So just what DO moms do all day? We hate that question because often times it comes off as belittling. Do we just get to sit at home all day, sipping mimosas and watching HGTV while the kiddos run happy little circles around us, stopping every 10 seconds to give us a sweet kiss and a melt-your-heart smile?
Ha! If only.
But to be fair, some people are just generally curious about what a day in the life of a stay at home mom looks like.
So here it is… a day in the life of this mom with 4 kids under 5:
*Tap tap tap* I open my eyes, pretty annoyed that someone is tapping my forehead. Who does that?! Oh, my 3 year old.
I look at the clock. 4:37am. Seriously?
"What do you need, buddy?"
Yeah. I see that. I stare groggily.
"I need to go potty."
"Oh, okay. Well just go."
"I’m scared. Come with me."
I stumble out of bed, help him to the bathroom. I know that if I send him back to his room he won’t go to sleep, and the chances of him waking up the baby are pretty high. I throw a few blankets and a pillow on the floor near my bed.
"You can sleep here, okay bud?"
He lights up. The kid loves having sleep overs on the floor in my room.
6:45 // I wake up to laughter. The girls are wide awake and something has them in hysterics. I grab the monitor and head into the living room. I don’t want the 3 year old to wake up.
I start the coffee, and begin making breakfast. Simply cereal for myself and the Big Guy, Pancakes and banana for the kids.
6:53 // 7 month old is babbling loudly in his crib
7:05 // 4 year old runs downstairs announcing “My light turned green!!” I head upstairs to grab the two stuck in cribs; 2 year old and 7 month old.
As I’m coming back downstairs, 3 year old emerges from my room, grinning from ear to ear.
"What’s so funny, buddy?"
“I woke Papa up. I took his blankets”. His smile gets even bigger. I chuckle. Poor hubby.
7 month old gets a bottle. The kids play for a few minutes while I finish making breakfast. I set the table and ask the kids to go tell daddy breakfast is ready. We all eat together.
After breakfast the kids put their plates in the sink then runaway like crazy people. It’s time to play puppy, apparently.
The Big Guy and I sit and drink coffee together for a few minutes. It’s honestly my favorite part of the day. I need these few moments with him before he heads off to work.
7:45 // 2 year old runs through the living room with no pants on.
“Where’s your pants?” I get up and find her undies and wrestle them back on her. This won’t be the only time this happens today. Wearing bottoms is a struggle for this one.
8:15 // 7 month old takes a nap
I vacuum upstairs while I'm up there. 3 year old insists on helping. It takes 15 minutes to vacuum two rooms and one hallway.
8:30 // 4 year old, 3 year old, and 2 year old play “ballet” in the living room
8:35 // I go to throw a load of clothes in the washer. Ugh! It’s full. How long have those clothes been in there? The smell tells me it’s been long enough. I roll my eyes and rewash the clothes. How often do I do this? Too often! I need a schedule. Like, a real schedule that I’ll actually stick to.
8:45 // I clean up from breakfast, empty the dishwasher and reload with breakfast dishes.
9:00 // 2 year old makes her own food out of wooden shapes and insists on eating at the table. Then she decides to feed 4 year old.
9:15 // I start getting the kids dressed and do their hair for our play date this morning. Why it takes 30 minutes to get everyone ready is beyond me!
9:46 // 2 year old streaks through the living room again. Seriously, girl! I remind her that we need to wear clothes, and tell her to please go get them back on. She squeals and runs into the playroom. Ugh!
“Do you want to go to the splash park?”
“Yes! Splash park!”
“If you want to go play at the splash park, you need to get your swimsuit back on”. She complies. Thank goodness. Battle avoided.
9:55 // 7 month old wakes up. Perfect timing!
The trio get in the van and buckle themselves in while I bring 7 month old downstairs.
10:01 // We head out!
We head to the splash park because it's Texas and it's already hot at 10am.
We meet our friends there and the kids run around like the crazies that they are for an hour. 7 month old hangs out in the tent with the grown ups. He gets a bottle before we leave.
12pm // We get home and I make lunch while the Littles whine about how hungry they are and if they will ever get to eat again. They are a dramatic group.
12:15 // We are all sitting at the table. An annoying fly buzzes around my head and I swat it away. 3 year old says "Mommy, say shoo fly"
I comply and give a half-hearted "shoo fly" (It is the afternoon, after all, and I haven't had enough coffee).
I kid you not, in unison, the three older kids begin singing "Shoo fly, don't bother me" and actually sing the entire song...with the right words. It's hilarious!
12:45 pm // The crib duo go down for their naps while the older two spend an hour in quiet time. The 3 year old in the play room. The 4 year old in my room. She throws a fit about how she NEVER gets to play in the playroom and there’s nothing to do at all in my room and IT’S JUST NOT FAIR!
The 3 year old announces “We don’t do fair in our family!!”
Uh, yeah. I’ve definitely said that before.
But in she goes, because I just can’t trust the 3 year old in my room. He gets into all the things. I let 4 year old pick whatever she wants to play with, and she seems content to stay put.
1:00pm // I step into the living room. How? How did this tornado happen in here? It was so lovely this morning. But now I just want to call up a maid and have her please please please come over and make my house pretty again!
Oh yeah, that’s what I’m getting paid to do. Paid in baby spit up, toddler tantrums, and preschool misbehaviors. There’s more too, right?! There’s sweet things? Yes, of course there is. But some days it’s hard to remember.
I sidestep the explosion of blocks all over the living room floor and make my way into the kitchen. Coffee. I need more coffee.
I look at the door covered in sweet pictures that the kids have drawn for me. There it is! My heart melts. They are precious. I do this for them. I love them. I cherish them. The day in and day out of messes and fits and whininess is really really hard. But I wouldn’t trade it.
I grab some coffee and grab my Bible. It’s my other favorite time of the day. I sit and read and drink warm coffee and let my soul be fed. I NEED this to make it through the day. I can get through without it. But I am a way better wife and mom when I get filled up.
1:30 // 3 year old is awfully quiet. Suspiciously quiet. I get up and peek into the playroom. Oh fabulous. He’s taken all of the babies diapers and stacked them on the window sill. And several others are just sticking to the window. Lovely. I shrug. This I can handle. At least he didn’t consume another tube of maximum strength Desitin (yes that happened, and no it’s not a medical emergency. Ya know...for when that happens to you. Because doesn’t that happen to everybody?! Poison control said to just have him drink some water and be on the lookout for diarrhea. Yay.).
1:35 // I check on the other kiddos and then start cleaning up from lunch and doing other menial tasks that need to be done- that can be done easier while all the kids are occupied.
2pm // 3 year old and 4 year old come out of their rooms and can each pick one show to watch. 3 year old gets bored 4 minutes in and tries running around like a wild person. I tell him he can sit quietly and watch or go back in the playroom.
2:05 // I randomly remember the laundry that needs to be done. I go to toss my freshly washed clothes into the dryer. Roll my eyes again. A whole load of towels. At least they're dry! And I feel grateful that they are towels because folding them is a great chore for the kids! Win win! I switch the laundry and contemplate adding more clothes to the washer. But I rationalize that the chances of me remembering to switch the laundry later is really really low. And who wants to be in the endless cycle of washing and rewashing the same things?!
2:11 // 3 year old whines that he’s so hungry and he NEVER gets to eat. I remind him that snack time is after all the kids are awake. He continues to whine for 3 more minutes. Then gets sucked into the cartoon.
2:20 // I toss the towel pile onto the living room floor and cheerfully tell the kids that they get to do a chore today! They just look at me, then look at the pile, then look back at the television. After a minute they dutifully move to the floor and begin folding towels while barely glancing away from the t.v.
I stand there a bit mystified that no one at all complained. I shrug. We have been doing this for a long time now. Chores and folding towels aren't new to them. But still! They were just so compliant. I smile at them. I smile at them a bit too long. I probably look creepy. I shrug again and continue on with my own chores.
2:54 // 2 year old wakes up. Grumpy. I thought naps were supposed to help with the grumpiness? Maybe some food will help.
3pm // I get the 3 older kids a snack. And they all continue watching Daniel Tiger. The baby is still napping!
3:07 // 2 year old needs a drink. I hand her a drink. She throws a fit. She wants water. It is water. She wants juice. I say “No, you can have water. You had juice for lunch”. Complete throw-yourself-on-the-ground tantrum ensues. I just look at her. Part of me feels bad. Part of me wants to laugh. I calmly say “If you’re thirsty you can have some water”. I set the cup on the floor and walk away.
3:09 // 2 year old gets up off the floor and gets her cup of water, completely content and happy.
Kids are beyond me.
3:10 // 7 month old wakes up. He gets a bottle.
3:15 // 4 year old announces she’s STARVING and can she please have some more. I tell her she can have an apple if she’s still hungry. Apparently she’s not THAT hungry and walks away to go work on a puzzle.
I realize the t.v. is still on, and get met with lots of grumpy moans when I announce we are all done watching. But the excitement of going to play outside has them forgetting anything about cartoons for the time being.
3:30 // The kids are all dressed in their swimsuits, ready for the pool! We swim a LOT in the summer!
The babe and I sit in the little pop up tent. But it’s getting more and more difficult with him because he insists on crawling away. Why is he crawling already?! I’m not okay with a mobile baby yet. Why can’t he just stay little forever? These kids grow way too fast.
The 3 year old is out of the pool. Eating something. “What are you eating?” I ask. He mumbles an “I don’t know” and looks down. “Please come here.” He slowly walks over, spitting as he comes. “What did you eat?”
“You ate some leaves?”
“And grass and sticks”
“Buddy, if it’s not food, don’t eat it. Please don’t eat anything outside”.
Why is this still an issue? His younger sister doesn’t eat random things. Pica runs through my mind. Hmmm.
4:00 // The kids are out of the pool, just playing random weird games in the backyard. Collecting rolie polies is one of their favorite pastimes. Gross.
The baby and I head into the house. 30 minutes of trying to corral him is long enough.
I put the babe in his high chair and give him a snack. He missed out on snack time while he was napping. Cheerios and cut up sandwich. Yum.
I munch on a few cheerios while staring out the window at the trio. 2 year old runs with a bat, trips, gets back up and yells “I’m okay!”. No one pays attention. 3 year old and 4 year old are busy picking flowers (dandelions) and placing them neatly in a pile on the bench. It’s their “collections”.
I’m super grateful for our large fenced in backyard!
7 month old yells loudly. Out of snacks. I grab another handful of cheerios and plop them on his tray. I tidy up the living room and dining room while watching the kids through our large windows.
4:15 // I see 3 year old peeing on a tree. Once upon a time I would have told him no and to come inside to pee. But...why? Peeing outside is fun. He’s in our own backyard. Plus....his dad taught him, so, yeah.
4:16 // I see 2 year old trying to pee on a tree. Poor girl.
“Eliza, you need to come inside to go potty. Girls go potty sitting down”
She surprisingly complies and comes in the house to go potty. I’m stunned.
“Thank you for listening, Missy! I’m so proud of you for being obedient!”
4:20 // 2 year old runs outside completely naked and 7 month old is screaming wildly in his highchair. I pick up the babe and tell 2 year old to please come in and get some clothes on. She continues to run around the yard.
“We cannot play outside without clothes. Please come in and get dressed first”. Nothing. Not even a side glance my way. Just streaking through our yard. Again, so thankful for our very tall fence!
I put 7 month old in his baby seat outside and go get 2 year old.
Wise words from a wise mom ring in my mind “At that age you have to bring them to obedience.” I pick up 2 year old and bring her into the house. She, of course, protests loudly. Once inside I remind her that we have to wear clothes outside and I try to help her get them back on.
4:30pm // I walk away from tantrum throwing toddler and remember I should probably come up with something for dinner. I need to make a meal plan. Actually, I have a meal plan. I need to stick with my meal plan and actually buy the necessary ingredients to make those meals.
Hiring a chef might be a good investment. I remind myself to talk to Hubs about that when he gets home.
4:32pm // 2 year old comes over and says “Sorry mommy” and hands me her swimsuit. My heart melts. I always describe her as a Sour Patch Kid. She can be super mean one minute, but she’s also very quick to apologize and make things right. She has the sweetest little personality.
I help her get dressed and she runs back outside.
4:40 // I bring 7 month old back into the house. He quickly eyes the floor and suddenly seems eager to get under the table and eat all the cheerios he dropped earlier.
4:42 // The trio come barging into the house, apparently dehydrated. After consuming gallons of water, I tell them we’re all done outside and we need to get out of our swimsuits. Thankfully they aren't wet anymore. Thank you Texas and your crazy summer heat! The kids insist on undies only. I don't really care, we're not going anywhere. Have at it.
4:50 // I ask the kiddos to please help me clean up.
We all sing the clean up song and start picking up the random toys and clothes around the house and putting them back where they belong. I turn on some music and we dance some of the crazy out before Daddy comes home.
5:00 // I remember again that I need to make dinner. I look through the fridge and the freezer and decide on baked chicken and vegetables. We basically eat this 5 times a week. Because it’s easy. And it’s healthy. And I don’t have a plethora of dishes to wash. It’s a one pan dish and I love the simplicity of that!
I gather my few ingredients and toss them into the pan and put the whole thing in the oven. Easy breezy!
5:06 // 2 year old comes in the kitchen….naked.
“Where are your clothes?!”
“I go pee-pee!”
“Did you go pee-pee in the potty?”
“I do it myself!”
“Great! Did you wipe?”
“I wipe myself!”
“Did you wash your hands?” Obviously she didn’t wash her hands. Duh. She can’t reach the sink. I pick her up and whisk her to the bathroom. We wash hands and then she quickly runs away before I can put her undies back on her. Insert eye roll here.
5:10 // 4 year old comes crying. 3 year old took the ball she was playing with.
“What should you do about it?”
“I don’t know!” Cries get louder.
“Maybe you could ask him to please give it back?”
She throws herself on the ground and cries even louder. As if that were even possible. I look at the clock. We’re so close!
“Okay!! Uppy ups! (I say weird things sometimes…) Let’s go!” 4 year old stops crying, probably stunned by my sudden burst of energy.
“Pax, that wasn’t kind. We don’t take things from people. Please give it back.” 3 year old tosses the ball near 4 year old.
“Thank you! Okay, Papa is coming home soon. Yay!!” In my own excitement I accidentally rile up the kids and the chaos of running and yelling commences. I shrug. At least they are excited he’s coming home!
I do my best to tame the crazy with mega blocks. I pull them out of the playroom closet and tell the kids to try and build the tallest tower in the world.
5:16 // I hear a chorus of yelling. Apparently 7 month old knocked over the tallest tower in the world.
5:17 // The Big Guy walks in the door! I’m sure he’s overwhelmed by the loudness of the welcoming party.
5:40 // We all eat dinner together and share our favorite part of the day and our not favorite part of the day. It’s one of the best parts of my day ;-)
6pm // We start our bedtime routine; go potty, brush teeth, get jammies on. The older 3 kids each pick one book and we take turns reading them, then we sing several songs.
6:20 // 7 month old gets his last bottle while we finish up our songs.
6:30 // I take the boys in their room, sing the night night song, and put the baby in his crib. 3 year old climbs into his bed and I snuggle with him and tickle his back for a minute.
6:35 // I go into the girl’s room, sing the night night song and put 2 year old in her crib. 4 year old whines that she just can’t fall asleep. I remind her that she doesn’t need to worry about falling asleep. All she needs to do is lay down and rest.
6:40 // I come downstairs to my Handsome Fella cleaning up from dinner and the whirlwind of the evening.
I breathe a sigh of relief. I did it. I made it through another day. The kids are all still alive, we had lots of fun, we shared our big emotions, maneuvered through all the tantrums and we survived it all!
*not all of the pictures are from the same day. I mean, who can possibly capture every moment in one single day?! Well, I'm sure some can. But this lady can not