I am ‘mom’ to a feisty two and half year old named Lily Ann. I work full-time and my husband works full-time and a half (aka long and unpredictable hours). Our family is complete with Lily Ann’s best friend, our little dog Scraps. My little lady keeps us laughing and challenged, is very affectionate yet outspoken, and is a blend of my husband and I through and through. What is your typical schedule like during the week?
Regardless of the day of the week, Lily wakes up at about 5:30am. We have not yet mastered how to push that back. I get ready and race out of the house by 7:25am, amazed that I’ve made it out on time, completely dressed, and make up on. I arrive home at about 5:15pm in time for some play time, dinner, bath, a tv episode of Lily’s choice, books, and bed. Some nights I’ll stay up and read or watch television with my husband; but there are several nights where the day has exhausted us and we go straight to bed as well.
What do you find tricky about your current set-up/schedule? What would you change if you could?
I find it challenging to get things done around the house during the week. Lily is now at an age where she enjoys helping with chores and projects, this has helped to let me get things accomplished while still having a sense of time together. If I could change something, it would be not habitually falling asleep before 9:30 so I had more time in the day!
What do you like best about your current set-up/schedule?
I like that I have a set schedule that I can count on at work, my job is very family-oriented if things come up. I am, and have been, very fortunate that Lily stays home with my mom while I work. I can get picture updates/texts throughout the day and know that she is in most loving hands in my absence.
My time to myself is minimal. For a while I would have responded that my alone time was when I showered, although lately that seems to be the time that Lily wants sit in the bathroom and chat about the upcoming day, her dreams from the night before, etc. When I do have alone time, I enjoy reading and soaking up some quiet.
I have recently started giving Lily elderberry syrup each day and I swear by it! After a string of colds, I was introduced to this by a fellow mom and I have seen a significant boost in her immunity. My non-mom must have is the cream I use to tame my curls, One ‘n Only Argan curl cream. The days of blow drying and straightening have passed, I have accepted my natural hair as-is in a trade for extra time in the mornings.
I would want to jam pack in as much as I could of things that I enjoy and things that I’ve been meaning to get done … but I would probably just take a nap.
What advice would you give to other moms about how to balance work and life?
It’s been over two years since I returned to work from my maternity leave and I still have tough days missing my daughter. My advice is to remember why it is that you go to work each day. For me, it is necessary to provide for Lily. And I do like that I am role modeling for her how to have a successful career and still be a hands-on mom.
Do you ever wonder how other women manage the juggle? Do you think people are open about it?
I find solace speaking with other working moms and learning that many also struggle to keep the balance at times. I wish more would be honest about it instead of sometimes the underlying competition that there can be between mothers. We barely have time to ourselves, let alone time for ‘mommy-shaming’ when we all are doing the best we can for us and our families.
What is one thing you’ve realized/learned about motherhood that no one ever told you before you had kids?
Like most moms, I am learning as I go. Not that I expected otherwise, but until I was a mom I never realized how you could worry about another person so much. I struggle between wanting to protect my child always and also stepping back when necessary and allowing her to learn and grow, but such is motherhood.
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?
It’s been hard to stay connected with friends that do not have kids, I’ve lost some along the way because our priorities and lives are just far too different. However, for those that I have remained close to, I’m so thankful. I make it a point to see them once every month or so, listen to their stories and enjoy their company; I just hope they don’t get sick of hearing my mom stories in return! It has been very difficult to meet new mom friends.
Is there anything you find yourself doing as a parent that you swore you would never do before you had kids?
Not that I swore I would never do it, but I’ve learned how to closet eat cookies and other junk food when I don’t particularly feel up to sharing.
Many thanks to Danielle for giving us a peek inside her life as a mom. To read more from the Mamatoga My Mom Life Series, click here.