I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for more than four years now, since the birth of my oldest daughter. I exchanged my reporter’s notepad for pacifiers and plastic molded toys and have enjoyed my time away from the working world. Last fall, I gave birth to our second daughter, and now I feel like I am really, really earning my keep as a stay-at-home mom. There’s no time to eat bon bons around here. (But I do sometimes keep a stash of gummy bears in the pantry for those rare moments of solitude.) I present a typical day in my house
Me: Stay-at-home mom
Josh: My husband
Abby: Our 5-month-old daughter
Hildegard: Our cat. She’s super affectionate toward our immediate family but will pursue and snarl at all outsiders.
5:45 a.m. – I wake up when I hear Josh getting ready for his work as a high school history teacher. Abby has slept through the entire night again. She does this about 70 percent of the time now. I will not discuss this further lest I jinx myself, invoke the jealousy of the rest of the mothering world, or someday have a third child who refuses to sleep at all. I get up to use the bathroom and go back to bed.
6:30 a.m. – Josh kisses me goodbye. Hildegard comes in and snoozes next to me.
6:50 a.m. – Megan creeps into the bedroom. I tell her to go turn on some cartoons and assure her I’ll be up in a few minutes.
7:10 a.m. – I get up for the day and get Abby up. I change her diaper and nurse her in the living room recliner while Megan watches cartoons and I catch up on Facebook and e-mail. We ditched our satellite service shortly after Megan was born, so we watch Curious George on PBS.
7:30 a.m. – Abby lies under her play gym and bats at toys while Megan and I eat our breakfast. Today’s menu is Lucky Charms and orange juice, with a gummy vitamin for Megan. We watch Cat in the Hat on PBS while we eat in the living room. Megan sits at a kid-sized chair pulled up to the coffee table.
8 a.m. – I strap Abby into her bouncy seat and set her on the bathroom floor while I take a shower. Megan selects shorts and a T-shirt and dresses herself. The temperature is in the high 50s, although it eventually climbs to the low 70s. She spends the morning complaining that she is cold.
8:20 a.m. – I am dressed for the day. I throw the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher and turn it on.
8:25 a.m. – The girls and I play with baby toys on the living room floor. Megan “reads” to us from two Easter books we received in a package from her Uncle Mark (my brother) and Aunt Kelli.
9 a.m. – Megan is busy at the coffee table arranging stickers, also from Uncle Mark and Aunt Kelli, on sheets of construction paper. Sesame Street plays on the TV. I sit in the rocker in Abby’s room and nurse her.
9:20 a.m. – I lay Abby in her crib for a nap and pick up the house a bit. My hair is mostly dry so I pull it back in a barrette. I brush my teeth, and I brush Megan’s teeth and hair.
10 a.m. – Our friends, Kara, 3, and Brendan, 2, show up for a play date with their mom, Tracy. The kids play with baby toys in the living room for a few minutes before moving to Megan’s room, where the girls busy themselves with magnetic dolls and Brendan gets out a Veggie Tales play set. Tracy and I settle in our sun room, my favorite room in the house, and chat about pregnancy (her third child is due this summer) and other mom stuff. Hildegard offers her usual welcome to foreigners and hisses at Tracy.
10:55 a.m. – The kids head out to the back yard where they entertain themselves with the swing set and sand and water table. Brendan gets a kick in the noggin when he walks in front of Megan’s swing. Tears ensue.
11:15 a.m. – I leave Tracy outside with the kids and slide two frozen pizzas into the oven – one on a cookie sheet and one on our pizza stone – and get Abby up from her nap.
11:25 a.m. – I take the battery out of the smoke alarm in the hall. It is ridiculously sensitive, which may someday save our lives, but for now it often goes off when the oven is on.
11:26 a.m. – I check on the pizzas and discover our pizza stone has cracked in half in the oven. I slide the pizza onto a clean cookie sheet and pop it back in the oven. I stick the two broken halves of the pizza stone in the empty sink to cool. The pizza stone was five or six years old, so I figure it lived a good life.
11:45 a.m. – The kids eat pizza at a plastic picnic table on the back patio while Tracy and I eat in the sun room, where we can watch the kids. I nurse Abby.
12:15 p.m. – I put away the leftover pizza but leave the dishes on the counter to clean up later. The kids play in the back yard more, and we open a bottle of princess bubbles from the Uncle Mark/Aunt Kelli package.
12:45 p.m. – Tracy gets out cookies she and the kids brought to share, and we chow down.
1 p.m. – Tracy and I supervise toy cleanup. I’m not sure who picks up more toys: the kids or the moms.
1:30 p.m. – Tracy and her kids say goodbye. The girls and I snuggle in the recliner and Megan watches a Christian children’s music DVD. I nurse Abby and begin chronicling my day for Mumbling Mommy.
2:15 p.m. – I throw away the cooled-off broken pizza stone and we play in the back yard. Megan asks to play “Disneys.” I am Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Megan is Prince Eric. She likes to reenact the scene where Eric’s ship explodes and Ariel pulls him out of the sea. Abby is Sebastian the crab. I’m just happy Megan didn’t ask me to be Ursula the Sea Witch, again.
2:50 p.m. – I settle Megan in her room for quiet time. She listens and sings along to children’s music. I nurse Abby in the rocker in her room until she’s drowsy. She goes into the crib for a nap.
3 p.m. – I swallow my prenatal vitamin and the fish oil capsule that comes with it, do a bit of writing for Mumbling Mommy, and read some from The Introvert Advantage, a book Josh requested from our library system. We are both
introverts. I hear noises coming from the kitchen and am pretty sure Hildegard is sneaking around on the counter tops as she is apt to do when we aren’t looking, but it’s quiet time and I don’t want to get up. She eventually comes
and sits on my lap.
3:35 p.m. – Abby wakes up and I let Megan out of quiet time.
3:45 p.m. – Megan plays in the back yard while I watch her from the sun room. I call my health insurance provider, then my doctor’s office, to haggle over a bill from my pregnancy with Abby. My baby is five months old and bills are still trickling in. In the middle of one call, Megan shows me a gnawed pizza crust sitting on the sun room floor. I now know what the cat was getting into on the counter.
4:10 p.m. – I’m finally done on the phone. I haul the trash and recycling bins to the curb for morning pickup. Abby and I watch Megan ride her bike up and down the front sidewalk.
4:30 p.m. – Josh gets home from work. We chat about our day and play with the girls.
5:10 p.m. – Josh fires up the grill he purchased off Craigslist over the weekend, and he cooks hamburgers for dinner while Megan plays on the swing set. I nurse Abby and try to lay her down for a nap. She fusses for about 10 minutes before I get her out of the crib and stick her in the baby swing in our main living area.
5:30 p.m. – I microwave some veggies and heat up French fries to go with our burgers. The CBS evening news plays on our small kitchen television.
5:45 p.m. – We eat dinner.
6:15 p.m. – Josh and Abby watch Megan ride her bike in front of the house while I wash dishes, change Abby’s spit-up-stained crib sheet, and start a load of baby laundry.
6:45 p.m. – I join the family outside. Megan and I plant lettuce and spinach seeds in large pots on our back patio, and I do a bit of prep work on our 6-by-3-foot garden strip. I have cucumber, pea, radish, and carrot seeds to plant at some point. Megan fetches a toy shovel and helps me dig. Abby cries while Josh holds her.
7:20 p.m. – We go inside. Megan is suddenly tired and whiny. Josh deals with her while I play with Abby on the living room floor.
7:30 p.m. – I get a call from a church friend to make arrangements to bring a meal to a family with a new baby.
7:45 p.m. – I say goodnight to Megan. I dress Abby for bed, and settle into the rocker in her room to nurse her. Hildegard comes in and sits on my lap like she does every evening. Meanwhile, Josh reads to Megan and puts her to bed, and he puts the battery back in the smoke alarm.
8:15 p.m. – Abby is in bed. I change into my pajamas and go to the basement to put the load of baby laundry in the dryer. While downstairs, I discover another chewed-up pizza crust Hildegard snatched while she was on the kitchen counter. I fix myself a bowl of Lucky Charms and a glass of white grape juice before settling in the living room recliner. I check Facebook and do a little writing while I talk with Josh, who is playing a video game.
10 p.m. – Josh feeds Hildegard and shuts her in the basement for the night so she won’t wake us meowing at 4 a.m. We head to bed. Another successful day.
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