Writer at work
Beyond the bon-bons

A day in the life

A day in the life

By NATHALIE HARDY | July, 2014

Published in the Yamhill-Valley News-Register

When my boys were 3 and 1, I actually took the time to note what, exactly, I did during a typical day.

Of course, this is just a snapshot, as each day has its own rhythm. But I think it makes the point, probably by the time it reaches noon.

I haven’t made the time to do a similar exercise since, and some of the details have changed. But I’m basically still on the same merry-go-round of mess, clean up and repeat. So, for those who asked, here is a sample day in the life of this stay-at-home mom:

Between 5 and 7:30 in the morning: Wake up to sounds of my husband trying to be quiet. Marvel that my children slept through the night and pray for another hour of quiet before the party starts. Write, prep breakfast, put in a load of laundry and empty dishwasher as quietly as possible. 

Head back upstairs, where Sam finds me stretching in my room. Work in a little yoga with him before his brother wakes.

Sam is the loudest little yogi ever, so Jake is up before long and hits the ground running. Then he falls, hitting his knee on an unidentified object. I don’t know what happened, since I was being so negligent as to pay the bathroom a momentary visit.

7:45 a.m. Bring some first-aid stuff upstairs to deal with the scrape. Sam insists his brother wants a boo-boo pack and hurries downstairs to get it. On the way, he falls, too. So there we are, the three of us on the stairs, two-thirds of us in tears.

I suggest we start the day over. We get dressed and come down for breakfast.

8:05 a.m. Notice the box of Band-Aids is suspiciously empty. Find them stuck all over Sam’s door. Scrape them off as he explains he was “just decorating.”

8:10 a.m. Notice the Neosporin cap is missing. Spend the next 15 minutes hunting for it before Jake finds it and nearly chokes to death.

Change Jake’s diaper, but not quickly enough. In the 12 elapsed seconds, he manages to pee all over his beloved stuffed Zebra. Lucky I have a spare.

8:25 a.m. The water I’d set to boil for our oatmeal has evaporated. I switch my sights to almond butter toast with honey.

8:20-8:30 a.m. Have to manage Sam’s meltdown over not being allowed to watch “Bob the Builder.”

8:32 a.m. Breakfast on the table. Bags packed the night before await, so we can be on time today.

Except I didn’t read Sam’s mind, thus “messed up” his toast.

8:33 a.m. Have to manage another meltdown because I cut Sam’s toast into rectangles instead of his “favorite shape, triangles.” FYI: Yesterday, the request was for rectangles.

Jake, on the other hand, loves toast. He doesn’t care about the shape. Either way, he thinks it makes a lovely hat.

8:40 a.m. Eat my toast standing up, while combing almond butter out of Jake’s hair.

8:55-9 a.m. Clean up, by which I mean the kids, not the breakfast dishes. On a good day, those get thrown into the sink, and on a bad day, not.

Wrangle kids into shoes and car seats. Catch a whiff of stinky realization that I need to change Jake’s diaper.

Stupidly smell his pants to see if he needs new ones. He does.

9 a.m. Load boys up for day care and proceed to lock myself out. Have to break into the house. Contemplate how I will explain to my husband that I still haven’t gotten around to making a spare key, all while singing “Wheels on the Bus” all the way.

9:30 a.m. Arrive at day care, breathless after carrying 30-pound Jake from the back-40 while trying to keep up with Sam, who can’t wait to play trains. As I sign in, I can’t resist bragging a little about actually arriving at the appointed time — 9:30. Sadly, I’m informed that I had actually signed up for a 9 a.m. drop-off.

9:45 a.m. Determined to work out — and let’s be honest, take a shower all by myself — I head for the gym.

Mission accomplished. Squeeze in workout, shower and some writing time in my remote office, aka the locker room.

A few people have asked me why I go through the trouble of going to the gym, when I could just go for a walk with “one of those kid-pusher things.” For those who don’t know, that would be a stroller.

I suppose it’s possible someone who’s never pushed one with two siblings in it wouldn’t understand that is an exercise in both patience and futility, but not so much it fitness. That’s because you’re always having to stop to give someone his bottle back or pick up the blanket that you just ran over and will now have to wash before bedtime.

11 a.m. Pick up the kids and drop by the “Tractor Park” on the way home to supervise a play and sharing practice. Watch in awe as other parents are able to relax and read as their children fling sand into my kids’ faces.

11:30 a.m. Bribe the kids back to the car with the promise of lunch and an episode of “Caillou.” Yes, even if it’s sunny.

People treat use of television as a babysitter like it’s a bad thing. I’m more of a “most things in moderation” kind of mom. Ad-lib “Wheels on the Bus” all the way home, in order to include all of the “Sweet Pickles” characters.

Since I’m already over my word count, you’ll just have to trust me. The afternoon was a blur of crafty activities, clean up, sharing practice, explaining why it’s not OK to tow each other by the neck, hunting down remaining strangulation hazards, trying to keep one kid relatively quiet while the other naps, prepping dinner, bum-wiping, re-wrapping the toilet paper on the roll, Googling contents of Sam’s giraffe and ideas for how to fix his tail, doing the laundry. The list goes on.

Flash forward to the chaos of the day fading into dinner negotiations, bath time fun and subsequent tsunami zone, then stories, songs, bedtime. I SAID BEDTIME!!!

Then I clock out.

Just kidding, of course.

At bedtime, Jake is crying for Zebra. Oh, did I forget to mention that he decided to toss Zebra in as I was filling the tub, soaking it? Remember this morning, when he peed on the other one and I was glad I had a spare?

Oops. Didn’t get Zebra No. 1 washed and dried in time.

Motherhood is full of dilemmas. Do I give him the zebra that’s soaking wet or the one reeking of pee?

I’ll leave you on that note.

I know there are many things I missed. I’m sure you can help me fill in the blanks. Hopefully, this is enough to demonstrate what a mad-awesome gig this is.