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With both Claudio and I working, things can get tricky at times, but we’ve gotten it almost down to a science, so I’m sharing how we manage, and I’d love to hear how others do too!
Before & After School
Claudio handles everything in the morning from breakfast to dropping Alex off at school in the mornings. After the school day ends, Alex goes to an after school program (at the same location), which runs from 2:45 pm – 6:00 pm, and although I’m still not particularly keen on the program itself (many kids per classroom, and they watch a lot of movies, or play on the teacher’s phone), I’m not sure how we’d do it otherwise. I then pick him up in the evening, make dinner, and get his lunch packed for the next day. Claudio and I split the remaining tasks for the evening; one of us gets Alex ready for bed, and the other cleans up the kitchen.
Holidays / Teacher Workdays / Various School Closings
In a normal month (i.e. excluding holidays) there are between 2-5 days that school is closed or has half days, whereas our schedules run according to the NY Stock Exchange. We’re lucky to have a back-up program subsidized by Claudio’s work, where Alex can go 20 times per calendar year for a very small fee. On these days, Claudio brings Alex to the center in the same building as UBS, and he takes him out for lunch on those days. The kids come home with a detailed sheet on everything they did, including pictures of them doing the activities. The only downside to this program is that we sometimes don’t get a spot depending on the number of children enrolled for that particular day.
In addition to the school closings, there are also several early dismissals, where we are lucky to have friends in Alex’s class that take him for the remainder of the day. Not sure what we’d do without friends that live close by!
Claudio and I do our main grocery hauls over the weekend, although if I need something particular for that evening (esp. fresh herbs or a particular protein), then I’ll grab it from Whole Foods during my lunch break. I love having a quality grocery store a mere 2 blocks from where I work, and with their buffet section, I can easily grab something for my own lunch at the same time.
I do most of the cooking on the weekdays, which equates to fast and simple meals. A few of my go-to meals are: spaghetti with meatballs, salmon with rice and spinach, homemade pizza topped with veggies, chicken and pasta, risotto and broccoli, and tuna bagel sandwiches. Something else we like to do is make a big meal for dinner, such as a pasta salad that can carry over to Alex’s lunch the next day. Claudio has been working his Master’s, so I’ve cut him some slack with cooking, but he does love to cook on the weekends, when he has time.
Keeping the flow of things after getting home works wonders. When I turn on music, I feel a bit more energized, as well as if I grab a drink ( usually non-alocholic 😉 ) before making dinner, helps motivate me. It can be frustrating to come home to something like a sink full of dishes, so we try to promptly un-stack when the dishes are clean, and load the dishes shortly after meals are finished. It sounds so simple, but if it doesn’t get done in a prompt manner, we seem to all get a tad unmotivated.
Keep kids involved! I make it a point to have Alex follow through with setting the table for dinner. He sets the place mats, silverware, and napkins. Saving a little task for him keeps him involved, assigns a responsibility, and helps get food on the table a little faster. He also loves to help in the food prep, which isn’t always ideal, but it’s getting easier as he gets older, and I try to include him as often as possible.
Not everything runs seamlessly in our house, but I find that when we have clear and achievable expectations for everyone (including for myself), anything is possible. I hope to hear how others manage between working and/or managing their child/children’s schedule!