A Day in the Life

While this is the title of a Beatles song, music is not what this post is about.

As I was driving into work this morning, I began thinking about my daily routine. Thus this post – a day in the life of Leah – was born. As you’ll see, my life is not too exciting. Yet I’m sure it’s typical of many working moms (and non-working moms).

6:10 a.m. — Wake up. Okay, the alarm goes off to KPBS Radio, but I hit snooze. I’ve never been a morning person.

6:20 a.m. — The alarm sounds again. If Sophie happens to wake up, she gets in bed and lies next to me for about 10 minutes. As cute as this sounds, I prefer she doesn’t get up this early – for both our sakes.

6:30 a.m. — Finally peal myself out of bed and swear that tomorrow, I’ll get up when the alarm goes off (yeah, it never happens). I say hello to Casey and Romeo as they refuse to move from their sleepy spots (lucky dogs!). They look worse than I do. Sophie gets dressed (by either Bryan or me). She gets herself a Trader Joe’s cereal bar and on comes Sesame Street.

6:45 a.m. — Go back upstairs to Sinu-rinse (see Breathe Easy) and get ready for work. If I’m lucky, the outfit I picked out for work is not giving me any problems. If I’m unlucky, I will go through several other blouses and pants to figure out something I feel is half-way decent for the day. Damn, now I’m running late!

7:10 a.m. — Go downstairs and doctor up my coffee. Thank you, Bryan, who fixes our coffee each morning. If it weren’t for him, I’d have spent all our money at Starbucks. For as much as I cook, I don’t make coffee. Then I start pulling out leftovers, salad fixings, carrots and hummus, or whatever is in the fridge for my lunch.

I then glance down at the dogs’ bowls and realize they have no food or water. I have a compulsive need to always make sure their bowls are full when we’re gone since I’m paranoid that something may happen and I won’t make it home and they’d starve. The likelihood of this happening is slim to none. Probably an issue I should work on.

7:20 a.m. — If it’s beyond 7:20 a.m., I start getting panicked. I gather bags, Sophie and myself, and pile into the car. We say good bye to Bryan and the dogs. And I feel sad every day that I’m leaving those dogs alone all day.

And thus begins our daily 35-minute commute from our house to Sophie’s daycare. Before you say, “Wow, that’s a long commute,” keep in mind that it takes me 25 minutes to get to work. So going another 10 minutes isn’t so bad. Now is the time where I start thinking about the day. Sophie notices various things out the window – a trash truck, Costco, school buses. We tend to both be fairly quiet and introspective during this time.

8 a.m. — Arrive at Sophie’s daycare. Fill out her “Daily Sheet” (morning health check, what she ate, and any other pertinent information). Chat with daycare provider for a few minutes. This is the ultimate time-suckage for moms. Dads that drop off kids can get out the door in less than 5 minutes — I’ve seen it. Then I give Sophie a hug and tell her I love her.

8:10 a.m. — Back in the car to drive to work Listen to NPR, or music – depending on my mood that morning. Curse at the cars for driving slow and “making me” late for work.

8:30 a.m. — Arrive at work and walk to my office. This is a good morning and assumes there are no delays of any kind. This is rare.

8:35 a.m. — Unlock office door, put lunch in the fridge and sit down to start the day. And back to the grind … Check voice mail and e-mail. Boot up my calendar to see what’s going on that day. Check CNN and Facebook to see what’s happening in the world. And now I begin working on whatever projects I have scheduled; whatever crises come about (there’s usually at least one or two); answer e-mails from the day and from yesterday; answer phone calls, etc. I try not to schedule meetings until at least 9 a.m. to give myself some breathing space.

12:30 p.m.  — Grab my lunch, close my office door, and eat. I know I should not eat at my desk. But I do. Before I had Sophie, I never felt bad about taking lunches and I’d work until whenever I wanted. In fact, I was usually the last of my staff to leave the office. But now, I need to leave by 4:30 p.m. to keep our routine on track. So to justify the time, I eat in my office and work. Sometimes Bryan will join me for lunch. Sad as it is, these are some of the few times we can sit and talk without interruptions from the little person.

2:30 p.m. — Stare out my window and think I really need to get out more,  sit outside, and enjoy this beautiful campus and lovely weather. Do I? Nope!

3 p.m. — This is my lull time and when I start jonsing for sugar. Now is when I start wondering the cubicles, the office kitchen and the common areas looking for candy. Today I found Madeleine cookies left over from a bridal shower. And boy, did they hit the spot. If that fails, however, I settle for a Diet Coke.

3:45 p.m. — I start wrapping up my projects. Review and respond to any of the day’s e-mails that I’ve missed. Answer phone calls. And I schedule tasks for the next day.

4:30 p.m. — Head out the door and begin the walk to my car, and then drive to pick up Sophie.

5 p.m. — Pull up to Sophie’s daycare and see her big smile and “MOMMY!” greets me at the door – the highlight of my day! I’ll chat with her daycare provider for a few minutes and see how her day went. Depending on Sophie’s mood, we’ll either walk joyfully to the car. Or if she doesn’t want to leave, I usually end up fighting to get her to the car. Today I had to carry her into the car because she refused to leave.

5:15 p.m. — Begin what seems like the endless drive home. Sophie and I listen to Mary Chapin Carpenter, Brandi Carlisle, James Taylor, or her latest favorite – the Oy Baby Jewish music CD. It’s actually quite good, and it cracks me up hearing Hebrew singing coming from Sophie in the back seat.

6 p.m.  — Home at last! We pull up to Casey howling like the hound she is. Sometimes Romeo will chime in when he feels he should be barking like a hound. We get inside; get settled. I sit with the dogs for a few minutes and give them some petting time and a treat.

For the next hour and a half, begins the rush to cram in all that we can. Sophie and I walk outside to get the mail. She will usually go outside and play in the backyard while I attempt a “10-Pound Slimdown” Exercise On-Demand video. I say “attempt” because the 20-minute video usually ends up being 40 minutes with Sophie wanting to “help” or play with me; pausing to yell at Casey to stop barking at the neighbors; and Romeo constantly standing in the way. I guess he feels the need to protect me from free weights.

6:40 p.m. — Make Sophie dinner and sit with her while she eats (if Bryan, Sophie and I are not eating together).

7 p.m. — Sophie begins her “chill out” time on the couch with Dora the Explorer or a Disney movie. This is when I start my and Bryan’s dinner. Every Sunday, I plan out that week’s meals, most of which come from the of Once-a-Month Cooking meals that I did at the beginning of the month. Although last night, I felt adventurous and made Penne a la Vodka – yum! My goal is to have the dinner cooked and ready to eat once Sophie is in bed, which leads me to …

7:30 p.m. — Sophie and I gather all her belongings and begin the trek upstairs for the bedtime routine. This tends to be when Sophie gets giddy tired and I begin to loose my patience. Brush teeth; change diaper; put on pajama; find 2 – 3 books to read in the big chair.

8 p.m. — Bedtime for Sophie. Aka: FREEDOM! Here is where my night begins. If Bryan’s home, we will eat together at the table. If not, I get caught up with the DVR.

9:30 p.m. — After dishes are done (I can’t handle dishes left until the next day), I make my way upstairs to my home office where I get caught up on all the computer-related and personal stuff I have to do for the day – writing blog posts; reading other blogs; checking Facebook; responding to personal e-mail; checking work e-mail; reviewing the checking account balance (not the best thing to do before bed, mind you); and whatever else comes to mind. Usually by the time I’m done, it’s…

10:45 p.m. — And I’m struggling to turn off the computer. I’m a night owl. I could go for hours if it weren’t for Sophie and work the next morning. Of course, this is also why I can’t get up in the morning. It’s a vicious circle, people! Before making my way to the bedroom, I lay out Sophie’s clothes for the next day (after checking weather.com).

11 p.m. — Get in bed and read a book.

11:30 p.m. — Zzzzzz…

And it starts all over again…

And there you have it – a day in my crazy life! And this was a pretty mundane day. I don’t even attempt errands during the week because there is no time. I don’t want to be driving around, dragging Sophie in stores, after work when there are precious few hours we have.

I should start handing out this schedule when people ask if I’ll have another child. Where would they fit? Seriously! My poor dogs are not even walked in this scenario (nor are they walked in many other days anymore).

Maybe I should look into giving up my day job in order to fit in my life. Now there’s a thought!

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