I’m so often asked, “How was your day?” Or, “What do you do all day?” I never know how to answer it because I don’t know where to begin or how to find words that do justice to how big the smallest tasks end up being. So, I took little mental notes throughout my day and strung them together to give a very unfiltered answer.
5 a.m. Good morning! He’s awake. And he’s hungry for milk. If we’re lucky, his first feeding of the day puts him right back to sleep. If we’re not, it’s going to be an early start. Today, he falls back asleep.
6 a.m. “Dada!” He’s up, and he’s calling for his dad. I pretend to be asleep. I am so grateful that I married a morning person. Seriously. My husband has never been so sexy as he is when he wakes up before sunrise with a smile on his face. Who are these morning people and why can’t I be one?
7 a.m. “Mama – mama – mama!” Ok my hour of “sleeping in” is up. He’s screaming for me from the bottom of the stairs. Why does he always say dada so sweet, and then calls for me like he’s mad? Dad can’t possibly be considered the fun one already, can he?
*First tantrum of the day* because I had to pee and took an extra 30 seconds to come downstairs.
All is calm aside from the giant dogs swirling around us. My husband comments on how angelic the baby was as he heads upstairs to get ready for work. I start two loads of laundry and eye the remaining pot of coffee. But first, baby wants to nurse again. So we nurse. I let the dogs out. Let them back in. Toast mini waffles and top with his favorite yogurt, picking up his sippy cup four times after he repeatedly throws it to the floor. Baby is not interested in said waffles.
*Second tantrum of the day* because I gave him breakfast.
I try to find the remote to turn Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on. Maybe that will cheer him up. Where is the remote? We let the baby play with it yesterday. It could be anywhere.
I take off all the couch cushions. Grab a flashlight. Look under the couch, behind the TV, in every toy bin and compartment of his play kitchen. No luck.
Daddy goes to open the blinds behind the couch. HE FINDS THE REMOTE IN THE BLINDS! Mickey Mouse is on, and they sing and dance to the Hot Dog theme song before waving bye-bye.
I take advantage of this two-minute opportunity to toast my own bagel with peanut butter. The peanut butter lured the baby back over. He stole it and begins covering and smearing himself in it. Dogs start licking him incessantly.
*Third tantrum of the day* because dogs won’t stop licking the peanut butter off his body.
Mom to the rescue. Mini-sink bath. Perfect time to brush his teeth.
*Fourth tantrum of the day* because I tried to brush his teeth.
I really want that coffee. I fill up a pot of water and place it on the floor with a spatula and lid. At last, he’s entertained.
Where was I? Oh yes, coffee!!
8 a.m. I tip toe in the joint playroom/office. He instantly notices my departure from the kitchen and whines. Three seconds later he comes prancing in. I offer him toys to play with. He’s not interested. He follows me to the desk where I try to get some work done and reaches his arms up for me. He wants to nurse, again.
I almost forgot about the laundry. And the dogs’ breakfast. And the morning dishes. Thankfully, baby is no longer demanding my attention and is thoroughly invested in closing and opening the bathroom door. Whatever keeps you happy, bud. Except … wait, no, you cannot play in the bathroom cabinets under the sink.
*Fifth tantrum of the day * because I wouldn’t let him play with potentially toxic sprays and lotions.
9 a.m. Can we get clothed for the day? It’s worth an attempt. But first, we blow raspberries on each other’s bellies because we need to have some fun. Now he actually does want to play with his toys. He pushes his walker and analyzes his race car track while humming a sweet little song of his own. I’m reminded why I keep toys around.
He collapses by our dog Wallace and analyzes his furry tail like it’s the most fascinating thing he has ever seen. Wallace growls. I mediate the situation and explain that when doggies growl it means they want their space. Before I can finish this life lesson, he discovers a nearby computer charger and tries to chew on it. Nope, we are not going to get electrocuted today.
Okay. Let’s get dressed. For real this time.
Wait. He just pulled a book off the shelf. I can’t pass an opportunity to read to him. The library ladies told me that it’s important to read to him every single day. Put teacher hat on. He chose a classic. Green Eggs and Ham. It takes twice as long as it should to read because he likes to turn the pages on his own terms, and he usually turns them backwards.
What’s that smell? He pooped. A year of changing poopy diapers and you’d think it gets easier. It doesn’t. I ask him if he made a pee-yew to which he stares blankly and pleads the fifth. After making a scrunchy face, he giggles with an odd satisfaction at watching me suffer.
*Sixth tantrum of the day* because I cleaned his butt.
Alright. Let’s get dressed. Wait, before you go upstairs, you NEED to drink water. You’re growing another human. It’s funny how I need to actively remind myself to do the most basic things. Speaking of water, ice machine still isn’t working. Try to fix.
What happened to my once fashion-forward wardrobe? I’ll just put on these maternity shorts. Jenna, seriously? You’re only 10 weeks. Put those shorts back. Okay, I’ll just wear a sundress. Yes. sundress. Where did all my cute bras go? These nursing bras are sad.
Baby just spilled my bronzer. How did he even reach that? Add to to-do list: baby proof vanity and find magic stain remover to get bronzer out of chair.
What disaster did I just walk past? I WILL get to cleaning his nursery today, too. I have that appointment coming up with the kid’s consignment shop and I need to get rid of these clothes pronto. This is too much.
Is it lunch time yet? I can’t hold off the grocery store any longer. But first, I need to swing by the yoga studio and drop off my baby carrier that I sold. See? My husband can’t complain about my spending on baby carriers. I’m budget-savvy because I trade and sell them. Maybe I could start contributing more to our income, though. I could sell something from home, or I could pick up more freelance work. I do have that business idea I was working on after New Year’s. Why haven’t I pursued that? Am I doing enough? When will I feel like I am doing enough?
Hold that thought. He wants to nurse again, and he’s rubbing his eyes. It’s about time for his first nap.
10 a.m. Sweet victory! He went down within 15 minutes. He’s so beautiful. Did he notice I’ve been distracted this morning? Should I have read him another book? Should I have made him a better breakfast like the ones I have saved to my Pinterest board? Am I doing enough as his mom? I’ll make it up to him today. When he wakes up, I’ll be a super mom.
Until then, what do I tackle first?
The dog did NOT just step on the play piano mat causing an obscene amount of noise. Please don’t wake up, baby.
Ok. We’re still in business. Organize toys. Tidy kitchen. Fold laundry. Move wet load into dryer. Why does this wet load feel dry? I never hit start on the washer this morning. It’s fine. I have all the time in the world to dedicate to laundry, apparently.
Screw the rest of the housework. We’re getting out of this house next. After all, I’m his mother before I am a housewife. It’s my job to help him discover this big, bright world. I was invited to join other moms for a walk on the boardwalk by the water today. Be social, Jenna. Go!
First. Eat. Why do we have two giant bowls of watermelon in our fridge? I’m going to have zero room for groceries today. Add rearrange fridge to my growing to-do list.
Settle for soup. It’ll be quick and easy. While it heats up, I unload the dishwasher. There has got to be a better way to organize baby bowls and sippy cups. *Three cups, two lids and three baby bowls come tumbling down on my head from the shelf*
Sigh in frustration. Add organize kitchen cabinets to my to-do list.
Soup is boiling loudly. If it’s possible to burn soup, I might have accomplished that.
11 a.m. Ahhh, lunch with two hands. Dogs playing outside. Dishes three-quarters done. Making progress. Except, the walk with the group of mamas is in 30 minutes … Why, oh why, is my sweet baby napping longer than usual? Do I wake him? No. You never wake a sleeping baby. Should I even go? It requires me driving over the scary bridge. What if something happens to us? What if we get in a car crash over the bridge? Am I prepared to get us both out of a sinking car safely? Hello postpartum anxiety. I hate when you come out and try to control my days. My heart starts racing.
Breathe. Today is beautiful. We are safe. We will go on a walk, and I can drive us there.
A bird pooped all over my car. Add clean car to the to-do list.
OTHER HUMANS LIKE ME WITH OTHER BABIES LIKE MINE!! Never mind the wind blowing up my sundress or the fact that my baby just threw my phone on the concrete and shattered the screen. I am so glad to be exactly where I am in this moment in time.
1 p.m. *Seventh tantrum of the day* because we missed his normal lunchtime.
I sing silly songs on the car-ride home to counter the obnoxious loud screams coming from the car seat, even though I’m mentally exhausted by now. Momming is hard, but especially when you’re an introvert. I start to talk to him on auto-pilot, reminding myself to point out colors of things, numbers of things, and order of operations of things. Your job to teach is embedded in-between every single breath you take.
Home at last. I’m reminded that I never made it to the grocery store, or the yoga studio to drop off the carrier. Well, we have peaches, pita and hummus. I’ll make something toddler-friendly out of this. Is it bad that I don’t have fresh, organic peaches? They are from a can. Whatever. These peaches are delicious.
*Eighth tantrum of the day* because it takes me a few minutes to actually make lunch.
*Ninth tantrum of the day* because pita and hummus aren’t what he wanted.
But the canned peaches – those are a hit. Okay, lunch today is a platter of all the peaches you can eat.
How is this kitchen suddenly disastrous again? Where do I begin? Let’s begin with music. I said I would be a super mom today, so I’m going to worry less about the kitchen and make memories with my boy. We’re going to sing and dance.
*Tenth tantrum of the day* He just wanted to play with my car keys. And repeatedly set the car alarm off.
2 p.m. Dad is home early! Holy crap. This is amazing. Can he take the baby? No. Something something windshield washer fluid and Jeep stuff.
I guess it’s a good time for me to finally put a dent in all that never-ending laundry that I started this morning. But wait, there’s a toddler running at me. He wants milk. We nurse for a few minutes.
Back to folding. And re-folding. And re-folding, because baby boy wants to “help,” and I don’t have the heart to pull him away from “helping mommy” even it means everything will take longer. Folding eventually turns into peek-a-boo! Best. Game. Ever.
Is that the sink running? Daddy is done with his Jeep and is now doing the rest of the dishes. He’s the best. Go hug him. We’ve barely greeted each other.
“WHOA, you scared me! What’s up?”
“I like your dress. You look pretty.”
Our wedding anniversary is coming up. We gotta make plans for that. Add to the to-do list.
3 p.m. Is it bedtime yet? How am I exhausted?
I reflect back on my to-do list for what to do next, because after all, my day is only halfway over. Ten hours in, at least eight more waking hours for this mama to go. My baby starts rubbing his eyes and yawns. Ah yes, time for his second nap.
I go upstairs and begin our usual nap routine. Suddenly he perks up. He climbs on my face. Pinches my nose. Scratches my chest. Yanks my hair. Crawls in circles. Kicks my stomach. Pinches my thighs. I try to correct each move with patience. I try to re-direct to sleepy time. Fourty-five minutes has passed. PLEASE STOP! I shout. Immediate guilt sinks in, but I am so beyond touched out.
I walk away and lock myself in a room. I just need 15 minutes where I don’t have to talk, think, plan, teach, organize, clean, sing, cook, catch, pet, wipe, or be touched, tugged, and pulled on.
4 p.m. Dad takes over.
5 p.m. “Babe, what’s for dinner?” That’s a GREAT question.