Saturday, February 13, 2016

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

Welcome to This is me…..Then!  If you like what you see, subscribe here for free updates, or you can “like” my Facebook page here and receive new posts in your news stream.  Once you like my page, you can choose to see posts in your newsfeed first or receive a notification for each post made.  Thanks for visiting!  This post may contain affiliate links.

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 (


  1. Boy you are super busy Momma! It seems like though- that you do take some time in the early mornings for yourself and that's a good thing! Thanks so much for joining in the Blog Hop!

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, I am a super busy momma. The only time I get to myself is during my commute and maybe the last hour of my day. I truly want to start prioritizing exercise into my weekly routine, as well.