A question that keeps popping up more and more is, “How exactly are you taking it easy. You have two little kids…”. So today I’ll share the little details of how exactly we’re keeping me off my feet (as much as possible). The short answer is: Dan does almost everything. The only way I know to answer the question in any real detail is to give a snapshot of our typical day.
Before I wake up…
Dan gets up early and does some work from home. Some days he exercises in the garage, and every morning he also empties the dishwasher and puts away clean dishes.
7:30 Bible Time
Nothing has changed here. Every morning Lydia joins me as I read, pray, and memorize to start the day.
8:00 Put away folded laundry, pick out girls’ clothes, get dressed, clean bathroom
So far it doesn’t sound like I’m taking it easy, does it? Every evening Dan carries up a laundry basket full of folded laundry. I put this away, and while I’m putting away the bathroom towels I also get dressed and clean the bathroom.
Now, there are a couple tricks here. First of all, I have a pretty efficient laundry folding method which I’ll share below. Secondly, I only clean one part of the bathroom a day (Monday – sink, Tuesday – shower, Wednesday – wash towels, Thursday – toilet, Friday – mirror, empty trash, refill soap as needed) and on days when it’s looking good or I’m not feeling particularly up for it, I just skip it.
8:15 First trip downstairs to make breakfast
I make a simple breakfast and get it on the table. Lydia goes potty and gets dressed in the clothes I just picked out for her. To simplify things, I let Lydia pick out her outfits (She requests what she wants the night before. This is something she started doing this on her own to make sure she only was wearing the clothes she wanted to wear.) and she typically rotates through the same two or three so they never even make it back to her dresser.
Dan brings down Abby, changes her diaper, and gets her dressed. Then he puts her in her high chair before praying for our day and heading off to work. (Except on Wednesdays, he stays home and works upstairs)
While Dan gets Abby ready, I throw some laundry in the washer from the hamper that Dan brings downstairs each morning.
Sit and eat.
9:00 Bible time with the girls
Just like before, we read from Lydia and Abby’s story Bibles, pray, and practice a Bible verse memory song.
9:15 Breakfast clean-up-ish, and computer time
I don’t really clean up from meals any more. I simply stack the dishes while I’m sitting at the table, then put them on or next to the sink. They pile up all day for Dan to take care of later. While I’m on my feet I put away any food from breakfast and switch the laundry clothes to the drier. We brush our teeth and the girls play while I do some work on the computer: budgeting, blogging, emailing, or meal-planning (still at the dining room table usually).
This is when Lydia often plays dress up or looks at library books. Abby crawls around to see what sort of messes she can make. Her favorites are to pull laundry out of hampers and to take all the shoes off of our shoe rack. When that’s done, she will spread toys all over the living room and pull books off shelves.
10ish Move to couch
Next we’ll spend an hour or two just reading various library books. We’ll read some picture books but we’ve also been reading through the Little House on the Prairie series. If Lydia thinks of it and asks for a snack, I’ll take a break from sitting to get a quick snack for the girls (bread, crackers, or fruit). I don’t even bother to put Abby in her high chair anymore, she just eats on the floor. Less lifting.
Sometimes I’ll do a small “school” activity with Lydia. Then, it’s back to reading.
1:00 Lunch Clean-up-ish and fold laundry
Sometimes I don’t even clean up from lunch, but I try to stack the dishes and put away leftover food.
I pull the laundry from the drier and sit on the floor while the girls play. Here’s that laundry technique I mentioned previously. First I sort all the laundry into piles based on where it belongs: bathroom, girls’ closet, Lydia’s dresser, Abby’s dresser etc. Then I fold room by room starting with the bathroom and working my way backwards toward our room. That way, when it’s time to put the laundry away I’m not running back and forth from room to room. It’s already piled by location starting in our bedroom and working its way to the bathroom, where I also get dressed.
It’s all about optimizing the time I spend on my feet and avoiding any running back-and-forth.
Now I take my first trip upstairs for the day, put Abby in her crib and warn Lydia not to get off her bed during nap time. They play for a long time before falling asleep, so naptime can easily stretch throughout most of the afternoon. I usually read for a while before napping myself.
Oh, and on days when Dan is home, I just stay downstairs all day and nap on the couch. Dan takes care of anything that requires a trip up or down.
4ish Dan is home
I leave the girls in their room, awake or not, until Dan comes home early from work around 4. When he gets home, I make my second trip downstairs. Dan carries Abby downstairs and helps get Lyda and Abby a snack (this time putting Abby in her high chair).
Listen to Adventures on Odyssey with Lydia while lounging in the living room again.
5ish Prepare main course for dinner
Often while sitting on a stool, I’ll cook up a simple dish for dinner. Then I go back to the living room and read while Dan comes down and does everything else…
6 or 6:30ish Dinner
Dan sets the table (clears it from lunch if necessary), prepares a salad, changes any necessary diapers, and gets everyone to the table to eat. We eat and have Bible time.
7:30 Get ready for Bed
Now I move to the couch for the rest of the night while Dan does everything yet again. He changes Abby’s diaper, gets the girls into pajamas and brushes their teeth and tucks them in. Then he clears the table, cleans the high chair and floor, loads the dishwasher, and washes any other dishes. Every other night he washes diapers. Two or three times a week he bakes bread (in our breadmaker). As needed he washes counters and our stove, and takes out the trash. Some nights he changes the sheets or cleans the floors. After all that, he works until late into the night because his work has been demanding more from him lately.
Yes, Dan does a lot. He really deserves an award.
I move upstairs (my second time up those steps in a day) and get ready for bed. Usually I stay up reading until I’m tired enough to fall asleep.
Whew, and there’s a typical day.
Dan gets up early and does all the grocery shopping. On Sundays and Wednesday nights he takes care of the girls single-handedly while I sit and listen to Bible study or church. On those occasions Dan drops me off and I find my chair and sit there until we leave several hours later (with potty breaks occasionally, I am pregnant after all!).
Lydia is a big helper in all of this. She plays independently, puts away bibs after I fold laundry, and is constantly running on errands for me to find out what Abby’s doing or getting into. She picks things up for me and puts things away, and goes potty all by herself even though she hates to do it.
There is also a young lady from church who has volunteered to come over once a week. On Monday afternoons she’ll take the girls outside for some much-needed fresh air. She also sweeps, mops, and vacuums our floors downstairs, saving Dan from yet another weekly chore.
It’s not perfect, but it works.
So many things are far from ideal. The clutter is unbelievable. Our living room is almost always trashed. If I was able to get up and move around freely, I could clean it in about 5 minutes. Last night I asked Lydia to clean it (one object at a time) and it took her 45 minutes. So we don’t do that very often, only when I really can’t take it anymore.
Sometimes I need something that would be so easy to get but would require me to go upstairs or get up on my feet. I try to just suffer through until a convenient moment comes along to ask Dan for help. One day I left my fleece upstairs during my nap time and forgot to bring it downstairs. I was cold all evening but was avoiding another trip up on my feet and Dan was so busy I didn’t want to ask him to get it for me. On many occasions I run out of water during dinner and wait until Dan is on his feet before asking for a refill. It only takes a few seconds, but those with “littles” know how meal times go. With one person taking care of everything by himself…it’s often quite a long time after we pray before Dan even gets to take a bite. Taking care of the two is enough without me adding in extra requests!
So, while it’s a struggle at times, it’s working for now, and I’m able to be off my feet a surprising amount of the time. I will certainly be grateful when I can be fully active again, cleaning the living room and getting my own water! The days go by slowly for me, but each morning is another celebration that Baby isn’t here yet. If we can just make it a couple more weeks…