…in which I take my own survey…
My hope is that Real Mom Life profiles will be an ongoing series at All of Us Together and lots of other moms in various life situations can tell us about their Real Mom Life. Peering into the minutia of other households has quite honestly always been my favorite part of reading blogs, so hopefully you will like these profiles too! Let me know. And let me know if you’d like to be a featured Mom!
Tell us about your family make-up and where you live (city, suburb, town, or country)?
There’s me, my husband, our son (he’s 5 years old now – we adopted him at 18 months), our huge Shiloh Shepherd dog, and our house rabbit. We’re really lucky with our location. We’re renting a three-story townhouse in the suburbs (on a private ring road where neighborhood kids can play together in the street). We’re quite close to the city center for a suburb, and we can walk to the train as well as some shops and restaurants. We’re working towards eventually moving to the country, but in the meantime we’re happy with our location!
Are you a stay-at-home, work-from-home, or working-out-of-the-house mom?
I’m just finishing my PhD after 10 grueling years of part-time and full-time graduate studies. I’m so excited to be free! I started out my PhD five years ago with the intention to teach in a university, but I adopted my son one year into the program and since then all I want to do is stay home with my family! So I’ve started this blog and am working on a book. I do my writing part-time (3 very focused hours a day Mon – Thurs plus 6 or 7 hours on Fridays) and always from home because I love working from home (in my home office or on my bed). I write in the morning, when I’m freshest, and when my son is at school (before kindergarten I did this when he did half days at daycare/preschool 4 days a week – he got picked up and dropped off at our door which gave me exactly 3.5 hours!).
What does your daily/weekly schedule look like right now?
Well, I am pretty organized and stick to a specific schedule as much as possible. Monday to Friday I often get up around 5:30am to do some yoga and meditation with my husband, who’s always up by then. My son and I start our morning routine at 6:30 by getting him dressed, taking care of pets, unloading the dishwasher together, and setting the breakfast table. He gets a little playtime while I pack the lunches. Then we all sit down for family breakfast by 7:15. My husband takes our son to the bus stop at 7:45 before catching his own bus to work. Meanwhile, I quickly tidy up, shower, and start a plan for dinner, especially if it’s a crockpot day.
By 9 I sit down for my 3-hour writing block, followed by walking the dog. Of course it doesn’t always work out this neatly, but I am always trying to stick to this routine and always improving! I take time to sit down and enjoy my lunch and then read news and blogs. In the afternoon I switch into “house mode” and do laundry, cleaning, baking, groceries and errands – with podcasts running in the background. I pick my son up from the school bus at 3:20, give him a small snack, and deal with school paperwork and his lunch box right away. He goes off to play, then at 4:30 we both switch gears. I cook dinner and start prepping lunches for the next day and he gets one hour of tv time (I like to stick tv time at melt down hour! But next year he will start getting homework so we’ll likely have to get rid of tv on weekdays.).
At 5:30 my husband gets home and we have family dinner. At 6 I try to engage everyone in a final house pick-up and table clearing. Occasionally that works out, but often tired son needs some quiet playtime (or loud wrestling time) with his dad, or needs to be carried upstairs and “encouraged” to get ready for bed. Once he’s in bed he’s usually happy again as we do a lot of nighttime reading with him. I love this time and often challenge him to listen to me read to a few chapters of a “big kid” book (Roald Dahl, Chronicles of Narnia, Beverly Cleary etc). He usually falls asleep around 7:15. By 7:30 my husband and I have some time to relax and hang out together but we usually fall asleep really early! Especially me. Often around 8:30.
We don’t do bath every night for our son because it is such an ordeal to get him into the bath/shower, and then it super energizes him and he can’t sleep! For a while we tried in the morning but that was a mess too. He is really difficult about it. So I bathe him Wednesday right after school, and my husband bathes him on Sunday mornings after breakfast.
On the weekends we do out-of-the-house stuff on Saturdays – like soccer practice, errands, visiting, and other activities. Then we spend Sunday at home doing house maintenance, playing board games, hosting family, or hanging out.
How do you balance childcare/work/home responsibilities with your partner? Do you and your partner get to spend time together, just the two of you?
My husband is amazing at this. He gets home from work and just starts helping out wherever it is needed. He and I trade off putting our son to bed and cleaning the kitchen every night, I walk the dog on weekdays and he takes him out on weekends. When our son was younger and I was much busier (with our son, caregiving for a parent, and working on my doctorate) my husband did all the laundry and all the dishes! Right now he’s busier than me so I try my best to do most of the house stuff myself.
We spend about an hour together in the evening after our son is asleep and we fit in a weekend “date” (sometimes a real date, sometimes a living room date) once a month when Grandma is babysitting.
Do you have any other help in your life? (childcare from friends or family/a babysitter/a housecleaner/a neighborhood kid mowing your lawn?)
We used to have a housecleaner for about a year when we were stretched very thin. We were caregiving for a terminally ill parent in our home and I was trying to finish my dissertation. It was an amazing luxury and I can’t wait to be able to experience that again, but for the time being we are too strapped for cash, and even though I hate cleaning I’d rather work part-time and do my own cleaning than have to work more! My mom is also a big help to us and usually has my son over at her house for a few hours once or twice a week. Once a month he’ll sleep over at her place on a Friday night.
How much sleep do you get right now? Is it enough?
A ton. Like 9 hours +. I need a lot of sleep! I always have. I fall sick or get migraines or get really short tempered as soon as I get down to 8 hours or less. It’s frustrating sometimes because I know other people with my schedule could get way more done than me because they wouldn’t be asleep for half the day! But that’s my body, so I try to just accept it and enjoy sleep when I can get it! (Particularly right now, when I am between babies!)
Do you feel that you get enough time for yourself personally and/or do you practice any self-care?
Yes! There have definitely been lots of times over the past 4 years (since adoption) that I have not (actually, the majority of the last 4 years!) and I have been a frazzled, exhausted mess. But lately I’ve been in a really good time because my son is in full-day school, my dissertation is submitted, and I’ve been focused on my own wellness! I do yoga/meditate almost every day, I meet up with a friend for tea once a week, I do a girls lunch once a month, I get a little down time to read everyday, and I hang out with my husband for an hour most evenings right now. I don’t always love walking the dog but I’m really happy that it forces me to exercise and get outside every day.
Also, just being at home and being able to work from my home is incredibly restful and satisfying for me. I don’t get bored or lonely or get cabin fever like other women I know. I’m very introverted.
What do you struggle with?
Well it’s always changing with a growing child I think. Right now I am building a career (and its different from what I had planned on!) and we’re recovering financially from my time in grad school plus a very challenging year last year. So for now it’s all about bringing in income, repaying, and saving, and there are a lot of things we’d really like to do and to own that we have to take a pass on.
What do you love about your current life?
Freedom and rest! I love being able to spend time at home with my family. What good is it to work too hard now and put off resting and enjoying my life until retirement? I have a young family now, and I want to spend my time with them. This is the best time of my life.