Describe a typical day in your life. What do you dread the most? What do you look forward to?
There is an old Everybody Loves Raymond episode where Ray says to his wife Debra, who is a stay at home mom (like me), “What do you do all day?!” and then immediately responds with “I’m sorry!” when he sees the expression on her face, before she even gets to reply.
There are days when I love being a full time mom and others when I miss the professional working world, which I left the month before my son was born in October 2003.
A typical day in my life consists of taking care of my children and our home, while also trying to find some time for myself to exercise, read and/or write.
On a good day, when I am feeling motivated, I wake up around 6:00 a.m., at the same time as my husband Bob, to make the most of the day and try to spend time with him and our son Sean before they leave for work and school. During these summer months the kids and I sleep in sometimes, which is definitely a perk of being a SAHM.
Then depending on the day, while Sean is at school, my daughter Abby and I may do things around the house (laundry, straightening and cleaning), run errands (shop for groceries or other household items we need), go to a group fitness class (that I may teach or participate in) while Abby plays with other kids in the childcare room, get together with neighborhood friends for a play date, go to the park or go for a walk, run or bike ride.
After lunch I put two-year-old Abby, down for a nap. These days naptime is hit or miss and regardless of if she actually sleeps, I usually give her at least an hour to rest in her crib. After that, if she is still awake, I get her up and we go on with our day. If Abby has fallen asleep than I take advantage of having a bit more time to myself or with Sean, if he is home from school by then. I try to balance me time and getting things done around the house during Abby’s naptime. It is often when I am able to find some time to read or write.
When Sean, who is eight-years-old and will be in third grade this Fall, gets home from school he usually has a lot of homework to do, this in part because he attends a regional gifted center here in Chicago that teaches up to two grade levels ahead and has high expectations for their students. I usually let him take a short break first, as he is often tired from the school day.
Then while Sean works on his homework, Abby often plays with her toys, pretends to do homework herself by sitting next to Sean and reading, drawing, coloring or watches something on TV (two of her favorites are Yo Gabba, Gabba and The Backyardigans). During that time I am usually trying to keep my son focused while doing exciting things like unloading and loading the dishwasher, folding laundry and/or sometimes I may steal a little more time to read or write.
After Sean’s homework is done the kids may play together for a bit or watch something on TV, play video games on the computer, Wii and/or DSi. Then most days we head off to Sean’s Tae Kwon Do class, which he attends three or four times each week. He began doing Tae Kwon Do over a year ago and has worked his way up to being a purple belt. When we get home we make dinner or sometimes, if Bob beats us these after work, he will have already started on or even finished making it, which is a treat.
Our summer schedule replaces school with swimming lessons, going to the pool or the beach, summer camps (Sean is participating in a theater themed one this year), the summer reading program at our local library, field trips around our city and suburbs and spending quality time with family and friends.
The kids and I try to ride bikes and take the train to get where we are going when possible, rather than driving in our car, as it adds to our adventures, we get more exercise and as Sean likes to remind me, it is also good for the environment.
What I dread the most is…
House cleaning – I don’t do it nearly as often as I could or should and am forever resolving to do it more and do it better. When I do motivate myself to clean our home, it is never a big deal to me, but it’s the getting started that I struggle with.
Trying to getting my children to eat, especially my daughter – One of my most used mom-phrases is “take another bite!”
The time late in the day right before dinner/my husband gets home – when the kids and I are hungry and tired. I am the crankiest then and so are my children. When I feel this way I tend to have a short fuse and be impatient which is frustrating for all of us.
What I look forward to…
Spending time with my husband and children – whether it’s a the dinner table (after we have eaten some and feel less grumpy), walking to/from the bus stop, on a family bike ride, playing a game, reading together, watching a movie, just hanging out around the house and/or on vacations (when we can afford and fit them in).
Writing – It has become my passion and one of my favorite pastimes, whether for my blog or other projects I am working on.
Connecting with loved ones in person, on the phone or online – I go out to dinner once a month with a few different groups of friends (including other neighborhood moms who I have known since Sean was a baby and other bereaved parents that I have met through a support group that I attend at our local hospital). We also are blessed and lucky to have both of our families living in the Chicago area, so we get to see them fairly often.
Watching some of my favorite TV shows with Bob – which lately include Parenthood (as I shared in my last post, I can really relate to this type of show), Grey’s Anatomy, Modern Family, Newsroom (a great new show on HBO), So You Think You Can Dance (as a lifelong dancer, I can’t get enough of this one), Dancing with the Stars, The Bachelor/The Bachelorette (I admit it) and Awake (so bummed that it was cancelled).
Reading books, magazines and blogs – But I don’t find/prioritize as much time as I would like to do so. I am currently trying to catch up with my son who has read the entire Harry Potter series this year. Though we read the first two books together, he went on to finish the other five and I am still reading book three on my Kindle.
During the school year we try to get the kids to bed around 7:30 p.m. If Abby doesn’t nap, we often put her down a bit earlier. In the summer time we will let them stay up later sometimes and they are more likely to sleep longer in the morning. After the kids are in bed, Bob and I typically relax in our family room watching TV together. If there isn’t something on TV or our DVR that we both want to watch, Bob may watch a sporting event or will flip channels while I write or catch up with friends online via Facebook, Twitter and our blogs.
I am a night owl by nature, so usually at least one night each week I will stay up a bit later, after Bob has gone to bed around 10:30 p.m., to write, as that is when I feel the most inspired and I tend to do some of my best work. But I try not to do this too often, as it is not conducive to my family’s routine at this time in our life.
What does a typical day in your life look like? What do you dread the most? What do you look forward to?
Kathy Benson is a bereaved and blessed mom, writer and group fitness instructor trying to live mindfully and find joy in the journey after dealing with secondary infertility and loss for five years. She lives in Chicago, Illinois with her husband and two living children.