Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Making Work Work - Part 1

I'm approaching the one-year mark of being back at work after my ~19 week maternity leave so I thought I'd share some of my thoughts on how we've adjusted to being parents with full-time jobs outside of the home. I recently listened to a podcast episode, called Making Work Work, by two moms that also work outside the house. I listen to several parenting podcasts but the lifestyle of these 2 women is most similar to mine. They have corporate jobs that require them to go into an office and their kids go to daycare. In their episode, they answered some questions so I thought I'd play along.

I have a lot to say on this topic so decided to break it out into 2 posts with some Paul pics sprinkled in!

Who has more flexibility - you or your husband?

My answer is very similar to theirs. Phil and I both have quite a bit of flexibility as we are both able to work from home when it's necessary. However, I am more willing to be flexible. For example, if we get a call from daycare saying Paul is sick and needs to be picked up, I generally am the one that leaves work. I'm part of a 6-person team, 3 of which are in Minneapolis. There is almost always 2 of us in the office in Minneapolis so there's someone that can help out in my absence. Phil works for a very small, lean company that doesn't have duplication of roles like my team does. He sort of has a back-up but it's not optimal for him to leave on short notice. The couple of times we've had to go pick Paul up, I called Phil to figure out who would leave and while he was willing to leave to pick him up, it wouldn't be for another 1-1.5 hours. So I have ended up picking him up because I don't want to leave him there for long after we've been told to pick him up.

I will say that working from home works better for Phil than me. He hasn't done it much but there have been times when he has worked from home while watching Paul. I can't do that any longer because Paul wants my undivided attention when I'm home with him. I could log on and work during his naps, but if he's awake, there is no way I could focus enough to get work done.

What is your morning routine?

As I've mentioned before, mornings are very hectic in our house and we have no wiggle room in our schedule!

6:00 - I get up, shower, and get ready.

6:30 - Wake up Paul if he's not awake already. Change his diaper, dress him in clothes I set out the night before, and put him the high chair while I finish getting ready. He has a glass of milk and half a muffin or banana. Breakfast isn't until 8 at daycare so he needs a snack as he's super hungry in the morning. Phil is in the shower/getting ready at this time so that's why I do all the morning prep. If Paul has a poopy diaper when he wakes up, Phil sprays it (we use cloth diapers so we have to spray them off before washing them) so that's his morning contribution! ;)

6:35 - While Paul eats his breakfast, I eat mine (oatmeal with a cut up banana on top) and get my thermos of coffee ready. I'm very particular about coffee so won't drink the stuff at work.

He was not excited to have his breakfast documented

6:50 - Phil leaves with Paul. I wash his bib and highchair tray, put my coffee and lunch (which I pack the night before) in my work back pack, take my daily morning medications and vitamins and head out the door to catch the bus which comes around 6:57. I love taking the bus. It picks up across the street from our house and drops me off in front of the building I work in. It's very nice to be able to read, catch up on emails, or listen to podcasts while someone else deals with traffic! Phil drives Paul to daycare, drops him off, and parks our car about a mile away and catches a bus to work.

7:20 - I'm usually at my desk by 7:20 and hit the ground running.

Playing in the front of the house while we wait for daddy's bus

What's your evening routine?

My after-work routine varies a bit based on when I am able to leave work. Lately I've been trying to leave work around 3:40 when it's quiet so I can get a little extra time with Paul. This is our schedule when I'm not able to do that.

4:10 - Leave work, walk to the bus stop which is about a block away. The bus comes around 4:20.

4:40 - Get off on the bus in the area where we park our car, drive to day care and pick up Paul. As soon as he spots me he crawls over to me as fast as he can! He loves daycare but he gets so excited when I pick him up! I chat with one of his teachers about how his day went and we head out.

5:00 - Get home. Phil takes the bus home and gets there shortly before us. If it's nice outside, we head out for a 40 minute family walk along a creek in our neighborhood. Otherwise we play with Paul in our living room.

5:45 - Feed Paul dinner. As I have mentioned before, it is not possible for all of us to sit down together to eat dinner. It would be very difficult for me to fix something that all of us would eat. So until Paul can stay up later, he eats before us and we eat after he's in bed. Phil usually handles feeding Paul while I spend this time prepping our dinner. After dinner Paul usually gets a little time to play or I read books to him.

6:15 - He usually goes to bed around 6:30 so we head upstairs around 6:15. He gets a bath every other night. Then I put lotion on him and put him in his nighttime diaper and pajamas. Phil and I take turns reading to him (meaning, I handle one night, he handles the next night). We usually read him 3 books but will read as many as 5 if he doesn't seem super tired. Then we turn off the lights, turn on his white noise machine, and put him in his crib with his lovey (which is a little cat!).  He goes to bed very, very easily thanks to the sleep training we did when he was around 4 months.

After he's in bed, we eat dinner and will often watch an episode of a show. I get the coffee maker ready to go so I just have to push brew in the morning, pack my lunch, and take my daily evening medications. I usually head up to bed around 8-8:30 so I can read for awhile. I turn my lights off between 9-9:30. Phil comes to bed around 10 or later but I'm usually sleeping by then!

In part 2 of this post, I'll talk about changes we've made to "make working work" and what I wish I'd known when I returned to work.

What is your morning routine like? Do you feel rushed like we do? I could make our mornings less rushed by getting up earlier but I've been prioritizing sleep!


Marlys said...

Boy, you've got that routine down to a science! I was fortunate that I didn't work outside of the home until a few years before you were born, but I did day care so my days with 3 of my own children and about 4 - 5 others made for very busy days. When I did start working outside of the home, it was for our own business so it was very flexible. I had a playpen set up in the office and lots of toys, so you kids kept pretty busy while I worked or I worked from home. By the time you were born, Chad was already in school, so it was just you, Emily & Kevin that I dragged back and forth. I doubt you remember those days? My routine was not as scheduled as yours is for various reasons, which was good for me! I'm always amazed at how couples manage their time while both working outside of the home, but it's wonderful that Phil is such a great helper.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

Our schedules have changed a lot in the last 8 years. But the person who stayed home when she was sick or when there was a snow day (and i did not have one) was my husband. He can easily work from home. I could not. One of my jobs, I would have been fine working from home but the company was not very supportive of it. Nor were they very supportive of you actually using your limited sick days. If I got a call which only surprisingly has happened once, I had to make it work because at the time I was closer as my husband works 40 minutes away. Luckily, my friend/at the time nanny was able to pick her up for me. My parent also watched her a couple time whens she wasn't sick sick anymore but needed maybe like an extra day of rest. My dad is mostly retired. My mom will be retired in December. Right now I am staying home with occasionally subbing and I am in charge of everything. But I've always been in charge of morning get ready, except for one school year when he did drop off 2 days a week. But thankfully school does not start until 8:55 so we have a very slow morning. She is in bed during the school year at 8pm and wakes up anywhere from 6:30 - 7:45 depending on what activities have been occurring!

Leigh said...

Our schedule is similar to yours, except our kids go to bed an hour or so later. The kids are usually up between 6-6:45am and they have milk and some cheerios while watching cartoons/we finish getting ready (they eat breakfast at the day home). We leave around 7:30am and Brian usually drops them off. I pick them up between 4:50-5pm and we are home 5 minutes later. If Brian is not coaching, he will make dinner so we usually eat together and then go play outside if it's nice or watch a movie until bath/bedtime. Once the kids are in bed, we take turns walking Harley, doing the dishes, etc. I will usually work out and shower and head to bed around 10-10:30pm

Stephany said...

Haha, I definitely will not tell you what my morning routine looks like and how easy it is. ;) My biggest struggle is getting up on time because I just want to laze around in bed. It's especially hard when Lila comes to snuggle me in the morning. There's no way I'm getting up when that happens!

katielookingforward said...

I love these type of posts! It seems like having a strong connection with your partner is an important part of making it all work. Thank goodness for flexible companies when sick kiddos happen.

Jeanie said...

This is really interesting, Lisa. Out of my wheelhouse, to be sure, bhut it sounds like you have it worked out very well -- what a difference that must make!

Amber said...

This was a really fun post to read! I should answer these questions as well. Our morning and evening routines vary depending on the shift Eric is working. I am 100% the one with the more flexible job though and there would never be a situation where Eric took time off work if Olivia was sick unless I was traveling and not in town. Even then I think we'd probably end up using family to help us, though sometimes we run into situations where that won't work like this morning! It's definitely a huge balance being a working parent, but I like it most days.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I love posts like this!

My morning routine isn't rushed, but it was every year prior to this one. This year I decided to start getting up at 6:00 a.m. I get straight into the shower, then get out, and make breakfast and coffee. While I am making my breakfast, Christopher gets into the shower, and gets ready for work. I am sitting and eating by 6:30 a.m, and catching up on social media, Reddit, etc. This is the best part of my morning, because I have an hour to just relax and slowly start my day (I know that this is very different for parents, so I definitely don't take this quiet time for granted). Christopher leaves at 7:00, and I continue to eat my breakfast and drink coffee until 7:30 a.m. (I am a verrrrrrry slow eater). Then, I put a kettle on the stove, brush my teeth, put on some makeup, comb my hair, get dressed, grab my lunch from the fridge, two teas in to-go cups, and a water bottle, and head out the door around 8:00-8:10. I get to work for about 8:30, and start work at 8:53 (weird, I know).

San said...

This is so great that you can both work from home if needed, but I can understand that not much work gets done if Paul is awake these days.

You're already getting up at 6 a.m. (which is early for most people), so I wouldn't sacrifice any more sleep for a less hectic morning routine. The only 'advice' would be to get as much as possible ready for the next day, so that you don't have to do it in the morning.