The World is Not Set Up For Two Working Parents

Sometimes I hate being a working mom.  Other times I love getting out of the house and away from the kids.  Most of the time I’m somewhere in between.  One thing that frustrates me to no end is the way the world is only available to people Monday to Friday, 9 to 4.  How are households with two working parents supposed to get their kids to appointments or other daytime only things when the kids are at school most of the day and then at afterschool care because both parents work?

Two working parentsIt’s vicious cycle too.  If you don’t work, you don’t get paid.  If you don’t get paid you can’t buy groceries, or keep a roof over your head.  But if you’re not home for your kids you have to pay someone to watch them.  And then you have to cram homework, dinner, fun family time and bedtimes into about 2 hours after work.  Throw in there a trip to the grocery store once a week (at least – and not on the weekend so you’re not wasting that precious time “off”) plus extra-curricular activities and there is just no time to do anything!

Time management is a skill I am working on every day.  My work schedule is not consistent day to day, but it is week to week.  As such my husband and I have managed to collect the girls from daycare on a pretty consistent schedule.  This year our world was a little shaken up because our daycare provider (of the last 7 years) had to let us go in favour of full-time kids.  I totally get that, and there’s no hard feelings at all, but it meant we had to find alternate care for the girls after school (and on PA days, Christmas Break and March Break.)  So now the girls stay at school for the after school program.

Emma is now having occupational therapy sessions once a week (on Wednesdays because that’s the day I can pick her up right when school ends.)  The sessions are an hour and the place is only open until 4.  I’m lucky the girls go to an early start/early dismissal school so I can get them on the bus before work and have an opportunity to schedule appointments for them after school.  It’s still hard work to get everyone everywhere – I’m working on a post of how a “regular” week goes in our home.  I think we are only home 2 nights a week and the rest of time is filled with extra-curricular activities.   Stay tuned for that post!

I took my thoughts out to the Twitter-verse to see how other parents feel about the real struggle of working and parenting.  Here are the few conversations I had:

Two working parentsMy friend Ashley (@ashleyjperna) is a single mom with shared custody of her son.  Right now she works 3 jobs and has recently been through some rough stuff in her personal life.  Here’s her quote about being a working parent:  “It’s like juggling with a ton of balls and one is always on the ground.”  I thought that was a very apt metaphor!  You can check out Ashely’s other writings here.

Iveth (@fortheloveto) had quite a conversation with me: “I used to work full time and hated not to see my kid during the day.. I most of the time got home and he was already in bed!  I used to work so much…. Even over-time to give my kid everything .. But I was missing so much from his life”  I asked her what is working for her now.  She said “Since my baby was born I am working part time now… In a different job.. (Not my carrier) close to home.”  After I told her I wish her luck in finding balance: “I think that I’m getting there … My oldest one is 13 am I missed so much I don’t want that happen again.”  Check out Iveth’s blog here.

Julie Burton (@juliebburton), a working mom of 4 and author of The Self-Care Solution-A Modern Mother’s Must-Have Guide to Health and Well-Being shared this with me on Twitter:  “Love the sense of purpose I derive from work but struggle w/time management & drawing good boundaries around work/home life.”

Ryan Bickham (@dadladuk) had this to say about his frustrations with working and parenting: “The childcare costs working full time for an extra few hundred pounds a month. Trying to get chores done when kids asleep.”

Robyn (@justsothankfulr) works from home so this is her quote: “I like that my boys see a mom/wife using her skills and education for others. I work from home, so no downside really.”

Gemma (@lifeasmummy) is in love with her working/parenting life.  She works “term time in a nursery” where her children used to go (I think that means she works during the school year in a daycare – my translations from “English” to “Canadian” have become much better since I’ve started reading a lot of blogs from across the pond!)  Now they are full time at school so she is able to meet them after school and spend that precious after school time with them!  “I love the fact that I can go and work and still have time with my children.. What’s crazy is the pay lol!!”

Jennifer from Mama @ Heart (@mama_at_heart) wrote me a beautiful email with her thoughts.  She likes that her husband works mainly from home and her commute is not too long, as it was for her previous job.  She has the luxury of dropping her daughter off at daycare in the mornings, and has some extra time in the evenings that she used to spend driving home.  Also with her husband at home and herself not too far, if the need arises to collect one of the children early (sickness, injury etc.) it’s not a big burden.  She also said both of their bosses are very understanding when it come to kid emergencies.  Her gripe, of course, is that lack of time that all working parents seem to feel.  She says her days always feel rushed and she tries to let things like laundry and dishes slide, but then you still have to do them at some point, so no matter what you’re missing out on something!  And, of course, she wishes should be more involved with her children’s school – join in for field trips, or volunteer for other functions.  I have to quote her final paragraph in it’s entirety because it’s exactly how I feel as well!

“What doesn’t seem to be working for us but we are trying to get better at: finding balance! It can be tricky for my husband and I to find a good balance between work life and family life because our lives are not just divided between work and family. We also want to find time for ourselves as individuals and as a couple. For the past several months we have been trying hard to find time to do things on our own, schedule date nights and make sure there is quality time with our kids (all of this combined with our work schedules and that endless to-do list I mentioned!) This is definitely a challenge but we find it necessary for a happy family life.”

Two Working ParentsAfter reaching out to the Twitter-verse I feel a little better about my own frustrations at home.  It’s amazing how sharing similar life experiences can make a person feel better.  Just knowing others face the same challenges, and manage to make do as well.  Nothing in life is necessarily ideal.  As long we can all muddle through and know we’re doing the best with what we’ve got, and help each other out along the way, then life just is what it is.

If you have a two working parents situation, please share your struggles and successes with me!  The comments section is just waiting for your input.  If I get a lot of good stories I may put together another post along these lines – maybe more tips for 2 working parents or something.  Let me know what you think!

~Jess

Admissions Of A Working Mother
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26 Comments

  1. I really do applaud you for your resilience and commitment. I used to work 49 hours a week, but sadly due to not having any flexible or lower hours available I am now a SAHM, which I am lucky to have the opportunity to do so please do not think I am complaining. During the time me and hub-to-be worked simultaneously I fully relate to this post. It’s unfeesable to simply do the things we need to do easily or in a simple way. Again, hats on to making it work and figuring things out. Life just throws you curve balls sometimes.
    #ALittleBitOfEverything

    Lex

    1. Thanks for the comment Lex. You’re right that sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day. We get by somehow, and the kids don’t know any different – we’ve been lucky to have some great child care over the years. We do the best we can here. 🙂
      ~Jess

  2. Oh, I hope this does not come across as trite, but I truly do not know how families with two parents who work outside the home do it. I can barely keep my act together when this is my “only” job! I so admire and respect the balancing act most moms pull off, day-in and day-out. I obviously don’t have any advice, so I’ll just say that you are doing a great job…and you deserve some extra chocolate right now. 😉 #Alittlebitofeverything

    1. I could totally go for an extra piece of chocolate right now! Thanks for the comment Elizabeth. Being a working parent can be very taxing by times, but we do what we need to do. 😀
      ~Jess

  3. We are also a two parent working family. This is spot on. I struggle every day trying to cram everything into 2 hours after work. I love that you say you are in-between. that is exactly how I feel. Some days I am happy to get out of the house, others I cry. Thanks for sharing!It is nice to know I’m not alone in my struggles.

    1. I’m so glad my post spoke to you Barrie. I shared so others could know they’re not alone. The mixed feelings really get me – some days I’m so happy to get out and visit with other adults, but others I miss my kids. It’s rough sometimes. Thanks for the comment!
      ~Jess

  4. I can totally relate to this. I was a working mom with my first child, then I resigned from my job when expecting the second. I’ve been home for a year now and getting ready to go back to work. I don’t know how we will do it. My husband has a high demanding job and in my field any job I take now will be demanding as well. Many families do it, so I think we will be okay. Maybe the secret is to live each day and do what we can – all we can do it to do our best everyday. The house will stay messy and children will see less of us (of me especially) but a second income is important to secure their future.

    #StayClassyMama

    1. Thanks for sharing – I love hearing everyone’s story and/or take on being a working parent. Best of luck to you and your family while you figure out what is going to work for you guys!
      ~Jess

  5. I actually go back to work from maternity leave this weekend. I really don’t want to but financially have to. At least I only have to do 20 hours (3 days) a week with set shifts, but I desperately want to be in a different situation when my eldest starts school next year so I don’t have to miss any weekend time with him. x #stayclassymama

    1. If only money grew on trees, eh Claire? I’m sure you’ll be successful as a part time working mom. It’s hard work but sometimes being away from the kids helps you appreciate them more. Best of luck getting where you want to be! 😀
      ~Jess

  6. There is nothing harder, but know that it is you, the mum, who is torn up, stressed and struggling. The kids are fine. I currently have long term sick kids and spend a good part of the week visiting doctors and hospitals. I did say to my partner the other week that if I was working, I’d be sacked by now, so while it’s exhausting and a financial stress (thanks Liberal Gov for ruining our healthcare), at least I’m not having to nervously ring my boss each day (though I do worry the school will haul me in!). Hang in there! It’s tiring and tough, but if you love your work, or you have to work, then it’s worth it. #Stayclassymama

    1. Thanks, Lydia, for the support. It’s a lot of long, hard work, being a working mom. I just wanted to share this post so others know they’re not alone. I really appreciate your comment!
      ~Jess

  7. It is so hard to find a balance that works for you financially & emotionally! I work 3 days a week but one day is until 2. I recently worked 2 4 day weeks covering for a work colleague and I’m glad I did as I realised that is too much for me! Thank you for linking up to #EatSleepBlogRT

  8. I’m a single working mum of two, and all I can say is, life is nuts! I feel like I’m constantly rushing around and never have time to do anything properly. I have no choice but to work, and I do enjoy my job, but it would be nice to have just a little less chaos…! #eatdleepblogrt

  9. #eatsleepblogrt my absolute hate at the mo is I want J to have swimming lessons – 0-4 only available during the day. I thought he’d benefit and love gymnastics – weekend classes for over 5yo…it literally makes me sob and I’m not sure why the world hasn’t caught up with its reality? Thanks for giving me a place to vent

    1. Right? Things never happen at a good time when you have to work. My co-worker has been trying to schedule appointments for things (oil changes, vet visits and a dr appointment I think) and she can’t get any of them scheduled at a time that works with her schedule. It sucks. I’m glad to allow you a space to vent!
      ~Jess

  10. This makes me feel even more grateful that I have the opportunity to stay at home with my children, although I do miss adult conversation! Well done it sounds like you’re doing great and if everyone is happy that’s the main thing 🙂 #MMBC

    1. We do try hard to keep everyone happy. And we mostly are. Something I have to remember is that my kids don’t have anything to compare their life to. I find myself comparing my childhood to theirs (and feeling like my mom-life is WAY busy compared to how my mom was) but the kids don’t know any different. As long as they are getting what they need, their little lives are good – or so I hope!
      ~Jess

    1. It can be stressful, that’s for sure. I find having my one weekday off really helps me feel a little more organized around the house. And it lets me schedule appointments that would otherwise be a huge hassle. Thanks for the comment Sarah!
      ~Jess

  11. Hello Jessica,
    Thanks for taking out time to write all this. I can totally understand your situation. I struggled with this confusion of starting to work again after becoming a mom for months, and it was really difficult to convince myself and finally i chose to stay at home because I realized we cannot have it all and this became my first post for the blog http://www.revisitinglife.com/can-we-have-it-all/

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