Amy - Chicago, IL
I am a married working mom of three going through a second wind of sorts as I have a 17, 16, and 3 year old. My kids have always been very active in extracurricular activities and we have the philosophy that keeping busy keeps them out of trouble, so we've made it work no matter how crazy it gets. My oldest two came to me as custodial stepkids when I married their dad. We took 8 years to decide to have another child and around that same time I was able to legally adopt the big kids and make our not so little family official. We currently have two dogs, one 98 pounder and one smaller girl who is our foster. We've had up to three dogs at once (which will never happen again!!), in our cozy 90yr old, 1 bathroom Chicago bungalow. My husband travels several times a month for work, and my daily activities vary based on his travel. I'm in IT so it's only fitting that most of my days read like a flow chart (complete with if-then statements)...
5:45am. If husband is out of town, wake to take oldest son (and sometimes daughter) to work outs at school (half a mile away, but too cold and dark to make them walk). 6:15am. If husband is home he's finishing getting himself ready, feeding dogs, making coffee and our lunches, and emptying the dishwasher and I'm starting to wake up. Because we have one bathroom we have to have a schedule. My shower time is 6:30, so until then I lay in bed checking email on my phone to see what the last 12 hours brought. 6:30am. I quietly roll out of bed where the 3 yo next to me snores and scold myself for not yet ordering his Batman sheets (the incentive to get him back into his own bed). Tiptoe across the creaky old floor so the 3yo doesn't wake. 6:31am. Hand awake 3yo to daddy for breakfast. If daddy's out of town, grab a banana for him to eat while I shower (make him oatmeal as soon as I'm out). 6:40am. Start a load of laundry or dishes. Or not. Let the dogs out. While 3yo eats, sit in my robe at the table having a cup of coffee with him. Catch up with the big kids about their day ahead if they are home.
6:45-7:30am. Dress myself, search the clean basket for a clean pair of underwear and socks for 3yo and get him dressed. Be annoyed that today I REALLY wanted to blow dry my hair. Maybe tomorrow. Get the dogs in. Help 3yo get the little dog in the crate. Undo crate lock because 3yo wanted to do it himself.
Put snow pants on 3yo and let him zip up and put on boots and hat BY HIMSELF. Leave boots on wrong feet because they'll be on for 15 whole minutes. Debate which toy comes in the car today while getting his coat and gloves on. Walk 20 feet to the garage and take 3yo out of his coat and into the car seat. Deep breathing exercises to prepare for the morning commute. Daycare drop off is beautiful 99% of the time which makes going to work so much easier! My husband and I drive in together so for 30 minutes we catch up. Or listen to talk radio.
8:30am. Work. Computer, conference calls. Lunch at my desk. IM with my husband a few times. Once or twice a week have a telepresence meeting (hopefully with blowdried hair and maybe even mascara). 3pm. Daughter calls to chat about her day. We have a text conversation if I can't answer. I might hear from my oldest too, based on the events of the day (and whether he needs something lol). 4:30pm. Mentally praise our employers for flexible work schedules and start the commute to day care and home. On the way, if big kids are home we touch base about dinner. The week is usually planned out on Sunday, so either they are popping in a casserole or I'm talking my daughter through making something (her pork chops are better than mine!). If I slacked on planning Sunday we are stopping at he grocery store, or for take out if the timing is tight. If kids are at school sports practice or drivers ed or scholastic bowl or play practice, we swing by to get them on the way home. This is when we wonder to ourselves why we let them sign up for this stuff. 6pm. Finish making dinner, get the folded laundry off the kitchen table (which the big kids set the table around). Kids play, especially the brothers (this is prime wrestle or pirate or wrestling pirate time). Big kids do homework. We really try to eat together if possible. That's when I remember why we let them sign up for this stuff. They are happy and strong and grateful and proud. On the weekday evenings... Twice a week my son walks to club soccer practice. Twice a week he is driven to club baseball practice. Twice a week my daughter is driven to club soccer practice. Two/three times a week one of us drives one of the above carpools and if the stars are not aligned the 3yo is dragged along. Needless to say he is becoming a very adaptable child.
7-8pm. Bath, teeth, books, songs, shows ("just one" ha), and Mama falls asleep with 3yo. Anyone who is home and awake is probably doing homework, laundry, or dishes. 8-10pm. Big kids are getting home, homework is being finished, mama wakes up (or not), emails/subscribe and save/bill pay, more laundry or dishes and whatever household reminders pop up on the calendar. Catch up with big kids (sometimes purely via text messages). Midnight - 2am. I wake up and check email or facebook because I can't sleep. Maybe I let the dogs out and check on the big kids because I'm in denial that they are almost adults. I get butterfiles when I think about the fact that my first chick will leave the nest in a year. I say a prayer of thanks that my big kids are the remarkable people they are and hope their little brother follows on their footsteps. I get sad thinking about him not having them at home with him as he grows up. I go back to bed and let my feet find my husband's and cuddle the 3yo between us. I remind myself to forget to order those Batman sheets, and sleep.