Photo by Mary Orton
Growing up, my mom never worked. The idea of being a working mom was foreign to me. In fact, all my friends in elementary school had moms who stayed home. I always imagined I would be a stay-at-home mom, too. I’m not. I have two beautiful children and a full-time job as an executive producer at a local news station in Miami.
When my husband and I first met, we both agreed that one day when we had children, I would quit my job to be home with them. When that time came however, some 7 years later, we just didn’t feel like it was a financially responsible decision. The truth is, times were different 30 years ago. It was easier to have a house, a car, and afford groceries with only one income. It is a bit harder now. While inflation has dramatically raised the cost of living, the salaries most businesses offer hasn’t kept up. According to a Pew study, in 1970 41% of women stayed at home, compared to just 20% in 2012.
My husband and I have both kept our full-time jobs while having our children. We have been blessed to have family available to help, in addition to great schools and day cares in our area. I am thankful that I do not have to stress about putting food on the table or worry about any unexpected expenses that we may not be able to afford.
Here are a few ways working moms make it work:
Stay Positive: I think a positive attitude is key. My husband and I make a point to have breakfast as a family. We eat dinner together every night. We have a bedtime routine that alternates each night, so we both get quality one-on-one time with each child. Weekend time is family time and we cherish every moment.
Get Organized: When both family members work, organization is extremely important. We plan out our meals for the week and prep what we can ahead of time. Lunches, homework, and clothes for everyone are packed up and ready to go the night before. A bit of prep work can make your busy mornings run much more smoothly. A cleaning schedule is also a huge help. If you do a bit of cleaning each night, and split it up over the week, it becomes a lot more manageable. Same with food shopping. Go one weeknight after the kids go to sleep. I try to get as much done during the week as possible, so I have my weekends free to enjoy time with my kids, not spend it doing laundry or cleaning the house.
Be Honest: As a working mom, you have to be honest with yourself and with your boss. You are not going to be able to make it to every single school event your child has, but you can always try to make it to some. Instead of coming up with a big excuse or faking an illness, I will just walk into my bosses office and say, “Listen, my son has this thing at school, and I would really like to go. I am going to be just a bit late tomorrow, if that is okay with you.” Usually, it’s fine. Your employer knows you are a mother. Just don’t push your luck. If you start using your child as an excuse to get out of every single work commitment, there’s a good chance your employer will stop cutting you as much slack.
The truth is, there is no easy way to perfectly juggle it all. As mothers, working or not, we are all just doing to best we can each day to raise healthy, happy children. If I go to bed each night feeling like I did everything I could to let my kids know that I love them, then that’s a win. And if I don’t have spit up in my hair, that’s even better!