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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

a day in the life.



I don’t know if any other moms out there have this problem, but as my first two children get older and after my littlest was born, I found it really hard to have a hobby. Things like painting and sewing, things I dabble in but am not a master at, have been completely kicked to the curb. I still like to write here & there so this little blog and some Instagram posting is all I have left. It is much easier to jot down mental notes and take photos on the fly when you’re busy, rather than dig out the paints or starting the long process of cutting a pattern. I have decided it is okay to set those things on the shelf for now, since working motherhood is right now what I am called to do.

Besides that, I have learned that nothing quite gets my goat like a disorganized household. I can’t sink my teeth into the joys of crafting when the fridge is bare, there is a mountain of laundry, and there is a pile of crap that needs donating in the carport. So as I have mentioned before, I decided in this stage of life that when the day is done & the kids are in bed it’s time for homemaking, and that’s that. Who doesn’t enjoy the satisfaction of tackling a to-do list? I surely do. I am learning that even the most mundane chores can be more enjoyable when they are done with a beautiful intention. The other day our dog tracked in mud and then made himself comfy on our bed, so I had to wash our comforter. I have recently been investing in the slightly pricier Mrs. Meyers-everything, because their products are better for the environment and less toxic in our home; the scents are to die for too. So I shoved our huge comforter into the wash with a cap-full of Geranium-scented detergent. When it was done, I lugged it outside and spread it out over some patio chairs to get some sun. Oh my how well I slept that night, tucking myself into a freshly laundered bed. There is nothing like it, and I vowed to handle more tasks with such care in hopes that crappy daily chores feel slightly less so. 

Then comes that whole working mom balancing act thing. At times I trick myself into thinking I don’t have time to slow down, doing simple tasks with intention requires I turn full corners instead of cutting them. But the sad truth of it is that it simply means I am allowing my plate to get too full. My family, my home, and my job is what matters most, everything else can simply drop off. This doesn’t mean we don’t change up the routine every now & again, but little kids thrive on routine and I am finding that I do, too. The only way to balance it all is to know your limits and slow down, instead of speed up. Hiring a cleaning lady every once in a while helps too.

I share the pump closet at work with a friend of mine who had her first baby a few weeks before Adeline was born, and she, like me, is still working to find that balance. She shared with me a spreadsheet of how her day goes, so that not only she could see where her time was going but also her husband could, too. I decided that I could share what an average day in the life looks like over here, to pair with my post a couple of weeks back with ideas on how to cope with a busy day. Here’s what our day looks like!

4:30 am- Adeline wakes for her first feeding of the day. She is still sleeping in our room, so I quickly run to suck down a glass of water and use the bathroom before she gets fussy. I scoop her up and lay her back in bed beside me so she can nurse. I often doze off, but then I quickly burp her and switch sides so that she falls back asleep with a full belly and I can feel comfortable again. Sometimes I lay her back into her basinet and other times she falls asleep tucked into bed next to me. It all depends on how well I want to sleep after that.

6:00 am- This is when my alarm goes off. I hit snooze.

6:30 am- I try to pull myself out of bed at this point. I try to squeeze in a very quick, light workout and a shower. I also use this time to empty my dishwasher and move last night’s laundry load from the wash to the dryer. Penelope usually senses I am up and gets out of bed, pitter-pattering behind and gabbing in her sweet two year old voice while I desperately try to get some things done.


7:15-8 am- This is when it gets crazy. My husband pulls himself out of bed, and the other two kids gradually wake up. Penelope is probably eating a banana at the kitchen table with a cold glass milk. I put away any folded laundry sitting on the coffee table. Elliott is asking for a bagel, the baby wants to feed, and my husband is patiently combing his hair. Somehow we manage a wild dance of getting the kids dressed, ourselves dressed, and all bags packed up for the day. My husband runs around picking up strewn-about diapers and pajamas, as well as anything else randomly laying around, and throws it in his proper spot. Hopefully we are backing out of the driveway by 8 am.

9:30 am, 12:30 pm, 3:30 pm- Pump! This schedule varies a little if I have a meeting, but I really try to stick to the every-three-hours principle, which worked out well on my last nursing journey. My body gets it, and I usually pump at work in a day exactly what Adeline is bottle-fed at daycare.

5:50 -6:30 pm- We are home and it is time for dinner prep. It gets a tad nuts in this hour. The kids are hungry now and they want a snack, so my husband tries to entertain them while I get dinner on the table. I try to opt for simple, healthy, fast meals at this point because it is of upmost necessity. Usually Adeline is still strapped into her car seat and perched on the kitchen table while I prepare, so I try to engage with her as much as possible lest she gets fussy. At dinner time it settled down a bit. Usually I eat one-handed while nursing, but sometimes Adeline will sit happily in her boppy pillow while I eat. The kids may whine about this vegetable or that side dish, but ultimately it’s a peaceful few minutes. With the warmer weather, we have been trying to eat outside more often so there is a natural flow to outdoor play afterward.

6:30- 8- Kitchen cleanup & play time. The sky is the limit here. The kids often retreat to their room with a Mickey Mouse record on repeat, but often times Elliott will pop out asking for snacks, to which I will offer to reheat his dinner instead. There can be few tantrums at this point in the day. We also slowly transition to bedtime over this time frame. Sometimes we hop in the bath, sometimes we get extra stories. Taylor & I are pretty casual folks and are not hell-bent on routine, but we try to get their teeth brushed & pajamas on well before bedtime. Sometimes we set a timer for 15 minutes so they understand that when it beeps it’s time for bed. This is when Adeline’s marathon feeding begins also.

8:00 pm- Bedtime! Usually my husband lets the kids pick out one book each and he reads them both. The goodnights start and they are long, as the kids, Elliott particularly, likes to stall. I am still marathon feeding Adeline, but she is probably in her pajamas at this point too.

8:10 pm- Elliott emerges. He needs to go potty.

8:15 pm- Elliott needs a tissue.

8:25 pm - Elliott needs a drink of water.

8:30 pm –Finally have Adeline in bed! I retreat to the kitchen to finish clean up, bottle prep, and meal prep. 

8:35 pm- Elliott’s blankets came off and we need to tuck him in again.

8:45 pm- Elliott emerges again. We give him a firm talking too. Penelope is snoring in the bed next to him.

9:00 pm- I am still washing dishes. My husband presets the coffee machine & makes his lunch for tomorrow.

9:30 pm- I sweep & do a quick mop of the floor with a spray bottle. I start a load of laundry and take another load out of the dryer. Time to fold! I put away as much as possible and stack the kids’ clothes on the coffee table to put away in the morning. Sometimes Taylor & I watch a show while I fold.


10:30 pm- I pump one last time. 

10:45 pm- Collapse into bed, and wait for that 4:30 am feeding call.

2 comments:

  1. Charlotte, I am exhausted just reading what you have to do.... no more complaining for me, my life although busy is no where near as busy as yours. I am going to be working from home for my job in the next couple of months and I am looking forward to having that extra time I travel with now to have myself better organized and not so chaotic... You are doing a great job... I am in awe xox

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  2. First of all, I LOVE Meyer's geranium scent! I've been using it as my all-purpose cleaner in the kitchen and bathrooms for years now and still haven't gotten sick of it.

    Secondly.... yeah, I feel you on needing to leave hobbies by the wayside for now. I insist on being able to exercise since that's more of an essential than a hobby, and luckily I can still read before bed while nursing, but any other creative pursuits? I just don't see how they'll be possible right now. I also need the house to be put-together before I can feel free enough to be creative, and I barely have enough time right now to keep up with the household stuff (and that's while still on maternity leave!) But it's okay. This time with young kids really is brief, in the grand scheme of things. Our easels will be waiting for us in 5, 10, 20 years, but our babies will never be babies again.

    With that said... OMG Elliott! Master of snacking and stalling!

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