So at some point after birth, you finally get into a routine or schedule. For me, a sleep schedule has been my saving grace because it allows me to have time with my husband (and even to myself) each evening. Of course, this didn’t happen until my son was about 9 months old, but you do what you can.
Once you get into a rhythm, you’ll find that things do get easier. But at the same time, your child is constantly growing, learning, and finding new ways to get into things. My son is now a month away from turning 2 (that’s crazy!!), and I’m about 7 months pregnant with our second child. Here’s a typical day in my life:
6:20 a.m. – Awake to toddler son kicking on his door (he’s in a toddler bed). Do an ungainly roll off the bed and waddle to the toilet.
6:25 – Pee like a race horse, wash hands (hopefully with soap and not toothpaste).
6:30 – Open toddler’s door and let him run around a bit (yes, he is bouncing off the walls each morning) while zombie-walking to the kitchen.
6:45 – Prepare our respective breakfasts. Make sure to not mistake sour cream for yogurt. Attempt to eat cereal and a banana.
6:50 – Accept a kiss goodbye from husband. Remember that I haven’t changed toddler’s diaper yet. Ask husband to change the diaper before he leaves.
7:00 – Turn on the TV, likely Chuggington or Little Einsteins. Sometimes Super Why. Attempt to stay awake while slouching on the couch.
7:30 – Stop toddler from wrecking A, B, and/or C. Put breakfast dishes in the sink, or load them in the dishwasher if I’m feeling awake enough. Return to couch.
7:45 – Beg toddler to come snuggle with me on the couch. Snuggle session lasts approximately 10 seconds. Toddler then promptly returns to watching TV five inches away from screen.
8:00 – Realize that I’m fighting a losing battle “staying awake” on the couch when toddler nearly demolishes the blinds. Turn off the TV and move us into toddler’s much more child-proofed room.
8:10 – Dress toddler by tackling him repeatedly. Tears shed by both parties for different reasons.
8:15 – Attempt to sneak out of toddler’s room and shower. Followed by screaming toddler with separation anxiety.
8:30 – Shower as quickly as possible while peeking through the curtain to ensure toddler does not get into mischief. Fail.
8:45 – Towel off, pull hair into a bun, and get dressed while toddler gets into stuff I forgot was under my bed.
9:00 – Pack diaper bag with the essentials: snacks, water, and sand toys. Take stinky diapers to the dumpster.
9:15 – Walk/drive to a nearby park, depending on my energy level. Chase toddler repeatedly away from the road. Attempt to help him share with other kids. Fail.
10:00 – Feed toddler his snack to keep him from running away or distract him from failing to share toys. Wipe toddler’s nose repeatedly.
11:00 – Entice toddler to the car with promises of a tasty lunch. Forget to empty his shoes of sand and get sand EVERYWHERE.
11:30 – Feed toddler several different lunch versions until he agrees to eat. Snack on something because toddler is demanding all attention.
12:00 p.m. – Roll over laundry and surf on phone while toddler plays with toys. Do dishes if needed. Clean toddler’s room.
12:30 – Read books with toddler in an attempt to calm him down for nap time. Complete full pre-nap routine.
12:45-1:00 – Attempt to put toddler down for a nap. Usually succeed.
1:15 – Eat a quick lunch, quietly prepared. Sit down and wish for a nap or to watch TV. Work instead.
3:00 – Finish work. Toddler wakes (after I’m done, if I’m lucky).
3:15 – Tell antsy toddler repeatedly that he cannot have juice or cookies or fruit snacks. Search desperately for a distraction.
3:30 – Unstructured time. Could include a playdate, the library, or staring into the abyss while toddler wrecks house. Likely roll over the laundry or do dishes.
5:00 – Foolishly think my husband should be home, then realize he won’t be for another hour. Reluctantly begin to prepare dinner while toddler makes messes and whines.
5:30 – Finish preparing dinner while starving. Toddler is starving. Wait for husband to get home.
5:45 – Husband gets home. Begin dinner immediately. Toddler refuses to eat “gross food” and whines. Toddler consumes fruit and some bread.
6:00 – Clear table and do dishes. Toddler runs amok and both I and the husband surf on our phones and unwind for a bit.
6:30 – Play with toddler. Enjoy family time despite being exhausted.
6:45 – Load dishwasher. Read books and/or play with toddler. Husband rolls over laundry.
7:00 – Bathe toddler. Attempt to keep rest of bathroom tidy and dry. Fail.
7:15 – Brush toddler’s teeth, get jammies on, and read books. Alternate between convincing toddler to read books (he knows it leads to bed time) while also telling him we’re only going to read one more book because he’s stalling.
7:30 – Say family prayer while holding squirming toddler. Sing songs. Pile veritable mountain of stuffed animals into bed with toddler. Say goodnight and close the door.
7:35 – Return to the couch. Finish cleaning kitchen/table if needed. Attempt to tidy up before getting distracted by husband bringing out good snacks. Gorge on cookies, ice cream, or popsicles.
7:40-9:30 – Watch TV with husband or read/finish work that didn’t get done during nap time. Talk with husband about the day.
10:00 – Realize I should have gone to bed an hour ago. Roll off couch and get ready for bed.
10:30 – Arrange body pillow in bed. Close eyes. Fall asleep almost immediately while feeling in-utero baby repeatedly dance the tango.
Not every day is exactly the same, but most days go something like the one above. I win some, I lose some. There are struggles and triumphs, along with plenty of tiredness and those occasional special moments when my toddler will give me an unexpected kiss or hug. Even though I don’t get much “me time,” I know that what I’m doing is amazing, important, and worthwhile. Playdates and seeing other mommies is a huge lifesaver for me. I haven’t yet taken up coffee, soda, or wine which makes me a bit of a freak by today’s SAHM standards. What really keeps me going is the satisfaction of a job well-done as a wife, mother, and writer. It also helps when I can make time to connect with my husband, and talk to family and friends.