I decided to write a quick post about what our days look like right now, before this little girl is born and the whole thing changes and I can’t even remember what life (or our routine) was like before her. I realize this won’t be thrilling for most people but sometimes I enjoy looking back at my own blog posts years later, okay?
5am. My alarm goes off. I press the snooze button once because the coffee starts brewing at 5am and I want it to be done by the time my feet hit the floor. Here’s more on why I started getting up at 5am and how I do it.
5:10am. Actually get out of bed and go downstairs. Make a cup of coffee and sit down on the couch with my feet up on the ottoman and my cozy blanket. Settle in with my computer to get some work done before Ben wakes up. Usually I poke around the internet while I sip my coffee and wake up a little so I don’t always get a full two hours of work done in the morning – usually like an hour to an hour and a half.
7-7:30am. Ben wakes up. Change him and bring him downstairs. Give him a small cup of milk (he is not a kid who likes to eat right when he wakes up). He either decides to play with toys for a bit or starts bringing me books. We generally read about 5-15 books in this slow wake up morning time, depending on his mood.
At some point we listen to The Daily (Usually while he asks several times for “cookie” i.e. songs sung by Cookie Monster and I tell him that it’s important to be informed so we need to listen to the news. He doesn’t get this, cause he’s 2, but he’s easily distracted). I usually pop upstairs to wash my face and brush my teeth while he’s hanging out and I empty the dishwasher. After The Daily we’re probably listening to “The Best of Elmo”.
8:30am ish. Breakfast. Ben eats scrambled eggs with spinach and cheese almost every day. If he’s still hungry he’ll also have some fruit. I take forever to get hungry in the morning so sometimes I have my overnight oats now and sometimes I wait until later.
While Ben eats I do my hair and makeup. True story, I curl my hair using a tiny mirror from a makeup palette propped up against the coffee pot on the kitchen counter, usually while I scramble the eggs. I use the method I learned from Jen @thesisterstudioig (it’s saved in her stories under hair – click through to the one where she’s wearing a grey and white striped top) but it’s just 4-5 curls per side of your hair and you only do the top layer so it takes less than 5 minutes. Game changer.
While he eats I do my makeup in the full length mirror nearby. I keep my makeup in the drawer of our kitchen island. My whole routine is pretty quick but makes me feel put together for the day.
9:30am. We both get dressed for the day and sometimes have some upstairs time (in his room) with more reading. We have books everywhere. If I sit down, he takes it as a cue to start bringing me books. I’m glad he loves to read but also sometimes a girl just wants to sit down, ya know?
Generally we’ll come back downstairs and do some sort of indoor activity – playdoh, coloring, painting, trains, or a new favorite, sorting blocks with kitchen tongs. I get a lot of ideas from the Instagram account @busytoddler.
While he’s playing I usually try to ask him questions about objects or engage with him to sort things or name things or talk about where we got them. I also kind of narrate my day to him throughout the day because I’ve read that is helpful for language development.
10am. Usually if we aren’t out of the house by 10 or 10:30, Ben starts to get kind of rowdy. Our house is pretty small and we need a change of scenery. This is when I take him to a music class, museum, or the playground. Snacks happen while we’re out and about. Sometimes on the way back we run an errand or two (usually the grocery store).
10:20am. My bestie calls me and I talk to her on the phone on her drive to work (in California), usually while walking or driving to whatever activity we’re doing. Sometimes we’re still home and just hanging out. It really depends on Ben’s mood and how he’s doing with independent play and more importantly, not jumping on the couch.
12pm. Home and lunch time. Post lunch he plays for a little bit while I clean up and load the dishwasher. Usually we’re listening to the “Best of Elmo” soundtrack AGAIN and it’s slowly killing me but he loves it.
12:45pm-1:15pm. Ben goes down for a nap. I put him down and then come straight downstairs and clean up for a few minutes. I struggle to work when the house is messy (sometimes I miss having a legit office) so I have to get it done for productivity’s sake.
1:45pm ish. Clock in to work. I could have the TV or music on in the background but I never do. I like the quiet, especially after spending all morning with a toddler (and usually lots of other toddlers).
3:15-4pm. Ben wakes up. We come downstairs and have some quiet time while he eats a snack and plays. Usually I set up some sort of activity during this time. Sometimes if he’s in an independent, chill mood (like right now), I keep working or write a blog post (like I’m doing right now).
Real time update: He’s currently moving his blocks across the living room using kitchen tongs. Working those fine motor skills lol.
4:30pm. Put Ben in the Wildbird and walk Archie to the park. This is currently my least favorite part of the day because carrying a 30lb. toddler while 8 months pregnant is not the most fun thing. Also Archie really likes to find the perfect spot so he takes forever. Ben isn’t quite good enough at following directions and waiting while Archie hunts for said spot to be just walking with me. Can’t I just put him on a leash too and walk them both together? Something I consider daily and decide against for fear of judgement lol.
5pm. We usually spend the hour before dinner at the playground nearest our house.
6pm. Head home to start dinner. Ben eats a snack on the walk home (i.e. I bribe him with a clementine to get him to leave) Ben loves being the sous chef so he sits on the counter while I cook, making it kind of a juggling act. Sometimes I put him in his high chair and let him stir if I’m making a sauce of some kind. He’s a weirdly careful kid and we’ve managed without any major spills.
6:50pm. NAV GETS HOME. Very important part of the day because sometimes I’m like super mom and wife and he walks in to a lovely scene and sometimes I’m melting down by this point.
Real time update: Ben is now rummaging through the drawer with all the kitchen utensils, selecting which ones he’d like to use on his playdoh. I set him up across from me at the kitchen table with some playdoh and said kitchen utensils and he occupies himself for a bit longer.
7pm. We eat dinner all together. This is a recent development when I decided that Ben likes all food enough to just eat whatever we eat. It’s also later than I used to feed him but I just added a snack as sort of an appetizer. It’s been so much easier. I usually make him a side of a simple veggie if I think he won’t eat much of what I’ve made us.
7:15pm. Yes, we eat fast lol. Ben and Nav have wrestling time/Dad hangout time. Nav usually takes over the parenting from here. They hang for a few and then start bath time if it’s a bath night.
I should put my feet up for a few here but usually I start cleaning up from dinner and picking up toys etc. If I’ve done a good job of keeping the house in order throughout the day (always the goal, not always the result), there may not be too much to do and I’ll sit on the couch and scroll (as one does).
7:45pm. Nav gets Ben dressed for bedtime and reads him a few books in his dim room for wind down time. I come upstairs and we all say goodnight together and put Ben in his crib. Nav and I head downstairs and he finishes up the dishes from dinner. Sometimes I shower during this time. Sometimes I shower in the morning while Ben flips through books in his crib. Sometimes I shower at 6:50am right before Ben wakes up and right before Nav needs to get in the shower for work.
During this chunk of time Nav and I hang out. Sometimes we play a board game. Our favorite is Azul (affiliate link – one of the only ones that’s truly fun with two players, we’ve discovered). Sometimes Nav plays video games on his Switch next to me on the couch while I read or watch something on TV. On Mondays and Thursdays football is probably on. I don’t watch much TV anymore so unless there is something we are binging together (like if a new season comes out of a show we like), the other nights we might not even have the TV on. God we’re so weird and quiet and boring but I really like it this way. Let’s be honest, there’s some internet scrolling in here too. And plenty of chatter about politics, life logistics, or our current favorite topic – where we’re going to live and where the good school systems are. More on that here.
9:30pm. The time I say I’m going to bed but never actually do. Nav preps the coffee pot for me for the next morning (one of my favorite sweet gestures) and makes his lunch. I make the overnight oats for both of us.
10:05pm. The time I actually go wash my face and brush my teeth and get in bed. I usually read until I fall asleep or let’s be honest, I’m on Pinterest.
So that’s what our days look like right now. I really enjoy the routine from like Monday to Thursday but by Friday I’m excited to have Nav home for the weekend and mix things up. We always stick pretty closely to nap time when we can because tired toddlers are the ultimate wildcard.
You might notice that there’s no screen time in here. It’s not a thing we’re doing right now. We used to do maybe an episode of Sesame Street every other day but I felt like it was causing meltdowns when we turned it off so we just quit, cold turkey.
Now the only screen time he gets is either on long road trips in the car or if he doesn’t seem to be feeling well (which is rare). Sometimes you just need a good Disney movie and snuggles, ya know?
It’s definitely harder this way and sometimes I want to turn something on for a little break but it’s not worth the inevitable meltdown. I feel like fully taking it off the table helped me. Now it doesn’t come into my mind as an option (it helps that we canceled our HBO subscription so we have no easy access to Sesame Street anymore). It’s made it easier to find alternatives because the more that we don’t do it, the more practice I have at entertaining him without it. I think he’s gotten a lot better at independent play as a result because he knows that I’m not going to entertain him and engage with him every second of the day (because I’m human).
No judgement if you do screen time. I could see it making its way back into our life once I’m trying to breastfeed a newborn and entertain a toddler. That seems hard.
Overall I think that the expression “the days are long but the years are short” is crazy true for this time of my life. I’m so grateful every day that I get to spend my days with Ben. It’s by far the hardest job I’ve ever had but it’s so rewarding and special knowing that I’m the one in charge of building his little brain and teaching him about the world. What a job. I’m the luckiest.