I don't know how to be a working mom. Help with establishing a routine?

T - posted on 08/12/2011 ( 21 moms have responded )

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I am a working mom of two girls - aged 3 & 7 months. I am lucky enough to be able to have my children stay with my mother, who has always been a SAHM, while I am working. However, she lives a ways away from me. My 9 hour work day typically takes over 12 hours with commute and a few minutes to unpack/pack up kids & their stuff. By the time I get home I have an hour and a half to spend with my children before they are in bed for the evening. (Obviously the majority of that is spent feeding, bathing, prepping for bed.) I am riddled with guilt that I don't spend enough time with them, pay my mother nearly enough for 'mothering' them too, my house looks like a bomb went off inside, it's often after 10p that I get to eat dinner, I can't remember when was the last time I saw my friends (what are those!?)... etc. My husband is wonderful and tries to help as he can but I am completely overwhelmed. And while I adore my own mother dearly and can not possibly imagine a better scenario than having my kids with her if I have to work, I have recognized that she is the slow-and-steady, never-stop-moving SAHM and I can't do the same things I saw her do as a child and not be completely stressed out. I welcome any and all advice towards establishing better routines, getting organized, etc. How the heck does someone do this working mom thing!? I am clueless and in awe of you ladies that make it look so easy and normal when I am daily at the verge of tears because I feel like I'm drowning. Please help.

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Tiara - posted on 08/23/2011

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get a slow cooker with a timer and automatic shutoff.or buy a cookbook that shows you have to plan meals ahead of time a freeze them so when you come home you put them in the oven a get the kidsa bth while its hey

Tiara - posted on 08/24/2011

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sorry about that. I meant you could bathe the kids while thefood is heating. I would also put them in daycare at least once a week, maybe on fridays. If you have one short day to look forward to just a little less or create more time in your life you might feel relief. Do your laudry on friday night, fold saturday morning.tackle one area a night. or even when you cook, make enough to last two days. I know this is scattered but really think about daycare. Where I live in washington we have a childcare resources. I call them up give them my zipcode and the tell send me a list of all the daycares in that area.

Jenny - posted on 09/20/2011

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Bless your heart, honey. I understand completely. I am a Working mom of a delightfuley rotten 3 year old. First I would like to give you some props for having 2 kids and I know from experince when they are little its harder to leave them. But somewhere in the midst of all the husle and busle of getting them up and getting to work, picking them up and all the endless preperation we do. You have to take care of yourself. Maybe not like we did when we were not moms, but its the most impartant thing you can do. Keeping yourself together is the only way to keep everthing else from falling apart. Its not selfish, its important. My advise is to take one whole hour a day just for you. Join a gym and take a class. Find a spot in your home to unwind. Paint you toes and pluck your eyebrows. Do what ever it is you need for you and once it becomes a part of your life. Things will seem less over whelming and more like a challange. Not a problem.

Tiara - posted on 08/24/2011

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When you call he daycares ask about flexible fees and sliding scales. and don't think just because its a center its better. If you are able to cut back on your driving time at least one day a week. I promise you will feel at least some relief. Good Luck!!!!

Bonnie - posted on 08/22/2011

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I am a foster mom. Therefore, kids come and go. We both work full time and are adopting a 9 year old who plays sports. Sometimes we leave the house at 6:15 am and return home at 8:30 pm. The house is clean because I have my beautiful 22 year old daugther who will come and clean for me, since it has to be always clean due to random visits from CPS and other people. It is very difficult to keep up with everything and sometimes I am so exhausted I could cry, but I love the kids and I do it for them. I don't get hardly any me time which is a sacrafice I made when I chose to do this. however, as much as I love the kids I also love working. I give a lot of credit to SAHMs because I could never do it. The most important thing is that you spend quality time with the kids. Kids adapt very easily and although you feel quilty they are enjoying thier time with grandma. Don't be too hard on yourself they know they are loved and they will be just fine.

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Teresa - posted on 09/22/2011

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The hardest part of a routine, especially with kids, is sticking to it. Getting to bed early and getting up early enough so you don't feel rushed is key. When you feel ready for the day then you are better equipped to handle it. ANYTHING can happen. SO be flexible. Don't freak out if something you think is utlra imprtant gets missed that morning. AS long as its not life threatening you will all survive and forget about it. Remember to leave your kids with a kiss, hug, and I love you because after its over as you're driving to work WITHOUT them you'll remember every harsh word you said and you WILL cry. This is normal and happens every day to many mothers. You will survive and a routine will work its way into your life. You are NOT alone. Prayers your way.

Kimetrica - posted on 09/06/2011

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You have a routine. And you are doing it. I do it every day. Dont feel guilty thats what you have to do. After a while you'll start to feel better about the situation. Trust me...its been 8 long years and I work 3rd. No babysistter during the day only at night while I worked. This was Daddy time. The easy shift... I put them to bed befor I would go to work. I had to work my job at night 8 hours and come home and work another 8 hour day shift with the kids. The ages rang form 8, 6 and my one year old.

Lily Grace @ Lailatul Shaqirin - posted on 09/02/2011

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I have four kids, 7,6,3 & 1yr. They all are wonderful children but since I got so many post not only teaching as core business, i also involved attending many course and meeting though i know i can avoid and reject all the invitation but my soul is still there to help the school children and education. Then, i realize i couldnt help myself feeling so exhausted after coming back from work. I eveen sometimes moody with my husband though he is so caring person but sometimes he cant control himself when accidentally i raise up my voice when talking to him. Yeah, feeling sad but as working mom, we should spare more time with our family specially the kids, they need us though nation needs us but remember there are still many iron women outside there who can survive but we as mom, we need to limit ourselves if we knock our head and realize there's sometin wrong in our family.. well you the one who can decide and arrange and dont let others control and decidefor us! cherio..

Tracey - posted on 08/30/2011

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Hey I'm a working mum with 3 kids. 2 girls 7 and 5 and a boy 14mths. My best tip is get help. I have a lady come once a week to do some cleaning. Just a couple of hours to do the things I don't have time or energy for like floors, bathrooms ect. Not too expensive and lets me spend prescious time with the babies and not be stressin about the cleaning. I also have a slow cooker as suggested by one lady above and I love love love it. Best way to establish your routine is to do it bit by bit and add to it as you get things down pat. If you find you are out of time in the morning try getting up half an hour earlier. A lesson I learned the hard way. Also take advantage of online grocery shopping if your local shop has it. I think it's fab.

Tiara - posted on 08/24/2011

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by the way if it matters, I'm a single working mother of two girls age 6 and 2.

Teresa - posted on 08/22/2011

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I am a single mom without a support group. I have 2 boys, 5 & 7 and work 1 full time job and multiple side jobs. So it's like this for me, I work to provide. The boys are in afterschool thru the school and luckily that it on the way home. When the weekend roles around it is all about my boys. As for the house, yep it tends to stay a mess, clean unfolded clothes on the couch, dishes in the sink and such but the way I see it if people don't like the mess don't come over. So basically I just do because I have to. My boys are happy and healthy, a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. Once you find your stride you'll be just fine. Do remember to have your occassional mommy day.

Karen - posted on 08/22/2011

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I have 23 month old twins and I work full time. Like you, my mom helps us by watching them 4 days a week. (We have a sitter for the other day) I too am riddled with guilt about not spending enough time with them, and that I don't pay my mom enough, etc. But also also try to remind myself that this is MY normal. No- my house is not clean, or tidy, no I only get to get my hair cut twice a year, and I can't remember the last time I had a little manicure, and no I don't get to take my kids to the pool every day during the summer (something my mom did with us). But I am doing the best I can, and that's all you can do. My kids are happy, healthy little boys who get so much love and attention. They also get to spend time with their Grandma, who loves them to pieces. I never knew my grandparents, so I think this is a pretty special thing. Make a list of all the good things your kids are enjoying/ getting and stop beating yourself up. I am sure you are a great mom and your kids know it.



I know if this makes it any better, but the best you can do, is good enough.

Ceri - posted on 08/22/2011

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Let things go. I am mom to a 3 soon to be 4 year old. We work M-F leave the house at about 6 AM and do not get home till about 6:30 or 6:45 PM. My husband is not a cook and refuses to try in that area. He also wont really help out unless I am physically doing it right then. He keeps up with the yard work though, and plays with my son so I can get Dinner done when we get home. So although frustrating we make it work. I do bare minimum house work. I mean really we don't eat off the floors, and we kinda live out of laundry baskets.... :) I pretty much try to keep up with the dishes and the laundry and the toys get picked up and that's about it. There will be PLENTY of time when the kids are older to clean house. Also if you are bathing every night, think about that. Are they really that dirty?? My son gets a bath 2 times a week on average or when he needs it. For us, weekends are Mommy and Daddy days. We try to do something fun on the weekends. We also try to do all errands together like grocery shopping and stuff. My Son LOVES to go to the grocery store. Don't beat yourself up. Your kids are in a great care situation, and your working to give them a good life, Just do what you can with what you have where you are.

April - posted on 08/21/2011

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I only have one child, but I have an elderly mother with the early signs of dementia and I work full time as well. Just realize that you can't do it all. I let some things go and you must have a schedule! Can your husband take on some of the chores? Can he cook dinner before you get home? I usually have one day every 2 or 3 months where I cook all of the main meals and then freeze them. I then defrost them a day or so before I need them. This way, you won't have to cook but just reheat in the microwave. Your kids enjoy having you home even for that short period but make sure after you get them ready for bed that you have a couple minutes reading or singing to them before they go to sleep. I take turns with my husband putting them to bed so we aren't overwhelmed every night. My husband helps with the cleaning and picks up the slack when I am exhausted. Maybe use Wednesday nights as the night you won't do anything major after the kids are in bed and just unwind. You need some time to yourself and for your husband. It's hard, but you can do it.

Michele - posted on 08/21/2011

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YOur are not alone I feel that way to, I have a 4 year old and a 2.5 year old both boys I work 50 hours or more a week and my husband works night we play tag when I am off he is on and when he is off I am working we never see each other, he want more kids I say no nt if I am working. but I did not statr working till my youngest was just about 2. I was hard staying home while my husband struggled to get work he was out of work for 2 years but I insisted I be the SAHM until God brought me a Job and he did. and My husband got work 8 months prior to that. Gods timing is so good. I feel guilty all the time for not being the SAHM but we do not make enough to survive so my pay check makes it so we can put the boys in a good private school and daycare. and things are changing on are schedules now and it's making it harder. I never have me time even though the hubby says I need to. my husband does help alot but there are time when I can just ring his neck (he get all the time in the world and I sacrifice everything) but he does laundry and cook dinner most night cause I am not home he get more time with the boys and I get jealous. by the time I get home the boys are in bed and I have to get things ready for the next day and I drop them off at school I barley get to see them but when they are with me we do everything together. they never leave my side and they don't want to either. I would love to be the SAHM and home school my boys but I do not think its in my cards. I have been so stressed this past year I was hospitalized with a major infection in my intestines 3 day with out my boys I needed to slow down God did it I learned not to worry about the house you get to it my kid time is more important and my time is to, to get away and get a hair cut is the greatest thing. I have a daily routine but it changes with the wind and with what pops up and we do are best just pray every night I do and God hears our prayers and will lead us.
God Bless you and help you thru your time with out him I would not of been able to get through it everyday is a battle.

Kyleigh - posted on 08/14/2011

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i was always told to make 1 hour a week for just me whether its getting your hair done and having me time, nails etc. Grocery store etc. sounsd like you havea good support system though. i lost a lot of friends because of staying busy but im SAHM (now) its cheaper.!!

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I forgot to add the details.. I am a mom to a 2 year old and a 1 month old daughter. I work on average 45 hours a week, not including commute time Monday thru Friday. My husband has a similar work schedule but some weeks he is required to work overtime.

[deleted account]

You just have to realize that you can't do everything that a sahm can do because you aren't one. The key for me is to make the most of the time that I am with my children. My husband and I include them in everything we do and make each moment about them. The commutes to and from daycare we sing songs, chat about what we see, ect. At home, I find ways they can help me make dinner, which right now is just to have my two year old be a taste tester or roll dough etc, and we have family dinner every night. Bath time same thing, we play, usually making a heck of a mess while cleaning and bedtime becomes a game. Weekends we usually try to do a big thing like the zoo, a local festival, or just going to the farmers market. It's those things that they will remember, that mom and dad were there for them.. I know because my mom was a working mom and I never felt like she wasn't there because she always made the most of the time she was with us. We even have our two year old help fold laundry which usually is just her wearing my underwear around the house modeling it for us while we fold the rest. My youngest is only a few months old but we include her too, just in her swing watching us but she is with us. But it was an adjustment for us to realize that to make the most it meant we couldn't do it all and still have time for us and the kids so the less important housework doesn't get done as often as it did before kids and my husband and I try to have at least an hour each night that we spend either together or as our own me time after the kids go to bed. We also build in date nights at least once a month so we don't lose touch with each other either. I hope this helps... It is what is working for us but I know it is never easy.

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