Years ago as a non-parent, it was really hard for me to understand why parents’ lives were so busy when their kids weren’t even old enough to have after school activities, homework, a social life, or kneecaps.
Then I had just ONE kid. And immediately understood. Then I had ANOTHER kid, and not only did I understand, but I questioned the sanity of every family with more than one kid.
Life with two working parents and two children 2 and under is really busy, but don’t get me wrong, it’s exactly how I want to live my life right now. I choose to be a working mom, I actually really enjoy my job, and I choose to have children. So this is my reality that I navigate Monday through Friday. Obviously I’m thankful for the co-parenting support I get from my husband, we are pretty much just doing what we can to keep everyone fed and laundry going.
24 hours in Kraleyville
5:30 am – first alarm goes off. This is usually a pointless alarm because I’ve just laid back down in bed at 5:15 after getting up with the baby to nurse her at 4:45 so I’m already awake but want to pretend I don’t have to be an adult. It doesn’t work.
5:45 am – second alarm goes off. Get the fuck up, Kate.
5:50 am – third alarm goes off. Baby starts stirring because somehow she hears the alarm through the wall and two shut doors because she was born with* the same sonar systems that bats have. (*not yet confirmed by doctors)
5:51 am – I run to the bathroom and get in the shower in hopes that if she does wake again, I’m occupied and papa has to go. Forget to condition my hair. Turn shower back on.
6:00 am – get out of shower and hook up the pump while I brush my teeth, dry my hair and put on makeup. Inevitably forget that I’m pumping and bend over to pick something up and spill milk out of the collection bottle. Cry a little bit. Forget to put on deodorant. Regret it the rest of the day.
6:20 am – finish pumping, go downstairs to pack up baby’s bottles and my pump bag/lunch. Realize I forgot to put the ice packs back in the freezer last night and wonder when I won’t have to be responsible for remembering to freeze ice packs. Probably another 15 years at least.
6:30 am– Papa wakes up toddler and sets him up in our bed with his 6 buddies and Sofia the First on tv. I get a hug from the toddler. (By far the best part of my day) Gather clothes for baby by searching in whatever clean clothes basket we have lying around. Locate socks for her. Sometimes the socks come from a dirty clothes basket. #noshame
6:40 am – wake up baby (if she isn’t up already) and nurse her. Heart bursts while she smiles and chatters at me after eating. She farts.
6:50 am– Put baby in pack and play in our bedroom, finish getting dressed and remind my son that we need to potty, brush our teeth and get dressed. “Two minutes” he says. (Mr. Master Negotiator. His only tactic, however, is suggesting “two minutes”) So we set an alarm.
6:52 am– 70% of the time: Alarm goes off, toddler turns it off, turns off tv, and we march into his room singing “Potty, Brush our teeth, and get dressed. <clap> <clap> Potty, Brush our teeth, and get dressed <clap> <clap>”. The other 30%: Toddler has a fit about turning off the tv and we have to barter our life away to get him to get ready, he throws himself on the ground 14 times throughout the process and I leave for work in tears wondering why I ever thought I could be a mom.
6:53 am – smell poopy diaper suspiciously coming from the pack n play. Tell papa before running away with toddler.
7:05 am – Convince toddler to come downstairs, get his shoes and hat on, and wait for papa to pull his car out of the garage. Put baby into carseat on the kitchen floor. Baby sits quietly amused by my dwindling negotiation skills with the toddler.
7:10-7:15 am– “Mama hold my hand please” – walk toddler to the car and give him a “Hug/Kiss” and remind him that he gets a present if his underwear stays clean and dry all day at school. Kiss baby in the car. Remind papa what time she ate and any last minute things he needs to tell daycare teachers. (because #momsthinktheyhavetodothis) Kiss papa goodbye. (And I would not be lying if I said this is usually the first kiss of the day)
7:18 am – gather the rest of my stuff and leave. Contemplate cleaning or putting a load of laundry in while the house is kidless, but then I laugh at my funny joke.
7:19-7:35 am– yell at every car on the road going 10 mph under the speed limit. Question the Department of Motor Vehicles for thinking 80% of the drivers I encounter deserved a license. Starbucks if there’s time.
7:35 am– arrive at work. Fill up my 64 oz water bottle – heat up oatmeal and get to work.
10:00-10:30 am PUMP/Fill up water again/drink mediocre lactation tea
10:30 am-1:00 pm – WORK (eat somewhere in here at my desk trying not to drop food on my pants. On special days, head out to run errands kidless)
1:00-1:30 pm – PUMP/Fill up water again/more mediocre tea
1:30-4:00 pm – WORK/try to avoid elevator conversations about weather/try not to fall asleep in 2:00 meeting
1:00-4:30 pm – PUMP/Fill up water again/float away
4:30-5:00 pm WORK (watch the clock)
5:01 pm – practically run to my car so I can go pick up the kids and get home before 6:00. Cross my fingers my 4:30-5:00 meeting actually ends at 5:00 so I don’t have to be the asshole that gets up and leaves at 5:08 while everyone else stays. Feel terrible guilt for not being a #teamplayer.
5:02-5:28 pm – 26 glorious minutes listening to party anthems from college days (“Get Low” Pandora…add it now) with terrible misogynistic lyrics and lots of swears but damn if that beat isn’t everything I need in my life. Forget for .01176 seconds that I have children somewhere between the window and the wall.
5:29 pm – arrive at daycare and sit in the car giving myself a pep talk for the mayhem that is about to ensue
5:30 pm – pick up the toddler first. Receive giant running hug and I’m immediately pulled to his cubby by sticky and sometimes wet tiny hands to get his stuff. Toddler dodges children on the way who want to hug or talk to him. Locate bag of soiled clothes from potty accidents. Silently sigh and hope for a better day tomorrow. Negotiate hat and jacket. Apologize to every adult who tries to say goodbye to him due to no response from the toddler.
5:35 pm – “Mama we go get my baby?”…pick up baby sister in her room. Toddler helps carry her carseat over and holds her blanket and pacifier while I load her up. He avoids answering infant room teacher’s questions. Avoids all eye contact with everyone. When other babies get too close to sister, “see mama. See? Too close!”
5:43 pm – risk life and limb navigating to the car as far as attempting to hold onto toddler’s hand while carrying baby in carseat and 3 bags in heels.
5:46 pm – finally everyone is loaded up and we can drive home
5:47-5:54 pm – have my most important conversation of the day with the toddler. We talk about his day, who he played with, what he learned, how he helped his friends, and he asks 32 times where papa is and where his house is. I try to work into the conversation about how important it is to always talk to his mom after school even when he’s in college. 🙂
5:55 pm – Arrive home. begin the process of getting unloaded and into the house. Get baby out. Get toddler out. At some point papa comes out to help. Get 6 bags out of the trunk and into the kitchen. Ridiculous, right? Purse, pump Bag, my milk cooler bag, toddler’s lunch bag, toddler’s soiled bag, baby’s milk cooler bag and empty bottles (and sometimes a 7th bag if I bring my laptop home)
6:00 – 6:45 pm – TOTAL AND COMPLETE CRAPSHOOT. Either the toddler is immediately hungry upon getting home and pulls food out of the freezer/fridge or he wants to play. General chaos for 45 minutes ensues. Keeping him sitting down while eating, making sure he has the appropriate acceptable food on his plate according to his high standards, nurse the baby while trying to eat my dinner, convincing toddler the dance he’s doing is because he has to pee and at some point try to have a conversation with my husband. Tons of laughter as we play whatever the game of the week is: marching band, soccer, horsey, music show, tools. Baby watches toddler like a hawk and attempts to be as close as possible to him at all times. Toddler squawks at baby when she’s too close.
6:45 pm – tell toddler it’s time to go up to bed. “Two minutes!” – so we set an alarm
6:47-7:30 pm – Papa and I take turns every other night. Go up to bed for bath, brush teeth, 3 books, songs, hug/kiss, night night. Toddler runs around for “two minutes” as his aptly named alter-ego “Elephant Superman” after his bath in his Elephant hooded towel. He makes mama be “Monkey Superman” in the monkey hooded towel.
7:30 pm – Leave toddler’s room. Get baby ready for bed – nurse her to sleep while looking at my phone for the first time since 4pm, instead of lovingly staring at her gorgeous eyelashes while they flutter in the shadows. Try to put her down at 8 but she wakes immediately. Hold her again a little longer. This time I commit to no phone so I can just cuddle. Put her down by 8:15. Realize I’ve never read more than 3 books to her and she’s 9 months old. Feel terrible mom guilt about #secondchildproblems.
8:15-8:30 pm – eat dinner if I didn’t scarf it down during after work madness. Eat second dinner if I did. Finally remember to put pumped milk in fridge. Find all the bottle parts and pump parts that needs washed and add them to the pile that I hope the husband washes.
8:30-9 pm – PUMP (I have a terrifyingly low freezer supply so I’m trying to make up for that)
9:00-9:30 pm – I should clean something. Instead, I discuss with my husband if we should watch a Netflix. Select New Girl (of course) and commit to 1 episode that usually ends up to be 2-3. Realize I haven’t worked out in over a year and a half and probably should do that instead but I just laugh and more than likely search for chocolate.
9:30 pm – BED! Remember to kiss husband goodnight. Realize I’ve spoken maybe 50 words to him all day. Feel terrible wife guilt.
9:30 pm- 10:00 pm – Go upstairs and brush my teeth, take out my contacts, and lay in bed scrolling through my phone (yes I know the harm this does and know you aren’t “supposed to” look at your phone before bed but for the love of all that is holy I need this completely stress free time where I can forget I have real responsibilities in life)
10:00 pm – BED! (for real this time). Thinking about everything I didn’t get done today and try to brush that aside.
10:15 pm – baby wakes up. Husband goes in. (Now that baby has finally agreed to let papa comfort her back to sleep…which only took 7.5 months…his shift is bedtime to 1am). He’s my hero.
10:30 pm – I finally fall asleep.
1:15 am – baby wakes up hungry. I go in. (I really wish men could lactate). Nurse her back to sleep.
1:40 am – put sleeping baby back in crib and pray my knees don’t crack too loud when I stand up straight and walk away.
1:58 am – finally fall back to sleep myself.
2:45 am – baby stirs. Puts herself back to sleep. I’m now awake because I expect that it didn’t take and she’s going to be up any minute.
3:15 am – I finally fall back to sleep after going through the next day’s to-do list in my head.
4:45 am – baby wakes up. I go in. She has pooped which I can tell the moment I open her door from the putrid stench that hits me like a brick wall. Change the diaper of a tired, hungry, flailing baby in very dim lighting. Contain the poop within wipes and diaper only. Feel like a super hero. Nurse her back to sleep.
5:15 am – lay back down in bed and try to fall asleep before my alarm goes off, contemplating if I’ll have enough time to stop at Starbucks before work. I will. Second success of the day. (First was the clean diaper change).
Then….do all of it, every crazy bit, again.
I truly do have the best job in the world.