Menu

How 12 real moms juggle work + childcare

Each family has found what works best for them. ❤️

How 12 real moms juggle work + childcare

Have you ever wondered how working mamas make it work? Maybe you're about to head back to work after your maternity leave and you're not sure how everything is going to fall into place. Or you want a sneak peek into how other moms make family time happen when they're gone eight-plus hours each day.

We asked #TeamMotherly and there were hundreds of responses detailing what their schedules looked like, from waking up and commuting to squeezing in time with their partner.

Here were some of the responses:

1. A mom who starts work at 3:30am every day

"I work from home teaching English online to kids in China Monday-Saturday. I wake up and start teaching at 3:30 A.M. and am done by 6:15 A.M. And then do weekend evening classes that go from 7-9 A.M. Crazy schedule but my little one is always sleeping while I work and then I have all day with her!" —Ashley A

2. She gets a workout in before work

"5:20 A.M. Out of bed to go to HIIT class

6:15 A.M. Return home. Shower, coffee, dressed, get prepped breakfast/lunch into work bag

6:45 A.M. Daughter and husband up. Both get her ready while each still getting ready

7:15 A.M. Leave for work

8 A.M.-5 P.M. Work

5-6 P.M. Commuting home

6-7:30 P.M. Play with daughter, feed her, bathe her

7:30-8:15 P.M. Daughter bedtime routine

8:15-9 P.M. Husband and I eat

9-10 P.M. Prep for next day

10-11 P.M. Us bedtime routine

Repeat!" — Stephanie R.

3. A mom who makes the most of her mornings

"I wake up around 6:30/7 A.M. when the baby wakes up and spend the hour and a half (ish) only with her. I don't shower, don't eat breakfast, only spend the morning feeding her, spending time with her, and getting her ready for day care. My husband leaves around 8:15 A.M. to do drop off and then I start getting ready.

"I leave around 9:30 A.M. for work so sometimes I'm able to work out, shower and get out the door or pick up our home, start dinner, whatever I can fit into that time frame. I take a train into work so I spend that time reading in and answering emails. I work until 7 P.M. and don't walk in the door until 8:30 P.M., when my baby is fast asleep. I try to spend as much uninterrupted time as I can with her in the morning because we don't get that evening time at all. It works out, but there's not a day that goes by that I don't I wish I could teleport home after work for bedtime." —Maggy P

4. It's a 4am-4pm kind of day

"I wake up at 4 A.M., do an hours exercise, get ready for the day, shower make lunches etc and await my two kids to wake around 5.30-6.30 A.M. We leave the house at about 7:45 A.M., do the school drop off and then at work by 8.30-ish. Finish work at 4 P.M., pick the monkeys up and then home by 5 P.M. Dinner play bath and bed and then a little more work, chores and rinse and repeat." —Jesse B.

5. One teacher's schedule

"3:15 A.M. Wake up and work out

4:00 A.M. Shower breakfast get dressed

5:00 A.M. Prep baby bottles, lunches food

5:30 A.M. Nurse baby, get toddler up, get all dressed and ready

6:00 A.M. Breakfast for toddler and baby

6:30 A.M. Leave for drop off to daycare

7:30 A.M.-3:15 P.M. (I am a teacher so it's more like 4/5) work, pumping at 7:45 A.M. , 11:45 A.M., 3 P.M.

4-5:00 P.M. Pickup kids, dinner, bedtime for baby by 6, 7:30 P.M. for toddler

7:30-8:30 P.M. Chores etc, then bed!

*maybe a nursing session around 2:00am?*" —Alexandra M.

6. A working mom whose partner works two jobs

"6:15 A.M. wake up, quick shower, get ready, get the baby up and out the door by 6:45 A.M. Drop him off at daycare by 7 A.M. Commute almost an hour to work, work til 5 P.M., commute an hour home. Pick baby up from daycare 6-6:15 P.M., come home, let the dogs out and feed them, heat up dinner and eat with my 16-month-old.

"We finish dinner, bath and teeth brushing and get him to bed by 7:30 P.M. After he goes to bed, I shower, meal prep for the next night, clean up, and watch TV until my husband gets home. He works 8-5 P.M. at his main job, 6-9:30 P.M. at his second job." —Samara L.

7. She works 10-hour shifts

"5 A.M. Wake up and pump

5:30 A.M. Wake baby up, feed her a bottle/get stuff ready for my day

6 A.M. Drop baby off at daycare

6:15 A.M. Commute to work

7 A.M.-5:30 P.M. Work (pump sessions at 11 A.M. and 4 P.M.)

5:30 P.M.Commute home

6:15 P.M. Arrive home, play with baby (hubby picks her up between 3-4 usually)

6:30 P.M. Baby's last bottle/bedtime routine

7/7:30 P.M. Bed time for baby

7:30-9:30 P.M. Eat dinner and relax w husband

9:30 P.M. Final pump

10 P.M. Sleep

I work for 10-hour shifts and take on call shifts two weekends out of the month so I get quality time on my days off and weekends 🙂" —Abigail A.

8. Another teacher's schedule

"I wake up at 5 A.M. to get myself ready. Then wake up my 6- and 3-year-old at 6 A.M. Feed them and get them ready. My husband helps with getting them dressed. Then off to grandmas and before school care by 7:20 A.M. I head to work, about a 10-minute commute. I teach tiny humans in first grade from 8 A.M.-3 P.M. I have after school duty until 3:15 P.M. then I rush back to my classroom to tidy up and make last-minute copies or prep for the next day. I go pick up my kids and we're home by 4 P.M.! My husband usually comes home around this time too.

"I do ALLL the mom stuff like cooking, cleaning, and then I grade papers or lesson plan or write reports on students for an hour or two. I'm usually in bed by 10 P.M. This of course would be a picture perfect day 😂 but I have two kids and I have 24 kids in my classroom. I'm usually seen rushing around with coffee in hand during the day and a wine glass in the evening." —Stephanie G.

9. A mom who pumps every 3 hours

"4:45 A.M. Wake up and pump

5:35 A.M. Start a load of laundry

5:40 A.M. Let the dog out/feed

5:45 A.M. Empty dishwasher and load and run

6:00 A.M. Put together lunch/bfast

6:10 A.M. Shower and do hair

6:20 A.M. Move laundry to the dryer

6:20- 6:40 A.M. Change baby, give one bottle and dress for daycare

6:40 A.M. Pack baby for the husband to drop off at daycare

6:40-7:00 A.M. Pump on way to work

4:00 A.M. Home

4:15 P.M. Sterilize bottles

4:30 P.M. Vacuum floors

4:45 P.M. Fold laundry and put away

5:00 P.M. Husband comes home and he cooks dinner and news

5:30 P.M. Play with baby

6:00 P.M. Bath time

7:00 P.M. Make bottles

8:00 P.M.-9:00 pm Clean

9:30 P.M. Baby takes last bottle

10:00 P.M. Baby down

(insert pump every 3 hours)."—Rohana M.

10. A work-from-home mom

"On an ideal day... when my kid lets me get some work done 😉. Wake up, husband is off to work, get the little one up, diaper, then breakfast for us both. And COFFEE (very important! 😉) After breakfast it's playtime and chores, then she watches a show while I work a bit and then make her lunch. Lunch, then nap.

"While she naps I eat lunch, fold laundry, make phone calls, answer emails and crank out articles for clients. Then when she wakes, she usually watches a bit more TV while I continue to work. We play a bit, then I start on dinner. Sometimes husband is able to help with bath or playing with her while I cook. Dinner, get her ready for bed/in bed, then eat dinner with my man and write a bit more if I still have the brain power. 💪 It's cool seeing mine and all these other working mom's schedules written out, it's not easy but I love being able to help support my family. 😊" Rebekah H.

11. A mom whose parents help with childcare

"Wake up at 6 A.M. to get ready, but leave my kids in bed until 7 A.M.. On days my 4-year-old has school, my husband leaves at 7:15 A.M. to take him to school on his way to work, and I take my 1.5-year-old to my parents house on my way to work. On weekdays with no school, my parents keep them at my house so they get to sleep in! At 3 P.M. my husband picks them up and brings them home, or gets home to them. I work until 6 P.M., so when I get home, he usually has dinner done or at least started!

"I pick up around the house and put away laundry. We have dinner together in the dining room every night as a family. Whether it's pizza or a full course meal, we are together. After dinner I pick up some more and start bedtime routine! Baths, jammies, teeth brushed, and Bible Stories. Prayers, tucked in, white noise and diffusing lavender. I try to have them in bed by 7:30 P.M. but sometimes it's a lot later. Weekends are packed full of family time since we don't get a lot of it during the week!"—Hailey H.

12. A mom whose schedule constantly changes

"I work retail so my schedule is never the same day to day. My little one is up at 6 A.M. then off to daycare at 7 A.M., drop the older one off at school at 7:30 A.M.and back home to get ready or straight to work depending on what time I start. If I close, then my mother-in-law watches the baby until my husband gets home. Somewhere in there I get a day off but still get up at night with the baby who does not sleep well at all! So I run on about four to five hours of sleep a night. On the weekends my husband gets up with the baby so I get a little more sleep but still get up with them to make sure they are good."—Kristie C.

You might also like:

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

Keep reading Show less
Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Keep reading Show less
Shop

The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

Keep reading Show less
Life