I am very excited to introduce our new blog category... interviews with working moms! Many thanks to Katherine Scott for speaking with me about how she balances being a mom of three and a busy career as a reporter for ABC Action News. Let's get into it...
The Working Mom: " Tell me a little about your working mom situation"
Katherine Scott: "I am the mom of three. My oldest is 9, my middle child is 7 and my youngest is 4 1/2. We have an au pair who helps while my husband and I are at work. My work schedule is always early morning which is odd but consistent which really helps. I get in to work at 2:30 in the morning which means I get up at 1:45, get out of the house as quietly as possible and get make-up on once I get to the station. I then work until mid-day. The time can vary, but it actually works really well to also allow me to be a mommy. I can be there for school pick-up. I can coach my daughter's soccer team and be there for other after school activities."
The Working Mom: " So do you crash by a certain time in the evening since you are up so early and busy all day?"
Katherine Scott: "My hope is...or my goal is to take a little nap when I get home in the afternoon. It doesn't always happen. I also try to run to the gym and get some errands done before I go pick up the kids. When I don't have the nap, I can get very cranky😅. I can have a day or two without one, but when it's more than that, it starts to catch up with me."
The Working Mom: "So I understand your husband's schedule as an orthopedic surgeon is also demanding, but are you able to share some of the responsibilities with the kids?"
Katherine Scott: "We kind of do different things. I am never there in the morning, so anything that needs to be done then, he is there (our au pair starts at 6am). I do a lot more driving since I am there in the afternoon. He does a lot more laundry and cleaning than I do, but I do a lot more of the day to day things with the kids...make lunches, take them to sports practice, etc."
The Working Mom: "Was there ever a time you felt like you would prefer to stay home or perhaps take a sabbatical from work?"
Katherine Scott: "I would miss my job. Maternity leaves were good spaces to take a break, recover and bond with my babies. Twelve weeks is a good amount of time, and I really liked that, but then I was ready to go back. I think it's most intimidating with the first one, because you don't really know what your life is going to look like. With the second and third, everyone folded into the plan and it works. I mean...I am tired...some weeks more tired than others, and it took a little time, but I think I have finally found a work/life balance...as much as you can have one."😉
The Working Mom: "What do you feel must be a priority with the kids? In other words, are there things you absolutely can't miss?"
Katherine Scott: "The benefit of my hours is that I can be there for many things. But I do miss a lot of morning stuff, because I don't have a job you can pop in and out of. Once you are there, you are 100% there, but I can do the afternoon stuff. I try to volunteer at the school library. I love doing that. I love being in the classroom when possible. I kind of like to always have them wonder... when is Mommy going to be around the corner? I can't be there every day but I definitely try to get involved as much as I can. I have been classroom mom several times. I think it's important to know the teachers and other people the kids see at school."
The Working Mom: "Are there any pearls or strategies you can share that work particularly well for you to balance things on a day to day basis?"
Katherine Scott: "A couple of things... One is that I've learned to realize when I am hitting my limit, and I will try to make a change at that point. I will take a day and go to work, but skip the gym or go to the gym and skip other errands I have. The other thing I read somewhere, just about stuff around the house, is to let the kids help you. Things may not get done perfectly, but still let them help you. It takes something off your plate, it gets things done and it teaches them something. I also try to appreciate the fact that they are still really young, and they are not going to be this young for much longer, so I try to get a kick out of whatever they do."
The Working Mom: "Do you think the ability to manage work and family life gets harder or easier as the kids get older?"
Katherine Scott: "I actually think it's harder. On the one hand, the sleep situation is better, and that makes it easier in some ways. Consistent sleep helps and there are no more diapers and strollers and things like that, so the mobility is better. But now...it's the activities! It is all over the place. And my youngest hasn't even really started with this yet. You pick them up at school and that's just when the day begins! It's fun and I do love it, but between that and the social calendar, it is quite busy."
The Working Mom: "Is there anything you would do differently when you first became a working mom based on what you have learned over the past nine years? Any advice you would give yourself as a first time mom?"
Katherine Scott: "First of all, I would tell myself to start planning earlier. Like with daycare, I waited until the eleventh hour not realizing there would be wait lists. I would have definitely started earlier. I also made some arbitrary decisions with my first one about things I thought were important, which ended up being stressful and maybe not as important as I thought (example given about how long to breastfeed). So I was kinder on myself with the next two. I think you have to give yourself a break and realize you can't do everything."
The Working Mom: "Did you find there was a big difference in managing schedules and tasks when you went from having two to three children?"
Katherine Scott: "I think the transitions from zero to one and then one to two were the hardest. Then two to three... I feel like in some ways we had the most fun with him. I wasn't nervous anymore. I knew what it was. I was a lot more low key about it. I do think it will be hard once he starts more activities.
The Working Mom: "Are you able to carve out any time for yourself? You mentioned the gym earlier."
Katherine Scott: Yes! and I have found it's really important. For a while I didn't or I would make time and something would come up and I would not do it. I found this class I really like. It's circuit training. It's not long...30 minutes of intense work but mentally it makes me excited, and of course physically it's good for me too. I'm super into it. I'm kind of obsessed with it!💪🏼
As the kids have gotten older, I also try to go out some with friends. It's not often, but when we can do it, we have "mommy nights". or just try to get together with friends and have a little fun. And, I started playing tennis a couple of summers ago. I don't do it often. It's fun. I drive all my kids to the activities, so I want to do something fun too. So even if it's not all the time, that kind of thing has really helped me mentally and makes me feel healthier.
The Working Mom: "What happens when there is a conflict? If there is something you really want to do with or for your kids, but you cannot because of work, how does that affect you? How does it affect them?"
Katherine Scott: "That has definitely happened. The good news is between me and my husband and also my mother...usually someone can be there, but there have been times when we can't get someone there. That's the reality. It stinks and I feel bad for them, but they know we all have jobs and they know that we are there every chance we get. They know we have friends with kids in the same school or on the same team, and we explain that they are excited to send us pictures and videos of what we miss. I think they accept that, but there are times when I hear the tiny voice that says 'Mommy, I really want you to be there' and my heart just breaks."
The Working Mom: "In your opinion,do you think there is a way of truly finding work/life balance when you have a busy career and you are raising kids, especially multiple kids?"
Katherine Scott: "I feel like lately I have found a good balance. It's never going to be perfect, but I try to be present.
At work, I'm at work. I want to know if there is an emergency of course, or if someone just needs to call me that's fine, but when I'm at work, I'm at work. When I'm at home, I'm at home. Sometimes I may have to do a little business at home, but I really try to separate them. I also feel like before I had kids, if I was stressed about something at work, I would come home still stressed about it and think about it until going back to work the next day, Now, I'm so busy, I can't dwell on it. I think it's knowing that not everything is going to be perfect and just doing the best that you can. I can be hard on myself sometimes, but I think I have gotten to the point where I am too tired to get upset about certain things. You just do what you can do. The fact of the matter is, I have a great relationship with the kids. I see them, I know what they're doing, I know who their friends are...and work has been great about it.
The Working Mom: "Do you have some flexibility at work?"
Katherine Scott: "Not really, once I'm at work, it's not like I can just pop out for lunch. But they understand. Everybody has their own family. So if somebody is sick and I can't go, they understand. I have had this conversation with my news director about why I like the morning shift, and he'll say... well, family is the most important thing... he has 3 kids of his own. It's important to work somewhere where they understand that value. I also think it's important that your kids see you doing something and contributing in some way."
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and advice with our working mom community!!💗