How Do Working Parents Do It All?

How Do Working Parents Do It All?

I work from home. Thank God that I work from home because otherwise I am convinced my life would be a total shambles.

With four sons, there is a lot of scheduling going on. Thankfully they have long days at school, and are not over-scheduled with after school activities. That being said, one son has to be picked up nightly at either 8.30 or 9.30, and my oldest needs to be picked up from work at the end of his shift at the restaurant. The other two are bused home which is a huge help. I feel I spend half my life in my car.

But then, factor in doctor’s appointments, the dentist, the eye doctor, taking Max to the vet. It used to be that I could pick all four kids up from school and have them all seen in one fell (exhausting) swoop. Now with all their different schedules and school locations that’s impossible. I feel like I am always juggling.

I don’t have set hours to work – if I get my work done at 3 am, no one needs to know, so the flexibility is great. But generally I am at my desk at 6 am, wake everyone up and caffeinate while answering emails and scheduling posts for the 20+ Social Media accounts that I manage. I try to plan my menus for the week and shop on Sunday, so that at 4 pm I can walk away from my desk and spend time in the kitchen creating a culinary symphony.

The evenings are set aside for the kids, for the KoD, for family time and for carpool. And for everything else that I haven’t had time for during the day. I do try to ignore work stuff in the evenings because I can get stressed out and it will interfere with my sleep if I read an email before bed…

When both parents are working outside the home, (or when a single parent works outside the home) how on earth does it all get done? How does one manage kids and home and work? I am overwhelmed as it is with Work / Home / Life balance and I can make my own hours….

How do YOU do it?

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  1. It doesn’t. Kids have to adjust. Mine will now be taking the bus home from school instead of being picked up. Unlike your house, dinners are very hit and miss. I just had to cancel/reschedule four medical appointments of my own because of a huge change in work. My doctor only works 4 days a week so she doesn’t go nuts. She’s a GP, not a single mom, can afford full-time help, and she STILL doesn’t work 5 days a week.

    Having two parents working full time may allows a two-car lavish vacation lifestyle, but it comes with a huge cost. And if two parents have to work because otherwise there won’t be food on the table and clothes on their backs, the stress is enormous.

    I’d say don’t get me started, but you already did.

  2. Ilana says:

    I work full time, outside the home and my husband works more than full time and is really only home with us on shabbos. Sometimes it just doesn’t all get done. And it’s ok (or so I tell myself). I keep thinking it will get easier when my four little ones get bigger, thanks for the insight that it won’t…..

    • Elisheva says:

      It might totally get better. I think it depends on a lot of factors. i’ve seen families where all of the kids pitch in and pull together because that is how life has always been for them. Not sure how to pull it off but I think it can be done. Just takes some thought.

    • HaDassah says:

      My kids, now that they are bigger, pitch in. They all get out of school early on Fridays and there’s a chore list. It gets done, perhaps not to my satisfaction, but there is no way I can do everything.

  3. Elisheva says:

    They don’t. I had a kind of interesting childhood in that the first 11 years my mother stayed at home and my father worked. We had freshly baked bread, small trips in the summer, dinner every night at 5… basically someone was always around to look out for a physical and emotional needs.

    Then my parents got divorced and my mother was saddled with all the bills and childcare so naturally she had to work full time. After that our house was pretty much never clean again (yes yes my mom could have told us to do it but she didn’t even have the energy), we ate frozen burritos for pretty much every meal and were left to our own devices. My mom was exhausted after work and couldn’t get anything else done. At least I can say I became very independent.

    • Ilana says:

      Having the kids pitch in, even at ages 9, 7, and 21/2 makes a HUGE difference. I definitely could not do it without them, and I make sure they know it and feel appreciated for it!

  4. SingleDad says:

    I am single. I own a small company and go to work everyday. I have a severely disabled daughter who lives with me, and minimal help for her at home. I am also responsible for my severely disabled son at a residence and my now elderly mother. You just do it. You either rise to the occasion or you die. And, no matter how much you may want the latter, it doesn’t happen. You get it done, go to sleep and wake up the next day.

  5. shoshie says:

    Life/Work Balance is an ongoing battle
    Both my husband and I work full time out of the house and we have 2 kids in different locations. I make lists of everything that needs to get done nightly and Sunday is our errand day. We make it work :)

  6. Shaindy says:

    We both work full time outside of the home and I think the key is to have a routine, a dishwasher and a lot of extra food in the freezer! We prioritize and make sure that what needs to get done is done. Everything else is a luxury. For example, we make sure to always have clean laundry, but folding it is our luxury :) With all the hard work it takes, sometimes I’m even amazed that we make it work!

  7. Lady Lock N Load says:

    I was also in the car constantly bringing the kids here and there and I can relate! My husband was a huge help and did Sunday carpool for me and pick up and drop offs in the evenings when he was able. Without him it would have been difficult to manage.
    Hang in there it gets easier when the kids are driving.

  8. Ariela says:

    Work expands to fill time. If you have all day to cook for shabbat, it will take all day. If you have an hour, it will take an hour.

  9. Chupie says:

    I work full time, being that it’s my own business it is sometimes flexible with the hours, so I try to do as much as possible when the kids are in school, but many times I have to work when their home (home office) or I have to go out later or weekends. I try to be very present wHen I am with them.. Sometimes it sucks, sometimes I’m grateful I can provide for them, mostly I’m glad that I do what I love and I think it’s healthy for my kids to see their mom being a strong woman. Good luck to us all!

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