After the news I shared yesterday, you are probably not surprised to see that today’s “Real Mom” is a working mom to three. I have questioned, how do moms of three do it for a couple of months now, and was thrilled to hear this mom’s story. Kerry is a working mom to three, and writes about her balance on her blog, Breadwinning Mama. You can check her out there or follow her on Facebook or Twitter . Enjoy!
Mom Q & A
Occupation? Marketing and Advertising Manager for a large financial services company
How many children do you have? What are their ages? I have three children. My sons are 8 and 6. My daughter is 2.
How many days a week/typical hours do you work? I work full-time, generally 40+ hours a week. However, one of the nice benefits my company offers is a 9/80 schedule, so I have every other Friday off. I’m also able to work from home one or two days a week.
Do your children attend school/day care? If so, what type? My boys are both in elementary school and then they transition to an after-school daycare until my husband can pick them up. He’s a teacher, so he has great hours and the flexibility to pick them up relatively early. My daughter goes to my in-law’s house, but we are planning to transition her to a preschool program next Fall.
Describe your typical weekday… Geez, is there a typical workday when you are a working mom? We actually try to create a lot of routine and structure into our day, which I think benefits the kids, but of course there are days where we need to be flexible. In general, my husband and I wake up early. I pop out of bed at 5 a.m., throw on some workout clothes and make a 30-mile commute to the office. We have an on-site gym, so I use it to squeeze in some exercise and beat the traffic in the mornings. Meanwhile, my husband manages the kids in the morning, dropping them off at their various locations. Sometimes my parents walk the kids to school. On days when I go to work a little later or work from home, I’ll take my boys to school. Everyone is busy throughout the day, and then my husband picks the kids up and starts the homework routine and after-school activities. If I’m in the office, I’ll try to leave by 4:30 p.m. and then get home to jump into the madness. If I’m working from home, I’ll power down the laptop and dive into the schoolwork and various activities. Dinners are planned in advance and we do our best to eat as a family. Then we do baths/showers, books and bedtime. The kids are usually tucked in by 8 p.m. since they wake up so early. I’ll stay up for another two hours and read, go through mail, watch mindless TV and chat with my husband.
What is your biggest daily struggle? How do you cope with it? There just never seems to be enough hours in the day. Sometimes I feel like we are racing from one thing to the next, and by the early evening everyone is frazzled. And with three kids at different ages all demanding different things, it can get crazy. My oldest son still needs help with homework and special projects, my younger son needs lots of help with reading and my daughter is 2. She throws tantrums, wants to be held, needs diaper changes … she’s still at that high-maintenance physical stage. With everyone pulling, I’m so glad I have an amazing partner. We truly work as a team and balance one another. We’re also blessed to have both sets of grandparents so close. They jump in when we need support, and I honestly don’t know how we would do it without their help.
What is your secret for finding a healthy balance between all of your responsibilities as a mother? I try to stay organized and prep for the next day the night before. And while technology can be a huge time suck, it has also been a saving grace for me. I take care of a lot my shopping online, social sites help me stay connected with friends and family, and it has enabled me to work remotely, which saves me time and sanity! Completely agree – I do everything online! It can be weeks between actually visiting a store besides the grocery store for me!
What is your least favorite household “chore” and why? Cleaning the bathrooms! With three young kids, the bathroom is usually destroyed by the next day. And who really wants to scrub toilets? I keep telling myself I need to hire a cleaning person, but that item seems to fall to the bottom of the to-do list. No no no!!! Kerry – do NOT let this one fall to the bottom of your list! Find someone you trust and hire them! It will change your life!!!
What is your favorite mommy moment? The hugs and “I love you’s” and times where I can just have fun with my kids. I also melt when I see my kids be kind and loving to each other. I really do hope they stay lifetime friends.
What is the one thing about your children that worries you and keeps you up at night? A zillion things worry me. I am the ultimate worrier. But if I had to pick one theme it would be the tween and teenage years. I hear so many horror stories about the bullying and poor moral choices and technology battles. My husband is a junior high teacher and it is really disturbing to hear some of the stuff going on with kids as young as 11 and 12. I just pray and hope we’re establishing strong values with our kids so they will have the confidence to make good decisions as they become more independent. Right there with you!! This is my greatest fear, shared on this page last week!
What is your biggest indulgence/thing that you do for yourself? Exercise. It is the one hour I give myself to clear my mind, sweat it out and keep my energy up. I also have taken to blogging (http://breadwinningmama.com). It has provided me with this great outlet to express myself and connect with other great people, including Dana!
What celebrity mom/child would you want to have a play-date with and why? Jennifer Garner. She seems laid back, connected with her kids, and of course I love all of her movies.
Thank you so much to Kerry for sharing her story – I love hearing from other mommas about how they make it work! If you are interested in sharing your story, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are going to take Mommy Brain up a couple notches here…as some of my regular readers may have realized, the frequency of posting has gone down a bit, and my freezer friday posts especially have lacked. This may have a bit to do with the fact that I have been asleep most nights by 8:30 (which is usually my writing time) and the thought of food has completely turned my stomach for the past couple of months.
In other words…we are expecting baby #3 this summer, and my son are daughter are about to become….
My husband and I are feeling incredibly blessed and lucky, and are also…well….a bit intimidated about the adventure that lies ahead.
A couple of weeks ago I said to him that I had been having a really hard time thinking of “mommy brain” Wednesday moments…and that I must have been on my game these days. He laughed at me, and said, nope, you are just now blissfully unaware, or forgetting all the things you mixed up. So…my mommy brain has truly clashed with my pregnancy brain. I can’t even laugh about all of my screw ups (Including things like forgetting to call my best friend on her birthday yesteday…GR!).
Shock seems to be on the face of everyone we tell…so, some answers to the questions that are most rampant these days:
1) “Was it on purpose?”: Yes…loud and clear. We have always wanted three, and are blessed that we were able to make that happen. How on purpose? Age difference between my first two…2 years 4 months, age difference between my 2nd and 3rd…2 years 4 months.
2) “You have one of each….why are you having a 3rd?” We have a boy and a girl. We have one calm child and one rambunctious one. We have one with brown eyes, and one with blue eyes. We have one that looks like mommy on that looks like daddy. But with all that, my husband and I felt that someone was missing at our dinner table. Someone was missing to check on at night. Someone else was the missing link to our family. It just felt right. (I loved this post from Kristin and Just Breathe Mama talking about adding to her family…you just know…)
3) “Are you going to keep working?” : Somehow, I will get three kids dropped off to daycare each day, and will head off to work. The guest post that I did over at Musing Momma explains why I work full-time…and I will continue to do that. I am lucky to have a 16 week maternity leave, and will hopefully ease back into work with vacation time when this is over, but I will continue to be a working mom. And…MMB will continue as well
4) “Will you find out what you are having?”: We have been surprised before, and will keep the tradition going!
5) “How are you going to handle three?”: Quite honestly, I have no f*ckin’ clue. But…I do know that my children are SO full of love and excitement for this sibling (they talk on the “phone” aka my belly button to the baby constantly telling it so in fact) and my husband and I are thrilled, that we will make it happen. My house may never be clean again, I may never look like I have it all together ever again, I will make a million mistakes, but in the end, we are ready for our party of 5.
When we moved into our neighborhood 4 years ago, we lucked out. When we were looking at houses, we saw people outside, talking with neighbors, walking around, and kids playing. It looked like a good spot to move into, but you never know, right?
Over the years, we have been moved by our neighbors kindness – snowblowing our driveway when we were in Florida a couple of years ago, keeping an eye on our house for any odd activity, the random treats, baked goods, etc. which people have dropped off…but honestly…nothing compared to…
Curious about how much snow we got??? Well..enough to take over this little lady:
When we woke up Saturday morning, we were in a state of shock. We looked out the windows and the snow seemed high, but when we opened our deck blinds, we saw it was almost as tall as our daughter! Our town got 34.5 inches of snow, which was a record. We opened up our garage to start shoveling and snow blowing, and didn’t even know where to begin. It took my husband and I about 6 hours to clear about 3/4 of the driveway….when we looked to the end of the driveway, our neighbor was on her way, with her beast of a snowblower. She made a path through the street, and helped to clear out the rest of our driveway.
As we looked down our road, we saw another one of our neighbors heading down the street with his snowblower, making a path to an elderly neighbors house – and he cleared his driveway. When we woke up on Sunday – the conditions outside had not improved, and the snowblowing brigade was back in action. With the good deed being led by one of my neighbors, all the driveways in my neighborhood were cleared by the afternoon. There was a brigade of 4 snowblowers “taking care of business.” The plows came through to finally clear the road, but unfortunately depositing a couple of feet of snow into all of our cleared driveways. The brigade went back to business, clearing those driveways again, and then widening the street further, digging out fire hydrants, and clearing paths to mailboxes.
The best was when my husband was resting on the couch – the doorbell rang with a delivery of banana bread from a neighbor – while her husband was a part of the brigade, she was indoors baking! He was immediately up and at the table, rejuvenated from her delicious food…
It was amazing how we went from feeling trapped and helpless when we first woke up on Saturday, to knowing that all would be ok, because we were surrounded by good people. We felt truly blessed to get through the storm with the help of our neighbors, and know that even if Mother Nature decides to dump some more of the beautiful white stuff, all will be ok!
Were you affected by Nemo at all? Any great neighborhood acts of kindness to share?
The other week, I posted a reader’s question about managing the bedtime routine - the first post in a two-part series responding to reader’s questions about time management.
Today – we’re heading to the morning routine and answering… how the heck do you get out of your house on time in the morning?
In short – my answer is by 1) preparing everything, 2) managing expectations, and 3) talking about the process.
1) Prepare everything…Bags – pack them, lunches – make them, clothes – put them out for the next day. My husband thought I was crazy when we were dating that I would do all of this…but my simple excuse was that I had a few extra minutes to sleep in the morning. If you don’t do this now – look carefully at your morning routine, and think about what could have been done the night before. Is your little one running around looking for their hat or gloves? Tomorrow, try putting their jacket, shoes, hats, gloves, etc. all together by the door.
I also find that I get more done without my 2 kids at my feet (weird, right?) – so whatever I can do before they are awake, I do. This includes putting backpacks and my work bag in the car, putting ice packs in lunch boxes, etc.
2) Manage Expectations: Before bed every night, I tell my kids what is going to happen the next day. My daughter doesn’t really care (I mean, she’s 22 months, it’s all going to happen anyway)….I find that my son is a lot better in the mornings when he knows what is going to happen. For example…”Mommy has to take the early train to work tomorrow – I may have to wake you up, and we are all going to have to get out of the house by X”…or “Mommy is working from home tomorrow – get dressed and come to the office when you wake up, and you can have breakfast at home tomorrow, and I will drive you to school after you are done.” Simply knowing what is going to happen creates a partnership in getting out the door, and less stress for all of us.
3) Talk about the process: It may get annoying, but from the minute my kids get up, I tell them what is going on – “hey, its 6:35, we have to get dressed, wake up your sister, brush teeth, and head out.” My son checks the clock for me now…if I am taking too long with getting my daughter ready, he’ll say – no pigtails today, we’re going to be late! Talking about the process means no surprises, but creates a partnership – heck, we’re all in this together (getting mom to work so she stays employed) – so we act that way.
You’ll note I didn’t put times in this one like I did for my going to bed post…my morning schedule varies based on if I am working from the office or working from home…so I have found that it is more about the process than the timing.
What suggestions do you have that work for getting out of the house? Anything that works, doesn’t work? Feel free to share in the comments below!
Stuffed peppers goes into my favorite types of food – a one dish dinner. Something you can put on a plate, with maybe an accompanying salad, and you are good to go. This is a favorite of my entire family, so I always make a bunch of peppers, because my kids want to eat them every night of the week after they have had them one night! I find that this is a pretty flexible and forgiving dish as well – ground beef or turkey – take your pick, brown or white rice – whatever works for you
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 lb of ground beef (ground turkey also works well with this dish)
1 15 oz diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups of cooked white or brown rice
1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
6 peppers, tops removed and cleaned (retain pepper from the top, and dice)
1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and cook until translucent. Add the ground beef and cook through. Drain the fat from the dish, add the retained peppers, and diced tomatoes and cook for 5-6 minutes more until the peppers are soft.
2. Remove from the pan and place in a bowl. Mix together with the rice and tomato sauce.
3. Fill the peppers with the ground beef mixture, and either place in a freezer friendly dish, or you can individually wrap each pepper in plastic wrap, and place in a freezer bag if you would prefer to freeze smaller portions.
4. When you are ready to cook (either immediately, or after fully thawed), cook the peppers at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, place cheese on top, and cook for an additional 15 minutes, until cheese is melted.
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