For the past two Februaries, I have chronicled a day in our life, just to see how much changes from year to year. Last year, I was still pregnant with Mathias at this time, and two years ago I had a two-year-old that still took a long nap in the afternoon and went to bed at 6:30 (oh, how times have changed).
This is how our life looks currently, with an almost-four-year old and an almost-eight-month old.
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2:15 a.m. I wake to the baby’s wails, and it’s the kind of crying I know won’t be appeased with a binky. I blearily prop up my pillow and bring him into bed with me while I nurse him, trying not to nod off. Luckily, he only takes about 15 minutes to eat and goes down to sleep immediately after.
7:30 a.m. After a solid five-hour uninterrupted stretch of sleep (rare these days, as the baby’s been sick and possibly starting to teethe), I am woken up by Raven playing with the baby through his Pack ‘n Play while he giggles at her antics. Raven repeatedly chirps, “It’s morning time, Mom! Time to get up!” as I seem to be having a difficult time fully waking up. I force myself to sit up though, say a quick morning prayer, and scoop the baby out of his bed.
7:45 a.m. I change the baby’s diaper and start to nurse him (and read one of my current books–Little Soldiers–while doing so). Matt comes out of the bathroom ready for the day and starts prepping breakfast for everyone (avocado toast with apple slices).
8:00 a.m. After I’m finished feeding the baby, I eat my own breakfast.
8:15 a.m. I hop in the shower myself, then follow it up with putting on makeup. While I’m showering and Raven finishes up her breakfast, Matt unloads the dishwasher and loads it with all the dishes in the sink.
8:45 a.m. On Tuesday and Thursday nights, Matt has a night class he’s taking (a woodworking class), so he leaves for work slightly later than usual since he doesn’t come home between work and his class, but rather just works through until leaving for the school. While I finish getting ready, Matt takes full advantage of this one (and only) block of time where he’ll see the kids (awake) today and goes into full-on play mode.
9:15 a.m. Matt leaves for work, and I feed the baby again since he’s due to go down for his first nap. I put him down without a peep from him, but then need to put Raven in time-out since she snuck into the room where he was trying to go to sleep and wouldn’t come out when I asked her to. Tears and screaming ensue (from her, not me, ha ha), and after she calms down enough to apologize for not listening, I let her out of time-out.
9:30 a.m. Raven gets dressed, and we only have a minor battle of wills over the question of doing her hair (we always do it each day, but some days the battle rages fierce since she’s almost always hated to have it done). This time, I let her click the camera remote to take pics while I do it, which motivates her to actually let me do it without too much complaint.
9:45 a.m. I started keeping a time log this week (after starting to read Laura Vanderkam’s book Off the Clock), so I quickly got on the computer to fill out the morning up to this point and do a quick partial social media check (mostly just of Goodreads, which is about the only social media channel I’m not tired of).
10:00 a.m. I start tidying up the living room and notice a sleeper I’d plucked out of the clean laundry a couple days before that needed to be washed again, which reminded me that I probably should run a load. I sneak into our bedroom (where the baby is sleeping) to gather some of my own clothes that need washing as well as into Raven’s room to get hers, and I start a load through.
10:15 a.m. I continue my tidy of the front room, which I’m doing much more thoroughly than usual as I am having a bunch of women over that night from our church for a meeting. Once the floor is cleared of the general debris of toys, shoes, and books, I vacuum the front room, hallway, and bathroom. Raven does a good job helping to put stuff away, but she also does a good job trying to convince me why I shouldn’t put other stuff away (since she suddenly wants to play with every toy in the room, now).
10:40 a.m. The baby starts to stir, and as we’re about to leave for a couple hours, I try to nurse him for a bit to see if that will tide him over until we’re home again.
10:55 a.m. We do the last-minute scramble of shoes, coats, and keys before getting the kids into their carseats.
11:10 a.m. We pull up to McDonald’s, where I recently started doing a weekly play date with my friend Katie and her kids. (I never thought I’d be one of “those moms” who bring their kids to McDonald’s for play dates, but now it’s one of my favorite times of the week, because otherwise we’d almost never get out of the house with the weather being so gross.) I told Raven she could have a Happy Meal this time (she doesn’t always get one), and I get a $1 drink for myself and a hamburger off their dollar menu. For the next two hours, Katie and I get in some good chatting amidst constant parenting reminders and distractions (though not quite as constant as they would be if we’d had the play date at one of our homes).
1:00 p.m. With tired babies (we both gave birth to boys last year), we decided to head out and say goodbye. Raven has surprised me the last two times we’ve gone by being very quick to listen when I said it was time to go and getting on her shoes immediately, which is a huge help.
1:15 p.m. While Raven finishes up the rest of her Happy Meal that she was too distracted to eat at McDonald’s, I feed the baby (while reading my book, as per usual) and then put him down for a nap.
1:40 p.m. I tell Raven to pick out two books to read (our usual pre-nap/bedtime ritual), and we snuggle up on the couch together. As usual, Raven has a million questions for each book, but I’m in a patient mood (probably thanks to the caffeine from my Diet Dr. Pepper and the elation at getting out of the house and talking to another adult), so we pass an enjoyable reading time together.
1:55 p.m. I am not so lucky with having Raven sit on the potty right after, as she ends up getting put into time-out again for talking back and refusing to listen. She apologizes more quickly this time than this morning (so only spends about 45 seconds in her room total), and finally sits on the potty, though we have another tussle over washing her hands (“You can either choose to wash your hands yourself, or I’ll do it for you”…you can guess what ended up happening, complete with wailing).
2:10 p.m. I sing Raven her usual song (my version of the Beatles’ “Blackbird” with the words changed slightly), and tuck her in, though I know it’s only a formality–she’s long since quit taking naps unless she’s sick, so this afternoon “nap” time is just a glorified quiet time (and I’ve finally now started calling it thus with her most of the time).
2:15 p.m. I read while the computer boots up, and I fill out my time log and start drafting this blog post.
3:15 p.m. I interrupt my work on the blog to go switch the load of laundry from the morning over, which I almost forgot to do. Opening the dryer, I am reminded that I have yet to fold THAT load of laundry. I end up scooping the clean clothes into a pile on our bed (very quietly, so as not to wake the baby) before transferring the other load over, and I go back downstairs to continue blogging.
3:25 p.m. Raven comes out of her room saying she needs to go potty again. Only minor stalling ensues when it comes time to getting her to go back to her quiet time.
3:45 p.m. As I have that meeting in the evening, I need to make sure our house is clean, so I go back upstairs to finish cleaning up the front room. Raven asks if it’s time to come out yet, but I usually have her play in quiet time for closer to two hours, so I tell her to go back in for 15 more minutes. Just as I start to go into full-on cleaning mode, the baby wakes up.
3:50 p.m. I nurse the baby and end up finishing the Little Soldiers book (yay for finishing books! I never get sick of that feeling of accomplishment). Raven comes out of quiet time near the end of the feeding.
4:05 p.m. Although I intended to start cleaning, I quickly realize (with a jolt of dread) that we haven’t shoveled our front walk, and I definitely don’t want all the women having to trek through six inches of snow when they come to the meeting that night. I’m apprehensive about doing too much because I hurt my back a couple months back and am still having issues with it, but I am careful not to twist too much while shoveling and just do the barest minimum so that the front path is at least clear. Raven frequently pops her head out the front door, so I can hear that her and the baby are doing fine.
4:15 p.m. Just as I’m about to start cleaning again, our doorbell rings, and it’s the little girl who lives next door (who’s almost Raven’s age exactly) wanting to play. Realizing that this is a golden opportunity to distract Raven so I can go into full-on cleaning mode, I invite her in, and the two girls start a game of Go Fish, only to abandon it quickly to retreat to the play room to play with dress-ups.
4:25 p.m. I’m finally able to devote my full attention to cleaning the front room as the baby babbles happily in the swing and chews on his rattle. Raven and her friend come through every 5 minutes for help with some random dress-up piece or whatever, but I am able to put away all the toys, random Christmas detritus hidden in corners (I’m such a great housekeeper, #obviously), and set out the chairs for that night’s meeting. To finish it off, I fix some of the decorative pieces/vignettes I’d started to change awhile back and never got around to completing.
5:00 p.m. I walk my neighbor back to her house (Raven insists on coming but doesn’t have shoes on, so I end up carrying her over). We come back right after to start prepping dinner. Normally I fix a semi-balanced hot meal of some kind, but with me handling bedtime and the stress of hosting these back-to-back meetings by myself since Matt had his class to go to, I decide to go extremely basic for dinner. I get out a Greek yogurt for Raven and start making some toast.
5:15 p.m. The baby is starting to fuss, so I cram some toast in my mouth (the only thing I’ll have time to eat for awhile) and then sit him in his chair to give him some solids. Usually he’s pretty interested, but this night, he is not. He takes a few half-hearted bites of carrot puree, and then doesn’t even act interested when I bust out something with fruit in it (the pear, zucchini, and corn puree, which actually isn’t too bad). After he leans happily over his Bumbo and lets the food dribble down the length of the chair, I give it up and clean him and the chair up.
5:30 p.m. Raven is basically done with her dinner by this time, so I have her play with the baby a bit while I work on making a smoothie and finishing my own dinner. I bring my smoothie over to the laptop to write up a review on my Goodreads of the Little Soldiers book (I always try to do a review as soon as possible after finishing to best capture all my feelings on it) and scroll through my Goodreads feed for a few minutes after. I also reach out to one of the people I’m hoping will give me a book recommendation for one of my latest 101 in 1001 goals.
5:45 p.m. My small break over, I change the baby’s diaper and distract him from his fussiness with some silly games and stomach raspberries (which he happily squeals and screams about). As I’m finishing up with the diaper change, Matt calls to check in real quick before heading in to his class. I put the phone by Mathias so he can hear the baby’s loud jabbering and happy giggles, and then I give the phone to Raven, who eagerly tells Daddy about her day at “Jackson’s McDonald’s” and playing dress-ups with Bailee. I get the phone back, fill him in briefly on my own current status and how my day has gone, ask about his, and then he has to run.
6:00 p.m. I nurse the baby, switching now to read Off the Clock. (I realized the other week that I was hardly going to get any reading time in my life if I didn’t start taking advantage of nursing time again, so that’s why you’ll notice that pattern here. It definitely has increased my reading time a ton over the past while!)
6:15 p.m. I usually try to have Mathias stay up until at least 6:30, but he’s really struggling, so we read a short book together (Chicka Chicka Boom Boom), I put him in his little sleep sack, stick in his binky, and sing him his own special song (a little variation I made up of the Beatles’ song “Golden Slumbers”).
6:20 p.m. I tell Raven we can play one game before we start getting her ready for bed, so we bring out Memory and play that together. (Funny note: I used to kind of go easy on her, but lately, she’s gotten good enough that I just play at my normal capacity. Sometimes it means I cream her if she’s not paying attention closely, but other times, she legitimately beats me. This time, I beat her 17 matches to 13, which is still impressively close, considering I’m not going easy on her at all.)
6:30 p.m. We put the Memory game away, and Raven picks two books to read (this time, I Can Be Anything and The Wonky Donkey). She loudly laughs at all of it, asking as many questions as can be squeezed in before I turn the pages. She then gets out her little picture book of scripture stories (we’re currently reading ones from the New Testament), and we talk about some of Jesus’s teachings at the Last Supper. She asks lots of questions about the concept of producing good fruits (works), so I try to explain it in terms she’ll understand. While I’m not sure she understands the symbolism, I at least know she understands that Jesus was teaching us that we should be doing good works by being kind and serving others and keeping the commandments.
6:45 p.m. Raven sits on the potty for the last time and only stalls a little bit when getting into her pajamas after and washing her hands. She surprises me by not putting up any resistance whatsoever to getting her teeth brushed (hallelujah), and we go into her room to say prayers together. She snuggles into my lap while I kneel, and she says her prayer first. This night, it’s a pretty quick one, but some nights, she prays about and for everything, including asking Heavenly Father to bless Mathias’s solids and her milk cup (in addition to our dinner, when she says the prayer over our meal) and asking to “bless Heavenly Father and Jesus that they can be happy/healthy and strong.” I love hearing her prayers. I follow it up with a prayer of my own, sing her the Blackbird song (with “Blackbird” changed to “Raven,” as well as a couple other lyric changes I made up), and tuck her in by 7:00. (Note: I normally don’t put her to bed as early as 7, but I needed to make absolutely sure both kids were down and asleep well before everyone started showing up, otherwise I would be constantly running to put them back down and miss a lot of the meeting.)
7:00 p.m. Since all I’d had for dinner was a piece of toast and a bit of smoothie, I make a bagel for myself and take it downstairs, so I can study over some of the training materials I was sent for the meeting. I also take some time to do a last sweep of the general front area of the house to make sure everything is still looking clean and that I’ve gathered up all the materials (like the agendas and stuff to write with).
7:30 p.m. The other three members of the presidency show up right on time, and we jump right in, as we only have an hour to get through a loooong list if agenda items. As I’m the secretary, I try to furiously take notes on everything, but we still cover so much ground that I doubt I was able to get it all down. (Note: this is a brand-new church calling I was just put into last Sunday. I was made secretary in the Young Women’s organization, and a new president and counselors were called as well, as were new teachers/advisors. So we’re all new and feeling a little overwhelmed together, ha ha.)
8:30 p.m. We didn’t finish up the items we had on the agenda we’d made just for the presidency meeting, so we table those for another time and welcome the rest of the board into the meeting (which consists of the 3 additional advisors that were also just called). I distribute the new agenda, we start with another prayer, and we dive in.
9:30 p.m. We haven’t gotten through all the agenda, but the meeting is supposed to be over, so we pick the most urgent thing (planning the activity coming up next week) to wrap things up and say a closing prayer.
9:45 p.m. The women all start to say goodbye and head out, but the new YW president stays after to coordinate a few things with me. Since I missed the brief meeting everyone attended on Sunday (as we were in Bountiful with my in-laws), she filled me in on that, too.
10:35 p.m. The president heads home, and as Matt has been holding the baby almost since he got home at 9:15 to keep him from crying, I nurse Mathias while doing a quick catch-up with Matt about our days.
10:55 p.m. I put the baby back down to bed, and Matt and I each read from our own scriptures on the couch.
11:10 p.m. My brain feels like it’s on overload, and I feel pretty overwhelmed by my new calling, so Matt and I talk for a long time, during which time he manages to talk me down a bit and reassures me that I can do this.
12:15 a.m. We both get ready for bed (we normally get to bed closer to 11, but I had a lot on my mind and we hadn’t seen each other basically all day, so this night was an exception to our regular bedtime routine).
12:30 a.m. We say prayers together and then individually, and Matt heads off to bed while I finish brushing my teeth and going to the bathroom.
12:45 a.m. The baby is starting to stir again and I (perhaps foolishly) believe that if I feed him at this point, he might give me a good 5 or 6 hour stretch of sleep (spoiler alert: he doesn’t, and I end up being up at 3:30 to feed him again, since the binky did not appease him at that point after about 15 minutes of trying and he would just wail endlessly otherwise).
1:00 a.m. I put the baby back down and go to bed myself (phew!).
Since I started tracking my time this week (something I have a lot of thoughts about, which I’ll cover in another post), I’ve noticed that the constant-ness of it all is, well, pretty constant at this point in my life. Some days it hits me harder than others, but I often will stop and reflect that despite the difficulties of this stage of life, I am very grateful to be exactly where I’m at at this time. I think I’ve finally accepted that life is probably never going to be easy again, but I also recognize that a lot of things are made more beautiful because of the hard things that lie in stark contrast to them.
Anyway, thanks for reading along (if you got this far). And if you want to check out more people’s Day in the Life posts, the team over at Ultimate Bundles (which I’m happy to be a part of!) is doing a big social media campaign today, which you can check out through the hashtags #dayinthelife and #makemoremargin. Also, they have a new bundle coming up really soon (on February 20th), which looks pretty promising. If you want a free goodie, you can use my referral link to get the free ebook all about “making more margin” in your life right here.