People are often intrigued by the fact that I write from home while caring for my children simultaneously. I think they have this romantic notion that I am in a quiet room of my own, penning my thoughts while my children study Latin or curl up with the latest issue of Ranger Rick. I’ve decided to chronicle one day in my life (yesterday, in fact) so that you can get an idea of what it’s like to be a write-at-home-stay-at-home mother. Here we go:
6 a.m. Chiara wakes up (for the third time since going to sleep last night) because her tummy hurts from constipation, due in part to our potty training efforts.
6:30 a.m. Noah stops by our room to suggest we check out the sunrise through the hall window.
7 a.m. Tell Olivia she’s going to miss the bus if she doesn’t get out of bed. Start the lunch-making, snack-making process.
7:10 a.m. Argue with Chiara that Goldfish and Hershey bars are not breakfast. Compromise by letting her have a chocolate Yoplait yogurt, not exactly known as a cure for constipation.
7:15 a.m. Argue with Olivia that movie-themed books packaged with necklaces do not count as literature and will not be ordered through the school book order. Compromise by letting her order one movie-themed book packaged with a necklace.
7:25 a.m. Pour a steaming cup of coffee, which I promptly leave on the table to chill while I check on how many people have not visited my new blog and website. On the way back to cold coffee, stop to let Greta the dog in through the back door so she can leave muddy footprints throughout our kitchen and living room.
7:43 a.m. Throw Noah and Olivia out the front door, after issuing the daily reminder that they do, in fact, need socks and shoes to go to school. At least during the winter months.
7:55 a.m. Read half of one sentence of the lead story in the newspaper. Break to put Chiara on the potty.
8:15 a.m. Throw on running pants and a sweatshirt, filled with the optimistic hope for a second day in a row that I might find 25 minutes to run on the treadmill.
8:35 a.m. Pack up Chiara’s lunch box, knapsack, purple plastic purse, pretend keys, plastic butterfly and frog, and pink slippers to take with her to the home of one of my baby-sitting co-op cohorts, who saved the day by answering my desperate plea for sitting time this morning.
8:45 a.m. Drive Chiara to the sitter. Turn off radio because she announces, “I don’t want to hear music this morning!” Who needs morning radio anyway.
9:05 a.m. Leave the sitter’s house. Get in car and blast U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”
9:15 a.m. Begin work. Edit a writing project for The Christophers. Begin two fund-raising appeal summaries for another client. Answer emails. Check to see how many people still have not visited website and blog.
10 a.m. Talk to city editor at local daily about some columns he wants to run prior to my March 4th book release.
10:35 a.m. Call contacts for an OSV story that is due Friday and is nowhere near ready to be written.
11 a.m. Tool around the Internet in an effort to figure out how other people get regular visitors to come to their blogs. Light some incense in a desperate attempt to bring some semblance of peace to my life.
11:45 a.m. Leave to pick up Chiara, who has a complete meltdown as we prepare to leave the sitter’s house. The entire way home I tell her if she’s not quiet I am sending her to her room when we get home. I am sending her to her room anyway.
Noon. Allow Chiara to watch a DVD of Bear in the Big Blue House, an old free video she found in a cabinet and has dubbed her new favorite.
12:15 p.m. Try to update blog but give in to Chiara when she asks me so sweetly to come sit with her on the couch and watch Bear with her.
12:30 p.m. Sit with Chiara, looking out the window at the gently falling snow flurries and thinking for the first time in days that maybe my life isn’t so stressful and maybe I should be more grateful.
12:45 p.m. Ask Chiara if she wants to sit on the potty. She balks. I try again. We get into the bathroom, take off her diaper and she pees all over my hands, my feet, her feet, her clothes, my clothes, you name it. What was I saying about being grateful?
1 p.m. Give Chiara a bath while she screams that she doesn’t want her hair washed.
1:15 p.m. Say Chiara’s midday prayers — this is her request, not my demand. Put her down for a nap.
2 p.m. Go back downstairs to mop the floor. Consider taking a shower since I haven’t done that yet today and smell of pee but decide I can’t waste a precious hour of work time before the big kids get home. Finish my fund-raising summaries and send them off.
2:20 p.m. Write a blog entry. Email it to Dennis to get his opinion.
2:45 p.m. Proofread my blog entry and make changes.
3:01 p.m. Wait for the kids to come off the bus. Beg them to give me 15 minutes to post my new entry before I read their report cards. Realize they will never let me rest until I check out their amazing report cards.
3:15 p.m. Confirm with Noah’s teacher that the 68 in religion is, in fact, a 98, as it was last quarter. The kid’s got a 98.7 average, so there isn’t even one second of panic here.
3:30 p.m. Make Noah and Olivia popcorn in the Stir Crazy, which is their absolute favorite. They thank me profusely and make me feel like the best mom ever.
3:45 p.m. Chiara wakes up screaming. Insists she does not need to go potty. I put her on anyway and she goes within a millisecond.
4 p.m. I contemplate finally taking a shower, but Olivia needs help with double-digit subtraction. I ignore a work phone call because things are not conducive to professional calls. I answer some work emails because those I can do even when everyone is screaming and jumping off furniture. I love email.
4:15 p.m. Read Tickle Time, Peter Rabbit to Chiara three times.
4:30 p.m. Figure out what we’re going to have for dinner. Ask Dennis to pick up salmon. Wash potatoes for baking. Check to see if the kale is still good. Consider taking a shower.
5 p.m. Allow Noah to play a video game since he read for more than an hour. Olivia plays with Chiara. Now I’m going to take a shower, but not before getting Chiara some milk and begging her not to follow me to the bathroom.
5:05 p.m. Realize that someone has stopped up the toilet. Haul out the plunger and take care of the matter at hand. Thank goodness I haven’t showered yet.
5:25 p.m. Shower. Finally.
5:50 p.m. Downstairs Dennis is cleaning up the popcorn maker and getting ready to fix the fish. I start the kale. Chiara lays on the floor and screams because we will not let her watch Cinderella.
6 p.m. Chiara lays on the floor and screams because we will not let her have a snack.
6:05 p.m. Chiara lays on the floor and screams because we will not let her stand on a chair next to the stove and stir the kale.
6:30 p.m. Sit everyone down for dinner, say grace, eat, discuss the school day. Noah shares stories from Mr. Young’s fifth-grade class.
7 p.m. Work on emails. Check on how many people still have not visited blog and website.
7:15 p.m. Plan Brownie Try-It, Eat Right, Stay Healthy, for my troop meeting tomorrow. Come up with good-for-you snack ideas and creative activities.
7:30 p.m. Kids start countdown until American Idol, the one show we watch as a family. But, it’s on at the same time as the Republican debate. Now what?
8 p.m. Dennis has picture-in-picture going. American Idol and the Republicans all on one screen. A little surreal, if you ask me. I think I’m going to vote for the one who sang Janis Joplin. Was that McCain or Romney? I forget.
9 p.m. Put Chiara on the potty one last time. It’s a late night thanks to Simon Cowell and his crew. Noah and Olivia head upstairs to brush their teeth and hit the hay.
9:01 p.m. Chiara cries because her tummy hurts. She wants to sleep with me. I say her prayers and let her pull my hair for a few minutes.
9:20 p.m. Watch the end of the debate. Get the kids’ papers ready for school tomorrow. Check emails.
9:45 p.m. Figure out tomorrow’s work schedule. Begin blog entry. Wonder if I shouldn’t just email it directly to my aunt, who seems to be the only one reading at this point.
10:15 p.m. Head upstairs to read Holy Sex! for a review I’m writing for Our Sunday Visitor. No matter how good the advice, I don’t think I’ll be putting it into action tonight.
11 p.m. Attempt to pray. Get as far as “God help me” before giving up and going to sleep.