WorkShift

Working mom holding her child

Day In the Life of a WFH Mom

My baby is napping now. She has been ill these past few weeks and is currently recovering from measles. So I could have 20 minutes or 2 hours for this. So, let’s cut to the chase while we can, shall we?

Hey! My name is Nastita. I live in the southeast of France, an hour away from Mont Blanc and 10 minutes away from Geneva, Switzerland – all of which means that I am up against the world’s highest living cost. I have two daughters, 4 and 1 year old, who have both been blessed with easy-going temperaments and an I-don’t-need-my-mom-to-sleep-with-me attitude. The second trait I have found to be very helpful when it comes to working remotely with kids, especially in the future of work.

My husband is French and I am from Indonesia. I have lived in several countries across Europe for a total of 8 years and am now living here in France permanently. Unfortunately, this means there are no family members to rely on for long-term, short-term, date night, or when I just need a well-earned break.

I must preface this sample daily routine by saying that I am working part-time. My day is divided into 2 shifts: one in the morning and the other in late noon. You will understand why if you read on. My oldest goes to school from 8am to 4pm and most days I have the baby with me. Routines are super important to me, and I try to stick with them daily. My youngest however, is turning into a toddler and sometimes these routines are just thrown out the window.

Living abroad post-kids, I knew I was just not interested in waking up early and fighting through traffic five times a week. Malhereusement, je ne parle pas très bien français! I had a freelancing job on the side doing corporate events and ran a small instagram shop before I found out about SnackMagic. At first, I was part of the ambassador program, where I got to fulfill orders for France. Then, one day, I was offered to try for a remote position joining the international team.

During the interview, I spent days contemplating how I could transition to becoming a working parent without a family support system. What I didn’t know at the time was that SnackMagic is a remote company that’s massively ahead of the curve in terms of forward-thinking policies and the future of work. For several years, I had been looking for opportunities, ideas, and inspiration to work from home, and earn my own income so I can live the life that I want. I found them with SnackMagic. To this day, I remember every kindest word of the interviewer, and I am so grateful for everyone’s understanding. 

Nastita Rani

So, without further ado, let me share a glimpse of what a day looks like for me!

5:00 AM: WAKE UP, EXTRA CUDDLES, SCHOOL PREP
I wake up around this time when the baby wakes up. We have extra cuddles on the sofa and after some time she usually goes straight to her toy corner. While she is happily playing, I check my phone, WhatsApp, email, Slack etc. – always thinking “this is a bad idea, I can’t reply to this now with my foggy brain!” I unload my dishwasher from last night, make breakfast, and clean up the kitchen right after. Most of the time though, we keep breakfast simple, such as cereal or toast. But when I’m feeling fancy, it’s ready-made pancakes with maple syrup drizzled on top.

8:00 AM: SCHOOL RUN, NAP TIME, GETTING READY TO WORK
After all the chores every other mom has in the morning – from waking kids to making sure teeth are brushed – we walk to school. It gets a bit more stressful during the winter when I open the door to find either A) it’s snowing hard outside, or B) raining heavily, so we need to come back to get umbrellas and cover the stroller with a raincoat. Luckily, the school is only about 10 minutes from home. By the time we come back, I have 15 minutes left before I officially start my day and the baby is looking sleepy and ready for her first nap. I wash my face, put a bit of makeup on, make myself a cup of coffee, and begin work.

9:00 AM: WAIT… THAT’S NOT TRUE
Turns out she can’t sleep and is now watching YouTube while I work on the computer. She inevitably makes an appearance when I am on Zoom calls and given the circumstances, people are so generously understanding about that! A big chunk of my morning is about communicating: replying to emails, sending messages to our partners, huddling with colleagues, team meetings and so on.

11:00 AM: SCHOOL PICKUP FOR LUNCH
Although being a remote worker is excellent, not all countries can keep up with this trend. Since I can’t prove a physical office in the country, I am not eligible to send my kids to the school canteen, so I must pick up my daughter and bring her back home for lunch. But sometimes, my Zoom call has not finished, and I have not even cooked anything for lunch. In such cases, I need to excuse myself for leaving a call or otherwise I would be late. I’m very particular when setting up my Calendly because when I was 3, my father picked me up an hour late. I am 33 now, but I still remember that day very clearly. Not going to happen to my kids!

1:30 PM: ANOTHER WALK TO SCHOOL AND OFFLINE WORK
With 2 hungry kids at home asking for food, I leave my laptop on just in case something urgent comes up but I barely look at it. Then I wonder…have I eaten anything today? The answer is usually no, so I toss whatever I have in the fridge and get ready to walk my daughter back to school. I dedicate my second shift starting this hour to follow-up on things that happen in the morning and manual work such as cleaning up data, artwork design,  some writing, handling queries, etc. Around this time, my baby is down for her second nap. But, I just can’t seem to figure her out lately so I just follow her cue.

4:00 PM: END OF WORK, SCHOOL PICK UP, RUNNING ERRANDS
I end my day at 4 pm thinking of what my husband will eat later :joy:.  At this point, I have been up around 12 hours and I feel tired already. I gather my energy to pick up my oldest from school, go to the supermarket and find something to cook later on. In France, it is also customary for kids to eat snacks between 3 to 5 pm called le goûter, so I try to provide them with something to munch on while I prepare the bath.

7:00 PM: DINNER & END OF DAY… -ISH!
My late afternoon usually goes very quick: bathing the kids, cooking dinner, and by the time my husband comes home, we will have dinner together and chat. I do the chores while he plays with the kids and puts them to bed. Occasionally, we order in some food and that just saves a lot of time. We’ve always had a relatively early bedtime for them, and I feel like this has really worked for us so far. They need their sleep, and then my hubby and I can be alone together afterwards.

9:00PM: BEDTIME
I generally try to get to bed at 9 pm, but if I have some deadlines (or we’re hooked on some Netflix series!), I’ll stay up later. 

So that’s my life in a nutshell as a #WAHM. The next day, I’ll do it all over again.  It’s a challenge, but a bit of multitasking and flexibility goes a long way.

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