A Day in the Life with a 10 Month Old

I think the last DITL post I did was when Avery was 5 months old. Life is very different now… 

5am 

Avery woke in her crib. Although the previous evening had been rough, she slept from 12am-3am, and then from 3:10-5am. It was a good night!! At 5, I brought her into our bed where she slept in for another hour and a half. 

6:30am 

Got up, got dressed, wife changed Avery’s diaper, I brought Avery downstairs to start the day while my wife got ready for work. 

7am 

Morning routine involves carrying Avery for the whole thing or she will steal the cats’ food from their bowls while they take forever to eat. We fed the cats, went outside to let the chickens out and check their food and water, went back inside to make coffee and prepare our breakfasts, and then I buckled Avery into her booster seat so I could FINALLY have my arms free, and we ate. Oatmeal and canned peaches for both of us. 

7:30am

Wife left for work and we saw her off. Then I drank my coffee while Avery played in the living room. I caught up on watching some Vloggers I follow. 

8:15am

Avery was getting tired and winding down for a nap. I read her some books and then snuggled in to nurse her to sleep. This morning she napped in my lap on the couch. My wife had asked me to make a Pinterest board of cottage bathroom ideas for their family cottage rebuild, so I spent the nap doing that and writing out a cathartic blog post about how I felt I wasn’t getting anywhere with work (while I sat there under a sleeping baby perusing Pinterest)… 

10:30am

She was still sleeping!! 2 hour nap!! I had to wake her up because my bladder was bursting. Changed her diaper and got her dressed for the day. I set her up with some toys outside the bathroom door so I could do my hair (a once every two week occurrence) but she chose to play with the toilet paper roll instead and unrolled it all over the bathroom and broke it up into little pieces. Whatever keeps her busy, as long as it’s safe… 

11am 

Snacks for both of us, and I watched and cheered as Avery practiced pulling herself up onto things. 

11:30am 

Grocery shopping. I love grocery shopping with this baby… She loves sitting in the cart and observing her surroundings, and she kept leaning forward and giving me hugs as I pushed the cart. 

12:30pm 

Put away groceries and had lunch. I couldn’t come up with a meal idea for me so I ate the other half of her banana. She didn’t mind my lack of creativity in cheerios for lunch. 

1pm 

Diaper change, tidied the kitchen and cleaned her meal area (baby-led weaning is a messy business). Played together for a few minutes until she was settled and entertained and then did some administrative tasks like paying bills, printing some tax documents (we were selected for a random review of our tax submission) and checking emails. 

1:30pm

Nap time. We’ve been having good luck with naps on the couch lately with the tv on quietly. I think the background noise (it’s really quiet) works for her even better than her sound machine. So I laid couch cushions on the floor in the living room and nursed her to sleep with Harry potter on in the background. It took 5 minutes for her to fall asleep. 

While she napped I read some blog comments, did the dishes, cleaned the fridge, and cut up some melon for snacks later.  

2:30pm

She woke up on the wrong side of the couch cushions. She whined and climbed up my legs while I did a load of laundry and made dinner. 

3:30pm

I took her for a stroller walk because I needed to escape the whineiness. It helped, but you can see from her face in the picture that she still wasn’t pleased. 

4:30pm

We got home, and then 5 minutes later wife got home. We caught up on our days while I laid on the floor sweating my ass off from the walk with a clingy baby climbing all over me. 

5pm

Avery was signing that she was hungry and was making a pretty big fuss about it, so I fed her half an hour before her usual dinner time. We ate when my wife finished getting changed out of work clothes and preparing herself for the evening of baby time ahead. I made spaghetti squash with a dairy-free, beefy alfredo sauce. It was super good, and Avery approved. She kept taking seconds off of my plate. 

6pm 

Played together as a family before bedtime

6:30pm

Wife took Avery upstairs for their bedtime routine (change diaper and put in pajamas, tooth brushing), and then I took over to finish up bedtime (nurse while reading books, then lullaby, and rock the rest of the way to sleep. 

7:30pm

Avery was asleep by 7, but we’ve had such trouble with transfers to the crib lately that I held her for and extra 30 minutes before putting her down. Wife washed dinner dishes while I was upstairs with Avery. 

8pm

First waking, easy to rock back to sleep. 

9:30pm

Woke again, wife put back to sleep. 

10pm

Woke again, I nursed her to sleep and went to bed myself. I could go on recording the up’s and downs through the night, but bedtime seems like a good place to end the day. 

*
It was a boring day and a busy day all at the same time. That’s the way things are right now. Sorry I don’t have any exciting stories to regale you with, but this is the real, monotonous, life of an at-home mom with a 10 month old. I totally understand the saying that with a baby, “the days are long, but the years are short”. 

Edit6pm: played for a bit but Avery was tired-cranky. Wife took her up for bed at 6:30 and they did their thing (diaper, pajamas, moisturize, tickle fight, tooth brushing, quiet play time) and I joined at 6:45 for our routine (nurse while reading books in dimly lit room, then rock to the rest of the wagi

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The Work-At-Home-Parent

I see a lot of posts on social media about what it means to be a stay at home parent or a working parent, how these parents made the decision to stay at home or go back to work, and the guilt and pressures they feel about their decision (because ALL parents feel guilt). I find I can’t relate to these articles about how to be productive as a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM), or how to deal with guilt over leaving your kids with someone else all day as a working parent. I don’t see posts about work at home parents, and I think that we have a unique experience that should be shared. 

I take care of my baby full time with the exception of a few hours some weekends when I escape to a coffee shop to get some focused work done. I took a 4 month leave from all other duties when she was born, but then returned to my two work duties: I do work with a not for profit, and I’m a part time PhD student. I currently set my own hours, but I have timelines and deadlines to meet. I make very little money. Here’s how I made my decision to be a WAHM, and the struggles, guilt and pressure I feel about my decision. I suppose I should end on a happy note, so I’ll also share the great parts of my arrangement. 

*recycling an old photo I took for a previous post about being a WAHM

The Decision

 The decision to be a WAHM was really a decision to become a mom while I was still a grad student. We thought about waiting until I had a paying job to start our family, but the future was uncertain (when would I finish, would I find a job, would the career path be forgiving of taking a parental leave…). We also liked the idea of saving money on childcare if I could manage both school and baby, since I work from home at this stage in my PhD. My not for profit work was the same deal. I was already involved, and figured that as long as I could balance everything, I’d keep it up after the baby came (turns out I couldn’t balance that many things, so I’m resigning from the NFP at the end of my term at the end of this month). 

The Struggles 

  • There’s an expectation that because I’m home and don’t have billable hours that I’m free to run errands and do extra cleaning and household tasks. While it’s true that I can throw laundry in and prep dinner while I work from home, every household task that I throw into the mix takes away time that I could/should be working. And I actually love cleaning, so if my wife points out how dirty it is behind the fridge, I’m going to want to clean the kitchen instead of get work done. And I have very little self control. 
  • Self control… I’m a good self-directed worker as long as the work is peaking my interest, but if there is something more interesting to do – like play with the baby or clean that part of the house that has been bothering me – I struggle with the self control to get Work done. 
  • Taking care of the baby is often not labeled as work, so if I work part time on school, there’s an expectation that I have part time hours to devote to something else. My life would be infinitely more balanced and supported (and I would feel I finitely more validated) if parenting was seen as legitimate Work in the eyes of our society. 

The Guilt

  • Because I’m doing my PhD part time now to accommodate parenting, it’ll be longer before I can contribute financially to the family in a meaningful way. I’m also not taking on the little paid side projects I used to do. 
  • I sometimes have to turn the TV on to distract the baby when her toys have become boring and I need to keep working.
  • I worry that she’ll think she’s being ignored because I’m not engaging with her, when really I’m trying so hard to peel my attention off of her and how cute she is so I can focus on my work. I don’t want her to think that I prefer looking at my laptop over her. 
  • I also don’t want her to learn that it’s ok to ignore people when you have a shiny screen in front of you. 

    How I Manage

    • I let her nap in the way that she’ll nap the longest and most soundly – on me in the Moby wrap. Despite how hard we’re trying to control her night time sleep habits, naps are when I get the most guilt free work done. There’s no way I’m giving up 2 hour naps, even if I need to stand and sway for the whole time. I stand at my computer and it works beautifully, despite the sore legs and back. 
    • I enlist the help of my wife or my mom to watch her for a few hours a week while I go to particularly long meetings or do some intense focused work at a coffee shop. This was trickier when she breastfed every hour and a half and she refused to take the bottle, and tricky again when she was in the thick of stranger anxiety, and I’m sure we have yet to hit the peak of separation anxiety. But when we can make it work, it helps me a lot. 
    • I take her to short meetings and I am unapologetic about it. If a meeting is scheduled during her nap time or after bedtime (don’t go there…) I ask to reschedule or I decline. I also don’t hesitate to let her nurse during a meeting if she needs to, although now she is old enough to wait for the duration of most meetings. She has gotten really good at sitting next to me and playing with her toys while I’m in meetings. *it wasn’t always this easy though – the first big meeting I went to with her was when she was 1 month old and she screamed bloody murder the whole time. #Colic. 
    • I’m kind to myself. If society doesn’t constantly remind me how important and valid a job it is to be a parent, I’ll do it myself. My daughter is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of my day, and work will always come second. I’m lucky enough to be able to have these priorities and not get fired for it. 

      The Best Parts

      • I don’t miss a thing. I see every First and have an intensely close attachment with my baby. 
      • Things like laundry and meal prep are usually within my daily priority list, which makes our evenings and weekends a little more open to do fun family things. 
      • If my baby is sick or if we’ve had a particularly rough night, we can stay in our pyjamas all day and the Work can wait. 

        If you work from home with a baby, what are some of your lessons learned, challenges, guilty feelings… and what’s great about it?