I’m excited to introduce you to Roxana a working mother of two! This post is a part of a blog series of stories of working in motherhood. 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!
You don’t forget meeting Roxana. She is such a force of nature (in all the right ways). She is outspoken and passionate about what she believes in. She is kind, caring and funny. I met Roxana about three years ago at a blogging event. We’ve since caught up at different parties, girls nights and Facebook.
I was fortunate enough to get to join Roxana for brunch for this interview which felt like the best way ever to get in a catch-up-on-life session AND learn about how she feels about being a working mom. Our conversation also veered into being a mom to girls and the challenges that that can present. I’ll be bringing back some of that part of the interview for a future post!
I’m very pleased to get the opportunity to introduce to you…Roxana!
Meet Roxana, a working mom
Roxana and her partner have been together for nine years. She has two kids, Kamilah and Xamara. She had her oldest Kamilah in 2009. Before and during her pregnancy she worked as a cocktail waitress on night shifts. She left her job as a waitress when, at seven months pregnant, the job became too physically demanding. After having her first child the couple decided it was more financially workable for Roxana to stay home with her than going back to work and paying for childcare.
“So, we did that, it was a couple of years of being pretty tight on money,” said Roxana of that time, “The economy tanked and [my partner] works in the car business and it was really, really rough on the car business, especially like domestic cars. It was pretty rough.”
She continued, “It definitely humbled me at the time. I remember having to stand in line at a church, waiting for a food box.”
Roxana said that while she had been really poor in her life before it was never on her shoulders to feed others but rather her mother’s shoulders. Roxana looked back and remember the different sources of where food came from when she was a child— her mother provided for the family in different ways including brining home leftovers after volunteering at the farmer’s market or from her grandfather brining by foods while they lived in Mexico.
Roxana is currently living with her two daughters, partner and younger sister. Her mother-in-law also lives on the property.
After Xamara, her youngest, was around two years old she and her partner were looking to purchase a house and decided that they needed the extra income of her working. Roxana has worked in the optical industry for a large portion of her life and it felt natural for her to look for a job in that field because it is a pretty stable field and because she has a lot of experience it would pay her well.
“We decided that I needed to make a certain amount and I needed to have certain days off just because logistically my mother-in-law couldn’t watch them on Fridays,” she said of her new work needs.
“I had a few interviews and the one that seemed pretty solid asked what I wanted to get paid and what my schedule was like,” Roxana said of the interview process. She was shocked to find that the interviewer was open to what Roxana thought might be a ridiculous amount of pay or schedule demands.
“It was kind of like if they meet this ridiculous list of demands then I’m going to work. If they don’t then I’m not gonna. But, they did… so, I started working,” she said.
She is now at a different office but is still currently working as an optician.
“[My employer is] really flexible with my schedule. I am really lucky. I work Monday through Thursday. If I need to go pick up my daughter or my kids are sick they are really understanding about stuff like that, which is really great,” she said of her new job that is less of a commute than her previous job had been.
“It’s hard to find places like that,” she continued, “I feel like usually when you find it, it is with small businesses which is where I’m at now.”
A typical work day in the life of an Optician that is a mother to two
After getting out of bed for the day Roxana typically makes the girls breakfast while her partner irons Kamilah’s uniform. The girls are able to get themselves dressed for the day so Roxana is able to clean up after breakfast. She then goes up and does the girls hair.
“I have to do their hair every morning. Curly hair girls have to have it in braids,” she said.
Roxana’s partner takes Kamilah to work. Xamara will either go to her grandma’s house or stay home with her father if it is his day off.
After work Roxana likes to make a meal for the family.
“I do a meal planner that I loosely abide by, like I usually I do have all the ingredients. I loosely abide by it. Like, if I don’t feel like having chili that night then I’ll do a recipe from a different night,” she explained.
“Sometimes even when I have the ingredients and a plan I don’t feel like cooking, so we have peanut butter and jelly for dinner or cereal for dinner—which, actually, the kids love,” she said.
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?
“I didn’t really have a maternity leave… I just didn’t work,” said Roxana. She went back to work when her youngest child was approximately 18 months old.
“It was really rough just being away from the girls. At that point Kamilah was almost four. I had been with them for almost twenty-four hours-a-day,” Roxana explained of her process going back to work after staying home with her children for the previous three to four years.
“I am also very fortunate to be able to not work for as long as I did. You know, it was rough at first but we all really adjusted.”
What type of childcare solutions do you use in order to work?
“It’s really great to have family to be able to take care of the kids. At first it was my best friend Kelsey— and she is like my sister— so it was like family. And, then, when we moved and had the in-law cottage for grandma it was her. It really just worked out perfectly for everybody.”
What challenges do you have as a working mother?
“I just feel like time is a big one, time constraints, not enough time to do what I want with the girls and still feed them healthy, and have a semi-clean house, the laundry mostly done. I don’t even want perfection. Even if its halfway done. But, it feels like even that is a struggle,” said Roxana.
She continued, “I think that one of the really important things for me is to teach them to eat healthy and having them enjoy cooking with me. So I try to get them involved in some way. It also kind of works as something we do together as well as something that needs to be done. You know? Cooking a meal from scratch takes a long time. I will cook dinner and it takes between 40 minutes and two hours depending on what I make. So I try to prepare— like if I know I’m making chili the next night or quinoa, I’ll cook it or at least soak it or cook whatever beforehand to help with the time constraints.”
What joys do you have as a working mother?
“I feel like I try to appreciate and enjoy the time that we do have together. I really try to have things be multi-tasking. Like I said, making dinner is also a way to spend time with them. So, if I have to do something I try to get the kids involved so that it is something that we are also doing together,” said Roxana of her joys in working in motherhood.
She continued, “I feel like as a mother nowadays you have to [multitask]. You have to be more creative with the time that you do have. I feel like that is the biggest thing about being a working mom— being creative with time. Because it is always on a shortage. There is always a shortage of time.”
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?
Roxana received her United States citizenship this year which is a huge accomplishment on its own, but with two kids and a job, is even more impressive!
“I feel really lucky. I feel like I have a really good support system,” she said, “Studying for my citizenship, for example, we did that usually after we put the kids to bed. We’d sit and go through the book. I had a CD in my car with all the questions that I would listen to on my way to work. It really wasn’t that difficult. It was more the stress and the pressure of what if I get it wrong. What if I do’t pass the test, you know? That was pretty stressful until it was over.”
Roxana reiterated her first statement, “I just feel like I’m lucky. I have a good support system— my mother in law lives down the yard from me. My partner is very supportive in my needing to get out.”
“I feel like it’s really important, as a mother, as a working mother to take time for yourself. It’s mental health. You can’t be a good mother if you’re unhappy or your miserable in your own life. I really feel like that is really important, to take care of yourself.”
How do you prioritize your family and children as a working mom?
Note: I LOVE the following story on how Roxana prioritizes her family and children. I’m thinking of instituting something similar in my home!
“So, every single day—every morning—my kids still come into my bed. I told them that they can’t come into my bed while it’s still dark outside, so in the winter it is usually a little bit later than in the summer, but they come into my bed in the morning and we cuddle. If they haven’t gotten up by a certain time I go and wake them up and make them come into bed and cuddle with us. We start off our day together and it makes a crazy difference. If I for some reason— If I wake up late or they wake up late— it kind of throws off the beginning of our day. So, even if we wake up late I will set a timer for five minutes and we’ll have morning cuddles every single morning. I’m going to be really sad the day that they’re too old for morning cuddles, but right now we slip them into our bed and the four of us cuddle.”
In addition to their morning routine they try to eat dinner as a family on evenings that they are all together and do something fun together on Sundays when work allows.
“They really like crafts and I really hate cleaning up after crafts but you know it is kind of something special to do together, so, we usually keep a lot of that stuff around the house,” said Roxana.
Thank you! A huge thank you to Roxana 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 !
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