I was the mastermind behind the “A day in the life” posts that you’ll see here this week. Mostly so I could spy on my sisters. And so I could see how childless and working and non-working people spend their time. I know how I spend my time…and it always seems like a lot of running around for a lot of nothing. At least, nothing you can actually see. So, what does a day in the life of Julia, stay-at-home mom to three kids, ages 5, 3, and 1, look like? Here we go!
My day starts EARLY. Mostly because I need some Julia time in the day and by the end of the day I just don’t have the energy for it. By the time every little’s head hits the pillow, I SO want to join them. So my alarm is set for 4:45 a.m. and I’m usually out of bed by 5.
Then it’s get dressed to get sweaty, have some water and something small for pre-breakfast. The morning in question it was a peach!
Pre-breakfast of champions
I’m out of my house by 5:15 a.m. and listening to a little CBC radio. This early in the morning it’s BBC programming, but it’s adult and talking and gloriously quiet and CHILD-FREE.
Then it’s off to one of two places: either running with honourary sister and my sister-in-law, Kim, or walking with my other mom, my mother-in-law Dianne (and Kim…she slept in that day…LAZY BUM).
Every weekday morning starts with something active…and I LOVE IT. Then it’s back home for just before 7, where I usually walk into the kitchen to find this:
My handsome husband Ben gets up with the babies, gets them dressed and breakfasted so that I can have a little me-time right off the hop. LOVE YOU, Sir. From here, I grab a quick shower (no pictures!), if I’m lucky, or get changed out of sweaty clothes into more respectable clothes (you know, hanging out in public with showered people clothes). Then, it’s the sprint for the door.
Multi-tasking babies – making block castles and putting on socks.
I make sure everyone has what they need for their day: Sophie for senior kindergarten, Lillian for potty training nightmares, and Isaac for eating, pooping, napping, and playing.
Oh, hai Mom! I’m just making a giant mess in the kitchen while you run around. No big deal.
And I attempt to insert a little food and caffeine into me so I’m not a nightmare myself.
Coffee numero uno (aka most important coffee of the day)
Usually by this point, everyone doesn’t want to leave and we are LATE. So, the fight out the door begins.
Fight number 1 – I WANT TO WEAR ALL THE SHOES THAT DON’T HAVE MATES. Answer: PUT ANY PAIR OF SHOES ON NOW.
On the day that we’re following me around for, Lillian had speech therapy, so we were driving to school instead of walking. You’d think this would make it easier, faster, etc. etc., but NO. Do not be fooled. Driving can sometimes take INFINITELY longer because of all the added packing into the van and packing out of the van and packing back into the van. Seriously. Walking out the door to go to school is so much easier. A double-stroller, three babies, one neighbourhood kid (who I walk and watch before and after school), the phone, some keys, and we’re off. Easy-peasy. The van? Appointments? SO MUCH MORE COMPLICATED.
Fight number 2 – I WANT TO OPEN AND CLOSE THE DOORS AND CARRY MY BACKPACK AND I DON’T CARE THAT I’M CRAZY OR THAT WE’RE LATE. Answer: GET IN THE VAN NOW NOW NOW.
We live just over 1 km from the school, which takes us, complete with stick-picking-up, worm-examining, and various temper tantrums, 25 minutes to walk. To drive, 2 minutes. Maybe. With kids? 15 minutes, easy. We leave for the school around 9 to get there for the bell at 9:20. Kids are AWESOME.
Oh, hai, pack mule.
Parking around the school is INSANE and people are INSANE, so we park on a side street and walk a little. The moment all the children explode out of the van, I become the carrier of all back-packs…which I don’t mind. The kids are so small and the bags are so big. AND they’ll run (not meander) if they’re not weighed down. Win-win.
Notice that the only kid wearing a backpack is Lillian…the kid who doesn’t NEED a back-pack but demands to bring one.
We drop off the neighbourhood friend first and then we wait with Sophie in her school line for the bell. At this point, Lillian goes to the fire hydrant and tries to scale it. Every. Day. Even though I tell her not to. Every. Day. My life is so glamourous.
After Sophie goes inside, with waving and hugs and ‘Have a good days!’, it’s the short, yet TAKES FOREVER walk back to the van.
Lillian is in that pine tree. No, seriously.
On this walk back to the van, I had to flag down another mom to make sure Isaac didn’t roll away in the stroller while I got Lillian out of the tree (no, really), and then we could get in the van. Lillian was a butt. And crying. Because I made her get out of the tree. I’m such a mean mom. No, seriously.
We made it. Alive. Barely. But we’re here.
Once we get to the fabulous organization that provides Lillian with necessary auditory verbal therapy (AVT or speech therapy), the first task at hand is to get Lillian to go pee. AKA let’s pull out all of our sweet and nice and not frazzled voices to calmly coax the shy, ridiculous bomb of a kid who could go off at any moment to put her pee in the toilet instead of all over everything. Super fun times. I swayed her with the promise of pushing the handicap button to open the door. She took the bait and peed. Success. Off to hang out with Heather, our speech therapist extraordinaire.
Lillian and Heather chatting at the beginning of the session. I love that Lillian CHATS. ❤
Lillian rocked, Heather was amazing, Isaac was a bum who tried to get into everything, and I cried. No, seriously. I think it’s because I was tired. And I had only one cup of coffee. And my period is coming. And the morning had been stressful getting four kids to school in the van and make it on time for our appointment. And I’m really worried about Lillian and her going to school. But I was talking about the various things I’m planning on doing to help Lillian get ready for school (another post for another day) and voila! Tears. Heather, a mom herself, was lovely and didn’t get scared. She talked me out of my tree and all was well. Whew.
After therapy, we went to the grocery store to pick up some supplies for lunch at Aunt Kim’s house. It was her birthday and we pinned her down for a lunch date so we could love on her. (Note: It’s also Uncle Todd’s birthday (they’re twins) but he had to work because he’s a grown-up and he lives farther away, so no date with him. Love you, Todd!) We got Caesar salad ingredients, a rotisserie chicken, and a giant loaf of French bread. Easy, yummy, and baby-friendly. I got another round of all of that for dinner that night so I wouldn’t have to cook/come up with anything at 5 p.m. Not just a pretty face, my friends.
On a mission for some birthday fun!
We got to Aunt Kim’s (and Emma’s!) house at around 12:30 (traffic was nuts because of an accident and every route was a nightmare) and quickly set up lunch.
Hungry, hungry babies eating spatulas.
After we devoured the food, we got to eat delicious cupcakes baked by Kim for her birthday (she’s so super fabulous…and ridiculous).
Lillian loved them…
What do you mean icing isn’t the same as hand cream?
…and so did Emma.
Do I have something on my face?
Next up, Emma went down for a nap and Lillian and Isaac decided to play with all of Emma’s toys, like the good cousins they are.
Ball pit, anyone?
While all of that ‘fun’ was happening, I got to do this:
Hello, coffee number 2. I’ve been waiting ALL DAY for you.
But, did I get a picture of the birthday girl? Nope. No I did not. Super photographer/blogger here.
Soon it was back in the van to go get the Sophie and friend from school. More packing just so we can unpack so we can pack again. Yay.
So sleepy. I feel exactly how they look.
We got back to the school with 10 minutes to spare before the bell. You’d think that would be enough time…but some days, you’d be wrong. It all depends on Lillian’s mood. Are we running? Are we crying? Are we exploring? All very different speeds there.
Isaac didn’t make it. Lillian had cupcake to burn off. Run to the school it is!
We made it in time and I got a text saying that our friend had a doctor’s appointment, so we wouldn’t be picking her up. One less kid to pack and unpack on a Friday afternoon. DEAL.
Since we didn’t have the friend and I already had dinner in the bag (literally) and we had the van (which means no walking home), we hit up our good friends the Bakers for a play date. Our other friends, Andrea, Baby Ben and Natalie were also there. It was lovely to catch-up since we hadn’t really had a chance since the beginning of the school year. (Schedules are hard, y’all.)
Isaac exploring the not-so-baby-proofed house.
After we played for a bit, it was after 5 and time to get home. Leaving a play date is always dicey. No one wants to leave and everyone is cranky (including me). So, it’s round up children, firmly, and over a period of TOO MANY MINUTES and leave with as few of them in tears as possible (including me). This time only one kid was crying:
I’m the worst mother for making her leave and then for taking this picture.
School has been rough on her. The return to the schedule and no quiet time in the afternoons and no sleeping in has kind of run her over. She earns her bedtime every night. I’m hoping in a couple of weeks she’ll be back to normal and the freaking out will stop. Please.
We get home, unpack everyone, and go inside. I attempt to clean up the kitchen in lieu of cooking dinner, but someone wasn’t having any of it:
Dammit, Mom, pay attention to ME!
So instead, I sat down on the couch and chilled out with the babies until our saviour made it home.
Underneath babies, chilling out
Finally, finally, Ben came home just before 6. On days he bikes or takes the bus (because I need the van), he gets home just before 6. On days he takes the van, he can get home as early as 5:25. Those 35 minutes make all the difference in the entire world. SERIOUSLY.
He’s here! He’s here! PRAISE THE LORD!
Ben goes upstairs to shower and I return to the couch to wait for him. There’s no way I’m making dinner with Isaac losing his mind. Some days I can. And most days I do. But I’m just as tired as him and it won’t be pretty. Best to wait the 10 minutes and get Ben to help with dinner prep. He comes downstairs, he takes over dinner, and it’s like magic.
Children playing quietly and nicely around his feet. Tricky to walk around, heaven to listen to.
Then supper, where we talk about our days, the plans for later that night or, in this case, the weekend. A time for knock-knock jokes and I-spy and singing and reminding to sit on our chairs, eat over our plates, stop throwing our cups/food on the floor, get our toes off the table and for the love of god, finish eating! There’s nothing like a family meal.
It looks fairly organized…but don’t be fooled.
After dinner, Ben hangs out with the babies and I tidy up. It might seem like the 1950s have settled in our home after dinner, but the truth is I never get to clean up without ‘help’ during the day and I love the zen of it after a crazy, loud, constantly moving day. So Ben plays, which I do all day, and I clean, which I love because it’s without children hanging off of me or undoing what I’ve just done right behind me.
Just one day of crumbs and dirt and debris…jeepers.
And now, the most wonderful time of the day: bedtime.
Isaac usually goes down with the girls. I nurse him while they’re getting pyjamas on, he might make it through one story, and then he’s whisked off to bed when things get too cranky to handle. But on this night, we had no schedule and no long naps, so Isaac was mad and tired nice and early. I left Ben to hang out with the girls…
Snuggle time with some TV
…and I snuck upstairs to watch The Queen and nurse my tired fella.
I used to read while I nursed, but then he started grabbing the books…so now he eats and I watch a movie with captions on and no sound.
After Isaac is down, it’s the girls’ turn. Pyjamas are put on, stories are read, babies are wrapped, blankets are layered in a very specific order, and children are tucked in. I LOVE what bedtime accomplishes. Getting there? Fighting to get them INTO bed? I hate it. But when they actually make it? Heaven.
We MADE it.
Now, what do two parents whose children are all sleeping do with themselves on a Friday night? Ben always asks me what I want to do. And I never know. Or if I know, I don’t want to tell him because I want him to be able to do what he wants to do before I sway him with my opinion. So, this face happens:
“What do you want to do?”
And I tell him, I want to vegetate. I want to stop moving. I want to stay still. I want to zone out and watch TV. And that is all.
Out come the treats…
Don’t tell Toni…
…out come the pillows…
I’m laying down on a couch by myself. HOLLA!
…and we decide on watching Modern Family episodes (they’re quick and not as long as a movie…because let’s be clear…I’m not going to make it through a whole movie).
Look at my date!
After snacks are consumed and I’ve had enough time to enjoy being by myself, the (G-rated) snuggling happens, which is one of my favourite parts of the day…after bedtime and actually sleeping.
So happy together!
At 10ish, I decide I am all done. We turn off lights, make sure everything is set up for night feeds for Ben (we alternate night feeding so we’re both equally sleep-deprived. Romantic, right?), and head upstairs…which Isaac senses every. single. night. Without fail, he wakes up to eat right before I want to go to bed. BAH.
More nursing, more The Queen, only this time, in pyjamas
Once Isaac is back in his bed, Ben gets under the covers and falls asleep INSTANTLY. Which is crap, because that usually means he starts to snore INSTANTLY. I, on the other hand, need to read before bed or my brain won’t turn off. It will run every worry, to-do list, every missed opportunity, every forgotten item or task ever, and I’ll never get to sleep. I’ve been reading Annabel by Kathleen Winter, which is beautifully written. I love the language and the way the story is being told. It doesn’t hurt that it’s written by a Canadian woman, either.
My sleeping pill
And finally, finally, it’s time for bed. I’m whooped. The day has been loooong and full. And tomorrow? Well, tomorrow I’ll get to do it all over again. Yay!
Waaaaay past my (ideal/desired/never hit it but wish and dream about it) bedtime