July 12 2022 09:58 AM

From manufacturing to being a mom, my days are full of action.

I’ve always been interested in what a typical day in someone’s life looked like, particularly when their habits and responsibilities differ from my own. Growing up on a farm, I knew what my dad did every day because when we were not in school or activities, we were right there with him doing chores. Since I’m working off the farm, I thought detailing a day in my life may give insight to others who are curious or still weighing their future career options.

I picked a random day, last Thursday. It was pretty typical (although no two days are the same) and nothing too crazy occurred. I still encountered a few unexpected incidents, but truly the unpredictable is more the norm in my experience!

5 a.m.: The alarm goes off. I’d typically get up, but I’ve not been getting to bed early enough so I hit snooze a few too many times. I respond to a few emails while still lying there. (Of course, I picked a day to write about where my morning start wasn’t something I am proud of!)

6 a.m.: I finally peel myself out of bed as my husband leaves for work. Often, we split taking our oldest (8-year-old) to camp and our two youngest (“the littles” as we call them, 6-month-old and 2-year-old) to daycare, but today he had to hit the road early, so it’s on me. I pour some coffee, unload dishes, pack up bottles, make a lunch for camp, feed the baby, feed the dog, get the boys up, and get everyone dressed. Somewhere in that I, too, get dressed. I throw a too-brown banana in the blender with some frozen berries, honey, and yogurt as a smoothie for the older two to split and call it breakfast. On my way out the door, I realize I hadn’t eaten, and in true mom fashion, I drink what’s left of their smoothies.

8:10 a.m.: As I load the baby in the car, the middle child announces he has valid reasons for a wardrobe change. Finally, I get everyone back out the door ten minutes later and on our way. First, I drop the littles at daycare, and then my 8-year-old and I head to this week’s camp drop-off, which is unfortunately not in the direction of where I am headed for work. I use this time in the car to chat with my oldest, which was pleasant.

8:50 a.m.: A few minutes before start time, we arrive at basketball camp. My oldest runs off, excited to warm up. I head to work. I spend most of the 40-minute drive making calls to follow up on some items I have on my list. Hands free phone features make driving time so much more productive!

9:40 a.m.: I finally make it to work. Today I am at one of our manufacturing sites. I had planned on hosting a long-term capital planning meeting but had another, more pressing, project come up to install a new manufacturing line. I announce to the group our need to pivot topics, and we spend the time outlining responsibilities, timeline, and other details.

12 p.m.: I head to the maintenance shop at the plant to show my colleague the engine room. I mentioned an issue I had on an automation controls project, and he had some ideas. I enjoy collaborating, especially when others have skillsets I may not be as strong in. I learn something new, and we identify a cost savings opportunity he thinks may work.

1 p.m.: In my late start this morning, I didn’t have time to make lunch, and I am hungry! Two colleagues are hungry, too, so we go across the street to a restaurant for a quick lunch. We chat and review some projects while we eat. We have a few laughs, which reminds me why it’s nice to work with great people.

2 p.m.: Back at the plant, I type and send a recap of this morning’s meeting. I respond to some emails and attend to various other project needs. I also return a few calls that came through as missed earlier.

4 p.m.: I head out to the production floor with two colleagues to review the space for the new equipment. We can downsize a tank and everything should fit well like the drawing depicted. Right as we turned to leave, the conveyor suddenly halts. Never a dull moment! A bolt came loose downstream, causing a jam. Fortunately, it’s not too big of a deal and an easy fix.

5:10 p.m.: I leave the plant. My mother-in-law picked the oldest up from camp at 3 p.m., and my husband lets me know he’s back in town and heading to his parents to pick him up. I head to daycare to get the littles.

5:55 p.m.: I make it to daycare with five minutes to spare. The littles always greet me with smiles, and it is such a sweet part of my day.

6:05 p.m.: We finally have an evening at home; it seems we’ve had something going on just about every night the last few weeks. My husband fries fish, and we make some sides for dinner. I do a few loads of laundry and feed the baby. We eat dinner and then my husband bathes the littles while I clean up the kitchen.

7:30 p.m.: We lay the littles down for bed. I shower, read, and wind down.

8:30 p.m.: It’s bedtime for the oldest. Then, I hang out with my husband discussing our days and logistics for the next day. One of his good friends is in town with his family, so we discuss plans to see them the next night.

9 p.m.: I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but I decided to call it a night even earlier than usual. I typically make it to until 9:30 or 10, but the lack of sleep in the last few weeks was catching up.

This amounted to a much longer recap than I would have guessed, and I even left out many of the inconsequential details. I wouldn’t say this was an ideal day, as I did not get a workout in and missed my typical healthy morning habits. But I did get a lot accomplished in my workday, and I was able to still spend time with my family.

Erin Massey

Erin Massey is the product development manager at Prairie Farms, a farmer-owned cooperative based in Edwardsville, Illinois. She is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the development process, from concept to commercialization. Erin grew up on a Florida dairy farm and has a deep-rooted passion to invigorate the dairy industry. Erin earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of South Florida. Her personal mantra is "Be Bold."