Rabia Lieber and I are leading parallel lives, just on opposite coasts. Our kids are all about the same ages, we wake up at an ungodly hour in the mornings and we are in the years of driving our kids all over the place for after-school activities. Yes, the “juggle” has been taken to an entirely different level from those infant years. Learn more about her balancing act below, and you can also visit her blog.
Tell us what you do for a living.
I am an administrative assistant in an office at a local university. I handle the inventory, budget, and purchasing for the department as well as student hiring and training for 10 student workers.
How many kids do you have? Ages?
I have three kiddos: Frances is 11, Henry will be 8 in June, and Benjamin just turned 5.
Explain your average morning.
Ai yi yi!! My alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m. That gives me 15 minutes to get moving before the kids’ alarm at 5:45 a.m. They have a series of three musical alarms as well as a picture chart to keep them moving throughout the morning. I hop in the shower while they get dressed. My older two can get their own breakfast while I’m getting dressed. My youngest can get himself dressed, he just refuses to do so, so I help him out and then he gets his sister to help him with breakfast. I plan on tying that battle into his excitement for Kindergarten in the Fall! After everyone is dressed and ready to go, I drop my youngest at preschool and my oldest at middle school before heading in to work at 7:30 a.m. My middle stays home and catches the bus with dad.
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?
I work in an office 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the day. My kids are all in school, so I don’t connect with them during the day, but my job is flexible enough that I can pop out for field trips, assemblies, or even lunch whenever I want.
How does your family keep track of schedules and activities?
I use the Cozi app on my phone to keep track of dates and times for things. My husband has access to it, but doesn’t check it often. Most of the stuff that pertains to him is on a regular schedule, though. This year the boys had soccer on the same night and my husband took care of that. He also took care of transportation for my daughter’s ballet lessons. I take care of most of the irregular stuff like doctor’s appointments, Kindergarten registration, etc. If we have a particularly busy week, I will print out the calendar as a better visual aid.
Describe your dream schedule?
None! As in, no schedule at all! I guess I’d probably get tired of that. Seriously, though, my husband works different shifts, so when I can schedule meetings on nights when he’s at work I feel like I’m not missing out on family time. When he’s home, I try to be home so we can make the most of our time together. Working the schedule so we can get enough time to spend together is my dream.
How do you use your time at night once the kids are asleep?
I sit in the kids’ bedroom until they fall asleep. It started out as a way to keep them from talking, but now I just enjoy sitting there. I can read on my Kindle app or check email. Sometimes I fall asleep too! If my husband is home, we like to watch TV together. If he’s not home, I catch up on chores or read. I go to bed around 10 p.m. most nights, so there’s not a lot of time between the kids’ bedtime and my own.
What is the best thing about being a working mom? Hardest thing?
I love my job. I feel like the work I do matters. The people I work with are great. My boss is supportive and encouraging. My kids have visited my office and they love playing with the technology here. They also get to see what I do, which I hope looks like more than “sitting at a desk typing.”
The hardest thing about being a working mom is feeling tired at the end of the day. There’s always a rush to get home, get dinner on the table, and get the kids to bed. Even when I’m really on the ball and use my crock pot, it’s still a stressful time of day.
How do you relieve stress or carve out “me” time?
We usually have pretty quiet weekends. Aside from soccer games, we don’t normally have things scheduled on a regular basis. The kids and I do a lot of our own things on Saturdays and Sundays. I like to read or sew or just waste time online. If I get really overwhelmed, I’ll take a day off from work and stay home to relax. There’s rarely something that requires my immediate attention at work.
Share a treasured tip you’ve received from another mom.
To let the kids be kids. They get messy at school or daycare and that means they’ve had a great time. We go splash in puddles after it rains because that’s what rain boots are for. Just this morning we ate some brownies for breakfast. Those little simple things are what they remember. Just have fun with your kids.
And, if there is anything else you’d like to share … feel free.
I hate the question “How do you do it all?” I certainly don’t do “it all” and by “it all” I mean dishes or laundry or mopping or dusting or…
Last great book you’ve read:
I just finished Jodi Picoult’s “Handle with Care” I loved most of the book, but I hated the ending. I wish I had stopped reading before the last two chapters. I find that to be a common theme with her books, though!
Your Working Mama Theme Song Would Be …
Ummm… I’m no good with song titles. I usually listen to what’s on the radio. I love upbeat, happy songs, though. So American Author’s “Best Day of my Life” and the Lego Movie’s “Everything is Awesome” come to mind!
My greatest guilty pleasure:
I have this secret cough I do when I open a bag of chips or a hidden soda in the kitchen. That way they kids don’t hear the noise and I don’t have to share. I usually make a few sounds with the dishwasher beforehand, to ensure they stay away! No one wants to get roped into doing the dishes!! LOL.
Are you a working mom who would like share your “juggle?”
Message me on Facebook or send me an email at email@example.com.
I’d love to share your story!