Photo courtesy of Candace Alnaji
Women can do anything — but not everything. As the largest online career community for women, we at Fairygodboss realize that balance is a myth, and that picking what to prioritize when everything feels important on a day-to-day basis isn't always easy. In the #MakingTime series, women share with us how, for one day, they chose to spend their most precious resource: time.
Who: Candace Alnaji
What: Practicing attorney, working parents advocate, freelance writer, mother and blogger at The Mom at Law.
Where: Buffalo, New York
My husband’s alarm goes off, and I wake up as he starts getting ready for work. He’s a physician, so he reports to work fairly early. I haven’t set my own alarm in years. I always either wake up when my husband does or when the kids do. We have a four-year-old and one-year-old twins. Most nights, at least one child wakes up at least one time — sometimes more — so, we’re not completely rested these days. However, it is much better than this time last year when we were waking up eight times a night!
I spend a little time reading the news and responding to personal texts and e-mails.
My husband has already left for work. The kids are still asleep, so I check my fitness app to see what today’s workout is. I exercise at home in our garage gym. I am currently training for a half-marathon, and I run three days per week. On the remaining days, I do an online barre program from Physique57. Today is a barre day, so I load up the video on my phone. It’s a quick workout today — only 45 minutes — and I finish just in time for my oldest to wake up.
I get my four-year-old and myself ready for the day. As we do so, I hear the familiar tones of a babbling baby. One of the twins is awake. I retrieve the baby then change and dress her. Afterward, I fetch her twin brother from his room and repeat the process with him.
I’m in the midst of feeding everyone breakfast and fielding the morning chaos when I hear the doorbell ring—my mom has arrived to help out for part of the day. She takes over baby duty while I finish getting ready.
I check e-mails. I first check my firm e-mails to make sure there are no emergencies. I am a workplace civil rights attorney with The Law Office of Lindy Korn, a firm that represents employees in discrimination matters against their employers. This morning, I have a few e-mails from daily legal digests I get, a few from my boss and co-workers, and a few from clients. I respond to those, make sure nothing else is outstanding, and then get to work checking my blog messages. I am the author and founder of The Mom at Law, my blog/brand/business about all things work, life, and motherhood.
I delete junk mail, review a few new influencer opportunities, respond to a guest post inquiry, and follow-up with a brand about a potential collaboration. After that, I share my first posts of the day on social media. I also catch up on comments and direct messages on Instagram. I enjoy engaging with my followers, so I try to always make time to respond to those who write me.
It’s time for my four-year-old and I to hit the road. He has his annual well visit with the pediatrician today, and, since my mom was available to watch the babies, it’s just him and I. Before my son and I leave, I help my mom get the twins settled for their morning nap.
My son and I arrive at the doctor’s office, and it feels so strange to only walk in with one child! We complete our visit, schedule next year’s appointment, score a cool Spiderman tattoo from the receptionist, and head out.
My son wants to go to Target, and I happily oblige. We peruse the toy aisles and negotiate over which Transformers toy to buy. We purchase that and a few other items, then drop our bags off in our van before walking next door to Wegmans. We pick up lunch from the hot and cold bars—my son gets berries, macaroni and cheese, and a chicken tender, while I opt for salmon, cucumber salad, and a cheesy cauliflower dish. I pay for everything to-go, but as we begin walking out, my son points to a small table in the café area and exclaims “Mom, let’s sit here!”. Unable to resist sharing a small table with my little man, we sit down for lunch.
Before we leave, I quickly check in with my mom via text. Then, I share some of our adventures in my Instagram story. I don’t share photos of my kids on my blog accounts, but I enjoy sharing snapshots of our activities.
We are home and settled in. The babies finish lunch and we play while my four-year-old runs through the house playing hide-and-seek with grandma. We sing songs, play with toys, and watch big brother’s antics.
I put the babies down for their afternoon nap while my mom and oldest son continue to play. Thereafter, I head down the hall to our home office to get some work done. I take care of some blog business. I share an afternoon post on Instagram and catch up on some messages. I respond to e-mails from a partner network about an upcoming blog conference and add the details to my calendar. I send a few pitches to one of my contributor sites, and then double check my upcoming writing deadlines.
I work on some case work. I currently work for my firm part-time from home. I was off for a year after having my twins, and it feels good to get back into the swing of things. I go into the office for meetings and other appearances, but most days I can get everything done from home.
Today, I have a self-imposed deadline to get a complaint draft to a client, so I work on finishing that up.
I wrap up my computer work and help my mom get ready to leave. She helps a couple of days per week. She doesn’t always stay the full day, but today she was generous enough to do so, and it certainly helped me tackle a few important tasks.
After she leaves, I make sure all the kids are playing safely before I start making dinner.
The kids and I continue playing. While the babies run around, I work on some flashcards with my oldest. Then the kids all “help” with a quick project for a social media post. I use my son’s toys to stage a fun photo about my home décor style, and they all watch with interest and take turns knocking things over.
Everyone starts getting a little restless, so I decide it’s bath time for the kids. Afterward, they all eat again and start to wind down for the evening.
My husband arrives home from work. We chat about the day while he plays with the kids. I hop on my laptop in the living room and catch up on a few things as we talk. I respond to an inquiry about appearing on a podcast then look into booking a flight and hotel for my upcoming conference.
Then we put the babies down for the night. Sometimes I eat dinner before my husband gets home, but whether or not I’ve already eaten, we always sit together and talk over dinner. Our oldest son, who goes to bed later than the babies, always joins us as well. Since I already had dinner tonight, I drink water and have a yogurt while chatting with them.
While my husband and son watch a show, I work on my laptop. Some nights I use this time to create blog posts or write my freelance articles, but tonight I am writing this!
My husband puts our son to bed as I finish up work.
I finish up on my laptop, refill my water bottle, and wash my face. I have a skincare routine that takes ten to fifteen minutes. It’s one of my favorite ways to wind down from the day. From here, my husband and I will relax together for a couple hours, catch up on the news, and prepare for the next day. We’re fortunate that my husband also has a somewhat flexible schedule. Some weeks he is home more often, while other weeks he works in the hospital more. This is one of his busy weeks and we’re both tired, so we enjoy our quiet time together.
It’s lights out as we prepare to do it all again tomorrow. At some point, one of the twins — or even my oldest — may wake up during the night. My husband and I take turns responding to them all. We cross our fingers that everyone sleeps through the night tonight, and then drift off to sleep.
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