Friday, September 25, 2009

A Snapshot of a Typical Day in the Life...

I have wanted to post this for a long time for inquiring minds- what exactly IS a day in the life of a stay at home mom with two kids under 2 years old like? I get this a lot:
"I don't see how you do it." (I don't either, honey)
Or this:
"How do you find time to write a blog?" (See these bags under my eyes??)

Here is a snapshot of what a typical weekday is for me. The only thing not typical about this day is the fact that I put both kids to bed by myself. Thankfully, John is usually home for that!

And just an FYI- This will be long and tedious, so you have been warned! Those of you who continue reading from start to finish either have a lot of spare time on your hands (come over and take my kids for an hour- please!), or you are a serious masochist.

Wednesday, September 23rd-

6:50am. I am now used to waking up at the butt-crack of dawn. Resistance is futile. Long gone are my days of being able to sleep in, unless my saintly parents are staying over and graciously take both baby monitors (even then, I wake up at around 7am and can only doze fitfully for an hour or two at most). And I know that I'm pretty fortunate as far as how late my kids sleep in. Some moms are lucky to sleep until 6.

It's now almost 7am, and I think I hear Rachel. She never cries the way most babies do when they want something. Instead she has this groan that sounds like a beached whale, something between loud, high-pitched grunts and screaming. After hearing that for 30 seconds, you're ready to give that child anything if it makes her shut up. And at 6:50am, I hear that horrible cry. I click on the video portion of the monitor. She's on her tummy. And she's hungry. She's always hungry. Thus, my day begins. John stays in bed until Eric gets up, usually around 7:30.

7am. Rachel has a horrible diaper rash. Between Eric's HFMD crap and Rachel's butt, I've been at the pediatrician's office three times in the last 2 weeks. I change her poopy, pee-soaked diaper and spread the medicated ointment on her so that now her bottom smells like a nursing home.

7:05am. Waiting for Rachel's bottle to warm up. I put her in a bouncy seat. She gives me a look that says, "Seriously? Where's my %$@! food, mom?" but eventually gives into the inevitable. While she's trying to attack a small mirror just out of arm's reach, I start unloading the dishwasher and begin making 6 new bottles to store in the fridge for the rest of the day. Rachel's bottle finishes warming up before I complete my tasks.

7:10am. Feeding Rachel. I can hear Eric's awake. Since putting him in a toddler bed, Eric can't help but lay down next to the door and kick it repeatedly when he's ready to be released from his prison (other than that little hiccup, I highly recommend child locks inside the bedroom on door handles). Eric's rhythmic kicking sounds like freaking Blitzkrieg up there. After about ten minutes of leg calisthenics on Eric's part, the noise stops. I figure either Eric's given up, or John has gotten him up.

7:30am. Finally finish unloading the dishwasher and making bottles while Rachel plays under Star. Eric comes into the kitchen, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with a sleepy John. I get Eric into his booster seat and begin to feed him breakfast while Rachel rolls around with a plastic teething ring. John collapses on the couch for a few minutes before he heads upstairs to shower and get ready for work.

8:15am. John leaves for work. I won't see him again until around 7pm. Eric, Rachel, and I are still in our pajamas. At this point, Eric has been fed and is standing in front of the television with the DVR remote, trying to turn on the t.v. and watch Sesame Street on demand. I notice his 2 favorite episodes are about to get erased from the PBS Sprout on demand channel. But thankfully, they are still there today. I turn on "Cooking Day" and spend a little time with Rachel. on the other side of the couch where she can't stare at the t.v. like a miniture zoombie. Every few minutes I leave her to be next to Eric. We dance and sing along with the episode.

9am. Rachel goes down for her first nap.

9:10am. Eric decides he wants to go outside. After a quick look at the monitor to make sure Rachel is asleep, I put our shoes on. We head out to the swing-set in our backyard. Eric's still in his pajamas as am I. I no longer care how I look in public, and all our neighbors are A)at work and B)empty-nesters who have had kids. And for anyone who thinks I'm a bad mom for leaving my baby alone in the house, you try Bjorning a baby while chasing after a toddler. Last time I tried that, I twisted my ankle.

9:30am. We hear the garbage truck. Watching the garbage men is the highlight of Eric's day. Sometimes it's the highlight of mine. We race to the front yard and wave to the men as they load our trash into the truck.

9:45am. Eric's getting tired of being outside. We head inside and play together. I wish Eric would play more and watch t.v. less. But after about 15 minutes or so of playing, he wants to watch t.v. again. I turn on "Singing Day."

10am. Rachel's awake. Change diaper, bring her downstairs, and give her a bottle while watching Burt, Oscar, and Cookie Monster sing about pigeons, cookies, and trash.

10:15-10:50am. I start to prepare dinner in the slow cooker. If not for the slow cooker, we'd starve in this house. Rachel's chewing on a teether and rolling around. Everytime she lands on her tummy, she spits up, so every so often I have to go over and clean her/ roll her over. Eric is watching t.v. but also wants to watch a slideshow on my macbook. He loves seeing pictures of "baby Eric" on iphoto. I set that up for him and go back to putting the roast in the cooker. Go to turn over Rachel, then put carrots in the cooker. Just as I'm about to cut up the onions and peel the potatoes, I realize I don't have any beef broth for the pot roast.

BEFORE I had kids, this would be minor inconvenience. But with two kids under two, it's a hair-pulling, ulcer-inducing nightmare. What do I do? The freaking chuck roast has been sitting inside the slow cooker for almost 40 minutes now. I threw away the packaging. I really wanted to make it tonight. That will feed us until Friday. Rachel and Eric won't need to go down for a nap again until around noon-1pm. But no one is dressed...

11am. Quick decision. I go upstairs with Eric and dress him while Rachel does her whale moaning downstairs. I quickly put on some clothes and dash back downstairs. Pick up Rachel (who's still in her pjs) and put her in the car-seat. Can't find the car keys. Finally find the keys. Pick up Eric and put him in the car first. This is one thing I've learned from traveling with 2 under 2- The toddler is ALWAYS the first one in the vehicle and the last one out. I make sure I have my cell and money. Throw everything in the diaper bag. I put Rachel and the diaper bag in the car and drive to Giant.

11:15am. Park next to the cart return. Put Eric in the cart and strap him in. Put Rachel and her car-seat in the main part of the cart. This leaves about 2 inches around her car-seat for groceries. I can only shop at Costco and Wegman's if I have to go alone with the kids to buy a week's worth of food. I am in Giant for all of 5 minutes. I need one can of beef broth so I buy four.

11:30am. Back home. Unload diaper bag and groceries. Get Rachel out and put her in the playpen. Finally go back for Eric who wants to play around in the front seat of the car. I let him do this until he lays on the horn. I get him out of the car with bribery of lunch.

11:35am. Make lunch for Eric while trying to finish dinner. Peel potatoes, and finally get the slow cooker started while I cut up pizza for Eric. I leave both tasks every now and then to play with Rachel nearby. After Eric finishes eating, I spend the next 30 minutes cleaning up and trying to give both kids equal attention.

12:15am. Put Rachel down for nap #2. Spend some quality time alone with Eric.

1pm. Time for Eric's nap. Wrestle with him to change his dirty diaper and put him back in pajamas.

1:15pm. Both kids are down. What to do... Crap. Laundry. Start one of three loads.

1:30pm. Go back upstairs and see that the toilet in the master bath has unidentified black stuff growing along the entire rim of the bowl. Make a quick decision to clean the toilet. After doing that I spray the shower with cleaner and wipe down the sinks. This will be the last time I get to clean the bathroom for about a month. By now it's 1:45. I go lay down.

2pm. I hear the beached whale moan. Double-check monitor. Yep, she's up.

2:15pm. Back downstairs and feeding Rachel. She downs the bottle and cries that she's still hungry. Warm up another 7 ounce bottle, expecting her to eat maybe 2 more ounces. She eats six, for a total of 13 ounces!

2:30-3pm. Start laundry load #2. Play with Rachel and make her laugh when I lay her on my tummy and do crunches up to her so our faces touch.

3pm. Eric is up. Leave Rachel downstairs with toys while I go upstairs to wrestle another dirty diaper off Eric. Remind myself that he will hopefully be potty-trained in a year. Leave him in his pajamas after he screams at the top of his lungs when he sees me coming at him with actual clothes.

3:15-5pm. Try my best to multi-task with the kids. Play with one while the other is engaged in playing by themselves. Eric sometimes gets jealous if I am with Rachel too much, and he'll want me to carry him while I'm carrying her. These are the hardest times of my day.

5pm-5:30pm. Rachel gets put in her crib for her last nap. I say "put in her crib" because she's teething and this last nap is the hardest for her to fall asleep on her own. Since she's rolling everywhere, I have to put her in "the wedge" in order to get her to sleep on her back. I go up to her room about 3 separate times to put her back in the sleep positioner every time she rolls out of it.

5:30pm. Rachel's finally asleep. I go downstairs to the basement with Eric to do laundry. I fold the first load, put the second in the dryer and start load #3.

6:00pm. Rachel's awake again after her shortest and last nap. Do the whole diaper changing routine, this time with Eric crying and holding onto my leg and pushing me to put Rachel back into her crib. I go downstairs with Rachel to warm another bottle while Eric sobs from upstairs. I spend 5 minutes trying to explain to my screaming toddler why the baby can't just be left in a crib all day. Wondering why I bothered.

6:15-6:30pm. Rachel's fed. Eric is calm again. Back to multitasking/ playing with the kids. I leave the Eric in front of the audio-visual babysitter and Rachel in a swing while I go downstairs to fold laundry and put the last load in the dryer. I know- Bad Mommy.

6:30pm. Kids don't set fire to the house. I go back to the living room to find the kids didn't notice I had left. Not sure what this says about my parenting skills. I call John to find out when he's leaving work.

(Note: This week we've had John's best friend stay with us. I'll call him K. The company K writes software for needed him in Northern VA for meetings and such. Tonight he, John, and another friend named T wanted to all have dinner together. I had this fantasy that they could plan dinner around the kids' bedtimes, meeting for dinner at around 8pm. But this didn't work out. So now I have a choice: do I beg John to come home and help put the kids to bed, missing out on time with his 2 best friends? Or do I suck it up and let him go out?)

6:35pm. John's on the beltway to meet friends for sushi. I'm contemplating how to get both kids to bed without anyone getting injured. Normally Rachel gets bathed first. She gets a bottle from either John or I while the other parent bathes Eric and puts him down. I will try to put Rachel down first as she's exhausted.

7:00pm. Okay, that doesn't happen. Eric keeps trying to commit suicide by hanging from the second floor stairway banisters, all the while smiling that devious grin to get my attention. I decide it might be better to bathe them together. This has worked in the past.

7:05pm. It may have worked in the past, but not tonight. Eric now has a new trick of turning the water on ice cold and squatting so his testicles are soaking in the Eskimo bath. Apparently this is a ton of fun. Rachel obviously can't bathe in cold water. I wonder if I could get her down without bathing her, but don't think Eric will give me a moment's peace if I try to do this before he's in his room. Since Eric is already naked and in the bath, I put Rachel in her crib and decide to put Eric down first.

7:10pm. Eric's done with his bath and is on his way to the changing table. Rachel is screaming her head off in her crib. I close her door.

7:15pm. Eric is in fresh pajamas and is in bed. Okay, not really. He's grabbing his Blankie and is about to assault the door yet again, crying the entire time. But he's in a darkened room and could, theoretically, sleep.

7:25pm. I give Rachel a bath and her last bottle in her now darkened and quiet room. I realize this is the most peaceful time of my day. After she's done, I put her to bed.

7:30pm. Both kids are in bed. The hardest part of my day is now done, but my work isn't over.

7:32pm. Go down to the basement. Finish folding laundry. Bring laundry upstairs and begin putting it away.

7:50pm. I decide to shower. I haven't showered since Sunday. Or was it Saturday? The entire time I'm in the shower I wonder if the kids are going to sleep or are screaming their heads off.

8pm. I'm in fresh pajamas and am finally feeling human. Go downstairs to load the day's dirty dishes. Still haven't eaten the pot roast that I made for dinner.* I thought I would finish loading dishes and cleaning up before I relax with dinner and a taped epsiode of "Chopped." I have both baby monitors with me, and I plug them into an outlet on top of the kitchen counter.

8:01pm. Eric starts crying. He gets out of his crib and heads for the door. I go upstairs to comfort him. I pick him up and he collapses against me; he's so tired. Only when Eric is exhausted will he let me cuddle him, so I treasure this moment with him. I don't know if he had a nightmare or if he's not feeling well, but I put him and Blankie back in bed.

8:15pm. Finish loading dirty dishes. Finally able to relax. Sitting in front of the t.v. with my dinner.

8:30pm. Eric starts crying again. Go up and comfort him in a repeat of 30 minutes prior.

8:30-9pm. Finish up my show. Start to channel surf and check email.

9pm. Eric starts crying yet again. Repeat cuddling and putting him back to bed for the third and final time.

9:05pm. I'm back downstairs. Check monitors. Both kids are asleep.

9:10pm. John returns home.

10pm. I finally go to bed. But being an insomniac I don't go to sleep until sometime between 11pm and midnight. I wake up 2-3 times during the night because my "mommy alarm" goes off and I think I hear a kid crying or something. Most of the time it's my imagination. Most of the time. And when it is my overactive imagination, I get up, empty my bladder, and am thankful for being so near-sighted that I can't see the clock to know what precious few hours remain of my sleep.**

*I forgot to remove part of the packaging from the chuck roast, however, so that was fun to find in the slow cooker.

**Now that you have read this (entire?) post and are either bored to tears or thoroughly depressed, IF you would like to trade lives with me, my demands are simple-
1)Be single and unemployed
2)Live in a quiet place, preferably on the beach, with parents or room-mates who will cook and clean up after you.

Any takers?? :->


Kelly said...

I am so glad that I decided to go back to work! You are a strong, wonderful Mommy. I could NOT do what you do every day.
I love you!

Anonymous said...

You got 3 people bathed on a day without Daddy home in the evening? You're super mom! Hey, it can't get any worse, right? You are on birth control after all. :)

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add, and you made dinner! Even if you didn't eat it... I am impressed.

Jen said...

Dear Karen,

It can ALWAYS get worse. Please don't jinx me!


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