If there's one thing that parents are made aware of very early on in their parenting careers, it's that flexibility is key. It's very unlikely that things will turn out the way you expected them to, and you need to be able to roll with that. Liz, mom of 7-year-old twins Carter and Emma, 5-year-old Sydney and 8-month old Caleb found that out when her twins were born nearly two months premature.
Before their birth, Liz had planned to go back to her full-time job at a software tech firm. However, after realizing that her twins would need at least two years of physical, occupational and speech therapy, Liz decided to become a stay-at-home mom.
Her desire to get back into the working world a few years later in a capacity that would allow her to spend more time with her growing family, led her on a different career path that eventually ended up where she is now, working as a grantwriter at Discovery World, sometimes onsite and sometimes at home.
Check out a day in her life on one of those "work at Discovery World" days.
12:30 a.m.: Caleb wakes up and needs to eat. I quickly make a bottle, change him, feed him and get him back to bed.
4:20 a.m.: Caleb wakes up and needs to eat. I quickly make a bottle, change him, feed him and get him back to bed. I am now up for the day and go downstairs, feed my dog, unload my dishwasher and throw on my workout clothes.
5:20 a.m.: I go out for a six-mile run.
6:15 a.m.: I'm back home preparing breakfast for the three older kids.
6:45 a.m.: Carter wakes up, I give him his medicine and get him set up at the table to eat. He has ADHD and takes his meds around 7 a.m. and a half-dose at school mid-day. The longer I give him to eat and relax in the morning, the easier it is to transition to getting ready for school.
7:00 a.m.: Sydney wakes up and wants to eat and have me help her put on new pajamas. She's very strong-willed and likes to have things her way. So she didn't like the jammies I had put her in the night before, so now she's wearing what she wants. I can start to hear Caleb waking up in his crib. He's not crying, just making noise, so I leave him alone.
7:20 a.m.: I wake up Emma. I then make Sydney's bed, Carter's bed, my bed and get Caleb out of his crib.
7:30 a.m.: I wake up Emma again and need to be a little bit more naggy because she likes to sleep. I put away three loads of laundry I had done the night before while Caleb plays on the ground in my room.
7:45 a.m.: I set up Caleb on the bathroom floor with toys and quickly take a shower and get ready for work. Dry shampoo and ponytails are my friends. I like to at least dress nicely and put on makeup, but my hair rarely gets done for work.
8 a.m.: I corral the big kids upstairs to get dressed for school. As I'm doing so, I clean up their dishes and load them in the dishwasher and start running that. I also quickly throw oneof the pre-made puree mixes that I'd created on the weekend for Caleb into the microwave.
Nag, nag, nag, get dressed, faster, please hurry up. I watch while they brush teeth and use lice spray, and do the girls' hair. The kids are required to use a timer when brushing their teeth so they brush long enough and are not allowed to leave the house without using lice spray after having gotten them twice last year. I straighten anything that got messed up in their bedrooms and put Caleb's clothes on for the day.
8:20 a.m.: I bring Caleb downstairs and start feeding him his breakfast. In the meantime, the big kids take their lunches and water bottles out of the fridge and pack their backpacks.
8:30 a.m.: Our nanny, Leah, comes over and takes over feeding Caleb. Nag, nag, nag, get on your shoes and coat. Grab your stuff, please get in my car.
8:35 a.m.: I brief Leah on anything important for the baby and Sydney (who comes home at noon from 4K).
8:40 a.m.: I leave to take the kids to school. I drop them off, give hugs and kisses, and off to work I go.
4 p.m.: I leave the office, sit in traffic (hooray!) and try to get home to beat the bus, which comes at 4:30pm.
4:40 p.m.: Since I usually don't beat the bus... I come home and check in with Leah about how the day went. I chat about the rest of the week and say goodbye to her. I pick up the baby and get the big kids off their iPads since I wasn't home to intercept them and have them do their homework first thing. I sit down and do our math and reading homework. In the meantime, I put Caleb in a bouncer or hold him while helping the kids with questions on homework and packing their snacks and lunches for the next day. Sydney is allowed to watch TV during this time.
4:55 p.m.: I quickly grab the diaper bag and leave to take Emma to swim practice. Homework is usually half-done and waiting for us on the dining room table. While at practice, Carter and Sydney use coloring books, and I hold Caleb while watching Emma. Carter tried swimming for a bit, but really didn't like it, so we all support Emma.
6:10 p.m.: I'm back home throwing food on the table while the kids finish their homework. If I got my act together over the weekend, there's actually good food to serve them that I can re-heat. If not, they are treated to scrambled eggs, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, grilled cheese or veggie burgers that I can nuke and be done with. I throw in a few quasi-healthy sides, and they start eating.
6:25 p.m.: Caleb has inevitably fallen asleep on the ride home from practice, so I wake him up and feed him some of the purees from the fridge. Again, I nuke for 20 seconds to remove the chill, mix some concoctions (sweet potatoes, cauliflower, squash, whatever) and he's good to go. I chat about the day with the kids while I feed Caleb and they eat. We got a small TV for the dining room that I connected to an antenna, and they're allowed to watch PBS Kids on there while they eat, so I put that on once Caleb is done eating.
6:45 p.m.: I throw in a load of laundry and clean dishes as they kids finish their food. I feed the dog and let him out.
7:00 p.m.: Everyone heads upstairs to take showers. Emma goes first because her hair is wet from swimming. Caleb likes to lie in the hallway and laughs at the antics of the big kids while they scream and get crazy in the shower. The kids bathe themselves, but I quiz them on what they've washed before letting them get out. I also look at their hair to make sure all the shampoo is out. Meanwhile, I unmake their beds and throw p.j.s for each child in the hallway so they can get dressed after their showers. I also put toothpaste on brushes and get out their brushing timers.
7:25 p.m.: Once Sydney is out of the shower, I help her dry off and get on her jammies because her little wet body can't seem to get jammies on, and it's not worth the fight. Everyone brushes their teeth. They are then sent into the twins' room to read books together.
7:30 p.m.: I bathe Caleb and get him ready for bed. I turn on the heater, noise machine and get his swaddle blanket ready.
7:30 p.m.: I run down to make a bottle and tell the kids to quiet down. Sometimes I bribe them with an iPad to watch a show while I feed Caleb, depending on how tired he is. If I want it really quiet, the iPad comes out because reading time can turn into jumping-on-the-bed time.
8:05 p.m.: I finish feeding Caleb and put him in bed. I tuck everyone else in; inevitably someone has to pee again or needs a drink of water.
8:10 p.m.: I head downstairs and start to make dinner for my husband Peter and me. He's sometimes home already; other times, he's stuck at the office and just getting home. If I was on my game, I would have something nice prepared for him previously that I could reheat. If not, he gets a chicken breast sandwich and a salad or something of the like. I'm an almost-vegan, so I make myself a giant salad and I'm good. At this point, I just want to go to bed and don't even care if I eat.
8:15 - 8:45 p.m.: I go up and down the stairs to tell people to stop talking, go to bed, be quiet....
8:45 p.m.: I eat dinner, chat with Peter and zone out watching bad TV. I make sure to clean up all of our dishes because I don't want to see them in the morning. I put the laundry in the dryer and look at the calendar for anything that I need to remember for the next day.
10 p.m.: I go to bed as quietly as I can so I don't wake up Caleb, whose crib is in our room.
If asked what is priority for me, I'd say everything. When I have discussions with Peter about my stress level and what to cut out, I simply don't know. I like to keep my house very neat, I like to do my own laundry and want to monitor my children's habits so they're done right. I also love working and my job and love teaching spinning. Lastly, I love to run and have run several marathons and half marathons. I did a half when Caleb was three months old and it was so trying after such a short time since his birth. I've got another half in May that I want to be closer to my pre-Caleb time so I need to keep on my training runs. So, that's not going away either. So life continues to be chaotic and that's okay.