Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

How the Eff do you do it working moms?!?!?!

I was a SAHM for the first year of C's life and I used to think that nothing could be harder than that. Then I went back to work full time and I believe now that nothing can be harder than being a working mom.

It used to be all 3 of us at dinner at 6:30-7:00 then C went to bed around 8:00

Now it's like Cannon can barely stay awake, doesn't want to eat dinner because he is so tired, bath time, and asleep (azzed out tired) and 6:30.

 My problem is I now have no idea how to balance everything. Cannon can't wait anymore for all of us to eat together (DH is usually home around 6:00) he basically is a fuss butt from the moment I pick him up until the moment he goes to bed.

Tonight I tried to make chicken pot pie (scratch) but cannon didn't want to wait to eat it, so I tried to give him dinner...he flipped. Only ate some yogurt. Took a bath for 2 min when it's usually much longer and he was passed out by 6:30.

He takes 1 nap at daycare 1 1/2 to 2 hours. That is all they allow. 

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Re: How the Eff do you do it working moms?!?!?!

  • I was the same - home with dd for the first year

    its a hard adjustment for sure

    first of all - why does daycare limit naps? that seems strange - unless its your request shouldn't they just let him sleep longer if he needs it?

    I try to do easy food that I know dd loves on daycare nights because she's tired from the day, and so am I

    we do dinner early though - 5ish, and then we start winding down for bed at 6 - in bed to sleep at 6:40 (we get up at 7am)

    because the eating schedule at daycare - they eat pretty early 11:30 ish, so even with afternoon snacks she's pretty hungry by 5/5:30

    If I was you I'd just adjust to getting him to eat & go to bed earlier then you guys eat after he's in bed - daycare is exhausting for sure

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  • That's pretty much how it goes for us, only I also have a 3 year old...

    Caroline is tired during the week and goes from fuss bucket to bed early. It is what it is and it won't always be like this. 

    And we don't eat together during the week. We get home at 5, I put on Dinosaur Train for my 3 yo, I make the girls a quick dinner, then get them ready for bed. DH and I eat after they are asleep.

    "Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies. God damn it, you've got to be kind." - Kurt Vonnegut
  • It's hard. We've been doing it pretty much since Lo was born. It was much easier when she was younger because she'd take a nap while we were making supper and she'd just have a bottle or baby food. But now we don't get home until 5. Then we have potty time, unpack diaper bag, make dinner, eat, pack lunch, unload/load dishwasher, bath time and bedtime. I try to get her to bed between 6:30-7 but it's usually 8 until we get to it. Then she gets up between 5:30-6 and it's horrible. She screams and cries and hates getting out of bed. It's hard, and in a few weeks we'll add a newborn to the mix.

    P.S. I don't make a lot of nice dinners. Meals need to be prepared in under 30mins. The crock pot is an important tool. 

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  • Weekdays are hard - We take one day at a time

    My Mother in law watches her M-Th, My mom on Fri

    Mon/Tue - Abby and I are home by 4, we play, wind down and when DH gets home at 6 we eat, shower, books or tv, bed at 7:30

    Wed/Thur - I work from home - DH takes her to his moms by 8, and they are home by 6:15 - same routine, bed at 7:30

    Fri - I work from home - long day since my mom watches Abby at our house - I work till 4, then we try to play outside or other activity to wear her out.

    Adjusting from 5 days in the office to only 2 days last year has allowed me more time at home to do the things that need to be done and become more organized.  

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  • something that has REALLY helped me is having food I've made for dd frozen in portions

    then I can pick something out in the morning to defrost during the day, and it only takes a few minutes to reheat it for dinner when she's starving and can not wait!

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  • LO eats dinner before we do- usually by 6, earlier if she needs a bath. Dinners are easy or frozen ahead of time. LO usually eats leftovers, turkey meatballs or cottage cheese for dinner. On bath night one of us cooks while the other does the bath. It's teamwork in this house. It won't work any other way.

    I also hired a house cleaner. I cannot do it all. Once I realized that and said it out loud- things got so much easier.


    I don't get why they are limiting naps at DCP. If he needs to sleep longer- he needs to freaking sleep.

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  • Reese is only at grandmas, and we are usually home by 4. Typically she eats dinner at 5 (she gets the leftovers from the night before). After dinner is bath, playtime, and then a bottle, brushing teeth, books. Many nights she is asleep by 6:15-6:30. We eat dinner after she goes to bed. I can't wait until she stays up late enough to eat as a family.


    Everything else is unmanageable, the house always seems to be in constant chaos.  

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  • Yes it can be difficult!

    DD Is up at 6:30 for breakfast and to go to DC. I pick her up between 5-5:30 and she gets dinner as soon as we get home. So I pretty much always need to have something ready the night before. We dont eat dinner as a family unless we go out to an early dinner on the weekend. Then she gets to play for a little or go straight to bath depending on the night. We read and get ready for bed. She is out by 7 if not a little earlier if she didnt get a full 2 hour nap.

    I guess it helps to have the next meal ready, so for dinner I make extra the night before and keep some for her the next night or have stuff ready in the freezer. The only time I make her something is if I got home on the early side. The other thing I really try to do is get as much time I can with her.

    Good luck and always plan ahead...


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  • abb08abb08
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper

    If I were you, I'd try to let go of the from-scratch family dinners for now. Honestly, with everyone's current schedule and DS's early bedtime, it just isn't possible for us all to eat dinner together.  I know how important it is for families to spend that time together, but I don't think it is a huge deal if we can't make it happen at this age.  When DS gets a little older and stays up later, we'll do that.  For now, I feed him early and I sit and talk with him while he eats.  Then DH and I eat together after he goes to bed.  DS typically eats leftovers from our dinner the night before, but sometimes all he wants is a cup of yogurt and I'm fine with that too.  I know that over the course of the day/week he gets plenty to eat, so I don't force it if he is too tired or just not hungry for whatever reason.

    Actually, it's kind of nice for DH and I to have those few moments alone too.  We rarely get to go out together alone, so we try to make the most of the time we can get.

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  • Our lo also gets 1 nap at day care. We almost never eat as a family-dh is rarely home in time. We get home from day care right around 539 and he's ready to eat as soon as we walk in the door. I try to freeze meals ahead of time so that I can just heat some up quick for him. He's usually in bed by 730 at the latest. It's tough some days but we make it work
  • MrsSRMrsSR
    Ninth Anniversary

    You just do it because you have to.

    Soon you'll find a balance and it will be much, much easier, trust me.

    Do you meal plan?  That usually helps me.

    I also always make more of something so there are leftovers if DD is having a meltdown and won't make it to dinner.

    I have lots of easy to get foods for her; fruits, veggies, yogurt, crackers. 

    DH and I alternate bedtime routines, which includes bath, pjs, books, and snuggles.  Whoever is NOT on bedtime duty is on house duty... putting things away, wiping down counters, etc.

    It really takes team work to make it.  DH has his chores and I have mine.  We make sure they are done each night. 

    Being a mom is tough period; working or not.  I see both ends since I'm a teacher and keep DD home when I'm on break.

  • Is he in the toddler room?  One nap is very typical because it's just not possible to allow each child to have their own sleep schedule, kwim?  Like the others, my son eats earlier than us unless DH is WFH and it's something fast (tonight was burgers, for example).  He often eats leftovers from whatever DH and I had the night before.  But there are some nights that he doesn't want dinner.  He'll eat a cheese stick or a yogurt or some crackers and hummus.  As long as he ate well during the day, I don't worry about it.
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  • It's honestly a struggle.  We don't do dinner together there's just no way it can happen,  DD's starving the moment she and I hit the house and DH doesnt even get home most nights til 7-8pm. Usually he's lucky just to say good night.

     I pick up DD from daycare at 5:45-6pm and then we walk home 10-15 minutes.  Sometimes if we have a few minutes we will stop at the park and play for 10-20 minutes then we head home.   As soon as we get home I tide DD over with a cheese stick or some fresh fruit while I scramble to get her dinner ready. I've learned things like fish are great because they cook super fast in the toaster oven (12-15 minutes) and I tend to use the toaster oven vs the real oven since it pre-heats a lot faster. I also tend to steam a lot of veggies in the microwave.   Honestly she also eats a lot of left overs from our dinners the night before since she cant stay up to wait for food to get cooked.

      We have realized there is just no way we can do bath time every night if we want any other sort of time with her so we only do it every 2-3 nights.  Usually she is eatting around 6:30-6:45 and then as soon as she's done it's strip her down put on PJs, play for 10 minutes, read for a few minutes and then get her to bed between 7:30-8 at the latest. 

    You have to realize honestly that unless you hire a maid you are never going to have a spotless or hell even half the time clean house, that laundry will always be piling up and you cant make super fantastic meals anymore (at least during the week) since you are only one person and your priority has to be feed and take care of your kid.  You do the best you can and hope it's good enough and try not to let the mommy guilt get to you.

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  • It is hard...I still wish I had 5 minutes to sit down and relax when I get home from work.  Depending on which shift I work, I sometimes don't get home until 6:30 and dinner for us is at 7.  So those days, I rush home, cook dinner, feed them, bathe them then get them to bed.  Doesn't really help that DH works 12 hour shifts so is usually not home for dinner or bath/bedtime.

    We have a lot of frozen meals, either cooked beforehand or just store bought.  If I do cook from scratch, it's a lot of simple, one dish meals.  Fried rice, soup, mac n' cheese, etc.  On really exhausting days, I do breakfast for dinner...waffles and eggs with some fruit.  And if I'm REALLY tired, I just grab dinner to go from one of the restaurants near my train station, but I don't do that too often.

    I limit my sitter to 2 TV shows while she's home with them...and I usually end up letting them watch 1 more while I'm preparing dinner.  Then I get my snuggle time in while they are drinking their milk after dinner.

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  • Usually I pick DD up around 5:30, have dinner at 6, bath shortly after, and she's in bed by 7.

    I'm also in school, so two nights a week I don't see her at all. This week is especially fun because I have 2 exams and have spent every single night at school. I saw her for 20 minutes today while I was studying and then DH took her out so she wouldn't bother me Sad That's the longest stretch I have had with her all week. It blows. 

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  • I am in the exact same situation.  DD only gets 1 nap time at daycare and usually only sleeps for about an hour.  The past few weeks I have been putting her down for a nap as soon as we get home at about 4:30 and she naps for about an hour.  She is still a bit cranky but is a lot better then she was.  I will also make meals like shepards pie, or stew on the weekend and freeze the leftovers in single portion sizes for LO for dinners during the week.  I can pull them out of the freezer and defrost while she is napping and then it is ready for when she is awake and STARVING! 

    DH works 2nd shift so sometimes he will get something ready for us in the crockpot (not too often lately unless I ask Sad).  And not having any help in the evenings makes it even more hectic.

  • You just have to adjust to what works for your family at this time. Like PP said, I don't think family dinners are important right now. You can have things on hand he can eat when you all get home or left overs from the night before you can heat up just for him. Then play, bath, and bed. My DS used to be able to eat with us but I changed his daycare and they really cook at the new place so now he doesn't want to eat at all. I try to cook things that I can start and then walk away so I can play with DS and then bath and bed for him. 

    Then I finish up cooking. Most times while helping DD with homework. Dinner and then bath and bed for her if she didn't take her bath right after Caleb. Most nights it is just SO, me, and DD for dinner. However, the last month SO has been working out of town so everything has been on me.

    Once the kids are in bed, I clean up the dinner mess. I clean one room a week night. I might fold clothes while watching tv or bump and just relax and take time out for me. You get into a routine and it just works. 

    I am a planner, list maker by nature so I plan what I want to get done and strive for it. Does it all get done on time? No, but having a plan where I don't have to be thinking about what needs to be done or what didn't get done helps me not be so anxious. 

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  • It's tough. I didn't think it was TOO bad before, but I got a new job 6 weeks ago, and now I'm home a good 30m later, putting me back around 5:45 or so, and we used to eat at 6:00.

    I still make meals from scratch but I make really quick stuff during the week (I have a blog in my sig, and I just made a quick and easy category - largely to help myself, lol) - things like a pasta dish where the rest of the dish comes together as the pasta is cooking, or a crockpot meal, etc. On Sundays, I tend to do some prep and also pretty much make all of Monday's meal - so I make sure Monday's meal is something that can be reheated (like a potpie would totally work; I normally do some sort of baked pasta or something similar and DH throws it in when he gets home, about 20m before me). Meal planning is a huge help.

     DH and I also alternate bedtime routines, which helps.

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  • DD has only one nap at daycare too and she is out by 7pm. At least for us, we're both home by 5 and we try to have supper by 5:30-6, then play for maybe 20 minutes before bath and bed. Neither of us actually want supper that early but we do it for DD. A few nights a week DH has sports so he doesn't eat with us. It's not ideal, but can you eat without DH? Or at least get LO started and wait to eat yourself until your DH gets home? I also try to make things that a pretty quick, and make as much ahead as possible, so DD doesn't have to wait for an hour while I cook.

    ETA: Also, we just got a housekeeper. It's awesome.

    And, quick meals don't have to be processed junk. It takes 20 minutes to prepare and grill some meat and veggies. Also, when DH and I want to eat something nice in peace, we give DD something easy like mac & cheese and wait until she goes to bed to enjoy our dinner.


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  • I've been working since DD was about 4 months old so I'm just used to it, but I will say that she went through a phase around your LO's age where she absolutely HAD to be in bed by 6:30.  It was insane.  It didn't last but for about a month though and then she was back to pushing her bedtime to 7:30 - 8:30, which is where we're at now. 

    DD is not in daycare, my mom and MIL keep her while I work, but she only takes one nap a day there (not for lack of trying on their part) and it's usually about 2 hours long.

  • I almost never cook because my husband works almost every evening.  I give DD stuff like spaghetti o's, mac n cheese,  lunch meat, frozen veggies, fresh fruit, frozen waffles, scrambled eggs, veggie chips with hummus, pb&j.  I also meal plan on Sundays and try to grocery shop over the weekend, too.  Sometimes, though, I end up having to drag DD to the store with me after work on Mondays. 

    She goes to bed late, I usually start bedtime at 8-8:30 and she's asleep by 9-9:30.  She sleeps til 7 or so and gets a total of about 3 hours worth of naps during the day. She does not bathe daily.  I guess I'll end up giving her a bath once a week before bed, and other than that my DH will bathe her once or twice on the days he's home with her.   

    My house is a mess, it's not even worth trying.  During the week I do only things that MUST be done, like cleaning up food messes.  We live out of laundry baskets.  I delegate a lot of household tasks that must be done to my DH, too.  If you can afford a cleaning lady I would highly recommend it, if not, you just have to let it go for awhile.   

    Also, on recommendation of another working mom, I recently started showering at night after DD goes to bed.  I don't love it, but it does give me enough extra time in the morning to be worth it.

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  • So you have been back at work for a month? Yeah, it usually takes longer than that to find your groove. Meal planning can be helpful. Embrace crockpots. Also chop up some basic use items on Sunday (onions, mushrooms, carrots, chicken, etc) for use during the week. You'd be amazed how much prep time that can save. Make things that will last more than 1 meal as well. And realize C is likely still adjusting as well.


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  • I am a nurse and work 13 hours days, but I only have to work 3 days a week.  I am single and raising my 21 month old.  On the days I work my mom watches him.  I get up at 430 am and get home around 645 pm. We eat a quick dinner, which grandma typically has been nice enough to prepare, then bath time, a little bit of mommy play time and off to bed by 8pm.  Seems a little rushed on those days, but we have gotten into a routine and because it's only 3 days a week, it's not too bad.  Somehow, I think we moms just keep pluggin along and do more than what we think we can.
  • I just don't make nice dinners during the week!  Ha, ha.  When we get home, I go for a 4 mile walk or run with LO in the jogging stroller 

    Then I feed her dinner and usually DH comes home at around 6.  We play with her together, give her a bath and get ready for bed.  One of us puts her to bed by 7:30 and we're done. 

    Then DH and I shower, make something to eat and hang out together.  I make working out a bit and hanging with DD the priorities when I get home.  Everything else can wait. 

    p.s. I don't clean at all.  We hire people to do that for us. 

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  • I work 40hours a week and my H works way more than that, plus travls for his job so I am basically on my own most of the week as a working parent.

    You just adjust your expectations and if you're new to this, you will find your routine / what works for you. It's not easy but I'm used to this routine and way of life, so I don't find it hard, either. It's more of a challenge of how to use your time wisely and make the most of what you do have for me. I am super organized and DD thrives on our routine so that helps immensely. We don't mess with her schedule.

    DD basically eats her dinner as soon as we get home (5pm), we play a little after, and she has her bath by 5:45 and is in bed by 6pm. She also takes 2 naps at daycare...and she needs them. She's still tired out by the time we get home! Allowing just one while there seems crazy to me!

    I also do not make a lot of from scratch meals on weekdays unless they are very quick and that is also after DD goes to bed ;-)

    I'd not worry about eating with your child at this point - get him fed and happy and you and DH can eat your dinner later, once he's in bed. This doesn't mean the concept of the "family dinner table" disappears - I certainly sit with DD and will have a small snack while she's eating her dinner. That way we "eat together" but she's happy because she's not waiting for us and getting fussier by the minute.

    We have a cleaning lady, as well. Best $100 every other week spent, IMO. DH and I just keep up with light cleaning but with both of our time away from home, there is no way we spend wknds cleaning. Weekends are all about time with DD and each other. Outsource what you can ;-)

    I love being a working mom - it's hectic at times, but I'm happy and you will find your way and what works for you guys. I'm sure this was mentioned above, but prepping as much as possible the night before is key so your mornings are easier and you feel like you get off on a smoother note.

    Big Sister ~ Little Brother

  • image SnoopyLuv:

     LO usually eats leftovers, turkey meatballs or cottage cheese for dinner.

    Ha! These are staples in our household, too!  DD loves cottage cheese and has some at the end of every dinner!  She also loves rotisserie chicken for dinner - I just buy one at the start of the week and it makes life so easy. So many various uses...Last night I made her chicken quesadillas on spinach tortillas for dinner and then, after she went to sleep, I had the same thing for myself.

    Big Sister ~ Little Brother

  • image SnoopyLuv:

     LO usually eats leftovers, turkey meatballs or cottage cheese for dinner.

    Ha! These are staples in our household, too!  DD loves cottage cheese and has some at the end of every dinner!  She also loves rotisserie chicken for dinner - I just buy one at the start of the week and it makes life so easy. So many various uses...Last night I made her chicken quesadillas on spinach tortillas for dinner and then, after she went to sleep, I had the same thing for myself.

    Big Sister ~ Little Brother

  • image t watley:

    We give a snack after school that holds him over until dinner time which is at 6:00. Bath at 6:30, bed is between 7:30 and 8:00. I get off around 3:00-4:00 each day, which really helps. It kind of gives me the best of both worlds - - I get adult interaction at work while Spencer gets to socialize with other children and then I get to have enough time with him in the evenings that I don't feel like I'm missing out.

    Maybe you could see about a modified work schedule, too? 

    Exact same here. 

    "To me, you are perfect."

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