what do I do all day?

Dan likes to see how riled up I get when he asks me that question: “What did you DO all day?” He usually throws it out there when I’m ranting about the dirty floors or whining about how tired I am or complaining about how the girls can destroy the house in 15 minutes after I spent 3 futile hours cleaning up. It’s all in good fun when he asks it and most of the time, I just laugh and shake my head because I know he knows how busy the days are with the kids and he’s commiserating with me, in a way. But… I’m not gonna lie, eeeevvvvery once in a while I’m just Not In The Mood and when he says that, my blood starts to boil and I’m just… NO. NO, DO NOT ASK ME THAT QUESTION UNLESS YOU WANT A VERY LONG LIST AND POSSIBLY WANT PUNCHED IN THE FACE.

With one week left of summer vacation/maternity leave/my last time as a full-time stay at home mom with three children, I realized that some days, I get to 8pm and I look around my house that looks like I live with frat boys, half-filled sippy cups strewn about, discarded dress-up dresses in the entry way, 87 pairs of shoes in the dining room, sticky floors, laundry un-folded in the hallway… and I ask MYSELF that question: What the HELL did I even DO all day?

So I decided to write it all down one day. This was last Thursday, a pretty typical day at home this summer, with the exception that we had a dishwasher dude stop by to figure out what is wrong with ours (The Bad News: the pump and water sensor need replaced after just 2 years. The Good News: we purchased the 5 year home warranty thingie so it’s ALL COMPLETELY COVERED HALLELUJAH.)

Keep in mind that this was what I would consider a VERY productive and pretty darn good day. I’m also figuring that this is a pretty typical day for any parent who stays home with multiple children and/or an infant. But I’m writing it down here so in a few years when I’m wistful for the Baby Days, I can read this and go HAAAA NEVERMIND I LIKE MY SELF-WIPING, SELF-FEEDING CHILDREN, ACTUALLY.

5:00am: hear squawks and cries on the baby monitor; stumble in to feed Zach
5:30am: crawl back in bed
6:00am: can’t sleep, belly growling. Get up and into the shower
6:30am: Zach wakes just as I’m finishing getting dressed. Head downstairs with him to make breakfast for myself (omelette w/bacon, green onions, tomatoes, cheddar, coffee), clean up a little bit while things cook. Zach hangs out in the exersaucer.

Breakfast #currentview

7:00am: finish eating, give Zach a bottle
7:20am: Audrey comes downstairs, all cute and sleepy-headed. Change her diaper, put in a movie at her request.

Pondering this morning's movie choice. Also her EYES are you SERIOUS?

7:30am: get Audrey breakfast (cereal bar, yogurt, milk). Maggie appears in the kitchen, so make her breakfast as well (pancakes [from the freezer because HAAAA], cereal)
7:30am-8:20am: while the girls eat and Zach hangs out on his playmat/in the exersaucer, unload dishwasher, clean up the kitchen.
8:20am: take Zach upstairs for his first morning nap
8:20am-8:50am: sweep the kitchen and living room floors, fold laundry. The girls watch My Little Pony on the Kindle.

My Little Pony on the Kindle. Sharing nicely for the next 3.4 seconds.

8:50am: Zach is awake
9:00am-9:10am: let Zach hang in his crib for a few minutes while I put away laundry in his room
9:15am: come downstairs with a re-diapered Zach, Audrey asks for a snack (pretzel sticks). Realize I’m hungry too. (yogurt)
9:20am-9:30am: Zach is hungry too. Feed him a bottle.
9:30am-9:45am: snuggle on the couch with Zach after his bottle, catch up on Twitter, Facebook, email on my phone
9:45am-10:00am: help Audrey brush her teeth, clean up the girls’ bathroom, change Zach’s stinky diaper
10:00am: Most feared words for a mother to hear: “Can I play Playdoh?” And I get it out. Am an idiot and a sucker.
10-10:15am: fold some more laundry while Zach plays on his mat and the girls’ play Playdoh
10:20am: Zach is rubbing his eyes and fussing, time for another nap
10:30am: Zach is asleep. I remember to get out steaks for dinner, Maggie goes outside to play with a neighbor.
10:30am: head upstairs to sort winter/summer clothes for the girls
10:45am: dishwasher guy shows up, Maggie and neighbor girl come inside to play with Audrey
11:10am Zach wakes up, dishwasher guy leaves
11:10am-11:20am: Disciplinary Situation with the girls, ssiiiiiiighh
11:30am: everyone is occupied so I eat a quick lunch (can’t remember what??)
11:45am-12pm: get the girls some lunch (can’t remember what??)
12:10pm: feed Zach a bottle
12:30pm: clean up the kitchen from lunch, wipe Audrey off because damn, that girl can make a mess of herself
12:40pm: ANOTHER dirty diaper from Zach, good gracious child
12:45pm: another nap for Zach
1:00pm: Maggie heads to the neighbor girl’s house to play. Audrey asks for a snack (graham crackers & milk), I wash some dishes. I clean up the Playdoh in the dining room.
1:30pm-1:45pm: attempt to get Audrey to take a nap. We read 2 books and snuggle.
1:45pm: Zach wakes up.
2:00pm: give Zach a bottle. As he’s eating, he looks sooo sleepy and is rubbing his eyes after he’s done. So I decide to rock him again to see if he’ll fall back to sleep.
2:30pm: Zach LAUGHS at my attempt at another nap, so I give up and take him back downstairs. Check on Audrey on the way down- she’s passed out asleep. YAY!

Fancy half-out-of-bed nap

2:30pm: play with Zach on his playmat to try to tire him out. Get myself a snack.

Baby Bonus: I can eat a snack out in the open without needing to share it. #joeydoesntsharefood

3:10pm: He’s sleepy again! Rock him in the glider in his room.
3:40pm: After 30 minutes and 4 failed crib transfers, I give up on the nap again.
4:00pm: give Zach a bottle
4:10pm: FINALLY. He sleeps.
4:27pm: HE SLEEPS. I make it down the steps this time. So yay!
4:30pm: Audrey’s still snoring, Maggie is at the neighbor’s house. I’M ALONE AT LAST. So I clean the Crap Magnets around the house (dining room table, counter in the butler’s pantry, kitchen island). Scrub glitter glue from the dining room table. Dan calls, he’s on his way home. Do a few things on the computer. My free time has gotten extremely lame.
5:10pm: start dinner (steaks and… noodles? And green beans? I think? I can’t even remember.)
5:20pm: Zach & Audrey are both awake
6:00pm: shovel in dinner, give Zach a bottle, he’s kinda fussy GO FIGURE NAP-FIGHTER. My sister calls so we chat for a bit.
6:30pm: clean up the kitchen Good Enough, leave the rest for tomorrow.
6:45pm: It’s gorgeous outside, so I take girls to our neighborhood playground & leave Dan with fussy baby for bedtime. Sorry, Dan!

"Wait up Maggie wait up!!"



7:15pm: realize Audrey needs a diaper change so we head home from the playground. Maggie hurts her foot on the way down the hill (she’s fine)
7:30pm: Zach is in bed, the girls settle on the couch for some tv time before bed. MAMA IS GOING FOR A WALK.
8:00pm: Get the girls upstairs for bed.
8:15pm: I realize my poor flowers on the front porch need some water, so I do that, then head upstairs to wash my face and take out my contacts.
8:30pm: stretch and do my ab work. Realize I am super out of shape. Again. ARGH.
8:45pm: watch TV (New Girl on the Kindle) and paint my nails. I should go to bed soon but man, the quiet time on the couch is so nice.
9:45pm: Hear something on the stairs. Oh hi, Audrey! Escort her back to bed.
10:00pm: force myself to go upstairs to bed. Read for like 6 minutes. Fall asleep with my Kindle on my face.

Tomorrow? I’ll do it all again.


  1. Cari

    August 20, 2013 10:32 am

    Oh God. This is like reading my life. Except you get a lot more done in bits and pieces than I do. I end up slacking one day and then cleaning like a madwoman the next.

    • Jen

      August 22, 2013 11:21 am

      I’ve learned this summer how to do things in chunks. It used to drive me crazy doing things like that (I like it ALL OR NOTHING.) but I didn’t have any long stretches alone so… yeah. Hence my feeling that I’m developing ADHD because I’m not given the chance to EVER FINISH ANYTHING. ha

  2. Tracy

    August 20, 2013 10:34 am

    Oh, I know this question all too well. As with Dan, Gary is mostly just pulling my chain. (usually it is only asked on my one day off of work a week) However, I do get frustrated on occasion and want to punch things. Because, damn, I AM BUSY ALL THE FRIGGIN TIME. I get jealous and wonder what it is like to be bored! I get a bit ragey when people complain about not having anything to do. COME to my house, I have a list 10 miles long…3 kids that always want attention…a dog that needs walked…etc. I has all the things that need done! ;)

    And by next week you will be adding day care drop offs and worky work to that list. GOOD TIMES!

  3. Jenn

    August 20, 2013 2:50 pm

    I’m typing this one-handed due to holding and feeding my screaming three month old nephew. Ergh. Today, I am very very very thankful for my self-wiping, self-feeding 7 and 8 year old!

    • Jen

      August 22, 2013 11:23 am

      ha! A few hours with a newborn is a good dose of reality, I guess? We DO forget! Maggie was a pretty independent 3.5 yr old when Audrey came along and MAN that was hard to get used to again. Babies are NEEDY. ;)

      • Jenn

        August 23, 2013 9:35 am

        I think nature/biology MAKES us forget. There’s just no other explanation as to why on earth we would put ourselves through this again and again and again. ;) When my nephew was born I definitely had some baby pangs. But once the babysitting started? Haaaaaaaaaaa no. I’d hug my clipped tubes and my husband’s (also a Dan!) snipped vas deferens if I could. ;)

  4. Elsha

    August 20, 2013 4:38 pm

    Yes, this day sounds familiar.

  5. HereWeGoAJen

    August 21, 2013 8:52 am

    I ought to write down what I do all day someday. But I am afraid of what I’d find out. I’d either be impressed with all I got done or I would end up shrieking “where did all the TIME go? How did I get so little accomplished?!?”

    • Jen

      August 22, 2013 11:25 am

      I’m kind of feeling both of those things after doing this. This was a particularly productive day for me (I got clothes sorted! Almost all the way! And my kitchen stayed mostly clean!) But I still feel like that was not that much for how little (none) sitting down I did. siiiigh.

  6. K

    August 21, 2013 1:36 pm

    Haaaaaa. Erica’s comment about Play-Doh made me laugh.

    Also, “Oh hi, Audrey!” made me laugh too.

  7. Pris

    August 21, 2013 2:56 pm

    haha…you know how you said that someday you will look back and be all “ha no, I don’t miss babies and when they were little” This post kinda made me feel like that! Since my youngest is six, I can say that it gets easier. Especially since my oldest two can watch the youngest and I can run to the store for short trips by myself!!

    • Jen

      August 22, 2013 11:29 am

      SEE???!! We forget what it’s REALLY LIKE later, I think. Even I did, every damn time (which is why we have 3 kids. ha) Luckily Dan is taken care of ahem so even if I changed my mind (no), it’s too late. But having this recorded is a good reminder for later either way ;)

  8. Dee Wilcox

    August 21, 2013 4:37 pm

    Isn’t it amazing how the details crowd together into one big mess like that? Minute upon minute, and it’s hard to discern any single moment unless you think really hard about it.

    The only other thing I have to say is, how on EARTH does bedtime for your girls only take 15 minutes? Mackenzie is bathed by 8, but with all of the delays, etc., she’s rarely asleep before 9:00 lately. ARGH. :(

    • Jen

      August 22, 2013 11:32 am

      Mostly? We just got REALLY LUCKY. Maggie has been so good about just going to bed for a few years, and Audrey has picked up on it and most nights, they just… go. Maggie can also do it all herself now (including a shower!) so mostly it’s just one of us upstairs supervising the activities and helping Audrey into her diaper/jammies and brushing teeth. They also don’t bathe every night (didn’t this night) so that makes it go much faster! (I will say that there ARE some nights with hijinks and drama, so. ha)

  9. sabrina

    August 22, 2013 8:11 am

    I love the “she’s fine” after the part about Maggie hurting her foot. I imagine you, tired from a nap-fighting baby and a long day, being all, “you’re fine”.

    • Jen

      August 22, 2013 11:30 am

      DUDE. She hurts herself 87 times every day. By bedtime, she needs to be bleeding or holding a limb in her hand for me to be concerned. HA

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