Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A day in the life of a work-at-home mom

Recently one of my single friends asked me, "So... what do you do all day, exactly?" I thought that was a great question. I tried to explain the simple rhythm of my days but I felt like I just left her more confused than when I started.

Last week, I tried out tracking Frankie's naps for a few days to get an idea of his schedule. His sleep continues to be all over the place, and also I wasn't able to stick with it for more than a day, but I did enjoy recording how exactly we spent the day and seeing how much I actually got done.

I realized that by writing down everything we did for a day, I had inadvertently answered my friend's question. So here it is, for my friend, and for anyone who is curious about what exactly one work-at-home mom's days are actually like—and for myself to remember, when these days are long gone.

Sunday, Sept 7

9:15pm Frankie went to sleep for the night

11:45pm He woke up to nurse, fell back asleep

Monday, Sept 8

12:10am He woke up, diaper change, nursed back to sleep in our bed

4:50am I woke up, realized Frankie was still sleeping next to me, and moved him to his crib

6:00am He woke up, nursed back to sleep in our bed

7:30am I woke up and attempted to move him back to his crib, but instead I woke him up, so I moved him back to our bed so we both could get more sleep

8:45am He woke up in desperate need of a diaper change, so I dealt with that situation and then we both got up for the day*

*The baby and I usually sleep in on Mondays because we're recovering from our busy weekends, which tire us both out!

9:00am I put Frankie in his bouncer seat while I made myself breakfast and put away dishes from the drying rack. My breakfast is usually either oatmeal, toad-in-a-hole, cereal, Greek yogurt with granola, or a smoothie. I like variety so I rarely make the same thing two days in a row.

9:13am I put Frankie down for tummy time on the floor while I make myself a cup of tea. Obligatory.

9:23am I join Frankie on his blanket and read him two board books (one in Spanish, and his favorite Sherlock Holmes) and then sing some songs (the Itsy-Bitsy Spider, You are my Sunshine, Pop goes the Weasel... you know, the classics).

9:30am He's had enough of tummy time so I pick him up and nurse him for a few minutes. After that I de-snuff him (that's what we call it when we use the NoseFrida on him, since before that his nose sounds snuffly). We play for a few more minutes (for a 4-month-old, that means giggling at each other, bouncing him on my lap, helping him pull up to a sitting and then a standing position, showing him his face in the bathroom mirror, making silly faces and noises... just anything to make him laugh).

10:00am He's acting tired (no longer interested in playing) so I nurse him to sleep in my bed. Naptime! Yes! My motto for his naps is, "You know not the day nor the hour" when the Frankie will emerge from his slumber, so I work quickly to get as much done as possible. I do dishes, throw in a load of laundry, take out the trash, get dressed, and throw a freezer meal in the crockpot (we are using this awesome system right now). Woohoo!

11:00am He wakes up in a good mood. I can hear him singing to himself in the bedroom. A few minutes later my mom comes to visit (she comes over about once a week) and together we give Frankie a bath. After that she plays with Frankie while I work a little.

12:50pm Frankie nurses to sleep after much fussing—he got cranky before this nap. My mom and I eat lunch and she leaves. I hang a load of laundry on the clothesline outside and then work.

1:40pm Frankie wakes up grumpy. I take him outside to calm down, since he loves being outside. We sit on the balcony and I point out to him Daddy's vegetable garden and the elevated trains going past. When he feels better, we come back inside and I attempt my culinary experiment of the day: homemade mayonnaise, using a recipe I found online. It emulsifies beautifully, but tastes disgusting. I'm very disappointed, especially since I used a lot of olive oil in this recipe, and olive oil ain't cheap. I question my judgment in doing these sorts of culinary experiments. Then I figure that usually they turn out a lot better than this one did. (I try a new receipe aka "culinary experiment" every few days and usually they turn out delicious.) Grumbling internally, I throw away the ruined batch of mayonnaise. I get dressed to work out and set up my yoga mat in the living room. I attempt to put Frankie down for a nap. Frankie rejects the nap so we play for half an hour.

3:13pm Frankie is overdue for a nap so I put him down in his bassinet and leave. I expect to be summoned soon so I kill time with Facebook and email.

3:17pm I can hear him singing to himself. Happy baby!

3:20pm I hear him crying. Called it.

3:21pm I go get him. He is overjoyed to see me and greets me with smiles and ecstatic kicking. I have to laugh. It's hard to get frustrated with someone who laughs and kicks with excitement every time he sees you!

3:23pm I put him down for tummy time on my yoga mat.

3:29 I notice Frankie is trying to eat my yoga mat. He starts crying so we attempt a nap again.

3:39pm He's asleep! I get back to work and also have a snack (probably a fiber bar or fruit).

5:30pm He wakes up and joins me in the living room while I do my Jillian Michaels DVD. WORST. Why do I do that to myself??

6:00pm Frank gets home. Yay! We decide to go to Trader Joe's before bedtime, so I can pick up some things for a lunch I'm hosting the next day (normally Frank does all our grocery shopping). I shower quickly and we head out.

8:17pm We're back from Trader Joe's. I put Frankie in his sleep sack and nurse him to sleep. Frank and I eat the crockpot stew for dinner. I start work again.

9:10pm He wakes up grumpy. I change his diaper and nurse him to sleep again, then continue working.

11:03pm He wakes up, nurses back to sleep. Frank and I head to bed.

This day isn't totally typical, in that we often get together with friends during the day for lunch or walking outside, and I go grocery shopping very rarely, but I think it gives a general picture.

If you made it all the way to the end of this super boring post, congratulations!! You deserve a medal!

What does your normal schedule look like? How is it the same and how is it different from this one?


  1. I work from home too so my days look pretty similar to yours! I tend to push my working out/me time towards the evening so I can work a little bit longer chunks during the daylight hours...at least when Kate cooperates!

    1. That's smart—I feel like I'm so much more productive during daylight hours!

  2. I love this! I really enjoy seeing how other moms spend their days!

  3. The trick with the mayo is to use corn oil or vegetable oil. I think Alton Brown has a good recipe on the Food Network website!

  4. Impressed that you fit in work and working out!

    I am very intrigued by that meal plan. Headed to check it out now...

  5. I love the naptime motto haha! Gabriel was like that until 8 mos, at which point at least his naptime became more predictable (even if the duration varied). I am always so curious how other families spend their time, so thanks for sharing!