So what do you do all day?

what do you do all day?At some point, I think every stay at home mom hears the question “so what do you do all day.”

Last night I had dinner with a good friend and her daughter.  The daughter is 21 and works as a nanny during the day and then goes to college in the evenings.

I knew where she was coming from.  She takes care of one little girl – a nine month old who crawls, but isn’t pulling up yet.  She doesn’t have to cook or clean, she just watches the baby.

And she’s bored.

Bored, isolated, lonely, and bored.

I know she’s made the huge assumption that her experience is pretty much the same as a stay at home mom.  It’s logical, but it’s also wrong in so many ways.  She doesn’t take the child anywhere.  Unlike a real mom, there are no exciting outings to the grocery store or trips to the park.  She doesn’t have to plan what’s for dinner.  She isn’t stressed about how the cost of diapers and baby food are taking a significant chunk out of the budget.   She isn’t spending time at the gym trying to regain her pre-baby figure.

Still, once the question was out there, it demanded an answer.

My friend always worked.  Two sets of eyes stared at me as I tried to formulate an answer.

And then I knew.

What do you do all day?

6 am – The alarm goes off and I immediately hear the sound of my youngest son’s feet hitting the floor.  I race to go to the bathroom and climb back in bed before my child sees that I’m missing.

6:02 am – I attempt to climb back into bed to check my calendar, but my child has taken my spot.

6:03 – 6:15 am – Sit on one square inch of bed space while I check my calendar, Facebook, emails, to do list.  Since hubby is doing the same thing, we are negotiating logistics as we go. It’s a rapid fire exchange of information involving budget, shopping lists, menu planning, errand planning, and child care.

6:16 am – Son is fully awake now and begins to be playful.  He wants attention and won’t be denied.

6:17-6:25 am – Pay attention to son.  Listen to his dream, laugh at his joke, explain to him why we can’t go to Alaska for dinner.

6:26 am – Second trip to potty.

6:27 am – Begin to get dressed.  Hear my older child stagger into the bedroom.  He begins to wail about the unfairness of life that his brother got time in the big bed while he did not.

6:28-6:31 am – Climb back in the big bed to console older child.

6:32 am – Begin to hunt for socks and school uniform for the day.  Direct children to brush their teeth, comb their hair, wash faces.

6:33 – 6:40 am – Continue clothing search and teeth brushing supervision until it is completed.  Redirect children from playing at one minute intervals.  Attempt to get dressed and brush teeth simultaneously.

6:41 – 6:45 am – Send children downstairs (shoes, cereal, lunchbox, planner).  Repeat at one minute intervals until achieved.

6:46 am – Hubby and children are downstairs.  Finish dressing in peace.

6:48 am – Turn off all the lights upstairs.  Start laundry.

6:50 am – Enter family room to discover shoes and lunchboxes are missing.  Fix the problem.

6:51 – 7:00 am – Take morning thyroid pill, begin the 30 minute countdown to coffee time.  Make lunches.   Drill spelling word lists and scripture memory for school.  Locate missing library books.

7:00 – 7:15 am – Supervise feeding of cats, turtles, and goldfish.  Supervise household trash removal.   Inspect backpacks for appropriate contents.  Sign school forms.  Find jackets.

7:16 – 7:30 am – Transition all family members from household to car.  With backpacks, jackets, lunchboxes, water bottles, and (in my husband’s case) brief case and phone.  Yes, it really takes 15 minutes to get them all in the car with their stuff.

7:31 am – Dispense hugs and say prayers.

7:32 am – Plaster smile on face and waive goodbye.

7:33 am – COFFEE TIME.

7:34 – 8:00 am – Coffee time.  Sit and drink in the silence of the house.  Talk to God.  Listen back.

8:01 – 8:30 am – Move clothes from washer to dryer.  Start second load.  Make beds.  Straighten rooms.  Finish getting dressed.  Collect trash.

8:30 – 8:45 am – Make and eat breakfast.  Consume while checking Facebook and Twitter.

8:46 – 9:00 am – Wipe down mess from breakfast.  Unload and reload dishwasher.  Sigh at the uselessness of this since my husband will undoubtably change the way I loaded the dishwasher.  Check menu plan and grab meat from freezer.  Wipe up kitchen counters and sweep cereal mess from floor.

9:00 – 10:00 am – Blogging time!  Draft, edit, and post original content on a daily basis.  Create artwork for each post.  Update firewall, address security issues, answer emails, approve and reply to comments, deal with spam.  If time permits (ha!) read other blogs and try to encourage them.

9:00 -10:00 am – Respond to three texts, two facebook IM’s, and two phone calls.

9:00 – 10:00 am – Allow contractor of the day access to home.  Supervise job start and ensure he knows what he is doing.

10:00 – 10:15 am – Dinner prep if possible.  If not, clean something.  There’s always something to clean.

10:15 am – Check on contractor.  Receive urgent message from husband, school, friend, or neighbor regarding something that requires shopping.  Today.  Alternately, discover cat yack all over wooden floor that requires immediate cleaning.

10:16 – 10:45 am – Attempt to deal with crisis of the day.  In the unlikely event that there is no crisis, begin to tackle to do list (see below).

10:46ish – Begin to clean house.  Check on contractor again.   Answer more phone calls, texts, and emails.  Catch up on words with friends games in a desperate attempt to prevent mommy brain fog.  Pretend that it works.

11:15am – 1:15 pm  (pick one) Lunch date with husband – cheaper than a sitter.  Lunch with a friend.   Grocery shopping.  Driving across town for hardware my husband needs.  Standing in line at the post office and/or bank.   Clean something. Work on to do list (see below)

1:15 – 1:30 pm – Check calendar and to do list.  Reboot laundry.  Feed the cats.  Drink a glass of water.  Pee.

1:30 – 2:00 pm – Attempt to finish all to do items.  Pick any:  balance checkbook, blog marketing, clean something, declutter a cabinet, pack box for charity, bible study, file school paperwork, clean out refrigerator, wash trash cans, clean out car, weed flowerbed, plan spring garden, plan vacation, research disease of the day,  call customer service, pay bills, check on sick friend, clean out purse, take out trash, clean out garage, write business plan, schedule hair appointment, find that missing receipt, purge playroom, clean out closet, put away clean laundry, find missing game pieces, replace dvds into cases, decorate for a holiday, un-decorate for a holiday, plan a birthday party, shop online for a birthday party, match up socks, plan spontaneous romantic date with husband, pray for children, plan menus for next week, cut coupons, write out grocery list, answer emails, interview new contractor, find missing shoes, pick a paint color for the bedroom, change the sheets, straighten the bathroom countertops, organize the spice rack, inventory the liquor cabinet, shop online for window treatments, write a thank you note or note of encouragement to a friend, bake a cake or cookies, mend a button, hem some pants, dust the ceiling fans, purge dvd collection, clean microwave, research political issue that concerns me, obtain competitive bids for car insurance, re-shop electric providers for lowest open rate per kilowatt hour, verify that cell phone plan is still best available option, research orthodontists, clean out medicine cabinet for expired vitamins, sweep front porch, collect empty toilet paper rolls from all bathrooms for that school project, clip box tops, organize digital photos, update virus software on computer, defrag hard drive, run windows update on kids computer, wipe computer keyboards with disinfectant, order new keyboard…

2:01 – 2:25 pm – Check on contractor, drink a glass of water, then collapse.  Spend 20 precious minutes on hobby of choice.

2:25- 2:30 pm – Check on contractor.  Pee.  Final readiness check before school is out.

2:30 – 3:10 pm – Car line.  School lets out at 3:00.  It takes 30 minutes to get through the line no matter how I slice it.  Being early ensure maximum time with car in Neutral position.  Return phone calls, check email and Facebook.  Tweet.  File nails.  Make list. Read a book or attempt to crochet some baby booties.

3:20 pm – Home.  With kids.  Chaos ensues.

3:21 – 3:25 pm – Unload car.  Check backpacks for homework.  Require that the kids move their shoes from the middle of the walkway.   Moderate argument.

3:26 – 4:45 pm – Administer snack. Supervise homework and resultant whining.  Approve television viewing selections.  Work on dinner preparations.  Finalize dinner schedule with husband (his arrival time from work varies from 5:15 to 9pm with very little advance warning).  Break up fights.  Admire Lego creations.  Listen to jokes.  Wipe tears.  Police the cookie jar.  Listen to reading.  Drill math facts.  Supervise afternoon chores.  Remind children that the house is not a barn.  Administer first aid.  Answer email.  Locate missing shoes.  Remind children to drink water.  Fix the television.  Find the game controller.  Find batteries for the game controller.  Protect the cats from overzealous son.

4:45 pm – Bid farewell to the contractor of the day.  This involves inspecting his work and agreeing whether or not to pay him yet.

4:46 – 5:00 pm – Final spot check before husband’s arrival.  Put on clean shirt, brush hair.  Move final laundry load to dryer.  Remove Legos from master bedroom.  Remake master bed from it’s use as a trampoline and/or tent.  Clean up whatever mess the contractor left.  There always is one.

5:00 – 5:15ish pm – Finalize dinner.   Refuse to let children snack.  Provide plate of carrots and celery as an alternative snack.  Send all whiners out of doors.

5:30 – 6:00 ish – Dinner.  Wash-your-hands-and-set-the-table-please.  No-I-am-not-ordering-pizza.  No-you-may-not-eat-dessert-first. Please don’t do that to your brother.  Please don’t make barfing noises at the table.  No, the cat does not eat peas.  Yes, I expect you to taste that.  Yes, it’s really food.  How was your day honey?

6:00 – 6:15 pm – While my hubby does the dinner dishes and fixes my attempts to load the dishwasher, I actually finish eating dinner.  In peace.  Without having to get up for a bottle of ranch dressing.  Without listening to any whining about how nasty my beans are.

6:15 – 6:30 pm – Free Time.

6:30 – 7:00 pm – Focused quality time with the kids.

7:00 – 8:00 pm – Bed time ritual for the kids.

8:00 – 10:00 pm – Bed time ritual for grownups.

10:00 pm (or sooner) pass out from exhaustion

2:00 – 3:00 am – Perimenopausal hormonal insomnia.  Pee.  Clean up cat yack.  Pray for first three status updates I see on Facebook.  Yes, I checked Facebook at 2am.  I used the light from the phone to spot the cat yack without stepping on it.  It also let me spot the tiny Lego land mine.

3:02 am – After finally drifting back to sleep, I am awakened by loud snoring.  From the cat.  Reposition cat and resume sleep.

In case you missed it –

This was a simple day.

No sports practice.  No clubs.  No volunteer efforts.  No sick kids.  No contractor driven crisis.  No full moons or weather driven insanity.  No special school projects.  No holiday events.  No doctor appointments.  No medical emergencies.

This was just plain boring daily life.

So what did you do all day?

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Houston Mom Blogger Susan Baker has a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood. She has two elementary school boys, one engineering husband, and one cat. She has a strange fascination  for eggs, socks, and books.  She spends far too much time on Social Media and at Target. She is crazy in love with her family.  She serves an amazing God.   She lives an ordinary life filled with wonder. [/author_info] [/author]

Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. {Kathy} It’s perfect. It’s absolutely perfect. You captured it. For all those folks who think we are playing tennis and decorating our houses…..Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    Oh yeah. Time to think about dinner.
    Mothering From Scratch recently posted..three keys to a great kid’s birthdayMy Profile

  2. So glad you asked this question today! LOL!
    Let’s see…6:20: Leave house with oldest to pick up another girl & drop them off with the next mother in the carpool chain; 6:55: Home to fix youngest breakfast; 7:05: Get youngest on bus: 7:10-8:00: Coffee time while I watch last night’s American Idol in fast forward; 8:00-8:30: Get husband out the door; 8:30-10:30: Laundry, kitchen, vacuum, sweep; 10:30-11:30: finally start kitchen drawer organization with supplies I bought two months ago; 11:30: Husband calls with request to go buy him something that has to be done TODAY; 11:45-12:30: bathe and get dressed; 12:30: Leave for east side of town to make husband’s purchase; 1:00: Arrive in the parking lot only to have husband call and tell me he just called the store and they already sold it; 1:30: Home for a quick sandwich & to run dishwasher I forgot to turn on this morning; 1:45: Head to elementary school gym to make athletic deposit since I’m the Treasurer with a quick stop off at the gas station; 2:15: Head to high school for carpool; 2:30-3:00: sit in carpool lane and catch up on phone games, FB, and email; 3:00-3:45: Take all the kids home, except for one to the elementary school gym; 3:45-4:15: Home to drop off oldest, grab youngest a snack and switch out laundry; 4:15-5:30: back to the elementary school gym to pick up youngest and take her to dance class; 5:30-6:30: fix dinner and feed the oldest (who is the only one home); 6:30: oldest gets picked up for volleyball practice & I eat dinner; 7:00: head to the grocery store for whatever we are out of today and whatever they have to have for school tomorrow they didn’t tell me about; 7:30-8:00: pick up youngest from dance class; 8:00-9:30: feed youngest dinner & get homework done; 9:30-10:00: oldest comes home and needs snacks, etc; 10:00-11:00: spend hour watching whatever ridiculous show my husband wants to watch on TV just for some “quality” time; 11:15: collapse in bed with my kindle praying I don’t have to drive in the morning! (Did I mention it’s raining???)

    • LOL! I’m not sure if you “win” or lose, but your day sounds busier than mine. You mean you aren’t lounging on the sofa reading a book all day? Don’t you just love the assumptions make about how we moms spend our day. I love the phone calls that start with “since you aren’t busy, would you…”

      The sad thing is you and I probably only managed to list about HALF of what we actually try to get accomplished each day.

      • Agreed! Are there days when I do curl up on my couch? Absolutely! But more often than not my days look like this. I am in constant awe how all the moms I know, working or not, manage to fit it all in. I know many a working mom who gets up before 5 to get all their chores done before heading off to work. Personally, I couldn’t do it! I think for us stay at home moms though, there is this constant need to defend ourselves and how we spend our time. It makes it harder to say “no” to people’s requests and we wind up with even more on our plate because we feel guilty.

        • I totally agree! I don’t understand how my sisters with full times jobs do it all. When I think about what’s on their plates I’m in awe.

          As a SAHM, there is ongoing pressure to defend my choice and explain how I spend my time. Yes, there are times I crash on the couch. When I worked, there were days I called in “sick.” Same thing. There are far more days that I don’t manage to even sit down until I eat lunch.

  3. I never know whether I am coming or going…a mom’s job is never done! There are days I forget to eat! Great post!
    Michelle recently posted..It’s National Sleep in Public Day! No, I’m not making that up!My Profile

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