The Truth About What I Do All Day

bathroom helper
On the rare occasion that I get to use the bathroom, I usually have someone unrolling the toilet paper and requesting the roll.

It’s not an uncommon question for a stay-at-home mom to encounter. “What do you do all day?” I won’t lie, before I actually experienced stay-at-home mommyhood, I wondered the same thing.

Well prepare to be enlightened, my friends. I’m about to solve the mystery for you.

The answer at this stage in the game is: I keep the children alive.

Yep, I know you’re probably blown away by my ambition. Some days I am too.

The more detailed truth is: it depends.

If you had asked me last fall, I probably would have had a more well-rounded answer. I got the kids up and fed and dressed. Dropped the oldest at school. Took the baby for a walk. Played and read books. Nursed. Laid the baby down for a nap. Picked up the house or did dishes or laundry or read a book or wrote. Made lunch. Played with baby. Picked up the girl from school. You get the idea. I even had a day each week where I cleaned the house!

Now, in the dog days of summer, in the third trimester of my third pregnancy, things are a little different. If you want to know what I DO all day, my answer will revolve entirely around children. Make breakfast, change diapers, play games, read books, make lunch, take walks, pull the toddler off the furniture, scan for choking hazards, comfort the toddler who fell off the furniture, and so on.

If you want to know what I actually ACCOMPLISH each day? The answer is basically nothing. If there are dishes in the sink when my husband leaves for work in the morning, there is a 90% chance they will be there when he gets home, and then some. The same goes for laundry in the dryer, dog hair on the floor, and toys…well.. everywhere. Cleaning during the day is a thing of the past. Actually, almost anything that falls under household or self-care is a thing of the past. There are days where I don’t drink nearly enough water because the act of leaving the play room to go refill my cup in the kitchen is nearly impossible. And besides, it’s not like I have time to use the bathroom anyway.

The toddler is in full-blown “high maintenance” phase, which means short naps and demanding my undivided attention in one way or another whenever she isn’t asleep. And whenever she isn’t getting my attention the other one needs it. (And to be completely honest, the one that isn’t even born yet is already making her own demands on my energy level, so she is not to be counted out either.)

I love my kids, and even on the hardest of days I wouldn’t trade being here with them for the world. This phase will pass and someday my to do list will include more than just playing referee and distributing snacks.

But for now, most days just keeping kids happy, fed, and dry is a full-time job.

The Bright Side of the Dark Side

It was one of those days. It wasn’t even what you’d call a bad day–just draining in its own way.

The toddler laid down for a nap this morning but only slept for an hour so I had high hopes for at least another hour this afternoon. Nope. Not happening. She straight up refused any attempt I made. But not in a teary-eyed, I-really-need-to-sleep-but-i-won’t kind of way–more like a I’m-going-to-call-for-mommy-in-my-most-adorable-voice-until-she-comes-back kind of way.

I caved.

So back down in the play space she decided to crawl up on the couch and scoot over so she could peek at me around the edge of her plastic slide. Then she would laugh hysterically at her own game. I couldn’t help but laugh at her.

That was my mistake.

Once she made mommy laugh it was on. She kept up the peek-a-boo and added some excited scurrying which soon escalated to jumping. To be clear, she just figured out how to climb onto furniture consistently, and she doesn’t have the awareness or gross motor skills to not face plant off the couch. So I went to remove her from the couch and that added a whole new level to the game. She squealed and tried to run from me–still on the couch.

Needless to say, the game was the highlight of her afternoon. Every time I walked away from the couch, she climbed up again and repeated the whole charade.

Basically, I spent the afternoon guarding a couch.

It was fun for a little while, but soon I was aware that her persistence was breaking my spirit. At one point she dropped a Puff snack on the floor and, rather than pick it up, I though, “Eh. She will eat it later.” (I’m blaming pregnancy hormones for my weakness in this battle.)

After the husband arrived home and I disappeared to hide in the bathroom, I was texting a friend to blow off some of the days steam. Her response?

“I don’t feel sorry for you.”

“Huh?” I replied. “Not even a little sympathy?”

“It feels weird to say you feel sorry for a person who is spending the day watching her little girl learn new things, even if that includes new ways to murder herself on furniture. It does sound exhausting. But I can’t say I feel sorry for you.”


This is why she is one of my favorite humans on Earth–because she can make me laugh and smack me awake at the same time.

Some days we need to own our exhaustion, to be honest about how hard staying home with littles can be, and vent to our friends while hiding in the bathroom eating a bowl of ice cream. Not so that we can get sympathy, but so we can let it go. So we can move past the hard stuff and get back to the gratitude.

Because the bottom line is, it is a profound privilege to be able to stay at home with my kids every day. To be able to scoop up my toddler every time she calls for mommy, even if it’s when she should be sleeping. To be able to watch her learn how to be mischievous, even if it means camping out in front of a couch all afternoon. And to spend the day listening to her magical laughter, even if it leads to me ending the day hiding in the bathroom eating ice cream.


Parenting is…

A shirt full of plastic food. Because when your kid makes you a picnic, you don’t not eat it.  Especially when it includes “chicken on the cob. You know, like corn on the cob….but chicken.”