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Borrowing from our friends at Reno Moms Blog, here is Part 2 of the series I Don’t Know How She Does It. You can read April’s Part 1 here.

I’ll admit that I have mom-envy. I’m jealous of the Glam Mom or the Party-of-Six Mom…the moms who are always so put-together, have kids with clean faces and cute outfits, lost the baby weight in less than three years and to whom “healthy lunchbox ideas” mean more than PB&J with carrots. I’m even jealous of the Bad-A Working Mom because she works so hard and her kid still doesn’t seem destined for therapy. I always want to know how moms find the balance we all strive for. But when it comes down to it, none of us really “have it all” do we?

1. What’s your work schedule?

After 15 years as a graphic designer, I was so ready for a change. I decided to pursue writing as a career. Anyone who’s ever had that notion knows that it isn’t the most lucrative way to make a living. {Who knew it was so hard to get a book deal?} So I got a part-time job as an office manager for an architecture firm. I work Monday through Friday from 8:30-12:30. Then I spend the afternoons working for Delysia Chocolatier. Yep, I get paid to write about chocolate. I also intern for a PR and consulting firm. Career-wise, I’ve never been happier. Or poorer.

2. How do you handle childcare?

Lucy goes to Montessori school full-time. When we first moved to Austin, I tried being a stay-at-home-mom. It didn’t work for any of us. It’s not just that I wasn’t a good stay-at-home-mom; in addition Lucy was a terrible stay-at-home-kid! She has been in daycare since she was three months old. She thrives in an environment with other kids and I thrive when I’m working. She learns so much at school that there’s no way I would have been able to teach her what they do.

3. Where do you work during the day?

I work in the office at Furman + Keil Architects in the morning. In the afternoons, I either go home and work in my home office or I go to Thunderbird Coffee. I also love Posh Coworking.

4. What do you like best about your current set-up?

The flexibility! I’m lucky that I can modify my schedule and work in the office afternoons if need be. And as long as I’m meeting deadlines, Delysia and Lauren are both happy. So I can go to things like Austin Moms Blog playdates and take Lucy to the doctor.

5. What do you find so-so/tricky/hilariously bad about your current set-up? What would you change if you had a magic wand? 

Working from home is win-lose. Yes, there’s that awesome flexibility. But there’s also the feeling that you’re always “on.” I’ll work well into the night on things for my clients. My family doesn’t always understand that Mommy’s working. So if I had a magic wand I would make queso not go right to my thighs. And I would make time stop so that I can enjoy more time with my husband and daughter. Oh, and make my husband understand that I really am working despite what my bank account says.

6. Do you have any time for yourself?

I make time for myself. If I have a slow afternoon, I’ll get a pedicure, enjoy a cup of coffee while not working or – gasp! – take a nap while nobody is home.

7. How do you and your husband fit your marriage into the balance?

This may seem like a weird response, but we knew when we had Lucy that it wasn’t going to be just the two of us anymore. We were married for ten years before becoming parents, which gave us a lot of time to enjoy each other. Then we had Lucy and we began a new phase. It’s now the three of us and we try to spend our time as a family whenever we can. But everyone has their limits so we do make time to go out without Lucy, whether it’s for lunch or dinner and a movie. And we make it a point to call each other if we have to vent about our day so that we’re not so negative around Lucy.

Here, I would like to point out that there’s no way I could manage this whole parenting thing without Todd. He is my partner in every sense of the word. Because of him, I do get to shower every day. And he does most of the cooking so that Shortcut Mom isn’t always in charge of where we pick up dinner from. Also, he’s not afraid to start the laundry. That’s right, ladies, all that and he cleans too!

8. Do you ever wonder how other women manage the juggle? Have you talked to other women about it?

Are you kidding? Who do you think had the idea to steal this series from a sister site? I’m obsessed with wanting to know how other moms find balance. I’m convinced there’s this secret club where the moms are given actual magic wands. Seriously, how does a mother of more than one kid make it out of the house every day? How do you find the time to make crafts and sew?

9. What advice would you give to other moms about how to balance work and life?

CTFD. Completely contradicting to what I wrote in #8, my advice is to not compare yourself to other moms. Yes, there are those seemingly perfect moms but I’m sure they have the same struggles we all do. We need to put our own lives in perspective and keep in mind that the end goal in the parenting game is a happy and healthy child.

I know that we’re supposed to “lean in” but at the same time, no woman should be faulted for wanting to take the easy road so they can spend more time with their family. I left behind a profession that prides itself on being overworked and underpaid. Being a designer was great when I was young and could work 12+ hours a day. But now that I have a daughter, I want to spend as much time with her as I can while she still likes me.

Oh, and If the answer to “How does a mother of more than one kid make it out of the house every day?” is they wake up at 5 am, I’ll take my chaotic mornings of mismatched socks and cold coffee any day. And sleep till 7.

 

 

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