Being a working mum is hard, and it can often feel like "a day late and a pound short" is the best case scenario: missed deadlines, forgotten dry cleaning, and never, ever seeing friends. But we don't have to reinvent the wheel to figure out a better way through. Just look around at all the super successful mums kicking ass on a daily basis.
This Is How I Do It is our day-in-the-life series featuring some of these impressive women who juggle big careers and families with grace and humour. Their stories won't literally do your laundry and pack your kids' lunches while you answer email, but they offer an honest peek at how someone else gets her life together every day.
Jamie Beers, 44, is a single mum to three boys, ages 17, 14, and 11. She works as an abortion care provider at Hartford GYN in Connecticut.
5:00 a.m. — Alarm goes off. Hit snooze. It can’t possibly be morning already!
5:09 a.m. — I get up and shower and get dressed. I attempt to wake my three boys for the first time. The battle for the single bathroom begins.
5:35 a.m. — We head out to the car. I get behind the wheel, while my two older boys fight over the front seat — every morning. I drive my youngest to my parents’ house so that they can get him to school. I am so blessed to have them in town.
6:20 a.m. — I drop my two older boys at their high school, give them some money for breakfast — check to make be sure no one is watching — and then kiss them goodbye.
6:25 a.m. — I head to work, usually nibbling on some dry cereal or whatever leftover breakfast bar the boys refused to eat and left behind in the car. I always spill my soda on my shirt, so I wear a UConn hoodie over my scrubs on my way in to the office. I often listen to gospel music during my commute, as my faith is truly what gets me through each and every day.
7:00 a.m. — I arrive at the office. In 2016, a fake women’s health centre opened up next to our clinic, so my staff and I are greeted by the same sidewalk bullies who harass our patients daily. We have been so fortunate to have amazing clinic escorts step up and rally around our centre and patients. They really commit to showing up, even in the brutal New England winters.
7:15 a.m. — The morning starts with checking in patients, managing any staffing or scheduling issues, providing counselling, and assisting the doctor once he or she comes in.
9:00 a.m. — We start with procedures. Usually at this time, our pre-op room has 3-4 hungry, pregnant patients and often, they start applauding when the first patient is called in. I'm always amazed by the support systems that develop among the patients inside the centre. The conversations can be so inspiring. Our physicians and staff will pop in from time to time because there is such lively conversation happening in pre-op. Once the counselling is finished, I switch gears and open up one of the procedure rooms. This allows the medical team to be able to go from procedure room to room in a much smoother manner.
1:00 p.m. — At this point in the day, all of our patients have been cared for, and I turn my attention to administrative tasks: quality assurance, payroll, ordering supplies, notifying patients of their results, and more. It takes a lot of work to keep an independent abortion clinic running, and we’re committed to doing it well.
4:00 p.m. — I leave the office and head out into the evening rush hour, trying to resist the urge to check Facebook. While rewarding, my line of work can feel isolating at times — that’s why connecting with friends and colleagues on social media is one of my guilty pleasures.
5:15 p.m. — I arrive home after stopping at my parents’ to pick up my youngest son. After changing into more comfortable clothes (often rocking a UConn T-shirt — go Huskies!), I start preparing dinner and begin hounding the boys to get their homework done.
6:00 p.m. — Depending on the season, I’ll bring each of my kids to their respective basketball, baseball, or football practice. During games, I become a real cheerleader mum. I love to give shouts of encouragement despite the strange looks I get from those parents who don’t share my highly competitive nature. On nights when we don't have practice there are piano lessons, band rehearsals (for them and me), Little League meetings, or church committees.
8:30 p.m. — While I wait for everyone to get out of practice, I work out at the gym for about 45 minutes. I always look for the free treadmill — that’s my machine of choice.
9:30 p.m. — I finally arrive back at home. The boys shower and finish their homework, while I wash the dinner dishes.
10:00 p.m. — I give the boys hugs and goodnight kisses (I even get a “thank you Mum” every now and again). When the boys finally go off to sleep and the chores are done, I check email for the last time and often fall asleep catching up on my other guilty pleasure: The Young and the Restless.
The best part of my day: Reading to the boys at bedtime. I started when they were infants, and we still read to this day.
The one thing I wish I didn't have to do: Laundry!
The one thing I always worry about: Am I giving these boys everything they need?
The secret to being a successful working mother is: Flexibility. It’s pretty rare that a day goes according to plan. Kids get sick, lunches get left behind on the counter, staff calls out. You have to be able to roll with constant change and still keep everything going with a smile on your face — until the car ride home.
The one thing I would tell other working mums: Don’t pay any attention to what others think you should do about raising your children. You know your situation best.
Becoming a mother changed this thing about me: I knew nothing before I had kids. I thought I was smart, but every day I learn something new. (I am even re-learning what I already learned in school a whole new way.)
Who helps raise your kids? Tell us about your village: Besides my family of origin, my church family has helped me in ways I can’t explain. When I got divorced, there were 75 people at the ready providing guidance, support, offers of rides and childcare, anything I needed. As a single mom of all boys, the men in our group have stepped up and taken the boys under their wings and brought them fishing, played basketball, just hung out with them and let them know they are special and loved (and giving me a bit of a break in the process) in the absence of their dad.