A reader sent in this request to me recently:
“After reading your past posts i found myself wondering how on earth you find the time to do all the things you do. I guess i was kind of hoping that you might be able to find the time to sort of throw me together a schedule for an average day for you as a mother of four.”
As with all mums with active children, they set up of my day is primarliy dictated by the children’s activities that they have on any given day. There are however some fairly static and routine parts to my day and a typical day (if there is such a thing) would look a little something like this:
06.30AM – RISE AND SHINE
In the winter months, I have to set an alarm for this, but as the we move to the warmer months and the sun begins to rise earlier, my toddler and preschooler become my alarm.
Mr Infrastructure leaves at approximately 7.20am each morning, so I aim to shower, dress and do my hair first and he will eat breakfast with which ever children are up.
I then have breakfast with any children who are yet to eat.
07.30AM – PACKING LUNCHES AND TIDYING UP
I aim where possible to have done most of the lunch stuff the night before and will generally just have the sandwiches to make and fresh fruit to cut up.
Each of the children have a task to complete in tidying up after breakfast and making sure that there rooms are tidy. I complete the remaining tasks and if the morning has run smoothly, I will generally have time to put a load of washing on.
08.10AM – LEAVE FOR SCHOOL AND KINDER
We walk to school everyday and I may now need to move this time back to 8.00 soon, as the lovely toddler is starting to insist upon walking and he does slow down the process slightly.
We walk 1.5km to school and if it is a non kinder day, I will visit the children’s classrooms and say hello to their teachers. If it is a kinder day however, we will leave the two school boys at the gate and turn around and walk back to make it to kinder by 9.00am.
We are lucky enough to have kinder at the end of the street, so it is only a five minute walk home, once we have dropped her off.
09.15AM CHILDREN’S ACTIVITY
Once a week I take the toddler off to Playgroup. This is also at the school, so after I have taken care of the washing, we tend to drive the return journey back to the school and join a lovely group of mothers and children until about 10.45am.
On other mornings, I tend to spend this time playing with the kids or setting up an activity so I can prepare dinner. We usually stop at around 10.30am and have morning tea together.
11.00AM – HOUSEWORK
The children will either keep playing or if they are wanting to be with me, I try and find a way for them to “assist” me with the housework. Depending on what needs to be done, it may be folding the washing, vacuumng the floors or cleaning the toliets!
12.00 PM LUNCH
We have pretty basic lunches, things like toasted sandwiches, pasta with cheese or veggies sticks and dip. I try to vary where we eat lunch. Most often it is at the dinner table, but if it is a nice day we may go outside or if the children have been building cubby houses we will eat it in them.
After lunch, I will tidy up and quite often put the dishwasher on for its first run of the day. If the day is nice and we haven’t been outside, we will generally have a short play before Babaganouski goes down for his afternoon sleep.
1.00PM – NAP TIME
The toddler (2 y.o) naps every day and I endeavour to have read his story and have him in his cot by 1pm. Kinder finishes at 3pm and school at 3.15pm, so if he is down by 1pm, he can at least have two hours sleep.
At least once during the week and once on the week end, the preschooler (4.5 y.o) will have a nap. Which means that during the week I have about 3 out of the 5 days, when the house is quiet for at least 1.5 hours.
What I do during this time varies. If I haven’t cooked dinner in the morning, I will often do it then. I may do some more cleaning that I prefer the children not help me with or now that I am further along with my pregnancy, I may take a nana nap myself.
I find it valuable to have a 30 min nap in the day, to recharge my batteries. Quite often Mr I is not home until after 7.30pm. By having the nap I find that I am calmer and my patience is greater, which is often be needed in the after school/dinner session .
2.50PM – KINDER AND SCHOOL PICK UP
Often I have to wake up the toddler and we will walk up to kinder to do the pick up. We then will back home and hop in the car and drive to school and pick up the school boys.
I am very lucky to have a wonderful neighbour with whom I share the school pick ups with. This means that it is only 2-3 times a week that I have to do the school pick ups and we drop her son at his house, (in our street) on the way home. This does make a huge difference to the “busyness” of our weekly schedule. The preschooler is quite tired after her long day of kinder and having woken up the toddler for kinder pick up it is nice not to have to drag him around any further.
3.45PM – AFTERNOON TEA AND HOMEWORK
We sit together at the dinner table and have a bite to eat and a drink to catch up on the days most exciting news. The children will then have a relax and play until about 4.15pm, whilst I get organised for what is happening for the rest of the afternoon (unstack dishwasher, empty lunch boxes etc).
I need to listen to the 7 year old’s reading and the 9 year old needs to spend some time reading on his own. The 9 year old also has homework now as well. Not a lot thankfully but about 15 minutes each day.
5.00PM CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES / DINNER
We generally have at least two activities a week that run from about 5pm – 6pm. These are for the older boys and they can be dropped off and supervised at these activities (football or cricket training, Jiu Jitsu). Football season has just ended, so we are down only to one activity a week at the moment, which is just bliss! In October cricket will start and we will most likely have 3 sessions a week.
I was fortunate to have an arrangement with a great friend which meant that we shared the football training run between us, so we only had to do it each once a fortnight. Again these types of arrangements make a huge difference.
On the nights that we don’t have children’s activities, I aim to have us all eat (without Mr I) at about 5.30pm. This time suits the younger two better and I find that they eat so much more on the nights that we eat earlier.
On the night’s that we do have children’s activities, I definitely make sure that I have dinner made earlier in the day, (I factor this in to my menu plans) so we can eat together as soon as we get home from the activities.
6.00PM (ISH) BATHTIME AND TV/PC TIME
The two oldest children take quick showers daily at this time and the younger children have a bath. While they are cleaning themselves up, I clean up the remaining debris in the kitchen and dining room, stack the dishwasher and get it going.
The two older children tag between the shower and go about their nightly routines. I assist the younger two to scrub themselves, get out of the bath and get dressed.
Before they can move on to their 30 minutes of TV/PC time for the day, the children have to have returned their towels to the bathroom, placed their dirty clothes in the wash basket and tidied up any mess they have created.
We have only one TV and one PC for the children to use, so we have created a schedule for whose turn it is to do what. The children are quite expert in negotiating with each other, as there is always some level of sharing that has to occur here.
I use this time to finish cleaning up the dining room and kitchen and start getting out the necessary items for the lunches the following day. I also set the table for breakfast the following morning.
6.45PM (ISH) – TEETH, TOILET, STORIES
Only the 9 year old is responsible for brushing his own teeth at night, for the remaining three, they can have a go first, but then an adult must finish off the job.
The two younger children share a bedroom and while I am reading their chosen stories the older children can choose to listen or amuse themselves quietly while I finish this. The 9 year old will sometimes spend this time working on his assignments if he has any.
After tucking the two young ones into bed, I then read to the older two boys. I am currently reading the Harry Potter series for the second time. This is primarily 7 year old’s choice, but so that I read this longer, the 9 year old chooses this too.
7.30PM (ISH) – CHAT TIME
Mr I generally comes home during or after story time. We will have some time to catch up on each other’s day while he heats and eats his dinner. I will then head to the study to do some blogging stuff.
Sometimes if we have had a hectic day, Mr I will finish the tidying for me and set the breakfast table.
8.00PM (ISH) – BLOG TIME
At least four nights a week, I will spend about 2 hours blogging, reading blogs and working on some of my projects. Mr I generally takes care of the family ironing during this time, while watching the TV.
10.30PM (ish) – BED TIME
During the 30 Day Challenge, I am not sure if I made this time even once! To be honest it was generally after 11pm, which is less than ideal. However, now it is finished, I have promised Mr I that I will stick to my 10.30pm curfew.
And then we all know what happens after this – YES IT STARTS ALL OVER AGAIN!!!
I do try to make sure that I fit into the week things for me. I to go the gym 2 mornings during the school week, so get up at 5.55am to do this and then once on the weekend which is at the much more civilised hour of 8am.
Crafting and making stuff, I tend to do at night. With the two little ones, I just find it a bit too hard to get any of this type of stuff done with them around. I also have some beautiful friends that I try to catch up with sans children at night too.
Mr I and myself would probably go out together at night on our own, about once a month on average. I find that is also very important for us to have time together away from the kids so we can talk uninterrupted and share new experiences.
Both Mr I and myself are also supportive of each other having independent interests. During the last month, Mr I was home earlier more than usual and was very supportive about the amount of time I could have working on the 30 Day Challenge on the week ends.
Now it is my turn to support him, as he builds up his training program. Mr I is going to run the Melbourne Marathon this October (yes I do think he is crazy too!). Sunday mornings for Mr I over the last few weeks have meant early starts and running for a few hours and on week days running home from work to fit in the training runs.
The balance in my life is not always as even as I would like it, but it is something that I am conscious of and do work at.
How do you fit in your stuff into your your day?