Five years ago, I would’ve never guessed I’d be a working mom with two children at the age of 30. Even though my husband and I married at 21, we planned to spend most of our 20s and early 30s traveling the world and building our careers. That’s until I found out I was expecting, a few months shy of my 27th birthday.
Fast forward four years later, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Sure, I would love more sleep, more date nights with my husband and more time to travel, but my boys have brought an immeasurable amount of pure joy into my life.
I’ve also found an organization and role that’s incredibly fulfilling. It’s rewarding to pursue a career while raising my children. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have days where I just want to stay home and snuggle with my boys. I remind myself that providing for my sons financially is a way of loving them. It’s a constant balancing act, and it’s never perfect, but this is what I want for myself and my family.
Here’s what a typical day looks like:
Baby starts crying. I rush downstairs to mix up a bottle of formula (I gave up breastfeeding two weeks ago after a rough 6 months; the mom guilt is real). He finishes the bottle and goes back to sleep.
Baby wakes up again but he falls asleep quickly.
My alarm rings and I jump out of bed before it sucks me back in. I take a shower and do my make-up. I washed my hair yesterday so, it’s ponytail day (yay!). This means I don’t have to wash my hair.
Get my bags ready along with the 10 other bags for my kids.
My baby wakes up and he’s so happy. He’s the sweetest baby and coos while I get him dressed.
The threenager awakes. He’s screaming for daddy, which means he doesn’t want anything to do with me today. Awesome. Daddy is ALWAYS the favorite. I peek my head in and sing-song my son’s favorite saying, “Today is a great day to have a happy day!” He grumps back, “No! I want daddy!”
I explain daddy’s at work, and I’m here. He fusses and refuses to get dressed. I need to get out the door today by 7:15 and I can see this is going to be a struggle. I try my niceties for a few more minutes, and then threaten a phone call from Santa (I know, I know, I’m a horrible parent, but this is the only thing that works some mornings. There’s literally a phone app for this.).
“DON’T CALL HIM! I DON’T WANT TO TALK TO HIM,” screams the threenager.
“Ho Ho Ho! Good morning, this is Santa… I’ve heard from my elves that you’re 3 years old,” the voice booms from the phone app. “I called you right away since I heard that you’ve been a bit of a naughty boy because you wouldn’t listen. I’m afraid I might have to put you on the naughty list… Now is your chance to behave. Will you promise you can be good?”
“Yes, Santa,” the threenager says and starts to perk up. I’m leery that Santa might not do the trick, so I stuff a Hershey’s kiss in my purse just in case.
He gets dressed. Puts his shoes and coat on. I grab my 10 bags, the car seat (teetering on my heels at this point) and head to the car.
We arrive at school. The threenager runs into his room, trips and falls and hits his lunchbox just right so the lid off his milk pops off. Milk hits the floor and toddler-sized table.
“Sh*t,” I say under my breath.
I quickly apologize to his teacher and pray that my son nor his classmates heard it. I help the teacher mop it up (she’s already cleaned up most of it; thank you, teachers!) He gives me two hugs and kisses and pushes me out of his classroom.
I head straight for the infant room. One down, one to go. The teacher greets me with a smile as I pop the bottles in the fridge, clothes in the cubby and car seat out of sight. I snuggle my baby for a few quick minutes and rush out the door.
I sink into the seat of my car and think, “Is it seriously ONLY 7:30?.”
Morning commute with thousands of familiar faces on I-77.
Crank out a few emails, a press release and other materials.
Phone rings. It’s a photo of my oldest playing at school. Caption reads: “The alligator is going into home for a nap.”
My oldest has such an imagination! I think about him and hope he’s having a great day. I feel guilty about how our morning went.
10:30 a.m. -12:45 p.m.
PRSA Board meeting and luncheon.
Phone rings. It’s a photo of the baby at school. He’s sprawled out in his crib sleeping. I pause for a moment and wish I was snuggling with him.
I attend various meetings, respond to more emails, write some thank you notes, and do a few things to wrap up our annual signature fundraising event, Taste of the New South.
Finish up a PowerPoint for a big meeting tomorrow and pull together materials.
I’m finally on the road headed home. Usually, I’m pretty good about leaving at 4:30 (unless I have an event to attend), but I have an early morning meeting the next day and I need to be prepared. I quickly think through what I have at home for meals and decide it’s a Chick-Fil-A kind of night. Once I get home, I’m now my 3-year-old’s favorite person. We eat dinner together almost every night; it’s our only uninterrupted time spent as a family each day.
My husband plays with my 3-year-old while I snuggle the baby on the couch. He’s so happy to see me and keeps nuzzling up to my neck. I missed him today.
It’s the second toughest time of the day—bedtime. It’s my husband’s turn to take the baby (he gets the easy one). I spend the next 10 minutes asking my older son to get ready for his bath. Meanwhile, I step in toothpaste, and somehow, my son managed to bring seven plastic hangers into the bathroom. I trip over hangers and wipe toothpaste off my foot and floor while my son cries. The threenager refuses to get in the bath and runs away from me.
My husband comes in and we finally get him in the bath. I set the timer for 5 minutes and once it rings he gets out. He brushes his teeth. We read three books (thank God it’s not “Llama Llama Mad at Mama;” it’s one of his favorites every time I put him to bed. It feels very passive aggressive).
He starts crying for daddy. By 8:40, I give in. Daddy comes in, and I bolt after giving him a hug and a kiss.
Check email and go over notes for meeting tomorrow.
Crash for the night (or next few hours).
Photos: Mandy Drakeford