This is a repost of a post I did for FMH‘s A Day in the Life series. I’m resurrecting it now because my little sister recently had her second baby and is feeling overwhelmed. Hopefully this will help her realize that she’s at least doing better than I managed at the same time. Also, I hope to follow this up by finishing a post I started when the second was about a year old and things were much more under control, so look for that soon.
I’m a SAHM with a BA in anthropology and a minor in computer science. I have a 21-mo-old and a 3-mo-old (both boys). I write, and hope someday to publish a book, but not for a while at the rate I’m going.
Here’s my post…
I wasn’t sure I was going to send in a “day in the life” guest post, but after reading Julie Smith’s I decided I needed to. I read hers and thought, “Wow, she’s amazing. I wish we were that good, organized, etc.” And one of the reasons I wasn’t going to send in a “day in the life” post was because I don’t really want people to know how little we manage to get accomplished (and how bad a mother I am a lot of the time). But then I decided that maybe there was someone else out there just like me who was left feeling totally inadequate by Julie’s post, and maybe they needed to know they’re not alone. So here it is…
Most every day…
The toddler (21 mo.) wakes up at about 9:30. He cries enough to wake me up, and I drag myself out of bed. I go in the kitchen, get him a glass of juice and some dry cereal and take it in his room. I put on a kids video, give him the juice, and change his diaper. Then I leave him in there with the juice, cereal, and video, and shut the door behind me (he can’t open doors yet). I feed the baby (3 mo.) (he’s usually about ready to eat again) and then put the baby in his swing (or bouncer seat, or under his toy) and climb back into bed.
Two hours later the baby is hungry again and screams loud enough to wake me up. I get up and feed him, then let the toddler out. He runs around while I sit on the couch and try to wake up a little more. We play a little bit, then I put him in his high chair and feed him lunch. I get him down, put on another video (a short one this time, and leave his door open), change his diaper again, get him dressed, and clean up the disaster he just created in the kitchen (every meal is a disaster).
I feed the baby again. Then I spend a couple of hours alternating between two positions – sitting on the couch holding the baby and reading while the toddler runs around screaming excitedly and climbs on furniture, and playing with the toddler (more running around screaming excitedly) while the baby sits with toys and occasionally whines about not being held. At about 4 the toddler’s diaper gets changed again and he goes down for a nap. I feed the baby again and then sit and read for half an hour to regain my sanity. The toddler wakes up, I feed him again, then clean up his mess and feed the baby again.
Now it’s about 6:30, and I’m counting the hours until dad gets home. We play some more, and I call dh to see if there’s any chance of him making it home before 8:30 today (not very likely). I feed the baby again, change another diaper (probably the baby’s this time, as it appears I haven’t done it yet on this particular day), and finally dad gets home. Everyone cheers really loudly.
Often dad picks up dinner on the way home, or we have leftovers or frozen pizza. Dad almost always gets dinner on the table, because at this point I’m too exhausted to care if we eat. But we eat, and then dad plays with the toddler while I feed the baby again. I read or watch tv for half an hour, then we get a new diaper and pajamas on the toddler, play quietly or read a story with him for a little bit, then say prayers and put him to bed.
I feed the baby again, then talk with dh for just a few minutes, then say prayers with him so he can go to bed. I empty the dishwasher, rinse the dishes, and reload the dishwasher. I feed the baby again, and change his diaper. I eat a bowl of cereal. I write (at least 50 words). I sit and read or blog or play computer games for an hour. I feed the baby again, then go to bed. The baby wakes up to eat a couple of times during the night, but wakes up dh first, so he brings him to me, changes his diaper, and puts him back down when I’m done. (I’m so groggy I barely remember these times.)
Then at 9:30 it starts again.
I try to check at least one thing off my to-do list every day (and I usually manage). Tuesdays this is laundry, other days it’s paying bills, submitting insurance forms, unpacking boxes, returning books to the library, getting the car inspected, or vacuuming.
Sometime during the afternoon we play either in the backyard or the basement play area (depending on the weather) for at least a little while, for a change of pace.
I do usually eat at least once before my husband gets home from work (usually during toddler’s naptime), though this day I seem to have forgotten to (that happens). I also usually change the baby’s diaper before 6pm (usually twice even, though it’s not guaranteed).
I just sat and typed out what a day was like, and when I was done, I went through and counted the feedings to see if I was really accurate (since I felt like I typed “feed the baby” a lot). I was. There were 12 feedings, and the baby usually eats 11-12 times a day. I wish he ate less often, but he wishes he ate more often, so we compromise with every 2 hours. (He sometimes sleeps through one feeding at night, so that’s why the 11-12.)
Toddler is cutting molars and baby is cutting his first incisors, so sleeping is especially bad at the moment. I typed most of this post one-handed while holding a screaming baby at 3:30am.
This post consists mostly of lots of little things like feedings and diaper changes that barely seem worth mentioning, except that they’re all I do. All day long. If I didn’t mention feedings and diapers my “day in the life” post would be blank.
In spite of everything, we survive. We rarely make it to museums, zoos, play dates, or even parks, but we survive. We’re generally even happy. And it will get better.