I am happy to welcome Emily to the blog today. She is actually a real-life Roanoke friend (our husbands were college roommates at one time) and the momma to two beautiful little girls – Caroline (2.5) and Catherine (1). When she isn’t changing diapers, reading nursery rhymes, playing with doll babies, or watching princess movies, she works as a part-time Administrative Assistant for a small industrial computer company. Her job requires that she works two full days per week in the office and just a few hours from home the other three days. In her “free time” she also blogs about her family at www.thebolinskys.blogspot.com.
(P.S. I had several part-time working moms email me for this series and ask if they “count.” YES. I’ve done part-time too, and – trust me – it is a JUGGLE. Sometimes I think it is even especially hard because you don’t feel like you fit fully into either camp – SAHM or working mom; but, we will gladly claim you!!!)
1. What is your typical day like?
Well, this is different depending on whether I’m working in the office or from home.
When working in the office, our alarm goes off at 6:10 AM and we are up and getting ready to be out the door by 8:00. My wonderful in-laws watch my girls when I am in the office. We drop them off shortly after 8 and they eat breakfast with Nana and Granddaddy while my husband and I eat in the car, or when we get to the office. Just this year, our oldest, Caroline, began 1/2 day preschool, so my in-laws are responsible for taking her and picking her up while keeping a watchful eye on little sister at their home. My husband and I ride together to work, so he drops me off about 8:45 and picks me up at 5:00. We are always very eager to get home to our girls so we always head straight to my in-laws to hear about their fun days at school and with grandparents. We steal all the kisses and hugs we can get. Most evenings when I’m working in the office, my thoughtful mother-in-law has made us dinner and we eat a home-cooked balanced meal with them and typically head home about 7 to start our bedtime routine pretty immediately – brush teeth, pajamas, stories, prayers, and lights out. In the evening, my husband and I enjoy hanging out together – usually around the TV.
When working from home, we usually don’t set an alarm and just wake up when the girls get up – typically about 7:00. My husband has a flexible work schedule so we have the fortune of a few leisurely weekday mornings. We usually “play” (aka wake-up) for about half an hour to an hour before we eat breakfast. Most of these mornings we eat as a family. Usually I will get my shower while the playing and waking-up is occurring. Since I get to work from home three days/week, I usually try to set aside one morning for chores (laundry, grocery store, cleaning, etc.), one morning for play-dates with friends, and one day to just be at home and play/relax. So depending on the day we are usually either doing chores, playing with friends, or playing at home until lunch time. We almost always eat lunch at home – just a quick sandwich, chips/crackers, and fruit. I have to begin my work-day from home about 1:00, so we typically eat an earlier lunch in order to have time to get the girls fed, calmed down and in bed for naps by 1:00. I log-in at 1:00 while the girls are resting. I occasionally have a conference call to dial-in to, but for the most part, all my work from home is done on the computer. The girls usually wake up from naps about 3:00 or 3:30 so when they get up, I fix them a snack and finish up any of my work and “log-off” by 4:00. After that, it is time to start thinking about dinner. Usually something fast – a meat, starch, and veggie – is pretty typical for us. Dinner is about 5:30. After we eat, my husband will play with the girls while I clean up the kitchen, and before I know it is 7:00 and time for bedtime routine again already – brush teeth, pajamas, stories, prayers, and lights out. (I love your routine and how you make the change from day to day manageable. It seems like your girls really get the best of both worlds – and so do you!)
2. Why do you work?
My husband and I also own (he operates) a small business in Blacksburg, Inkspot. Inkspot is an ink and toner cartridge refill business. One of the main reasons I work is so we can have insurance. As you know, there is not a stellar “benefits” package including insurance when you own your own business, so I work just enough hours (25 in my case) to maintain our health insurance through my employer. Also, my added income helps to pay bills and allows us a small amount of extra money for fun things like eating out and extra-curricular activities with the girls.
3. What’s the best thing about being a working mom? What’s the worst or hardest thing?
I really wanted to stay home when our first daughter was born, but that unfortunately wasn’t in the cards for us. Everyone always told me that I would love working part-time and that I would get the best of both worlds. And, while I didn’t get that at first, I truly understand what they were saying. Some days going to work feels like a real “break” for me. I get to dress up, talk to grown-ups, and make it most of the way through a day without a spill or stain ending up on my clothes. I feel needed and appreciated for my contribution to a successful company. And, when I am at home I truly treasure and value the time that I get with my girls. One of the hardest things is switching back and forth. It is hard for me to sit at a computer for an extended amount of time since I have gotten so used to being up and running around with these two little ones. And, of course I miss those sweet smiling faces and joyful giggles terribly when I’m in the office.
4. What items or tips do you recommend to help “make it work”?
We are so fortunate to live close to our family. They help us a ton (especially the first year with two under two). I call on them often. I can say that to ‘make it work’ you have to be willing to ask for help… if not from family, close friends and neighbors. They are willing and all you have to do is ask. Also, making connections with other women who have little ones at home has been essential to “making it work”. I am part of a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group where I find it helps to connect with other women who are walking the same road. Their shared stories of no-sleep, discipline, potty-training, and over-arching joys of motherhood are so encouraging to me and truly keep me going. (I’ve heard such great things about MOPS!)
5. What encouragement, scripture, etc. has been important in your life and might be meaningful to another working mom?
One of my most favorite verses of scripture since becoming a mom is Isaiah 40:11:
“He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.”
What encouraging words from a God who loves me and takes extra care for me and my babies.
Thanks so much Emily!
I hope you guys are all enjoying this series as much as I am. It is so fun getting little glimpses into other moms’ lives and seeing the areas that we all have in common etc. I’m still looking for about five or six more posts so – especially if you are a single mom, work from home mom, have older kids, have multiples, or any other interesting circumstances – please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Check back later this afternoon for some really deep talk about Fall TV here. 😉