I was approached by Elizabeth at E, Myself and I about participating in a Working Mom project back in October, so this is my guest post on our Evening Routine that she published last month.
I teach high school special education to students with moderate disabilities: Emotional Disturbances, Specific Learning Disabilities, OHI (ADHD) and Autism. I LOVE MY JOB. I give so much credit to SAHMs, but I don't think I could ever do it. Teaching is part of me and it helps me define ME. Of course, being Chad's partner is first because nothing else would be possible without his support, love and dedication.
One of the most important things that I have learned about being a working mom is to be prepared and organized. I am, by no means, super organized or prepared, but I like to think I am in the right places. Like never running out of diapers. Or snacks. Or clothes. For me, I can throw together something "dirty" and make a decent outfit. For Cameron, his "dirty" is a little more, well, dirty.
Our evening routine involves my organization/preparation time for the next day(s), and it goes something like this:
Depending on the day, I may work until 6 at my second job or I may be done at 2:30. Regardless, we usually leave Cameron at day care a little later to take advantage of some "productive" time either at work or at home. We also use this time for doctor's appointments, financial appointments, etc...which all go a little smoother with no baby. :) Some days, however, I pick him up early and enjoy some outside time with him!
5:00 One of us picks up Cameron from day care
5:30 Cameron eats dinner while we take care of dishes, design our dream home or just relax with some cocktails.
My usual view during this time...Cameron's eating, Chad's cooking and I'm drinking a glass of wine :)
6:00 Family play time - wrestling, going for a walk, making forts, playing with toys, playing with the neighbors (and their toys)
6:30 Bath time for Cameron...sometimes this lasts for 4 minutes, sometimes it lasts for 20 minutes. Whoever is not giving Cam a bath is either making dinner (Chad) or doing laundry/picking up (me).
For some reason, Chad can keep Cam in the tub for 40 minutes...when I do it, he wants to get out immediately. What gives?!
6:45ish Out of bath ("nakey-time"), pjs, book and milk for Cameron, continue dinner prep for us
Sometimes we cheers cocktails before bed...don't judge.
7:00 Bedtime for bonzo...we've tried 7:30 because we thought he was going down too late, but 7:00 is our magic number. He usually sits in bed for about 30-40 minutes jabbering to himself, but he's always been great about putting himself to sleep.
After Cameron is in bed, we eat dinner together (we try...some nights, we just eat with him, but we really try to set aside this time for us.) then wrap up the dishes, turn off the kitchen lights and retreat to our part of the house. (We live with my mom and share a kitchen, but have our own living space.)
our typical dinner...psych! Chad is an amaaazing chef, but we usually opt for something much less time consuming like meatloaf or frozen pizza or take-out
Once my bootie hits the couch, I am usually down for the count, so I am always sure that my nightly to-do list is complete: Clean outfit for Cameron, sippy of milk ready for the morning and the house as picked up as possible. I hate cleaning, but I hate living in a mess even more.
Our biggest challenge is that Cameron is still sleeping in our bedroom (in his crib) because we only have one bedroom for now! So, once he goes to bed, our room is off limits. Which means that laundry is off limits (except for swapping loads and folding). This is why I like to use our afternoons to get laundry done - otherwise, it would sit in our bedroom for weeks. Literally.
Of course, every night is different. This is my ideal evening routine, but eating out, visiting family, house appointments, etc sometimes keep us out later than 7:00 which calls for a quick change then right to bed with no bath. Some nights, we just don't give him a bath. Some nights, my mom takes him for a walk which gives us more time to do things together (even if it's just dishes or cooking), which is SO IMPORTANT. We could never be good parents without the support of each other.
What is your evening routine? What works? What doesn't work?