{ a day in the life of ME }

This is a guest blog, part of my new {a day in the life of ME} series on LobotoME Brain Fog Blog. This first one is from a great friend of mine, Julie, a busy mother of 3 who manages to work, be a great mom, travel with her family, work out everyday, have a clean, organized house and feed her family healthy meals everyday. {She & I try to sneak out for yoga class together at least once a week for our SANITY.} She uses her momME planner, feed ME pad & check ME pad each week and hopes to use the Sit ME pad soon and have a date with her hubby. I think you will all enjoy hearing how she does it all. Thanks Julie for sharing your Sanity Saving Tips with us...

So when Jenny asked me to do a guest blog on her site, my initial thought was, “oh no, my new mantra is to say NO to anything above my daily requirements because I over-committed my summer by saying YES one too many times.” I decided to do this blog however, because Jenny is a dear friend and also I wanted to give her some free time this week to spend with her family. So why me??? I think Jenny thinks my life is crazy, IT IS, and she thinks I balance everything somewhat well---I guess that depends on who you ask and it would most likely be a different response from my husband, children, parents, co-workers, friends, etc.

I am a busy, working mom (36) of three children all under the age of three—yep, that is correct, although Jaden will be turning four next month. I joke to my friends that even though I have my Ph.D. and I am a college professor who got tenure and promotion to Associate Professor just this past spring, people still look at me as I trounce through the grocery store with three young kids in tow like I never graduated from high school and haven’t heard of birth control. I actually have done both, but we had twins the second time around, hence, the magical, busy number of three small children. The twins are now 15 ½ months old and things seem to be getting harder instead of easier, is that possible???

So you might wonder what a typical day is for me. The time my day starts depends on my three children. If all goes well, we might make it to 5:45 am. My husband leaves at 6:45 am for work, so on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I am on my own until 5 pm with three kids (Tuesday and Thursday, David takes Jaden to work with him and then drops him off at preschool for the day). During the school year, I teach on campus these days and things are even crazier than in summer. First thing I do is nurse both the twins, yes, I am still nursing, they were to be weaned last month but somehow that didn’t happen. Then I quick do diaper changes/get them dressed for the day while trying to keep Jaden entertained and then I make a mad dash for the shower—if I don’t do this now, I never will. The shower always ends up with one or more children trying to push open the glass shower door because they can no longer entertain themselves—I am quick, five minutes or less. By now they all want breakfast but I need to quick put lotion and what little make-up I wear on. During this process, I generally have the twins crawling on my lap. I quickly get dressed and upload one twin in each arm (~20 lbs a piece) and head downstairs. Jaden by now has no more patience and wants to eat now. You might be saying, why don’t you feed them all first and then take a shower? Well our house arrangement isn’t perfect right now because Amara's room is connected to our bathroom and there is no door between the two rooms so in essence she is in our bathroom. As a result, I need to get the shower out of the way so I can put her down for her nap after she eats breakfast without waking her up (our house is currently for sale - a great house for a family of 4, but not 5!). I feed everyone, let the twins play for a bit and then put them down for their morning nap by 8:15 am. I then get Jaden set up with something to play with or he goes outside jumps on the trampoline, plays in the sandbox, etc. Whew….I quick scarf down some cereal while reading the news online and my emails. I have about 30 emails to respond to everyday for work so this takes up quite a bit of time. Before I know it, it is 9:45 am and I need to quickly get Jaden dressed because my Body Sculpt class starts at 10 am. I wake the twins up, change diapers, get snacks, mad dash out the door and arrive a few minute late for my class. I carry my purse, a baby in each arm and Jaden by my side into the daycare hoping one of the twins doesn’t slip out of my arms. Whew, 10 am and I feel like I have had a full day---is David home from work yet??? SANITY TIP #1 for MOMS: Find a workout class that has daycare and build it into your schedule—your body, brain, and children and husband will LOVE you for it. I have been doing the same class for 3 ½ years three days a week and have hardly missed a day except when my midwife demanded at 20 weeks that I stop all exercise when I was pregnant with the twins. Seriously, this is the BEST gift you can give yourself even if you hate exercising. It is so empowering to have a free hour during the middle of the day to focus on nurturing the body that nurtures others 24/7 (Tuesday and Thursday I run 4 miles in morning pushing the twins in my BOB jogging stroller with friends while Jaden is at preschool). After class, I try and have a play date for Jaden or do something special for him since in the morning I am so busy with the twins. We come home by 12:30 pm and I feed everyone, besides me, and I get the twins down for their afternoon nap. I feed my children healthy, whole foods. We are vegetarians and eat mainly organic food. I did start eating fish while pregnant with the twins and am still eating it and enjoying the protein. Don’t get me wrong though, Jaden eats more than plenty his share of crackers and bars and while they are organic, I don’t really consider them healthy, whole food. Since Jaden doesn’t take a nap anymore, I let him watch one video lying in his bed while the twins sleep. I have guilt over this sometimes, but I also have work that I need to squeeze into my day and he needs quiet time or he will be an overtired, cranky preschooler by 5 pm. So while everyone is in their rooms, I grab a bite to eat by 1:15 pm and then get to work. It is summer break, but as I mentioned, I overcommitted myself this summer. What do I need to squeeze in to the 1 ½ of “free time” I have you might ask?? Here is my list of things to do for the summer: Revisions for scientific manuscript for Fire Ecology Journal, revisions for invited book chapter on the Ecology of the Eastern San Juan Mountains, prep and give volunteer plant walk for Colorado Native Plant Society, prep and give volunteer plant walk for the Mountain Studies Institute, create an ACCESS database for the Forest Service for plant ecology analysis, start data analysis and writing two new scientific manuscripts for my long-term forest restoration fire research project, coordinate with my intern for San Juan Collaboratory, work on invasive weed project for Aztec Ruins National Monument, work on Environmental Assessment for the Vegetation Mgt Plan for Aztec Ruins National Monument, work with students on their senior seminar research projects, work with colleague and students on a fire ecology study in the Missionary Ridge burn area, attend climate change conference and establish research project for summer Field Ecology course related to early snowmelt, climate change, and plants, attend and present oral presentation at national Ecological Society of America conference, coordinate with local non-profit to have a class participate in a cooperative learning experience for fall….is that all, not really. Anyways, I think you get the point, I am BUSY. Kids wake up, snack, play, dinner, play, bath, books, and bedtime by 7:30 pm for twins and 8:30 pm for Jaden—don’t forget to throw quite a bit of chaos into the mix. I then take 30 minutes to relax (read blogs, email friends, de-clutter our house, etc.) and then back to work on my “to do” list and bed by 11 pm. SANITY TIP #2: Work as a team with your partner. David is amazing. The minute he walks in the door, he helps me with everything. In the beginning, I definitely had to ask for help, but now we pretty much have it down for the most part to keep our evening chaos in check. By this point you might be asking, I am after re-reading this blog, “is she happy?” The answer is YES. SANITY TIP #3: The only moment is the moment in which we are presently living. Focus on that and try to leave the past in the past and let the future happen through the actions you are taking in the present moment. For this is the only thing we truly can control. This helps me make it through some of my long days and the recent six day puke/diarrhea parties the twins had literally ON me—trust me, you don’t want to know what this past week was like. In moments like this, I go back to my life mantra from Thich Nhat Hanh, if you haven’t read anything from him, it is a definite must. His teachings are very simple, but that is the point. Life doesn’t need to be difficult if we slow down and show compassion for ourselves and others. “Breathing in, I calm my body, Breathing out, I smile. Breathing in, I am in the present moment, Breathing out it is a wonderful moment.” I have said this mantra in some of my most painful life moments and have accepted these moments graciously. I gave birth to my 1st son, Denali, at 21 weeks gestation and repeated this mantra throughout his birth even as his spirit left my body and I wept uncontrollably.


debbiem said...

That is a great post! Thanks Julie for sharing!

Anonymous said...

those are the cutest babies I have ever seen!


Sarah said...

Julie, you rock mama! xoxo sarah

MillerFam said...

Thanks for sharing such an honest, heartfelt post about mothering and finding time to be HAPPY. I enjoyed reading it immensely.