Jennifer Williams has a recipe for balancing work and motherhood--stay organized, make a plan and go with the flow when things fall apart. Sage words of advice from the woman who chronicles her life as a working mother of two on her blog Momma Made It Look Easy. Find out who Williams depends on to get through her busy days--especially when someone pukes.
Tell us why you work?
There are so many reasons why I work.
- I have to. The mortgage company really likes it when I pay my house note.
- I want to. I like working. It gives me a chance to work my brain and be challenged in a field that I enjoy.
- I would be a horrible stay-at-home mom. I think there are some moms that are just so, so good at it. I would not be. If I were home all day it would be all Doritos and Disney channel.
- I need the adult interaction. I go kind of nuts when I'm in the house with the kids all day for an extended period of time.
- My kids learn more at daycare/preschool. Did you know they will potty train your kids for you? Score.
What are the greatest challenges of being a working mom?
The biggest challenge is feeling torn between two places at once. You know your kids need you at home, and you know that your boss needs you at work. When I interviewed for the job I have now, I made it a point to tell my boss that I have children, I am their mother, and they are my number one priority I will never work anywhere where this is an issue. I'm very lucky to have a boss who is understanding and knows I need to be with my kids when they need me.
What do you feel are the best parts of being a working mom?
I like that I'm setting an example of a good work ethic for my kids. I also like that my daughter gets to see her mom have a career that she enjoys and is fulfilling. I think it is important for girls to know that they can be anything they want, whether that be a stay-at-home mom or a working mom.
Everyone's heard the phrase, "It takes a village to raise a child." Tell us, who's in your village?
My mom works as well, but she helps out when needed with evening and weekend babysitting. Sometimes my husband's sister will help out if one of the kids is sick and we both must be at work that day. Really though, I rely on daycare. I can't express enough how great it is to have people that you trust to take care of your kids every day. They love them, they teach them, they play with them... they are just a huge part of their lives. It is so important to find a caregiver that you trust, and then to monitor that relationship to ensure it stays that way.
I consider my spouse to be a parent, not part of the village. He is an equal caregiver in our house. We make parenting decisions together.
What are some Working Mom Survival Tips you can give - why did these help you?
Plan. If you don't have a plan you are going to be running around all crazy not knowing where to go or what to do or how to do it. You also won't be able to ask for help when it is needed. Whether it is planning out your week on a calendar or planning out meals on a piece of scrap notebook paper, if you know what is going on you will feel more organized and in control of your day-to-day responsibilities.
Jennifer Williams is a working mom of two. She writes about navigating the world of being a mom to two children (7 and almost 4), surviving the ups and downs of being married to her high school sweetheart, balancing a full-time job outside of the home, and managing life's daily challenges over at Momma Made It Look Easy. You can follow Williams on Facebook and Twitter.
See who other working moms turn to in our Care.com Interview Series: Who's In Your Village »