I am Julie, I am a 27 year old mother of 4. Current ages, 5, 4, 2, 1. My life is crazy, I work part-time as an online math tutor, my husband is in the Navy, currently working a day shift, the first time in our 8 year marriage we have seen each other every day. I am very thankful for my job, and love the controlled chaos of my house.
What is your typical schedule like during the week?
6:30-7:00 I wake up. My husband usually leaves 7-7:30
7:00-7:30 I try to work-out, I have started T25 and shower before my kids get up.
7:30 all 4 usually wake up, (if I am lucky they have slept this long, if not I usually turn on tv before I am ready.)
7:30-8:45 All 4 eat get dressed and ready for the day. My oldest two leave for school.
9-11 two days I have my 2 year old going to preschool so this is time I do stuff like groceries, plan meals, try to catch-up on work.
11:30-1- Lunch for the youngest 3 and some play time.
1-3 I have a work meeting every day at 1pm so I have to have the 2 younger boys sleeping, and usually my daughter 4 is taking a nap or doing quiet time stuff.
3:30- my oldest gets home from school.
5:00-5:30 my husband gets home and dinner
7:00-9:00 I work in my basement office and usually come up to do books and bed
What do you find tricky about your current set-up/schedule? What would you change if you could?
I always wish I could dedicate time for work- I think a lot about getting a sitter for a couple hours each day, but there are some days I do not need anyone, and other days I am swamped, so I guess I just do not like the inconsistency. My work schedule is weird, but flexible.
I find it tricky there is never enough time for anything, I feel that we are always in a rush in the morning, but I do not want to wake my kids up earlier.
What do you like best about your current set-up/schedule?
I love that I have time with my kids each individually throughout the day, even if it is my daughter playing quietly in my office while I work- it is time she gets to spend with just me, I always worry I am not giving them enough of me, they grow so fast I do not want them to look back and remember how I worked.
Do you have time for yourself? What do you do during that time?
I have very little time to myself, lately I have been trying to put myself first more, I like to unwind and catch-up on my DVR and workout, maybe take a shower or a long hot bath with no littles coming in.
What are some of your top must have products for the parenting part of your life? What are some non-mom must haves?
For parenting it is very hard for me to answer this, for my first son, I could not live without my Boppy pillow, but I didn’t even use it with my youngest son, my youngest he lived in the Ergo whenever I went anywhere I had to have it, I was chasing other kids. I also really love my snap and go stroller when my kids were a bit younger and my video monitor! For toys my kids love the busy box thing from Bee purchased at Target, and I love all the Leap Frog videos, and they are also into stamping sets from Melissa and Doug.
For me:T25 workout is making me feel productive with only dedicating 30 mins to working out. I am also loving scarfs from old navy right now. My amazing sister got me some for christmas and they make me feel so put together even though I shower and throw my hair in a bun, Every. Single. Day.
What advice would you give to other moms about how to balance work and life?
I do not think I have any advice for this, I am currently working part time from home during nap-time and when my husband is home, it is a constant struggle, although I love my job, I am always feeling like I should be doing more, both for my job, and my family. I try very hard to have set times that I dedicate to work, 1-3pm (nap time) and then 7-9pm some weekdays.
Do you ever wonder how other women manage the juggle? Do you think people are open about it?
I have a good group of friends, so yes we are open about it, we confide in one another about the unhealthy food we are feeding our children some days, and the school snack we forgot to pack. No one can do it all, and it helps to hear other moms having the same struggles as me.
What is one thing you’ve realized/learned about motherhood that no one ever told you before you had kids?
In motherhood, and life in general I just feel like I am never doing enough, reading enough books, cooking enough healthy food, spending enough quality time, it is a struggle a lot of moms feel, or at least I hope I am not alone in this, and something I never knew before I had kids. Everyone says your kids grow so fast, this I knew before I had kids, but not really, my oldest will be 6 next month and it feels like he was just a baby.
If you had an extra hour in the day, you would spend it…?
This is a hard one, I have not taken a long hot bath- something I truly enjoy in a while so if you were asking me today I would say that. However although I feel completely overwhelmed I also feel as though I can do anything! So if there is something I want to commit time to, I do.
Do you find it hard or difficult at all to stay connected to friends/people in your life now that you have kids? Do you find there is any gap or gulf in between you and the friends/people in your life that don’t have kids? Any tips on how to stay connected to those people?
I started having kids when many of my friends were having kids. Then moved and became friends with people who had kids here, or people my husband knew through work that were used to being around kids. My friends and I are used to seeing each other when there are kids around talking over us, or climbing over us, or interrupting.
Is there anything you find yourself doing as a parent that you swore you would never do before you had kids?
There are many! Even when my oldest was a baby, I swore he was not going to eat food walking around my house, as I write this all 3 older children have various food, oranges, graham crackers, walking around, spilling crumbs everywhere! I thought I would read books to my children every single night, now my oldest sometimes reads to the younger ones, I thought I would never get annoyed with them telling me useless information, I guess I just overall thought I would have more energy, I swore I would have more energy.