This post was inspired by Amy at Let’s Go Running.
I haven’t been writing much, for a lot of reasons, but this seemed like an easy way to check in with you all. I know that day-to-day life with an infant is probably not that thrilling for all of you, so feel free to skip this one and come back another day.
Vera wakes me for the fourth and final time. She’s up pretty much every two hours or less all night, which makes for rough mornings. And afternoons. And evenings. Anyway, I digress.
I nurse her in bed while I contemplate whether to get up or attempt to sleep in. By the time Vera is finished eating, it’s clear she’s up for the day, so I lie in bed and cuddle her for a bit. Ben comes in to kiss us goodbye before leaving for the day, and I know it’s time to get up.
I change Vera and pop her on her activity mat to play while I get what I call my “infrastructure” going. I fill my 32 oz water bottle, pop some overnight oats in the microwave, and pour myself some coffee (Ben makes enough for both of us when he gets up). I eat breakfast and drink my coffee on the floor next to Vera’s activity mat so we can chat and play.
Vera is ready to eat again, so I set us up at the kitchen table. While I nurse her, I do some online Christmas shopping and make to-do lists. After her feed, she’s sleepy, so I attempt to put her down for a nap. True to form, she wakes the instant I set her down, but she’s calm, so I leave her in her crib for some quiet time.
While Vera hangs out in her room, I make tea and work on this blog post a bit. I also read other blogs (yep, still lurking out here, reading your blogs and not commenting!) and pick up a bit around the house.
Vera starts to make sad noises, so I scoop her out of her crib, get her dressed for the day and plunk her in her exersaucer. While she babbles and plays, I get myself dressed and make the bed. These are two of my “How to Stay Sane as a Stay-At-Home-Mom” tips. Actually getting dressed every day and making the bed make me feel much more productive, even if I don’t do anything else all day.
Vera is happy in her exersaucer, so I put some Christmas music on and wrap some Christmas presents. I do a gift exchange with some of my blog friends every year, and historically my gifts don’t arrive at their destinations until well into the new year. I’m a master procrastinator. But this year, my shopping is all done, I just need to get them in the mail. Go me!
Vera is no longer happy. It’s “nap time,” but getting her to nap is kind of hopeless most days. It takes me 25 minutes to feed her and settle her down. Once she’s out, I HUSTLE, because her naps last an average of 20 minutes, which is hardly enough time to accomplish anything. I use the bathroom, brush my teeth, and start to put away some laundry.
Right on cue, Vera wakes from her typical less-than-30-minute nap. I attempt to settle her back down, but it’s no use. I slap a fresh diaper on her and load her into the car seat to head out for yet more Christmas shopping. Shop local, ya’ll. I finish shopping for my sisters-in-law and grab a couple of necessities for around the house as well.
Vera has fallen asleep on the car ride home, so I take advantage of the bonus nap to make myself some lunch. I have started keeping pre-chopped salad ingredients in the fridge to make it easier to make healthy choices when I’m scrambling to eat during my very brief breaks, so I assemble a salad and some other leftovers. I work on this blog post a bit while I eat.
Vera is up and at ’em, so I feed her a snack and then put her down for some tummy time while I pump. I pump once a day to a) help keep my supply up and b) build a freezer stash for days/events when I’m out of the house. Next up is reading! I’m trying to make sure I read to Vera more than just at bed time, so we busted out a bunch of our new books that Gramma and Grampa gifted at our visit over Thanksgiving.
Vera is ready for a diaper and a change of pace. She’s fussy and fidgety, so I nurse her briefly, then change her and put her back in the exersaucer. I have a few Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups and try to work on this blog post a bit more. This lasts maybe five minutes before Vera demands my undivided attention. She’s fussy and obviously tired but won’t go down without a fight. We play a few rounds of peekaboo and some games from baby yoga, then she settles in for a marathon nursing session. This is unsurprising as she has been “snacking” all day.
Post-meal, she falls asleep in my arms. Rather than trying to put her down and risking waking her, I continue to work on this blog post one-handed. It’s tedious, but what else am I gonna do while holding a napping baby?
I wish I were being productive, but I know baby girl needs the sleep, and quite frankly, I need the break, so I surrender to the siren song of Netflix and turn on Love Actually. This is a good choice because Vera ends up napping for almost two hours (!!!!), which is seriously unheard of right now.
Ben is home! Yay! Once he has a snack and gets changed out of his work clothes, I hand off Vera so I can get supper going. I’m making pizza, so I need to make the dough and get it rising ASAP, otherwise we’ll be eating at 9 pm.
Vera is fussy, so I attempt to feed her, but it doesn’t last long. She’s super distractable these days, and eats in short, frequent bursts, particularly when Ben is around. While the dough rises, we take turns playing with Vera, making faces, singing, flying her in the air, and basically just trying to make it until bedtime. She also snacks a couple more times. You’ll also notice that I ceased taking pictures at this point, because keeping V happy in the hour or so before bedtime is pretty tough.
Bath time! This is the beginning of our bedtime ritual. We got her all cleaned up and in a fresh diaper (we use cloth diapers during the day and disposables at night) and PJs, and Ben gave her a bottle. In an attempt to load Vera up on calories and hopefully get her to sleep more, we give her a bottle of pumped breast milk before bed in addition to nursing. So far, it hasn’t really seemed to help, but at least it helps to offset all of her mini feeds during that day.
Once she finishes eating, it’s reading, a bedtime song, and lights out. Of course, she never falls asleep easily, but we try to stick to our routine as much as possible. General wisdom indicates that eventually, the routine signals to baby that it’s time to go to sleep, but we’re still waiting for that to take effect… I get the pizzas in the oven between attempts to calm her.
She’s finally out! Hallelujah! Ben and I resume watching a video game walk-through on YouTube for Red Dead Redemption 2. Yep, we’re the people who watch those videos. I mean, we can’t afford a PS4, which means we’ll never get the game, so why not watch someone else play it? We also stuff our faces with pizza and salad.
Vera wakes up and fusses, but I’m miraculously able to calm her back to sleep fairly easily. More pizza and watching Archer while I knit Christmas gifts. Vera makes a few more halfhearted fusses, but we don’t have to intervene.
Ben heads into the kitchen to clean up supper dishes while I head into the bathroom to get ready for bed.
I attempt to dream feed Vera, but she doesn’t eat very much, then wakes up completely when I put her back down, so I feed her some more, and she finally goes back to sleep.
Vera wakes me for the first of many times. Lather, rinse, repeat.
So there you have it. A super glamorous, very interesting day in the life. (Sarcasm. So much sarcasm)
Parent friends, talk to me about sleep training. Vera is almost old enough and I am DESPERATE to start getting more sleep. I’m not interested in crying it out, but open to all other suggestions.
12 thoughts on “A Day in the Life of a Stay-At-Home-Mom”
Ah! This was so exciting! I LOVE these posts so much…even though you think it’s dullsville, I’m fascinated. And, I have lots of comments 🙂
1. We have the same baby monitor!
2. Bedtime routine – for a long time, it didn’t seem to induce sleepiness, but at this point, it TOTALLY works for Mr. Toddler. We started to do the EXACT same routine during the day when he was refusing to settle for naps, and it really helps calm him down. Not sure at what age this happened.
3. Sleep training – honestly, one of our best parenting decisions. Mr. Toddler took forever to put down, which was what initiated wanting to do this at around 11 months for him. We used the Ferber method (there will be crying, but you go back in at increasing intervals…so I’m not sure if you’d be interested), I’d recommend looking into it. I think his book talks about ways to modify the original method if you want no crying at all. At various times, we’ve gone back and done it again, and it’s worked in a matter of 2 nights each time. This and the routine has made bedtime one of my favorite times of the day.
4. I don’t know if this would work for you since you talk about V snacking rather than having large meals, but we realized somewhat accidentally with Mr. Toddler that he was waking at night but not needing to eat. So rather than feed him we first attempted to calm him with a pacifier and holding him. I think this helped speed up the not waking as often. I can’t be sure. We’re trying the same with Miss Newborn; results are still inconclusive. 🙂
Sorry I wrote a books worth of comments, I too have been obsessing over baby sleep,and could probably write twice as much as I have. Good luck!
Oh Amy, this is actually all VERY helpful. Sleep has been so tough ever since V hit 3 months, and it seems like it’s getting worse instead of better at 5 months. We’re seeing our pediatrician soon and we’re gonna talk ALLL things eating and sleep.
Hopefully the doc has some good tips! You need more sleep!!
Unrelated, I had an idea for some treadmill motivation/challenge. I’m planning to post about it on Friday. 😊
Looking forward to it!
It’s always interesting to hear about how other moms spend their days. Thanks for sharing.
In regards to your question about sleeping longer at night do you jump up and get her at the first sign of her stiring/crying? I did that with my 1st and he was brutal. Now with my 3rd I let him stir and even talk to himself and only get him when he is full on crying and it has made a huge difference. Good luck!
Thanks for stopping by! We just did a round of Ferber method sleep training at the urging of our pediatrician and things are MUCH better, thank goodness!
Glad that worked out. My daughter wouldn’t stop crying when we attempted that. She literally would scream like she was being attacked for 2 hours if we let her. Of course she was older when we tried as we were trying to correct a sleep regression but I have heard amazing things about it and am keeping it on my radar in case I end up needing it for our youngest.
I’ve got no great advice on sleep-training. I hate hearing my girls cry, case in point, I still rock my 28 month-old to sleep. I’m not thrilled I still do this, but it works for us, and I enjoy our snuggle time. I also have a 3 year-old who goes to sleep great on her own. I used to rock her until she started pointing to her crib. In my perfect world this child starts doing that soon. HAHAHA.
Wouldn’t it be great if all kids did that? We ended up doing Ferber sleep training at our pediatrician’s urging and things have been a lot better since. Not perfect, but better!
We did the Ferber method like Amy mentioned above, around 9 months, and it worked 🙂 Of course there were a few hiccups and set-backs, but it was way better than the every 3 hours waking up schedule he was on lol
We ended up doing Ferber at the red of our pediatrician. She’s not sleeping through the night yet, but she’s also going to sleep without a fight and only waking up once or twice a night, thank goodness!
That sounds pretty good! Better than every few hours 🙂