A Day in the Life of a Stay-At-Home-Mom

This post was inspired by Amy at Let’s Go Running.

I haven’t been writing much, for a lot of reasons, but this seemed like an easy way to check in with you all. I know that day-to-day life with an infant is probably not that thrilling for all of you, so feel free to skip this one and come back another day.

6:30 am 
Vera wakes me for the fourth and final time. She’s up pretty much every two hours or less all night, which makes for rough mornings. And afternoons. And evenings. Anyway, I digress.

I nurse her in bed while I contemplate whether to get up or attempt to sleep in. By the time Vera is finished eating, it’s clear she’s up for the day, so I lie in bed and cuddle her for a bit. Ben comes in to kiss us goodbye before leaving for the day, and I know it’s time to get up.

7:00 am
I change Vera and pop her on her activity mat to play while I get what I call my “infrastructure” going. I fill my 32 oz water bottle, pop some overnight oats in the microwave, and pour myself some coffee (Ben makes enough for both of us when he gets up). I eat breakfast and drink my coffee on the floor next to Vera’s activity mat so we can chat and play.

7:50 am
Vera is ready to eat again, so I set us up at the kitchen table. While I nurse her, I do some online Christmas shopping and make to-do lists. After her feed, she’s sleepy, so I attempt to put her down for a nap. True to form, she wakes the instant I set her down, but she’s calm, so I leave her in her crib for some quiet time.

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8:15 am 
While Vera hangs out in her room, I make tea and work on this blog post a bit. I also read other blogs (yep, still lurking out here, reading your blogs and not commenting!) and pick up a bit around the house.

8:35 am 
Vera starts to make sad noises, so I scoop her out of her crib, get her dressed for the day and plunk her in her exersaucer. While she babbles and plays, I get myself dressed and make the bed. These are two of my “How to Stay Sane as a Stay-At-Home-Mom” tips. Actually getting dressed every day and making the bed make me feel much more productive, even if I don’t do anything else all day.

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Vera is happy in her exersaucer, so I put some Christmas music on and wrap some Christmas presents. I do a gift exchange with some of my blog friends every year, and historically my gifts don’t arrive at their destinations until well into the new year. I’m a master procrastinator. But this year, my shopping is all done, I just need to get them in the mail. Go me!

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Gifts for my bestie’s son. And you best believe everyone is getting robot wrapping paper this year.

9:37 am 
Vera is no longer happy. It’s “nap time,” but getting her to nap is kind of hopeless most days. It takes me 25 minutes to feed her and settle her down. Once she’s out, I HUSTLE, because her naps last an average of 20 minutes, which is hardly enough time to accomplish anything. I use the bathroom, brush my teeth, and start to put away some laundry.

10:30 am
Right on cue, Vera wakes from her typical less-than-30-minute nap. I attempt to settle her back down, but it’s no use. I slap a fresh diaper on her and load her into the car seat to head out for yet more Christmas shopping. Shop local, ya’ll. I finish shopping for my sisters-in-law and grab a couple of necessities for around the house as well.

11:30 am 
Vera has fallen asleep on the car ride home, so I take advantage of the bonus nap to make myself some lunch. I have started keeping pre-chopped salad ingredients in the fridge to make it easier to make healthy choices when I’m scrambling to eat during my very brief breaks, so I assemble a salad and some other leftovers. I work on this blog post a bit while I eat.

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Trying to eat up those Thanksgiving leftovers

Noon
Vera is up and at ’em, so I feed her a snack and then put her down for some tummy time while I pump. I pump once a day to a) help keep my supply up and b) build a freezer stash for days/events when I’m out of the house. Next up is reading! I’m trying to make sure I read to Vera more than just at bed time, so we busted out a bunch of our new books that Gramma and Grampa gifted at our visit over Thanksgiving.

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Kitties are apparently more entertaining than books

1:30 pm 
Vera is ready for a diaper and a change of pace. She’s fussy and fidgety, so I nurse her briefly, then change her and put her back in the exersaucer. I have a few Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups and try to work on this blog post a bit more. This lasts maybe five minutes before Vera demands my undivided attention. She’s fussy and obviously tired but won’t go down without a fight. We play a few rounds of peekaboo and some games from baby yoga, then she settles in for a marathon nursing session. This is unsurprising as she has been “snacking” all day.

2:30 pm
Post-meal, she falls asleep in my arms. Rather than trying to put her down and risking waking her, I continue to work on this blog post one-handed. It’s tedious, but what else am I gonna do while holding a napping baby?

I wish I were being productive, but I know baby girl needs the sleep, and quite frankly, I need the break, so I surrender to the siren song of Netflix and turn on Love Actually. This is a good choice because Vera ends up napping for almost two hours (!!!!), which is seriously unheard of right now.

4:10 pm 
Ben is home! Yay! Once he has a snack and gets changed out of his work clothes, I hand off Vera so I can get supper going. I’m making pizza, so I need to make the dough and get it rising ASAP, otherwise we’ll be eating at 9 pm.

5:00 pm 
Vera is fussy, so I attempt to feed her, but it doesn’t last long. She’s super distractable these days, and eats in short, frequent bursts, particularly when Ben is around. While the dough rises, we take turns playing with Vera, making faces, singing, flying her in the air, and basically just trying to make it until bedtime. She also snacks a couple more times. You’ll also notice that I ceased taking pictures at this point, because keeping V happy in the hour or so before bedtime is pretty tough.

6:00 pm
Bath time! This is the beginning of our bedtime ritual. We got her all cleaned up and in a fresh diaper (we use cloth diapers during the day and disposables at night) and PJs, and Ben gave her a bottle. In an attempt to load Vera up on calories and hopefully get her to sleep more, we give her a bottle of pumped breast milk before bed in addition to nursing. So far, it hasn’t really seemed to help, but at least it helps to offset all of her mini feeds during that day.

Once she finishes eating, it’s reading, a bedtime song, and lights out. Of course, she never falls asleep easily, but we try to stick to our routine as much as possible. General wisdom indicates that eventually, the routine signals to baby that it’s time to go to sleep, but we’re still waiting for that to take effect… I get the pizzas in the oven between attempts to calm her.

7:00 pm
She’s finally out! Hallelujah! Ben and I resume watching a video game walk-through on YouTube for Red Dead Redemption 2. Yep, we’re the people who watch those videos. I mean, we can’t afford a PS4, which means we’ll never get the game, so why not watch someone else play it? We also stuff our faces with pizza and salad.

7:30 pm
Vera wakes up and fusses, but I’m miraculously able to calm her back to sleep fairly easily. More pizza and watching Archer while I knit Christmas gifts. Vera makes a few more halfhearted fusses, but we don’t have to intervene.

9:00 pm
Ben heads into the kitchen to clean up supper dishes while I head into the bathroom to get ready for bed.

9:30 pm
I attempt to dream feed Vera, but she doesn’t eat very much, then wakes up completely when I put her back down, so I feed her some more, and she finally goes back to sleep.

11:50 pm
Vera wakes me for the first of many times. Lather, rinse, repeat.

So there you have it. A super glamorous, very interesting day in the life. (Sarcasm. So much sarcasm)

Parent friends, talk to me about sleep training. Vera is almost old enough and I am DESPERATE to start getting more sleep. I’m not interested in crying it out, but open to all other suggestions.

 

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Life Lately

Hey there, friends. I kinda dropped off the map there for a bit. In addition to feeling a LOT of ambivalence towards blogging (that’s a post for another day), life has been absolutely bananas. Here are a few updates on what’s been going on in the life of Rae.

To start off with, Vera is apparently one of those babies that just isn’t a good sleeper. Usually, between three and four months of age, babies develop discernible sleep patterns and schedules, and begin to sleep for longer periods of time (think 6-8 hours). We thought we were approaching that point when we started getting regular four hour chunks, and even a few five hour chunks, but as soon as we hit the three month mark, it all went to hell. Either she hit a growth spurt or started the dreaded four month sleep regression a month early, but she hasn’t slept longer than four hours since, and generally wakes at LEAST every 3.5 hours every night, usually even more frequently. Oh and naps? What naps? She might take two or three half hour naps a day. It sucks. A lot.

To help with the sleep issue, our pediatrician recommended me trying a dairy-free diet. V was having pretty regular bouts of crying due to gas pains during the day and waking up at night, so the doctor suggested both probiotic drops and going dairy-free for a while. Since starting both, Vera has had pretty much no episodes of gas-induced fussing. Whether that’s the dairy or the drops is kind of a guessing game at this point. We have Vera’s four month checkup next week, so we’ll be asking the doctor about next steps. Boy I hope I can start eating cheese again soon. It’s been extremely hard maintaining a dairy-free diet. Of course it’s worth it for the kiddo, but it’s no fun. Halloween was a huge bummer, let me tell you. Most commercial chocolate has milk in it. Boooooo.

5k training. Right. I’m training for my first post-baby race. It’s going… Not well. You may have seen my post on Instagram, but with three weeks to go until race day, I’ve missed more scheduled runs that I have completed. I haven’t been to yoga in over a month, and haven’t done any strength training in weeks. I know that I will be able to cover the distance, but I had really hoped to race this one, to see what I can do. The way things are going, this will end up being more of a fun run than a race.

We also turned our lives completely upside down to install hardwood flooring in more than half our house. While we are absolutely delighted with the results, it was a really difficult two weeks. I don’t recommend doing major home renovations with a new baby in the house. Our furniture was every which way, there were tools everywhere, sawdust all over everything… And it was very noisy. Not at all conducive to baby naps.

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Vera’s room in progress

On the health front, things have also been less than stellar. I got a cold, which Vera and Ben then both got as well. And Vera can’t seem to shake the congestion. It’s been over a week now, and she’s still struggling to breathe through her nose, particularly at night. This makes everything from eating to playing to sleeping much more challenging for her. To help with sleep, we are putting her in the Rock n Play, which is a ridiculous crutch that we don’t want to rely on for the future, but is totally necessary for any of us to get a halfway reasonable amount of sleep right now.

I also still have a milk blister on my left nipple. Did I tell you about this? I honestly can’t even remember. But yeah, I have a blocked milk pore that is extremely painful. It’s been there for over a month. I’ve been to the doctor twice, and had it lanced twice, once by a midwife and once here at home (with a sterile needle given to me by my midwife). I’ve done everything recommended for at home treatment and it’s just not getting any better and I’ve kind of given up and decided that this is my life now. Breastfeeding is no joke, people. I honestly don’t know what women did before modern medicine.

Additionally, we went for our first family road trip. We went to Pittsfield, MA to meet up with my bestie Mandy, her husband, and their new baby at her parents’ house. It’s basically the halfway point between them in Jersey and us here in VT, so it was nice that we could see each other without either side having to drive the whole distance. It was wonderful to see my friends and meet their baby. Liam was born a little over a month before Vera, so Mandy and I basically went through our whole pregnancies together. The weekend was great, but hectic. Mandy has a huge extended family that is always drifting in and out of her parents’ house, so we were socializing all weekend. Vera had a hard time with the change in schedule and slept even worse than usual, although she thankfully was a champ and slept the entire car rides down and back.

Reading back over this, it all seems very doom and gloom, but that’s not what I intend. It’s simply an honest look at what’s been going on. Thankfully, Ben has been on paternity leave from work since October 8, and has been enormously kind and helpful as far as trying to get me some extra sleep. He generally gets up with Vera every morning to allow me an extra hour or two in bed. And he’s been knocking lots of little niggling home improvement projects off the list left and right. We’ve now got a shelf in the laundry room for our detergent instead of balancing it on a windowsill. We’ve got new light fixtures in both bedrooms to replace the ugly fan/old lady light combos. The cat scratcher is now mounted on the wall instead of kicking around the kitchen floor. AND…

We bought a “new” car. It’s a 1998 Honda CR-V and we LURVE it. We’ve been casually keeping an eye our for a small SUV for a while because Ben’s truck can’t take a car seat. We knew that eventually we’d want more than one car that can transport the kiddo, and we also knew that if we were going to have more kids and/or get a dog like we want, we’d need a slightly larger vehicle. We found this on Craigslist and got a hell of a deal, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that it stays road-worthy for us for a few years. I’m just happy because it has studded snow tires and all-wheel drive, so I’ll probably use it as my winter car while Ben drives the Civic. Fun fact, we now have cars from each decade of the 80’s, 90’s, and aughts–an ’87 Toyota pickup, a ’98 CR-V, and a ’08 Civic.

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So yeah. Life has been chaos. And I think with a baby, that’s just kind of how life is going to be now. We’re just trying to roll with it.

What kind of car do you drive?

Have you tackled any home improvement projects lately?

Weekend Update – Plague Part 2

Well, I didn’t mean to disappear for all of last week, but I was deathly ill from Wednesday until just yesterday, so there you have it.

I left work early on Wednesday afternoon with a terrible hacking cough, and a fever of 100.4. The fever peaked at 101.5 that night, then hung in around 100 until Saturday morning. I was out of work Thursday and Friday, and didn’t manage to get out of bed until yesterday. I was so congested in both my chest and head that I basically didn’t sleep for three straight days, and started hallucinating from exhaustion/anxiety on Friday night. It was a really great few days, let me tell ya. And now Ben is home sick. Oy.

So long story short, I’m even more behind on not just work work, but new house work AND blog stuff, so I’m not sure how much you’ll hear from me this week. I know I owe you a few trip recap posts and I’d love to update you on the house, but we’ll see. Right now, work work and house work need to come first. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to move in this coming weekend, but with Ben now ill, I’m not sure.

Quick Post-NYC Check In

Hi friends! I’m back from NYC and holy moly, I’m tired! We crammed SO MUCH into four short days and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. But first, I’ve got to get caught up on work and sleep. Oh yeah, and MOVE INTO OUR NEW HOUSE! AAAHHHHHH!

This week is going to be totally nuts, so don’t be surprised if I’m not around much. Priority number one is getting moved into the house. I will likely have several trip recap posts, and maybe a house progress post too, but like I said, we’ve gotta get INTO the house first. Wheeee!

I hope you all have a fabulous week, and I’ll be back when I can!

Off to BroadwayCon and HOUSE OMG!

Eeeeeee, guys I’m so excited! It’s finally time for BroadwayCon! First thing tomorrow, my friend Sarah and I will board the Amtrak Vermonter and take a nice, leisurely, Wi-Fi enabled train ride straight to Penn Station, and thus begin a weekend of ultimate Broadway nerdiness in NYC.

I will likely be doing a recap of our trip, possibly even a day-to-day sort of thing, because I want to remember every single detail, but I don’t plan to actually post while I’m gone. If you want to follow along in our adventures, I’m sure I’ll be posting plenty on Instagram!

In other news, we are scheduled to FINALLY CLOSE ON OUR HOUSE tonight. We had our final walk-through this morning, and barring any last-minute catastrophes, we should be good to go! While we are so, so excited and relieved that the day is finally here, the timing kind of stinks. I’m off to NYC and Ben is off to a cousin’s wedding, so we won’t even be able to start working on/moving into the house until next Tuesday. Obviously, this is small potatoes in comparison with the enormity of actually officially owning a house, but as you can imagine, we’re pretty anxious to get in there and start living on our own again. We’ve been living with my in-laws for 16 months now, which is quite long enough.

Thankfully, there’s not too much to do. Ideally, we’d like to paint (the bedroom is pink, people, PINK!), and there’s some pretty horrific wood paneling with ducks and deer and stuff that needs to either be ripped off or painted over. We’d also very much like to steam clean the carpets, cause god only knows the last time they were thoroughly cleaned. Otherwise, it’s move-in ready, which is such a relief.

I’m hoping we can be fully in by the end of next weekend, but I don’t want to put too hard a timeline on it. Painting and cleaning carpets will be much easier if the house isn’t occupied, and I don’t want to put that stuff off for “later” and then not get around to it for a couple of years.

So, after closing tonight, Ben and I will be going out to dinner to celebrate, and then heading to Lowe’s or Home Depot to scope out paint colors. And then swinging by the house so we can bask in the glory of being home owners 🙂

Giving Up Facebook

My only real New Year’s Resolution this year was to give up Facebook. There were a LOT of reasons for this. First, my dabbling research into the world of minimalism and simplicity. Second, it had become a TERRIBLE timesuck. I would find myself staring at my phone at really inappropriate times (while “‘watching” a movie with Ben, at the dinner table, at parties), just scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. It was gross, and I hated it. Third, it wasn’t making me happy. If anything, it usually made me sad, mad, annoyed, or any number of other negative emotions, which seems pretty counter-intuitive. There are countless other reasons, but those are the top three.

I had/have a lot of anxiety about giving up the ‘book. Firstly, it’s become pretty ubiquitous as a way to find out about stuff going on, either party invites, or local events or what have you. It seems like something isn’t “real” or “official” until it’s “Facebook Official.” I’m experiencing FOMO, worrying that I’ll somehow receive less event invitations, or not find out about cool stuff happening, or miss out on fun milestones in my friends’ and family’s lives. Which is kind of dumb actually, considering the fact that I rarely go to parties/bars/social events even when I AM invited. And I know that the people who truly care about me and want to see me will find ways to invite me places and keep me updated on their lives other than via Facebook.

I’m also worried about missing out on audition opportunities. A lot of theatre companies use Facebook almost exclusively to post audition notices. Some companies have email lists, which I’m on, but a lot don’t. Staying on top of theatre opportunities is going to be more work now. I will have to check websites and write down dates rather than just getting Facebook event reminders. And yeah, I may miss some things. But is that really the end of the world? Is that really a reason to stay connected to a social network that’s draining my time and energy? Heck no!

So, I deactivated my Facebook account before I went to bed on New Year’s Eve. That means it’s now been over a week since I’ve logged in, checked a notification, or seen a message. It’s been… strange, but also good. I still find myself pulling out my phone all the damn time, but Facebook isn’t there, so I put it back. I’m definitely spending less time staring at my phone, which is great.

I’m still on Instagram and Twitter, and while I’m still technically logged into Snapchat, I’ve never really liked it and use it pretty rarely. IG is by far my favorite form of social media. Because it’s just pictures, I find it quick and easy to get “caught up” on the happenings, but it’s not something that causes me to get sucked in and scroll for crazy amounts of time. Twitter is starting to feel really overwhelming and not very useful at all as a way to stay connected, so I may get rid of it in the near future as well.

I’m not sure how long this FB hiatus will be, but I’d love to manage to do it for a whole year. No matter what happens, I’m really enjoying the break.

Have you ever taken a big step back from social media? How did it go?

Quick Post-Christmas Check-In

Hi friends! I kind of disappeared there for a minute. It wasn’t intentional, but between holiday festivities and a bunch of time off work, I just didn’t feel like blogging.

I ended up with seven whole days off from work, which was an absolute treat. I got to spend some time with my family and Ben’s, relax, and just enjoy the holiday season. And the best part is, this is a short week, with another long holiday weekend coming up, woohoo!

I’m hoping to get back on the proverbial wagon as far as workouts go, but I know that motivation is way low this time of year, and it’s supposed to be in the single digits or colder all week, so my motivation is even lower!

Anyway, I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and that this week is short and painless! I’ll try to check back in on Friday with my usual Friday Free-For-All post. I’ve got lots to update you on!