This post is a part of a blog series of stories of the working mom. I’m excited to share 13 stories from real working mothers. I also really would like to hear YOUR story and I’d love to hear it. Keep the conversation going in the comments & on social media using #wellcraftedworkingmoms. A huge thank you to the women who volunteered to share their stories, Mary Boyden of Mamma Bear Magazine for her photography and Madeline Roosevelt for hair and makeup!
I met Erin a few years ago through an acquaintance and was thrilled when she volunteered to be a part of the working mom project. Getting to read through her experiences has really been a joy. I hope you enjoy getting to know Erin and reading about her experiences as a working mom!
Meet Erin, a working mom
Erin Rhodes is a wife of eight years, a mother of two children and a teacher. Her daughter is three years old and her son will be turning three months old this week. She also has a fur baby of nearly five years, a Basenji. Erin and her husband had trouble conceiving and then experienced two high risk pregnancies. She considers her children true blessings.
She said that she is absolutely living her dream.
“I love that I am living my dreams everyday. Ever since I can remember I had three dreams, 1- be a wife 2- be a mom 3- be a teacher. Now that I have it all I get to live it all everyday!”
A typical work day in the life of a teacher and mother of two
A typical work day for Erin Rhodes begins at five in the morning where she gets a little ‘me’ time before the family wakes as she gets ready for her day. She likes to arrive to the school where she teaches third graders by 6 AM so that she can leave as close to 3:30 as possible. She takes advantage of her ability to work better in the mornings when fresh rather than later in the day when feeling drained.
“I try and get our dog out for a run before picking up the kids. This is great for her as well as me. I love this transition time, where again I get to just be me and decompress from being a teacher and prepare myself for ‘mom’.”
After her run she picks up her kids by 5 in the evening and begins the family dinner, play, bedtime routine. Steve, her husband, works three to four nights a week and on those evenings she does the night time routine on her own. She typically gets her daughter ready for bed first and then puts her son down for the evening while her oldest reads books. She then turns off her daughter’s light and calls it a day. At the time of this interview Erin had yet to do the work and nighttime routine for both kids as she was on maternity leave.
When my kids are adults and look back at their childhood, I want them to know…
“That they can have it all too.”
Erin had a fantastic example of a working mother and she feels that that example has helped share how she hopes her children look back on her working.
“I remember my mom worked a full time job my entire childhood, even traveled for several years. Because of this she we were able to go on vacations and live in a nice house. I also remember that she made time to take me to soccer practice and came to all my band concerts and plays. She made time for the special assemblies and field trips.”
Her working now has helped her understand her mother a little better as well, “I never understood why she hated the question ‘What’s for dinner?’ right as she walked through the door at night…now I totally do.”
Erin continued,”I want my kids to remember me working how I remember her working. That it is possible to follow a passion and provide a great life for your family, while still being there for the important moments. I want them to know that my passion for my job doesn’t take away from my passion for them.”
Maternity Leave, Childcare & Mom Guilt… oh MY!
I absolutely had to ask a few questions about some of the topics that often come up for the working mom such as maternity leave, childcare, and the challenges & joys of working. I love the answers so much that I felt it was best to just put it in their own words. Read on to learn about the ups, downs, ins and outs of Erin’s working mom experience!
When did you go back to work after having your children?
After I had my daughter [at a different school than I currently work] I went back after only 7 weeks. My leave was unpaid. I was so very thankful that we had options other than daycare, because it was very hard leaving her that early, especially because I had a hard recovery from her. I am still on leave with my son, however I will return April 4. My last day of work was Dec 17, and because of winter break I got an extra couple of weeks to rest before he was born. I am so very excited to have been able to have the full 3 months with him. We were able to save more and I received disability. I am excited to go back and finish the year with my students and be the teacher me again, not just a mom. I will of course miss being with him all the time as well.
What type of childcare solutions do you use in order to work?
When I went back to work after my daughter she spilt her days between my mother and a really good friend. About a month after she turned 2, my friend went back to school herself so we enrolled her in a day school close to our home. This was scary experience for me (shopping around for a daycare) because I have worked in many and have seen what can happen when parents aren’t around.
I instantly felt comfortable with her school. It is small and very open. The two directors are also the owners. They are they everyday and are mother’s themselves. My daughter still spent one day a week at grandmas and the other 4 at school. My son will have the same schedule.
What challenges do you have as a working mother?
What joys do you have as a working mother?
I love that I am living my dreams everyday. Every since I can remember I had three dreams, 1- be a wife 2- be a mom 3- be a teacher. Now that I have it all I get to live it all everyday! I love that I get to pack my small purse (non diaper bag) and go to work. Be an adult, talk to other adults, do something I’m passionate about and make a difference. Then come home and share that joy with my family. I think being a mom makes me a better teacher and being a teacher makes me a better mom.
How do you fulfill the other needs in your life (going back to school, working on a dream business, seeing friends, being creative, etc.) while working and being a mom?
How do you prioritize your family and children as a working mom?
Just as my husband and I plan one date night a month, we plan try and have one “family day” a month. My husband and I both work 40-50+ hours a week, so it is super important to us to make family time. Friday nights are pj and movie night. Saturday mornings are pancake breakfast (the only morning we eat all together). Often we turn down invites that aren’t family friendly or don’t fit our schedule. Sunday nights we go to my daughters swim lessons as a family. We have carved out times in our week that are no flex family time( for the most part, life is life and things do happen), I’m just not willing to trade much family time.
Thank you! A huge thank you to Erin for sharing her story as a working mom and participating in this series. Does her story resonate with you? Share in the comments below or on social media with #wellcraftedworkingmoms !
Check out Momma Bear Magazine for more articles on motherhood and to check out the great momma swag!