Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Student Mom: A Day in the Life

I love reading "Day in the Life" posts from other people. I always find it fascinating to see how other people structure their time, what they choose to fit in when, and how they do it. Especially mothers. I'm always so curious about how they handle naptimes and bedtimes and mealtimes. Every time I read a "Day in the Life" type of post from another blogger, I usually always come away with an, "Oh, yeah, that makes sense, I should do something like that with my schedule" kind of moment.

But I've never wanted to do a day in the life post for myself because, I mean, who cares about my little life, right? I'm certainly no expert on time management or routines or motherhood schedules or anything like that. It feels a tiny bit presumptuous to assume any of my readers would be interested in a blow by blow account of a typical day.

But then, when I was reading up about the benefits of time logs, I had a thought that, you know what? As a mom and a grad student, I actually do have kind of an interesting schedule, and maybe someone out there would be interested to see how I manage kids and school on a typical day. Maybe it would help some other mom considering grad school visualize how it can be done. So I decided to pick some normal school day and track my time and do a Day in the Life post. Maybe someone will find this interesting, if not useful.

Also, as soon as you decide you want to track a "typical" day, it turns into a not typical day very quickly. I kept waiting so long for that typical school day that I found myself at the end of the semester, so this is what happened last Thursday on my very last day of class. It wasn't necessarily a "typical," but it was close enough. And this is probably way more detail than you want, but I can't help myself.

3:30 AM - Henry, our 7 month old baby, wakes up crying. I consider letting him cry it out, since he typically sleeps through the night and has been for months, but he's getting over an ear infection, so I take pity on him and nurse him back to sleep. Also, I turn off the alarm set for 6:30, because that wake-up time is not happening after this interruption.

7:20 AM - Josh, the 3-year-old wanders into our room. I wake my husband up and make him go do breakfast with Josh.

7:40 AM - Henry is awake again (he sleeps in our closet). I try nursing him again, but after his early morning feast he's not very interested, so I change his diaper and give him his morning dose of medicine (for the ear infection).

7:50 AM - Breakfast time for me! Oatmeal with honey, and a little blog roll reading while I eat.

8:10 AM - After doing the breakfast dishes, I slip in a yoga DVD and begin my morning sun salutations.

8:30 AM - Don't get through the whole workout because Henry is finally hungry, so I nurse him down for his morning nap. Hubby leaves for work at some point. As soon as I get the baby down, I quickly monitor Josh's morning chore chart (make bed, clear breakfast dishes, get dressed, etc.), turn on a show for him (Curious George), and hop in the shower before our apartment complex shuts the water off at 9 AM (maintenance work or something).

9:00 AM - Run through my morning hair, make-up, make bed routine. Henry is crying in his crib and clearly not interested in a morning nap after sleeping in so late.

9:30 AM - Get shoes on everybody, assemble Josh's back pack and my diaper bag, change a poopy diaper.

9:40 AM - Out the door on our way to preschool.

10:00 AM - Drop Josh off at preschool (co-op with some other moms in the area), chat with the other moms for a few minutes.

10:10 AM - Time to run some errands. Hit up an ATM to get cash, then head to Target to grab a card and present for our nanny (since it's her last day with us until next fall).

11:00 AM - Home, put the grumpy baby down for another attempt at that morning nap, then start some dinner prep while listening to a podcast (peeling and cutting up sweet potato for a crock pot Sweet Potato Taco Goulash).

11:30 AM - Wake up poor Henry, hop back in the car to go pick up big brother.

11:45 AM - Preschool pickup, chat with other moms for a minute.

12:10 PM - Home again. Quickly pull together a peanut butter sandwich lunch for Josh, then nurse Henry.

12:30 PM - Henry down again to finish the rest of his interrupted nap. I jump back on dinner prep and throw everything in the crock pot.

12:45 PM - Finally, lunch time for me! I heat up some leftovers from the night before and enjoy some more light blog reading while I eat (Josh is playing in his room).

1:00 PM - Assemble the card and present for the nanny, pull my books together for school, print out a paper, tidy up a few things and get ready to leave.

1:20 PM - Henry's awake, and that baby is grumpy. Quick diaper change.

1:25 PM - Nanny arrives. I pass the grumpy baby off to her and try to get Josh settled for "quiet time" in his room. He demands I read Where the Wild Things Are, which I do as quickly as possible before rushing out the door.

1:30 PM - Queue up my audio book and head out for my 45 minute commute to campus (traffic is worse than usual today, for some reason).

2:15 PM - Find a parking spot, walk to my building, drop off a paper that's due for another class, then head to my classroom.

2:30 PM - Class starts. Because it's the last day, the professor brought treats! Wine (which I don't drink), juice (which I do drink), cookies and brownies. I give my presentation on The Grapes of Wrath, and we have a good class discussion on whether Steinbeck's portrayal of women and matriarchy is positive or repressive (I think it's positive, in case you were wondering).

4:45 PM - Class gets out early! (My classes are usually three-hour block classes from 2:30-5:30 T,W,TH). I check my phone on my way out and find out the family dog died. I call my brother in the parking lot to find out the details and share my condolences (the dog was technically his).

5:00 PM - Head home. Traffic is a bit worse than usual, but not out of the norm.

5:45 PM - I grab some gas at Costco since my tank is nearly empty.

6:10 PM - Home! I pull out the camera, take some pictures of the boys with the nanny, give her the card and present, shed a few tears (we really, really love our nanny), and say good-bye.

6:25 PM - Dish up dinner out of the crock pot, and grab a jar of baby food for Henry. Spoon feed him in between bites for myself.

6:45 PM - Bathtime for both boys. I pull Henry out first and let Josh stay in and play.

7:00 PM - Nurse Henry for the last time and put him down.

7:15 PM - Get Josh out of the tub and have a relatively smooth bed-time routine with him, brush teeth, potty, pajamas, two bed-time stories, scriptures, prayers, and then "cuddle-time" which usually involves singing a song together, but tonight he wants me to write out the numbers 0 through 100 on his magnetic writing board (my kid is weirdly obsessed with letters and numbers).

7:40 PM - Both boys are down! Change into PJ's myself and do the dinner dishes.

8:00 PM - Josh is crying. Apparently his favorite monkey blanket is missing, which could be grounds for a catastrophe. After looking everywhere for it, I offer him a different blanket, which he thankfully accepts (I find the monkey blanket out in the backyard the next morning).

8:15 PM - Finally settle down for a long evening of paper writing. Got my books, laptop, glass of water, and chocolate stash all set up. My goal is to get five pages written before I go to bed.

8:35 PM - Henry wakes up and starts crying. I don't have time to soothe him tonight, so I let him cry it out.

9:10 PM - Henry finally settles down and falls asleep on his own. Hallelujah.

9:30 PM - I take a break from writing to call home and check on my mom. She's pretty devastated about the dog, and I spend a few minutes comforting her while she cries. My husband finally gets home from work while I'm on the phone, and when I hang up we share a mint chocolate to commemorate the passing of that little dog.

9:50 PM - Back to work on my paper.

10:30 PM - Break to do my nightly pumping (this is how my baby eats while I'm in class). While I pump, I take an enneagram test for fun. Results are rather inconclusive.

10:50 PM - Back to work on my paper.

11:30 PM - Hit my five-page goal, save my work, and start my bed-time routine (wash face, brush teeth, personal scripture study/prayer).

12:00 AM - Hit the sack.

Just a few notes on the day:

-When Henry sleeps through the night, I usually wake up at 6:30 AM and do my personal scripture study then. It's a nice way to start the day, but if I have any interruptions during the night, I let myself sleep in.

-My husband is usually home earlier than 9:30, but rarely in time for dinner or bed-time routine, so all of that was pretty typical.

-I'm usually in bed earlier than midnight. This was just a crunch week since all of my papers were due Monday. On a typical night I wrap up homework around 10 PM and get to bed between 10:30 and 11:00 PM. It's really not all that bad.

-Crock pot meals have saved my life this semester. I think we had a crock pot dinner every single class day except for two. Easiest way to walk in the door and have dinner on the table in less than five minutes. I experimented with a lot of new recipes, some of which were complete disasters, but most of which we loved. Crock pot for the win.

Okay, so I know that was kind of detailed, but hopefully interesting to someone out there. It's a little bit crazy and busy some days, but I must say that it hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be to balance school and motherhood. Motherhood always comes first, and the rest just falls into place.

Also, if you have any further questions about any part of my day or routine, or how I make school and motherhood work, feel free to ask! I'm happy to share.


  1. I love hearing the composition of other people's days. This is a great post. Also, your schedule looks exhausting. I have forgotten how much work babies are.

    1. Thanks Adrienne, although I was hoping this wouldn't come off as "exhausting." This wasn't necessarily a typical day, I usually get more sleep. But yeah, babies are a lot of work and some days are crazy, not going to lie about that.