Katie is the mom of a 2 1/2 year old little girl. Here is her Mom Life... What is your typical schedule like during the week? We get up and have some milk and cuddle time in bed. Then she watches some TV while I make breakfast for her and I (Daddy is working). She and I eat breakfast together, and then we get ready for the park. We go for a long walk and play on the playground. Come home to nap and then have other activities for the afternoon, painting, playdough, helping me bake stuff, cleaning (she helps) or we go outside to play in the yard. Then we start bedtime routine at 7pm, it lasts an hour with; bath, books, warm milk, lullabies and then bed. She loves the bedtime routine and I wouldn’t change that for the world, it’s a great connection time for both of us.
What do you find tricky about your current set-up/schedule? What would you change if you could? Rainy or snowy days are tricky. Living in Upstate NY you don’t have a lot of super nice weather and we struggle with days when we have to stay indoors all day. I try to get out and go to the museum, library or even to Colonie Center, which has a lot for kids to do, but terrible weather leaves you unmotivated a lot of times. So I guess I would just change the weather if I could, ha ha.
What do you like best about your current set-up/schedule? I like our schedule, and I wouldn’t change it even though I have been told she goes to bed too late by numerous people. She takes one nap around 11am, for one hour only we wake her up. Then she goes to bed at 8pm and for about 5 or 6 months we haven’t had an issue with sleeping at all which is like hitting the lottery for a parent. Before this routine and schedule we had all kinds of sleeping issues and wanted to pull our hair out.
Do you have time for yourself? What do you do during that time? I do have time for myself, my husband allows me to have free time on his days off which gives him time with our daughter as well (he works away from the house, 2 hours away, 4 days a week) I write a healthy food blog (find it here) and support local farms and producers through it, that is something I am passionate about and I don’t want to lose my passion or stop doing something I love just because I am a mom first. I also do a lot of cooking and love to read a good book, the book reading usually happens at night before bed.
What advice would you give to other moms about how to balance work and life? Make sure to make time for yourself that isn’t work related, go for a walk, go to the library and read by yourself, anywhere that is free and there is stuff to do is great, I try to do something for myself at least an hour a day. Exercise is key, I cannot say it enough. Even if you only do a brisk walk for 20 minutes, do it every day.
Do you ever wonder how other women manage the juggle? Do you think people are open about it? I think mom’s often lie about being happy or fulfilled, especially stay at home moms. I am not always happy or fulfilled and I definitely struggle every day with the decision to stay home and put my professional life on hold. I do wonder how some moms do it, I have a very good friend who works from home and takes care of a baby, I often wonder how she does it.
What are some of your top must have products for the parenting part of your life? What are some non-mom must haves? Mom must haves: cloth diapers, I love Applecheeks the best and would not give up cloth diapering for anything, a jogging stroller so that you can run or walk fast for exercise, DVD player for the car (I know there is a lot of judgment over this but she used to scream and cry the whole time she was in the car which was stressful for the driver and passenger. Now she sits quietly and watches Sesame Street, we never leave without it and it stays in the car only).
Non-mom must haves: A hobby, it is essential to do something for yourself that has nothing to do with family or work.
What is one thing you’ve realized/learned about motherhood that no one ever told you before you had kids? Breastfeeding is hard as heck and it is not a natural thing that just happens for everyone. I always thought that if you wanted to do it then you could and it would just happen and the baby would just know what to do. That is not reality, its very hard work and you and the baby both have to learn how to do it, and it takes a lot of support from everyone around you.
If you had an extra hour in the day you would spend it…? Napping
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 do find it difficult sometimes; friends without kids just do not understand the emotional and physical demands of parenting. I just make time when I can, and I have wonderful friends who mostly understand. My friends who don’t have kids usually want to do things like eat out or go to concerts and you can’t really do that a lot with a two year old, so you have to plan outings that are adult only, way in advance so that Nana can watch her. I do have wonderful friends though and they love my daughter, we plan things with them that she can be involved with. For example, we are going to forage wild edibles with some very good friends, who don’t have kids, and Stella is coming along. Tips on staying connected or bridging that gap are: have lunch outings, its when kids are in the best mood and lunch is shorter than dinner, plan way in advance and nap accordingly, have people over to your house for things that way your child can feel comfortable and less likely to act out or be upset and they can keep to their schedule.
Is there anything you find yourself doing as a parent that you swore you would never do before you had kids? Letting her watch TV, I swore we were going to do educational things all the time and that just isn’t a reality, sometimes you need an hour to cook dinner or to clean something or to just breath and they don’t want to play with blocks or stay out of the garbage or not torment the dog so you turn on the magical square box and they just sit there nicely, it happens.
For more in the My Mom Life series click here. If you would like to take part in the series, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. xoxo