I was inspired to write this post when a stranger recently told me, “It must be so nice to just hang out at home all day.”
I’m not typically one to be easily offended…and I wasn’t necessarily offended…but it struck me that there’s probably a lot of ignorance out there as to the actual work of a mother of young children.
I can tell you that, as a stay-at-home mom of just one 11-month-old, I am busier now than I have ever been. I’m sure some will say “No doubt!”, but others will be surprised. So, for the sake of sharing the reality of motherhood, I thought I would share what a typical weekday looks like for my son and I when my husband is working.
5AM – These days, I aim to start weekdays at 5am. This all may sound impossible for moms with newborns or older kids, and there is no shame if this kind of wakeup is not possible for you in this season. I’m simply taking advantage of the opportunity while it is possible.
After waking, I head upstairs (our master bedroom is in the basement!), open the windows, turn on some worship music, light a candle, and brew my cup of coffee. I curl up on the couch with my Bible and some other books. I’m typically reading 4 books at a time in addition to the Bible: something on parenting, something theological, something devotional, and something fictional. It may sound like too much, but as an avid reader, this is what I love doing. I’m also currently reading through my grandfather’s sermons. My Opa was an incredible pastor-turned-bishop who passed away earlier this year. He has thousands of sermons typewritten and saved in binders that I have the privilege of now owning and getting to read through. The Lord is ministering to me through them so much.
5:45AM – I respond to texts and emails. I find that if I don’t block out this time, I’m really bad with getting back to people. I like to schedule in this time to respond to people and then stow my phone away for the rest of the day, unless I know I need to be in touch with someone. It’s worked really well for me to get back to people within a day but also be present with people in real time.
6AM – I work out around 4 days per week these days. So if it’s one of those days, I’m down in our basement gym, listening to a podcast and doing my workout. I’ve been enjoying it so much lately and getting it in in the morning!
6:45AM – This is when I get ready for the day – I’ll shower and/or put on a bit of make-up and/or do my hair, get dressed, and make the bed/straighten our bedroom. If my husband is still sleeping, I’ll do that last part later ;).
7:15AM – Theo is usually up and ready to go right around now! Sometimes it’s earlier, in which case I would rope him into whatever I was doing. He actually loves watching me work out or do my hair, so I’ll set him up next to me with some toys and interact with him while I’m busy.
But, first thing when he’s up, I’ll change his diaper, get him dressed, and nurse him. This all takes 15-30 minutes.
7:45AM – I’m now in the kitchen, taking my vitamins, emptying the dishwasher, and making breakfast for the 3 of us. Theo is on the ground next to me playing with measuring cups and rubber spatulas.
8AM – We try to have family breakfast around now most mornings. We pray and eat together and (some days) do a family devotion together, submitting to the Lord as a family to start our day.
8:30AM – Time to clean Theo and breakfast! Clean-up takes much longer with a baby who likes to put oatmeal in his hair and on the wall. We’ll do a little sponge bath to clean up, and I’ll get him in a fresh diaper and dressed again and set him up to play while I tackle the dishes and floor.
9AM – Now I get a chance to sit and play with Theo! I ensure there are pockets throughout the day in which I am on the floor intentionally playing with him. I rotate his toys, so we’ll sit and play with toys that are developmentally appropriate and engaging for him. He loooves books more than anything, so we’ll often end up reading lots of books!
9:45AM – Time to wind down for nap. We have a quick naptime routine that I keep consistent for every nap to help Theo wind down: sleep sack on, sound machine on, 2 short books, a soft song while rocking, and in the crib. Theo has seasons of falling asleep on his own and seasons where he wants some help and cuddles. So I am often rocking him to help him fall asleep, and I try to enjoy and savour this cuddly time.
10:00AM – I always have a plan for how I’ll spend Theo’s naps to help ensure I use the time productively. I have a cleaning schedule to keep the house in order, so some time will be spent cleaning and/or tidying whatever is on the to-do list. Once a week during this time, I meal plan for the following week, which takes at least 30 minutes.
All the different things I do during naptime:
- More reading/Bible study/prayer
- Planning for the week or month ahead (updating and checking calendar)
- Meal planning
- Church volunteer tasks
- Call a friend
11:30AM – Theo’s up! Lately he has been liking a 1.5/2-hour morning nap. I cut it off at 2 hours. We’ll do a diaper change if needed and he’ll nurse.
11:45AM – I’m in the kitchen prepping lunch! Theo is on the floor, playing with kitchen utensils and books.
12:15PM – We sit down for lunch. If Johnny is working from home, he joins us. We give thanks to God and enjoy lunch together! Lately Theo squeals and sqwuacks all lunch long.
12:45PM – I’m cleaning up the floor, dishes, and Theo! If Johnny is home, he’ll help with this, which is always very welcomed. Then he might have a few minutes to play with Theo before he’s back to work.
1:15PM – It’s playtime! Usually during this time, I try to plan some more intentional activities. So we’ll go for a walk, meet up with a friend, or do some fun activities at home. I really like the Lovevery blog for these ideas.
2:30PM – We’re winding down for Theo’s catnap. As part of this wind-down, he’ll usually be thirsty for some milk, too, so I’ll nurse him as well.
2:45PM – The same naptime list from before applies here! Again, I list in my calendar what I’ll be doing during this time so it’s very intentional and I don’t feel like I’m wasting the time.
3:45PM – Theo’s awake and may have a bit more milk. This is the time of day when we’ve played with all his toys and done all the fun things, so I may get a bit stuck as to what to do with Theo. So he’ll join me in folding laundry or watch me sweep or we’ll cuddle and sing songs…something like that.
4:15PM – Maybe Theo will have a snack if he’s asking for it. We’ll do something quick, sometimes in the highchair, sometimes not.
4:45PM – Theo joins me in the kitchen with some toys on the floor while I make dinner. He usually enjoys watching me cook, watching the steam rise from pots and seeing what I’m doing.
5:15 – 5:45PM – Daddy’s usually done work some time around now. He’ll play with Theo until I call everyone for dinner and we’ll all come to the table and eat together, ideally between 5:30-6pm.
6:30PM – Dinner’s done, and Johnny starts Theo’s bedtime routine while I’m cleaning up the kitchen and dining room and loading the dishwasher. Johnny’s doing bathtime, some calming lotions for Theo, PJs, sleep sack, sound machine, and books, and then we’ll all pray together before lots of kisses good night.
7:15PM – I nurse Theo. He’ll usually have a long feed at this time and get very drowsy while feeding. I sing to him and rock him after nursing. Ideally he’s asleep by 7:30, but sometimes it’s 8pm.
7:45PMish – Once Theo is down for the night, I have a bit of a nighttime routine to keep things on track in the house and for my family. First, I will run a load of laundry and fold whatever is dry. Then I’ll take 5-10 minutes to do a quick sweep and tidy of the whole house, putting everything back in its proper place. Next, I’ll take off my makeup and do a quick skincare routine. Then it’s time to prep for the next day: making sure meals and snacks are prepared, my workout clothes are laid out for the morning, etc. Then I’ll change into some comfies to relax and catch up with Johnny for hopefully a good hour or so before heading to bed. At least twice a week, we’ll read a book together. We’re currently reading Raising Boys to Fight Giants by Douglas Wilson.
10:00PM – Before sleeping, I will pray! Praising God, repenting, praying for loved ones and the Church, and submitting to Him. And then I like to be in bed by 10pm.
Just the past 3 weeks or so, Theo has been sleeping 12 hours straight at night, which has been incredible!
Now, is this what every day looks like? No. Sometimes Theo wakes up early and I don’t have that morning time quite the same. Sometimes we have errands or appointments or moms’ group or playdates or coffee dates. But regardless, I hope this gives a glimpse into the busyness of mom life with even just one child, the FUN that motherhood can be, and maybe some ideas for how you might structure your days as a new or seasoned mom.