What’s a day like for a stay-at-home mom? Well, it varies for everyone. I happen to have four kids, we homeschool, and I do some freelance work. So for me, a typical day goes a little something like this:
6:30- The first of my four kids will wake up. It’s always a different boy that wakes up first, but someone is always up at this time. Whichever boy wakes up first immediately wakes up all of his brothers. We have a STRICT you-must-stay-in-your-bed-until-7:30 rule. So, obviously, no one stays in their bed until 7:30am. (my husband is in the Army and leaves for PT, physical training, around 5am, so he usually isn’t home until he’s done with work for the day)
7:00(ish)- I have let the boys wander around and play, thanks to the fact that our house is tiny and I can hear them no matter where they are in the house. But eventually I must drag myself out of bed to get breakfast going. Believe me when I say that I know 7 is luxurious. The boys used to be up for the day by 5:30 AND need more immediate supervision. Ouch.
7:30- After changing a diaper and getting everyone into the kitchen, we get breakfast going. Since we homeschool, we don’t normally have anywhere to be in the mornings, which means our mornings are pretty leisurely. On mornings when I’m tired and dragging, it’s cold cereal. On mornings when I’m feeling peppy, we sing and dance while I make pancakes (pumpkin pancakes are my favorite). Cereal mornings outnumber music-filled pancake mornings but my hope is that the pancakes/songs make a bigger impact on their memories. A girl can dream…
9:30- By now everyone has finished eating and has gotten dressed. The boys usually dress themselves which means that they look absolutely ridiculous and are probably not prepared for whatever the weather is that day. I get myself dressed and I squeeze some work in during this time, if I can.
10:00- We finally get around to doing schoolwork. My oldest is in second grade, so he has a little more to do than the other boys. He works independently, checking in with me after each assignment to answer questions about his reading or so I can check his answers. The littlest ones don’t have any work to do (though the 3-year old is always asking to “do schoolwork” too) but the kindergartener and I work on reading and handwriting a little bit. He also does a tiny bit of math, but we usually do that throughout the day as we cook, see numbers around, or otherwise run into an opportunity to do a little addition and subtraction. The younger boys tend to wander in and out of the backyard while the oldest is working.
11:00- The other boys are either doing schoolwork or playing, but the 16-month old goes down for a nap around now. How I wish I could join him…
Noon- Fun time! Now the boys run off in different directions, getting into mischief. I usually take this time to get some work done on writing or other assignments I have.
1:00- Lunchtime and the end of the nap. Sometimes we eat a little earlier than this, depending on what we had for breakfast. But since we usually eat a big breakfast, most of the time no one is hungry until now. Lunch is light and boring. Quesadillas, peanut butter and honey, yogurt and fruit, whatever. It’s lame.
1:30- The boys head outside again, unless the weather is particularly bad. I believe in dirt and fresh air. I mean, I’m not outdoorsy myself but I like to encourage it in my kids.
2:30- Screentime. If the boys have gotten bored of the yard and/or the weather is bad and our indoor activity choices have been used up, I let the boys watch some shows on Netflix. This is when I can try to read, see what’s happening in the world via the internet, or just waste time on Facebook. Happiness all around!
3:30/4:00– Depending on what they’ve picked and how well-behaved they’ve been, the TV gets turned off. They once again scatter, to read or play, and I start getting dinner together. I usually have a meal plan in place, but on those rare occasions when I don’t have something planned, this is when I stare at the contents of my fridge. Even when I do have something planned, this is when I start getting out everything I need and realizing that I’m missing a key ingredient. At least twice a week this is also when I’m texting my husband asking him to pick the missing ingredient up from the store on his way home. Or it’s when I search for a substitute.
5:00- My husband comes home and I can direct requests from the boys in his direction for a little while! I actually try to get the boys to give him some space, at least for a few minutes after he walks in the door, because I know that after working all day he deserves a few minutes to take his boots off and relax before I tag him into the ring. I try anyway… depending on the mood of everyone else in the family, this is sometimes not a successful attempt on my part.
5:30/6- Depending on what is for dinner and how successful I was at finding substitutes for whatever I had forgotten on my weekly shopping trip, we have dinner. Invariably this includes of discussion of “how much of this do I have to eat to have dessert.” Most of the time my kids are remarkably good eaters, but some nights find us with at least one dissenting opinion. Last night one boy would eat the quinoa but not the vegetables, another would eat the vegetables but not the quinoa, and the other two just ate everything in sight.
6:45- We start getting everyone to try to calm down and get ready for bed. Every night the bedtime process takes forever because all of my children act as though they are being asked to sacrifice a vital organ rather than participate in the sleep that they do EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Seriously, kids, sleep is amazing. Don’t fight it.
7:30- Lights out. After multiple bathroom trips, stories being read, songs being sung, and threats being made to cut off all treats unless bedtime gets better, everyone is in bed. Whew. It probably seems early to some, but only the youngest naps and the boys wake up at 6:30am no matter what time they went to sleep. So, I choose extra sleep for everyone.
After the kids are in bed, my husband and I can hang out. When he’s in bed (he goes to bed early because he wakes up so early), I watch bad TV or read and catch up on any work that I need to get done.
It sounds really boring written out like this. But it’s really not. Every day is different and fun. My kids say so many funny things that it’s hard to keep track- I’ve forgotten enough one-liners from them to fill a book. I laugh every single day because kids are just hilarious. Even when the monotony does start to get to you, one of the little ones will say, “Mommy, I love you” or will say something like “thank you for thinking of joining a CSA” (seriously, one of my kids said this today), which makes even the less-fun things worth it.
I spend my day making up stories and playing make-believe. We build things and draw things and read books. I can do the hokey-pokey and no one will think I’m insane. Everything is an adventure. And for right now, I can’t imagine spending my days any other way.