Megan is a long-time blog friend and fellow Virginia high school English teacher. She is also a new mom to four month old Carter and step-mom to 16 year-old, Kevin. Here’s some of her insight into life as a working mom:
1. What is your typical day like?
For me, a typical weekday is waking up at 5 so I can shower and and grab breakfast and coffee before Carter wakes up. (Kevin is with us on weekends.) I wake Carter up at 6 and nurse him, drinking coffee and grading papers or lesson planning while he’s eating. He’s a slow eater, so he finishes up around 6:45. I get him dressed and head out to drop him off at my in-laws’ at about 7 so that I can be at work by 7:30 to get the day ready. After school, I pick him up at around 4:30 for the evening. After I pick Carter up, we head home and I immediately rock him to sleep for his last nap of the day. On a good day, he naps while I wash bottles and pump parts and cook dinner. I eat while he nurses, and then we have about 45 minutes to read books and play before he starts getting grumpy. Then it’s bath time, which stops the grumpy in its tracks because he loves it! After his bath, he nurses one more time. He finishes at about 9, so swaddle him and rock him before putting him in the crib for the night. He usually wakes up once or twice and just needs to be picked up and rocked for a minute.
(P.S. Megan is kind-of a working/nursing mom rockstar! If you’d like more on how she manages pumping WITH a full time teaching job – check out her blog post on the topic here.)
2. Why do you work?
I work because I need to pay the bills . . . ha. That’s true, but I also love my work and can’t imagine a school year beginning without being in my classroom. I love “my kids,” I love the subjects I teach, and I love my school. I wouldn’t be fully myself without teaching. (I love that.)
3. What’s the best part about being a working mom? What’s the worst or hardest thing?
The best thing about being a working mom is that I’m able to get the best of both worlds. I am passionate about my career, so I get to dress up, go out into the world, and do what I love. But at the end of the day, I get to come home to my sweet baby and just be Mommy. The hardest thing is feeling like I’m missing out on his life. I read once, in a post on Scary Mommy, that there are only 940 Saturdays we have to spend with our children before they grow up. I sobbed, of course, and have been so conscious of the passage of time for the past four months. Worst are days when I have work to do after school. Last week, for example, I had to sell tickets at a volleyball game, and then had a meeting an hour away until 6pm another day. Both of those days, I spent a total of 2.5 hours out of 24 with my baby, most of which he was eating. Those days break my heart.
4. What items or tips do you recommend to help “make it work”?
I try to spend as much time with him as possible, so to “make it work,” I’ve been working hard to stay ahead of the game all the time. I bring as little work home as possible, working frantically during my planning period and any spare second to get it all done there. When I do bring work home, I try to do it while he’s nursing or sleeping. During naps, I rush around cooking and cleaning so that I can spend his playtime with him. I also do as much preparation ahead of time as possible. On weekends, I do all the laundry and cleaning, and lay out my clothes (and Carter’s) for the entire week. I also load the car with his diaper bag and my breast pump and program the coffee pot in the evenings. All of this makes our weekday mornings run much more smoothly.
5. What encouragement, scripture, etc. has been important in your life and might be meaningful to another working mom?
I try to live by “Song for a Fifth Child” by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton —
“Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
Like I said, I’m so conscious of time passing, and I love this reminder to focus on him. I also once had a colleague give me the best advice. I was pregnant, and had decided to take this school year off from an academic coaching position I have so that I could spend it with my baby, especially since I wanted to breastfeed. I was feeling guilty for doing so, and she said, “Megan, you have to set priorities now.” It seems so obvious and so simple, but it really spoke to me. I’m learning to say no, and I always think of her words when I do. She’s right– it isn’t easy to say no when you’ve always been a “yes-girl,” but it would be harder to spend even more time away from my boy. He comes first, always.
Thanks Megan! This was great… I especially love that quote at the end. I’ve heard it lots before, but never knew where it came from. You are doing a great job mama!!