SAHM No More: My SAHM Schedule Was Busy, But Doesn’t Compare To My Working Mom Schedule

working momSAHM No More explores the the ups-and-downs of navigating a new world of parenting, transitioning from married stay-at-home motherhood to a full-time working, divorced motherhood. And there are a lot of adjustments being made—a lot of adjustments and not a lot of sleep.

My mother always used to say to me, “Make sure you find time for yourself, sweetie. It’s so important to take care of yourself, too. Not just the kids.” Being the mature and receptive adult that I am, I would usually roll my eyes at her and say, “Well, yeah. Obviously. I’m fine.”

I was not the kind of mother who took the advice that dictated, “Take a nap when your baby does” or “Always take time to pamper yourself with a bubble bath or manicure.” Screw that, I always thought. I have plenty of time to do what I need to take care of my children and take care of myself. No problem. I was so smug and certain that other parents just didn’t schedule their time correctly, that other parents just weren’t as efficient as I was. To sum up, I was an ass.

This is a little bit what my schedule looked like when I was a SAHM:

7:00 – Both boys jump on my bed around now, like warm puppies who want to play. In this case, though, these warm puppies just want breakfast.
7:30 – Walk the actual warm puppy. Question the intelligence of having a dog in New York City. Look at how excited the dog gets at every skittering squirrel, stray leaf, and errant plastic bag that we come across. Realize that I love the dog even though she’s somewhat simple.
8:30 – Walk kids to school. Stop and chat with other parents as we all head back home.
9:00 – Yoga. Feel amazing after.
10:30 – Take a shower, have coffee, answer emails.
12:00 – Think about what I want for lunch. Make lunch.
1:00 – Read the current issue of The New Yorker.
3:00 – Pick up kids from school, drop one off at piano, start homework with the other.
6:00 – Make dinner. Every food group is represented.
9:00 – Put kids to bed. Spend the rest of the night doing whatever I feel like. Really. Frequently this involved watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix. So, basically heaven.

With a schedule like that, it’s no wonder that I never felt like I needed a break. I had a break built into my day. And even on the days when I was doing freelance work, I almost always managed to fit it in while they were in school. So, I wasn’t really prepared for what my working mom schedule would become.

You can reach this post's author, Kristin Iversen, on twitter.
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    • Rachel

      As someone who is not yet pregnant but trying her best to think through postpartum options, this was a very important read. Thanks!

    • Brianna

      I’m jealous you get to the office at 10am! I want to work there! : ))

    • http://twitter.com/designwali Designwali

      god i can totally relate…the madness of it all.

    • http://twitter.com/DuchessCadbury The Right Honourable

      I don’t have kids but I work and can’t understand how my mother and women like you do it. When I come in from work (wake at 6:15 am and return a little after 6pm), I’m dog tired and in no mood to do anything other than take my bra off and watch a little tv.

      • Blooming_babies

        Thanks that’s awesome… I did all the work before kids, and I do all the kid stuff now with a small home biz and I agree 100%… I am counting the years until I can just get some peace and quiet after any kind of work.

      • LiteBrite

        Yeah, it’s hard some days. There are days when I get home, and I just want to unwind in front of the TV with a glass of wine. Instead I get “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!”

        Oh well. It’s just part of the deal IMHO. I have certainly learned the concept of “delayed gratification.” :)

    • bumbler

      TL;DR summary: I am more busy now that I have two jobs then when I had only one job. You don’t say? haha pointless article…

      • Vanvanvan

        Not pointless, since endless articles, blogs, and talk show hosts who want to suck up to SAHMs insist that it’s the hardest job ever since jobs ever jobbed. I work outside the home and my husband stays home to raise our toddler. Since the kid is a heavy sleeper, he often gets up at 9:00am. I’m standing at a rainy bus stop at 7:00. My entire day is dictated by not one person but by hundreds, none of whom can be placated with a bowl of dry Cheerios and something shiny. I have no opportunities at work to nap, visit with family, or, even go outdoors sometimes. He gets praise from strangers, I get cracks about how I “have it easy” since I don’t have to do diapers all day. If you dare express the opinion that SAHparents could ever have a lighter workload than those working outside the home, you will be ripped a new one.

      • Abby

        Yes! You’re so right. I completely agree with you. You have to be “on” all day at work and then “on” at home with the kids! Even little ones take a nap and there is time to have minutes of down time. Sometimes, I get home from work and sit quietly in my car for five minutes just to have nothing time or time just for me. I feel guilty about it, but it’s really my only down time.

    • Yves

      I do not have children (yet) and don’t know how woman with kids work full time! I’m a nurse and work 3 12′s a week (plus some “extra” shifts very often.) I’m up at 5am just to get myself ready, get to work around 645 for report, work all day, get off work at 7:30, home at 8pm. I get about 4-6 hours of sleep on nights before I have to work.

      Before I was a nurse , I worked for 2 years at an 8-5 desk job and, still, even without the 12 hour shifts, it was so hard (maybe more so, since it was 5-6 days a week, with mandatory overtime very often!) I would stand in awe at how the mother’s in the office managed their schedules (and paid childcare on $12/hour)

      Being a mother is a full time job, no matter who you are. So if you are also working full time, you have 2 full time jobs. I pray to god we can afford for me to only work part time once we have kids…I can barely handle my schedule now! My sanity will depend on me being at least a part-time SAHM, hopefully our bank account can manage that too.

    • Nina

      I actually saw this article and assumed I would read it and be offended because I am a stay at home mom. I was pleasantly surprised when I wasn’t. I have to agree with the article. We all have a tough job as moms. But my daughter is younger then this bloggers sons so my day isn’t quite as relaxed. But I love it and am blesses through situation and planning that it worked out this way, I know not all are so lucky. Keep on going!!!! Best wishes!!!

    • Nicole

      Your children go to school all day long and you spend the time reading magazines and doing yoga… I think you might not be the typical SAHM! Not to make you feel guilty, just be careful throwing out this daydream lifestyle and calling it the typical SAHM schedule. I think most other SAHM’s are working pretty hard during the day, even if their kids are in school for most of it. Staying at home for most SAHMs includes at least a few of the following: hunting for bargains, baking and cooking from scratch, working to keep a clean and organized home, taking care of small children during the day, homeschooling partially or fully, running a small business or part time work, helping husband run a business or two, sewing and mending, home maintenance, auto maintenance, gardening, writing, studying, and much more. Yoga and magazines, you enjoy that! Just don’t go out assuming that’s what the other SAHMs are doing!

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