Four Hours With My Kids: A Working Mom’s Reality

I am a working mom.

I work full-time outside of the home, which for me means 8 hours a day at work, and 1 hour a day commuting to and from work. Between sleeping schedules and shuttling between home and daycare, there are four hours a day left with my kids. FOUR HOURS. Two hours in the morning, and two hours in the evening.

It’s not easy, but it’s my reality. I love my job and I love my kids. I want to have it all, and quite frankly, my husband and I prefer having two incomes. So I try to make those four hours we can spend together the best four hours of our days. 

Every morning around 5:30, I wake up to my custom alarm clock – a variance between a toddler sweetly singing, “Mommmmmmy, mommmmmmy,” and a more startling scream from a very hungry newborn. I rub my eyes and pull myself out of bed. While I’d really like to sleep in for just once, I remind myself that the time I get to spend with them is tick-tick-ticking away. The toddler gets situated with his morning banana and sippy cup of milk, and I sit next to him on the couch. We watch Mickey’s Clubhouse together while I nurse his brother.

In that first hour of the morning, we cuddle, giggle, and take our time waking up.

But in a flash, one hour is down. The next hour I spend between getting them ready and getting myself ready. Since maternity leave ended with my second baby, I’ve been showering at night after the boys go to sleep so I can spend less time getting ready in the morning, and more time with my boys.

Within that second hour, you’ll find me giving an abundance of hugs and kisses, saying I love you a thousand times, and soaking up baby coos and funny toddler phrases. All while pulling on tights, putting on mascara, and straightening my hair. At 7:30, I help my husband load them up in the car and he takes them to daycare. Half our day together is already over.

Being a working mom isn’t easy.

I think about my boys all day long, but am so thankful we’ve found a daycare that feels like family. Sometimes it hurts when I hear my toddler accidentally call his care giver “Mommy,” but I’d rather hear that than him begging me not to make him go. I get Snapchats during the day showing me what they’re doing; they’re loved, learning, and being nurtured – really all that matters.

I make it through the day and am home around 5:30 to start our evening count down. We make and eat dinner, read books, play, and take baths. Meal planning cuts down my cooking time, and I don’t clean up until after they’ve gone to bed. But the two hours are over too quickly, especially on nights when there is laundry to do or a complex meal to cook. 

To bed they go, and I pray they know how much I love them.

I pray that they’re seeing first-hand that women can have a successful career and a family, and give them both her all. That they’re getting what they need from me, my husband, and the village that is helping us raise them. 

I feel guilty sometimes, for not wanting to be a stay-at-home mom. I feel selfish sometimes for wanting my own career. But I also feel empowered for doing it all as well as I think I do.

I only have four hours with my kids every day during the week. Striving to make the most of it helps make my life complete. 

Shout out to all the other working mamas! How do you do it all? 

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