Have you ever wondered how working mamas make it work? Maybe you’re about to head back to work after your maternity leave and you’re not sure how everything is going to fall into place. Or you want a sneak peek into how other moms make family time happen when they’re gone eight-plus hours each day.

Here is some advice from moms who have conquered balancing work and childcare:

1. A mom who starts work at 3:30am every day 

“I work from home teaching English online to kids in China Monday-Saturday. I wake up and start teaching at 3:30 A.M. and am done by 6:15 A.M. And then do weekend evening classes that go from 7-9 A.M. Crazy schedule but my little one is always sleeping while I work and then I have all day with her!” —Ashley A

2. She gets a workout in before work 

“5:20 A.M. Out of bed to go to HIIT class

6:15 A.M. Return home. Shower, coffee, dressed, get prepped breakfast/lunch into work bag

6:45 A.M. Daughter and husband up. Both get her ready while each still getting ready.

7:15 A.M. Leave for work.

8 A.M.-5 P.M. Work.

5-6 P.M. Commuting home.

6-7:30 P.M. Play with daughter, feed her, bathe her.

7:30-8:15 P.M. Daughter bedtime routine.

8:15-9 P.M. Husband and I eat.

9-10 P.M. Prep for next day.

10-11 P.M. Us bedtime routine.

Repeat!” — Stephanie R.

3. A mom who makes the most of her mornings 

“I wake up around 6:30/7 A.M. when the baby wakes up and spend the hour and a half (ish) only with her. I don’t shower, don’t eat breakfast, only spend the morning feeding her, spending time with her, and getting her ready for day care. My husband leaves around 8:15 A.M. to do drop off and then I start getting ready.

“I leave around 9:30 A.M. for work so sometimes I’m able to work out, shower and get out the door or pick up our home, start dinner, whatever I can fit into that time frame. I take a train into work so I spend that time reading in and answering emails. I work until 7 P.M. and don’t walk in the door until 8:30 P.M., when my baby is fast asleep. I try to spend as much uninterrupted time as I can with her in the morning because we don’t get that evening time at all.” —Maggy P

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4. It’s a 4am-4pm kind of day 

“I wake up at 4 A.M., do an hours exercise, get ready for the day, shower make lunches etc and await my two kids to wake around 5.30-6.30 A.M. We leave the house at about 7:45 A.M., do the school drop off and then at work by 8.30-ish. Finish work at 4 P.M., pick the monkeys up and then home by 5 P.M. Dinner play bath and bed and then a little more work, chores and rinse and repeat.” —Jesse B.

5. One teacher’s schedule 

“3:15 A.M. Wake up and work out

4:00 A.M. Shower breakfast get dressed

5:00 A.M. Prep baby bottles, lunches food

5:30 A.M. Nurse baby, get toddler up, get all dressed and ready

6:00 A.M. Breakfast for toddler and baby

6:30 A.M. Leave for drop off to daycare

7:30 A.M.-3:15 P.M. (I am a teacher so it’s more like 4/5) work, pumping at 7:45 A.M. , 11:45 A.M., 3 P.M.

4-5:00 P.M. Pickup kids, dinner, bedtime for baby by 6, 7:30 P.M. for toddler

7:30-8:30 P.M. Chores etc, then bed!

*maybe a nursing session around 2:00am?*”  —Alexandra M. 

6. A working mom whose partner works two jobs 

“6:15 A.M. wake up, quick shower, get ready, get the baby up and out the door by 6:45 A.M. Drop him off at daycare by 7 A.M. Commute almost an hour to work, work til 5 P.M., commute an hour home. Pick baby up from daycare 6-6:15 P.M., come home, let the dogs out and feed them, heat up dinner and eat with my 16-month-old. 

“We finish dinner, bath and teeth brushing and get him to bed by 7:30 P.M. After he goes to bed, I shower, meal prep for the next night, clean up, and watch TV until my husband gets home. He works 8-5 P.M. at his main job, 6-9:30 P.M. at his second job.” —Samara L.

7. A mom who pumps every 3 hours 

4:45 A.M. Wake up and pump

5:35 A.M. Start a load of laundry

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5:40 A.M. Let the dog out/feed

5:45 A.M. Empty dishwasher and load and run

6:00 A.M. Put together lunch/bfast

6:10 A.M. Shower and do hair

6:20 A.M. Move laundry to the dryer

6:20- 6:40 A.M. Change baby, give one bottle and dress for daycare

6:40 A.M. Pack baby for the husband to drop off at daycare

6:40-7:00 A.M. Pump on way to work

4:00 A.M. Home

4:15 P.M. Sterilize bottles

4:30 P.M. Vacuum floors

4:45 P.M. Fold laundry and put away

5:00 P.M. Husband comes home and he cooks dinner and news

5:30 P.M. Play with baby

6:00 P.M. Bath time

7:00 P.M. Make bottles

8:00 P.M.-9:00 pm Clean

9:30 P.M. Baby takes last bottle

10:00 P.M. Baby down

(insert pump every 3 hours).”—Rohana M.

8. A work-from-home mom 

“On an ideal day… when my kid lets me get some work done . Wake up, husband is off to work, get the little one up, diaper, then breakfast for us both. And COFFEE (very important!) After breakfast it’s playtime and chores, then she watches a show while I work a bit and then make her lunch. Lunch, then nap. 

“While she naps I eat lunch, fold laundry, make phone calls, answer emails and crank out articles for clients. Then when she wakes, she usually watches a bit more TV while I continue to work. We play a bit, then I start on dinner. Sometimes husband is able to help with bath or playing with her while I cook. Dinner, get her ready for bed/in bed, then eat dinner with my man and write a bit more if I still have the brain power. “ Rebekah H.

9. A mom whose parents help with childcare

“Wake up at 6 A.M. to get ready, but leave my kids in bed until 7 A.M.. On days my 4-year-old has school, my husband leaves at 7:15 A.M. to take him to school on his way to work, and I take my 1.5-year-old to my parents house on my way to work. On weekdays with no school, my parents keep them at my house so they get to sleep in! At 3 P.M. my husband picks them up and brings them home, or gets home to them. I work until 6 P.M., so when I get home, he usually has dinner done or at least started! 

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“I pick up around the house and put away laundry. We have dinner together in the dining room every night as a family. Whether it’s pizza or a full course meal, we are together. After dinner I pick up some more and start bedtime routine! Baths, jammies, teeth brushed, and Bible Stories. Prayers, tucked in, white noise and diffusing lavender. I try to have them in bed by 7:30 P.M. but sometimes it’s a lot later. Weekends are packed full of family time since we don’t get a lot of it during the week!”—Hailey H.

10. A mom whose schedule constantly changes 

I work retail so my schedule is never the same day to day. My little one is up at 6 A.M. then off to daycare at 7 A.M., drop the older one off at school at 7:30 A.M.and back home to get ready or straight to work depending on what time I start. If I close, then my mother-in-law watches the baby until my husband gets home. Somewhere in there I get a day off but still get up at night with the baby who does not sleep well at all! So I run on about four to five hours of sleep a night. On the weekends my husband gets up with the baby so I get a little more sleep but still get up with them to make sure they are good.”—Kristie C.

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