Stacey’s working mom life sounds a fair bit like mine. She’s found a bit of work life balance, working 4 days per week (just like me!) She also blogs and loves the experience her little one is getting at day care. Read on to see how she’s managing her working mom life, and enjoying being a blogger at Higdon’s Happy Home.
Describe your home life – how old are your kids? Does your spouse work as well? Or are you a single parent?
My husband is a college instructor teaching Mechatronics (anything you need to know to setup, maintain, and repair manufacturing equipment). He has traveled all over the country to learn more about manufacturing equipment and instructional techniques. Fun fact—my husband had lunch at one of his conferences with team members from Google X! My husband has also been busy working on his EdD (Doctor of Education).
We have two children—an 8 month old boy and a 3 year old girl. My little boy is happy. All. The. Time. He only cries for a bottle or if his sister is squishing him with hugs, and he pretty much entertains himself. In fact, he spent an hour last week trying to figure out how to climb the stairs. When he’d start to get frustrated he pop his pacifier in his mouth and re-assess the situation before trying again.
My daughter is a drama queen. Excuse me. Princess. I have driven through the drive-thru at the donut shop with a plastic tiara on my head because she was very insistent that I needed it. It wasn’t worth the fight. Plus, it made me the queen, which made me the boss. She hasn’t asked me to be the queen again.
What do you do? Describe your working life.
I work as a Web Manager for a small IT firm that specializes in cybersecurity. I’m in charge of our web design and social media department (current population: Me). I LOVE my job! Most of my clients are small businesses from our town, so I feel like I’m investing in our community by helping our small businesses become more successful (at least online).
And how many hours do you work in a week?
I usually work between 25-30 hours a week.
How soon did you return to work after having a child? And is your work life the same now (same job, or role at that job?)
I returned back to work 6 weeks after having each of my kids. I knew it was time for me to go back because I was getting a little stir crazy at home. Before kids I was working full-time (40 hours/week). After my daughter I went back 3 days/week so that I could be a part-time employee/part-time stay-at-home-mom. I didn’t feel like I had enough time to get everything done at work and it made money a little tighter than I liked so I started working 4 days/week. Since the birth of my son I have kept my 4 days/week schedule to allow for time to spend 1-on-1 with my kids and my husband.
What do you do to treat yourself? Do you have something in your routine that you do just for you?
1) Friday lunches with my husband. Sometimes I take my kids (one or both), other times it’s just my husband and me. During the school year we eat in the cafeteria. During the summers we go eat out somewhere. Regardless of where we eat or who tags along, Friday lunches with my husband are a MUST!
2) I blog. I started when my husband was doing some contract work for a local manufacturing company. He left early in the morning and come home every night exhausted from the heat and the work. He would “play” with our daughter by laying on the floor and letting her try to climb over him. By 8PM, both my husband and daughter were in bed (my son wasn’t even thought of yet).
I had time to myself and I didn’t know what to do, so I started my blog, Higdon’s Happy Home, so I could share things I was learning about being a parent, and hopefully encourage other parents as well. It has also been a great place for me to “debrief”. I’ve found that writing out the lessons I’ve learned has helped me identify what I need to take away from my experiences so I can make use of them in the future.
Touch on your most and least favourite things about being a working parent.
Most favorite: Daycare. Our daycare provider has been my ally throughout these early stages of our growing family. Sometimes she tells me things that I don’t like and I resist doing, but she usually ends up being right.
The other benefit I’ve experienced from daycare is that the separation anxiety my children have experienced has been minor. That means that I can take them to a babysitter for date night with my husband, I can leave them in the nursery during our young adult Bible study, and they can do sleepovers with their grandparents—all without crying for their parents.
Least favorite: Mom guilt. This isn’t as much of an internal thing for me, as it is as an external thing. I love my job and I think I’m setting a good example for my children. But I feel judged by some stay-at-home-moms. Some SAHMs understand that I have a desire to work and that it serves as a creative outlet for me. But I’ve also had moms say things to me like, “I can’t imagine anything more important than spending this time with my children.” I want to tell them, “I think making money to feed my children, clothe my children, and keep a roof over their heads is pretty important. Not to mention, a sane mommy to pick them up from daycare!” But, I just smile and say, “Yes, these moments are precious.”
Please don’t read this as a complaint against SAHMs—it’s NOT! This is a complaint against moms who think they get to choose what things my family values and the things that work for my family. Dropping my kids off at daycare and going to an office four days a week works for my family and it makes everyone happier!
What are your goals going forward?
I want to continue to grow. I want to grow professionally. I want to grow spiritually. I want to grow in my parenting. So, I’ll continue to read, observe, and blog about my experiences. In life, you never stop learning!
Any tips to share for balance in your life?
Take advantage of your lunch hour. Your kids are at daycare and you have no responsibilities for the next 60 minutes. Read a book. Chat with a friend or a co-worker. Run to the grocery store by yourself. Have a lunch date with your husband. Work on a personal project. I have my lunch hour blocked as time just for me and tend to work on my blog during that time.
Stacey is a wife to a wonderful husband, mother to two beautiful children, blogger of family & faith, and lover of all things coffee.
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