As always, “daily life” was the most popular blog post topic recommendation from my annual reader survey! So here we go…a day in the life with Caroline (7.5 yo/2nd grade), Thomas (6.5 yo/Kindergarten), Matt and Sprinkles (1.5 yo, we think).
We’ve had some pretty significant changes since my last Day In The Life — more evening kid activities and my job is hybrid (for now)! Both of these things impact our days quite a bit so I’m going to try and break them out.
4:30 – 6 am: Blog
Sometime within this window I get up and start working on my blog. Depending on the time of year, that timing fluctuates quite a bit. For example, during Q4 I’m up every morning by 4:30 am to work on the blog. Then when January rolls around I can sleep in again. But regardless of the season, I usually spend at least an hour each morning on the blog (and several hours on Saturday and Sunday mornings). The early morning hours are when I feel fresh and creative so I use that time to write content (my favorite!).
7 am: Whole House Up
The kids are up, dressed, have fed Sprinkles and are barreling down the stairs.
If I’m working from home, I make the kids breakfast while Matt gets ready. In years past the kids have been responsible for making their own breakfast because all of us are frantically trying to get ourselves dressed, packed up and out the door at the same time. However, work from home days allow me to stay in pajamas and focus on the kids in the morning. And I really love making them breakfast — usually a smoothie, toast, pancakes, etc. (nothing fancy, to be clear). I also unload the dishwasher, pack backpacks with lunch boxes, fill up water bottles, ask the kids 42 times to put their shoes on, email the school with any transportation updates, etc.
Currently, my Department (Business Development & Marketing) is back in the office two days a week. So if it’s an office day for me, our mornings are quite different — and definitely more hectic. On office days, I skip my workout, the kids fend for themselves for breakfast while Matt and I get ourselves ready, I break down my office equipment and pack up all my work stuff (laptop, folders, notebooks, mouse/mouse pad, etc.), and usually lose my patience pretty quickly with the kids if they aren’t moving fast enough…(is usually takes them 17 hours to fill their water bottle).
7:45 am: Head to the Bus Stop!
If it’s cold, we drive, but during the warmer months we love leaving a few minutes early to walk down to the bus stop. This year the bus timing is pretty unreliable so it arrives either on time or super late.
WFH Day: Matt almost always takes the kids down to the bus so I can get ready for the day (unless he has court — then I take them). I either get fully dressed for work or throw on my gym clothes and head to 9Round for a 30 minute kickboxing workout. Afterwards I take a quick shower, get dressed, clean breakfast dishes and hand vacuum the crumbs and crushed cereal off the floor.
Office Day: If it’s an office day, Matt and I usually both drive down and park at the bus stop, wait with the kids and then we both head to the office.
And if it’s a Thursday, Matt takes the kids to school early so Thomas can participate in Chess Club while Caroline works with her former teacher on extra math practice.
Our Work Day
8:30 am – 6 pm: Work
This is a range of work hours for me and Matt depending on the day.
Christina’s Work Day
WFH: If I’m working from home, I start my day closer to 9 am and don’t usually leave my office until 5 pm when the bus is pulling into the kid’s drop-off radius. I prefer and love working from home most days and am grateful for the flexibility my firm has provided during the pandemic. Cutting out a commute to Uptown allows me to get more work done during business hours so I don’t have to log back in after hours, not as much anyway. I do feel more glued to my laptop though because it’s always running and easily accessible just a few steps away, so if an attorney needs something, I usually log in and respond.
I also want to highlight my two favorite WFH perks: 1. Scheduling my grocery deliveries at non-peak times mid-week instead of fighting over the popular weekend grocery delivery slots, and 2. Starting dinner prep right at 5 pm!
Office Day: If I’m working Uptown, I usually arrive around 8:30 am and leave around 4 pm to avoid traffic and get to the bus on time. I wish I could say I’m more productive in the office, but truthfully, there are a lot more distractions in that environment and it can be tough if I have a deadline I’m trying to meet or calls all day. I do enjoy going Uptown from time to time for a change of scenery (and a visit to my favorite salad shop for lunch).
My Work Day: I am a Sr. Business Development Manager for a large law firm and most days I really like my job and find it fulfilling. I’ve been with my firm for a little over 3 years now and was promoted a few weeks ago! In my role I support attorneys nationwide in our Real Estate Department, as well as a few other practice groups (Zoning & Land Use, Affordable Housing, Energy, Environmental, and Transportation & Logistics), with all things business development. This includes client targeting and expansion, identifying new business opportunities, monitoring industry trends, drafting business proposals for prospective clients, creating and maintaining business plans, managing practice area budgets, planning events, facilitating sponsorships, attorney coaching and lots more.
matt’s Work Day
Matt is a Partner at his law firm, Marcellino & Tyson, and practices family law and business litigation. His firm continues to grow and currently has 10 attorneys (in a variety of practice areas) and 9 staff members!
While working at home together for a few months last year during quarantine, I got a pretty good peek into Matt’s work day and now have a much better understanding of just how very tough and demanding his job is. His days are completely and insanely different every single day. His calendar gives me anxiety when I look at it because he is often fully booked (sometimes even double booked) with meetings (client, marketing, vendor, admin, staff, etc.), new client consultations, court or networking with referral sources. However, when the stars align and he doesn’t have court or meetings, we try to meet at the coffee shop near our house to work together.
3:30 – 5 pm: Pick-Up Kids
Hands down, one of the best parts of my day. I absolutely LOVE hearing about the kids’ day while it’s still fresh.
The kids attend a school with a late bell schedule (truly a lifesaver for working parents), so their day doesn’t end until 4:15 pm. Then it takes about 45 minutes for the bus to get them home. However, due to bus driver shortages, many afternoons we receive a call notifying us that the bus will either be combining routes with another bus or is running super late to school. On these days, I almost always try and switch them to car pool. This is a huge PITA for me (especially if I’m working Uptown) since it means I usually have to move things around on my schedule or take calls from my car to be in car line by 3:45 pm, but getting home at 6 pm is too long of a day for the kids.
The Working Parent Struggle
To be completely transparent, these past two years have been extremely challenging for Matt and I as two working parents, and the pandemic only continues to heighten the stress in our home with the constant talk about remote school, exposures and quarantine protocols, bus driver shortages, etc. Matt and I often struggle over whose job needs to come first on a case by case scenario.
As a small business owner managing 20 employees, clients and extremely complex cases, it’s much harder for Matt to step away with little notice as his days are slammed to the max. It can also be very hard to reach him during business hours since he’s usually in court/client meetings/mediations/arbitrations/etc.
On the flip side, it can be frustrating as the “default parent” for school phone calls, unexpected early pick-ups, kids appointments, school closures, etc. While my day is not as stressful or busy as Matt’s, I often remind him that I work in the corporate world (for one of the largest law firms in the country) which means I have a reporting structure which requires me to notify my boss when I need to unexpectedly be out so she can cover for me (thankfully my boss is a working mom too, so she gets it, but I still hate doing that). Additionally, I exclusively support more than 250 attorneys all over the country — many of which are incredible, but their support needs can be unpredictable and oftentimes require my immediate and undivided attention, regardless of if I’m in car pool line.
I’m not even going to address what my work travel does to our family, and I actually really love traveling to see my attorneys and team members, but it makes everything a million times more difficult.
Helpful strategy: One thing that has really helped me this year is blocking my calendar at the beginning and end of my work day to plan for late buses and last minute car pool pickups. It’s not a perfect system and there are definitely days I have to call Matt and ask him to drop what he’s doing to pick up the kids, but it does help.
Our evenings look a little different after school each day depending on what activities we have going on. Unless Matt is in trial, he almost always walks through the door just before 6 pm every night.
- Mondays: As soon as the kids get off the bus and home they begin knocking on all the neighbors’ doors until they find someone to play with while I either finish up work for the day or start dinner prep.
- Tuesdays (Piano/Voice Lessons): Caroline has piano and voice lessons at home at 6 pm, so she plays outside until then and we all eat together at 7 pm. Tuesdays is also family game night, so after we clear off the table we will play Uno Flip, Battleship or Monopoly Jr. (depending on whose week it is to pick out the game).
- Wednesdays (Dance Class): Thomas has hip-hop class from 5-6 pm and Caroline has ballet/tap/jazz class from 5-7 pm. Getting to dance on time is always a mad dash given the unreliable bus schedule. So on Wednesdays I either grab them (along with Caroline’s bestie who is in dance together) from school or I wait at the first bus stop to grab them at the beginning of the route instead of at our stop. After I drop the kids off at class, I walk to the market next door where I’ll grab a glass of wine and fire my laptop back up to either finish my work day or blog for an hour. Then at 6 pm I pick Thomas up from dance class and bring him home and start dinner. And our friends drop Caroline off after her class is done.
- Thursdays (After School Activity): Thomas rides the bus home and Caroline stays after school until 5:15. Matt usually grabs Caroline since his office is right next door to her school and I get Thomas off the bus.
- Fridays (Family Movie Night): As soon as the kids arrive home from the bus they usually play with their friends for a little bit before I call them in to take showers. Meanwhile I start whipping up cocktails, order our pizza, throw something yummy together for dessert and we all cuddle up for family movie night!!
6:30 pm-7 pm: Showers, Chores & Mario Kart
The kids take their showers, unload their backpacks & lunchboxes and play some Mario Kart if there’s time before dinner.
7 pm: Family Dinner
Regardless of work obligations and evening activities, Matt and I place a very high priority on eating together as a family every weeknight which is often the best parts of our day. This is usually a seated meal at the dinner table, but there are definitely nights we are standing around the kitchen island scarfing down bowls of noodles together.
One thing that continues to help me is streamlining my meal planning. Here’s a snapshot of a typical week of activities and dinners…
- Monday: Always a salad and usually the night with the most meal complaints from the kids. Our family favorite is my Kale Salad with grilled or air fried chicken.
- Tuesday: Always taco night and is everyone’s favorite meal of the week.
- Wednesday: Crock pot or pasta night! Since I usually work in the office on Wednesdays and we have dance class until 7 pm, I try to make something in the crock pot so it’s ready when we get home, or I’ll quickly make spaghetti.
- Thursday: TBD. Thursdays we usually reheat leftovers, make pancakes or pull something random from the freezer.
- Friday: Pizza!
7:30 pm: Dinner Clean-Up, Free Play, Lunches, Hall Pass, etc.
The kids clear the dinner table and then play (usually with Sprinkles) for about 30 more minutes while I clean up the kitchen, pack lunches for the next day, sign school papers, etc. Matt will pass out vitamins and fill up water bottles before wrangling the kids upstairs where he makes sure they brush their teeth and mops up the bathroom floor which is always soaked from the kids showers.
The Hall Pass: If you’ve been following along for awhile, you’re probably familiar with our “Hall Pass” which Matt and I implemented back in 2018 when we were both experiencing burnout and were struggling to find time for ourselves. One night per week Matt has the flexibility to do whatever he wants after dinner — usually catching up on a show I don’t like while tackling work. I usually use my night for Supper Club, Community Group or watching shows Matt doesn’t like and blog! Not only is it nice to have some time alone, it’s also nice to have a night where we get the kids all to ourselves too.
8 pm: Bedtime Routine Begins
We just finished book #4 of the Harry Potter series and Matt really loves reading a chapter as a family every night. We are absolutely loving this series but the chapters are SO long and usually take at least 30 minutes to read. While Matt reads, I braid Caroline’s hair and the kids usually write me a note in our “hug journals” that we pass back and forth on each other’s nightstands (always such a fun surprise). Thomas’s notes almost always include some sort of dragon, a battle scene, etc., while Caroline’s notes include rainbows, flowers, princesses, etc.
After Harry Potter, one of us usually reads one more book to each kid separately — Star Wars or Dog Man series for Thomas and Caroline is on an American Girl book kick. Caroline also practices reading during this time and Thomas has been tackling sight words.
Matt and I tuck one kid into bed then pop into the other’s room to say goodnight usually/hopefully by 8:45 pm. It’s later than we’d like, but it’s so hard to get them to bed any earlier without sacrificing family time at night.
Even though we put the kids to bed separately, Thomas ends up army crawling into Caroline’s room for a sleepover 90% of the time. And they definitely don’t fall asleep until much later.
8:45 pm: Kids Tucked In
I’ll take some fresh veggies up to Sprinkles, then I’ll take a bath (where I catch up on Instagram, blog feed, texts, edit photos, etc.) while Matt watches one of his TV shows in bed and finishes his work day. Matt works in bed every night. Since he is usually in meetings all day, he uses the nighttime to catch up on work he couldn’t tackle during the day, as well as enter his time, etc.
9:30 pm: Blog/Work
After I’ve done my skincare routine I’ll join Matt in bed and we turn on whatever show we’re watching and I’ll get some blogging done while Matt works. My brain is usually too tired to do anything creative with the blog so I focus on administrative tasks (sending invoices, paying bills, reconcile my books for monthly tax stuff, reviewing contracts, negotiating campaigns, etc.), photo editing, pulling product links for posts, creating collages, responding to DMs, etc. There’s more behind the scenes administrative stuff to keep up with than you would probably think. I did finally hire a VA (virtual assistant) this year which has helped tremendously. She handles all things Pinterest (scheduling, posting, optimizing pins, etc.) which is a strong traffic source for me, as well as assembling my monthly newsletter (I round up all the content and send it over to her).
10:30 pm – TBD
I usually shut down my laptop and fall asleep to the TV sometime between 10:30 – 11 pm. Meanwhile, Matt stays up much later finishing work and re-watching the same episodes of whatever Netflix show I keep falling asleep to.
And that’s a wrap on our day!
Previous Day In Our Life Posts
- A Day in Our Life | May 2021 (7 yo & 6 yo)
- A Day in Our Life | April 2020 (Quarantine Edition) / 6 yo & 5 yo
- A Day in Our Life | July 2019 / 5 yo & almost 4 yo
- A Day in Our Life | June 2018 (4 yo & almost 3 yo)
- A Day in The Working Mama Life [Travel Edition] | May 2018
- A Day in Our Life | July 2017
- A Day in the Working Mama Life | June 2016 (11 months & 2 yo)
- A Day in the Life of Maternity Leave | June 2014 (7 wks & 14 mo)