Ever wonder how other parents handle (or try to handle) the day-to-day grind of raising young kids? We were, which is why we started this series. Here’s a day in the life of Kveller contributing editor, Tamara Reese.
6 something o’clock a.m. My husband’s alarm is beeping. The baby is restless so I lift him out of the crib next to our bed and pull him in with me to nurse/sleep.
9:15 a.m. “Ma-maaaaaaaaaaa my clock is greeeeeeeeeeen!” I look over at the clock expecting it to say 8:30 a.m. when Owen’s (age 3) clock turns green and he knows it’s okay to call for me. I smile to myself because he slept in today. Gil (10 months) is still snuggled next to me. I try to roll away but he wakes up. We’re all up.
9:17 a.m. I unplug my phone from the charger and check my email/Twitter/Facebook messages.
9:20 a.m. I lift the baby out of bed and realize he’s soaked through his diaper (nursing all night will do that, you know). I ask Owen to take off his pull up and make his bed–he’s totally into “big boy stuff” right now. He runs into my room as I’m changing the baby, “The kitty poo poo’d outside of her box! It’s on the floor and not in her box!” Great. Good morning, cat shit.
9:30 a.m. Owen and Gillen wrestle on the bed while I’m trying to get Gil dressed. The baby calls him “Uh-ah” and it’s so adorable I might explode. Owen asks to listen to The Lorax soundtrack. I turn it on my phone and we all dance. Then I remember I have a volunteer shift at 11 a.m. I need to pick up the pace. I set Gil in the crib with a few toys.
“Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama! Can I eat breakfast now? Can I eat breakfast now?”
9:45 a.m. I walk into the kitchen, think about finding the cat poop, forget, and pour Owen a bowl of cereal. Just enough milk for cereal; I’ll open a new gallon later. I set him up at the kitchen table and tell him to eat his cereal while I shower (our apartment is tiny, nothing is far away).
10:00 a.m. I jump in the shower and remember to grab a new razor. I only shave the bottom half of each leg. I don’t have time for anything else.
10:07 a.m. I swing open the shower curtain and Owen is unexpectedly standing there. “Mama! I need milk in a cup. I also need more cereal.” I grab a towel and brush my teeth. Owen brushes his teeth, too. “Mama the kitty poop is still on the floor and you really need to clean it up.” Thanks, kid, I know.
10:10 a.m. I throw on a nursing tank and a v-neck t-shirt (my uniform). I spot a pair of shorts in a ball in the corner–I smell them. Clean enough. Swipe of blush, mascara, and my beloved Carmex chapstick. Owen says, “I need some chopstick too, my lips are really dry.” He gets a swipe of “chopstick” and I hand him a clean make-up brush so he can pretend to put on blush while I throw my wet hair in bun. Gillen watches from the crib.
10:20 a.m. I gather up the pee pee jammies and the rest of the kiddo laundry. I set it by the basement door and snap Gillen into his seat and toss a handful of Cheerios on his tray.
I ask Owen what he wants for (second) breakfast; he says turkey bacon. I open the fridge and grab the eggs and turkey bacon. There is only once slice left. I guess I’m not having turkey bacon. I grab another package from the freezer to defrost for tomorrow.
As I’m cooking breakfast I also pack lunch. Peanut butter and jelly (jelly only on my half because the world would end if a speck of jelly touches Owen’s half), carrots, cucumber slices, squeeze applesauce pouch, and a bag of Veggie Straws. I fill our Camelbak (I don’t carry sippy cups, the three of us share this bottle) with water and shove it all in the diaper bag.
I look in the pantry and see one tiny cat turd sitting outside the litter box. I grab a paper towel and pick it up. I think about how my child is the most
dramatic observant kid I’ve ever met. Wash hands.
10:45 a.m. I eat half an English muffin, an egg, and a glass of chocolate soy milk. Owen eats a piece of turkey bacon, a mini bagel with peanut butter (and sprinkles) and a glass of milk. “NOOO I want an egg that’s not cwacked!” I don’t have any hard boiled eggs today, buddy. Gillen has eggs and a bagel with soy butter. I clean up breakfast and put the dishes in the dishwasher.
11 a.m. Owen has to poop so he excuses himself and hops on the potty. Gillen is clean but I leave him in the booster seat. Both boys are sitting in relatively stable places so I run downstairs to the World’s Creepiest Basement and toss in a load of laundry.
11:00 a.m. Back upstairs I wipe Owen. I grab the reusable bags for the grocery store and I tell Owen we’re running late (I feel terrible for rushing him; I really need to work on this.)
11:05 a.m. Kid, baby, diaper bag, keys–out the door.
11:10 a.m. Arrive at the Toy co-op where I volunteer twice a month. My kids play for two hours and I watch them while picking up toys, checking people in, and helping out. I wear Gillen in the Ergo; sometimes he naps, but not today. We eat the lunch I packed and Gillen manages to nurse twice and poop three separate times.
1:00 p.m. I’m on closing shift so once everything is clean we lock up and head to the grocery store.
1:15 p.m. At the store I wear Gillen and push Owen in the cart. The bakery is first. We’ve had behavior problems when shopping close to nap time so Owen gets a cookie but we put it in a bag until we get to the check-out line. If he has good behavior in the store, then he can eat it (otherwise he has to save it for later).
215 p.m. Only one mild outburst. He eats his cookie as I load the car.
As I walk the cart to the carousel and put Owen on my hip (while wearing Gillen) a construction worker calls out to me from his post where he is directing traffic around new pavement in the parking lot. “It’s 90 degrees outside and I’ve been standing here all day but I wouldn’t want to trade places with you!”
I laugh to myself and think that while it looks cumbersome to schlep these kiddos around it really isn’t worse than standing on blacktop in the sweltering heat. No thanks.
2:30 p.m. Home. I carry the kids into the apartment and plop Gil in the crib so I can run downstairs to grab the groceries.
2:35 p.m. We wash hands, Owen is acting like a nut-ball. He also melted down in the car because I wouldn’t let him snap his own car seat while we waited in 90 degree heat (unreasonable, I know). I tuck him into bed and tell him to make a good choice and rest so we can do something fun when Daddy comes home (Our family motto right now is: If you make good choices, good things happen. If you make bad choices, good things don’t happen.)
2:45 p.m. I lay down in bed to nurse Gillen to sleep and make a mental note to switch the laundry.
3:30 p.m. I wake up. Oops. I want to keep sleeping and sometimes I do, but today I get up. I carefully set sleeping Gil down in the crib.
I peek my head in and see that Owen is dead asleep. Good choice, buddy.
3:35 p.m. I eat a piece of dark chocolate from the freezer (always chocolate while they are sleeping), sit on the couch, and open my laptop. I sort through emails and reply to some urgent ones, scan my Facebook feed, and share posts. A few urologists on Twitter linked to my “d-i-c-k-s” post; this makes me smile.
4:15 p.m. Go into the kitchen and pull out the noodles and ground beef I cooked the night before and make Jonny Marzetti for dinner. I put it in the oven.
4:30 p.m. Owen is awake and DEMANDS a snack. He gets dried mangoes but brings me an unopened box of Rice Krispies, saying, “You said you would make Krispie treats!” I wipe down the kitchen and finish loading the dishwasher.
5:00 p.m. Fine. I brown the butter (for this amazing recipe) and ask Owen to stand back from the burner. As I take the pan off the burner I realize he has boxed me in between him and the stove with his I-can-help-too-stool. He is now begging for a multivitamin and a temporary tattoo. I get flustered and spill scalding butter down my shirt and shorts. I scream because it’s hot and Owen cries. I follow him into his room and explain the danger of the stove and getting burned and apologize for scaring him.
5:30 p.m. My husband is on a research rotation so he’s working normal hours (huzzah!). He comes home to find me finishing up dinner covered in butter.
5:35 p.m. I stain treat my clothes and survey the living room. GIANT MESS. I pick up the toys in the playroom but leave yesterday’s laundry laid out over baskets in the living room (I’ve been known to leave laundry for an entire week before folding it and putting it away. I need a laundry fairy.)
6:00 p.m. We wake Gillen from his nap and bring him to the table for dinner. We talk about our day and Gillen slaps his hands on the table because we aren’t handing him food fast enough. Owen tries to make Gil laugh by saying, “Your BELLY is going to EXPLODE!” over and over. Gil is in fits of giggles. My husband and I exchange melty glances over these brothers; it’s adorable.
6:30 p.m. Owen excuses himself to poop and calls for us to wipe his butt. I already took a turn today so my husband is up.
6:45 p.m. We realized we need milk and a few other things from Costco so we gather everyone in the car. I was a little frazzled from parenting (being scalded with butter) so my husband drops me off at Old Navy for retail therapy while he takes the kids to Costco. Quick trips and we are headed home.
7:30 p.m. It’s not bath night so we decide to put the boys in the stroller and go for a walk. We’re both trying to lose a little weight so we’re competing for steps on our pedometers.
9:00 p.m. Home. We wash everyone’s hands, face, and brush teeth. We put on jammies and read stories. Current favorite:
. We skip the word “stupid” and change “shut up” to “be quiet.” I rock Owen for a few minutes and we sing the
. He tells me he is thankful for special time with Daddy. I tell him that I am too.
9:20 p.m. My husband lies in bed with Owen and they talk about their day. I take Gil in my room and read him a story, sing him the Shema and nurse him to sleep.
9:30 p.m. I carefully place sleepy Gil down in the crib and leave to clean up the kitchen. My husband is cutting up melon as I load the dishwasher and make his lunch for the next day. I always end the day with an empty sink and a clean kitchen; it keeps me from feeling overwhelmed in the morning.
10 p.m. We eat Rice Krispy treats on the couch and watch an episode of HGTV Design Star. My husband falls asleep.
I work in the evenings after everyone is asleep. I’m finishing up a consulting contract for the hospital and I flip through my notes from the day for this post and a few others. I check my email/Facebook/Twitter. I read through Kveller posts from today and comment/share/like.
1:00 a.m. I coax my husband off of the couch into bed and check on Owen. I love to watch him sleep. I always kiss his head and whisper, “I love you more than all of the stars in the sky.”
I’m tired and I wish it wasn’t so late. I realize I left wet laundry in the washer. No way in hell am I going down in that creepy basement. I’ll get it tomorrow.
1:15 a.m. I climb into bed and Gillen wakes up. I nurse him and set him back in the crib asleep.
1:30 a.m. I climb back into bed and think about how much I love summer since becoming a Mama. I think about how the sunny days pass us by too quickly and soon we’ll have to slowly transition to an earlier schedule before preschool starts in the fall. I think about how I feel guilty that Gil only gets one nap. Owen was taking three naps at this age. Second child syndrome, I guess. I think about the rough patches in our day and how Owen has no emotional regulation right now. Three is hard on everyone. I ask God for more patience tomorrow.
I say my prayers as I watch Gil sleep. I always start by saying the Shema one last time and thanking God for all of the blessings in my life. I read a quote once that said, “What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today?” Thankful first, ask second. I fall asleep praying and all is quiet until Gillen stirs again.