Toddler parenting is a lot more structured than infant parenting. When Scribble was an infant, our day centered around his sleep schedule, and the length of his naps was variable. Now he has just one nap a day, so we get out a lot more. Also, Scribble needs to burn energy during his day, which motivates me to keep us in an active routine. I’m also teaching at night, which means I’m less flexible and need to keep my day organized in order to be prepared for work.
This is what our day looks like, complete with phone photography!
7:30/7:45 AM: Everyone in our house wakes up around the same time. We set an alarm, but Scribble usually wakes us up first. Mr. S has to be at work by 8:30. He’s your typical dude who takes about fifteen minutes to get ready, and his commute is less than ten minutes, so we usually hit snooze a few times. Scribble usually wakes up around this time. DH brings him into our bed. Scribble nurses, and we all sleep in for a few minutes. Around 8:00 Mr. S gets started on his morning routine, and Scribble and I keep him company while he gets ready.
8:30: At this point we’re all up and Mr. S is gone. I’m usually bumbling around, trying to gather my thoughts about the day ahead. Scribble plays around my feet for a while as I do morning chores, like getting the dog fed and watered (actually I’m in the process of transferring this chore to Scribble!). Then we do breakfast. If necessary I do chore triage ( like kitchen cleanup left over from the night before), while Scribble eats. I try to eat with him most mornings.
9:30-11:00: This is usually free play and mommy chore time. Maybe I’m unloading the dishes from last night’s wash or washing/folding laundry. This is Scribble’s unstructured time; he usually just follows me around from room to room, undoing all the work I’m attempting to get done! We also get ready to go somewhere during this time.
11:00: This is our “bye-bye” time. Scribble is so used to leaving the house around 11:00 that he often starts saying “bye-bye” around 10:30; he will even bring me his socks and shoes! During this time we do light errands, or go to a local park. We also do music class, and MOPS, once a week or so. Usually I try to fit in one thing we are obliged to do, and one fun thing! I try to schedule big errands– like doctor appointments or grocery shopping– on the days I don’t work, so I don’t feel too rushed. Recently I have noticed that Scribble falls asleep on the way home from our outings and this can affect the quality of his afternoon nap. So in the future I may shoot for being out the door by 10:00 in order to preserve a long afternoon nap.
At the grocery store. He generally dislikes zucchini, but tried to grab a bite of one this day. Notice he managed to get his shoes off in the store– this was taken on a warm day last fall and at the time I didn’t bother to put them back on!/At the local park, learning to float leaf boats.
12:30/1:00: We try to be home by 12:30 because Mr. S usually gets home for lunch around this time. I make lunch for everyone and we eat together. Lunch is a high point of our day!
1:30/2:00: I put Scribble down for a nap no later than 2:00. We sometimes rock for a few minutes and read one book. He goes to sleep with a lovey, a soft doll, and a board book (he will cry for his book if we don’t put it in his crib!).
1:30ish–4:00ish: This is my time to do prep work for class. I do my reading for the day’s class, grade papers, and prepare quizzes and lessons. I can sometimes fit a chore or two in at this time, usually mopping or cleaning a bathroom, although a lot of times I choose not to! Sometimes I get dinner started if I’m making a soup or something in the crock pot.
4:00-5:30, Work Day: This is the most busy time of my work day. Scribble is up and has energy to burn! If it is a work day, I put him in the exersaucer in our bathroom while I take a shower (we are approaching the weight limit for that item–I’m in mourning!). Then he “helps” me to get dinner together. I try to pick simmering dinner recipes so I can also change into my work clothes and put on makeup while the food finishes cooking. I put my makeup on in our half bath since it is closest to the kitchen. DH comes home from work early on these days and we have dinner before I leave. After a quick dinner I finish getting dressed, then drive to work. Sometimes I put my makeup on in the parking lot before I go into class!
Once a month Mr. S has to attend a meeting during my class time. On those nights, his parents arrive around 6:00, and stay with Scribble until he gets home. They usually order takeout. Sometimes, depending on their plans, I make a meal for them to feed Scribble, but often he just eats what they order.
6:15-6:30, Work Day: One of my favorite times…my commute! I listen to “Marketplace” on NPR and mentally prepare to teach.
6:30-7:45, Work Day: I’m in the classroom! Meanwhile, back at home Mr. S is doing the night routine without me.
7:45-8:00, Work Day: I drive home. Sometimes I will take this time to go grocery shopping. Those nights I get home around 8:30 0r 9:00.
4:00-6:00, Non-Work Day: This is a time that screams for structure. I try to fill it with a sensory activity, or time in the yard. Sometimes we do some last-minute errands, or go to the park if the weather is nice.
Around 6:00 I will get around to starting dinner. I’m not in a rush to get dinner done because Scribble loves to mess around in the kitchen, and I can never give dinner my full attention. So I intentionally start cooking later so that I get a few minutes to finish up after Mr. S gets home.
6:45–7:15/7:30, Non-Work Day: Dinner is my favorite time of the day! We love to “talk” to Scribble and practice new words and “tricks” in the high chair! Most of our home videos are from dinnertime, since it is a time when we are all together.
7:15/7:30, Non-Work Day: We are finished with dinner and heading toward bath and bed. On weeknights, Mr. S handles bath and bedtime so I can clean the kitchen. On the weekends, we switch roles. A lot of times I will go upstairs and help a little. I do take the time to wish Scribble goodnight before they start their wind-down routine. Scribble has a bath every other night. He usually gets three books and I will sing four songs before I put him down to sleep.
7:45-8:15, Non-Work Day: My goal is 7:30, but in reality Scribble is usually asleep sometime between 7:45 and 8:30.
8:3o– 12:30: Mom/Dad time. Ideally TV, chatting, reading, and going to sleep at 11:00. But a lot of nights it is more like doing taxes, making purchases, paying bills, making calls to family members. Sometimes kitchen cleanup if it is especially bad. Internet sucks up a lot of our time too. I try to reserve any excess grading for the weekends so that it doesn’t eat into my evenings. We are night owls and have to work to keep a decent sleep schedule!
Part-time WOHMs, what does your day look like?