Having it all, except time for yourself

A glimpse at the daily schedule of a working mom. Makes me tired just typing it. This is what having it all (except time for yourself) looks like.

I realized I haven't blogged in a quite a long time. Then I thought about my schedule and how every single minute is completely booked. (Okay there's about an hour and a half there of napping/comatose television watching, so I guess I could be using that time to write a screenplay, learn Japanese, or volunteer with homeless, handicapped kittens.)

I know many moms out there in Arlington are probably living this nearly exact same day. If so, post a comment and let me know how you do it, because I'm still trying to figure it out!

So here it is. A day in the life of a working mom—by the minute.

7 a.m. – wake up and nurse the baby

7:15 – change poopy diaper and dress baby for the day

7:30 – pass the baby off to his Dad and get myself ready for the day

8:00 – feed the baby breakfast: oatmeal, yogurt and fruit puree

8:15 – clean up the baby and pump breastmilk for his lunch

8:30 – nanny arrives

8:35 - walk the dog

8:45 – drive to work

9:30 to 6 p.m. (sometimes  7, latest 7:30) – work

6/7:00 – race home usually running red lights to maximize time with Charlie before he goes to sleep

7:00 – arrive home, quickly change, pee and put away milk I pumped at work

7:05 – nurse the baby

7:15-7:45 – fun family play time

7:45-8 – micronap while Daddy gets baby ready for bed

8:00 – nurse the baby, snuggle and put him down for the night (this is my favorite part of the day)

8:30 – dinner

9-10:30 – mindlessly watch TV, fall asleep on the couch

10:30-11 – blog, answer work emails, facebook, email friends

11 – pump breastmilk while listening to Fresh Air on the NPR app

11:15 – brush teeth, clean and organize breast milk bottles and diaper bag for the the next day

11:30- Fall asleep. Very, very fast asleep.

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Silas Trip July 14, 2011 at 07:58 PM
Excellent post about "having it all". I hope you find the time to thank your nanny for raising your son!!!
Mandy Donovan Drake July 18, 2011 at 01:24 AM
Thanks for the rude comment, Silas! We're all just trying to get along here. No my nanny doesn't raise my son. His father and I do. After reading your comments on a few other posts, I've surmised that you are a douchebag, so I'm not taking it personally.
Tara Berson July 18, 2011 at 05:00 AM
I'm tired just reading this! I guess the fact that it's almost 1 a.m. isn't making me feel extremely perky either--but this is when I get my "me-time"!
Stephanie July 18, 2011 at 04:25 PM
Very Good Mandy!!!!!! That's the way to stick up for yourself!!!! You GO GIRL!!!
andrew james July 24, 2011 at 05:34 PM
I don't understand why you're so annoyed at Silas.......as far as I can tell by your own words you spend a total of two hours with your baby..........there's a big difference between "having it all" and " having a little bit of everything".........raising a child is not a scheduled event.........the raising takes place at every waking moment.........I'm not putting what your doing down but instead of calling Silas a "douchebag" maybe you might consider his advice and thank the nanny........I know that is not an easy job and not many people do it well.......and thank the rest of the people in your life who are helping you with this important event........raising children today in this enviorment is no easy road
Mandy Donovan Drake July 25, 2011 at 09:57 PM
Andrew, are you a stay at home dad? Does your wife or partner work? The thing I find interesting is that no one questions my husband's ability to raise his child because he has a day job. And we work pretty much the same hours. I kill myself to be there for my son and to be there at work. (I also know plenty of stay at home moms and that's no easy feat either.) I do have moments where I feel like I'm balancing it all, but my point with this article was that something has to give. Usually it's a mother's ability to have a moment of personal, free time. Working and mothering has been by far my greatest challenge in life and it does require a strong support team - childcare professional, partner, family, friends. Of course I appreciate the help my husband and nanny provide and thank them often. Couldn't do it without them, no question. I'd like to think that in our society, a woman can have career ambitions and raise a child too. (Forty years after the Women's Movement - I hope that's a given.) Of course, I'm new at this, so I'm still learning how it all happens. I'd love to hear from some working and non-working moms out there on this topic. Has anyone given up a full-time job to stay at home with a new baby? If so, please share your experience.
Christine July 25, 2011 at 10:51 PM
I am blown away by the negative comments. For me, working is not a choice I make it is a financial necessity. Working is challenging and staying at home is challenging. Being a working mother has its unique challenges, though. My day is similar to Mandy's. Despite the fact that both my husband and I work, I do the majority of the childcare details (e.g pick up and drop off, doctor appointments, dinner/teeth/bedtime.) I know that having a child is a choice I made and that there would be sacrifices, and it has been 100% worth it. But that doesn't means it's easy, and it doesn't mean that sharing the challenges is asking for judgement from others. It's clear from reading the comments that child-rearing is still seen as "women's work," no matter how progressive anyone or any society claims to be, and that we are still judged by how well anyone thinks we are doing it. As Mandy says, no one questions my husband's "choice" to be a working father. I want to hear from the partners of working mothers. I am assuming from the tone of the male posters that they have very little perspective on this.
Emily Woodward July 26, 2011 at 12:02 AM
Sorry, but these two MEN, even if they're dads (which I doubt) need to step off. Mandy asked other moms to chime in on how they manage to have time to themselves when it takes 18+ hrs a day to meet our obligations to OTHERS. And I stay this as a fulltime mom -- yes Silas, I "raise my son" all day and still sure as h*ll don't "have it all," dude. It really REALLY burns me that "raising" a kid is seen as mutually exclusive to paid work outside the home FOR MOMS, but not dads. Plenty if dads, my son's included, spend only 2hrs a day with their kids -- happy loving nurturing hours. Why don't people judge them as neglectful superdads just trying to "gave it all" at their kids' expense? Oh right, THE PATRIARCHY. Keep working and parenting & putting kids first, moms -- and let the haters hate! ;)
andrew james July 26, 2011 at 02:30 AM
Well I guess I put my foot in my mouth this time...........when my daughter was born my schedule was this...........get up at 11:00 PM, go to work, arrive home at 8:00 AM, in time for my wife to go to work..........watch my baby till 3:30 PM....wife comes home, I go to sleep.......get up at 6:00PM, spend time with family..........go to sleep at 8:00PM, then get up at 11:00 PM....do it again...........every weekend my wife would sleep downstairs one night so I could get up with the baby in the middle of the night...yeah I guess this wasn't what I thought it would be but I did get to spend a lot of time with both my children.......and yes it was hard.....I wouldn't trade it for all the six figure jobs in the world.......so please don't put me in with the part-time dads and moms........also the wife made all Doctor/dentist/and all other appointments during the day, she didn't take time off work.......I went.......in a way I was lucky, I worked nights and in another way I was lucky.........I got to raise my children....I didn't have a nanny and I didn't only spend two hours a day with my children....I'm not trying to belittle anyone......I just thought it was out of line to claim to be raising children at a two hour a day rate without being thankful to the rest of the people who are contributing
Jo July 26, 2011 at 02:54 AM
OK. So, the dudes on here just can't be serious with how they're sharing their opinion. How have you possibly earned having this harsh "perspective?" And how can you possibly express yourself in this way? I mean, have an opinion, but why be insulting? I'm a working mom who can regrettably only spend 4-5 hours a day with my baby girl during the work week, but I'm pretty confident I'll manage to RAISE her to have better manners than that. Oh...and my husband is a copywriter, so if you're aware of a job that would be able to pay all of our bills, I'm all ears.
Mandy Donovan Drake July 26, 2011 at 03:00 AM
That sounds like a tough schedule too. Not denying the dads work hard too. But who says I'm not thankful to the people who contribute? I am. I know I'm not doing this by myself - and couldn't. I definitely don't consider myself a part-time mom. It may be I spend two hours with my babe on my toughest days, but there are many days (like weekends and today when my nanny had a vacation day) when I'm alone with the baby all day quite happily. And before my baby slept thru the night, I was nursing every 2-3 hours, and STILL going to work, on about 4 hours sleep. And I know a lotta moms who do the same. I guess my point is that we need to support (not slam) each other for the sake of more time with the kids. Society in general and employers in particular should be more supportive of working parents and letting us work more flex time. And folks out there should cut us some slack if we're tired, cranky, and expect to be patted on the back rather than put down for trying to make the most of our work and family lives.
Amy Armstrong July 26, 2011 at 09:21 AM
Mandy, I don't know how you balance it all! So impressed with you! (Ironically, would write more on the subject, but am now up for a 4:30am feeding after a particularly long and stressful work day, so will refrain from trying to sound articulate...) I will say that I decided to cut down to part-time status with a better paying job as I was basically breaking even once cost of childcare kicked in. Now I do have more time with my baby which I am thankful for, but feel as though I'm working every minute she's asleep just to keep up and now we are really stressed financially. So I agree -- no perfect solution. If having it all means all the stress in the world, then yes, we do!
Silas Trip July 26, 2011 at 12:59 PM
Hey Mandy, Senor Douchebag here. This topic has nothing to do with "who" stays home to raise the children. I never implied that it should be the woman. I honestly don't feel that way. If the main wage earner is the lady of the house, then by all means, let the man stay home and raise his children. Since you posted about "having it all", I would like to explore that topic. You and your husband chose to bring life into this world. I applaud that decision. However, with your choice comes great responsibility. What does "having it all" mean if you are not there to love and nurture your child 24/7? In the long run, nobody it going to love your kid as much as you and your husband do. To me, being there for your son is "having it all". As it now stands, your nanny spends more "waking" time with your son than you do. Hence, she is indeed raising him. I understand that we are all under great financial stress these days. However, what are you willing to financially sacrifice to be there for your son during his most formative years? Life is full of trade-offs. If neither your husband or yourself wanted to put your careers "on hold", then perhaps having a family was not the right choice for you at this time. As for me being a "hater", you are the one who chose to blog about "having it all". If you are not willing to take the obvious criticisms of your choice, then blogging isn't for you. Silas
Christine July 26, 2011 at 02:03 PM
So, does raising a child 24/7 mean that mom or dad should "home school?" That 24/7 argument is a red herring and an antiquated notion. But its so easy to judge isn't it? Using the phrase "lady of the house" says it all about how informed someone is about the current state of things. Bottom line for me: My child is loved by all who care for her, most especially by her father and I. She is a happy, social and flexible child who benefits tremendously from the things daycare provides for her. I care deeply for her and work my ass off to make sure she knows it. In this equation, the one who struggles is me. Why can't we share our struggles and challenges in a supportive, constructive manner without feeling like it's 1950?
Kate Nenopoulos July 26, 2011 at 04:01 PM
(2/2) My partner earns more than I do, so he makes the majority of our income. We don't have a lot of money, but we both work to pay the bills and take care of our daughter. Our parents help watch her while we work because we cannot afford childcare? Even though she isnt in daycare, are you still going to tell me that I am CHOOSING to not raise my child and send her to her grandparents house because I have to work to make money to pay for the house my daughter and I live in? My daughter was not planned. That doesn't mean that because I don't have enough money to quit my job I would choose not to start a family. The joy she brings is worth more than money. Telling Mandy that she shouldnt have started a family was rude. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Kate Nenopoulos July 26, 2011 at 04:02 PM
(1/1) Silas, Do you have children? I dont think you do. Have you ever heard the phrase, "It takes a village"? It takes more than two people to care for and raise a child. Parents are the first and foremost caregivers in a child's life but that doesn't mean they are the ONLY two. Grandparents, daycares, babysitters, etc are there to help. I am a nanny and a mother. I'll be the first to tell you that as a nanny, the children never forget who their parents are. I do not replace their parents, nor do I want to. I am there to help.I help the work-from-home Dad who needs to make some money to help pay for his child's needs.Even though he works from home, he still has to work and he still needs an alternative childcare provider. Get it yet?
Mandy Donovan Drake July 26, 2011 at 06:12 PM
On the contrary, I'm thrilled the discussion has become so lively. I just felt your comments (on everyone's posts, not just mine) seemed to be unnecessarily critical and not helping the discussion along. I do like the word douchebag, and may be a little quick too use it. You are entitled to your opinion. I think this is a clearly a hot topic, and a complicated one, and the many other women posting here clearly agree.
NK Woodward July 26, 2011 at 08:43 PM
I blame the dog. When is he going to start pulling his weight?
andrew james July 26, 2011 at 09:41 PM
my last comment on this thread..........I realize now this isn't about working/careers/raising children...men/womans roles.......who takes credit/ gets blamed for what.....this is really about one woman tooting her own horn because she probably isn't getting the credit she feels she should and two guys who became annoyed with that........ you make your choices and just do what needs to be done without a lot of fanfare.......but if you need a pat on the back.....Mandy you're doing a terific job, I can't believe you manage with everything, keep up the great work and don't be concerned with anything anybody says......if when you close your eyes at night you can say I'm doing the best I can......that's all that counts
Mallory July 27, 2011 at 01:06 AM
Hang in there and don't give up! YOu are doing the right thing by building a future for your family and sacrificing yourself. No lunch, yogo, napping for you. If you really look back in history, women always worked - in the field, making clothes, in factories etc. Post WWII created a very unsustainable and frankly lazy breed of women and men. Who has the luxury to stay home! My kids respect hard work and are independent and the teachers' pet because their mom was not hovering over them. Keep standing up for yourself!
BD September 14, 2011 at 10:46 PM
No, working is not a choice, but having a baby is as is the time you choose to have it.
Melisa Passanisi Thorne January 06, 2012 at 05:54 PM
So I caught this Blog while surfing around. When I read through some of the comments my jaw dropped. I know I'm late to the party, but I can't 'not' say something. First, I love the word douchbag, it's fabulous. I wish I invented it. Second, Work/Life balance is bull. It presumes that work is in opposition to life. Bull. Every day is work. No matter what we do. Stay at home moms are working moms. As are moms in the workforce. Also, the concept sets us up for terrible guilt. For me it's a juggle; its realizing that if one part of my life temporarily takes on greater importance (e.g. a sick child, work trip or family matter), then I have to throw everything I have in its direction. That means the other areas suffer. I think it is unfair for anyone to judge how someone choses to parent. We're all trying to what's best for our families. Don't pick apart if other chose to do this differently then yourself. I have 2 children under 6 and I remember those days of night feeding, pumping at work, trying to get home to the babies so that i could spend some quality time with them they went to bed. I empathize. You are doing what is best for your family. I give you apropos for that.
Mandy Donovan Drake January 06, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Good points, Melissa! Thanks for reviving the conversation! It's a juggle, this working parent business. And many of us are doing all we can just to keep the balls in the air. I hope that all parents can support each other in our efforts to raise (and spend time) with our kids. Looking at that schedule now, I realize how much things have already changed! I have a full-fledged toddler now, who’s no longer nursing. We're all sleeping at night so I've got more energy to enjoy my time with the boy. I've also managed to negotiate with my employer a schedule that allows me to be home at 5:30. It means logging on after-hours some nights, and having to not get sucked into meetings that linger past 5. But for now it’s working, and both Mom, Dad and Baby Boy are happy with the current situation. The key I think is that the balance is different for every family - so maybe we shouldn't be judging each others' definition of what that looks like. I wish you luck in finding your own balance!
Melisa Passanisi Thorne January 07, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Thanks Mandy! I loved nursing, but man, did life get easier when I stopped doing it. I blog over at the Stoneham Patch, so feel free drop in if you wish. Happy Parenting!


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