I’ve documented the minutia of our lives at various stages of children, and it seems tedious, but I’m so glad I did it because reading back on them now there are so many things I’ve forgotten. I can distinctly remember how each phase of our family has felt, but it’s much harder to recall how the details of our days actually played out.
Here’s a day in the life while we were:
The last two I’ve written right before adding a new baby to the family, and today is no exception. I’m set to give birth in a week, so I’m knocking this out before the newborn haze sets in.
School is the main difference between all our previous years’ of routines and now. In all of my earlier days, we might have somewhere to be of our choosing, but it was flexible and just that — of our choosing. Now we have two six year olds in kindergarten, and randomly opting out of class is generally frowned upon, so we do the morning hustle. Lucky for us, we are in a school that offers 3-day a week kindergarten (all day), so we only have to do the hustle a handful of times. This is glorious.
This sample will be from one of their three days of kindergarten, and for fun, let’s also choose a day that Hunter has morning preschool (he also goes 3 days, but naturally only two of them overlap with Henry and Arden’s days at school. Such is life).
~Henry and Arden, 6.5, Hunter, 4.5, and Jameson, 2.5~
6:20AM The alarm goes off and I immediately snooze it for 8 minutes. I’m not a snoozer by nature, but pregnancy will do this to a person.
6:28AM The alarm goes off again and I face reality. With the speed and agility of the Titanic attempting to miss the iceberg, I steer my 9-month-pregnant body out of bed, waddle across the room and begin our day. Henry is usually peeking from our doorframe, as he has the ninja ability to wake when he needs to based on the day. I give him the nod, and he bounds silently into our room and into bed to snuggle.
If this were a non-school day, we’d get up at 7:15 and all the kids would be in our bed, snuggled up tight and fighting for the insufficient real estate provided by our queen bed. Today, I dress and head downstairs to start breakfast while the other three sleep.
6:50AM I’m making eggs and toast and peeling tangerines while Mike showers, Henry and I chat, and Arden comes into the kitchen. If Mike and I were disciplined the night before, then praise be! Their lunches are already packed, and all they need to do is pick out two snacks to fill their little reusable zippered bags (my cousin makes these and I’ve bought at least a dozen. They’re brilliant and we no longer buy ziplock baggies at all. End of aside).
If we were worthless oafs the night before, then we are harassed by the empty mouths of the bento-boxes before us.
(They don’t get notes every day. That’s likely why I took a photo, so when I’m old and gray I can reassure myself that I was, occasionally, a decent mother.)
7AM We hear Jameson on the monitor and Henry bolts upstairs to get him. They are best buddies and it fills my heart to the brim. Jameson comes in with Henry and says, “I waked up!” and gives everyone hugs and hellos. Babies in pajamas with huge smiles is the greatest morning joy there could be. Mike wakes Hunter, the family sleeper, and brings him down holding his Roux puppy. It is adorable.
7:10AM Mike is helping everyone get what they need and drinking coffee and pouring a drop of milk in my tea. It’s all a melee of eating and packing school bags.
7:25AM We send the twins and Hunter upstairs to dress — twins in their uniforms, Hunter in whatever he wants (so…a dinosaur sweater). All brush teeth and I hurry Arden so I can do her hair, tell them all to put on shoes and grab coats, and work our way outside. Mike has started the car so it’s at least tepid by our loading time.
7:40AM After 3/4 kids self-buckle and 1/4 gives us a little grief about it, we pull out of the driveway. Henry is our timekeeper and always notes the time, along with the number of minutes until the doors of his classroom open (they open at 7:45, and tolerate lateness he does not). Who can believe their school begins at the eye-watering hour of 8AM?
7:46AM The twins sail out the door of the van and run into school, and I park further down the way to take the two boys down to the soccer field for a little morning runaround. Hunter’s school doesn’t open until 8:30, so we have substantial time to fill.
8:20AM We arrive at Hunter’s school and park, waiting for the doors to open. When they do, we kiss him goodbye and watch him say good morning to his teacher. Jameson and I sail off in silence, giving each other a look that says, “We have done ALL of this and it is only 8:30AM.”
8:45AM Jameson and I do a little cleanup, read some books, have a morning snack, play a little music, stick a load of laundry in, and generally enjoy the tranquility of the house to ourselves.
9:45AM When I was a little less pregnant, we’d load up the jogging stroller and jog/walk to the library a mile away; drop last week’s books, do any printing for MOPS, pick out new books, and enjoy the fresh air and exercise.
10:40AM We’d get back, he’d play in the playroom, I’d take a mighty fast shower, and then I’d dress and get ready to pick up Hunter.
11:30AM Hunter pickup! I’m always so happy to see that cherubic face. I want to ask him thirteen questions, but I usually settle for two or three, since he likes to ride quietly back to the house. School fills his social cup and he likes to recover without being pecked to death by we chickens next to him, and no one understands that better than his introverted mother. Jameson, ahem, does not, so I always hear: “Hunter! Hunter! Hunter?” until he replies, “Jameson I don’t feel like talking,” and I say, “You can play with him at home, lovey, he’s just tired,” which placates him enough to put his thumb back in his mouth and gaze happily out the window.
11:50AM I make lunch, which is fabulously easy for just two littles, and they sit in their stools and chat with me.
12:30PM After they eat, they occupy themselves together in the family room while I clean everything up. Then I ask Jameson if he’s ready for nap and he always says, “I go night night” and “Hunter get me!” since he wants Hunter to chase him up the stairs. Hunter always does, since they’re buddies, and they just became roommates, so it’s extra cute. We tuck Jameson into Hunter’s bed (he loves to nap there because Hunter has dinosaur covers) and he holds his silky blankies and sucks his thumb and says, “nigh-night!” and goes to sleep.
12:45PM Unless I’m starving, this is Hunter and Mommy time. We head into the playroom and play Sorry, Hisss, Guess Who, Yeddi Spaghetti, whatever he chooses for the day. We play two or three games (or two or three of the same game if a certain someone hasn’t won yet…), and then I make my lunch and he reads books.
1:45PM I do some computer work, email, MOPS work, paying bills, whatever needs doing, and Hunter has a little fruit snack and hangs out with me or does a puzzle.
2:10PM We wake Jameson, who’s usually okay with this, unless he was right in the middle of a REM cycle, in which case, he’s an angry elf.
2:35PM We’re in the car and headed to pick up Henry and Arden. Many times Hunter will fall asleep in the five minute ride, and I let him snooze as we wait in the pickup line.
2:50PM Henry and Arden tumble into the car, jazzed from their day at school and spilling information and questions in equal measure. Jameson sticks his arms in the air, (often just one arm so the other thumb can remain in his mouth) and he expects each twin to give a big hug as they make their way to the back of the van. They’re giddy to oblige.
3:05PM We arrive home and the twins do their after-school routines of emptying backpacks and changing into play clothes. Then they all head outside to see who’s available to play; it’s the daily neighborhood roundup. We don’t have much daylight these days, so they rush door-to-door to gather the gang and start football or tree climbing or bikes or basketball. Jameson and I follow them out and cruise around making sure no one is too close to the street and everyone is being kind. Sometimes other moms are out, sometimes only one of us will shepherd the herd, but it’s a team effort.
5PM Everyone is called inside since it’s basically as dark as night, and I start making dinner. This is my hairiest time of day, since they all want attention or help with something, or in Jameson’s case, to climb the pantry shelves, just as I’m starting to cook. This is when I’m calling Mike for an exact ETA, and it’s also when my body most needs to sit down, but can’t. I try to tell one twin to start piano practice, have the other color, let Hunter play Bey Blades with Jameson… but usually the twin on piano needs help, the other only wants to play indoor football, and Jameson only wants me to put his Bey Blades back together, despite Hunter having a PhD in the subject.
5:30PM Mike walks in the door and everyone charges him, pummeling him with hugs and love and questions. I give him a look of exhaustion or desperation or joy or relief, depending on the day, and after a quick change of clothes, he either plays with the kids to keep them occupied or takes over putting dinner on the table so I can sit for a minute.
6PM We dim the lights, light a candle, and dinner commences. If a child begins the meal with “What is THIS?” I feel like I might throw my fork straight into the drywall. But other than that, we say our prayers and dig in. Dinner is fun and chaotic, all chatter and laughing and a little too loud and sometimes too many buns getting up out of seats (mine included) but it’s also when Mike and I look at each other and our full table and feel like it’s all worth it.
6:30PM Mike or I do dishes (he is technically always on dish duty since I cooked, but often I’d rather do dishes than play with the kids because my cup is full on that front…see 11:30AM introvert description).
7PM We all head upstairs where 3/4 of the children get into pajamas and brush their teeth without help (hallelujah) and one child is dressed and brushed by us. We either read or tell stories, then all go to their own beds while we do-si-do the goodnights and closing of doors and getting of waters.
7:30PM We are in our own jammies and downstairs for parental recovery time, which looks like watching a show and eating food we can’t eat in front of the children.
10PM We’re in our bed, tired but also still wired, still talking about the kids, still grateful for another day, still in disbelief that soon there will be a baby in the bassinet next to us. It’s wild, it’s a ton of work, but it’s so exquisitely good.