Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Life of a Full-Time Working Mom And Her Extreme Commute

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I'm from New York City and he is from the country bumpkin outskirts of Southern New Jersey.  When we married, the only logical thing to do was to find a home that would serve as a half-way point to our families and commutes to work (Check out my About Me page). 

We chose Central New Jersey.  His commute was 40 minutes each way.  My commute was approximately 2 hours each way.  Hardly a half way point, but we made it work.

Three years later, we had a baby girl and named her Selah.  She is one of God's greatest gifts to me and I knew that going back to work after the customary 3 months was not going to work for me.  So, I took 6 months off.  Then, I went back part-time.....for a month.  Then my typical weekday life began to play out like this:

4:55am - I wake up, read a bible verse and commentary on my First 5 app and write my thoughts on the subject.

5:00am - I go to the bathroom, shower, brush my teeth, etc.  If I have time and if I remember, I will spend 5 minutes doing a quick 'swish and swash' to maintain the cleanliness of our bathroom.

5:30am - I get my clothes out and iron them and otherwise prepare myself to get dressed.

5:45am - Our darling Selah is usually up by now, so I let her sit on the potty for a while before washing her up and getting her dressed.

6:00am - I get dressed and prepare to leave.

6:15am - My alarm goes off.  That means I need to finish wrapping up any loose ends, kiss my family goodbye and head out the door.  I walk 1/2 mile to the bus.  I usually listen to a sermon podcast during my morning commute.  (TD Jakes, Joyce Meyer & Rick Warren are my favorites.)

6:35am - I catch the 606 to Hamilton Rail Station and wait for the train.

6:56am - I continue listening to my podcast, check emails, look at social media and sleep during my train ride into NYC.

7:15am - My husband drops our daughter off at daycare and then heads to work himself.  He changed jobs 6 months ago, so his commute is now about 20 minutes.

7:58am - Although the train is scheduled to arrive in New York Penn Station at 7:58am, it rarely does.  Either way, once I get off of the train, I walk approximately 2 miles to my job.  In extreme weather conditions, I catch the subway.

8:00am - My husband arrives at work and sends me a text to let me know he made it there safely.

8:20am - I arrive at work, text my husband, make my tea and then get to work!

12:30pm - I usually take a lunch break at this time.  My lunch break typically consists of running errands and then scarfing food down my throat while I work because my lunch break is over.  Sometimes I do the opposite.  I'll eat food at my desk while I work, then I'll leave the job and run errands during my lunch break.

5:00pm - I pack up my bags and I head home, starting with a 2 mile walk back to the NJ Transit Station.  I usually listen to an educational podcast during my commute home.  At the current time, my only exception is Serial.  Every other podcast I listen to is spiritual or educational in some way.

5:28pm - I catch my train home.  If I wasn't able to complete my work, I may pull out my laptop on the train.  Otherwise, I use this time to catch up on emails, social media and reading.  I always text my husband to let him know I'm on the train.

6:29pm - I arrive at Hamilton Station.  Either my husband picks me up (after picking up our daughter) and we ride home together or my husband picks up my daughter and starts dinner, while I catch the 6:58pm bus. 

6:45pm/7:15pm - If I catch the bus, I get home between 7:15pm and 7:30pm.  We eat dinner as a family as soon as I get in.

7:30pm - After dinner, I may spend 5 minutes clearing off plates and then I give the baby about 15 minutes to digest her food.

7:45pm - I run the bath water, bathe, lotion, dress, pray and put the baby to sleep.  Our target bed time is 8:00pm, but we run behind some weekdays and she goes to bed closer to 8:30pm (but rarely after 9pm).

8:30pm - I spend about 30 minutes straightening up (when I have the energy to do so) and then I have about an hour before it's time for me to wrap things up and get to bed.

10:00pm - This is my 'bed time.'  I read a scripture or lesson of some sort, say my prayers and hit the sack.

So, as you can see, my weekdays are pretty jam packed.  In a typical week, I only get to spend 1-2 hours with my daughter on any given weekday (This excludes Wednesday, since I work from home on Wednesdays.)

When I think of those numbers, I feel a bit bad because it's hard to imagine how anyone could consider a way to balance work, life and motherhood with this type of schedule.  However, I make it work and this is how I do it.

  • Much to my husband's dismay, I prioritize spending time with my family over cleaning the house.  I also prioritize spending time with my family over spending time with colleagues and friends, as well as pursuing time-consuming projects outside of the home. I also prioritize spending time with my family over the many beauty regimens I used to have pre-baby (ie. bi-weekly hair salon visits, which now only happen once a quarter).
  • I cherish those early morning and before bed times with my precious little angel.  People may think that I'm extra because I massage her with lotion every night and hug and kiss and rock her after we say our prayers and before I put her in the crib.  Well, I don't care!  These are the memories you remember.  I still remember my mom laying between my sister and I every night when we were little kids and reciting the Lord's Prayer with us.
  • I talk to her.  Every morning, I ask how her night was.  Every evening, I ask how her day in school was.  She's not able to fully articulate her responses yet, but she does respond.  She knows that mommy cares and mommy tries to incorporate herself in every aspect of her life.....including her dreams.
  • The weekends are hers!  Yes, my husband and I have occasional date nights when we hire a babysitter, so that we can paint the town red.  Yes, we take full advantage when her day care offers Parent's Night Out events where they keep her until 9:30pm on a Friday night.  However, those are far and few between and rarely more than once a month.  On the weekends, we plan activities with her and we spend time at home with her.  We eat every meal together and we pray before every meal together.  We dance together and we laugh together.  We watch the same old Sesame Street clips together and we color together.
So, how do you balance being a full-time working woman (with an extreme commute) and motherhood?  You don't!  You take it one day at a time, you do everything unto God and you make sure that you prioritize the time you do have.

To be honest, I probably will cut my hours at some point or increase my work-from-home days in the near future.....especially if I have a second child.  One of the reasons I focus so much on personal finance is because I would love to be in a place where it wasn't about the money.  I would love to be in a place where I could take an even longer time from work of cut my hours to part-time (I probably would never be a stay-at-home mom, even if I could afford it.) and not have to worry about how we will pay our bills each month.  However, we are not there YET.  So for now, I juggle the best way I know how.

How about you?  How do you balance motherhood and working?  If you're not a working mom, how do you balance motherhood and other responsibilities?  Tips and ideas are always welcomed!

This post is part of a blog hop where a group of bloggers are all sharing on similar topics (Working Mom, How to Balance). To find more inspiration, check out these awesome blogs:
Daily Momtivity (
The Buccio Clan (
Peaches and Pickles (
Simple at Home (
Sara B Nash (
Craft Create Calm (
Multitasking Mom (
LedyLiz (
Home Maid Simple (
Sweet Discord (
Smart Mom, Smart Ideas (
Misty Shaheen (
Angela Coleman Sherman (
Melissa Hunt (

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

My February 2016 Reads

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I have one of the same goals in 2016 as I had in 2015. 

Read one book per month.

It worked well for me last year, though I did miss a few months, and I would like to continue this same goal this year.

In December 2015, I started a book called
I Will Teach You To Be Rich.  This book is written by Ramit Sethi and is described as a 6-week personal finance program that works.  I continued this book in January 2016, but still have a few more chapters to finish.  Because it is a book that requires action and I have been reviewing each chapter on my blog, it is taking longer than usual to complete.  Therefore, one of my reads for February 2016 is I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi.


​​​​​As part of our Christmas tradition, there are two items that the people in my household receives every Christmas eve.
1) Pajamas
2) A book

This year, I decided to get my husband an
adult coloring book with colored pencils.  I brought my daughter a Melissa & Doug coloring book and jumbo triangular crayon set.  My husband gave me two books. 
One of which is based on T.D. Jakes #1 New York Times Best Seller entitled, Instinct: The Power to Unleash your Inborn Drive.  This is not the actual book, but rather the Daily Readings version of this book that provides 100 insights that will uncover, sharpen and activate your instincts.  I started this in January 2016 and will continue reading an excerpt each day until I finish.  According to my calculations, the 100th day of 2016 is April 9th, so be prepared to hear about INSTINCT Daily Readings: 100 Insights That Will Uncover, Sharpen and Activate Your Instincts for the next few months. Since each reading is only 2-3 pages, I will still be able to add a new book each month, without causing too much of an inconvenience.


The second book that my husband gave me is entitled, Make It Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live on Purpose., by Lara Casey.  I’ve never heard of this book or author, but apparently it got 4 ½ out of 5 stars on Amazon.  Also, a very popular lifestyle blogger (Mattie James of mentioned this on her Periscope about her list of "to read" books for 2016.  Judging by these indications, I think this’ll be a good one to read.  Plus, my husband clearly has an idea of the things I struggle with and is attempting to provide me with assistance in overcoming my fears and taking the leap.  J  I will definitely give a full review once I am done.
 What books are you reading in February 2016?