… of ordinary me.
I get asked a lot “How do you do it?” by people who imagine it’s difficult working full-time and caring for a baby full-time with a husband in medical school.
It is. But it’s doable, and it’s fun. I’m lucky enough to work for the perfect company. I work from my couch, on my own time, and I enjoy my work.
For the curious, and for my own journaling purposes, here’s what a typical day looks like:
4:00-6:00 Mackenzie may wake up to nurse.
7:30-9:30 Mackenzie wakes up for the day sometime during this time. I get up when she gets up, and we eat breakfast, clean up the house, read the scriptures, pray, play, and bathe as time allows.
Until 10:00 at which point I start work. Depending on when Mackenzie woke up, she could be almost ready for a nap at this point, or she could be playing up a storm. Either way, I pull out the laptop and catch up on what I’ve missed since I went to bed the night before. I do the work that I can do in bits and pieces (like email and brainstorming) so that WHEN (not if) I have to stop to help Mackenzie, it doesn’t throw me off.
If she is especially bored or needy (teething, diaper rash, bonked her head, etc.) then I’ll take a break from work and clean the house or get some exercise. That’s more fun for her than when I’m just sitting on the couch! 🙂
First Nap usually lasts 2 or 2 1/2 hours. I try and hunker down and work on stuff that takes my complete focus. I try NOT to talk on the phone because that’s something I can do while feeding or playing with Mackenzie.
Second Playtime usually lasts 2 1/2 hours. We make and eat lunch, have some one-on-one time, get some fresh air, and as soon as Mackenzie is happily playing on her own, I pull out the laptop. She explores the whole house, finding new fun stuff, and frequently brings it back to me to show it off and get a kiss. I usually have a conference call and am on the phone with co-workers while Mackenzie and I take a walk.
Second Nap usually lasts 2 hours. Again, I’m back to focused work. This is precious time for me so I have been known to ignore the phone and the door.
Evening playtime usually lasts 3 hours. Hopefully Scott gets home and we can spend some time making and eating dinner together and catching up on our days while we play with Mackenzie. She shows off all her tricks (something new every day!) and Scott plays the piano for her while I get a bit of work or housework in. This block of time is usually solid family time and may include a trip to the park, a friend’s house, or the grocery store.
8:30-9pm Bedtime. As she does at every sleep time, Mackenzie shoves her lovie blanket in her mouth as I read her a story, sing her a song, and kiss her goodnight. She goes to sleep without a fuss and Scott and I spend a bit of quality time together before it’s back to work. Depending on whether it’s been a productive day for work, I may find time to blog or read a book, or I may go to bed a bit early. Most nights, though, I find myself working until at least midnight.
The good, the bad, and the ugly:
– When Scott gets a (rare) day off from the hospital, I can often drop work at a moment’s notice and escape with he and Mackenzie for an afternoon.
-Similarly, if Mackenzie is sick or cutting three teeth at once, I can put in a very light day at work without any pushback.
– Mackenzie is a very independent girl. She loves me and loves snuggling, but is happy to explore the house on her own and find new things to play with. I’m afraid if it was all mom all the time, she’d be more clingy and less imaginative.
– I’m tired most days (but really, who isn’t?)
– If Mackenzie sleeps in until 9:30, so do I. I still start work at 10 so the house will be messy and we will be unwashed and that’s life.
– I don’t blow-dry my hair or spend more than a total of 2 minutes a day on my appearance. I don’t spend any time practicing the piano and I don’t spend nearly enough time offering meaningful service in the community.
– I often feel conflicted between being a great employee and being a great mom. Most days I feel I do both, but some days I wonder if I can do either.
– Mackenzie always comes first and I’ll only continue working as long as I can without compromising the care I can give to Mackenzie. Finding a balance and knowing where the line is has proved challenging, however.
– Scott and I get to spend lots of time together when he’s on an easy rotation at the hospital, because I try and clear the decks for the evening. But when he’s on a tough rotation (like in November), he’ll get home after Mackenzie is asleep. Then it becomes a choice between Mackenzie and work during the day and Scott and work at night. I’m not looking forward to it. 😦
– Notice how there was very little (if any?) time in that schedule for friends or for exercise. There is also very little time for cooking, especially experimenting or making very involved dishes (both things I love to do).
– I really, really enjoy my job. It will be hard to give up when the time comes (and the time will come, I just don’t know when quite yet.)
Some Secrets to My
– I take every Sabbath 100% off from work.
– Mackenzie is the most content, good-natured baby I can imagine. She’s really a doll. That comes in handy because it’s impossible to get impatient or frustrated with someone so cute. Also, if I have to take a conference call and delay her dinner, she just sits patiently in her high chair and kicks her legs until I feed her. Similarly, if she wakes up early from a nap and I’m still absorbed in a project, she’ll play and babble to herself in her crib until I come snatch her.
– Scott is really supportive. Though he can’t be supportive in the “I’ll take our baby so you can put in 8 guilt-free hours of work today” way… he has been known to swoop in and clean up a very dirty kitchen, take Mackenzie on a much-needed fresh air jaunt at the perfect time, and entertain her while I take a power nap.
– We don’t watch TV. We watch a movie from the library a couple of times a month, but not getting any TV channels really frees up a lot of time. I no longer read blogs of people I don’t know, and I also don’t read the blogs of everyone I know. Any shopping besides grocery shopping is done online.
– I don’t have a car during the day, so there’s no temptation to go anywhere besides what is in walking distance.
– In my heart, I know where my priorities are. I’m a mom and wife first, so I have an “out” from work when I can’t handle it anymore or don’t want to juggle it anymore.
– Did I mention my life is fun? Because it really is. I have a ball (nearly) every day. Mackenzie is constantly making me laugh and I love learning and growing at work.