Rachael Rachael, a mom of two daughters, is a freelance editor and writer who enjoys gardening and dreams of keeping chickens in her suburban St. Louis backyard. In her spare time, she helps to edit her husband’s science fiction books. Read more of Rachael's work at www.rachaelsjohnston.com or contact her by emailing rachael@mumblingmommy.com.

I’m a stay-at-home mom and have been since the birth of our first child. At the moment, I bring no income to the family table. What I do provide for my family is important, though less tangible than cash. My two young daughters have me. And my husband returns each evening to a peaceful, welcoming home. We have made a purposeful decision to try our hardest to avoid the busy trap so many families fall into, especially while our daughters are young and enjoy spending time with us. I’m also keenly aware that my time with our oldest daughter is limited because she’ll be starting full-day kindergarten this fall. So we make the most of our days. What follows is a fairly typical day in our home.

The cast:

Me – A journalist-turned-stay-at-home mom

Josh – My husband who teaches high school social studies

Megan – Our 5-year-old daughter

Abigail – Our 17-month-old daughter

Hildegard – Our affectionate, noisy cat

5:30 a.m. – I wake up briefly when Josh gets up to get ready for work.

6 a.m. – I doze until my alarm goes off and hit the snooze button once, and then I get my shower and get dressed for the day. It’s easier to shower before my daughters wake up, and it gives me a few quiet moments each morning, so it’s worth getting up a little earlier. I also make our bed. It’s a good habit I’ve gotten into. It makes the entire room look better and only takes a minute.

6:30 a.m. – I hug and kiss Josh goodbye before he leaves for work and head to the kitchen to make a cup of raspberry tea. I put away the handful of dishes in the dish drainer while my mug of water heats in the microwave and then pick up and cuddle the cat who is meowing at my feet.

6:40 a.m. – I hear Abby babbling in her crib, so I get her up and change her diaper. We snuggle for a few minutes in the living room before she goes off to play with toys. I check e-mail while I sip my tea.

6:50 a.m. – Abby opens our pantry door and rummages for a bite to eat. She is eager to eat at almost any time of day, so I’ve moved most of the snacks to the higher shelves so she doesn’t get into everything. She brings out a plastic container of chicken bouillon cubes and looks at me hopefully. I get her a few Cheerios to tide her over until breakfast.

7:10 a.m. – Megan calls for me from her bed. Abby brings me a container of crunchy salad toppings from the pantry. Abby and I head into Megan’s room to greet her. Megan starts telling me about the different shapes of turkey poop, which she learned about last night when she and Josh read a children’s magazine, Xplor, that we get free through the Missouri Department of Conservation. We also receive the MDC’s other free magazine, Missouri Conservationist.

7:15 a.m. – I help Megan select an outfit for the day. She’s not usually allowed to eat breakfast until she’s dressed (otherwise getting dressed takes forever). I make her bed, and she packs her show-and-tell item for preschool. Today, it’s a small stuffed Hello Kitty she got as a prize during a weekend trip to Dave and Buster’s with our immediate family and my in-laws.

7:30 a.m. – Megan browses a picture book and watches Cat in the Hat on PBS (we haven’t had cable television since she was about 5 months old) while I dry and style my hair in the bathroom. Abby is feeling clingy and fusses and holds my legs.

7:45 a.m. – We eat breakfast. The girls have 100 percent fruit juice and whole-grain toast with peanut butter and low-sugar strawberry jelly, per Megan’s request. Megan also gets two gummy vitamins. I opt for two scrambled eggs cooked with a little low-fat cheese and wash it down with a glass of orange juice.

8 a.m. – Megan uses the potty and we brush our teeth. I spray Megan’s hair with a little detangler, brush it, and put a barrette in, and then I get Abby dressed for the day.

8:15 a.m. – I help Megan do a series of stretches. We do these three times a day as part of her home physical therapy program to help her walk less on her toes. Abby is still feeling clingy and keeps trying to sit on my lap while I help Megan stretch.

8:30 a.m. – We load into the car and drop Megan off at preschool, where she attends two mornings a week. I spend a few minutes chatting with the teacher, Miss Anne, about our Easter celebrations over the weekend and then go home with Abby.

9 a.m. – Abby and I climb out of the car and she walks over to the baby swing in our yard and gestures at it. It’s 40 degrees. I tell her we might swing later when it gets a little warmer.

9:05 – 11:30 a.m. – Abby and I hang out. Sometimes we go to the grocery store or Target while Megan is in preschool, but we have things to do at home today. I assemble the documents we’ll need when we go to the neighborhood grade school tomorrow to register Megan for kindergarten for the fall. I make copies of her immunization record, dig out her birth certificate, and gather a few utility bills to offer as proof of residency. I scoop the cat’s litter box, do a bit of laundry, pick up the house, and put a few of the girls’ outgrown clothes in storage bins in the basement. I call our family dentist to reschedule cleaning appointments for Megan and myself. We were scheduled for an afternoon in mid-August, during what will be Megan’s first week of kindergarten. I need to change the appointment time so it doesn’t interfere with Megan’s school day. None of the alternative times they offer are ideal, but I find something that will work. I contemplate home schooling and the flexible schedule that comes with it.

11:30 a.m. – Abby and I leave to pick up Megan from preschool.

Noon – We arrive home. Megan unwinds while looking at books in her room and Abby perches on my hip while I make macaroni and cheese for the girls and heat up leftover pesto pasta (made with whole grain noodles, butter, garlic, and pesto sauce) for myself. I set aside the macaroni and cheese box because Megan’s preschool teacher is collecting food boxes of all kinds so the kids can build robots during an upcoming recycling-themed week.

12:30 p.m. – We eat lunch.

1 p.m. – Megan gets sent to her room for calling Abby a “stupid little girl” when Abby drops her cup from the high chair. I clean up lunch dishes.

1:15 p.m. – I talk with Megan about using nice words and have her apologize to Abby. I help Megan do more stretches to help with her toe walking.

1:30 p.m. – I put on a quiet time movie for Megan. We spent Easter weekend reading about Good Friday and the Resurrection from a children’s Bible storybook, and it’s piqued her interest in Bible stories, so she requests Jonah:
A Veggie Tales Movie
. It’s a change from the usual Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mulan, and Cinderella.

1:45 p.m. – I read a few board books to Abby and lay her down for a nap.

1:45 – 3:50 p.m. – Quiet time! I nibble a chocolate Easter bunny while I work on some writing and prep a few posts for Mumbling Mommy.

3:50 p.m. – I get Abby up from her nap. As she is apt to do, Megan gets overly motherly with Abby about some trivial thing and Abby gets cranky. I tell Megan, “I’ll take care of it,” and Megan informs me her preschool teacher has told her the same thing. I ask if Miss Anne has to say that a lot. She says no. I have doubts.

4 p.m. – We put on shoes and sweaters and go for a walk. The temperature is in the low 50s. I pull the girls in our wagon and Megan collects a dozen pine cones. She likes to paint them, and we want to cover some of them with peanut butter and bird seed to make bird feeders. We run into a few other moms and kids from the neighborhood, including another little girl who will attend kindergarten this fall at the local grade school. Her mom asks if we’re going to registration tomorrow, and I say yes.

4:40 p.m. – We arrive home and say hi to Josh, who is now home from work. The girls play on the swing set and climber in our back yard, and Josh joins us outside. I open our shed and take stock of our gardening supplies, making a mental note of what I want to buy at the garden center later. Megan helped me plant lettuce and spinach a few days ago and I have plans for sunflowers, peppers, green beans, tomatoes, and zucchini this summer.

5:10 – Abby and I go inside and I heat up dinner while Megan spends a few more minutes playing outside.

5:30 p.m. – We sit down to eat. Dinner is leftover taco pasta, made with whole grain penne pasta, low-fat shredded cheese, Ro-tel, ground beef, corn, black beans, taco seasoning, and crushed tortilla chips. I realize we have eaten pasta for two meals today. That’s not always how it is, but the girls and I are big pasta fans. I also heat up leftover roasted asparagus with Parmesan cheese. This is one of my favorite vegetable side dishes.

Just playing a video game!

6 p.m. – I clean up dinner dishes and nibble some Easter chocolate. Josh and Megan retreat to the living room for what has become their nightly routine. They turn on the Wii and play a Zhu Zhu Pets video game before moving on to play Xenoblade. Megan likes to make the characters run around and look at everything. Josh has a handful of games she is learning how to play, and it gives the two of them some good quality time together. Abby plays in the living room.

6:15 p.m. – On this night, I would normally go to practice for the seven-member ladies’ ensemble I sing in at church, but the group is taking a short break. I join the family in the living room and chat with Josh and the girls and watch the video game. Abby didn’t care much for the taco pasta at dinner, so she helps herself to a bag of
croutons in the pantry.The girls get a bath every other night, and tonight is an off night, so they get extra time to play.

7 p.m. – I call my parents’ house in Indiana and talk with mom and wish her a belated Happy Easter. While we talk, I get Abby dressed for bed and brush her teeth, and I empty her overflowing Diaper Champ and put in a fresh trash bag. Josh and Megan continue to play their video game, and then Josh helps Megan change into jammies, brush her teeth, use the potty, and do some stretches.

8 p.m. – I say goodbye to mom and read a few picture books to Abby. I completed the weaning process with her just a few days ago, dropping our last remaining nursing session at bed time. She still fusses some in protest but is otherwise doing well. I’m a little sad, but the time was right and I like our streamlined bedtime routine. Meanwhile, Josh reads Megan a Little Mermaid book and helps her pray before she turns off the light.

8:15 p.m. – Megan and Abby are in bed. I pick up a few toys and put away some pots and pans Abby pulled out while I was on the phone, and then I settle in the living room to catch up on Facebook, check e-mail, write on my laptop, and chat with Josh. I read a bit from an Abigail Adams biography I’ve been slowly working my way through. Josh plays Xenoblade on the Wii.

9:45 p.m. – Josh feeds the cat and puts her in the basement for the night so she doesn’t wake us with loud meowing at 4:30 am. We head to bed and spend a few minutes praying for our home, our families, our daughters, and our marriage before falling asleep.

You can contact Rachael by e-mailing her at Rachael@mumblingmommy.com.

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Category: Moms

Tags: day in the life