No one’s chaos is the same. We all have different requirements and schedules that take us in different directions throughout the day, but we all have chaos. Even the most organized parents deal with their own version of chaos. It’s what having a family is all about. Inviting chaos into your life and then learning how to manage it, laugh at it and learn to love it.
I’ve set a goal for myself to compile 100 mama’s stories of how they are surviving the chaos.
By the end of this we will have a picture of what 100 mom’s typical day looks like. Some of them will look similar to ours and some will be completely foreign. The stay at home moms are running after kids all day, while the working moms are in sales calls and meetings until 6pm. The point of this series is to get a snapshot into other moms’ lives in hopes of bringing us together as moms, accepting and better understanding the chaos that everyone deals with and joining together to deal with it.
I’m kicking off 100 moms surviving the chaos with my own story and snapshot into my day!
Who am I?
Hi, I’m Caroline Eaton, if you follow this blog than you probably have gotten to know me pretty well over the last year. I graduated from IU with majors in Entrepreneurship and Business Management. After spending a few years in sales with a big name hotel chain, I realized suits and meetings weren’t for me. I followed a passion for health and fitness and became a personal trainer in Chicago. Before having kids my husband and I wanted to see the world so we left for 1.5 years and traveled the world, specifically through Southeast Asia, South Africa and South America. You can read about that trip at Traveling 9 to 5.
Not soon after being back in the states we got pregnant with our first baby girl, Lottie Rose. Ever since, I have been a stay at home/work at home mom managing the chaos. I’m blessed to work from my home, but I sometimes get overwhelmed by the expectations I put on myself to maintain my work schedule and also manage the house work and life organization that needs to get done around here while still giving Lottie the attention she needs/wants.
I put pressure on myself to do it all – and on a good week half of my to-do’s are left undone.
When is Your Favorite Time of Day?
Is bedtime an option? 🙂 Sometimes I feel guilty for how much I look forward to bedtime. I love spending all day with her and we have so much fun but by the time the clock hits 7 pm I am so ready for some quiet me time.
My favorite time of the day is between 9 – 11 am. After breakfast and before lunch. Her and I almost always have something fun planned whether it is going to the playground, doing arts and crafts or visiting some friends for a playdate. She is always most attentive and playful in the morning so I love waking up with her and starting our day!
When is your Most Chaotic Time of Day?
5 PM. Almost like clockwork baby girl starts to reach the end of her day and she is bored with me. It becomes harder to entertain her, she is needy, and I’m tired so I’m usually nearing the end of my patience. Everything starts to melt down around 5 pm.
What is Your Mom Chaos Confession?
All of her toys that make noise are almost always turned OFF. Grandparents know that if they give a gift that makes noise it is most likely staying at their house. Those songs get stuck in your head on repeat and can drive a mom crazy!
What is your Best Tip for Managing the Chaos?
It takes a village to raise a kid and you shouldn’t be trying to do it alone. If you have family near by let them help, they want to. If you don’t have family find good friends that are in a similar stage of life as you. Help each other out, call each other to vent about your day, plan playdates, anything that gives you a little bit of sanity, do that!
Also, get your husband involved. I know this sounds like a”duh” statement, but I am surprised at how many moms take on everything because they feel they are supposed to. A lot of dads want to help out, but need mom to step aside and let them! Step aside ladies and let your husband do his part!
What Does a Typical Day Look Like for You?
6:30 AM – Lottie wakes up. If I’m tired I’ll pull her into bed with me and snooze for an extra 30 minutes (if she’ll let me), but usually I pop out of bed, change her diaper and start the day.
7 AM – The first thing out of this girls mouth in the morning is almost always HUNGRY! She waits by the fridge from the moment we get downstairs wanting her milk poured. I usually get breakfast together for us while Josh makes coffee. With him working from home neither of us are rushing out the door so mornings aren’t a stressful time, we tend to move at a slower pace in the AM.
8AM – Playtime. She wants all my attention. She is pretty good at playing by herself, but somehow she knows when I am preoccupied because it is in that moment that she will run over to me with a book or puzzle and insist I focus on her and only her.
9 AM – After we have completely taken out every toy and played with all of them, we usually climb in the car and get out of the house. Cabin fever is real and it hits her and I hard if we don’t get out early and do something. Most days it is errands, nothing exciting, but I do try to do fun activities with her a few times a week, like playdates and playgrounds.
11:30 AM – Lottie is once again reminding me that she is HUNGRY. We usually have a snack before lunch while we are out, but I try to either bring a lunch or be back home around 11:30 – 12 in order to fill baby girl’s stomach again. I sit her in her chair and usually keep my laptop close while I continue to answer emails and get some work done while she eats.
12:30 PM – After lunch we go down for nap. We just switched her to a big girl bed so that makes nap time a little more interesting since she takes it upon herself to get up and play for 20 minutes before she remembers how tired she is.
I leave her to play while I run to my computer and start cranking out work. It is amazing how much work you can get done when you know you have at most 1.5 hours to work. My fingers start typing and on most days I’m pretty happy with how much I get done.
2 PM – I hear her in the monitor, she is ready for me to come get her.
3 PM – In warmer weather, we go on an afternoon run. I try to get out with my jogging stroller at least every other day. We will run around 3 miles, go for a long walk or find a playground and let her run around. I like to get outside during this time and soak up the vitamin D.
It’s tough in winter because we feel locked indoors. We still have an unfinished basement so I’ve moved all of our outdoor toys downstairs and let her kick soccer balls and do laps around our basement hoping to tire her out. I will sometimes try to get in my own mini workout during this time if she will let me.
If she is content with playing I will try to sneak in some laundry time or dinner prep before the afternoon gets away from me.
4:30 Depending on how the day has been I am usually pretty spent by 4:30. Especially now, in my third trimester, my energy is low by the end of the day. This is where Elmo comes in. Or Baby Einstein or Daniel Tiger… you get the picture. I know some moms are against TV time, but this mom believes that sometimes 30 minutes of song and dance can save moms sanity! So around 4:30 I’ll turn on a show while I cook or sit there and recharge.
5 PM -Lottie is usually asking for milk by 4:45, so dinner for her starts around this time and I start thinking about what Josh and I will eat for dinner if I haven’t started prepping yet.
5:30 – This is where I consider myself extremely lucky. Since Josh works from home he is able to come out of his office and take over watching Lottie for me at 5:30. We will sometimes eat before putting her to bed, but Josh handles bath and bed routine. This is his time with Lottie, he loves it… and it’s my time to have 15 minutes of not having to take care of anyone but myself. If I have work that needs to get done before the end of the day I will finish that now.
630/700 PM – Josh does bedtime. He takes her up around 630 and starts the bath, reads books with her and puts her to bed. I go in and give a quick kiss and say goodnight and he is usually done around 7 where she again proceeds to climb out of bed and play in her room for another 20 minutes.
7 PM – I start working. During the day I get a few things done, but it is hard when you are watching a baby to have a complete thought in your head (anyone feel me on this?) Once she is in bed, I can sit down and think clearly – so this is when I get most of my quality work done.
8:30 PM – My brain is mushy by this point. I close my computer, pour a glass of wine (or orange juice now that I am pregnant) and turn on a TV show with Josh to wind down.
10PM – Bedtime. Or at least I try to be in bed by 10, if I’m honest it rarely happens, because Josh and I get talking, or something comes up or we turn on one too many TV shows that evening. It’s a goal…
There’s my day – we have our little routines and find time to have adventures in between the routines. It sounds simple when you type it out but nothing ever seems easy in the moment or goes as planned. We are always running 20 minutes behind schedule and almost never have matching socks on. When this new baby comes it will be adding chaos on chaos and I’m ok with that because we spend the chaos laughing… and crying… giving lots of hugs and saying I love you.
Are you a mom with your own chaos? We want to hear from you! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in being one of the 100 moms surviving the chaos series!