Tag Archives: time management

Mommy Guilt: Save The Guilt For Late-Night Ice Cream and Pizza

When I’m at work, I feel guilty for not spending more time with my kid. When I’m with my kid, I feel bad for not doing more for work. Either way, I feel guilty.

It’s like that for moms. We feed bad, we feel guilty, we feel responsible when things don’t work out “right.” And who can blame us? Guilt trips are given by many: from our friends, grandparents, spouses, colleagues, doctors, the list goes on and on. And it starts early, are you getting an epidural? Circumcision or no? Will you let your baby cry herself to sleep? Breast or bottle? Using Time Outs? It’s enough to make your head spin.

Why should we moms add to the list? Also, do dad’s feel the same way? I know Hubby regrets not spending more time with Logan, especially since he logs 60 to 70 hours a week, but I don’t think he mentally flogs himself like I’m prone to doing.

In my sensible mind, I know Logan’s fine at daycare and loves it and I know that at work I’m busting my ass. But in my heart, well it’s not as reasonable as my mind, and that’s where the guilt comes in.

So I try to lean on my brain power to help figure out a better balance.

  • Hire help. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. If you can afford it, get help. We have a cheap cleaning lady come to do the heavy duty cleaning. That way we’re spending our weekends doing fun stuff as a family instead of scrubbing toilets. There’s other help that’s out there, hiring someone to drive your kid to and from daycare can eliminate your daycare commute, freeing up more of your time.
  • Be creative with your work schedule. If your employer allows, see what you can do with your schedule to make it work for your family. My bosses let me come in early and leave in the late afternoon and I often take lunch at my desk, which for some is inadvisable, but it helps me plow through my To Do list. One friend of mine works an extra hour Monday through Thursday so that she can have a short work day on Friday, allowing her to spend extra time with her daughter then.
  • Change. If the guilt is too overwhelming and the flexibility is not there, look to change your situation. Easier said than done, especially in this economy, but still it’s worth a try. In the end you gotta be honest with yourself and ask, is it worth it?
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Got a Long Commute? Turn It Into Quality Me Time

Get up. Get dressed. Get kid dressed. Grab him a snack. Go to work. Work hard. Get kid from daycare. Get home. Make dinner. Eat dinner. Put kid to bed. Talk to Hubby. Sleep. And repeat. Sound familiar?

Like most, our days are jam packed with the bare essentials. So when is there time to catch up with family and friends? Make doctor appointments? Write personal e-mails? Read a book? I’ve found a chunk of time to do so and it’s been a lifesaver. It’s my commute.

Since I work in downtown Chicago and live in the burbs I’ve got a commute that’s more than most Americans, but I won’t bemoan its longevity. (Around here it’s not unusual to have such a commute.) I try to take advantage of the time. Like a true suburbanite I drive my SUV 1.5 miles to the train station, (Sorry Mother Earth!) my train ride averages about 40 minutes and then there’s a two-minute walk to the office. On my way home, it’s the same thing, except once I get to my train station in the burbs, I drive 20 minutes to daycare to pick up Logan and then 20 minutes home.

I used to work during my 40-minute train ride, then I realized that meant I was working an extra six hours each week. Now I use the time for blogging and emailing. When I’m in the car I often talk with family and friends. Admittedly many are just as busy as me, so I’ve developed relationships with my friends’ voicemails, but at least we’re up to date on what’s going on with each other. It helps keep that connectivity.

After talking with my dad recently, it struck me that wow, this commute is the only dedicated “me time” that I have. I can call who I want or no one at all. I can blast whatever music I want. (Right now Eminem’s on high rotation with Lincoln Park.) Or I can just do nothing. There’s no laundry that’s begging to be folded, no meals waiting to be prepared, no demolished train sets to reassemble. It can be a nice breather.

You don’t have to have a long commute to eek out some me time.

  • Even if it’s a 15 minute drive to the office, you can listen to books. It may sound corny, but check it out just once. Kinda like Green Eggs and Ham, according to Sam I Am you never know until you try them.
  • Schedule doctor appointments. This usually only takes a few minutes and then once I get to the daycare parking lot, I write down the appointment times in my calendar so that I don’t forget.
  • Turn off the radio and drive in silence. Sounds weird, but it’s likely the only quiet part of your day. Amid the hustle and bustle, it’s nice to have a little time to free your mind.

Mommy’s Memory: What Happened To My Steel Trap?

I’m forgetting things. Not trivial things like forgetting to unthaw the ground turkey before leaving for work in the morning. Not egregious things like forgetting to pick up my kid from daycare, but things that before would be safely locked in my steel trap mind.

These days it’s more like a steel sieve. Why is that? After becoming a mom, my brain isn’t as efficient as it once was. Is it the lack of sleep? Is it that I’m juggling more? Some hormonal shift that affected my internal hard drive? Who knows.

It’s funny because at work, my memory’s fine. I believe it’s partly because I write everything, and I mean everything, down. I can’t do that at home as I need both hands to cook, clean, play with Logan, clean him, clothe him, put him to bed, etc.

So what am I forgetting? Well earlier this summer I lugged Logan into the city for a party at my friend’s condo. I buzzed the door, but no one answered. Turns out the party was the next week. I couldn’t bear dealing with the insane Chicago traffic again, so we just hung out on the lakeshore for a few hours.

A few weeks ago my sweet, dear friend from middle school was to have her baby shower. I planned on going and went to double check the date on the invitation only to find that I had missed it. By TWO WEEKS! How lame?

Last week I tried to cancel a doctor appointment that I had never even scheduled. There’s friends that I keep forgetting to call back and I still haven’t mailed my Father’s Day card. Yep, that was June 20. (I bought them early, they’re just at the house. My understanding pop tells me to save them for next year.)

My biggest recent debacle has been my young niece’s birthday. It’s just before Logan’s (so you’d think I’d get it together right?) but I didn’t. I brainstormed some gift ideas about three weeks before her birthday, then on the day remembered we needed to call her to at least wish her a happy birthday. I told Hubby and he agreed we needed to hop on the horn soon especially because she’s seven time zones away, but it also didn’t happen. Ugh. She just turned 3 like Logan and thankfully my sister-in-law was very gracious and understanding, but you still feel like the world’s largest loser.

So experienced moms, will my brain power ever return or do you even remember? I hear it improves, but in the meantime I’ll try to be better at updating my calendar, keep begging for forgiveness and being thankful I’ve got so many empathetic pals.