A Day in the Life of a Work-at-Home-Mom

A Day in the Life of a Work-at-Home-Mom

If you know nothing about me, you need to know that I have three children (ages 3, 6, and 9) and that I work part-time from home for a behavioral economics firm in the Midwest (I live in Alaska… if that wasn’t abundantly clear). I am privileged to be able to be a stay-at-home mom for my kids, but also earn some income doing something I love. That does not mean my days are easy. Today, I’m going to give you a typical “day in the life of Maggie.” I bet you can’t wait!

The Life of a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) and WAHM (work-at-home-mom):

5:45 AM – Get up, brush hair, throw on a sweater and set up my computer at the table for a 6AM work meeting. I keep my pajama pants on and have a heated blanket in my lap because the heat in the house doesn’t turn on until 7AM.

6:00 AM – Skype with a group in the conference room at the company’s office. (Until last week, I could just phone in to meetings and stay in my bed for them… but unfortunately, they just got Skype working and now I have to pretend I’m put together).

7:00 AM – Meeting ends. I’ve got a big list of to-dos that came out of it, but I have to switch gears… The heat turns on and I have to wake the kiddos up. Mr. T heads to work. I cook the oatmeal, pack the lunches, and make sure everyone has everything. We eat together.

8:20 AM – The kids and I pack in the car and start our daily morning commute. The girls are supposed to be at school by 9, but they attend different schools (Penny is across town). Snow and moose can often slow the journey.

9:00 AM – Some mornings, this is when I head to a Piyo class with some friends (we have the benefit of having an official Piyo instructor that likes to practice). We exercise while the kids run around. Other mornings, this is the time for Lui and I. We play trains, read stories, put puzzles together, play “go to sleep” (so hard to stay awake!), etc.

11:00 AM – I turn on PBS Kids and take a shower. I’ve gotten several work e-mails in the past 4 hours. I put out any fires that need to be dealt with.

12:00 PM – Lui pulls a mandarin orange out of the fridge and declares it’s lunchtime. Most days I make him a PB & honey sandwich, though I often make waffles or pancakes (because I can! Also, I love breakfast food. A lot.).

12:30 PM – After lunch is story time. Lui says: “You read me one, two, three, four stories on couch!” I comply.

1:00 PM – Lui goes down for a nap. It’s finally time to work. I get all set up, take care of the most pressing stuff first, and then start to fade. I’ve been going non-stop since 5:45! If I can push through, I get two hours of work in at this point. If not, I end up with a 30 minute nap somewhere in this time period. Also, if we ran errands in the morning or I didn’t have time to make myself lunch before now, I also have to fit in a shower and some lunch.

3:00 PM – I have to wake Lui up and we get all dressed up to go out in the snow (yay for down skirts!). We walk a few blocks to Florin’s school. Luckily, my friend gave me a fabulous jogging stroller her kids had outgrown. I was so tired of trying to push my umbrella stroller through the snowy sidewalks (and too cheap to buy a new stroller). Again, snow or moose can slow the journey.

3:25 PM – Florin gets out of school. We walk home together (me pushing Lui in the stroller and her climbing every snow hill she sees all the way home).

3:50 PM – We get back home. I help Florin unload her backpack and go through all of her school papers. She reads me her story for homework, then she rinses out her lunch box and sets it on the counter for me to refill in the morning.

4:15 PM – Penny gets home from school on the bus. I talk to her about her day and go through her homework.

4:30 PM – At this point, the three kids will start terrorizing playing with each other. I sneak into my bedroom and dash to get more work done. I get a few emails sent off with what I was able to accomplish for the day (I am a master at getting the stuff needed done in very little time… too bad I get paid hourly!).

5:00 PM – Mr. T gets home from work. If I’m still frantically working, he makes dinner. If not, I start dinner. The rest of the evening is spent eating dinner as a family, maybe sneaking a board game in before the kids go to bed, and getting everyone in bed. After the kids go to sleep, I’m too exhausted to think straight, so I pull out my contraband chocolate and Mr. T and I watch The Crown on Netflix.

Rinse. Repeat.

Random Related Thoughts:

  • I’ve taken one of those “when are you most productive” quizzes. It turns out, my best times are 10 AM-12 PM and 3-5 PM with a nap in between. Definitely not 6-7 AM and 1-3 PM.
  • How do you people work in an office all day without being able to take a nap or work in your bed?
  • I love being able to make anything I want for lunch because I’m home and I can. I eat waffles/pancakes at least once a week.
  • Kids are the worst (and the best)
  • Skype is the worst. Now I have to pretend I’m engaged. I used to just make oatmeal and pack lunches while participating on the call.
  • All the people that say: “If you traded TV for a side hustle, you’d be a millionaire in a year” need to spend a day with their children AND try to be productive. You’ll hear no shaming from me when you need to kick back with your sugar and watch Netflix.
  • Often, around 4pm, when I pick work back up, I’m shocked at how little anyone that spent all day in the office accomplished. I often come through with way more in the 2+ hours I work.
  • I love that I get to hear all of Lui’s awesome jokes (Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to Bill Nye the Science Guy!)
  • Now you don’t have to ask: “What do you do all day?”
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20 Comments

  1. TheRetirementManifesto

    Maggie, a real joy to live a “vicarious day” as an Alaskan SAHM/WAHM with you. Careful, those terrorist kids may jump you during a nap.

    And yes, I hate Skype. No more taking conf calls from a hotel room in my underwear.

    • MaggieBanks

      Yes, some days the work/naptime doesn’t work out either. Why can’t kids stay on schedule?! 🙂

  2. Your Skype comment might win this post!

    • MaggieBanks

      I told Mr. T this morning that I need more “Skype Sweaters” that go over my jammies. 🙂

  3. We just moved to Skype too for meeting/calls. You know you can turn off the video, right? Waffles or pancakes sounds like a great lunch. I usually take left overs. Mid-day naps are frowned upon in my office.

    Sounds busy but getting both family and work time in during the day sounds like a pretty good balance.

    • MaggieBanks

      I know you can turn the video off, unfortunately they set it up specifically to “get my face in the conference room.” Blerg.

  4. To be honest, the lack of naps is one of the worst parts of working full-time. I often do take a little nap on work-from-home days. If I’m in the office, I always seem to hit a brick wall in the afternoons – even more so during this pregnancy. You seem to have a pretty good gig – wanna trade 😉

  5. I’m spent by the end of the day too! I get the kids in bed by 7, and I’m toast. We clean the kitchen, eat little food, try to have a few minutes of uninterrupted conversation, a little Netflix and in bed by 9. It’s not too bad if I was able to sleep in till 6:30, but the 5 am wake ups make for a LONG day.

    • MaggieBanks

      Oh man… the kitchen… sometimes that happens before Netflix… but usually not. 🙂

  6. I’m exhausted reading this! Whew! It also made me miss the days when I worked close enough to head home on lunch for homemade food and a quick nap. Also, behavioral economics sounds like fascinating work!!!

  7. It’s this sort of schedule that makes me think I’m not going to have any free time when I transition to stay at home dad. 🙂 The reality is that it will probably – ok it will definitely be harder than what I do for work now. I still think it can be fun and a different experience for the kids and myself, but I’m not looking forward to these types of busy days.

    On the plus side, they’ll both be in school by the time I make the switch so that will give me some free time during the day to get a schedule created and get errands/chores and exercise/fun stuff in as well.

    Thanks for the insight into work at home life!

    • MaggieBanks

      Things will definitely change drastically when Lui is in school as well. It will be a lot easier in many ways (though I’ll miss the cuddling/story times)

  8. Wow, I need a nap just from reading through your schedule! Skype is the worst invention ever for people working at home. Thankfully video conferencing never became the norm in my workplace because everyone was traveling a lot, but the video days were always the worst. Having to look presentable and professional for a 9 AM Eastern call from the west coast when I would normally be in bed, yuck! On the phone, I could at least put the thing on mute and cook breakfast or fold laundry. But on Skype you just have to stare and smile and nod. What a waste of time! 😉

    Your point about how little people accomplish in the office is right on. Meetings, lunches, hallway conversations, and general time-wasting will eat up a lot of hours (not to mention commuting!). When I was working from home (without kids, of course), I could often squeeze in lunch with a friend, a run, and an hour or two for side-hustling, even on a relatively busy day. I’d have a hard time going back to 9-to-5 in an office, that’s for sure.

    • MaggieBanks

      I often feel bad that I can’t turn things over immediately after a morning meeting, but then I see how little people have accomplished and I think: “Man, I should be getting hourly wages for all that time waste as well!” 🙂

  9. This sounds so very familiar, life with young kids. My wife is now home with the kids during the day. But even with that some days it feels like you come home from work to a second job. Kids are great, but man some days I wish they’d sleep past 6 am. I actually thought they’d get a bit easier with my wife at home…. no such luck.

    • MaggieBanks

      Oh yeah.. when the kids wake up ridiculously early or don’t nap, it’s END OF DAYS around here! 🙂

  10. And you have time to blog too somehow?? I often think work at home mums have the best and worst of both worlds… And that’s before moose get thrown into the equation 😉

    • MaggieBanks

      I forgot to add blogging, laundry, housework, paying the bills, managing appointments, etc etc. 🙂 – Some days I do feel like I’m barely keeping above water… though other days I feel like I’m rocking it!

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