A Day in the Life of a Work at Home Mom shows a glimpse into a 24-hour period of a full-time blogger, home cook, and mom of two boys. Previous installments of A Day in the Life can be found here and here.
A Day in the Life of a Work at Home Mom
4:50 am: my alarm goes off. I’ve been awake for 20 minutes, and yet I’m still pissed at the sound of it going off.
I get up and head to the bathroom. Our shower takes forever to heat up, so I check Facebook and Instagram for any messages from readers. Look in the mirror and can’t believe how gorgeous my skin is looking this morning. Realize I’m not wearing my glasses. Blah.
I shower, brush my teeth, and do my hair and makeup. I’m pretty low maintenance, but thanks to years of adult acne I am constantly battling old scars. Makeup is a daily must. No exceptions. My favorite homemade and storebought products are discussed in detail in this post.
5:15 am: I sneak out to the living room passing our boy’s rooms. My oldest can sleep through anything, but the toddler is more alert in the morning. I tiptoe down our long hallway dodging all squeaky parts in the floor. I feel like I’m an extra on the set of The Hurt Locker.
My first stop is to the kitchen where I pour a giant glass of water and drink it immediately. I make myself a nest on the couch with a blanket, turn on a Law & Order rerun on TNT, and log onto my laptop. Damn, Benjamin Bratt is so hot. And I miss Lenny.
I check emails, Pinterest, and comments from the blog. I double-check to make sure my latest post is up and looks ok; no broken links or photos that didn’t load correctly.
6:30 am: My sister drops my nephew Parker off for the morning and she heads to work. My nephew settles onto the couch and we watch Top Chef (his fav) or something else he chooses.
My two-year-old Bennett wakes up sometime between 6 and 7 am. If he is still asleep when my nephew gets here, I keep working on my blog.
(no later than 7 am): Bennett wakes up. He usually jumps up and down in his crib when I walk in and then likes to yell “momma, pooped” or something else equally as eloquent and noteworthy.
His diaper pail is getting full, so I start a load of cloth diapers.
7:15 am: My eight-year-old Jack wakes up and comes stomping out like the world has wronged him. I talk in my soothing Mr. Rogers voice for at least 30 seconds while I ask him how he slept, if he had any dreams, etc. After that doesn’t work, I tell him to snap out of his attitude or go back to his room to spare the rest of us.
I start baking a batch of bacon because our Smith’s Brothers delivery came on Monday and I had ordered some delicious bacon. I pack Jack’s lunch which is the same thing every single day – apples, a mandarin orange, three slices of Boar’s Head ham, some Stacy’s Organic Pita Chips, and a treat from the basket on top of the fridge (leftovers from Halloween, Christmas, school parties, etc.). After spring break I am making Jack pack his own lunch. We do a mostly zero waste lunch each and every day.
I make the three boys breakfast – either croissants from Costco with a smear of Nutella and fruit or homemade Whole Wheat Apple Pie Pancakes from the freezer. Bennett doesn’t like chocolate, so he puts butter on his own croissant…basically a croissant with a 2 inch pat of butter on one section and he eats about 1/4 cup of butter in the process. When asked, I tell the boys the bacon is for another day and we’re not eating it this morning.
I eat a batch of overnight oats at the table and secretly eat bacon in the kitchen when they aren’t paying attention. Suckers.
While I eat breakfast I write my Facebook post for the day and schedule it to go out around 8:45 am.
I head outside to let the chickens out of their coop which we call Dowton Eggy for the day.
Jack and Bennett finish their breakfast and go play. My nephew eats his breakfast at a snail’s pace so I clean up the kitchen while he finishes his food. I hate leaving for school with a dirty house because I have enough to do when I get back. Sweeping up crumbs and putting away dishes only disturbs my workflow later.
8:20 am: I remind my nephew to finish up his breakfast. I corral the boys to brush teeth and finish getting ready for school. I change Bennett’s diaper and put him in “street clothes”.
I head in to brush my teeth with my Sonicare and during that time the boys take turns
shooting each other in the balls with Nerf guns writing and reading original poetry.
8:45 am: I drop the big boys off at school. Both are open-enrolled at a wonderful public school in our district. Since they don’t go to their home schools, there is no bus service and we’re responsible for transportation. When I worked outside the home Jack attended a daycare with bus privileges at his school.
9:00 am: Bennett and I head to the farm store to get more chicken food.
After that, we go to the fabric store to return a purchase and get two more yards of fabric for a custom order for an Etsy client. She ordered 46 custom gift bags and I ran out of fabric with TWO BAGS left to go. I could have cried. Thankfully they still have the same fabric in stock.
9:45 am: Home now, and I start the next cycle on the cloth diapers. Bennett plays in the basement alone while I go take a nap. Ha, just kidding. He plays in the basement while I iron and press fabric for a different Etsy order. Just a quick note, I will listen to a mix of business and fun podcasts while I work for the rest of the day.
10:15 am: We head upstairs. I let him watch one episode of Daniel Tiger while I spent exactly 24 minutes on my laptop responding to comments and working on snippets of another post. I also use the time to schedule posts to Pinterest via Tailwind. Pinterest intimidates me so much, so I prefer to work on it at snippets at a time. Tailwind lets me schedule my own pins and the pins of others weeks out.
10:39 am: I let Bennett play in Jack’s room (shhhhh, that is forbidden) for a little bit while I fold laundry and try to figure out what the hell the smell is in the bedroom. I pinpoint it to “odor of boy mixed with pickled ass and feet” and crack open a window. Gross.
11:15 am: Bennett crawls up the learning tower that Troy made him for Christmas (based on this tutorial) and we make his lunch. I also prep and stage a dish for photographing. I clean as I go because I don’t want to waste precious time later cleaning the kitchen.
11:35 am: Bennett sits in his booster at the table and eats lunch. I take advantage of toddler hands-free time and photograph the dish for a future blog post in our living room. Our house has amazing natural light, and through trial and error, I have found the footstool shoved against our east-facing window to be the best place to take my photographs.
12:15 pm: We head into Bennett’s room for books, a few snuggles, and his nap.
12:25 pm: I plug my camera into my laptop and upload the photos I just took while I put away our lunch dishes. I head to my bedroom to edit photos. With all the natural light in our house, it is too bright in the living and dining rooms to look at photos objectively. The light in our bedroom is better for making sure my reds look red and my whites look white.
I go and hang up the diapers to dry and then rush back and work on a post on my laptop. I spend 10 minutes on Pinterest looking for pins from other bloggers. I stick them on a secret Pinterest board that I use as a holding cell for pins. The next day I’ll schedule them using Tailwind while Bennett watches Daniel Tiger.
I toss my Dad’s sheets in the washer and keep working on my blog post.
1:15 pm: Bennett wakes up exactly 60 minutes later per usual. And just like always, he sounds like he is being attacked by a swarm of bees with flaming pitchforks. He is the happiest kid ever, but you would think he is being skinned alive in his crib after his nap.
We snuggle and read books until he calms down.
I throw his crib sheet and the rest of our sheets into the wash and my dad’s in the dryer.
1:30 pm: I put him in the stroller and we start our walk. I try to walk with him three to five days a week and it is my mental health break and such a great way to get physical exercise in. I generate so many blog posts in my head during these walks. On this day we’re dropping off a package at the post office for an Etsy customer.
We chat with some people and dogs along the way and Bennett collects rocks for later.
2:55 pm: We’re on the bottom of our hill and Bennett is throwing those rocks into the ditch. It takes us 15 minutes to get up the hill. I finally bribe him with an M&M when we get home to get him to move.
3:15 pm: We get in the car and head to the boy’s school. It is a tiny parking lot and if you don’t get there early you have to park on the street. With loading three kids in the car, I hate being stuck on the road.
Bennett climbs around inside the car once we’re parked and I use my planner to start thinking about upcoming posts. Throughout the day I think of little ideas or a funny snippet for my Sunday posts. I save them in the Notes section of my phone and use this time to write them down on paper. Sometimes when I see them in writing I’ll think “that’s a dumb idea” and reconsider.
I get on Instagram to do some hashtag research for a post tomorrow.
3:40 pm: Bennett and I get the boys and all are in the car by 3:45 pm.
3:55 pm: We’re home. The boys wash hands and have snacks. Jack and Bennett will read on the couch and I’ll sit down with Parker to do math homework until my sister arrives by 4:30 pm.
4:25 pm: I put soup in the Instant Pot, and go make my Dad’s bed while the boys play upstairs. Thanks to the Instant Pot, we’re ready to eat by 5:05 pm. We say prayers for loved ones, Troy’s safety on shift that night, and we say hi to my mom and my friend Chere who passed away in October.
5:35 pm: We’re out the door for a 6 pm basketball practice. Jack has practice at a school in our district that is the furthest from our house. I end up dropping Jack off and Bennett and I go to Costco.
7:00 pm: Back to get Jack, and then we spend the next 25 minutes keeping Bennett awake on the drive home.
7:30 pm: I figuratively throw Bennett in the tub and he facetimes with Troy to say goodnight.
After Bennett’s bath, Jack hops in the shower and Bennett gives him a kiss goodnight.
7:55 pm: Brush teeth, books, and snuggles before he pulls away from me in the chair and says “Bennett go in crib now momma”. Whaaaa.
8:00 pm: I head down to the basement and into my Harry Potter Sewing Closet to finish up the custom order for my client. I get them all sewn and set them aside. I’ll trim the strings and everything tomorrow morning while Parker is watching TV.
9:00 pm: I get back on the couch with my laptop and finish up a post. Back when I first started blogging, I would just write whatever, whenever, maybe put up a terrible photo and hit publish. Now, I write the post, create infographics on Canva (free program) to make the post shareable on Facebook and Pinterest, create “shareable” titles and descriptions, edit photos, and so much more. It’s fun but the learning curve has been steep. I like a challenge though.
10:00 pm: I take a quick break and head into the kitchen to make more overnight oats for breakfast tomorrow.
10:55 pm: Laptop off, I head in to wash my face using the Oil Cleansing Method and brush my teeth. While I brush my teeth I scroll through Instagram one more time to check in with readers. I love our little community over there and feel honored to be a part of some of your lives.
11:00 pm: Bedtime! I check my FitBit and see that it has been a productive day indeed.
I put a drop of a nighttime blend of essential oil on a cotton ball on my bedside table and I close my eyes. I’ll wake up at least three times to pee before my alarm goes off at 4:50 am tomorrow.
Some reflections and notes about A Day in the Life of a Work at Home Mom:
-My husband is a firefighter and works 24-48 hour shifts. He is home for a few days at a time and I’ll try to sneak away one day a week for a few hours of solo time to work if possible.
-Like most busy people, especially those with smaller kids, I work in the margins and in the cracks. I never get as much done as I want in the day and I find myself working in mini snippets of time when I can. I feel like I will be able to take things to the next level when Bennett is in preschool a few days a week and my daily responsibilities tilt away toddler-wrangling.
-When I worked full-time outside the home, I found myself wanting to be home more. Now that I am home I am enjoying it more than I expected. That being said, if I didn’t have this blog and my Etsy shop, I would very likely go back to working a traditional job. I know myself and know that I am better when I have segments in my life to focus on. I am a better person and a better mom when I have things outside of my kiddos to also direct my energy to. I know this isn’t for everyone, and I support anyone’s right to do what works best for them and their family. A happy and content mom is the cornerstone of a peaceful family.
-I am 100% perfectly fine ignoring my kids when need be. Kids do not need their parents in their faces all the damn time! Stop hovering and let them do their own thing. I work as hard as I can when I can and part of that involves letting my kids play by themselves. And guess what? They’re f-i-n-e. They’re better for it. And they’re better because they see me work at something I truly love and have a great passion for each and every day.
-We all know that Balance is Bullshit, but I feel that as much as possible we have found a rhythm that works great for our family.
-I have been in work situations where I felt unfulfilled and stifled. I never for one second take my current life for granted. I wake up sleepy but full of gratitude every morning. And that is because of you all. Because you keep reading, commenting, and coming back for more. I remind myself everytime I open up my computer to “show up with grace, and help someone every single day”.