We're talking with Erin from The Momming Worker (@themommingworker) about early preparations for the busy back to school season. Erin offers some great advice and perspective as a parent working outside the home managing allll the calendars. We learned so much!
Erin: Ever since I was little, I LOVED the Fall. It's always marked a season of "beginning" for me, despite what the leaves might tell us! Now that I'm a working mom, I still have that same sentiment and love for the back to school season. It's an opportunity for us to look forward to "what's to come" and the exciting changes and family adventures that await us. However, with that being said, let's keep it real and acknowledge that it's a completely chaotic time for our family as we lean into routines that may have been slightly "eased" during the summer months. We try and embrace our family of five "fun chaos”!
Erin: Yes - - I also expect this will look very different for many schools and families this year. My biggest piece of advice for working parents is to lower expectations. And then lower them again. Focus on surviving week by week and anticipate that things will continue to change. Go into the academic year KNOWING that this will not feel like any previous year. And if I've learned anything, it's that our children are watching us and feel our emotions more than we may think. So "link arms" with your extended network and support system - - we will all need to get through this together!
Erin: As a working mother, I have found that I need and crave structure in order to be prepared and successful - - both within my corporate job as well as within the four walls of my home. My advice: find what organization system works best for you - - for me, it's using my Outlook calendar as my "source of truth". As many of you may also feel, especially during the current times, that it's hard to separate "work" and "home life". Therefore, I send calendar invitations to my husband for anything ranging from dentist appointments to reservation information for upcoming trips or restaurants for those rare date nights. I also let him know through calendar invites days or nights when I will need to stay late or work early. Since I spend so much time on my computer and since our schedules change so frequently, this system works best for me as opposed to, for example, a physical calendar hanging in our kitchen. Again, find what works best for you, your partner and your family - - and lean into that!
Wanderwild: In your experience juggling your profession and family life, what keeps you grounded during the busiest times?
Erin: Right or wrong, I always say that I am an open book about my life. I guess that's why I got into sharing my experiences via social media as a working mom! And what keeps me grounded during the busiest times is simply talking openly and candidly about whatever I am experiencing! I think it's SO important that people know they're not alone - - and often times on social media, people only share their shining moments. I have shining moments here and there; however, I choose to show those real, authentic and sometimes raw moments as well. It's what keeps me grounded and also helps me to connect with those individuals who are also willing to open up and say "hey, I'm going through this too!”
Erin: We LOVE exploring and going on family adventures. It all depends on the season in terms of what specific activity we like to enjoy. For example, during the summer months you can find us on the beach in Cape Cod. We pack as lightly as we can, which is hard as a family of five. However, we try and make sure we have the perfect blend of "comfort" items (extra change of clothes, snacks, water bottles) as well as items to use during exploring (fish nets, pails and shovels). One of our favorite activities during the fall months is apple picking! I can already taste those cider donuts...