially while you are pregnant).

If working different hours or even closer to home is possible, I would recommend it. I completely agree with simplifying...it has helped me out greatly! Also giving your husband specific things to do will make life easier. I would use my commute as alone time. Listen to a book on CD or your most calming music. Meditate, pray, whatever will help you feel more relaxed before you get home to your family. Also use that time to decide what you have to get done that night after your daughter is in bed...that way you won't be thinking about it when you are playing with her.

Ideas to get your child eating better...cut up cooked broccoli or carrots and mix with mac n cheese, pot pies can be quick and easy with frozen veggies and a premade pie top, put diced tomatoes inside a grilled cheese, fruit in her cereal, fruit on a peanut butter sandwich, and lots of yogurt.

Just remember that these frustrations and feelings will pass. Things will look up...you are having a baby!!! That is so exciting! You will have maternity leave to spend time with the new baby and your daughter. Make plans for family to do the cooking and cleaning for you for the first 2 to 4 weeks after the baby is born...that will help you take full advantage of your time and spend it with the kids!

You are in my thoughts and prayers...



answers from Chicago on

hey K. - I have been there too, doing that commute and long days with pressure while pg... it's very difficult, no it just plain sucks.

A word about 'mommy guilt'.... I decided to leave the corp world to stay at home and I absolutely do not regret my decision but just know that you get guilt on this side too.

I gave up my new car, contributing to savings for my kids' educations, vacations, going out to dinner, those extra toys and fun stuff. My kids don't get the 'extras' that other kids do, but I am at home with them and not doing that 7pm just getting in the door thing.

Hang in there mama, if you decide to make your escape - make a plan. Start banking your income and come up with ways to make it without your income, then and only then can you decide to quit your job. These are tough and scary times we are in economically and people are losing their homes.

Sometimes being a good Mom means keeping a roof over your babies' heads and food on the table. Things will get better, promise.

If you start feeling like you just can't do it, talk to your OB/GYN right away - he/she can put you on 'partial bed rest' if they feel your health is at stake, that means your employer will HAVE to allow you to work less hours or work from home. Please email me privately and let me know how you are doing.





answers from Chicago on

K. - Hang in there! I am a working mom of 5 year old twins and an 18 month old. I communte about 90 min each way and spend 12-14 hours each day away from home. It is hard when the kids are asking me when I am not going to work and when they do not need to go to the babysitter, but I know that working is good for me and them. It allows me to step away and to be able to do the things I want to with them. Money is still tight (my husband was out of work for 6 months this year), but you can make it work.
I would recomend checking your expectations. We (women) feel that we have to do it all and there is no way that can be done. I realized a few years ago that my sanity was more important that the perfectly clean house. Do I want the clean house - sure, but when I have all day on Saturday off, I have the choice to spend it with the kids and do something fun, or clean for the day- heck yeah I am playing with them.
As for making any change in schedule food etc, you need to engage the support of those that are already helping you. Tell them your wishes and ask for their commitment, it will require you to give speific instructions and to follow up and get "progress reports",but that is the only way something can change.
As a final note about the diaper rash - ask your Dr for Nystatin. My daughters have fought rashs and when they pop up, this always does the trrick!

Hange in there,soon the kids will be more independent and you will get some more time to do the other things!



answers from Chicago on

I understand you struggle. It sounds like there are lots of things weighing you down right now. You are also a little stuck because of your husband's work situation. However, I believe that when you have kids, it puts everything in perspective. It usually causes us moms to have meldowns quite often, unfortunately. But it sounds like you are starting to realize what is costing you time with your family, and what your family needs most from you. I bet once this rough patch comes to an end, your head will be a little more clear. It's so hard working downtown and doing that commute. Most of the moms that I work with or know, give it up within the first two years of having kids. I don't know if that is an option for you or not. But for many I know, it makes a huge difference. I constantly ask myself, "what are you working FOR?" and "does this enrich my life?" Just remember to breathe deep during these times of turmoil. It is quite a natural process that we all go through many times while we have kids.



answers from Chicago on

I can understand your frustrations. I work 3-4 days a week and still get frustrated!! The best advice is to play and get really silly. For me it helps get my stress out by dancing or screaming or a pillow fight or whatever...Also about the diaper rash-- corn starch -- Did wonders for my son who had welts!! Pure corn starch in a shaker worked and still works awesome! Good Luck



answers from Chicago on

Is there any way that you can cut your hours so you can be home more with your kids. Maybe your husband can pick up a part-time job temporarily to make up for your cut in hours. I anticipate that I may be getting laid off soon, so when that happens I will be picking up a part-time job while I look for a full-time job.

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