It’s been a hot minute since my last day in the life post when Lincoln was just 4 months old, and it was one of the biggest requests from my reader survey a few weeks ago, so I thought I’d fill you on what a day in the life of a work at home Mom of a 14 month old looks like. Boy, what a difference 10 months makes!
When I re-read that post and put myself back in my shoes at that moment in time I remember feeling exhausted and knowing the only thing I could count on was that no day would be the same. But, hey, we made it through and life looks completely different on the other side. While the content of our day is usually up in the air – will we go to Target or HyVee for our daily outing, for instance? (I’m only halfway kidding) – we are on a schedule that both Lincoln, Ben, and I can depend on which provides a huge amount of freedom.
One of the biggest changes that’s helped us get to where we are today is that I got help. Around the time Lincoln turned 7 months old he dropped from three naps to two and I wasn’t getting a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g done work-wise, plus it was impossible to take outside meetings without having to constantly rely on my sister-in-law, who also stays at home with her kids, to watch Lincoln. One of my blogger friends, who has two small children, seemed to have it all – a social life, time to workout, a great blog that she updated very regularly, etc. That balance in my life was nowhere to be found and I was getting really down about it.
So, I sent her an SOS email begging her to tell me her secret. Her answer? Girl, get some help! If I wanted to take my business seriously but still have time for, you know, a life, I needed to put aside my pride and get some help. So I did. We found a wonderful in-home nanny who comes twice a week so I can grind on work stuff then spend the other 5 days focusing as much as possible on Ben and Lincoln. The formula isn’t perfect – I still work nights and weekends – but it’s so much better than it was 7 months ago!
I realize I might get some crap for having a part-time nanny when I work from home and can dictate my schedule, but I still want to share my story because a lot of people tell me I seem to be able to do it all and I want to assure you that that’s certainly not the case (and I freely and openly tell those people the same!)
Still with me?
Cool. All that said, here’s what a typical, non-nanny day looks like for Ben, Lincoln, and me during the week!
6:00am: My alarm goes off. Although the days have been hot the mornings are crisp. Snuggle weather is back, y’all! I pull the covers tight until 6:36 when I finally grab my phone from the nightstand, check my email, and then drag myself out of bed and into the shower.
7:03am: The tiny man has been stirring on the monitor for about 10 minutes so I quickly finish my makeup then head to get him when he finally sits up. I feed then change him and we head downstairs. After waving bye to Dada it’s time to get our day started!
7:15am: Of course the light on my Keurig is screaming “descale me!” – the horror – so instead of making my morning coffee I distract myself by cleaning up the kitchen while Lincoln munches on a plastic lid nearby. I’ve got to be quick – this won’t last long.
8:00am: Breakfast time. I put Lincoln in his high chair then cut him up the usual – a banana, piece of peanut butter bread, and a mandarin orange.
He eats his food nearly as quick as I can cut it up but somehow I find 2 minutes to make my standard breakfast – two eggs and a few sausage links which are heated right in the microwave. Obsessed with this breakfast – I make it at least 3 times a week!
8:30am: RIP OG Keurig. You have served us well over the past 5 years. That is to say, the descale light on the machine is now off but it’s streaming water as soon as I turn the power on. To Starbucks we go! 20 minutes and 1 latte later we are home and all is right with the world.
8:50am: Lincoln plays with, or rather dumps his puzzles all over himself, looks out from his favorite spot, jumps onto his stuffed dog Pal (and me!) while I try and answer some emails. Right now he wants my full attention at all times so it’s nearly impossible to get much of anything done work-wise while he’s awake. My tiny perfect human is worth it though!
9:25am: Nap time! I put Lincoln down then finish getting ready, put in a load of laundry, and furiously answer as many emails as possible. I know his morning nap won’t last forever so I’m savoring them until he drops it in favor of a longer afternoon nap.
10:45am: Lincoln starts stirring. Thanks to a longer nap than usual I’ve been able to answer a record number of emails, which I’m usually days behind on. One of the emails that came in was from Ben who wants to meet up for lunch. This happens uh, NEVER, as he’s usually in meetings all day, so I jump at the chance and quickly toss together a lunch for Lincoln (he’s not quite at kid’s meal status yet.)
Turkey slathered with mashed avocado and chopped spinach then rolled and sliced, frozen –> thawed vegetables, grapes, and pasta tossed with olive oil are on the menu.
11:00am: I pack up lunch and Lincoln then off we go!
11:15am: We scoop Ben up then head to Monterrey for lunch. It’s our favorite Mexican restaurant in town and their service is crazy quick.
We get Lincoln’s lunch all situated then dig into ours – Chicken Fajitas, baby! I don’t normally like fajitas but Monterrey’s are BOMB. I’d lick the skillet at the end if it wasn’t still sizzling.
12pm: We drop Ben off back at work then head to the mall. I want to see if they have the new iPhone in – they don’t – so I settle for using a gift card to pick up some sale clothing items for Lincoln. We’ve gotten to the end of our begged and borrowed clothes from friends and family members which got him through his whole first year so it’s time to invest in some winter clothing. Got some great deals at The Children’s Place!
It’s a bit windy for our regular afternoon walk so I zip Lincoln around the lake at the mall a few times while we’re there. The resident gaggle follow us the entire time and he waves enthusiastically to each member. I nearly die from the adorableness of it all.
1:30pm: Home! We read books then play hide and go seek to wind down before nap time.
2:30pm: I put Lincoln down for his afternoon nap then clean up our books, transfer the laundry over, then tackle my Signature Spicy, Smoky, Sweet Chili post for the following day. I usually cook/photograph recipes in the afternoons two days a week and on the weekends, then write the content the day before a post goes up. Yesterday was a cooking day so today’s a writing day, and since I already formatted the images, wrote the recipe, and then loaded everything into WordPress the previous night, all I have to do for the post today is write it!
As many bloggers will probably tell you this is one of my favorite yet smallest parts of the job. I’d say 30-40% of my job is cooking/photographing/writing while the remaining 60-70% is recipe development, planning, social media, freelancing, networking, marketing, admin, accounting, coordinating tech stuff, and answering emails. A small business owner wears many hats!
3:40pm: Lincoln stirs from another great nap just as I’m finishing my blog post. I’m an over-editor. What might take some people 30 minutes to write usually takes me an hour and 30 minutes. I schedule the post as he tosses and turns trying to decide if he really wants to wake up for the next 15 minutes or so. He does, so I go grab him and we have a nice post-snooze snuggle on the couch for 10 minutes.
4:05pm: Although dinner’s in less than an hour, I can tell Lincoln’s hungry so I give him an applesauce in a Little Green Pouch to suck down (literally drank it so fast he was panting, bahahaha!) while I enjoy an apple myself.
First Honeycrisp of the season with some Laughing Cow Creamy Spicy Pepper Jack Cheese. It was good but I like their white cheddar with my apples better!
4:30pm: I attempt to get a jump start on prepping our dinners, but L is having none of it.
I tell ya’ what, look away for a second and the next thing you know your baby’s holding a green onion. I didn’t even know we had green onions!
My toes provide some brief entertainment but it’s clear dinner prep is not happening.
4:45pm: We head outside for 15 minutes before dinnertime to clip his nails by the pond, check out our herb garden, and get some good swing time in.
5:00pm: Dinner time! I finish prepping/steaming the sweet potatoes I was working on earlier than feed it to Lincoln along with leftover chicken, a scrambled egg with a bit of ketchup, and some mixed veggies and grapes leftover from lunch. I wish the three of us could all eat together but with our current schedules it’s just easiest for Ben and me to eat after Lincoln goes to bed.
5:30pm: Ben’s home (hallelujiah!) I put in a solid hour’s worth of work at the kitchen table while the two of them entertain each other in the living room.
6:30pm: It’s Ben’s night to put Lincoln to bed so while they’re upstairs I tidy up the downstairs then assemble a quick and simple dinner of roasted potatoes, sauteed garlic kale, and sauteed chicken breasts. I hand Ben a plate when he comes down then we devour on the couch while discussing our respective days.
7:15pm: We’ve both got more work to do so we open our laptops and type away for another hour.
8:30pm: My to-do list is far from being done, but I’ve got a headache and a craving for chips and salsa. My nightly treat. I picked up a new type of salsa at the store to try but I don’t love it. Like, at all. Give me Tostitos Restaurant Style salsa, or give me nothing! I still manage to eat my fair share, of course, and crunch away while Ben and I catch up on our DVRd shows. Ink Master, anyone?
9:45pm: I’m exhausted and head upstairs to put away some clothes before crawling into bed.
10:23pm: The weather has finally come on the news (seriously infuriating that they make us wait so long!) Sunny and high 70s tomorrow. Should be a great day for a long walk outside. I click off the television and am out within minutes.
So there you have it! This day was a little more extravagant than usual between the Starbucks run, lunch fun, and mall outing, but the flow is pretty much the same. Eat, play, sleep, work – times three! As a working Mom I find balancing work and family to be very challenging, and I’m afraid I don’t have any life-changing advice for successfully juggling everything without occasionally dropping the ball, but I take life one day at time and do the best I can everyday. What more can you do?
As they say – in life the days are long, but the months are short!