Moms Make it Work: Liz | Full Time Working Mom to Four (Going on Five) Kids

Today on the Moms Make it Work series, we have Liz who is a full time working mom of four going on FIVE children. Wow, right? My real-life friend Kim suggested that Liz write for this series and I'm so glad she did. I asked Kim if she knew Liz's story, other than the fact that she has a lot of children, and Kim said she wasn't sure if Liz worked or not. I automatically assumed 'no way---who can consistently work outside of the home with nearly 5 kids?' Well, guess what? I was totally wrong to assume Liz was at home full time. My bad, Liz, you are amazing for juggling the kids and work and childcare! It makes my part time job and nearly three kids seem like small potatoes for a juggling act. I really enjoyed reading how Liz makes it work and hope you do, too!


I was asked by a friend if I would consider guest writing for Juila’s blog because her readers were looking for a mom of a large family. Let me just start this by saying I don’t consider myself a mom of a large family, though I understand most will disagree. But I’m happy to share with Julia’s readers! I love being a mom and have some pretty terrific little people that make it so fun.

A little bit about my current life and then I’ll dive into the specifics. I am a full time working mom of 4 little ones….. soon to be 5. My oldest, Maura, is 5. Yes, 5 (she will be 6 in September). My youngest, John, is 10 months old and will be just 12 months when new baby joins us. In between are Katie (4), and Molly (2). Is it a challenge? Yes. Do I love every minute? NO! But I do love every little smile and hug and kiss that I get. And I do love being able to have a career and be a mother.

John's Birthday

What is your background story? What was your career/schooling before you became a mom? And where are you now?

My husband and I met in college and both graduated from the University of MO-Rolla in 2003. We were married a month later and a few months after that I joined a large Aerospace company as a finance analyst. While working, I went to Saint Louis University in the evenings and obtained my Masters in Business Administration in 2007. This was my personal milestone for being “ready” to have kids. Maura was born in September the following year. I took off 12 weeks and returned to work as planned. 3 more kids and 3 more maternity leaves later, I have progressed through multiple assignments and am now in a lead position. I aspire to senior management and am confident that one day I will reach that goal.

What are the best parts of your situations? What are the challenges?

The first question I get when people find out I’m a working mom to 4 littles is who is taking care of all of them???? We are fortunate to have a loving Grandma who is willing to be with them while we are working. As they’ve grown, the 2 older girls were in preschool part time, so that helped with the daycare load at home. So, one of the best parts of leaving is that I don’t have to pack everyone up and drop them at a daycare facility every morning. Frequently, I leave one or more of them sleeping in the mornings. The biggest challenge is staying organized. Being able to get out the door on time as well as handling the dinner/bath/bedtime routine when I come home. My husband owns his own business which means his hours are a bit unpredictable sometimes, so there are a lot of evenings where I am balancing it all myself.

Maura and Katie

Is this how you expected it to be pre-kids?

Yes and no. Yes because I always wanted a big family. No because I never expected to love having a career as much as I do. I honestly thought I would have kids and figure out how to stay home with them or at least find a job in a teaching field so I could be home with them more during the summers. But I do enjoy having my non-mom life at my job. And I feel that even though I’m not home with my girls, I am setting an example for them. I’m in an industry where women are still trying to make a name for themselves in senior level positions and we need as many role models as we can get for our girls. Especially in Science and Technology.

Is this your ideal situation? If not, what is?

This one is hard. I don’t know what ideal is. Ok, I do. Ideal for me/us, ideal would be travelling the country in an RV letting the open road educate our children. Since that is unreasonable, yes, I believe that what we are doing is best for us right now, so we are in our ideal situation.


Do you see yourself making a career change (whatever that means) in the next 5-10 years? Or is this current set up staying put for the long haul?

In my season of life right now, I have to live a lot in the moment. When people ask me “how do you do it?” I usually just shrug and reply “one day at a time” which is 100% the truth. So planning 5-10 years is hard (and I refuse to look ahead to having a 15 year old in my house!), but I am pushed to do it a lot by my mentors at work. In 10 years, I do hope to see myself sitting in that senior management position. I will continue to work because I enjoy it (and because of husbands business, the healthcare is a must).

Tips on how you make your situation work for you? How do you handle mommy guilt?

I’ve always been a guilty person. Always wondering if what I’m doing is good enough, even before having kids. I like to attribute this to being a middle child people pleaser. So mommy guilt is just a different form of that. The best way I’ve found to combat it is to reflect on the great things that we do together and what I am able to provide for my family. And I make an effort to spend 1-1 time with each child as often as I can. One of my favorite times has been my breakfast dates with my 2 oldest girls. Their preschool requires that a parent help in the classroom a few times each semester, so I take those mornings off of work. I take them out to breakfast before school and it’s a nice time to just sit and chat with them 1-1.

Katie Breakfast

Advice for new moms struggling with returning to work outside of the home? Or struggling to decide if staying at home is the right choice?

The biggest thing I had to learn was that everybody’s family situation is different and you can’t let other mom’s experiences lead your own choices. It’s so hard not to compare yourself to other families, but only you truly know what is best for you and your children.

How do meals work in your family? Meal planning? How often do you grocery shop? Who is in charge of this task in your family??

My oldest was an extremely colicky baby. I was killing myself trying to make dinner and soothe a fussy baby every evening just to have dinner ready before my husband got home. Then it dawned on me. She goes to bed at 7 – why couldn’t we just have dinner at 8 and actually enjoy a few minutes together instead of hastily eating a thrown together, mis-cooked, meal before she goes to bed? It was then we started having 2 dinners in our house. It sounds like more work, but it has made a difference. So, the kids eat something that is leftover from what I cooked earlier in the week soon after I get home from work. We still have a family table – I’m not in another room while they eat – we sit and chat about their day, but I wait to eat with my husband later in the evening. This allows more time for me to enjoy with the kids when I get home instead of cooking and then I will cook after they are in bed (still early bedtimes in this house!) and enjoy a non-rushed, able to eat a hot meal, dinner with my husband. This does require weekly planning and shopping.

Molly and John

How do you keep your house clean? Power cleaning after bedtime? Staying out of the house as much as possible? Cleaning while kids are awake? Purging often? Cleaning schedule?

Oh, is my house supposed to be clean? This goes back to one of the disadvantages of my situation. My children get the benefit of a stay home grandma, but I get the disadvantage of having a lived in house all day. They do their best to keep it neat, but its 4 kids. Mess happens. I try to enforce picked up living room/bedrooms before dinner and then after they are in bed I clean up the kitchen and get the lunches/milk cups/etc ready for the following day. I don’t even think about laundry or scrubbing until the weekends. The 5 year old and 4 year old participate in weekend chores.

I’d like to also mention keeping kids clean. Because when you have 4, cleaning the kids can be a chore as well. I used to enforce nightly baths/showers. Then I realized this was exhausting. Then I had an every other bath night and took a night off. But getting 4 kids clean in one night is exhausting. But – what if I split it up? Much better. So, I’m still bathing kids each night, but the 2 year old and the 10 month old share a bath one night, and then the 5 year old and 4 year old share a bath or shower the next.

The bottom line is there is no perfect solution. I have learned that the hard way. I always say I feel bad for my oldest because she is our test case and we learn what works and what doesn’t work with her. I hope that maybe something I said helped you. One comment I’d like to leave you with is please be supportive. I see too many mothers tearing other mothers down about the choices they make or the way they are raising their children. We are all just doing the best we can to make the world a better place. I applaud each and every one of you for getting out of bed and taking on the challenge one more day.

{Thank you, Liz! Find the rest of the MMIW series here}


  1. I really loved this post. Such a refreshing perspective about being surprised at how much you can love having a career, and I love the idea of being a role model to girls in STEM fields - it is definitely needed! It's great to hear how things work in your house and I loved talking about cleaning kids too - that IS a big job and especially as a working parent eats up so much of the night!

  2. This is amazing! You are such an inspiration to us working moms out there, just trying to figure it all out with one (or two) kids. Sounds like you guys have a great system worked out - grandma for child care is awesome! I have no doubt with your determination that senior management is in your very near future! Keep up the awesome work, mama! (Go SLU!)

  3. WOW! I was so inspired by this post. Thank you so much, Liz! I too am a full time working mom (only of 1!) but you made me realize it's OK to be career driven and passionate about work and STILL be a good mom. Sometimes I feel like that's against societal norms...thanks for sharing!

  4. I love love love this post! As a mom who has always wanted a big family, I've been wondering if it's possible when I hopefully have more kids. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Loved your post! Commented last week right away but it got lost somehow - sorry!

    I think it's totally inspiring that you want a big career and a big family. I'm expecting #3 and work full-time, and I feel like people already think that's outside the norm, too. But plenty of women do it! I do worry about the one-on-one time with each kid once I have three, but I suppose I'll figure it out!

    I feel like I had many more profound things to say in my first comment, but alas, I'm not feeling very profound today. ;) Really enjoyed your post, though!!


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