Wednesday, May 13, 2009

a day in the life (epilogue)

Some quick thoughts from the day:

1) Charlie and I are a team. There is no way I could execute any day as well as I do, if not for my husband and the knowledge that he is just a phone call away and will be home every night - hopefully before I call him at work and threaten him with bodily harm. We split responsibilities. I take on certain chores, he takes on others. He is the primary cook. I am the primary cleaner. He takes out the trash and recycling. I pay the bills and organize all of our paperwork. We don't keep tally of who does what, we just do what needs to be done.

2) At least in my case, the more I have to do, the more efficient I am. If I have a lot of time in which to get something done, I waffle. If I need to get something done and only have a short period of time in which to do it, my productivity goes through the roof. The fact that I am now supposed to work 40 hours a week in addition to caring for our family, has had a profound impact on the amount of things I am getting done.

3) It really helps to have things planned in advance. But even if you don't - just having some key ideas in mind that will help keep small children positively engaged is a good strategy for successfully surviving a day. The more things that you can delegate to a child - the more likely that they are to stay out of trouble. I can load up a sink full of dishes and the children will spend an hour or more "washing" them. They love to help vacuum, dust, water plants and wash windows. Turning things in to a game - like trick or treat for cleanup - is one sure fire way to get their cooperation.

4) We stay on top of housework a little bit each day. That way, we aren't slammed with a house that is totally out of control. I'm just one of those people that has a certain level of order and cleanliness that must be maintained or I start to twitch. One day I might clean bathrooms. One day I might dust and water plants. Every night before we go to bed, we want to have all of the dishes washed and at least a load or two of laundry in progress. When we wake up in the morning - we are usually going full throttle very quickly - so it helps if our house is in order.

5) Even though I work full time, I might not always put in eight hours on any given day. Today, I put in about five. Tomorrow, Charlie will be home with the children and I'll probably put in close to 12. Over the course of a week, it balances out. But I never forget how fortunate Charlie and I are to have such flexible careers and employers. We are very lucky.

6) For YOUR sanity, you need to get out of the house at least once during the day. But when you have a toddler that needs to be home to take a nap that lasts from the late morning to the early afternoon, sometimes getting out can be a little complicated. For us, we make every effort to get out at least three times a week for a large outing to either the zoo, the museum or a similar educational establishment. We'll pack a picnic lunch and be gone from around 10 AM until 2 or 3 PM. These outings are more for our mental health than for our children's since nine out of ten times, the kids are perfectly content to stay home and play in the yard. Or, change their outfits 20 times in three hours.

7) Kids tend to be a lot less finicky when they have an appetite. Usually, our kids will eat at least one good meal a day. So long as you are always offering healthy options, children are getting the nutrition that they need. And if you minimize or eliminate snacks, kids will eat that much more because children eat when they are hungry. (At least I think that's what the book said.)

8) Our situation might not work for everyone, but it works for us. Usually. Some days are great. Some days aren't so great. Thankfully, no two days are the same.

9) My life is much like a Class V river. You don't possess a whole lot of control when you are in Class V whitewater. You can try to control the river, but you'll quickly realize that you can paddle until your arms feel like they're going to fall off and you're still floating backwards. To some this might be terrifying and make them fear for their lives. But to me, this is heart pounding excitement that lets me know I'm alive. My goal on any given day is to get the little boat that we are floating upon from point A to point B without flipping over, sinking, or running in to rocks. I've learned that for the most part, all you need to do is keep the boat towards the middle of the river and go with the flow, try not to let out too many blood curdling screams and realize that every so often, you will take a wave in the face ... but eventually, you'll dry out.

10) Tomorrow. Rinse and repeat.


  1. I've loved seeing your DITLO! I make slideshows of them every 3 months-ish. It is so fun to look back and see how the day changes.

  2. Nice. Great lessons for everyday life. I can totally relate to the Class V whitewater!

  3. what a fun way to go thru your day with you - i love your prospective on how to get thru - what a great family! you go girl!

  4. You truly are amazing! Perfect name for your blog. What a great team you and Charlie are.

    Gone are the days when the kids are in bed at 7:30 .....sigh....

  5. Jen, this is a wonderful post. I Love it! And I commented on my own blog about it, with my own thoughts in case you want to read. It just really hit home with me and I appreciate the attitude adjustment you've given me today. Thanks!

  6. Great advice.

    For #6, we try to take a walk around the neighborhood between dinner and bedtime when the weather lets us. It takes about a half hour and is a great way to keep them from getting twitchy in that lull before bedtime. And it gives me and my wife a chance to talk about our day.