So, what exactly do you do all day at home?
While no one has flat out asked me in those terms, I know that people wonder, just like I did before it was my reality. On my last day at the office, a male coworker (obviously childless) asked me in complete naivety if I was looking forward to sleeping in every day on my long vacation.
Every day is a little different, but I generally stick to a routine of: morning errand, nap, afternoon activity. Each week I designate a theme and we do a few related crafts/activities. Here's a glimpse into an average day (today):
6:45 am: I wake up to my (snoozed once) alarm and get dressed/ready before Maddie wakes up.
7:15 am: Maddie is up and we read a few books in her room. This is new and I'm pretty sure she'd read every book on shelf at this time if I'd let her. It's a stark change from the past 8 months when she would ask to "eat eat eat" breakfast as soon as I walked through her door.
7:30 am: Breakfast downstairs. Today it's banana bread muffins (that she "helped" me bake yesterday), and blueberry Greek yogurt. During breakfast, I call the dentist to make an appointment for Maddie. Over the weekend, she chipped her two front teeth in the bathtub. The dentist has an 8:30am appointment available so I nab it.
8:00 am: I teach Maddie the meaning of the word "hurry" while we race to get out the door for the dentist. She sort of grasps it, as evidenced by that fact that her arms are pumping as I wrangle her into clothes, brush her teeth and hair, and gather everything into our bag.
8:25 am: We arrive at the dentist just in time. Maddie does great during her appointment and the dentist doesn't have any immediate concerns about her chipped teeth. Off we go to our next stop!
9:15 am: Quick trip to Hobby Lobby to grab a few items for our theme week: Zoo animals!
10:00 am: We arrive at the neighborhood library for story time. We pick out a few zoo themed books and DVDs while we wait. Maddie listens to one story time book and then dances around obnoxiously during the remaining books (sorry other attentive babies). Afterward we visit with friends outside for a few minutes.
11:30 am: Back home for lunch. Maddie whines incessantly while I attempt to heat up some soup and mixed veggies. I calmly explain to her that I can't hold her because I need to make lunch and she should find a toy to play with in the meantime. She continues on... "up, up, up!" I lose my cool and spew something along the lines of "for the love, this will only take me 5 minutes!!" I regain my composure and put in one of the DVDs we checked out, Signing Time: Zoo Train. This holds her attention for approximately 10 minutes, just long enough to get lunch on the table. During lunch, she spills half of her soup on the table and smears her hands through it while saying "mess, mess!"
12:15 pm: We read books again in Maddie's room and get ready for nap.
12:45 pm: I slip out of Maddie's room after rocking her to sleep (yes, yes, I do still), and throw in a load of laundry. We're having slow cooker lasagna soup for dinner, so I toss the ingredients into the crockpot. On Mondays, I deep clean the kitchen, sweep/mop the floors, and clear out the fridge & pantry so they're ready when I grocery shop on Tuesday. Afterward, I tidy up the living room and switch out the laundry.
2:15 pm: Ideally, I still have about 30 mins left of nap time. I set up our afternoon zoo activity - magnetic animals in masking tape "cages" on the fridge. Then I sit down on the couch to read a magazi- ha! Almost had you. I do sit down for 5 minutes to recharge. Then I see Maddie start to squirm on the monitor, so I head upstairs to change into gym clothes before she's fully awake.
2:45 pm: You guessed it, we read more books in Maddie's room! :) Then we head downstairs for a snack. Today it's peanut butter tortilla "sushi" rolls and raisins.
3:15 pm: I fold the laundry I washed earlier, and Maddie "helps" by pulling all of her clothes out of the basket and strewing them across the living room floor. Thanks, girl. She repeats the word "santa" no less than 40 times while she practices the zipper on her Christmas jammies (that she's still wearing in January, no shame).
3:30 pm: We put on our jackets and shoes, then take Bailey down the street to run free in an open field. Maddie runs around too until she hears sirens in the distance and then begs to be held for the remainder of the outing. Trucks, airplanes, motorcycles, lawn mowers, sirens, anything remotely a little bit loud - all terrifying for Maddie. Also, the sun is really bright and she keeps asking me to turn it off ;) Did I mention that we can't turn on our dining table light? or the bathroom lights? If Maddie deems a light to be too bright, she will repeatedly demand that you turn it off immediately.
4:00 pm: I strap Maddie into her stroller and we go for a quick jog around the neighborhood pond and stop at the playground on the way back. She doesn't care to climb on any of the equipment today, she's content just to play in the rocks. I let her pour rocks all over my yoga pants because, whatevs.
5:15 pm: Back home to finish dinner preparations. The whining starts again, so I turn the DVD back on, but she doesn't give two toots. I successfully convince her to play with the animal magnets on the fridge.
5:45 pm: Dinner time! I realize I've made a mistake in meal planning and we're having soup twice in one day. Oops! Maddie doesn't seem to mind.
6:10pm: Dad's home!! He joins us for dinner and Maddie tells him about her day. She demonstrates how she said "ahhh" for the dentist and that she played with her friend Isobel at the library. Then Tom does the dishes while I clear the table and tend to Maddie. Isn't he the best?
Before I started my new gig staying at home, I worried that we'd be bored all day. But I've actually found it to the be the opposite - I struggle to fit everything in! I am really enjoying our routine. When I was working, I felt like I wasn't doing my best at work or at home. It was like I just couldn't keep up with either, so I was failing at both. I finally feel like I have my life in order now. The house is (fairly) clean, we always have fresh groceries, the laundry piles have diminished, and most importantly, I am so much happier. I know that I'll have to go back to work someday, and I'll figure out how to balance it again, but for now I'm savoring these days with my little girl. Given the choice, I'll take reading Zoom Zoom Baby for the 5th time over reading emails any day.