A Day In the Life of a Working Mom: Melanie


I have been dreading writing this, because I think it’s forcing me to put my day into perspective and come to terms with just how unhappy I am with my work life. I don’t mean just the job specifically, or what I do for a living, or the stress of doing it with kids. It’s something a little more esoteric than that. I have this stomach-churning mix of anxiety and numbness going to work lately (or just when I’m working … working from home, going in on the weekend), and my coping mechanism thus far has been to just ignore it.

Today is a day that only happens every other week: my husband’s off Monday (he works a compressed schedule with every other Monday off). For this reason, he will be home this morning to help me get Mackenzie ready for daycare (he’s usually out the door at 6:30). I take advantage of this and sleep in a bit, especially since I have been sick for at least a week now and could use the extra rest. Usual waking time is 6:00, so I try for 6:30. Ok 7:00. Whoops, now it’s 8:00!

So, this is really late for me. Mackenzie is supposed to get to “school” (i.e. daycare) by 9:00, and … I guess I’m also supposed to be at work by 9:00. So really I should get her to school by 8:30. My office doesn’t seem to care when I get in – or if someone does, I haven’t heard about it. Today we are running “late” by my own standards, however.

Thankfully we have Daddy to help us today! “Don’t take my picture,” he grumbles as he slices up a banana for Mackenzie’s snack. I showered last night, so all I need to do is throw on my clothes. Whoops, I did laundry last night and left everything in the dryer. That means I have ironing to do – and what do you know, the load isn’t fully dry either. I sit with my coffee while the dryer is going. That’s right, pregnant women can drink coffee, contrary to popular belief – just limit it to 300 mg a day.

Oh did I mention that I’m 27 weeks pregnant? Due to this, my heart starts racing when I undergo any intense activity, like brushing my teeth or putting on socks. It is also an absolute joy to carry my very heavy 19-month-old up and down the stairs several times before getting out the door with her.

We’re off to Mackenzie’s school. I pull my 2005 Jetta up to a gorgeous new BMW (sigh) and head in to drop Mackenzie off to the pre-toddler room. Next week she starts in the toddler room – big girl! ❤

So I get to work closer to 10:00 than to 9:30, which I was shooting for. Out of guilt I email my assistant so she can tell anyone looking for me that I'm on my way, even though it probably makes no difference. Here is the view of beautiful downtown Hartford from the garage I park in everyday:

Walking into my office I am already bombarded with clients who need follow-up done on things I left before the weekend. Before kids, I would try to get a healthy chunk of work done over the weekend to stay ahead. That typically doesn’t happen anymore. I make a few calls and send emails about fighting an unemployment claim, read some emails on a collective bargaining agreement we’re just getting ready to renegotiate this spring, and schedule a last-minute phone conference for the afternoon with insurance counsel on a litigation matter.

It’s not that I don’t like being a lawyer, because I do. I really do. But I don’t like the business of the practice. The hours are tough, the money is not as amazing as most people assume it is (hint: what I bill is not what I actually pocket), and although I’m trying this reduced schedule thing, it seems like it has the effect of making me scramble to get more done in less time, rather than actually freeing up time I need for family and my personal well-being.

I know exactly where everything is in each of these little piles. Really.

It makes me sad, because I want to like my situation. But being pregnant and caring for a toddler and working, even only four days a week (usually), is really hard. I want to cry. Instead I grab a sandwich – low blood sugar – with another associate, eat lunch at my desk (we’re all so busy), and then fight the urge to fall asleep at my computer.

I perk up, do the phone conference, file an appearance, and am feeling much better. So it was low blood sugar after all! Everything is fine, la la la. Did I mention I am having frequent mood swings these days? It’s 5:30 and I’m entering my time for the day when my husband texts me – home for tacos at 6:00? I negotiate with him: how’s 6:30? It’s a deal. I finish a few things up and head out at 6:30 … ok so I will be a bit late, but not too late because I live nearby.

Husband says it’s ok to take his picture now, since he is wearing more than his boxers and a t-shirt. Here is my adorable kid eating taco meat and corn:

And here is one of our evil cats, Neko. The other one, Mingus, is confined to the basement so he doesn’t destroy Neko while waiting to be fed.

After asking to NURT? NURT? I tell Mackenzie that no, Mommy cannot nurse her right now because Mommy needs to fill her tummy with fatty taco meat and starchy corn. You know, for nutrition for the baby. She doesn’t care. Daddy distracts her so I can eat, then I take her back to put on jammies (she did her bath yesterday) and do a little night-time nurt before actual bedtime at 8:00. At 8:00, Daddy does his routine of walking around with Mackenzie in the dark while listening to Death Cab for Cutie.

It works and she is out like a light well before 8:30, when Daddy puts her down in the bed. Our bed. The crib will instantly wake her up, even from a very deep sleep. At 19 months, this kid still loves to not only nurt but to cosleep, and we’re not sure what’s going to happen when new baby comes along in May!

Wish I had a night-time pic of the cutie sleeping, but I don’t want to risk waking her up because it’s happened once already. We fear that the whole house is coming down with a stomach bug … but let’s end this on a positive note. Good night and thanks for reading about my thrilling day!

5 comments on “A Day In the Life of a Working Mom: Melanie”

  1. Thanks for sharing. Being pregnant and having to care for a toddler is really hard, forget the whole work thing. I like how honest you are about your work situation, I’m certain you will figure out what is best for you and your family. Good luck!

  2. Things have a way of working themselves out sometimes. Right before I had #2 I was still sleeping in Nate’s bed from 4am on most nights…I was terrified I’d have to be in two places at once with 2 screaming kids when Josh was born…Nate miraculously stopped waking at night (he was 2.5) and all was fine. Josh sleeps with us, too…I don’t plan to even attempt to get him out until he’s 1.5 and can sleep on a mattress. Nate slept with us until he hit 22 months and moved to a bed in his rm. We laid down with him, he’d go to sleep, and life was good. Still woke once or twice but if we rubbed his back he’d go right back to sleep. I think it sounds like you’re doing a wonderful job!!

  3. This was wonderful. I enjoyed reading about your reflections and emotions about your life situation as you try to go about a normal day. I can totally relate. Your child is so cute!

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