Google “working mom” and this is the first image that pops up:
Newsflash: this is not reality. I have 0% of the time ever sipped leisurely on a cup of coffee while wearing a clean suit and holding a quiet cherub in my arms.
Let me use this morning as an example. I wake up at 7:15am to the sound of my oldest (X, almost 3) screaming “Mommy, I’m awake! Mommy, come get me! Mommy, I’m awake! Mommy, come get me!” Pro: it is 7:15am. This is definitely sleeping in for my children. Con: he is not going to stop until I get out of my warm, cozy bed and head to his room. I check the Nest cam and see that my youngest (Y, 15 months) is also up. Time to start the day!
I make a pit-stop at Y’s room and take him into his brother’s room. They play while I get their milks and then we read a few books. Wednesday is one of my nanny’s earlier days, and she arrives at 7:35am. Neither kid wants to go to her (I should add: our nanny is awesome, we have known her for 3 years, and she is wonderful with the kids. However, they are both going through super clingy phases at the moment-even when their dad tries to take over-and this makes it difficult for everyone, but mostly for me). Noticing that it is now 7:45am and I have to be out the door at 8:15am to drop X off to school and then head to work, I start trying to motivate the little ones. I am able to hand Y over, but not before he sheds a few tears. X is another story. He can’t be persuaded this morning (although I am certain I will have to drag him out the door when he finally decides he’d like to play with her) and ends up hanging out in my room while I shower and get ready. This translates into water dripping all over the bathroom floor as he repeatedly pulls back the shower curtain, every item on our counter being perturbed by tiny toddler hands, and general inefficiency. Once I am showered and half-dressed, he decides that he does want to play with our nanny after all. I drop him off in the playroom, at which point Y jumps into my arms and refuses to be put down. So now I have another child in my room while I attempt to finish getting dressed, apply make-up, and style my hair (“style” is an overstatement: I have curly hair and 100% of the time wash it, apply product, and scrunch it). Y entertains me by attempting to throw everything down the toilet (succeeding only once), teetering on top of a step stool (clearly not a great idea) and repeatedly slamming the cabinet doors (only miraculously keeping all fingers).
I then head into the kitchen. My husband has already prepared X’s lunch, so I only need to pack it into his lunchbox with an ice pack, water bottle, and utensils. Meanwhile, Y (still in my arms), starts looking around the kitchen and pointing at everything he sees. I place a few Cheerios in a bowl for him to nosh on, and although he initially protests to being set down to eat (in this awesome kitchen helper), he is eventually quiet. I then try to pack some semblance of a lunch for myself, which ultimately ends up being yogurt, an apple, Goldfish, a Clif bar, a fig bar, and cashews. Nutritional fail but it’s 8:25am and I am definitely running late! But I do find time to fill up a water bottle and take coffee (+soy milk and sugar) to go.
My wonderful nanny has already dressed X (thank goodness) but he is NOT ready to go because he wants to play longer – of course! So I drop Y off to play and give X 5 more minutes as I pack everything into the car: X’s backpack and lunchbox, my work bag, my lunch bag, my water, coffee, and white coat (thank goodness I’m no longer lugging along pumping supplies!). Time check: 8:30am. Crap.
I hustle back in and X is now ready to go. Y senses that I am leaving and begins to cry again – so tough to hear this! I have to take a deep breath and remind myself of how happy he is when I come home and how well-cared for he is during the day. We step outside but X insists on lining up his pumpkins in a row, so we are 5 more minutes behind. He finally gets in the car and we’re off to school – 8:39am and 21 minutes to drop X off and drive to work before my first patient arrives at 9:00am.
We get to X’s school and he doesn’t want to go in. He says he wants to rest on the porch. Seriously kid!? He finally agrees to go in but then doesn’t want to sit with his friends during circle time (side note: X has been at this school for almost a year. He was initially in the 2’s class and now graduated to the 3’s class. He delays leaving in the afternoon to the point where we have waited 30-45 minutes while he plays! But he recently has started to try to delay in the morning.) Finally, he decides to sit with his friends. Phew!
Back to the car. Time check: 8:55am. Crap. Fortunately, my entire life is within a 2-5 mile radius, so it is a 15 minute drive to work during rush hour (clearly, this is the only way I can function given the above). Don’t worry – my first patient will be in good hands because my resident will be seeing her and will be ready to present her by the time I arrive (although yes, I do prefer to arrive a few minutes before clinic, hence the 8:15am goal estimated time of departure). I park in the garage and am upstairs by 9:10am. I find out that my first patient is late (maybe her morning schedule looked like mine!) and settle into the crazy rush of morning clinic.
If I had to add 3 things to my morning, they would be:
- Working out
- Taking a look at work and preparing for the day
I am just not sure where to fit this. I don’t want to take time away from the kids, and I also can’t imagine waking up before 7:15am (I usually go to bed between 11:00p-12:30a. Maybe one day I’ll write a post about evenings!).
But I love many things about my mornings. Although this and 1-2 other mornings per week are my earlier ones (leaving between 7:45am-8:30am), I leave later 1-2 mornings per week (depending on the week) and generally have no clinic one day per week. I usually ask our nanny to come later on those mornings so that I can spend more time solo – reading, playing, eating breakfast together, etc. Whenever I have a later day, I always think: I should go to the gym, I should head to the office earlier, but then I remember that soon enough the kids will be in real school and they’ll have to go in early, and we won’t have time to spend leisurely mornings together. So I don’t work out, and I don’t meditate, and I don’t think about the day until I’m in it. And I definitely don’t sip leisurely on a cup of coffee with a peaceful babe in my arms. In sum: being a working mom is messy, so don’t believe those stock images!