When the lovely Meagan from The Charming Farmer asked me to weigh in on what it means to be a mom and to juggle the To Do list that comes with running a DIY blog… I jumped at the chance! I get asked a lot how I’m able to keep 5 children alive and also get things done around the house to post about on Ciburbanity. I’m always humbled by the question and quick to share that I’m fortunate to have someone amazing to help with the kids. But I also LOVE what I do… it recharges my battery and as a result I give it the same importance that I would a job outside of the home. That said, I’m not superhuman and lots of this mom/ blog juggling act is planning ahead, being organized and doing a little bit of a few different things when I can! Do I have an aptitude for keeping lots of balls in the air? Sure. But I wanted to share a ‘day in the life’ so you could see how many things I let slip through the cracks!! (I.e. hot dinner on the table most nights and… hygiene.)
Rest assured… lots of things don’t get done each day. Let’s start, for one, with a real-time look of our playroom. Um, yeah. Camera ready, not so much…
Arthur wakes up first around 5 but I roll over, change his diaper and feed him all in bed. Yeah. Lazy girl move #1.
The kids are all pretty independent in the morning so they start to wander in around 6:30 but they either crawl into bed with me, sneak time on my phone or head downstairs to play/ raid the fridge. They know not to turn on any stoves or to pour milk, but they enjoy getting themselves a bowl of dry cereal and cups of water! (This is where having a dog to help clean spilled rice krispies comes in handy…)
I get up between 7:30 and 8 and get Louisa from her room. We head downstairs and I give everyone a real breakfast. This week, Eleanor and Oliver have camp so they run upstairs to get dressed and I make sure they have what they need in their backpacks while Louisa is finishing her feast of a breakfast. Louisa could eat 12 meals a day.
Our babysitter comes at 8:30 which is right about when Arthur is ready for his first nap of the day. I nurse him quickly while she takes over with final breakfast stuff and sunblock patrol.
8:45 I put Arthur down, brew a cup of coffee with my favorite little gadget and head out with the big kids for camp. I don’t have to pack a lunch for camp so it’s easier to get them out the door! (I would pay a small fortune for someone just to come in every morning and pack lunches.)
9:15 I get home and check email, update social media, etc. I’ll also grab a bite to eat.
10:30 – 11:30 Projects. Today I painted the first coat on our foyer table and decided on a paint color for Louisa’s bookshelf.
11:45 Run out to get the kids from camp while our babysitter takes care of lunch with the little girls. Arthur’s still sleeping!
12:15 Home with the big kids. They have lunch and Arthur’s awake. I nurse him. Lunch is over and all the kids are in the playroom or outside pretending to be dogs. Or something. I grab a bite to eat.
12:45-1:30 I put on a second coat of paint and check some email while the kids are playing in the next room. Arthur watches too. He’s big into DIY.
1:30 Martha and Louisa go down for their naps. I top off Arthur and put him back down. (For intel on everything I’ve learned about sleep training after a bunch of kids… see here!)
1:40 Groceries are delivered. The selection isn’t the same as wandering the aisles but I can shop from my couch while checking my Facebook page.
1:45-2:30 I run out to grab paint for Louisa’s bookshelf and swing through Homegoods to grab some simple accessories for our master bedroom redesign that’s in the works also.
2:30 The babysitter leaves. Oliver and Eleanor are still young enough that they need a real quiet time in the afternoon… for everyone’s sanity. I will often make them earn some movie time by playing quietly first and then around 3, I’ll put on something quaint like Charlotte’s Web or Curious George.
2:30-3 Check in on email/ social media. Maybe a Periscope if I’m feeling perky.
3-4 I sand Louisa’s dresser and give it a first coat of paint. (Sidenote: This spray shelter that HomeRight sent me is a GAMECHANGER!!!) I also measure out and begin to hang curtain rods in our bedroom. Martha comes down whenever she wakes up and either joins the big kids watching their movie or grabs my phone to watch 20 minutes of the PBS app.
4 Louisa’s awake. She likes to sit with the big kids in the playroom so I sometimes get another half hour to clean up or keep working.
4:30-5:30 We sometimes go to the beach before supper. If everyone’s happy playing in the yard, then I might actually get to some yardwork while they play. If we’re inside, I’ll fold laundry or prep dinner or do something with the kids puttering along beside me. Arthur wakes up and I feed him. He likes to look around at the chaos around him.
6-7 Purgatory. This is when it gets ugly around here. Reallllll ugly. Mark often gets home right before 7 so I can fend them off until then, but sometimes we have baths early. Or read books. Or just scream and yell at each other. At some point, Arthur’s ready to go down for bed so I’ll duck out and give him a little TLC.
7:30 Bedtime for everyone.
8-midnight. Blogging. I’ll write stories, edit photos, email brands. You name it. Computer is on my lap and some crappy TV show is playing in the background.
OK. So what’s missing. A LOT. I admit that my blog/ work/ life balance is terrible and I’m working to find a better formula. I’m SOOOOO fortunate that our babysitter/ nanny helps with a good amount of the kids day-to-day housework. She’s usually one step ahead of me with things like laundry and room tidying and I’m forever grateful to her for this.
I’m not great about taking time to exercise. I used to get out 2x a day to walk the dog in the city, and here we have a yard so it’s not as necessary. Unless I sign myself up for a race, I don’t make the time… which needs to change.
For much of the day, I’m with the kids, but I actually don’t sit down and PLAY with them as often as I should. They are remarkably self-sufficient with their play and rarely ask me to join or participate… For the amount of time we’re all home together, I’d say I’m directly involved with them for a small percentage of this time! Ha!
Mark and I will go out for dinner together when we can and on weekends we’re all together, but during the week… we’re both pretty wiped once kids are in bed so there’s not a lot of time spent catching up. Which is bad, but I’m told by other veteran parents it’s not super uncommon when children are little! We could stand to unplug for 45 minutes to debrief from our day. Another goal.
Does every day go this smoothly? Nope. Some days I get zilch done for the blog aside from computer work. And others I’ll finish a project and photograph it all in one morning. The key for me is empowering my kids to be independent and to solve problems for themselves. I am here, but I am not a centerpiece for them which is helpful! I could not do this without childcare. Especially during the summer. She allows me to leave the house and run quick errands without loading 5 children into the car. She allows me to get Arthur on a sleep schedule because someone will always be here. And she allows me some peace and quiet if I need it to work with power tools and disappear into a project for an hour or so! I wouldn’t have a blog if my husband weren’t so wildly understanding and supportive of this journey. He never balks or asks why there’s another chair in the car or what’s for dinner. He’s never challenged me on a design decision or asked what the heck I was thinking when I tie dyed 4 dozen napkins and ruined them all.
My kids see what I do and help when they can. They appreciate the production value of it all and love to be included when possible. They see me working around the house and holding power tools and will hopefully understand that women can do anything men can do. They love creating and using their imagination and I hope this comes from watching their mom wander the house trying to make lovely out of lame.
I always ramble on a bit when I try to explain how I get through a day and accomplish anything. There’s no simple answer, other than to reiterate that I LOVE everything that writing a blog entails: the writing and the photographing and the building and the online socializing… and when you love something you make it work!
There are lots of us DIY Mamas out there… see what some of my wonderful friends and colleagues are sharing about how they “balance motherhood and miter saws!”
Day 1 Mamas:
Day 2 Mamas:
And what mom wouldn’t want a little sumthin’ sumthin’ for herself!! We have a little giveaway for you to enter for some spending cash at Target and Lowe’s!
Don't miss a post! Sign up for email or RSS updates!