A day in the life

photo-286I’ve been trying to write in my journal regularly, partly because I want to record these early days of life for my son, and also because I’m trying to figure out new rhythms and routines. Big life changes always change routines, and a new baby counts as a big life change. I’m trying to figure out what habits I can maintain now, and what need to wait for later. Yesterday was a pretty good day, given that I’m trying to use my lower workload, coupled with more-than-full-time childcare, to do some other things I might not normally do, like the field trip (and massage!). Here’s what yesterday looked like.

4:50 – 5:20 AM  -night nanny (C) wakes me up to feed baby. Read email on phone while I feed.

5:20 – 6:45 – ease back into sleep. Hear gurgling at 6:45 (baby is back in my room; C gone).

6:45 – 7:05 – shower, dress. Baby is back to sleep.

7:05 – 7:25 – make myself eggs with leftover veggies. Coffee. Read and have quiet breakfast.

7:25-7:45 – oddly, everyone still asleep. Go to computer and answer interview questions for a publication and revise day’s to-do list. Wonder why I don’t hear husband in shower (he’s been sleeping in guest room while I’ve been waking up in middle of night to feed).

7:45 – 8 – hear baby screaming, get kids, then realize husband is actually not in the house, having departed before I woke up. We exchange emails later about whether we’d talked about this or not. In any case, I’ve got 15 minutes of chaos trying to hold off baby who wants to eat while getting other kids their breakfasts.

8 – Nanny (P) here, she holds baby while I deal with 3-year-old’s temper tantrum that I didn’t make her breakfast first, this despite her not telling me what she wanted, while her brothers did.

8:10-8:30 – feed baby while surfing web (P supervises other kids getting ready).

8:30-8:40 – take 7-year-old to bus. Discuss multiplication while “ice skating” on driveway.

8:40-8:50 – back inside, make 5-year-old’s lunch. Pour more coffee.

8:50-9:10 – finish feeding baby (who is still hungry) while P takes other kids to preschool.

9:10-ish – hand over baby, start work.

9:10-11:40 – solid work time (well, with a few minutes to do hair and brush teeth). I do revisions of a Fortune web piece and work to help them find art and approve excerpt that will run in print mag, write draft of review of The Great Beanie Baby Bubble, assist another newspaper with a story about productivity that needs case studies. After: grab lunch (yogurt, banana)

11:45 – 12:05 – pump, say hello to 3-year-old (P picked her up), get into car

12:05-12:10 – drive to preschool/kindergarten.

12:10 – check in for field trip. Learn that illness has so decimated the kindergarten class that my carpool will be combined with another parent’s. A chaperoning father, who is an ER doc, reports that January’s flu has given way to February’s stomach bug in terms of his patients. Lovely. Say hi to 5-year-old, talk to his and 3-y-o’s teachers, get ready to go.

12:30-3:00 – kindergarten field trip to Fairmount Water Works. We learn about how flushed water gets treated. Thank goodness it does! My kid knew that water in our showers and sinks comes from the river. I learn how a fish ladder actually works. I follow the building’s plants on Twitter during a slow moment (@tweeting_plant). Head back to school after tour and art project.

3:00-3:15 – check in, drive home, email.

3:15-3:30 – baby is asleep so I pump.

3:30-3:45 – say hello to 3-year-old, grab snack (not a virtuous one).

3:45-4 – drive to Massage Envy, check in.

4-5 – massage. Ah… This is why I bought the membership! I now do this monthly. She uncovers some serious tension in my upper back.

5-5:15- drive home.

5:15 – 5:30 – baby is finishing bottle. Email, write this. Say goodbye to P.

5:30-6:15 — kid time! Play w/3-y-o and baby. He is cooing and smiling! We missed each other! My daughter plays dress up with some of my old dresses from childhood.

6:15-6:35 – husband takes lead on making dinner (pasta with meat sauce). I rock baby, run interference on kids, help put stuff on table, supervise 7-y-o’s online math homework. No meltdown tonight. This is progress.

6:30-7:05-ish — family dinner. This isn’t a Norman Rockwell thing. People have to go potty, others just go missing and have to be hauled back to the table, there is no clear ending. 7-y-o refuses to eat tomato but elects to eat 4 baby carrots instead. I decide this is acceptable. Baby starts fussing. He may be tired but I get sick of rocking him.

7:05- 7:30  feed baby. This always works. Read e-mails re my audio book, my website, and a great blurb for the next book.

7:30-8:45 — mess o’ kid time. We got the kids’ snacks, baby ate again, big kids into PJs. C comes at 8:30 and I go upstairs to give goodnight kisses, read stories, and show 7-y-o how to do 2-digit multiplication. He is fascinated.

8:45-9:10 – treadmill! Get a bit over 2 miles in. I’m slow, recovering from this cold. The glass of wine and pasta dinner earlier didn’t help.

9:10-9:30 – upstairs, have smoothie, talk with C for a while (she has gotten baby down – how does she do that??), head upstairs and nudge boys back into their beds.

9:30-10 – read (Better Than Before advance copy)

10-10:10 – pump night bottle

10:10-10:20 – in PJs, brush teeth, wash face

10:20-10:30 – read, then lights out! Slept until 5:10 feeding.

Photo: Fish of the Schuylkill River

20 thoughts on “A day in the life

  1. Laura, you will be glad that you have done these “day in the life” entries. I have some from when you all were little in old journals and will have to look them up. Busy days. Someday, you too will have an easier life like your mom does!

  2. Mess o’ kid time is my favorite part! What an apt description. I need to write down my day like this sometime soon. It’s always amazing how quickly things change, even though they feel like they’ll be this way forever.

    1. @Sarah K – yep, it is a mess o’ kid time! One of the fun parts of looking at time logs is seeing what other people called this. Some people put 8 slashes (“TV/dishes/bath/etc.) There was “?” on a time log. I think that was my favorite.

  3. I just started 168 Hours and this is your first blog entry I’ve ever read and the only thing I can say is that I’m so jealous of your night nanny. My ten-month-old has slept horribly for three months and is now teething and has a cold. I need some wise, nurturing woman to come deal with my child.

    1. @Christine – thanks for reading 168 Hours, and thanks for dropping by! I didn’t do a baby nurse or night nanny thing with the first 2 kids, and I wish I had. It would have made life so much nicer. It isn’t cheap, but it also means I’m functional during the day, and able to semi-work. I also feel like we’re in a season of life where spending to make life easier is not a bad idea. And yes, the women who do this professionally are awesome. A million baby tricks up their sleeves…

  4. It sounds like a pretty amazing day! Lots of kid time, you time, and work. Good for you for figuring out how to spend to make life better! something I’m still working on…

    1. @Ana – they don’t all look this good by any means! But that was a pretty good day. I hope to arrange more like it.

  5. Laura – I love seeing this! With my own #4 on the way in about 2 months (eek!), it’s so interesting to see how you are making it work…How long are you planning to keep the night nanny?

      1. Forever sounds good 😉 Maybe she can get your older kids to go to bed earlier too! (I’m not judging, by the way, my kids are not early to bed kids either…and I’m fascinated by my friends that have 7 or 8 year olds that still go to bed at 7:30 pm!)

  6. I am amazed how little time you need for your email! I either read too slowly or have way too many emails – I wonder which one is true…
    Also, everything in your day seems to be so productive and without any delay. When I try to accomplish something, everything takes so much longer than I anticipate, plus there are all the weird moments of total un-productivity…. How do you do this thing of being so productive :)?

    1. @Yana – re the email, I didn’t write a lot of it down because I’m checking it all the time on my phone. Those are the times I was probably sending responses (which requires more time). I really should concentrate the checking more but…I don’t.

      But I’m really happy that you thought the transitions were quick. This is something I’ve been working on after noticing it on my time logs previously. The time gap between thinking I might do something and actually doing it could be, um, large. Fifteen minutes lost in transition is time I could have walked a mile, or sent an email to a potential interview source, or read a story to my kids, or written a chunk of a blog post. So I try to think through ahead of time what I’d like to do, so I’m prepared to make the transition as quick as possible. I knew I wanted to get a workout in after the kids went to bed, so as soon as I said goodnight I went straight to my closet, got on my exercise clothes, and headed straight to the treadmill. If I hadn’t planned to do that ahead of time, I might have wandered around the house and gotten distracted.

    1. @Carrie – nope, those are the feedings, though they tend to be pretty long at each session. Maybe it is whale milk!

  7. We’re looking for a baby nanny, I think I mentioned before, but never considered a night nurse. Could you talk a bit about how you found both ladies and how your arrangement works? I wish we’d had them from the start but it’s not too late 🙂

    1. @Revanche – in both cases I found people through friends. I know that some people use agencies, though, and have had success that way (a lot of nanny agencies do temporary placements).

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