When I was working full-time, I carried around a curiosity for what those stay-at-home moms were doing. Really, I didn't hold an altogether respectful attitude about those on the other side of the fence. Call it jealousy or ignorance, I wondered why it was the mommy bloggers all too often seemed ungrateful or bored or lazy. Can't they just pull it together and get more done? I mean, c'mon, I'm working AND doing all the things.
And there was a smidgen of nice curiosity too. That kind of daydreaming wistfulness that takes you away from the day job. I wondered what it felt like to be full mommy full on all the time. A naked wonderment at the women brave enough to stay put. I still wonder the exact same thing even though I'm doing it. It has taken months of tweaking our rhythm and uncovering tricks, but those are mine--what about everyone else? Even my close mommy friends, the ones I visit with and discipline alongside and send my dramatic texts to, I wonder what their days look like. Not a cleaned up, perfected version. Just the mundane & beautiful & ordinary all mingled together.
So, without further ado, a real honest-to-goodness boring and uncut look at my life at home (on a pretty typical day).
Oh, and this version is a wee different than others I've seen. This is ordered by one photo and some related notes per hour. If I included all the things I do in a day around here (or the things I hear or see or think, my goodness), well, we just wouldn't ever escape this post. It would have all of us dribbling boredom out of the side of our mouths.
My day starts at 6:00 with nursing, diaper changes & feeding all the people in general, but I didn't think to do this until...
7:00Breakfast dishes. Laundry started. Tidying things up. To do list written for the day. Twins happily playing on their own. And Thomas and I attempt to put new handles in the master bedroom (that I'm slowly, slowly and with a lot of help from my friend, Natahle, redoing). Despite a great deal of morning person enthusiasm on our parts and a competent Youtube video, the ordeal ends in Paul's handle halfway done and mine about a quarter of the way. So both not done is what I'm saying.
8:00Alistair & Emerick are so attached to each other, this is what it looks like when I'm feeding them their breakfast. The other watches and waits (and smiles!). We've been up for two hours with me primarily working around the house and feeding people, so this is when I give the kids some attention. Supervising Thomas play with his brothers. Tickle the babies. Read some books. Daydream about the days of getting a shower without fear of child destruction and/or destruction of child.
9:00The babies are down for their morning nap so Thomas and I step outside. After a short mommy & son sword fight, because I'm the best influence, I grab all my gear and start thinning through the plants on the east side of the house. Thomas waters plants, hides behind our Asian maple pretending to be a ninja, and talks to the neighbor so much the neighbor has to excuse himself from conversation (of which I was absolutely zero part of because I'm pulling out more dead excess mass from our plants than there are plants). He also pulls a dead flower behind his back and tells me he will kiss me and I will fall in love with him. Then he will use his magic flower to turn me invisible.
10:00I'm sweaty and exhausted from yard work. This, plus a generous amount of humidity rolling into out area, has my hair looking like I lost a fight with a cat whose sole attack strategy revolved around perching on my head. I'm also exhausted by the prospect of managing clothing and bodily function removal for three boys before going to the store and myself looking just like this. This entire hour is spent nursing, changing diapers and clothes & gathering people into and out of the car for the grocery store.
11:00Because I would rather poke my eyes out than go grocery shopping in my "free time" (haha, like I have any of that), I sport around the kids in this fashion. The twins are super easy. I talk to Thomas a lot about all the food, the meals we are going to make, etc while I point to my grocery list and have him cross words off and sometimes help bag or place foods in the cart. The kid is like that plant in Little Shop of Horrors. He needs your blood (attention & educational fodder) at all times. He did tell me when I pulled into the parking lot spot that he would just stay in the car while I shopped. I definitely considered.
12:00We eat a quick lunch. And here's one of my favorite anchors to our day. Thomas and I cuddle in my bed and read his chapter book. Today, it's Winnie the Pooh. I laugh at the nuance and Thomas laughs because his mom is laughing and because he is vaguely aware Pooh is adorably daft. No matter how our morning has gone, we always read about twenty minutes after his lunch and I let the babies play with each other in their sunroom cage as pictured below. Then, I nurse each baby and read a book to each separately and tuck them into bed as well. Every day I think I'm going to do some sort of freedom dance by this point (all kids curled into balls and smushed up faces on sheets) but all I can manage is to turn on my warrior woman internal voice who says to not sit down or you will slip into hibernation and surface in three weeks.
1:00Put away groceries, clean kitchen, and tidy up the house, and picking up my sanity one minute of podcast at a time. And since doing all those things are just about as boring and un-photogenic as you can surely imagine, I present here a random photo of this watercolor beauty I managed earlier this week complemented with, of course, a unicorn Thomas made two days ago.
I think one of the things you learn once you've breached the more-than-one-kid zone of parenthood is this: you make food well before you need food. Hunger makes for an oil spill of all kinds of nasty emotions, and that's just when I don't get fed. If we're all hungry at the same time (6:00 am on a lot of days), it's a nuthouse of quakery and crazed lunatics out for some protein, dangit. So, I make roasted corn salsa and clean up the kitchen againagainagainagainagainagain. I mean, what?
3:00It's so quiet in the house and it's raining outside. This time of day, during the twins' 2nd nap and during Thomas's nap, is when I make calls, go through mail, send emails, write, etc. I will sometimes take a 20 minute power nap but this is becoming more rare now that I'm getting ample sleep at night. Here I am typing this post about what I was doing yesterday at this time. Get it? I'm typing right now just like I would be typing yesterday. Hey, I never said this was going to be interesting.
4:00Hey, look! The kids are up and adoring each other. Routine at this time looks the same way every day: 1. Thomas wakes 2. Snack 3. Thomas plays until he asks for screen time 4. Thomas is given his list of chores for the day and he does them at his own will and supervision (It's ingenius, I tell you--do this if you need space at 4:00 because you are completely spent. Kids have an innate way of navigating a wayward course toward chores which means they become sparse real quick.). I tidy up. Vacuum. Finish a project I started earlier.
This is a photo of beer. Because discipline. And four year olds. And a traveling husband who is on his way home but will be on a call when he arrives and maybe leave again next week. Judge me, but I won't feel bad at all. Walk a mile. Stay a week. ;) *and the wee black item is a Lego helmet
The kids adore their dad. I adore their dad. Paul is almost home from a week in D.C. after a week previous in D.C. and this kid, who can be found at any moment of any day moving his mouth or moving his feet but probably both, perched himself on the couch and wouldn't move for ten minutes because he didn't want to miss the moment Paul pulled up. Heart = puddle.
Welp, friends, that's a day in the life here at the Anderson ranch. I couldn't quite figure out how to get photos of how stunning I looked doing it all, but I'm sure you can use your imagination.