A (Real) Day in The Life of a Stay at Home Mom

A day in the life of a stay-at-home-mom varies SO much. It depends on the mama, the kids, the family, where they live, what their schedule is like, if dad is home or not, how much he helps, and so on…

For my family, it varies a ton depending on kids’ moods, whether my husband is in town (he’s gone a LOT for work), and how much the baby naps or doesn’t nap.

So instead of trying to tell you about my most “typical” day, I’m just going to tell you what happened today (or, when this publishes, yesterday).

A (Real) Day in the Life of a Stay-at-Home-Mom

My husband is home right now, not traveling for work, so he got up with the big kids and helped them get ready for school. I had already packed their lunch boxes last night, so that part was simple for him. I nursed Henry in bed while they got ready for the day. The big kids and my husband gave me hugs and kisses before they left for school and work.

Then, Henry and I had a little bit of playtime in the living room. Afterward, he lay on his blanket and looked at the ceiling fan while I cleaned a little bit in the kitchen and moved the laundry along.

Tummy time with my littlest. Then going to clean the kitchen a bit. How are you kicking off your day?

A photo posted by Emily @ So Damn Domestic (@sodamndomestic) on

Then I made myself some breakfast… but Henry was getting fussy. Still, I needed to eat, so I did. You’ve got to put on your own oxygen mask before helping the kids with theirs, right? Ezekiel bread, toasted, with cream cheese and eggs on top – it was glorious.

He’s not thrilled about me eating breakfast. But I’ll be a better mama if I do. A photo posted by Emily @ So Damn Domestic (@sodamndomestic) on

When I finished breakfast, I wrapped up the baby and took him in the bedroom to nurse down for a nap… it was about the time of day that he sometimes takes morning naps. It used to be the time he USUALLY takes naps, but he’s in a “leap” right now (a Wonder Week), and hasn’t been sleeping as reliably, so my fingers were crossed. He nursed, half asleep, for a while, but didn’t actually nap.

So, when it was clear a nap wasn’t happening, I unswaddled him and laid him on the floor while I sorted through his clothes. The seasons are changing, and he’s growing, so I needed to assess what he had that he could wear for fall, and what I needed to buy for the cooler weather.

I sorted his clothes into fitting / not fitting and short sleeve / long sleeve piles to get a better idea of where we stood.

I made a plan for what he can wear for now, put a few things into my donation box, and made a mental list of things to order for him for fall.

Shoes were not on the list. They’re darling, but we never ever use them. He only wears his zutano booties… which I might buy one more pair of just for laundry purposes, but other than that, baby shoes are silly even if they’re adorable.

Then, I rolled up his current outfits and put them back into his drawer. Done with this little project.

I took Henry into the office with me to nurse while I looked online a little bit for clothes for him. He was still obviously super sleepy… so after a while, I decided to try again for a nap. This happened.

I cleaned the kitchen and moved the laundry again, but Henry didn’t have plans to let me write quite yet… he woke up pretty upset with me, and didn’t have plans to go to sleep again. I unwrapped him and decided to just snuggle him and play the next hour or so by ear and see what would happen.

We didn’t actually watch a show. Instead, we got to hang out with my friend Heather! She held Henry and he laughed at her and smiled at her. I crocheted a little bit while we chatted. It was super-nice.

Yay! A visit from sweet @heatherbarb !

A photo posted by Emily @ So Damn Domestic (@sodamndomestic) on

When Heather left, Henry was actually ready for a nap, so I put him down for one… right before my husband came home to drop off the kids from school (when he can, he helps with any driving possible, so that Henry has a better chance of taking a nap – he’s so sweet and helpful!).

I chatted with the kids a little, and then Anneliese asked to play AirPano which is not actually a game – it just shows super-awesome 360 views of tons of amazing places around the world, and you can pan and zoom around to explore them. I pumped while she did that.

Aaaaaand…Henry woke up again. I was pretty starving, so I made myself a lunch really quickly before I went to get him.

Things don’t always go as planned. I imagined a nice little after-school chat with the big kids while Henry giggled on the floor and I ate my lunch. Nope. Full-on preschooler tantrum happened, so Joey needed to take a break in his room to calm down. Anneliese wanted to color, and she chatted with me about her coloring, but didn’t reveal much about her day at school. I ate my lunch and fed Henry the milk I had just pumped (I hadn’t expected him to wake so soon, and he was mad my breasts were empty from pumping).

Joey calmed down enough to be able to talk and listen, so we chatted a bit, and he asked if we could play cars together. We did that — I love that he makes his cars talk — and we had some of the after-school connection I had hoped for earlier.

He calmed down enough to ask me to play cars with him. Anneliese is playing with my childhood “busy book” and Henry is watching us.

A photo posted by Emily @ So Damn Domestic (@sodamndomestic) on

Kids were all over me for a while. And Anneliese shared her coloring book with me – so sweet. I wasn’t thinking about to-do-list items but I did have a vague feeling that there was something I should be doing. I reminded myself that I WAS doing the important “something.”

Everyone was in a pretty good mood, and Joey asked me to style his hair, so he and I went to the bathroom together, while Anneliese colored next to Henry, “babysitting” him, with the instructions to help him if he spit up – armed with a wash cloth.

The kids asked for a show, so I turned on Dinosaur Train for them and made myself an iced chai latte to sip while I snuggled Henry again.

Some quiet time for now. Big kids are watching dinosaur train, and I’m having iced chai latte while Henry nurses half asleep. A photo posted by Emily @ So Damn Domestic (@sodamndomestic) on

While I snuggled with Henry, I did a little more crocheting and waited for my husband to come home. After a little bit, we turned off the iPad and the big kids scurried off to play while I tended to – yes, still awake – Henry.

Still quiet time. Crocheting hats for refugees. Husband comes home pretty soon!!

A photo posted by Emily @ So Damn Domestic (@sodamndomestic) on

I moved the laundry again, tidied the kitchen again, and changed Henry into some fresh clothes and another diaper. The big kids played with
legos, dress-up clothes, and cars.

Playroom shenanigans are going on while I change Henry’s clothes and move the laundry through. A photo posted by Emily @ So Damn Domestic (@sodamndomestic) on

Henry and I snuggled up on the couch again, where we were treated to a fashion show. After a bit, my husband came home, I gave him the baby, and I made some random plates for us for dinner.

I’m being treated to a fashion show while I nurse Henry!

A photo posted by Emily @ So Damn Domestic (@sodamndomestic) on

The kids had been asking about “tasting plates” all afternoon, and it sounded like a fine plan to me, so I gave them those. We had leftover ribs, so I gave them to my husband, and I had a little tasting plate of my own – mainly fruit, after my big veggie lunch. My husband told us about work, his upcoming travel, and his flying schedule. My kids raved about the fruit kebabs they had at school for a classmate’s birthday, and I told them about all the different kinds of kebabs I love.

Husband is home! We are having a weird random dinner tonight. A photo posted by Emily @ So Damn Domestic (@sodamndomestic) on

Right after dinner, our bedtime routine starts. When my husband is away, that means I’m wrangling the baby while guiding the big kids through their routine, helping to brush teeth, reading bedtime stories, and snuggling them in their beds. Sometimes this goes smoothly. Other times it’s a bit rough, if Henry is unsettled or overtired. When my husband is home, it’s great… he does bedtime routine with the big kids while I nurse Henry. Then, I get kisses and hugs goodnight and a bit of quiet time while the kids get their bedtime snuggles.

Tonight, I asked Topher if he would hang out with Henry while I took a shower – I normally try to get one during the day while Henry naps, but … if he doesn’t nap it doesn’t necessarily happen.

Afterward, my husband and I watched The 100 while he organized some stuff for a course he’s taking, and I nursed Henry to sleep (thankfully he sleeps pretty well at night, even if he’s had a hard time during the day). Then, I hopped onto my computer to handle some website stuff (caching and plugins and hosting upgrades and such) and write this.

And now? It’s time for me to head to bed!

But first…

What I didn’t do today:

  • I didn’t clean the entire house.
  • I didn’t even clean a bathroom.
  • I didn’t get “ahead” in anything. I mostly was treading water.
  • I didn’t “accomplish” much of anything.
  • I didn’t do it all on my own.
  • I didn’t do super-enriching activities with the big kids.
  • I didn’t have a screen-free day.
  • I didn’t cook an amazing dinner.

BUT… what I did do is just fine with me:

  • I snuggled and nursed my littlest boy all day long, making him feel comfortable and cozy and loved.
  • I connected with my big kids – playing cars with Joey and coloring with Anneliese.
  • I got one organizing project done, to prepare for Fall.
  • I kept up with daily tasks like dishes and laundry.
  • I chatted with a friend, for real, in person, in my house.
  • I crocheted half a hat for a Syrian refugee in Italy.
  • I made sure everyone’s tummies were full.
  • I hung out with my husband and swapped stories of our days.
  • I took a really nice shower.
  • I shared my day with you.
  • I was a wife, mother, homemaker.
  • I was enough.

You were enough today, too.

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  1. Thank you this was so good to read. Its so important to remember that what we do is enough even if its not always what we wanted to do for that day.

  2. Oh my gosh – I am expecting baby no. 3 in about a month. Our daughter is 5 (today’s her birthday! ;->), our son will turn 3 in February – your post just freaked me completely out, I pushed away the memories of those early weeks after having a baby, when “we all ate and we are still alive and we actually played a bit” is considered a wonderfully perfect day. Gosh, gosh, gosh, how will we survive a month from now? ;->>> On the other hand, it was sooo reassuring reading your post, thanks so much for it!
    all the best from Austria,

  3. Real life! Especially with an infant, I felt like I never accomplished much. But, I tried to savor those moments. The dishes can always wait 😉

  4. Thanks for sending heads up to this Emily! When I read this it helps validate my challenges with 6, oldest in yr5, all with needs…. And I can see how a decluttered home makes it easier…. And I have a genuine question sorry if I missed it, after your bigger 2 did dress ups and Lego and cars, when did that all get tidied away? That’s something I struggle with as late afternoon I’m busy with preparing dinner and helping with homework and getting at least a few children bathed….

    • I often have them tidy the playroom and their bedroom around the time when my husband is coming home, so that it’s nice before dinner and bedtime. HOWEVER I’m gonna be totally honest… sometimes I don’t worry about them tidying it. And I just close the door to their playroom. Honestly, there aren’t THAT many toys in there, so even if it’s a mess, it’s never a huge mess, so I don’t let it bother me. The mess in the picture here? I just had them clean it up today (3 days after writing this post). No problem – it only took them a few minutes, and they did it without complaint.

      Sometimes I clean up for them if I just forgot to remind them to do it before bed, if it’s bothering me or if I want to vacuum in there or something. We don’t have a consistent clean up time for the playroom and I’m ok with it.

  5. THANK YOU THANK YOU!! I have a 4yo, 3 yo and 7 week old. Reading this entry was like seeing my days from the outside and so reassuring that I AM doing OK and getting what is important done – those 3 little bitties fed, clothed and somewhat entertained/challenged/etc. I am new to this full time stay at home world and have been feeling like a colossal failure after leaving corporate life. I have been following you for months trying to get more organized and I really enjoy and appreciate your blogs. Keep up the good work mama!!

  6. That takes me back to those days in my own life, for sure. Nursing babies is so intense and consuming, and sometimes, it seems like surviving is all you can do. And other times, you realize those moments are fast slipping through your fingers, and snuggling is the most important work of all. God bless you as you do your very, very important work. So many needs! They all need you so much!

    • Intense and consuming about describes it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts too. It IS important work! Even if it feels like I’m being “lazy” sometimes.. it’s not that at all. It’s prioritizing certain things over others. And I’m SO glad I’ve decluttered so much that my housework is pretty minimal at this point… it makes a huge difference in my ability to drop everything and focus on my kids when I want/need to.

  7. I loved this Emily! Thank you for taking the time to share your day AND for the positive messages. My youngest child is 14, but I remember so much of what you’re experiencing now. Wish I could have followed you back then. Have a lovely day.

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