So before I jump right into the workings of my life, I wanted to say first and foremost that I don’t really consider myself a stay at home mom. I am actually more of like a work at home mom, but for those that work outside the home and/or don’t really know the difference: I stay at home, yes, but I work from home as well–as a blogger and an author. I also pick up side jobs babysitting and helping my dad stay organized. So my life may not reflect the typical stay at home mom life, but this will give you an inside understanding of how I spend my time.
Contrary to popular belief, I do not sit around and watch TV or read all day. I don’t get to go out to lunch with my mom friends or hang out at the gym all day. I don’t get to spend all day with my kids at school, and I don’t have time for the PTO. I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say the image below accurately reflects the perceptions of stay at home motherhood.
So here’s what a day in my life really looks like:
7:15 AM – I’ve already hit the snooze button 3 times. Sure, I don’t labor all day, but I am exhausted nonetheless. When I finally realize what time it is, I roll out of bed to face the six-year old who is already begging me to change the house rules so she can play video games. Gently prompting her out of the room, I ask her to get dressed, and I attempt to wake the daughter who sleeps like a rock. (This takes a few minutes.) After about fifteen minutes, I’ve finally gotten the eight-year old out of bed, had the kids get dressed, and have (after some coaxing) convinced them to brush their teeth. They have finished or are finishing up brushing their hair before heading downstairs. I usually check my email, Facebook, and other notifications during this time. If I head downstairs, the kids won’t budge, so my presence urges them to continue doing what they’ve been told.
7:30 AM – At this point, the kids have probably already asked me for a morning snack, so as I gather that, they are busy feeding the fish, the cat, and the dog. They will snack and watch TV so I can take my medicine, eat breakfast, read my morning devotions, start a load of laundry, and probably empty the dishwasher. If one of them is grounded, she will help me with the dishwasher.
8:00 AM – It takes about 15 more minutes to get the kids completely: retrieving socks, locating shoes, arguing over whether or not it’s cold enough to wear a coat, putting on book bags, and saying goodbye to Dad. At least one of them has to find a small toy to take to school. (They’re allowed to play with a toy while they wait for their bus to be called at the end of the day). And it’s during this time that the six-year old asks what’s for lunch so she doesn’t tell the teacher the wrong thing. Finally, we’re out the door and down to the bus stop.
8:15 AM – We walk down to the bus stop, and I am one of only 2 adults, while there are 13 kids. I feel responsible for these children, so I play “bus stop mom” and try to keep them from running out in the road, beating each other up, climbing the homeowner’s wall, and throwing rocks into the street. Finally the bus arrives as relief washes over me. I give squeezes and kisses to my babies and wish them a super day, making sure I wave to them until they are out of sight.
8:30 AM – If it’s a Monday or a Friday, I’ll be heading to the local YMCA for a workout. The drive is about half an hour, but they run a clean facility, offer tons of programs for the kids (when we can take them), and they work with our income for membership costs, so we’ve stuck with them for about three years. There are many proponents out there for doing workouts at home, but the doctor has recommended I use some of the machines for my knee and hip issues, so I feel it’s a small sacrifice to pay a monthly fee than to pay thousands of dollars down the road for knee and hip replacement. Since my workouts are so spread out, I usually walk for five minutes and lift weights. I’ll get more cardio in on Tuesday and Wednesday when I walk around town with my friend down the street.
11:00 AM – I’m done spending my hour at the gym, so I have come back home and cleaned up and have already eaten a snack. Since I hate to get involved in anything just to stop in the middle of it, I’ll do some housework. This usually involves putting some laundry in the dryer, putting another load of laundry in the wash, maybe sweeping the floors and cleaning the bathrooms or straightening up some mess or another. If I have time left over, I’ll take the opportunity to journal (which I feel is imperative for my emotional health) and read my daily Bible study homework. I may also use this time to make some important phone calls, set up appointments, update the calendar, balance the checkbook, pay bills, work on the budget, or fill out important paperwork.
12:00 PM – Sometimes earlier, sometimes later, it’s time for lunch. I’ll probably heat up some leftovers or eat a granola bar, but there’s no sense in doing anything much just for me to eat lunch.
12:30 PM – It’s time to get to work, though I’m already tired from the morning’s workout and busyness. (This is why I love V8 Energy drinks. lol) I usually start with the blog, since I am trying to get my best to get my posts up earlier rather than later. Usually I start this a little early, because it never takes me half an hour to eat, but if my housework runs late, at least I have a cushion. It may take me an hour to write one blog post, or I may finish one, check my email, read and comment on some other blogs, or work on a post scheduled for later this week to try to get ahead.
Inevitably during this time, I’ll receive a phone call or two. Maybe from my husband. Maybe from a doctor’s office. Maybe from the school to tell me one of my kids has been to the nurse three times today or that one of them got injured at gym class or at recess. There is never a day without interruptions.
1:30 PM – Time to switch gears. Now’s the time I’ll do some work on the book. I may read over a chapter, decide I don’t like something, and rewrite. I may need to do some additional research online for some idea in particular I’m working on. Or I may begin a new chapter. I rarely write a chapter a day. It’s constantly a work in progress.
2:30 PM – If it’s a Tuesday, Thursday, or every other week on a Friday, I’ll split the next hour between the blog and the book. If I have extra work to do on the blog, I’ll take care of that, but sometimes I take advantage of the extra time to expand on an idea for the book. If it’s a Monday or Wednesday, I am picking some kids up from school and bringing them home.
3:30 PM – This is my stopping point for the day. I know there is still more housework to do, and I don’t want to get wrapped up on the computer and forget to get my kids from the bus stop. I’ll probably put more laundry in the dryer, start another load of laundry, empty the dishwasher if I didn’t get to in the morning, and check the mail.
3:45 PM – The bus comes sporadically. Sometimes it will show up as I walk out the door at 3:45. Other times, it won’t come by until 4:15. On my way down to the bus stop, I’ll check my to do list on my phone, checking off anything that’s been done and reviewing anything that’s left for the day. When I get down there, I’ll chat with a couple of the other moms that are down there.
4:00 PM – It’s time for homework. I let the kids get a snack, review and put away any paperwork that came home with them, and help them with their homework. This involves sitting down to read with the six-year old, setting the timer for the eight-year old to read, and helping with any worksheets if needed. While all this is going on, I also need to get started on supper if I didn’t put anything in the crock pot in the morning.
5:00 PM – We usually eat dinner around 5:00, and that takes about half an hour, but of course every once in a while things don’t go the way we plan, and we have to eat a little bit later. After dinner is clean up. If the kids do as they’re supposed to, their dishes will already be in the dishwasher, so all I have to do is put away any leftovers, clean up anything left on the table, and probably wipe down the counter. If I have time, I’ll wash the dishes. I’ll also take some time to straighten up the house a little bit, helping the kids gather up some toys and other miscellaneous things. If we’re all together, we’ll have a family meeting if it’s Monday. This involves a family devotion, discussion of the week’s activities, and reviewing any issues. Mostly it’s silliness and “settle down” and long drawn-out Princess Anna silly prayers about the cat and dog. And that’s okay even though we act like it’s not.
7:00 PM – Bedtime. The eight-year old usually will shower on her own, but the six-year old still needs a little bit of help, so I usually hang out upstairs and read until she calls for me. It’ll probably take 15 minutes for me to convince the six-year old to get dressed and another 15 minutes to argue about and finally brush her tangled hair. Finally they brush their teeth, and we plop on my bed to do some devotions together. If we still have time, we might watch a couple of movie trailers or silly videos when we’re done. If not, Daddy will come upstairs and take over to read a chapter of whatever book he happens to be reading.
8:00 PM – If I left any housework undone earlier, I’ll probably finish it now, while my husband and kids are busy. I might grab an evening snack, even though I know I shouldn’t. My stomach says otherwise. lol. I may throw in another load of laundry, do some more straightening up, review the to do list, or if I’m lucky I’ll get some time to read. Or Facebook. Or Pinterest. (Can’t resist!)
9:00 PM – My goal is always to spend this time with Prince Charming, but it doesn’t always work that way. If we have the chance, we’ll spend this time doing devotions together, or I may lay on him for a little bit. Though sometimes I’m still trying to get things done that I couldn’t finish earlier or he’s watching TV and I’m reading a good book. It’s during this time that we usually end up talking about anything that happened during the day or discussing anything that is going on later on in the week.
9:30 PM – If I wasn’t already exhausted, by this time I’ve decided I can’t stay awake any longer. Time to take my nighttime meds, say goodnight to Prince Charming, and head up to get ready for bed. If I have a couple minutes, I’ll probably do some more reading, but more often than not I’m too exhausted, but either way I’m out by 10:00. After all, I’ll do this all over again tomorrow.
Oh, and don’t forget. Sometimes I have to adjust this schedule to make it to the grocery store, go to the bank, drive kids to and from appointments (and sit through those appointments), drive kids to sports and other activities, attend parenting class, go to counseling, sometimes go to the doctor, plan meals, attend school functions, and whatever must fall in between.
For some of you, this might sound like the most boring job one could ever have. Some of you may still be convinced that all I do is go out to tea and play with the PTO. Though I do have opportunities to help out at school with my kids, my job is not easy. There’s a lot of planning and work involved in staying at home with the kids, whether they are babies or toddlers or preschoolers or grade schoolers. I am chauffeur, event planner and activities consultant, accountant, maid, chef, counselor, disciplinarian, spiritual leader, and nurse, among others. But best of all I am there when my kids need me, I am more available to my husband, I have the opportunity to care for myself spiritually, emotionally, and physically, and I get to follow my dream of writing.
What surprises you about stay at home motherhood? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.