An Interview with Working Mother Brenda C.
Both my husband and I work, which means laundry is piled high, our house is a disaster and our days end in exhaustion…and we are only a family of three (plus our dog, Rusty)!!! We eat dinner together most every night at the table and have daily/evening routines we follow. Having a routine has helped tremendously with bedtime! It’s interesting to see our routines evolve as well. For example, we used to put our son to bed together and we would be sure to end in a ‘group hug’ and bounce up and down. Our son loved it and it was the cue that he’d be put down for the night. Now, we tell him it’s time for hide n seek…he runs to his room and hides behind the door and we try to ‘find’ him for about one minute. We ‘find’ him and put him down. This has worked great for us! We rarely have to go back into his room, as of now…but of course, things are always changing! My husband and I always discuss how we are raising our son, what seems to be working or not and things we’d like to try differently. We agree and realize that although we are a family unit, it is important not to lose our individuality; my husband plays lacrosse and I go running. We often reflect on our life and how we are so grateful for what we have and for each other.
What do you find enjoyable about being a working mom? Is there anything you find challenging about being a working mom?
I have a unique situation in that I am able to bring my son to work with me three times a week (a caretaker of my choice is provided). This is both enjoyable and challenging. Enjoyable because I have the comfort of knowing he is right around the corner, challenging because I’d rather be the one in the other room playing with him. The other two days he is in daycare and I am able to really focus 100% on my work. My employer is extremely family-oriented and I never have any problems if I need to leave or take a day off for a doctor’s appointment. I am extremely lucky and grateful!
What are some of your favorite go-to brands that you would recommend to other moms?
In the beginning when my son first started eating solids I made all of his food with the Beaba baby food maker. I LOVED this thing! It was so easy to use and I felt better knowing exactly what I was feeding him. I would make large batches and freeze them, making it a snap when it was time to eat. Once he got a little bigger and we started taking trips to the park, zoo, store, wherever, I found Plum Organics baby food pouches and Ella’s Kitchen Organic pouches. These are great for on the go. I originally used Mustela hair and body wash when my son was an infant, as his skin was extremely sensitive. We then moved on to Aquaphor and now we are trying various cost efficient brands (none in particular at the moment).
What is one thing about you that not many people know?
This is a challenging question. I think most people who know me, know most everything about me! I guess one thing some might not know is that when I am feeling extremely on edge or stressed I will take a minute (even if I have to escape to the bathroom), close my eyes and for just a few seconds take myself back to the beach where I used to live. It’s crazy, but I can get into a zone where I hear the waves and seagulls, smell the ocean water, and take in a few deep breaths and I find this calming happy place. I always feel great after doing this!
What are some ways in which your family tries to save money?
We try to meal plan on the weekend for the week so that we are not tempted to order take out…it helps with both money and our waistlines! In doing so, we also save on groceries because we make a list instead of shopping blindly. Additionally, I am not shy about accepting hand-me-downs, especially when it comes to clothes. In fact, I loved that I had so many friends willing to give them to me…it has helped out more than they know.
What are the top three lessons you have learned as a mom?
- If I have somewhere to be I ALWAYS try to give myself a good 30 minutes extra to get there. I have realized that my son is extremely curious and has no sense of time. When he is dawdling and taking his time checking out the snail on the ground on the way to the car, he is not trying to frustrate me or make me late, he’s just being a toddler – I allow him that time to be that curious kid and remind myself that it’s my responsibility to manage my time wisely. In addition, there’s always that unintentional glass of OJ that spills, or an unanticipated blow-out that requires a complete outfit change. This routine typically makes for a fun, enjoyable ride in the car rather than a stressed out, frizzy-haired, rushed mom with a crying kid in the backseat. I have learned to pick my battles and to relax….so what if my curious toddler is mixing his peas into his milk cup and then eating them. He’s exploring, he’s happy and at least he’s eating his peas!
- It is necessary to remember that I have a husband. We try to plan one date-night a month. I know that’s not very many, but it’s something that gets us out of the house. I have an arrangement with another mom. We babysit one night a month for each other so we both can get one date night. This is another money saver (no babysitting fee) and it forces us to keep our date nights going because we are always bugging each other to pick a date to we can put it on the calendar!
- As a mom, I no longer have very much time to do what I want to do. I cannot stress how important it is to find some of this sanity-saving time! I get up early in the morning a few days a week to go for a run. I also find time to join friends for ‘mom’s night out’. I work it out with my wonderful husband to make sure our schedules allow for this.
Do you have a motto or saying that you and your family live by?
Don’t give up, keep trying.