Friday, October 18, 2013

Working Mom: Jess (on Evening Routines)

I am a working mom (and I love it); but, if I'm being honest, I feel like most days I'm more "surviving" and less "making it work."  So... I enlisted the help of some dear blog friends to share their experiences, advice, lessons, and encouragement on all kinds of topics related to life balancing a job outside the home and a family. I think this goes without saying, but please know that this series is - in no way - meant to belittle or undermine the work of stay-at-home moms - you are doing an incredibly important JOB, and I have so much respect for you!  That said, I do feel like working moms are sometimes under-represented in the internet world... So, my hope is that this will be a place for working moms of the blogosphere to unite and feel understood, connected, strengthened, and supported (plus, maybe pick up a tip or two)!   Overall, I hope this will be a reminder that (regardless of your situation), you are NOT alone, and you are doing a darn good job! Please introduce yourself and  "join the conversation" in the comments.  

(More from me on being a working mom here.)

Jess has been a long-time blog reader and sweet internet friend.  I am so excited to introduce her today as she shares about her evening routine as a working mom:

I was approached by Elizabeth at E, Myself and I about participating in a Working Mom project. I was so excited that I emailed her back that second! She's very similar to me - a teacher, wife and mom with to-do lists up the whazoo, good intentions, but never enough time. Does that sound familiar to anyone else??

Let me introduce myself, first, since a lot of you will be new here! I am an almost 31 year old teacher, Mom to Cameron (15 months old) and Wife to Chad (but we're not married). I teach high school special education to students with moderate disabilities: Emotional Disturbances, Specific Learning Disabilities, OHI (ADHD) and Autism. I LOVE MY JOB. I give so much credit to SAHMs, but I don't think I could ever do it. Teaching is part of me and it helps me define ME. Of course, being Chad's partner is first because nothing else would be possible without his support, love and dedication. 

One of the most important things that I have learned about being a working mom is to be prepared and organized. I am, by no means, super organized or prepared, but I like to think I am in the right places. Like never running out of diapers. Or snacks. Or clothes. For me, I can throw together something "dirty" and make a decent outfit. For Cameron, his "dirty" is a little more, well, dirty.

Our evening routine involves my organization/preparation time for the next day(s), and it goes something like this:

Depending on the day, I may work until 6 at my second job or I may be done at 2:30. Regardless, we usually leave Cameron at day care a little later to take advantage of some "productive" time either at work or at home. We also use this time for doctor's appointments, financial appointments, etc...which all go a little smoother with no baby. :) Some days, however, I pick him up early and enjoy some outside time with him!

5:00 One of us picks up Cameron from day care

5:30 Cameron eats dinner while we take care of dishes, design our dream home or just relax with some cocktails.

My usual view during this time...Cameron's eating, Chad's cooking and I'm drinking a glass of wine :)

6:00 Family play time - wrestling, going for a walk, making forts, playing with toys, playing with the neighbors (and their toys)

6:30 Bath time for Cameron...sometimes this lasts for 4 minutes, sometimes it lasts for 20 minutes. Whoever is not giving Cam a bath is either making dinner (Chad) or doing laundry/picking up (me).

For some reason, Chad can keep Cam in the tub for 40 minutes...when I do it, he wants to get out immediately. What gives?!

6:45ish Out of bath, pjs, book and milk for Cameron, continue dinner prep for us

Sometimes we cheers cocktails before bed...don't judge.

7:00 Bedtime for bonzo...we've tried 7:30 because we thought he was going down too late, but 7:00 is our magic number. He usually sits in bed for about 30-40 minutes jabbering to himself, but he's always been great about putting himself to sleep.

After Cameron is in bed, we eat dinner together (we try...some nights, we just eat with him, but we really try to set aside this time for us.) then wrap up the dishes, turn off the kitchen lights and retreat to our part of the house. (We live with my mom and share a kitchen, but have our own living space.)

Our typical dinner...psych! Chad is an amaaazing chef, but we usually opt for something much less time consuming like meatloaf or frozen pizza or take-out.

Once my bootie hits the couch, I am usually down for the count, so I am always sure that my nightly to-do list is complete: Clean outfit for Cameron, sippy of milk ready for the morning and the house as picked up as possible. I hate cleaning, but I hate living in a mess even more.

Our biggest challenge is that Cameron is still sleeping in our bedroom (in his crib) because we only have one bedroom for now! So, once he goes to bed, our room is off limits. Which means that laundry is off limits (except for swapping loads and folding). This is why I like to use our afternoons to get laundry done - otherwise, it would sit in our bedroom for weeks. Literally.

Of course, every night is different. This is my ideal evening routine, but eating out, visiting family, house appointments, etc sometimes keep us out later than 7:00 which calls for a quick change then right to bed with no bath. Some nights, we just don't give him a bath. Some nights, my mom takes him for a walk which gives us more time to do things together (even if it's just dishes or cooking), which is SO IMPORTANT. We could never be good parents without the support of each other.

What is your evening routine? What works? What doesn't work?

Thanks to Elizabeth for having me! I can't wait to read all of the other posts in this series! I hope we are helpful to you working moms!


Read more about Jess's little man and her life as a working momma at her blog, Strawberry Swing.

What are your evenings like?  Anyone else have little ones with a late bedtime?  


  1. There is a definite correlation between a productive evening routine and smooth exit out of the house in the morning. My problem is I try to cram EVERYTHING in from 5 (when we get home) to 7:30 (girls bedtime).. that includes dinner for all of us, clean up, laundry, playing and getting ready for the next day. Once the girls are in bed I usually need to do some school work and lesson planning for the next day.

  2. Hello!

    I just found your blog! My evenings vary depending on the day. On Tuesdays/Thursdays/and some Fridays my routine is more relaxed. My hubby gets my daughter from daycare then gets me from work. We get home around 4:30 pm.

    4:30-5:00 Getting settled, changing into more comfy clothes, emptying out my daughters daycare bag, getting my daughter a snack.

    5:00-6:00 Preparing dinner and eating dinner
    6:00-6:30 Cleaning up from dinner, preparing my lunch for the next day, preparing my daughters lunch for the next day

    6:30-7:30 Bath Time and some television time

    7:30-8:00 prep for bed time, pick clothes out for next day {stories, prayer, warm up milk}

    8:00 Daughter in bed

    8:00-10:00 *on a productive day* I do homework *on a non-productive day* I watch television

    10:00 I'm in bed.

    On Monday, Wednesdays and some Fridays we have church obligations

    4:30 We get home
    4:30-5:00 Grab a quick bite to eat
    5:00-6:00 Take a nap {with no shame!!!}
    6:00-6:30 Get ready to go to church
    6:30-10:00 traveling, in church
    10:30 Rush to get my daughter to bed
    11:30 Get myself to bed!

  3. I totally agree on having a good routine, for anything really! I have learned as a mom that my kids do best when there is a set schedule and know what to expect. & I totally hear you on the bathtub thing! My kids always take super long baths when daddy is in charge but when momma is? No way! They all want out right away!

  4. the more you get done at nigh the smoother the morning is for sure!!! great post!

  5. Hi All,
    I'm Courtney and by way of being one of Jess's blog followers, I found this post. I too, am a working mom and often feel the strain of trying to juggle a home, a family, and a job. What a great idea to have a place to share!

    We only have one child (Madeline, 2) but it takes the *both* of us to corral her most nights, lol. As she gets older, our biggest challenge has been finding things to keep Maddy interested and occupied so that she doesn't get bored easily, especially while we're trying to get dinner ready and the occasional house chore done.

    We've pretty much followed the same schedule since she was born and it has always worked for us:

    5:00 - get home, open mail, make cocktails, start dinner, catch up on the day
    6:00 - family dinner time. No phones, no TV. Just us.
    6:30 - Clean up from dinner, free time for Maddy to play
    7:00 - family activity time; walks, playing with Maddy's toys, crafts, and every Wednesday night, we Skype with my mom and dad who live in Atlanta
    7:30 - Bath and books
    8:00 - Bedtime for Maddy
    8:00 - 11:30 - time for Michael and me to do things together, I work on my blog, pay bills, handle laundry, or just veg out in front of the TV.

    Great post! I plan to visit often!


  6. Love this series! Our after-work schedule is very similar. My little one goes to be around 8:00 p.m. every night. We've tried keeping him up later (because those few hours after work with him are precious and never seem like enough time), but 8:00 is his magic bedtime.


Your comments are what makes this thing fun! I LOVE to hear from you and do my best to respond to everyone! THANK YOU!

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