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Being a Working Mom Is Hard
Simply being a mom is hard, so there is no question that being a working mom is hard. Even those that aren’t working moms don’t need much convincing. However, exactly what that hard looks like varies greatly depending on your family situation and your career. Here I’ll share what my schedule looks like as a working mom and share some thoughts from other working moms with very different careers and family situations. If you are a mom getting ready to go back to work, grab my tips for returning to work.
Working Mom Schedule
Get up and get a quick 25-minute home workout in. Grab my tips for fitting in a workout.
6:25am – 6:50am
Shower and get ready. I’m a big fan of sleep, so my mornings don’t start early enough for me to fully style my hair. Whatever I can do with it while it’s wet is the style of the day.
Pack my lunch and breakfast and make coffee. I love fancy coffee, but a daily trip to Starbucks is not something I have the time or budget for. Therefore, I use my Nespresso and milk frother to make my skinny latte in the comfort of my own kitchen.
Wake Paxton up
Get Paxton started eating breakfast. He usually eats either a banana or an Ego waffle with butter and cinnamon sugar and water to drink. If he’s still hungry after that, we top off with some blueberries.
Brief hubby on where Paxton is at in his morning routine. I’m lucky because John is a stay at home hubby, so I only have to get myself ready and out the door in the mornings. When I leave, Paxton is usually still eating breakfast and wearing nothing but a diaper.
Run out the door so I’m not late to work
Arrive at work.
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7:30am – 1pm
Work. I’ll also find time to drink the coffee and eat the breakfast that I brought from home. Some days it’s close to lunchtime before I get breakfast of overnight oats eaten but that’s a gamble I’m willing to take so that I can get a few extra minutes of sleep.
1pm – 1:30pm
Lunch break where I work on blog stuff, read the current book for my book club or browse social media.
1:30pm – 6pm
6:20pm – 7pm
Play with Paxton and get him ready for bed. John has already fed him dinner, so this time includes a bath, lotion, a couple of stories and a bottle of milk.
7pm – 7:15pm
Snuggle time with Paxton as he’s falling asleep.
Put Paxton in his crib. At this point, I won’t hear from him again until I get him up the following morning.
7:15pm – 9:30pm
This is the extent of my free time. During this time, I catch up with hubby, eat dinner, pick up around the house, work on any projects I have going, watch TV and get ready for bed. If I’m not in bed by around 9:30, my 5:45am alarm is awfully rough.
Alternative Thursday Night
On Thursdays, I work a second job in retail pharmacy after finishing my first. On that night, I go straight from job number one to job number two. I end up getting home at
This schedule allows me to work 4 days that are 10 hours each which gives me three full days to spend with Paxton. While I have limited time with him on the days I work, it’s nice having an extra day completely free.
This is what my typical weekday involves. However, it doesn’t capture when I have weekend work trips or pick up an extra shift in retail. I usually have one or the other of these once to twice a month.
Doing housework either falls to hubby or I do it on my days off because I’m generally too exhausted after a long day at work. If you are managing to find time and motivation for
Working Moms in Other Professions
Now that you’ve seen my schedule, career and family differences mean that no two moms have the same working mom experience. Here are summaries of working mom life from 4 other working moms.
Working At Home
Abby Jacobs has a 16-month-old and is a parenting blogger. For her, being a working parent looks a bit different than most. She said, “I work from home, so the time I put into my blog is broken up throughout the day. As soon as my son is down for a nap I hurry to get to work and try to get as much done as I can in that time period. It also means I’m up working after his bedtime most nights. But, it also means I get to enjoy him while he’s awake. My job allows me the unique opportunity to raise, support, influence, and be a key part in his life–all while making money from home!”
Working With Other People’s Kids
Mary Smith is a teacher with a 5-month-old and a 2-year-old at home. Here’s what being a working mom is like for her. “As an elementary school teacher, I spend my entire day with children. I wake up at 5AM to get myself ready before I get my own babies ready for daycare. The drive to work is the only peace I will see until my head hits the pillow at night. Many don’t realize being in education is so much more than just teaching. I plan every minute of every day, accounting for different learning abilities and interests. I manage disciplining 20 tweens going through 3 learning stations per hour, and also make sure they are staying on task. I mediate disputes between students and counsel the ones having problems. Tutor, nurse, janitor, and lunch lady are a few of the other roles I play each day. And breaks? Spent in the closet pumping milk for my infant, then speeding off to meet/call parents, write lesson plans, grade papers, finish documentation…or if I’m really lucky, I get to sit for a brief moment to eat some lunch in the 15 minutes I have left for myself.
By the time I leave work, I am mentally exhausted. I’ve given all my energy to my students, and sometimes feel I have nothing left over for my own kids. It’s a mad dash to get in the front door, let the dogs out, change the diapers, get dinner fixed, clean the kitchen, bathe the boys and then try to find a few minutes of quality time with them. Some days we don’t even manage a story before bed. But I do the best I can and make the best of the weekends and holidays. When it gets tough, I just remind myself how lucky I am to get off for so many breaks and summer vacation, because some working parents don’t even have that.”
Fixed Working Hours
When asked what being a working parent is like, Clio Franconi said, “Running all the time.” She has a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old and is a director’s assistant. She explained working life as, “I have fixed working hours, and even if my work environment is cool, I still struggle to get there on time and then have to rush to go pick-up the kids. Everything has to be calculated, organized, and planned so that either one of us parents can go take care of our kids before the school closes. (Plus of course, all the rest of the chores). It’s great to be able to have some adult time and share it with awesome co-workers, but frankly, it is exhausting. There’s so little time to just be together, as even when we do spend time to play or read in the evening, everyone is so tensed and tired after the whole day running around. On the other hand, when I’m at home, I can completely shut the work drawer in my head and dedicate myself fully to my husband and kids. The boundaries between the two are very clear and they don’t get mixed, which helps me concentrate on the present moment.”
When You Have a Lot of Kids
Trish Brockway is
a labor & delivery nurse with 7 kids at home ranging in age from 4 to
28! Here’s her take on working mom life.
career was my dream and calling from a young age. I love it! I love the hours
and how I can work it around my family life. For many years I have been a
travel nurse. Traveling has worked well for our family, as we also homeschool.
I love that my children have toured the country and seen more of it than most
adults can claim. We studied the Alamo while walking through it. My kids could
stop and imagine the life of the men trapped inside the walls. How cool is
I am also fortunate to work as a PRN nurse when not traveling, which means I set my schedule. The hours a nurse works, twelve-hour days, is a blessing and a curse. My day starts early and ends late. I leave my younger children before they wake. I kiss them goodbye while they sleep and most often, kiss them next after they are asleep at night.”
Working mom life varies greatly depending on how many kids you have and their ages, the demands of your career, your husband’s work situation, and your work schedules. For example, my daily schedule looked very different when I had a newborn and I was still breastfeeding.
Just don’t let the working mom guilt get the best of you. You can read my story with mom guilt here. But remember this is a mental battle. After you read my mom guilt experience, read about why being a working mom is awesome. No two experiences are the same, but they are all hard and can all be rewarding.
Are you a working mom? What has your experience been like?
Mom, wife, veterinary pharmacist, equestrian, ice cream lover and occasional hot mess