A Day in the Life of a Stay-at-Home Parent: Expectation
You wake up bright eyed and well rested before your alarm goes off. The house is quiet and everyone is still fast asleep. You take a relaxing shower and even have time to shave. As you are toweling off you hear your baby wake, but their cries quickly fade and then you start to hear the clanging of pots and pans downstairs. Suddenly the scent of eggs and coffee start to drift into the bathroom; your other half has started cooking breakfast. After putting your makeup on, getting dressed and fixing your hair just the way you like it you saunter downstairs to the sounds of laughter. You eat a delicious breakfast as a family and enjoy a steaming hot cup of coffee. After breakfast is over you kiss your love goodbye as they head off to work. Then you give your baby some milk and they settle immediately down to sleep in their crib.
As they nap you clean the dishes, start a load of laundry and even have time to vacuum; the sound doesn’t wake your little one. Your housework is done and you sit down to check your e-mails and see what’s new with friends on Facebook. Your little one start stirring and awakens with a smile after having slept an hour and half. You change their nappy, give them some more milk and head out the door to meet some friends for coffee and a play date. The cafe you both love is almost empty and you grab your favorite seat by the window, sip your drinks and eat as your babies play blissfully. The staff smile at your children and tell you how much they brighten their day. You head home with your baby, give them some milk and a fresh nappy and place them down for nap number two.
You take some ‘me time’ and watch some TV or read. Then you hang and fold the morning’s laundry. You find you have time for a nice at home workout or some yoga. Your baby is still fast asleep when you finish and you grab the opportunity to take a quick shower. Baby wakes as you are getting dressed. You then joyfully sing and play together until it’s time to start getting dinner ready. All of that quality time together and your baby is now completely happy to watch you work and occupy themselves. By 5 PM the recipe you found on Pinterest is complete and looks just like the picture! Your honey comes though the door and overwhelms you with love and sets the table for dinner. You all eat together and then as a team you fall into baby’s bed time routine; baby drifts off to sleep by 6:30 PM.
Finally, the night is yours and you spend quality time with your love, find a new exciting Pinterest recipe for dinner the next evening and head up to bed by 10:30 PM.
A Day in the Life of a Stay-at-Home Parent: Reality
It’s 5:00 in the morning and you wake to your baby screaming at the top of their lungs, you get up. Baby’s pajamas are drenched, so you take baby to the changing table. After struggling for ten minutes to change them, baby is now WIDE awake and ready to play. Exhausted, you bring baby into bed with you thinking they will settle, clinging to a tiny shred of hope that you might catch a few precious moments of sleep. WRONG! Baby begins singing loudly and grabbing at your lips, cheeks, hair, anything they can get their hands on. You try to ignore it, but it doesn’t stop. The time is now 6 AM, defeated, you get out of bed. Your partner is still fast asleep all nestled up in the blankets.
After multiple attempts to wake your partner they are finally awake enough to be able to take baby while you use the bathroom. You quickly finish up and find your partner is still in bed with baby. You throw your hair up in a bun, put on some workout wear (in hopes you’ll be able to get in a workout at some point) and run downstairs to feed the hooligans (aka your cats) who have been meowing and running around like they were in some sort of stampede. Hubby enters the kitchen with baby only to announce the need to get ready for work. You feed baby and then place baby in a bouncer as you make breakfast, baby yells in protest the entire time.
Your dearest quickly scarfs down what you made, but lovingly hands you a cup of coffee and a peck on the cheek as they head out the door. Baby starts crying inconsolably because they dropped (threw) the apple they were munching on. After some cuddles they stop and you take a few bites of your now cold and soggy breakfast. Forty minutes later you have gotten baby to sleep…in your arms. Every time you go to place them down they wake up crying. After ten more minutes of rocking you are able to set them down.
Left with your cold coffee, you pile the breakfast dishes into the sink, cold coffee included. For some reason your LO (little one) has never gotten used to the sound of clinking dishes. You leave the pile soaking and re-start the load of washing from yesterday that never made its way out of the machine. You sweep the house and start checking your e-mails. You pour yourself another cup of coffee and baby begins to cry after just 30 minutes of sleep. All attempts to re-settle/self-soothe fail, but at least baby appears happy.
You are already running late and just as you are opening the door to leave baby takes a massive poo. Fifteen minutes and a new outfit later you are finally off. Seeing your friend is great, but the coffee shop employees make it very obvious they would prefer if you, your obnoxiously large strollers and your screaming ‘nightmares’ went elsewhere. You decide to get your coffee to go and head back to your friend’s place. While there, both babies cannot fathom why they cannot grab each other’s faces and start to cry each time you stop them. You chat until someone gets smacked in the eye with a toy and then decide it is time to go. You strap baby in the car, realize you forgot to drink your coffee and baby starts crying two minutes into the drive home.
Finally at home and baby falls asleep nursing. You set them down and attempt to get some things done. Not completely unsuccessful, but you forgot you wanted to work out. You throw in the towel, you are far too tired for that anyway. You settle on eating some chocolate instead. You realize you still haven’t had a hot coffee today and brew a new pot. As it finishes baby wakes.
You put baby down for some tummy time and attempt to play with them, but baby only seems interested in what they are laying on and completely ignores you. You realize the time and decide to start making dinner since baby is happily occupied. As you begin, baby decides they want to be with you! You strap them in your sling and start the dinner preparations. Your love returns from a hard day’s work and offers to take baby or cook. You give them baby, but baby starts fussing for you. You both decide it’s time for your LO to go to bed. Eventually, you get baby to sleep, but suddenly a loud unfamiliar noise rings out and baby is wide eyed and awake. It takes you 40 minutes to get them to fall asleep again.
Dinner is cold by now despite hubby’s best attempts to keep it warm. You eat your food all too quickly just waiting for baby to wake because it has been one of those days. You know they won’t sleep. Just as you start your favorite TV program baby starts fussing. You head upstairs and can’t get baby to sleep. You don’t have the heart to do any sort of cry it out, so you get into bed with baby. Baby falls asleep immediately, warm and cozy next to you. You could try to slink away, but baby will most likely cry if you do, so you stay. Just before you fall asleep, which is about three seconds after getting into bed, you realize the laundry never made its way out of the dryer, the dishes are still in the sink and you never did get that hot coffee. You look at baby and smile, it is amazing how they make your heart melt, especially when they are asleep.
Of course not every day is like this. Some days go swimmingly while others can be really tough. Life certainly is different now that we have a little one at home, but, amazingly, we wouldn’t have it any other way.