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: Dana Logan
What: Office Manager at Championship Productions & boy mom to two
Where: Ames, Iowa
It's a weekday, so that means an alarm is necessary. I just returned to work from my 3+ months of maternity leave only a month ago. I've been blessed with a baby boy (5 months old) that already sleeps 12 hours a night! My 5-year-old son was never that awesome at sleeping, but he's obviously sleeping through the night now and will usually sleep until at least 7 a.m.
Alarm goes off again, because snooze. I weigh the pros and cons of hitting snooze again or looking respectable; today the shower wins. So I shower and get ready for the day, choosing my outfit based on what my "after work" schedule looks like. Thankfully the company I work for has a very casual workplace, comprised mostly of current and former athletic coaches, so "athleisure wear" is totally approved. Today I chose orange Nikes, Lululemon shorts, and my "head coach" zip up. Championship Productions is the world's No. 1 creator and retailer of coaching instructional videos. Basically we help to educate youth and high school coaches by filming collegiate coaches nationwide and bringing their practices, drills, tips, and strategies right to the coaches looking for guidance.
Wake up the 5 year old and instruct him to get dressed and ready for the day (laid out clothes the night before to avoid a morning argument about what to wear).
Prepare breakfast for myself and oldest child. Usually something quick and easy like peanut butter toast or cereal with soy milk and cut-up fruit (certainly did that the day before!). Prepare formula bottle for baby. My husband is a chemical engineer in the ethanol industry and is frequently traveling for work...to other states...for several days at a time. So I fly solo at the parenting gig on most weekdays!
Send 5 year old to the table. Wake up baby, change diaper, get him dressed, and bring him down to the kitchen. I attempt to bottle feed the baby (who is not yet able to hold his own bottle), feed myself, and engage in conversation with my goofy kindergartener throughout breakfast. We discuss what "hot lunch" option he should pick at school, the importance of not choosing chocolate milk everyday, and what today's specific end-of-day procedure will be (ex: after school care, mom pick-up, chess club, etc.).
As soon as the baby and I are done eating (5 year old is still munching), I set up the baby in his high chair or baby swing so I can empty the dishwasher, refill the dishwasher with breakfast dishes, then fill up my Yeti and grab my lunch from the freezer.
Make sure both children are cleaned off and ready to exit the house. Get shoes on, grab backpack and any other outgoing items (such as shirt I sold on eBay, letter to mail to the neighborhood homeowner's association, and check to turn in to the school office for the PTO). I see every item I remember as a silent personal victory over the demands of adulting.
Drop off baby at in-home daycare. We were so lucky to find a family friend so close to our home and near our oldest's elementary school because 1. we trust her and 2. the location rocks!
Drop off kindergartener at school; fortunately he's not scared and is enjoying school. This makes drop-offs much easier on him and on mom, too! Begin "commute" to work; I realize those from large cities would not consider driving across town (population 60,000) a "commute" at all. Enjoy child-free listening to "Elvis Duran & the Morning Show" on the way!
Arrive at my desk and the day officially "begins!" I'm the Office Manager and we're a relatively small company, so this means I do a lot of different things. A big chunk of my day is overseeing the customer service staff, and I am highly involved with our customers myself. I start the day by responding to all overnight customer emails. Sometimes it's a matter of simply helping someone reset their password; other times it's a huge issue that will take the involvement of multiple departments and hours of work before I can check that inquiry off my to-do list. I also login to BoldChat (our website's instant messaging software) and keep my ears open for the phone, should we have a flurry of calls and need multiple people on the lines.
Start pedaling on my Cubii. This is a silent under the desk "elliptical" that you can pedal on while sitting in your chair and working on a computer. My job is so sedentary that I bought this equipment a couple of years ago and I couldn't be happier. I burn anywhere from 100-400 calories a day while getting work done, and it tracks my progress on a mobile app. Again, I'm super lucky to work at a place that values athleticism and health. Other coworkers use their lunch hours to swim laps or run seven miles... I just stick to my Cubii!
Grab my lunch from the kitchen and it's almost always the same: one unsweetened applesauce cup and a frozen "Amy's meal;" the "Country Cheddar Bowl" is my current obsession (noodles, broccoli, carrots, potatoes, tofu, and cheese). I find having the same lunch every day is just one less decision I have to make and I do not mind the monotony at all. In fact, I ate the same cold lunch everyday for K-6th grade... some things never change! Although not required by my workplace, I work through lunch because my hours were shortened to accommodate the school year drop-off schedule, so I now need to multi-task if I'm going to get everything done!
Create contractual royalty agreements for our sports directors to send off to the college coaches that are in the planning phases of shooting new videos with us. Manage the e-filing of incoming contracts, W-9's, demonstrator waivers, photo releases, etc. There's a lot that goes into making a video for commercial sales before we even get to the filming or editing process!
Research Venmo for business usage. I have recently been seeing and hearing about Venmo all over the place (babysitter, manicurist, pizza delivery, and a friend whose date wanted to "go dutch"/Venmo the bill) and so I brought up to my boss that this might be a good way to cut expenses in credit card and PayPal fees. As a small company, cutting a "small" expense like that out could be the equivalent to a person's annual salary and definitely worth exploring!
Off work and time to head to the gym. Exercise keeps my mind clear and I feel physically better when I've been able to make it a part of my day. I typically do two miles on the elliptical (also used to run the treadmill, but haven't been brave enough to try that again since my recent C-section), then free weights, bench press, some leg machines, and core/ab exercises. Although lately, I take a little longer than necessary to just lay on the mat before or after abs and just chill out; I hope no one minds or notices that I'm taking up space to maintain my mental health! I don't make it to the gym everyday; this hour slot is the time of day that I use for a variety of things such as my medical or cosmetic appointments, parent-teacher conferences, appointments for the boys, working late, etc. Also in the winter months I'm the head basketball & wrestling cheerleading coach at our high school, so this time-frame changes into after-school practices and life gets a little more hectic!
Make my rounds to pick up the kids from their childcare locations. Baby is all smiles to see mama and kindergartener wants to know why I had to come so early, because he was having fun on the big, new playground!
We're finally back home and so the "second shift" begins. Especially with my husband out of town, juggling the boys and their needs until bedtime can be a little stressful. I begin with multiple trips from the car into the house with all of their stuff. I wonder HOW children accumulate so much stuff and why I am responsible for it?! I will instruct my 5 year old to bring in his backpack, but half the time he's already unloaded his belongings and has sneaked other items into the car earlier in the day, so there's just a lot of junk floating around! Once we're in the house the organized chaos is in full swing.
Station baby in the high chair with various rattles, teething rings, and noisy toys. Try to get kindergartener engaged in an activity by pulling out something he hasn't seen in a while such as coloring books, legos, etc. I'd be lying if I said the TV is never used; while I do try to limit screen time, sometimes it's a necessary evil! Begin cooking supper. I am by no means a good or even creative cook. I'm in the process of trying to get everyone on a healthier track, but I for sure will still just order a pizza on a stressful day. Today, though, I pull out the big guns and go for spaghetti, breadsticks, and salad. Breadsticks from the freezer section and a bagged ready-to-go salad from Wal-Mart are working mom lifesavers. I pray that during my 30 minutes of cooking no one will cry, whine, or end up in the ER. When there's a spare moment, I fix up another bottle and get baby fed so that I will hopefully be able to eat supper myself without holding another human.
Supper's ready and the three of us enjoy this time at the table together. No electronics allowed. No toys or books allowed. This is a time for talking about our day! I get up and down at the table no less than six times, grabbing extra napkins, seconds for all, refills on drinks, etc., etc. I figure I will get to eat uninterrupted in maybe five years; until then, a mom's job is never done!
Clean up the kitchen, reload the dishwasher with today's mess. Briefly look through the backpack for any life-altering scraps of paper that could constitute an errand emergency; thankfully, no news is good news today. Enjoy the remaining bit of the night playing with the kids on the floor. We're so lucky that our oldest is still enamored by the baby and has never been jealous. He loves watching him discover new things and often wants to help him master skills such as rolling, sitting, grasping, and giggling. But I'm also in body guard mode protecting tiny from big brother's unknown strength and unpredictable ninja movements around the living room. Needless to say, they can't be left alone together for more than a minute and it does get exhausting playing lifeguard.
Bedtime!! It's a little like preparing for the space shuttle launch. First I start with baby who gets a fresh diaper, onesie, woombie sleep sack, owlet smart sock, and a bottle. I rock him in his dark, quiet nursery for about 20 minutes and he knows this is the signal for bedtime. When he lays in his crib with his pacifier, he doesn't even cry. He's seriously a miracle baby at bedtime, the type of kid fairy tales are made of (#blessed)! However, during our one-on-one time, big brother has been free to roam. Ideally he's played quietly with toys, put on his pajamas, and brushed his teeth. In real time, he's probably been jumping off furniture, sneaking candy from the pantry, and using all the scotch tape we have to "fix" something.
Round up the oldest, redirect to pajamas, brushing teeth, and going to the bathroom... because none of that happened before! Lay out tomorrow's outfit, and fill a water bottle to have next to the bed. Have him choose a bedtime story. Lately we've been into the Disney classics, Dr. Seuss, and the "Tuttle Twins." I have finally steered him away from "Captain Underpants," at least for this week... a break from the words "poopy pants" would be welcome anytime now!
Hugs and kisses goodnight. Although there will be more, as he finds excuses to leave his room about five times over the next half hour before he gives in to the inevitable tiredness.
This is it!! My time of freedom. The moment of my evening where the sky's the limit and I can do ANYTHING I want (except leave the house or make noise). This is the time where I decide how crazy I'm going to be! Will I use this solitude to binge-watch my latest Netflix obsession ("Ozark") with no interruptions and eat some popcorn?! Well, I have done that before, yes, but then I'm exhausted in the morning. Tonight I make my rounds through the kitchen and living room, starting the dishwasher, putting away toys that may lead to a broken ankle in the morning, throwing away clutter, and head up to my room. My nightly skincare routine takes a bit of time, but I'm not going to sacrifice my face for a few extra minutes of rest! Then finally, I reach the blissful moment where I can lay alone in my bed!
FaceTime the hubs, hear about his day, stress the importance of coming home ASAP. Text back my childless friends who go largely ignored until my first spare minute... so yeah, usually 9 p.m. or 6:30 a.m. Scroll through my social media accounts, check my emails, check my bank account and wonder if my balance will ever recover from maternity leave and the daycare and diaper expenses. Add things to my Wal-Mart grocery cart.... seriously, what did working moms DO before smart phones and grocery pick up?! I shudder at the thought! Work on finishing this article and think about how moms everywhere are doing all these same things. We're all wondering how everyone else gets it done. "Perfect" parents and "perfect" households don't exist. Everything is always teetering on the edge of making it or breaking it, but we moms are the glue that keep it together. Somehow, some way, everyday we continue to make the time.