Day in the Life as a Working Mom

Posted 29 January, 2015 by Trish in Life, Mommyhood / 43 Comments

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day in the life


Several months ago I did an installment of A Day In the Life as a Stay at Home Mom. When I wrote the post I knew that I was going to be going back to work full-time. Once our routine fell into place I started thinking about recording a typical day. Except the holidays. And then lots of sick days. Or days when I wouldn’t remember until I was already at work. I finally recorded a morning and then at 10:00 got a call from the school to come pick up Elle because she was under the weather. Figures! So the pictures below are actually a mixture of two mornings.

All in all the below represents a fairly typical day for us. I am blessed to have a super flexible work arrangement–though every day seems to be an internal struggle between getting to work at a decent time and being able to eat breakfast with the girls. We should get up earlier in the morning, but…well…we’re working on it. Sort of.

The following is from Monday, January 19th. It is decidedly a much more boring day than when we were all at home…  And for the record, Elle is almost 4 and Evie is 17 months.

7:25 – Up and in shower. Admittedly this is much later than I would like to be getting out of bed, but most times laziness and those extra five minutes of sleep win. Especially on a Monday morning. I can’t remember what time Scott left for work, but it’s while I’m getting ready. Many mornings Elle comes downstairs while I’m getting ready–or I’ll have Scott go get her so it’s one less thing I have to potentially wrangle with in the mornings.

7:55 – I’m finished getting ready (which really just includes pulling my hair up since I didn’t wash it today, brushing my teeth, and putting on a bit of makeup). Elle is still not downstairs so I head up to wake her up. I take her back downstairs where I quickly get her dressed, put her into bed with her milk and a TV show (lately she’s been loving Octonauts and Chuggington on Netflix).

day in the life 1

Run back upstairs to give Evie her milk (she’s still fast asleep as well). I rock her while she drinks her milk and then I change her.

8:10 – Everyone is downstairs again and I prepare breakfast and get lunches together. Both the girls want oatmeal (well, Evie didn’t say as much but she usually wants what Elle has).

8:25 – I sit down to eat. I have banana and peanut butter on toast. Honestly I’m not sure how it takes me 15 minutes to get lunches packed and breakfast made (it’s instant oatmeal). The girls have a headstart, though Elle is the slowest eater ever. I have to set a timer to get her into gear. I eat quickly and start taking things out to the car and make sure everyone is wiped down and has shoes and a jacket on.

day in the life 2

8:38 – Leave home. I feel pretty good about this considering our late start. It’s still not ideal. I drop off Elle first (she cries and clings on to me) and then Evie. Evie is hit or miss–sometimes she cries when I leave and sometimes she doesn’t. I love all of the girls’ teachers, though.

day in the life 3

8:54 – In the car. Exhale. Take a sip of hot coffee. And audiobook time!! I’m currently listening to No Land’s Man by Aasif Mandvi.

9:16 – At work. Work. Group meeting. Eventually eat lunch (SmartOnes freezer meal, though I try to take leftovers if I have any) and catch up on some blogging/blogs because my Nook is dead. Of course. Work. Pretend to work. Working on CE courses. Group meeting…which ends up running really really long.

day in the life 4

4:45 – Leave office. I actually usually leave a few minutes before 4:45, but since the meeting went long it was the soonest I could get out.

5:02 – Get the girls. I always get Evie first and she’s usually thrilled to see me. Then we go get Elle and she usually is not thrilled to see me. Even despite her protestations in the morning.

5:23 – Home! Scott isn’t home yet and it’s nice outside so we play for a little bit. I don’t remember exactly, but Scott probably got home around 5:35? Fairly typical.

day in the life 5

5:45 – I start on dinner. I won’t admit to you what we ate for dinner except for the roasted veggies. I try really hard to limit the amount of processed foods that we eat and to make as much as I can from scratch, but occasionally I don’t win. Scott plays outside with the girls a bit while I prep the veggies and then he comes in to make the “main dish.” Mostly because I don’t care for this “Hawaiian steak” and don’t plan to eat it.

day in the life 6

6:30 – sit down and eat dinner. I always mean to eat before 6:30, but it never ever ever works out. By this time Evie is usually a grumpy mess (who we’ve been feeding bits of prepared dinner or snacks) and it takes Elle freaking forever to eat her dinner (often with a timer involved or a bit of bribery).

Sometime in between…  I get up to clear the dishes (Elle usually helps me with this) and wash up. We break into an unopened Christmas gift of a musical instrument set. We sing and make a ruckus and Evie gathers up everything she can find and puts it in a bag (I discover this bag a day later which includes half an orange and some roasted carrots…). I tidy the kitchen while Scott wipes down all of the surfaces and puts leftovers away. I make the lunches for tomorrow (I take the girls lunch every day–not by choice. They get a meat, fruit, cheese, and applesauce. Everyday. Well, sometimes pasta in lieu of the meat. I loathe coming up with lunch ideas).

day in the life 7

7:37 – Upstairs! Usually we aim to have the girls IN bed by 7:30 (or at least almost in bed), but since tonight isn’t a bathnight we have a bit of leeway. Scott gets Evie in her jammies while I coax Elle to do her bathroom duties and brush her teeth. Then Scott gets her jammies on while Evie “brushes” her teeth.

day in the life 9

7:50 – Scott reads a story to Elle while I give Evie some milk and sing her a song. No lie, she requests “Let it Go” by holding her hand up in the air and singing GO! over and over. Sometimes Evie will cuddle with me and sometimes she’s squirmy, so putting her to bed is usually pretty quick. She doesn’t like to be read to before bedtime (sad face).

7:57 – I hope into bed with Elle and she decides she wants to read the Peter Pan golden book (I agree to read half of it). Before I get started reading, though, we have a quick conversation about what it means to be a good friend. She complains a lot about her friends being mean to her so I’ve been trying to stress ways that SHE can be a nice friend to others. Sigh. We end with as many kisses as I can steal. My heart cries a bit when she tells me she doesn’t want my Mommy Germs. I assure her that mommies never have germs.

day in the life 8

8:10 – Wine poured! Book opened! I’m reading Dinner: A Love Story while Scott watches Top Gear. Normally I find it difficult to read while he’s watching Top Gear (it really is quite entertaining), but I’m totally totally engrossed with DALS.

8:16 – Elle comes down because Daddy forgot to give her a kiss. It is rare that she goes to bed and stays in bed. I ask her for a kiss before Scott takes her back up to bed and she reminds me that I already got my kisses. Sigh. Shockingly she doesn’t come down again–I’m guessing that this is because Monday wore her out.

More reading of DALS.

day in the life 10

9:43 – I mindlessly scroll FB and twitter before realizing that I’ve just sucked up several minutes and I could be in bed with my book.

10:06 – Get in bed with my book. Yes, with a Breathe Right strip on my nose. I sleep with one of these most nights as I seem to be perpetually congested in the nighttime. I’m reading Sister Carrie by Theordore Dreiser.

10:24 – Scott comes to bed and turns on the TV and my reading mind doesn’t feel like competing. Lights out….


Wake up and do it all over again…


43 Responses to “Day in the Life as a Working Mom”

  1. Bex

    Crazy day!:-) Are you enjoying being back at work? Dinner:a Love Story is really high on my wish list at the moment,glad to hear it’s engrossing

  2. Reading about your day makes me tired. ;) I am up at 7 and head to bed somewhere between 11:30 and 12:30ish so it seems like I should have a lot of time each day to get things done and yet I never do. I can’t imagine adding work into the mix too. You are fantastic.

  3. Confession: I don’t know any stay-at-home moms. Where I come from (Portugal) it’s VERY rare for moms not to work, even in my mom’s generation. In Brussels and Geneva there must be more because there are a lot of diplomats around, but I still know know any of them. Actually, I know more stay-at-home dads! My husband took a sabbatical for 1 year when we moved to Geneva. I work and he takes care of David. Meanwhile, he joined a stay-at-home dads group and that’s where most of our closest friends come from.

    Your day-to-day is not much different from mine, except you leave work much earlier – I leave mine at 6PM and arrive home at around 6.20/6.30. D’s bath at 7, dinner 7.30, bed by 8 and Andre and I don’t go to bed before 11.30 (at least! Average is 12).

  4. Evie is too too cute brushing her teeth! And wow, man. You get a lot done. I can barely dress and feed myself, let alone a whole family- you’re like superwoman!

  5. Kay

    Such a lovely, busy life you have. Girls are precious. You do so many things, Trish. I laughed at Elle and her poky eating. This brings back memories to me. I only had the one kiddo, but I do remember working full time and how we had to have a fairly rigid schedule in order to get things done. Thanks for sharing a bit of your life with us. It’s always entertaining and sweet.

  6. I love it! Whew! Your day is a little more hectic than mine (I only have one kid to wrangle out of bed lol). I’m starting to rethink my 730am start time at work. I get home at 430pm though so it’s nice to have that little extra time. Ethan would never sit still to eat either at that age. I don’t know if girls grow out of that, but Ethan is 7 now and sits very still to eat dinner. Although now, he eats more food than ever! I agree about lunches…I can’t stand it!

  7. I love this series! And the contrasts of the working vs. stay at home mom…in the same household! And – I’m amazed that you can get out of the house by 8:40 waking up at 7:25….you rock! My son takes forever to eat breakfast and bribery often comes into play! I like the timer idea – might try that!

  8. Meg

    I feel like I just got a glimpse into my own future! :) I’m coming to grips with the fact that I will only get six weeks’ leave when Baby J is born, and I’m feeling slightly stressed thinking about this major, major shift in our routines (and daily lives, of course). Your post was actually very comforting. Great job, Trish!

  9. I always thought when my kids got older it would get easier. In some ways it has, but in others, we’re just as busy as ever. But I find without my crazy routine I get very sluggish and unproductive, so it’s a good thing too.

  10. Ti

    I wish I could tell you that it gets easier, but it just changes a little. I wake at 4:20 and I am in bed by 10 but the stuff in between is still a challenge. The only thing easier is that my daughter is now old enough to do her own hair and stuff. She used to need a lot of prodding in the AM to just get moving but now, she wakes up to check her phone (ahem) but that seems to get her up and moving. She is still in jammies when I leave at 5:10 and my husband said sometimes she gets dressed and then goes back to bed. They leave at 6:45 for daycare and school.

  11. Ti

    Oh, and I forgot to add… I am reading HER by Harriet Lane right now and it is about two moms at two different stages in their lives and how each of them see each other from afar. It’s brilliant. I find myself relating to the mom with young children a little more than the mom with a college aged kid but I almost have both so it’s interesting to take them both in. Lane nails, and I mean, absolutely NAILS motherhood. The guilty feelings of wanting to escape while a child lays sleeping across your chest, or the times when the hub comes home and asks how the day went, only to realize you can’t remember so you make something up.

    You must read it.

  12. Oh my goodness. I know people say you just do what you do when you have kids, but it seems like so much – like how do you expand your time to do those things? But those are some cute kiddos…love the pic of Evie on the stool in the bathroom. Too cute!

  13. Okay, I want to do this. Just to have the document. Maybe next week, as it’s too late to start today and tomorrow is not a “typical” day as I have the day off (whoo hoo!)

    You get a lot done for waking up (relative to me) later in the morning. I’m up at 5am and go to bed 11pm and I don’t think I do as much. Well – I do, but I also waste a LOT of time on social media :)

    What kind of work do you do?

    Oh and Sister Carrie? AWESOME book.

  14. I love this! I want to do this now. I think it would be a great way to document everything I do and put an answer to the question of how I get everything done. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Another fun read! It is really great to read about how you manage work and the kids! That bit about finding the carrots and orange in the bag? Hilarious! In my case it’s usual Cheerios….

    And ugh packing lunch. It’s so tiring! My almost four goes to preschool for half a day but that includes lunch and it is such a struggle to figure lunch out. We are switching him to another school soon but then he will come home for lunch. I cannot for the life of me figure out if that is a good thing or not. Because, like Elle, he is a Painfully Slow Eater. I do not know how (and why?) he eats so so so slowly….!

  16. Crazy days! Amazed how much reading and blogging you fit in. I am also quite jealous of how late your girls sleep. My daughter rarely makes it past 6 am, though we still end up running late most days.

  17. Evie’s lunch box is as big as she is! I love it!! Your girls are adorable!

    It will be insane when we welcome Little Miss (still no name….ugh!) in May. I’m really stressing about how I will take care of 2. So I love that you shared this post, makes me realize I’m stronger than I ever give myself credit for. But I will definitely be ready to pour that glass of wine at the end of the day :)

  18. You’re so calm! We usually worked different shifts and I worked part-time until the youngest was 10, so we didn’t have to get all the kids out in the morning every day, but whew! I still remember the relief of the last one being away at college and the weekday morning stress of making sure she got to the bus stop in time was over so I wouldn’t have to drive her to school and throw my whole morning out of whack! (Maybe it won’t be that way for you, when your two darlings are in high school! My advice? Move next door to the school.)

  19. Evie looks like such a big girl now! The picture of her holding her bag and blanket is just too much! Sounds like a crazy day but about right. It does get a little better when they’re a bit older because you can say “it’s time for bed” versus having to shepherd them through each step!

  20. Those pictures of the girls in bed are so sweet! It must be so hard to wake them up in the mornings. And I confess, reading this made me NOT miss so much the days when my two older kids were little :) (I’ve been doing that a little lately, the whole nostalgia thing) With the youngest it’s been easier, because we homeschool so there’s not that mad rush in the early mornings. But oh, do I remember the chaos of the mornings with my older two!

  21. We don’t have kids and I work from friggin home and I *still* can’t get dinner on the table before 7 or 7:30 most days. So that you manage 6:30 with working and kids … I’m so impressed.

  22. Love seeing the day all laid out. I have thought a lot about how working and kids would balance in my life and honestly, seeing the details makes it seem possible : )

  23. I have to have pretty much everything laid out that I need the night before a work day. The good part is everyone’s asleep when I leave in the morning, so I miss all the morning excitement. My daughter eats breakfast (and lunch) at her school, so it’s not something my husband has to worry about. We’ve been working on getting Mouse to bed earlier than she does, but it is so hard, especially since my husband and I work long hours. Mouse and I get home around 6:30 most night and my husband not until 7:00. We eat dinner at 7:30. Bath at 8, if we are lucky. We try to get her in bed by 9, but no matter what we do, she’s awake until 10. Oh, how I love the weekends when we don’t have to worry about all that and we actually can spend time together!

  24. Loved this post, especially the photos! I sure remember the crazy busy days of life as a working parent. I don’t think I read even 1/8th of the amount of books back then that I do now. Too exhausted!

  25. Your girls are so incredibly adorable. great photos. I can’t believe you get them in bed around 7:30. My kids never got to bed before 9:30, 9pm at the earliest. Lucky you.

  26. That getting the kids out the door every morning is something I don’t miss at all! And I wasn’t even working at all or at least not full time from the time Mini-him started kindergarten until Miss H was in high school and it was still a nightmare! I do miss tucking them in at night and my heart broke when they didn’t “need” kisses any more to go to sleep!

  27. Lyndsey

    I once read something that said it was the feminist choice to use processed food, because we can’t possibly do EVERYTHING. So that’s my excuse :) anyway, what an ace job you are doing, at all times of the day xxx

  28. I want to do this now; although since I’m on maternity leave, it’s not exactly a good time to log a “typical” day. :)

  29. You just listed a whole day of reasons why I could never be a parent! I love kids to death but with my illnesses I just do not have that much energy. When my 8mo niece was here for 3 weeks during Christmas I took a nap whenever she did because she And I did not even have to feed (she’s breastfed) or change her. But I really commend you for doing such a good job with those girls! If they get processed food sometimes, they do. It could be worse, right? You’re a working parent. It’s amazing you have matching shoes when you walk out the door. :) Also, Evie’s hair at school is SO ADORABLE. I wanted to just play with both your kids they look so fun!

  30. It’s so interesting seeing other people’s days! And I totally know how you feel about not knowing how it can take so long to do some simple tasks. I think with kids you’ve got to add on at least 5 minutes to every task!

  31. I’m all about that dinner struggle. Trying to limit processed foods, but sometimes the timesuck wins. I considered the smother steak we had on the day I kept track of our activities a win because it only had a can of cream of mushroom in it. The rest was golden. lol <3

  32. I’m tired just reading that! I’m impressed that you are able to blog as much as you do. Lunches and dinners are so hard to plan. My girl has after school activities so some days it just has to be fish sticks or no one eats! It gets us through. Great Day!

  33. Oh my….bravo my dear, bravo. I got tired just reading your post. Don’t you EVER feel guilty abotu not commenting or posting again. I mean it.

  34. Great post! Whew! A lot of work! My boys are grown and gone and it is hard to remember how I managed to do days like you are having. I can barely get myself to everything I am supposed to do and that is without two little one :)