This week’s working mom is Sarah, who is a full-time, on-call Nurse Manager and mom to a precious 13 month old daughter. She and her husband (and three pets) reside in Katy, TX and are high school sweethearts. She writes over at Organized as a Mother, and has an honest and extremely helpful perspective on working motherhood. Sarah and I are basically mom soul-mates, and I’m wishing we lived closer to meet in person!
I found our chat to be relevant and inspiring, and hope you will as well. Remember, you can check out all the Working Mom Life Interviews in the series HERE! Stay tuned each Wednesday for a new mom interview.
You and I have littles the same age! As a new mom, how is it different than you expected?
There is no downtime. I knew being a mom was going to be a big responsibility, but I never realized that you can never “turn off” being a mom. It doesn’t stop if you had a bad day or you need a minute for yourself!
You and your husband have been together since high school. Tell us about your journey to parenthood.
Because we started dating so early, our parenthood journey didn’t start until we had been married for 5 years. Josh comes from a bigger family and wanted kids sooner but I was really focused on my career so we agreed to wait until I finished my Masters and was a bit more established in my profession. We were very lucky and once we decided we were going to start trying, wham! I was pregnant!
As a full-time Nurse Manager, you have a pretty typical 7-4:30 daily schedule, but you’re on call 24/7. Do you have a hard time disconnecting from work?
I do have a hard time. I made a point to put away my work phone at 9 pm. I would only respond to emergent phone calls. That has helped. Unfortunately, hospitals don’t ever close so this is part of the job. Before I took this current position, Josh and I had a very long conversation about the expectations and what that would mean once we had a child. He fully supported me. This is my third year in this role and I am getting better and better about leaving things that come up on off hours until I am back in the office because 90% of the time it can wait until Monday!
How often do you get called in to work? How did you manage that with a young infant?
Lately, it’s been about twice a month that I will have to go in during the night or weekends. Honestly, it stinks. Luckily, Josh is very supportive and my mom is close by if he needs back up. Ellie has no idea when I have to go in at night so that helps the mom guilt a lot.
I know a lot of moms in healthcare have difficulty continuing to breastfeed after returning to work since it’s so fast-paced and hectic so they miss pumping times. Did you find it difficult to maintain a pumping schedule?
I was not adamant about breastfeeding and decided before she was born that if it works, great but if breastfeeding isn’t giving her what she needs, then formula would be fine. So, going back to work my goal was to pump twice at work and get her exclusively on breast milk until 6 months. But, I wasn’t stressed about it and that helped. I am very lucky and have an office so I was able to shut the door and work and pump twice a day. My nurses knew when the door was shut to give me 30 minutes and come back! Our hospital has a very nice pumping room for staff that is very comfortable if needed. I made it to 6 months and decided to wean her to formula. I don’t regret that at all!
On your blog, you focus on organization tips for working moms. When do you feel like you started to get a grasp on a routine for your family after having your daughter?
I’m not sure I still have a grasp! Actually, when I went back to work I was forced to get myself together, get her together for the day and that is when I really started being intentional with my time. I came home from work exhausted and wanting to spend time with her so long to do lists had to go. That’s when I really put a plan in place to get organized!
Check out Sarah’s post: 7 Easy Things to do at Night to Make Mornings Bearable
Several weeks ago you did an experiment to wake up earlier. What motivated you to do this? Do you feel like it’s made a difference in the start to your day?
I read an article about common habits of successful CEOs and waking up early was one of them. They all said that time was their time and helped them focus for the day. So, I really hate mornings. Always have. Before my little one, I could get ready for work in 15 minutes. I really struggled with this challenge but I wanted some me time every day and didn’t feel I was getting that at night. It really has helped my mornings. I am able to drink coffee, work on the blog or just sit in the quiet before everyone else gets up.
I love your monthly book review for August. I don’t know how you feel, but for me, picking back up on reading has been a great way to accomplish self-care. How do you find the time to get into a good book?
Yes! I have been a bookworm since I was a little girl. My favorite thing about summer was going to the library and getting a stack of books to dive in to. I have a really bad habit of reading a book straight through and staying up until 3-4 in the morning. When my little one came along I learned the hard way she doesn’t care that I stayed up late! So now, I shut down for the night about 930 and then read in bed for an hour or so. It helps me put electronics away before bed for better sleep and gives me some good quality reading time. I’m sleeping better because of it!
What would be your #1 tip for a mom-to-be to get organized or make a plan before baby?
Frozen crock pot meals! My best friend made me 30 crockpot meals and put them in freezer bags. They were a life saver as a new mom. I hadn’t showered, brushed my hair or teeth but I had dinner ready! I would also tell a new mom to be flexible. I was very regimented in the beginning and things had to be done a certain way at a certain time. It caused more harm than good! I think being organized and having a plan is great and helps guide you through the days but being so focused and adamant about your plan to the point you are crying and more stressed isn’t ok! I had some dark days because I was so frustrated that she wasn’t napping at the same time or I couldn’t do this when I planned. Finally, I took a deep breath and relaxed a bit and we both were able to fall into a routine that worked.