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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.

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Seeing your baby for the first time is an amazing experience for any parent. For most parents, the months preceding this meeting were probably spent imagining what the baby was experiencing inside the womb, trying to paint a realistic picture on top of that two-dimensional black and white ultrasound photo.

But thanks to Brazillian birth photographer Janaina Oliveira and a baby boy named Noah, parents around the world are now better able to imagine what their baby's world looked like between the ultrasound picture and their first breath.

While most babies are born without their amniotic sac intact, Noah entered the world (via C-section), still cocooned inside his. This is known as an en caul birth, and while it wasn't the first Oliveira has captured through her lens, it is likely now the most famous of her photographs.

After she posted Noah's birth photos to Instagram, Oliveira's photos went viral, making headlines around the world.

This slideshow is amazing.

In a Facebook post, Noah's mom Monyck Valasco explains that she had a tough pregnancy with Noah, and is so grateful that he did not arrive too early.

Noah is now something of a celebrity in his hometown of Vila Velha, Brazil, but local media reports he was actually one of three en caul babies born at the Praia da Costa Hospital in just one month. Birth photographer Janaina Oliveira actually captured all three en caul births on camera. Little Matais arrived before Noah, and baby Laura came afterward, both en caul.

These photographs are as breathtaking as the babies featured in them and remind mothers around the world that our bodies were once someone's whole world. And now they are ours.

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Alexis Ohanian has made a lot of important decisions in his life. The decision to co-found Reddit is a pretty big one. So was marrying Serena Williams. But right up there with changing internet culture and making a commitment to his partner, the venture capitalist lists taking time off after his daughter's birth as a significant, life-changing choice.

"My understanding of showing up and being present for my wife was taken to a whole new level when Olympia was born. I was able to take 16 weeks of paid leave from Reddit, and it was one of the most important decisions I've made," Ohanian says in an essay for Glamour.

A nearly four-month parental leave is something too few American mothers, let alone fathers, get to take. Even when fathers work for companies that offer generous parental leave packages, they often don't use the benefit for fear of being sidelined or seen as uncommitted. A recent survey by Talking Talent found fathers typically use only 32% of the time available to them.

In his essay, Ohanian recognizes that he is privileged in a way most parents aren't.

"It helped that I was a founder and didn't have to worry about what people might say about my 'commitment' to the company, but it was incredible to be able to spend quality time with Olympia. And it was perhaps even more meaningful to be there for my wife and to adjust to this new life we created together—especially after all the complications she had during and after the birth," he explains.

(The GOAT's husband is making the same points that we at Motherly make all the time.)

He continues: "There is a lot of research about the benefits of taking leave, not only for the cognitive and emotional development of the child but for the couple. However, many fathers in this country are not afforded the privilege of parental leave. And even when they are, there is often a stigma that prevents them from doing so. I see taking leave as one of the most fundamental ways to 'show up' for your partner and your family, and I cherished all 16 weeks I was able to take."

👏👏👏

By first taking his leave and then speaking out about the ways in which it benefited his family, Ohanian is using his privileged position to de-stigmatize fathers taking leave, and advocate for more robust parental leave policies for all parents, and his influence doesn't end there. He's trying to show the world that parents shouldn't have to cut off the parent part of themselves in order to be successful in their careers.

He says that when his parental leave finished he transitioned from being a full-time dad to a "business dad."


"I'm fortunate to be my own boss, which comes with the freedoms of doing things like bringing my daughter into the office, or working remotely from virtually anywhere Serena competes. My partners at Initialized are used to seeing Olympia jump on camera—along with her doll Qai Qai—or hearing her babbling on a call. I tell them with pride, 'Olympia's at work today!' And I'll post some photos on Instagram or Twitter so my followers can see it too," Ohanian explains.

"The more we normalize this, on social media and in real life, the better, because I know this kind of dynamic makes a lot of men uncomfortable (and selfishly I want Olympia to hear me talking about start-ups!)," he says.

This is the future of family-friendly work culture. Take it from a guy who created an entire internet culture.

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Trigger warning: Some of these responses describe a women's experiences with child loss.

Anxiety is one of those concepts you can never truly grasp until you face it yourself. And, each person's anxiety can announce itself in different ways—for some, it's postpartum anger, while for others, it's an overwhelming feeling of worry about a pregnancy. This can be especially prevalent if you're at high risk, concerned about telling your boss or undergoing medical issues. If you suffer from anxiety, know you're not alone in this mama. In fact, women are twice as likely to develop an anxiety disorder than men.

These mamas shared how they manage and cope with their anxiety on Chairman Mom:

1. Hypnobirthing class

"I took a hynobirthing class at a nearby parents resource center—it was phenomenal. The class changed my emotional forecast for both the pregnancy and delivery. I uncovered a calm existence that lived dormant inside a very anxious body. For quick help at my fingertips, I love the Headspace app. My favorite quote pops up on the screen before I tap to complete a meditation 'Rather than the mind leading the breath, allow the breath to lead the mind. Keep glowing!'" —Jenny

2. Journaling

"It took my husband and I three years to have our IVF miracle baby after a devastating miscarriage last summer. I was wracked with anxiety for the entire duration of my pregnancy and it got worse as I got closer to his due date. The one thing that helped me was to journal. I wrote to the baby constantly about every step of the process and was very raw and real about the emotions I was experiencing each step of the way."—Anonymous

3. Set some ground rules

"[While I was on strict bedrest for 10 weeks] I tried to set ground rules for myself—I 'indulged' in worst case scenario/message board/Googling for exactly 30 minutes each day, and had to fill the rest of the bedrest time with other positive activities. I controlled for the factors I could, and just tried to chill out about everything else. Easier said than done, but I forced myself to breath deeply and try to limit the physical effects of my anxiety."—Milo

4. Therapy

"I feel like this could be my answer for many questions, but I say get to therapy. Anxiety can be a normal part of parenthood and it's a good idea to take the time before baby comes to build your tool kit and to feel like, even though it is full of unknowns, you have prepared your heart for the wild ride that is motherhood. I am an anxious person by nature, a worrier, a big feeler— learning that this is okay and that I can use it to my advantage has been empowering beyond measure. You are not alone and you will get through this. Hugs to you. If you are an "action person" and can't/won't get into therapy right now, this workbook has a lot of good, practical exercises."—Stratton

5. Reading this book

"I found a book called Finding Calm for the Expectant Mom useful. The major anxiety reducer for me during pregnancy was walking, because it was the only time I didn't feel sick early on and then later it was the only time the baby wasn't kicking me (which is supremely comforting and yet not). I found going with a mid-wife rather than a doctor helped alleviate a lot of anxiety. In Ontario (Canada) this is covered by OHIP (provincial health insurance). Midwives have way more time and patience. All appointments are booked for 30 minutes, so you never feel rushed."—Sian

6. Find a super knowledgeable OB

"I'm currently pregnant (second trimester) with two complications one of which can cause stillbirth. I found the best way to reduce anxiety was finding a super knowledgeable OB that I could talk to about treatments and milestones. Ask them about what kind of monitoring they'll do for you in the third trimester (NST/BPPs). Talk about contingency plans. I also found a doula that has been wonderful to talk with about the process of birth and the potential of NICU time and emergency c-sections (both not that uncommon with other women that have the same condition I do.) I whole heartedly recommend finding a therapist that you can talk with about your fears and anxieties. Look for ones who specialize in new moms. If there are any support groups for mamas with your high risk condition I also urge you to seek them out. Setting a limit for how much time you spend there is also extremely wise. And know that there are women who will experience loss in those groups. That doesn't mean you will." —Anonymous

7. Yoga, working out + meditation

"[After a miscarriage] what I've learned is that all that worrying didn't make a difference. It didn't make me feel any more prepared or okay once I lost the baby. And it limited how much I enjoyed those three months that I was pregnant. Next time I'm not going to read anything or Google anything or read any odds. I'm just going to take everyday as a gift. I know that's easier said than done. Yoga, working out, meditation. Being around people who don't know because then you can't talk about it or obsess about it. Warm baths, tea. Just be super super nice to yourself. Don't worry about what you should be eating or shouldn't be eating, etc."—Anonymous

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Having a new baby is incredibly hard. And beautiful and fulfilling and rewarding, of course—but definitely, definitely hard.

Especially the nights.

Watching the last rays of sunlight disappear would make my heart race. My 3-week-old baby didn't sleep for more than an hour and a half at a time and had zero regard for what time it was.

She was so tiny and helpless—and it was my responsibility to keep her safe and fed and healthy. For me, that was easier during the day. Because at night, it felt unfair knowing my husband and toddler were fast asleep a few rooms over.

The minute our newborn would wake, I would spring to action. Bottle, breast, pacing the floor, bouncing on an exercise ball, loud shushing into her tiny ear—I would do whatever it would take to get her to quiet down so she wouldn't wake the rest of the house.

The evenings also started to feel very isolating. It's hardly appropriate to call your mom or friend or sister at 1 a.m. when your baby starts spitting up a curdled milk mixture so hard it comes out of her nose. And even if I did call anyway, it wouldn't matter because they wouldn't answer because they'd be sleeping.

I was used to anticipating a lack of sleep each night, which was terrifying. I felt such dread knowing I would only get a collective two and a half hours of sleep before my toddler would wake up at 5:30 a.m, ready for his morning dance party.

Fear would strike me at night, too. An incapacitating, all-consuming fear that something might happen to my sweet baby girl while she was lying peacefully in her safe crib, in her baby-proofed nursery. I often wondered how I was even supposed to sleep with such intense worry on my mind.

I would stare for hours into the pitch black night, half of me thankful my baby was healthy, the other half of me terrified something would happen to her.

I'd feel irrational in the late hours of the night (or more likely, the wee, wee hours of the early morning) often reacting with full-on annoyance because as soon as she'd started to fall asleep I'd think, this is it—I can finally get some rest, only for her to wake up a few minutes later. I'd snap, "Seriously? All you do is eat!" at my tiny baby, which would automatically trigger intense guilt over what felt like such an uncontrolled emotional response.

"It gets better" and "sleep when the baby sleeps" are two sentiments I hope never to hear again in my life because—does it get better? Well, yes it does. Children don't usually turn into adults who only sleep for 90 minutes at a time. And sleeping when the baby sleeps sounds good in theory but it's impractical. Plus, neither statement helps at 3 a.m., TBH.

I went to extreme measures to quell my anxiety. I sent my husband to Walmart in the middle of a tropical depression to buy a rock 'n play. Then I sent him back when he returned with the version that didn't vibrate. I put a $300 Owlet monitor on a credit card. I used Amazon one-day shipping to obtain a copy of Dr. Harvey Karp's The Happiest Baby on the Block.

I eventually found there's no magic solution to aid in this season of parenting. It helps to find a community of women going through the same struggles. Prioritizing self-care and spending time connecting with your significant other are also healthy ways of dealing.

But I'm going to level with you—for the first three months of my baby's life, I didn't have time to seek out a support group, wash my hair or converse about one meaningful thing with my spouse.

I was in survival mode and the only thing that helped me was time passing and binge watching Downton Abbey.

And walks around the block. And coffee.

If you loved the newborn stage and came through it with fond memories—I applaud you.

If you gave it all you had and emerged on the other side with a baby who (mainly) sleeps through the night and is somewhat happy, most of the time—you deserve a standing ovation.

You managed to prevail in a time that required intense mental and physical stamina, and you nailed it. Great job, mama.

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