Managing The Chaos: A Day In The Life Of A Working Mom
Welcome to Week 3 of #workingmomwednesday! If you’re just now joining us… For this series, I reached out to some of my sweet blogger friends who are working moms, and asked them to share their experience juggling it all.
Be sure to check out:
This week, Grandi from My Aggrandized Life is sharing the ins and outs of her super busy day as a working mom!
The one thing I wanted the most in the world is to stay home with my kids. Well, the term “stay home” is a completely silly inaccuracy, despite it being the ‘proper’ term for a mom who ‘doesn’t work’. (again, another silly inaccuracy). My husband keeps telling me that I would go crazy without having a job or ‘something to do’. I know he means well. And I know exactly what he means. Without a ‘job,’ I would be lost. I need a purpose and I need something to do with my life – to feel accomplished. For so long I understood that completely and agreed with it, but as I am writing this – and even over the past year – I have come to realize just how silly that is.
I am accomplished. I do have purpose. I am a mom.
I have the best of both worlds. I get to be home with my kids and fully involved in their lives and activities, but I also financially help support our family outside of the home. I am a Full-Time Out of the House Working / Stay-At-Home Mom.
In today’s society, we are pushed into believing that stay at home moms don’t work and they serve no purpose. They sit at home in their big houses with their beautiful blond-haired, blue eyed kids making cookies and crafts all day. They have play dates for their perfect 2.4 children, their nails are always done, clothes are perfect, and their life is perfect. They have no worries. They do nothing all day but play.
I get up at 4:30am every school day morning. I spend 1 hour working on my blog (www.MyAggrandizedLife.com) and attempt to work on some social media posts and emails while I drink my coffee.
I have 2 high schoolers, a 5th grader, and a 2 year old grand-daughter who we take to school every morning. My high-schoolers are in a magnet program at a school 24 miles from our home. Our 5th grader attends the same private school my husband grew up in, which is much closer at 5 miles away from our home. Squirrel attends a Montessori school near where the WonderTwins high school is (they’re actually a mile apart).
I wake everyone up at 5:15am-5:30am. For the next hour, everyone is getting ready for school and eating breakfast (which I have spent the first weekend of the month planning out healthy school-day meals so there’s no budget-killing or unhealthy grab-and-go meals happening).
Side note: I include breakfasts, lunches (they ALL take a healthy home packed lunch) and weeknight dinners in our monthly school meal plan. If you’re a math person like me, you realize I just said I make 20 packed lunches a week.
Yep. That’s me.
I make sure we all have healthy breakfasts and at 6:15am we run out the door and pile in the car for the morning drop off cycle.
I have school drop off and traffic down to the minute. At a busy high school with 3,000 students, you absolutely HAVE to. We arrive at school at 6:52am, drive without issue through car circle (the opposite of what happens if we leave 5 minutes later and arrive at school at 6:57am or later), and drop off the WonderTwins.
Squirrel’s school opens at 7:30am, so we have about 30 minutes to relax as the drive is only 6 minutes. We arrive at her Montessori school and Yia-Yia (me – Greek for Grandma) does her hair. This is our routine and something she loves. She usually asks for “Ana & Elsa hair” or “Princess Hair” so that’s what she gets. ☺ Once school opens, off she goes – after she stops to pick up her morning acorn from the big tree – and on occasion, she wants me to take her picture by the tree to send to her Daddy in Germany.
Then we drive back to our side of town and drop off Cae at school. By this time it is 8:30 when I get back home.
At home, I clean up a bit, start dinner, prepare lunches for the next day, and if I have an extra hour or so, work some more on my blog. However, on Mondays, I volunteer all day at the high school and work with the dance teacher taking care of the bookkeeping for the magnet, company calendar, field trips, etc. On other days, if there is an event at Cae’s school, I volunteer there and am able to be involved with him in class.
By 12:00pm I get ready for work – oh, I forgot to mention that? I found the most perfect of perfect working mom situations – not only do I get to stay home and be involved with my kids in their activities, I also get to work – at a job I LOVE – and bring in some money, too, while growing my blog.
The down-side of this? I work evenings.
The upside of this? I work at a dance studio and all of my kids come to dance class there, so I get to see them. I am not missing much time at all.
Sure, I work evenings and that stinks. It’s the one thing I said I didn’t want to do because dinner time and bedtime is so important. BUT – my kids are older now. I work until 9:00pm 4 days a week and until 7 on Fridays, and my kids are usually in dance class those hours anyways. Plus, I get to take adult classes too, so I am super happy! I get me time, work time, and kid time.
Added bonus – I am now off work during all of my kids’ school vacations. So no longer do we struggle and scramble to pay for 3 kids to go to camp (often over $800/week for all 3!), or just let them stay home – while we wrestle with the parent guilt of our kids not being able to be involved in camps or activities. Now we know that I work the same schedule as the public schools so I have Spring Break, Winter Break, and Summer Break off with them.
Our kids are busy and dance is not the only thing they do. Cae plays soccer. All 3 are in the Young Marines so they are at drill or some function every weekend almost. And then there are friends and social lives – on top of their magnet school recitals and shows. My daughter travels with her school dance company so something is always going on.
And then there’s married life. Date nights, family activities, play time, me time. It all fits. We are happy and busy and love our life. Sure there are things that we wish were different, and there is never enough money to go around it seems, but that is not the most important thing in the world.
The time I spend with my family is the most important thing to me. I balance it all with very, very strict routines and schedules. I have color-coded our lives. Everyone is assigned a color and they all come to recognize that color as their own. The chore list is color-coded and each room has a task list in it. The master is in the family command center. Our family would be chaos and no doubt we would miss things if I did not have this system in place. If you would like to see the system, I share some of my worksheets and am publishing a Color-Code Your Life course for busy parents. You can grab the worksheets here.
Balance is important and you have to find that in order to be truly happy. Sometimes the things we want in life come with a price, and sometimes the things we want are wrapped in a disguise. Never did I think I could be totally happy working evenings – but I am. I have found a way to help support my family AND spend all the time possible with my kids. And I love it.