Working motherhood means juggling a lot of balls, and it certainly is challenging, but it doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. This week’s working mom, Tanya, has found a groove where she accepts early mornings, relishes time in the office and maximizes her time with her young daughter in the evenings and on the weekends. I love her views on balancing, carving out time for herself and being forgiving. Learn more about “her juggle” below and on her blog.
Tell us what you do for a living.
I have a dual role as an IT project manager and e-commerce marketing manager for a natural pet product company. Since we’re a small company, I wear a lot of different hats: I keep the IT functioning in the office/warehouse and I manage two developers who fix bugs and implement new marketing projects on our e-commerce website and backend system. My husband bought a coffee shop three years ago and I support him in some of the behind-the-scenes functions as well as maintain the social media accounts. One year ago, I launched my own blog where I write about living, parenting, and learning to garden in Boulder, Co.
How many kids do you have?
One two-year-old daughter, plus two dogs and one cat.
Explain your average morning.
While I don’t love interacting with people first thing in the morning, rising early comes naturally to me. I wake up at 6 a.m. and take one of our dogs with me for a 2.5-mile walk through the neighborhood. When I get home close to 7 a.m., I feed the animals and prep milk for my daughter. One of my favorite parts of my day is when she drinks her milk on my lap and we read a book. If my husband hasn’t already taken off for the coffee shop, we wake him up and everyone gets dressed. We share a green smoothie and get stuff packed up for the day. My daughter goes to a small Montessori three mornings a week and to her grandparents the other days. My husband works from home in the afternoons while she naps.
Give us a glimpse into your daily “juggle.” Do you work in an office or at home? Do you connect with your kids throughout the day?
After working at home for almost seven years, I’m actually relieved to be back in an office (and lucky that it is only three miles away from home). I feel like I have a very healthy separation of work and home, which lets me focus on my family when I am home. I’m also pretty motivated to get things done during the day so I can get home on time! A couple of times a month, my husband and daughter come pick me up for lunch, but other than that I don’t usually see them between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Our one dog Emmy comes to the office with me most days.
How does your family keep track of schedules and activities?
We have a monthly whiteboard calendar where we post any important events or out of the ordinary activities. My husband and I check in on Sunday afternoon to go over what needs to happen in the week ahead. We’ve tried a lot of different apps and printing out calendars, but those systems fell apart. This has been working well for us for about six weeks.
Describe your dream schedule?
I’d keep my mornings about the same, but leave work by 1 p.m. and get to yoga everyday. Then I’d run errands and be home by the time my daughter wakes from her nap – around 3:30 p.m. or 4 p.m. She goes to bed by 7 p.m., so this would give me an extra hour to go on walks or explore the backyard with her.
How do you use your time at night once the kids are asleep?
That’s when I blog, schedule coffee shop social media posts, and catch up on Grey’s Anatomy while browsing Pinterest.
What is the best thing about being a working mom? Hardest thing?
Other than the security and benefits of a full-time paycheck, I love interacting and having intelligent conversations with my co-workers everyday. This job is finally the type of position that I envisioned myself having when I completed my MBA over three years ago. The hardest part is how scheduled out and structured my life has to be. I have friends who text me to grab brunch at 10:30 am on a Sunday and it is all I can do to not laugh and tell them “not only did I have breakfast two hours ago, but I’ve known exactly what I was doing this Sunday for at least a week in advance.” Maybe I could just drop my plans and be spontaneous, but I’ve found that it catches up with me and I don’t enjoy my work week when I haven’t accomplished what I was hoping for over the weekend.
How do you relieve stress or carve out “me” time?
I love my walks in the morning. I listen to podcasts or audiobooks, and I genuinely look forward to it! Recently I’ve committed to making it to two yoga classes a week, which helps my stress level enormously.
Share a treasured tip you’ve received from another mom.
When I struggled with postpartum anxiety, I was fortunate to find a therapist who is a mother of three. She used play therapy as part of her treatment and would say: “Don’t try to live vicariously through your children, but rather be as present as possible and live with them.”
And, if there is anything else you’d like to share … feel free.
Make time to talk to your friends and family, especially other moms, even if they are in another state. Share your highs and lows and vent to them. In turn, be there to listen.
Last great book you’ve read:
The Grown Ups by Robin Antalek.
Your Working Mama Theme Song Would Be …
“Shake it off” by Taylor Swift. There’s no time to sit around and worry if something went just right. Just gotta keep on cruising and it will be alright.
My greatest guilty pleasure:
Food trucks! I try to bring my own lunch most days, but once a week I get lunch from one of the food trucks that comes to our office park that day. My favorite is a new one called “The French Twist.”
Are you a working mom who would like share your “juggle?”
Message me on Facebook or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d love to share your story!