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How 12 real moms juggle work + childcare

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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.

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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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By: Justine LoMonaco


From the moment my daughter was born, I felt an innate need to care for her. The more I experienced motherhood, I realized that sometimes this was simple―after all, I was hardwired to respond to her cries and quickly came to know her better than anyone else ever could―but sometimes it came with mountains of self-doubt.

This was especially true when it came to feeding. Originally, I told myself we would breastfeed―exclusively. I had built up the idea in my mind that this was the correct way of feeding my child, and that anything else was somehow cheating. Plus, I love the connection it brought us, and so many of my favorite early memories are just my baby and me (at all hours of night), as close as two people can be as I fed her from my breast.

Over time, though, something started to shift. I realized I felt trapped by my daughter's feeding schedule. I felt isolated in the fact that she needed me―only me―and that I couldn't ask for help with this monumental task even if I truly needed it. While I was still so grateful that I was able to breastfeed without much difficulty, a growing part of me began fantasizing about the freedom and shared burden that would come if we bottle fed, even just on occasion.

I was unsure what to expect the first time we tried a bottle. I worried it would upset her stomach or cause uncomfortable gas. I worried she would reject the bottle entirely, meaning the freedom I hoped for would remain out of reach. But in just a few seconds, those worries disappeared as I watched her happily feed from the bottle.

What I really didn't expect? The guilt that came as I watched her do so. Was I robbing her of that original connection we'd had with breastfeeding? Was I setting her up for confusion if and when we did go back to nursing? Was I failing at something without even realizing it?

In discussing with my friends, I've learned this guilt is an all too common thing. But I've also learned there are so many reasons why it's time to let it go.

1) I'm letting go of guilt because...I shouldn't feel guilty about sharing the connection with my baby. It's true that now I'm no longer the only one who can feed and comfort her any time of day or night. But what that really means is that now the door is open for other people who love her (my partner, grandparents, older siblings) to take part in this incredible gift. The first time I watched my husband's eyes light up as he fed our baby, I knew that I had made the right choice.

2) I'm letting go of guilt because...the right bottle will prevent any discomfort. It took us a bit of trial and error to find the right bottle that worked for my baby, but once we did, we rarely dealt with gas or discomfort―and the convenience of being able to pack along a meal for my child meant she never had to wait to eat when she was hungry. Dr. Brown's became my partner in this process, offering a wide variety of bottles and nipples designed to mimic the flow of my own milk and reduce colic and excess spitting up. When we found the right one, it changed everything.

3) I'm letting go of guilt because...I've found my joy in motherhood again. That trapped feeling that had started to overwhelm me? It's completely gone. By removing the pressure on myself to feed my baby a certain way, I realized that it was possible to keep her nourished and healthy―while also letting myself thrive.

So now, sometimes we use the bottle. Sometimes we don't. But no matter how I keep my baby fed, I know we've found the right way―guilt free.


This article is sponsored by Dr. Browns. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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Learn + Play

If you've had a baby in a hospital you know that those first few nights can be really hard. There are so many benefits for babies sharing rooms with their mamas (as opposed to being shipped off to those old-school, glassed-in nurseries) but tired mamas have a lot of conflicting messages coming at them.

You're told to bond with your baby, but not to fall asleep with them in the bed, and to let them rest in their bassinet. But when you're recovering from something that is (at best) the most physically demanding thing a person can do or (at worst) major surgery, moving your baby back and forth from bed to bassinette all night long sure doesn't sound like fun.

That's why this photo of a co-sleeping hospital bed is going viral again, four years after it was first posted by Australian parenting site Belly Belly. The photo continues to attract attention because the bed design is enviable, but is it real? And if so, why aren't more hospitals using it?

The bed is real, and it's Dutch. The photo originated from Gelderse Vallei hospital. As GoodHouskeeping reported back in 2015, the clip-on co-sleepers were introduced as a way to help mom and baby pairs who needed extended hospital stays—anything beyond one night in the maternity ward.

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Plenty of moms stateside wish we had such beds in our maternity wards, but as but Dr. Iffath Hoskins, an OB-GYN, told Yahoo Parenting in 2015, the concept wouldn't be in line with American hospitals' safe sleeping policies.

"If the mother rolls over from exhaustion, there would be the risk of smothering the baby," she told Yahoo. "The mother's arm could go into that space in her sleep and cover the baby, or she could knock a pillow to the side and it's on the baby."

Hoskins also believes that having to get in and out of bed to get to your baby in the night is good for moms who might be otherwise reluctant to move while recovering from C-sections. If you don't move, the risk of blood clots in the legs increases. "An advantage of being forced to get up for the baby is that it forces the mother to move her legs — it's a big plus. However painful it can be, it's important for new moms to move rather than remaining in their hospital beds."

So there you have it. The viral photo is real, but don't expect those beds to show up in American maternity wards any time soon.

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News

A new study has some people thinking twice about kissing their bearded partners, or maybe even letting those with beards kiss the baby—but there's a lot to unpack here.

According to Swiss researchers, bearded men are carrying around more bacteria than dogs do. A lot more. But read on before you send dad off to the bathroom with a razor and ask him to pull a Jason Momoa (yes, he's recently clean-shaven. RIP Aquaman's beard).

As the BBC reports, scientists swabbed the beards of 18 men and the necks of 30 dogs. When they compared the samples, they learned beards have a higher bacterial load than dog fur.

Dudes who love their beards are already clapping back against the way the science was reported in the media though, noting that the sample size in this study was super small and, importantly, that the scientists didn't swab any beardless men.

The study wasn't even about beards, really. The point of the study, which was published in July 2018 in the journal European Radiology, was to determine if veterinarians could borrow human MRI machines to scan dogs without posing a risk to human patients.

"Our study shows that bearded men harbour significantly higher burden of microbes and more human-pathogenic strains than dogs," the authors wrote, noting that when MRI scanners are used for both dogs and humans, they're cleaned very well after veterinary use, and actually have a "lower bacterial load compared with scanners used exclusively for humans."

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Another important point to note is that most bacteria aren't actually dangerous to humans, and some can be really good for us (that's why some scientists want us to let our kids get dirty).

This little study wasn't supposed to set off a beard panic, it was just supposed to prove that dogs and people can safely share an MRI machine. There is previous research on beards and bacteria though, that suggests they're not all bad.

Another study done in 2014 and published in the Journal of Hospital Infection looked at a much larger sample of human faces (men who work in healthcare), both bearded and clean shaven, and actually found that people who shaved their faces were carrying around more Staph bacteria than those with facial hair.

"Overall, colonization is similar in male healthcare workers with and without facial hair; however, certain bacterial species were more prevalent in workers without facial hair," the researchers wrote.

A year after that, a local news station in New Mexico did its own "study" on beards, one that wasn't super scientific but did go viral and prompted a flurry of headlines insisting beards are as dirty as toilets. That claim has been debunked.

So, before you ban bearded people from kissing the baby (or yourself) consider that we all have some bacteria on our faces. Dads should certainly wash their beards well, but they're not as dirty as a toilet.

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News

New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo is on a mission to level the playing field for young women and provide them with the tools for success. In 2017, he implemented free two- and four-year public colleges for New Yorkers, and now Cuomo is adding a budget proposal that would provide on-site childcare at community colleges.

Under the proposal, single parents participating in the program would also have access to tutoring and help when applying to four-year schools. It's the kind of idea that could be a game changer for parents in New York state.

Currently, childcare centers are subsidized for student-parents but can still cost parents $50-$60 a week; under Cuomo's budget proposal, childcare would be free. Students who are already enrolled in similar programs acknowledge that the benefits are enormous.

"As a single parent of two children going to school full time, I wouldn't be able to come to school and afford for childcare," says Michelle Trinidad, a student at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) and parent to a 4 and 5-year-old. "Thank goodness for BMCC Early Childhood Center that is very much affordable. It gives me the opportunity to advance my career and be confident that my son is in good hands. School is hard enough on its own, having reliable child care means a lot to me and my children."

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The plan is a part of Cuomo's 2019 women's justice agenda, legislation that addresses the gender wage gap, as well as economic and social justice for all New York women. According to a 2017 report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research, 11% of undergraduates, or 2.1 million students, were single mothers as of 2012, which has doubled since 2000. Additionally, that same study found that 4 in 10 women at two-year colleges say that they are likely or very likely to drop out of school due to their dependent care obligations.

"This is an exciting initiative for New York that addresses a critical need, and if implemented, will have a far-reaching impact on various aspects of society, especially for the next generation," says Ryan Lee-James, PhD an Assistant Professor at Adelphi University. "I view this initiative as both a direct and indirect pathway to address the well-documented achievement gap between children reared in poverty and those growing up with higher income families, as it provides moms, who otherwise may not have had the opportunity, to further their education and thus, afford their children more opportunities."

Additionally, many view campus childcare as a safe haven for college students. "During my 18 years working in campus childcare, I have witnessed how the student-parents can complete their courses and stay focused by having childcare on campus," says Sori Palacio, a Head Teacher at BMCC Early Childhood Center. "Parents usually express how thankful they are for having their children traveling with them to school as well as having their children nearby while they complete their degree. They concentrate in academic work without worrying about their child's wellbeing. This service helps the entire public by preparing more people to serve the community."

Parents have so many barriers when it comes to accessing higher education, but free childcare could be a game changer that benefits multiple generations.

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News

Anthropologie is one of those stores you can browse around forever. From beautifully curated clothing to dreamy home items (if you don't already have this Capri Blue candle in your life, you *need* it). But sometimes the items can come with a hefty price.

This weekend only—from 4/18-4/21—, they're offering an extra 50% off sale items and 20% off furniture on sale. 🙌 (Note that all sales are final.)

Here's what we're adding to our carts:

1. Gwendolyn diaper bag, $69.96 (was $98.00)

Anthropologie diaper bag

Beautiful and functional—what more could you ask for in a diaper bag?

BUY

2. Tough as a mother graphic tee, $38.40 (was $48)

Tough as a mother tee

Who else is tougher than a mother?

BUY

3. Monogram candle, $14.95 (was $24.00)

Anthropologie monogram candle

You can never have too many candles. Once it's done, clean out the wax and use it to store smaller items around the home!

BUY

4. Baby bella bunny,  $9.95 (was $16.00)

Anthropologie stuffed bunny

This would make a gorgeous gift for a newborn, or a sweet surprise for your own little.

BUY

5. Splendid sincerity slides, $69.96 (was $118.00)

Anthropologie slides

Say hello to your go-to summer shoe for all of the activities on your list.

BUY

6. Voilette canister, $19.95 (was $28.00)

Anthropologie canisters

We all have items that we just can't seem to find a home for (looking at you Q-tips).

BUY

7. Karuna cleaning mud mask, $4.95 (was $8.00)

Anthropologie mud mask

For when you sneak away for a few minutes in the bathroom—multitask, mama.

BUY

8. Charming critter piggy bank, $24.95 (was $38.00)

Anthropologie piggy bank

Littles can never start saving too early—would make an adorable gift for your favorite little one.

BUY

9. Stateside terry cloth joggers,  $69.95 (was $126.00)

Anthropologie joggers

Lounge in style.

BUY

10. Chalkboard calendar, $144.95 (was $228.00)

Anthropologie chalkboard calendar

The perfect item for an entryway to keep *all* of the things together.

BUY

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