A Day in the Life
When Tsh suggested I write a post for the blog's “A Day in the Life” series it seemed like a daunting task because I’m still in the newborn stage and every day is so different. It’s a challenging season to maintain routines and it requires a lot of flexibility. Nevertheless, I actually had a lot of fun thinking about what my average day was like in this season, and then documenting the details.
To give you some context: I have a 3-month-old (Violet), a 3-year-old (Jane), ten-year-old (Grey), and adult stepson. I work from home and own my own business. Before Violet was born, I worked full-time, but now I usually work about 25 hours per week. This “A Day in the Life” post would have been very different 6 months previous and will be very different 6 months in the future.
6:37 a.m. - My alarm is named Violet and she’s almost 3 months old. Her pre-cry chirping sounds are not a harsh wake-up sound. As I look at my watch, I silently celebrate that I got almost 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. That will be at the top of my thankful list later. Violet sleeps next to our bed in a co-sleeper, so I pick her up, change her diaper, then grab my nursing pillows and get settled in to feed her.
6:41 - I’m still nursing Violet, but I can hear Jane, my 3-year-old, is clearly awake and possibly pulling books off the shelf. She’s doing something unknown—but loud—in her room. I grab my phone with my free hand and quickly check my work email. There are a couple emails that just need a quick answer, and I’m able to type a reply with one hand. Everything else seems like it can wait until I’m truly in work mode a few hours from now. Since almost everyone I work with is on the East Coast, I usually check email early just to make sure there’s nothing broken or urgent that needs immediate attention.
7:03 - Violet is done nursing so I stand to burp her and make sure Grey, my 10-year-old son, is getting ready for school. He’s already dressed, reading a comic book at the table, eating strawberries. I give him a hug and let him know how much I appreciate him being responsible and taking care of himself. I put Violet down in her bouncy chair so I can start making coffee and put a pot on the stove to boil water for oatmeal.
7:12 - Jane bursts into the kitchen in a princess dress holding a book, “Mama, can you read this to me?”
“Not right now, but maybe later. Do you want some oatmeal?”
“Yes, and where’s Violet? I need to say hello to her. Also, I didn’t go pee-pee in my bed so can I have a sticker?”
7:15 - Oatmeal is ready and the kids are at the table eating. I pick up the baby and head back to my room to get dressed. My husband Ken is out of the shower and almost ready for work. He takes Violet to change her diaper while I get dressed.
7:19 - I’m back in the kitchen pouring coffee and answering a variety of toddler questions about the day—who drives garbage trucks, and why we can’t have a pet panda. Ken comes in with Violet and puts her down in her bouncy chair. We briefly chat about the day.
7:31 - I sit down to nurse the baby again briefly, then put her on a play mat on the floor while I pump. (Long story, but she had trouble gaining weight, so I pump a few times a day to keep supply up and then bottle-feed it to her later). While I’m pumping, I talk to Grey and remind him to put the banana in his lunch today, put his breakfast dishes away, take his medicine, put his shoes on, check if there’s any papers for me in his backpack, etc. I also take a quick peek at the news headlines on my phone.
7:47 - Violet starts crying while I’m pumping, so Ken picks her up and walks around with her to calm her down. He asks me if Jane needs to be dressed, and I tell him it’s fine if she’s in pj’s, but she needs to put some shoes on. At this, Jane starts crying about how she doesn’t want to wear shoes, and since I’ve just finished pumping, I take the baby back while Ken handles the toddler complaints.
7:48 - I rinse the pump equipment with one hand, but have to put Violet down to label the bottle I just pumped and put it in the fridge. I tell Grey to stop reading and again remind him to get his jacket and backpack.
7:50 - I tell the kids it’s time to go. Grey grabs his stuff and gets in the car. Jane walks out of her room wearing rain boots, pajama pants, and a cape, holding a baby doll and two books. I put the diaper bag in the car and come back inside to get Jane. Violet spits up on me and I hand her to Ken so I can quickly change my shirt while he cleans her up.
7:57 - We are all finally in the car and waving to Daddy as he drives off to work in the other car. Just before I turn the key I realize I forgot to grab the pacifier. I run back in the house to get it, lock the door again, and we’re finally off.
8:05 - Violet is crying in the car and doesn’t want the pacifier. Hearing her cry while I’m driving is my least favorite part of the day. Jane says, “I think Violet is sad because she wants me to sing a song,” and then she begins to sing “You are My Sunshine.” Violet continues to cry. Grey continues to read his book in the passenger seat.
8:12 - Jane has a whole routine for how she likes to say goodbye to her brother when we pull up to the drop-off line at his school, and today he’s in a good mood and willing to humor her. Violet has stopped crying.
8:13 - On the way to drop off Grey, we always listen to either the news (if I feel comfortable with the kids hearing it that day) or music Grey likes. Once we drop him off, we listen to Jane’s playlist of favorite songs which includes “Shake Your Sillies Out,” “Wheels on the Bus,” and “Let It Go.”
8:37 - Now we’re back home. I put Violet in the baby carrier and Jane joins me in the backyard to water the avocado trees. Most of the other fruit trees are on automatic irrigation, but these three we still water by hand. While we’re there, I also water and turn the compost.
9:00 - We go back inside because Rachel, the babysitter, will be arriving any minute. Jane goes to preschool three days a week, but is home on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Rachel arrives and we catch up briefly. Since Violet fell asleep in the baby carrier, I decide to go straight to my office and get work done while she’s sleeping.
9:05 - I’m in my office (which is in a detached guest house in the backyard) at my standing desk with Violet sound asleep. Before turning on my laptop, I open my journal and write a few sentences and brain dump a few things I don’t want to forget to do this week. I open my paper calendar and make a few notes there as well, noting my top priorities for the day.
10:37 - Violet wakes up so it’s time to take a break from working in my office. I go back to the house so I can sit in my special nursing chair with my pillows and side table all set up. While I nurse, Jane shows me the pictures she painted with Rachel. I suddenly realize that I never ate breakfast and ask Jane to bring me a protein bar, which she does happily. I pull out my phone and reply to a text message from my employee, reply to a few work emails, and check social media.
11:05 - Baby is done nursing. I change her diaper and then give her to Rachel so I can hop in the shower.
11:26 - I’m dressed and ready to get back to work, but I remember I need to eat some real food. I quickly fry an egg and eat it on top of toast.
11:37 - Violet is getting fussy with Rachel, so I put her back in the baby carrier, hoping she will fall asleep while I’m at my standing desk.
11:50 - Violet still isn’t asleep so I’ve been doing family admin-type stuff (replying to a birthday party invite, going through our budget, making a grocery list, etc.) that requires less focus while waiting for her to fall asleep.
11:55 - She’s finally asleep so I close out all tabs on my browser and get started on a work project that needs my focus.
12:57 - Rachel leaves at 1 p.m. so I close up my laptop and bring it to the house. Jane just went down for her nap and Rachel and I chat a little. She tells me about something cute Jane did. She also lets me know that she folded the laundry and emptied the dishwasher. I thank her profusely and she leaves.
2:12 - I’ve been working on my laptop at the dining room table while Jane naps in her room, and Violet naps on my chest in the baby carrier. I calculate that I’ve been able to work about 3.5 hours so far, not counting work I’ve done from my phone while nursing. There’s at least one more hour of stuff that must be done today. I have maybe another 45 minutes before Jane wakes up from her nap, but it’s been three hours since Violet nursed so I have to wake her up and feed her.
2:20 - Always multitasking. This time I am nursing Violet while eating nuts, drinking orange juice, and reading a fiction book on my Kindle.
2:25 - Violet is done nursing so I burp her, change her diaper, then put her on a play mat on the floor next to me while I go back to work.
2:51 - She’s fussing and definitely wants to be held, so I pick her up and spend a few minutes singing and talking to her, enjoying her smiles and coos.
3:05 - Jane wakes up from her nap and comes out with her blanket and stuffed animal. She usually needs some post-nap snuggle, so we sit on the couch with a book. I have to keep reminding her that she has to share my lap with baby sister and be gentle.
3:47 - Jane is finally dressed (I’ll skip over the repetition of questions like: “Do you want to wear the purple dress or the green dress?”) and I warm up two ounces of the bottle from this morning to give to Violet so she doesn’t get hungry and fussy while we’re in the car.
3:52 - We are in the car driving to pick up Grey. I have one earbud in and I record a voice memo on Voxer of my almost-daily thankful list for my best friend. Violet starts crying before I’m done, so I stop recording.
4:02 - When we arrive, it takes five minutes to get Violet into a baby carrier and put Jane’s shoes back on (she took them off while we were driving). Because of Jane’s nap and the challenge of newborn feeding schedules, I’m almost never there to pick up Grey right when school is out, so he goes to the library next door to do his homework, read, and wait for me. Lots of kids from his school hang out there after school. We go inside to get him and return a stack of library books that have been sitting in my trunk for a week.
4:15 - Instead of going straight home, we stop at a playground to get some fresh air and physical activity. Grey gets out a basketball from the car and Jane runs to the slide. While there, I also feed Violet the rest of the milk I pumped this morning from a bottle, then change her diaper again. I text Ken to see when he thinks he’ll be leaving the office.
5:35 - On the way home from the park, we stopped at the UPS store to drop off a "You are not alone” box (one of my side-hustle businesses), then the ATM and grocery store. When we get home, I turn on the oven to preheat for dinner. I put on an episode of "Daniel Tiger" for Jane while Grey plays on his iPad.
5:40 - With Violet going back and forth between her bouncy chair and the baby carrier, I work on getting dinner ready and filling the dishwasher while listening to a fun playlist my sister sent me.
6:02 - Time to change another diaper and get the other two kids to wash their hands and sit at the table. There is some preemptive complaining about having broccoli for dinner. Then Jane has an accident in the bathroom, so I ask Grey to watch Violet so I can quickly start a load of laundry with the soiled clothes and wipe the floor in the bathroom, and help her get clean clothes on.
6:14 - Ken is home and both Jane and Grey make a lot of adorable fanfare about greeting him. I lean in for an extended hug and smooch before passing Violet to him. “Dinner is almost ready, but I just need a few minutes alone.”
6:15 - I leave my phone in the kitchen and go into our bedroom and lie on our bed for a few minutes of quiet alone before gathering myself to go back out in the noisy dining room.
6:20 - Dinner is on the table: roasted veggies, rice, and a chicken already cooked that I picked up at the grocery store. Ken holds Violet while I quickly eat a few bites, then we trade and I sit on the couch to nurse Violet briefly. I’m not so far away that I can’t join the conversation at the table. We take turns asking each other about our days, plus there’s lots of interruptions and then reminders to not interrupt and wait your turn.
6:35 - I’m back at the table eating the rest of my meal while Ken holds Violet. Grey keeps asking if he can read at the table and we keep reminding him that there’s no reading while we’re all together eating dinner at the table. Grey asks if he can have more screen time this evening and I tell him yes, if he eats all his veggies, helps clear the table without complaining, and speaks to everyone respectfully.
6:55 - Dinner is over and Ken is getting Jane ready for bed and will do her whole evening routine with her. Grey is clearing the table with a speed motivated by the possibility of screen time and I’m settling in with Violet to nurse her again, this time with a full feeding, instead of the abbreviated one during dinner. Before I sit down, I make sure I have a glass of water, my phone, my headphones, and my Kindle. I’m tired and just want to plant myself in this chair for as long as possible.
7:18 - Grey is ready for bed and eager for screen time. He brings me his homework so I can look over it and we talk for a few minutes about school, but he is not in the mood to chat at all. I tell him that he needs to floss again, but then he can have 30 minutes of screen time.
7:20 - I change Violet’s diaper, put warmer clothes on her for nighttime, and sit down again to finish nursing. She had been really distracted and I can tell she didn’t get enough. I check my work email and personal email on my phone. Nothing is urgent, so I don’t bother replying. Jane comes out to say good night and gives Violet a sweet and sloppy kiss.
7:30 - Violet is done nursing, but isn’t quite asleep yet. She’s just alert and happy, so I put away my Kindle and talk to her and stare at her beautiful baby face.
8:05 - After he put Jane to bed, Ken told Grey to end screen time and switch to reading, then he moved the laundry from the washer to the dryer and got started on the dishes. I need another 30 minutes or so to finish a work thing that has to be done tonight. I’m afraid Violet will wake up if I put her down, so I prop her up on a pillow in my lap so I can sit at the table with my laptop.
8:40 - I’m done working and Ken already tucked Grey in bed and turned out the lights for him, so now we sit on the couch to have some quality time together.
9:55 - I get ready for bed then try to nurse Violet again, but she’s just too sleepy and won’t wake up enough to eat. Since she won’t nurse, I pump again. While pumping, I check Instagram, text my best friend about getting together the next day, text another friend about passing on clothes that don’t fit Grey anymore, look up a lentil soup recipe, and add a few things to my to-do list for tomorrow.
10:15 - Ken is staying up to watch a show, but I’m too wiped out so I head to bed after labeling the bottle and putting it in the fridge.
10:20 p.m. - I read for five minutes, then close my book and turn out the light, praying I’ll be able to get five uninterrupted hours of sleep.
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