Today's glimpse into the motherhood juggle features our Mrs. Stroller!
Describe a typical day.
We've had schedules and routines since baby S was two weeks old, and it's surprising how much we stick to our routines, especially now that my maternity leave is over. Our days vary depending on whether Mr. Stroller is flying or not. When he’s on a mission, baby S and I are alone for a week or two at a time. He’s been away a lot recently, so this is one our recent solo-momma days.
6:30 am – Baby S stirs and fusses just a bit, but I don’t get him before 7am. I peek at the video monitor and he looks fine so I turn it off. We both fall back to sleep.
7:30 am – Baby S starts to fuss again and cries out for me. I get up, put on yoga pants, make the bed, and brush my teeth before going in to get him. He gives me a huge smile; he's always so happy in the morning. I sing our good morning song while I open one curtain, then I unswaddle him, open the other curtain and talk to him as he does his morning stretches.
7:45 am – I change baby S’s diaper and then put him back in his cradle while I go to the bathroom to wash my hands.
We head downstairs, feed the dog and open the curtains together. Then I put him in his jumperoo in the living room while I make coffee, turn on my computer in my office and get my pump parts together.
7:50 am – I nurse Baby S in my office at my desk while I start work for the day. He holds his lovey while he nurses and sometimes I’ll read emails out loud to him.
8:15 am – I turn on some music on Pandora, baby S has tummy time on the play mat next to my desk, and I continue to work while I pump the side he didn’t nurse on.
8:30 am – 15 minutes of tummy time is up and he's getting fussy, so I stick him in his bumbo to play with the toys hanging from his activity mat.
8:45 am - I move baby S to the exersaucer next to me when he gets bored with the play mat toys. I continue to work and pump - it's been a long night and I've made a lot of milk!
9:15 am - Baby S is getting a little fussy and I spot a yawn. I put him in the sling and we take the dog for a quick walk around the block.
9:25 – We all go up to the nursery and I read a story to baby S while the dog curls up at my feet.
9:30 – I put baby S in the cradle, grab the monitor and go back to my office (NOTE: we've been sleep training at nap time and have had him self-soothing with the lovey. We ONLY put it in the cradle when I'm going to have the monitor right in front of me for the entire nap and can run in to take it off his face immediately. We're currently transitioning away from it. You definitely do not want anything in the baby's crib!)
I put the milk I pumped in the fridge, put the pump parts in a bowl in the fridge to use later and take out his daycare milk and put it in his little cooler.
10:15 – Baby S wakes up from his micro-nap, I bring him to my office and nurse while I work until I reach a good stopping point.
10:30 – Quick diaper change then we’re all off to daycare. The dog has separation anxiety, so it’s faster to just bring him with us than to clear a room of chewables and lock him in - baby S's room used to be the dog's bedroom!
10:40 – I drop baby S with his daycare momma, give him a kiss and tell her when he ate so she can give him a bottle 3 hours later.
10:50 – Back at my desk.
1:00 – Make lunch and eat it at my desk while I pump.
4:30 – Leave to pick up baby S at daycare. I’ll stay and talk with his daycare momma and play with the toddlers for a while. They’re always eager to tell me what they did that day.
4:50 – We’re home! I empty baby S’s cooler, put his ice packs in the freezer and his bottle in the dishwasher, and put his wet bags on the stairs to bring up to rinse.
5:00 – We feed the dog and then I nurse baby S at my desk and finish up work for the day. Baby S often dozes off for a few minutes while nursing. If I'm really tired then we'll snuggle nurse in bed instead and both doze off.
5:20 – We head upstairs for a diaper change and then baby S has tummy time in the hallway while I rinse his diapers from the day. I bring down fresh diapers from the nursery and put them in the daycare bag before stowing it in the corner. Then I put baby S in the sling and we take the dog for a walk.
5:45 – We’re home and baby S starts to get a little fussy so we go up to the nursery to close the curtains, turn on the fan and the white noise and get his pj’s and swaddles. I spread the swaddles out on the floor in the living room, get his 2oz “top-off” bottle ready, put a Pyrex cup of water in the microwave and then head downstairs to our larger bathroom.
5:50 – Bath time! I put baby S down on the bath mat while I fill his tub and lay his towel out on the floor next to me. Then I get him undressed, stick him in the tub and wash him as thoroughly as I can with one hand.
We play for a few minutes in the bucket bath and then I wrap him up, put a disposable diaper on him, put his pj’s on and head upstairs.
6:00 – I heat up the water waiting in the microwave, stick the bottle of expressed milk in it to warm and bring it all out to the coffee table. I nurse baby S until there’s no more milk at the tap.
6:30 – I swaddle baby S and then give him his bottle. It’s a little extra milk we’ve been giving him since day one. He probably doesn’t need it anymore, but he’s an amazing sleeper and we will not do anything to mess with his sleep!
6:45 - Baby S is passed out cold on my lap. I kiss him on the head, take his bib off and bring him up to his cradle for the night.
7:00 – I eat dinner, watch the news, clean bottles, etc. I pack the daycare bag and prep a bottle for the next day.
7:30 – I finish up any leftover work from the day and then I work on orders from my esty shop or write a blog post. When Mr. Stroller is home, sometimes one of us will go for a run while the other stays home after baby S goes to bed.
10:30 – I head upstairs to bed. I write in my baby journal, kiss baby S’s head on the video monitor and turn it off and then shut off the lights.
Has your work schedule changed since you had a baby?
I’ve worked from home for the past few years and continue to do so now. I start working earlier in the day than I did before and will wake up before baby S to start my work day, if I have a heavy workload that day. I started to work a four day work week when I was pregnant and it definitely helps keep me sane. I use my Mondays off to go grocery shopping, clean, blog and work on etsy orders.
What type of childcare do you have?
Baby S goes to an in-home daycare provider. He’s the only baby and gets a lot of one-on-one time with his daycare momma. She adores him and he is all smiles for her! When the toddlers are napping they will go to the park together for their “special time.”
What would you change about your current work or childcare situation if you could?
As much as I love our daycare provider, I wish we could have an in-home nanny. Before baby S was born I didn’t think I’d want to have a nanny and the baby at home; I thought it would be too much of a distraction. But, pumping is painful for me and has caused some problems. I wish I could nurse him instead of pumping. I try to strike a balance by bringing him after his morning nap, so I can just pump once during the day while he's away.
How do you juggle work/family/spouse/personal time balance?
I feel like the fog lifted right around the four month mark. Baby S started to go to bed earlier, leaving us with time to make and eat dinner in peace without a baby struggling with a witching hour. It also makes me a little sad because he’s growing so quickly, and we really only have an hour before the bedtime routine starts after work.
We still struggle with housework and I wish we could have a housekeeper a couple times a month. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, especially since we're always tackling a new project around here. Finding the time to run is a challenge too. Baby Stroller's daycare is close enough that I can run to pick him up, but it becomes a logistical challenge since he wants to nurse straight away and daycare isn't an ideal place to nurse. I end up having an internal debate whether to take the fastest route home or plan my route along private park benches just in case. Usually it's just easier to drive.
What advice would you give to other moms about work life balance?
Prioritize. Prioritize. Prioritize. Try to take a few things off your plate. I have an etsy shop that eats up a lot of time, but it’s in spurts and I love it, so I keep doing it. Try to negotiate for a four day work week. My closest girlfriends all work four day weeks and we agree it makes all the difference in the world.
What's a parenting rule you never break?
Start each day with a smile, end each day with a kiss.
What's a parenting rule you always break?
I don’t think I’ve been a parent long enough to be always breaking a rule!
What's the hardest part of being a mom?
As soon as you get used to one thing, the little human will go and do something to change everything. Parenting is like trying to outsmart a tiny version of yourself who just might be smarter than you!
What's the best part of being a mom?
The intensity of the love I feel for my son. He's really fun!
What are three words that describe you as a parent?
Present. Loving. SO FUNNY (at least my baby thinks so!)
If you had an entire day off, how would you spend it?
I’d nurse baby S in bed in the morning then play with him until nap time. In an ideal world we’d go out for brunch and maybe take a nice long walk with friends. I’d do a little sewing, bake a batch of cookies, take lots of pictures of baby S and talk to my mom on the phone. Someone else would scrub my bathrooms, dust, and clean. Then in the evening we’d have our usual bath and bed routine, but instead of making dinner, someone else would make dinner for me!
Thanks so much for sharing Mrs. Stroller!