The Daily Family – Vol. 1

I would like to make this into a 3 or 4 part series so let’s see how this goes.
Other families’ schedules are very interesting to me. It is fascinating to see how other families cope with busy lives in comparison to my family.
One prominent aspect of this is work/school schedules. Working full-time outside the home provides many challenges and for years made me feel very worn down and like a terrible parent. I have gone back and forth with the notion that after 10 years in the full-time work force, some miracle will occur and I will either own a business or somehow be blessed with plenty of money to be able to do what I wish with my time instead of being a prisoner in a cubicle for 8 hours a day. It is a slightly scary thought when you really think about it. I almost feel like a prisoner because I am not free to just get up and go to my car and leave when I want to. I once saw a joke that called it an “8 hour wait to go home” – exactly! It’s a crazy concept, almost un-American, but then if I could leave like that, I wouldn’t be receiving a paycheck that enables my family to barely survive week to week. It’s not all bad though.
Well, it’s now been almost 13 years that I have been working. The longest break I had off was my 12 weeks out when by baby was born.
I am really beginning to realize that I enjoy it and feel good about myself for working. I know how good it is for my toddler to interact with other kids during the day. What really makes it okay is how absolutely wonderful our daycare provider is and how she interacts with the children she works with. If I didn’t have that, I would be unable to work. People who do not work outside the home have asked me how I do it. My answer is rather simple: I just do it, no choice there. I have been a stay-at-home mom before and I have to say I think everything is all about routine.
When you work full-time outside the home, you get up at a certain time, get yourself and the kids ready and leave at a certain time, go to a certain place or two then to work – at a certain time, on time, no exceptions. I have known of people who have a difficult time with that, but that mainly occurs when you do not have your routine and mind in the right place. Many years ago, when I was a teenager, I asked a stay-at-home mom how she does it. Getting up, getting the kids ready and to school on time was basically what she did. Her answer: getting almost everything ready the night before. I have never forgotten that answer and can say that without a doubt, that IS the key, especially when working full-time outside the home. The main factor in being late is searching for something you should have had prepared the night before. Of course, some people wake up late, but for my family searching for misplaced items is the worst. I always make all lunches the night before and prepare the coffee maker so it can just be turned on. Even set the coffee mug ready next to the coffee maker and bowls ready for cereal with cereal in a bag and so on. Everything that can go in the car is placed in the car the night before and clothes are picked out and ready. I’m almost embarrassed to say it but when my teenage son was younger, he had the absolute most difficult time in the world waking up. He could sleep through anything and could do so any time. So, for a time, I had him get dressed in the clothes he would be wearing the next day after he took his bath at night and sleep in his clean sheets so he could just wake up and put his shoes on, brush his teeth and grab his backpack. Sometimes the toothbrush went in the car with us. Anything to be on time to work had to be done. I also became a little more accepting of working full-time when I realized the my children are in school 6 hours a day and I’m at work for only 2 hours more than they are already required to be in school. That made it a little easier. Now with a baby in daycare, I have to rely on my confidence in her wonderful daycare provider.
So, in conclusion, that’s how I handle a full-time work schedule. One of my favorite views on the subject that I have heard came from someone I know who has been a full-time working mother for a long time. She said that her time at work is just one of her two jobs. She leaves work at 5 to go home to her other, more important job. Know that this is not a slacker either, but a respected, hard-working supervisor who continues to promote. Yes, you can have it all, I strongly believe. You just have to be very motivated.

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About sensiblemama

A working mother who does it all while keeping it simple, healthy and saving money! Plus, some exciting recipes!
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2 Responses to The Daily Family – Vol. 1

  1. Marisa says:

    Hi – I just found your site and have been reading. I am encouraged by your positive outlook. However, I have to disagree that we cannot have it all. Which job is more important? Being a mother or the work that goes on in the cubicle? Being a mother (that being said your paid work is still valuable!). But when we mothers are forced to work then we are tired for our number one job when we get home. Maybe I have not mastered it. I used to work 50% and it was great. I still had time to play with the kids a lot, prepare meals, housework (although I could have been more focused on that 🙂 ) Now I work 75% and after I go and pick up the kids at their different places and get home I am tired. Motivated……You leave with that. I have made some unwise choices in my life that led me to have to work and be away from my kids. I wish I was more motivated to have a even more flexible job or figure out something else. I need to work at least for retirement. I see woman ALL THE TIME on the Susie Orman show or similar and they said they were a stay at home mom for too long and now they have to work until age 70 to save enough for retirement. I digress. I also value your comments about routine. Do you know about Flylady.net She stresses routines. She has a good student control journal for keeping kids organized with chores and homework. LASTLY – Really. I agree it was easier when my kids were somewhere I felt good about. But right now they are not – safe and fine. But they don’t like as they did previously where they were. And that makes it hard to leave them. 😦 And now I reviving up for a while other set of unmet expectations. My son is starting kindergarten and I always dreamed of picking him up and now that is going to be met with tears as I can’t. In addition to being motivated, it is adjusting expectations. Thanks for posting. I still have more to read.

    • sensiblemama says:

      Sorry it took so long to review and allow your comments! The past 3 months have been the biggest challenge of my family’s life, relocating to another state, sight unseen, and no jobs, and taking all the chances to make it all come together! It finally has!
      I totally know how you feel. It took a long time for me to come to deal with the fact that I have to work. I think what made it easier is working with other professional moms who face the same challenges and seeing that they are able to make it work and still be good moms. Yes, housecleaning sometimes takes a back burner but our homes aren’t filthy. And did I say it wasn’t stressful? Of course it is, very much so. My family had to make a huge change and move out of California so that my husband wouldn’t have to live out of state to work like some other dads we know. We prioritized remaining together. That meant moving somewhere more affordable, well slightly more affordable but with similar income ranges. This type of move is not for the faint of heart, I will say that for sure!
      As far as taking and picking up kids from school, I have known tons of moms, and have been one of them myself for some time, that utilize before and after school care and have very happy kids still. I have come to believe that it leads to more well-adjusted kids, kids who are adaptable, and that is a very valuable asset in life. Really, they would rather play with other kids most of the time. When the concept bothered me at first, I justified it by reminding myself that the kids are in school 6 hours a day anyway (there are a lot of kindergarten programs that are full day now too) so what is another hour before and hour after school? My boys (ages 21 and 17) have turned out great and I believe the key is constant, open communication and always checking up on them as they get older. We spend a lot of time talking as a family. I was always listening to their needs and concerns and made it VERY clear to them that they could trust me at all times. My husband and I have always consistently worked and yet prioritized the kids ahead of all. We have not had a “date” or “night out” or anything such as that in over 12 years and are totally fine with that. We would much rather take the kids and do something with them.
      So, what I am trying to say is – don’t beat yourself up for working, even full-time. It doesn’t hurt the kids as long as you take other measures to make them feel special. 🙂

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