I don’t know anyone in this photo; I just liked it!
I got this idea from a post on Oil and Garlic; she got it from A Cup of Jo. Does that make it a meme? At any rate, here goes:
1. What’s your work schedule?
I start work at 8 a.m. (or thereabouts, depending on whether my bus is on time) and leave at 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Mr. Sandwich works 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., so our schedules are a little staggered. We used to commute together, but when my maternity leave ended, we needed to shift it a bit. Each of us comutes by bus, although I sometimes drive to work if I have a late-afternoon doctor’s appointment, or if I miss the bus and my day doesn’t allow for me to be 15 minutes late. Or if I’m super tired and the bus is SRO by the time it gets to my stop.
My alarm goes off at 5:20, and I get up one snooze-button hit later. I drop Baguette off and drive like a crazy person to get to my bus stop. Mr. Sandwich picks Baguette up, and we all get home a little after 6 p.m. Then we play with her, take her and the dog for a walk, feed her, and bathe her when she needs it. (The order of these events varies depending on the day.) She hates to go to sleep, so there is usually a fairly long wind-down period, with lowered lights and hushed talking and a final bottle. We want her to go to bed between 8 and 8:30, but all too often she isn’t ready until about an hour later. Then we get our things and hers ready for the next day and watch a tiny amount of TV, and get to bed between 10:30 and 11:00–about an hour later than I’d like, but that’s how the time goes.
2. How do you handle childcare?
We found a wonderful day care center that is about a two-minute drive from the house. It’s like paying a second mortgage–and I am not exaggerating–but we have so much confidence in them, and Baguette really likes the teachers and her little friends. If she gets sick, one of us stays home with her. Mr. Sandwich’s parents live in town, so sometimes they will come over on the weekend and help us with supervising Baguette and completing tasks around the house.
3. What do you find best about your current set-up?
It works. I really like her day care, although I wish it weren’t so expensive. I wish my commute were shorter, but I live in the real world of Los Angeles, and that’s how commutes work here.
4. What advice would you give to other moms about the juggle?
Establish priorities, and don’t beat yourself up. I had fantasies of cooking meals for the three of us. This could work, because Baguette is a pretty flexible eater. This absolutely does not work, because I just don’t have time. I felt bad about it for far too long, and then I acknowledged that I really can’t do anything but supervise her when I’m with her–she’s just too active. So now I hope to be able to do that in the future. But it’s completely unproductive to feel bad about not doing something that I just can’t do.
One of my friends has a daughter a couple of months older than Baguette, and she makes amazing meals every night and spends time with her children. I used to wonder how she managed it, and then I mapped the distance between her house and her work. Guess what–she doesn’t have my commute! So she’s got more time to work with. It’s not realistic to compare my life to hers, because they just aren’t the same. That’s true for everyone else, too.
5. Do you think the juggle is harder for women than for men?
Yes. Mr. Sandwich is a very hands-on dad, and he’s also done pretty much all of our laundry for much of the past year. But Baguette is a very hands-on baby, and she wants me when I’m home. I feel like I’ve been mommy-tracked at work, and I made every effort that I could think of to avoid that. He’s got his own work issues (don’t we all?), but I haven’t gotten the impression that he’s been daddy-tracked. That can happen, of course, but I think it’s much less common.
Photo by neurmadic aesthetic, via Flickr.