Hello everyone from Stafford Stories! My name is Karen and I am super excited to be participating in Melissa's working mom series.
My blog is called the Uszenski Family I have had my blog for almost 5 years now, but I have never been much of a blogger. I have only a few followers and other than my family and a few friends, I am not even sure who checks my blog regularly! My posts are more like a scrapbook of my life. I love having it, so I can look back and remember things (my kid's milestones, births, weddings, etc). I have been blog stalking for about 2 years now and I would love to get into blogging. It seems to create an awesome network of people and I would love to be a part of that!
I am a 32 old, wife, mother of 2, teacher, beach loving, reader, and an avid Yankee fan. This August, I will be married for 7 years. My husband, Scott, and I went to high school together, but we were just friends. After I graduated from college and moved back home, we reconnected and the rest is history. I have a 5 year old daughter, Maya, and a 2 year old son, Matthew. I am fortunate that all of our family is close and we love it.
This September, I will be starting my 11th year of teaching special education. I live where I work, I work where I live, which is a neighborhood school, so I frequently see students! Staying home was never really an option for us. Teachers in New York make good money and I needed to work. I absolutely love my job and I think being a teacher is probably the perfect job for a working mom. I work 8:30 to 3:30, weekends, holidays, snow days, and two months in the summer off. What could be better?!?!
Probably the hardest part of being a working mom is spending quality time with my kids. My husband works rotating shifts - half the month, I feel like a single mom because we barely see him. The kids are used to it, but we treasure our daddy days. On days that Scott is working, I try to take the first 30 minutes or so when we get home, to spend it with my kids. They spend all day with an awesome babysitter, but they need their mommy. This may include reading, cuddling on the couch, or playing outside. After that, I jump into work mode and cook dinner, clean up, laundry, etc. I found this spring a bit challenging because my daughter had dance and t-ball. When Scott was working, I sometimes felt like a chicken without a head trying to get everyone done and out the door on time. Bath/shower time is usually around 7:00. My kids go to bed between 8:30 and 9:00, which to some may be late, but it works for us. When my husband works nights, I make sure everything is done by 9 because I need some me time to recoup from the day and relax. Although I am with my kids everyday from about 4 to bed time everyday, I don't always feel like I get enough time to do stuff with them. I am fortunate for the weekends because I get to spend time with them.
On days that my husband is off, my kids still go to the sitter. I think it is good for them to maintain their routine, but those evenings are often different because the kids get to spend much needed quality time with their daddy. I still need to do the house stuff, but I don't feel as much pressure because I have my husband with the kids, so they aren't feeling neglected :).
This fall, my working status will change slightly because at school, I will now play two roles - teacher and mommy! Maya will be starting kindergarten in the same school I work at. We have been having many talks about she is very lucky to have mommy there, but they are only going to call me in an emergency, etc. She is super excited.
My typical day starts around 6:15 when my alarm goes off. On a good day, I would wake up and do the Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred, but often, I hit snooze a few times. I then shower and eat breakfast before the kids wake up. When they wake up, they usually have a glass of milk and watch TV while waking up slowly. I finish getting ready, get them dressed and I am out the door. My sitter feeds them breakfast - SCORE (but this will change in September when I have to feed Maya before we leave). I drop them off at the sitters around 8 and head to school. I leave work around 3:45 and we are all home around 4:00. We then do some sort of fun activity for about an hour. Around 5, I start dinner, dishes, laundry, wipe down counters, vacuum, or whatever needs to be done. I thrive on multi-tasking. My kids will be coloring or working on puzzles at this time. We eat dinner and I always clean up as soon as we are done. A sink full of dishes stresses me out! We play some more, take baths, and then play some more. Bed time consists of bathroom, teeth, and a book. I tuck them in and they are out. It is now usually around 9:00 and I finish up anything I might need to do (laundry, bills, cleaning) and then I relax for the night with the TV on and the computer on my lap. I usually head to bed between 10:30 and 11:00.
Some things that I do to make it work in my house...
1) Multi task - Thankfully, I love this and it enables me to get a lot done at once.
2) Plan your meals - this way there are no quick stops at the grocery store or any missing ingredients
3) Make sure your kids have good independent play skills. From early on, I would allow my kids as babies to "play" without me or my husband right there. This could be reading books, coloring, puzzles, legos, or cars. They are engaged doing something while I am getting stuff done.
4) Do grown-up stuff occasionally. Girls nights, dates nights, out with some friends are a necessary part of being a grown-up.
5) Make time for your significant other. It keeps the relationship healthy.
Being a working mom is certainly not easy and you definitely need to do what works for you. Routine is important to being a successful mom.
Thank you so much for reading all about my life. Feel free to stop over at my blog, become a follower, comment, or whatever you have time for :)!
Thanks Karen for sharing tips, your day, and a piece of your life with all of us!