A Day in the Life

7:30 Will the baby go back to sleep? She’s quiet…

7:54 No.

8:06 Morning ablutions with a fussy toddler on my hip. Meanwhile, elder DD has gone into the living room to watch YouTube.

8:10 Checking email while snagging breakfast. One important student email I need to respond to is flagged for later. I grab two breakfast burritos out of the freezer and jam them in the microwave. Husband can drive through McD’s tomorrow because I’m almost out of this batch of breakfast burritos — mental note to make another batch this weekend. With the toddler still on my hip, I grab a can of soda off the back porch. It’s too warm to keep storing my drinks on the back porch — mental note to bring it in. Sometimes when the toddler isn’t screaming at me to come back inside. Her separation anxiety is fierce. Meanwhile, the older is still watching YouTube. I think about saying something but don’t. The microwave beeps and the toddler demand my breakfast.

8:15 Trying to persuade the older child to eat breakfast is always a losing battle. Her gastroesophageal reflux tends to make her queasy in the morning. Nevertheless, I make her two pieces of cinnamon toast and get her a glass of water for her Prilosec.

8:20 While DD’s toast browns, I try to eat my breakfast and respond to email, but the toddler sits on my lap and eats all the sausage out of my burritos. DD is still watching YouTube.

8:25 The toast has been retrieved from the toaster and offered to the eldest child. Her Prilosec has been taken, anyway. I settle back in at my desk with the toddler, trying to finish answering my email.

8:37 Where did the time go? The toddler is wandering around the living room, wreaking havoc. The eldest child is still watching YouTube. I tell her that we will do school in 10 minutes and open up the tab for Facebook.

9:01 It’s a good thing eldest daughter wasn’t paying attention because I wasn’t either. The toddler has curled up on the Boppy in my lap and is nursing peacefully. I decide not to disturb her.

9:07 So much for peaceful nursing.

9:15 Having overcome the vociferous objections to doing academic work, I wrangled the child to the dining room table. Once she is actually seated, she works quickly. We do the math, poem memorization, composition, grammar, handwriting, history, and I decide to do Latin in the car, listening to the CD and repeating it.

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10:20 I pick up the science book and start reading it to her, but then realize that we don’t have enough time to finish it because we all have to get dressed and tidied before the sitter gets here. I finish the paragraph.

10:25 The girls’ room is a mess. No time to clean. Must find suitable outfits for both. Of course, the younger child needs her diaper changed right now!

10:30 Strenuously objecting to the diaper change, younger daughter has run away half naked while I’m still not dressed for work. At least elder daughter is dressed, although she’s hungry, finally.

10:35 Younger daughter caught and dressed; bean burrito plucked out of the freezer and microwaving for elder daughter; I venture into my clean laundry pile. I need to buy some un-stained tops.

10:40 Finally, we are all dressed. I grab a cucumber out of the refrigerator and quickly slice some up. Cucumber in a little glass bowl, tomato slices in a bowl, chopped cold chicken in a bowl, bean burrito cut up on a plate, and applesauce poured into a bowl equals lunch for the older daughter. An extra handful of Cheerios, a pouch with some applesauce, and some diced cucumber for younger daughter means lunch is pretty much done. I grab a protein bar and another soda and frantically put away toys in the living room while I wait for the babysitter.

10:47 Of course sitter is running late. I pay almost 25% of my take-home salary in babysitting fees, and I am lucky to get her.

10:50 I deposit my screaming toddler in the arms of the college age babysitter and harden my heart as I walk away. She will be okay. It is only two hours. I try not to think about her tears as I walk downstairs.

10:52 I load my whiteboard and prep for class. I transfer all of my attention to my students. They’re my sole concern for the next two hours. Compartmentalization is a skill, and I can exercise it.

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12:52 Hopefully I have been entertaining enough, engaging enough, and had enough relevant expertise to keep up with these fiercely bright and curious students today. My noon section was particularly on the ball, and I just needed a light hand to steer the conversation. They created their own lightbulb moment. I love teaching.

12:53 Back to motherhood. All is silent upstairs.

12:55 I quietly write a check for the sitter. She transfers the sleeping toddler into my arms, and of course, she wakes up. Her face is torn stained, and she grabs me, holding tight. I settle down at my desk to nurse her, but she-she doesn’t want to go back to sleep. She wiggles and twists and turns while she nurses. Meanwhile, eldest had settled on the sofa with a book, but since her sister is awake, she decides to go back to Minecraft.

1:11 The toddler wants to go outside, but I need to check the discussion forums in my classes. She wanders over to the window and bangs on it, while I load up Blackboard.

1:46 Only 45 minutes before we need to load up in the car. Of course, the toddler needs a new outfit. This one is smeared with the beans from her sister’s lunch.

2:06 I decide to load them up a bit early. It takes a half an hour to get anywhere, and this way we will have enough time to run through McDonald’s for an afternoon snack. Elder daughter grabs her Kindle to read in the car.

2:33 The toddler is screaming loudly when we drive through McDonald’s. Of course. I order an extra small french fry, in hopes that she’s just cranky because she’s hungry.

2:40 Having devoured the French fries, the toddler falls asleep. Unfortunately, I have to wake her up in 15 minutes to walk her sister into therapy.

2:55 Everybody out of the car. I snuggle the cranky, sleepy toddler in the mei tail so I can have my hands free while we walk in.

3:00 Big sister dropped off, we wait in the waiting room. I wonder how often they clean the toys and make polite conversation with the apparently harassed mother of two. Hers would look 3.5 and 2 if I had to guess. She’s got fabulous hair.

3:30 Big sister is finished, time to load everybody back into the car so I can go home and make dinner. I belatedly remember Latin, but I can’t figure out how to pause the CD in the car, and they speak so fast, I’m not sure it’s useful.

4:00 Time for dinner. Too hot for the planned Salisbury steak, I decide to make spaghetti Carbonara. It’s not much lighter, but it’s quick. Plus, I have a ham that needs to be eaten, and as expensive as that was, it’d be a shame to waste it.

4:07 Thank goodness Dear Husband arrives home. He takes the cranky, hungry toddler, while I chop ham, and eldest daughter complains about being bored.

4:27 Spaghetti is boiling, so I quickly write up the recipe as a possible submission to the faculty blog.

4:53 Dinner is on the table, and so is the toddler. I call the eldest daughter away from the computer, asking her to tell my mom that dinner is ready. She’d arrived home from work while I was cooking, but I’ve not yet talked to her today.

5:01 Why does the eldest child not want to eat this?! She gobbled it down last week!

5:03 My mother asks me if there’s egg in the sauce. Of course, there is. “Why are you letting her eat it?” Bad Mommy. I had forgotten that the allergist recommended the toddler avoid egg. *sigh*

5:45 Everyone has drifted away from the table, but I’m not clearing it. I need to check my email, and frankly, I’m tired. DH has gone outside with the girls, so I take a moment to call a potential Birth To Three client, review a specialty developmental assessment with my mother, balance the bank account, and return parent email.

6:37 I venture on the back porch, where DH and I have a tense discussion about the need to replace our 15-year-old car. The girls are filthy and will need baths.

7:09 I vegetate on Facebook while Dear Husband runs a bath for the girls.

7:29 I commence operation Scrub The Children. This is a complex, multi-part operation with up to four different players, which can easily take an hour.

8:34 I decide I need a shower.

9:06 Time to nag the eldest child to brush her teeth.

9:16 I try to quickly return a parent email, only to realize I’ve lost an important file. It takes me a good 25 minutes to find it, while DH wrangles the children into pajamas.

9:45 I attempt to nurse the toddler to sleep, but she’s discovered that Daddy is awake in the next room reading science to her sister, and she wants no part of a dull, dark room with Mommy. Three tries are required before she eventually falls asleep.

10:46 Dear Husband finally slips into bed with me, but we’re both so fried, we putter on electronic devices instead of talking.

11:30 I shut off my Kindle, as Allan Bloom is no longer making sense.

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Courtney– Courtney is a relatively recent, accidental homeschooler of the secular, classical persuasion. Courtney has been teaching online (mostly community college algebra) since 2000 while working towards a ridiculous number of college credits for teaching certifications in general science, social studies, and visual impairments. Along the way, she’s done substitute teaching, face-to-face college adjuncting, technical writing, web design, public relations, data analysis, teaching in a public school, homeschool portfolio evaluations, providing vision education services for Birth To Three, and a whole host of “other duties as assigned.” In her spare time, she enjoys reading, photography, cooking, sewing clothes, and other various domestic arts. She lives in the middle of the Appalachian mountains on the east coast of the USA with her husband, her two children, and her mother. Her family’s menagerie currently consists of a dog, assorted lizards, assorted cichlid fish, and assorted cats.

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