Day in the life: stay at home mom with a toddler

My daughter is 18 months old and I have the privilege of staying home with her.  I don’t have a schedule, never really have, and every single day at our house is different.  I keep organized with a to-do list, but that’s it. I’m not a super organized mom, I don’t do tons of great daily activities, pretty much the only thing that is consistent from day to day is dinner.  We love dinner! 

5:30am-daddy leaves for work. 

Emmy and I don’t typically wake up for this, so I can’t actually tell you what time daddy left for work.  The brave and hard-working hero of our house gets up while everyone else is still sleeping to slay the office dragons and bring home the bacon.

9am-Emmy wakes up mommy.  

I’m not a morning person. Like AT. ALL. My college roommates used to turn off my alarms if I didn’t wake up (and I never did).  Honestly, I’m not sure how late I might sleep if I didn’t have a kid! Emmy usually spends the second half of the night in our bed, so when she wakes up she climbs on my face or whatever.  We were getting up consistently between 7-8, but with daylight savings time it has been consistently 9 and I am not complaining.


usually our mornings are very relaxed and slow (did I mention that I’m not a morning person) but Wednesday is library story time day at 10:30!  We don’t make it every week, but I really want to take her, so we start getting ready. Actually, the first thing I do is turn on veggie tales on netflix so that I can take a shower all by myself.  Typically Emmy likes to nurse first thing in the morning, but she seemed okay with veggie tales and some cheerios. She LOVES tv. It’s probably a problem, but if I get to take a shower without any “help” I’m going to just let her do it.  I get myself ready, make our breakfast smoothies and get her clothes and diaper bag ready while she drinks her smoothie. We have smoothies almost every morning, we both love them!

10:15-Emmy still isn’t dressed.  

Mornings are slow. Like, I seriously feel like I’m in slow motion sometimes!  I realize that I forgot the laundry in the washer yesterday and I start it to wash again.  We change diaper and clothes and get shoes on. The dress I picked for her is too big, so we change again.  The library is only 3 blocks away, so we drive and pulled into the parking lot at exactly 10:30. I’m calling that on time!

10:30-Story time 

Emmy is seriously so chill.  Our library’s story time is usually very crowded and girlfriend just watches the world go by.  We stayed afterwards to play with toys for a bit.

11:30-We get home 

Emmy climbs the stairs to apartment by herself and takes off her own shoes-when did she get so independent!?  I get Emmy a snack and finally sit down for my bible time. I like to do this first thing in the morning during breakfast, but this morning we woke up too late.  I read and write in my journal and Emmy brings over a pencil and paper so she can sit in her high chair at the table with me. I love how she wants to participate in whatever I am doing!  She plays and makes messes with her toys.

A little after noon- I put her down for a nap.  

Even though we have been staying up and going to bed an hour late, I’m trying to put her naps and bedtime at the right time so that she will sleep on time.  So far she has just been playing in her bed for an hour whenever I put her down. I would like to say that I use this time to be awesome and clean my entire house, but I take a nap on the couch.  Why am I so tired when I got up at 9? It probably has to do with our uncomfortable mattress. We already ordered a new one but it hasn’t come yet. I hear Melody talking and playing in her bed as I drift off.  

An hour later I wake up and she is still talking at playing in her bed.  Well, at least she wasn’t crying. Our apartment is very small, so I would have heard her.  The odd thing is that she hasn’t nursed yet today. Typically she would have nursed 2 or 3 times by now, but she went to bed without nursing.  She’s been skipping some nursing sessions if she is busy or distracted and sometimes while she is nursing she unlatches to ask for milk. I tell her that this is all the milk I have and it makes me wonder if my supply is decreasing and this is the beginning of the end of nursing this baby.  I haven’t done anything to wean her other than offer her milk in a cup or distractions if I am busy. By 1:30 she finally falls asleep.

1:30-nap time

I fiddle around sort of cleaning and sort of eating lunch/snacks and sort of getting distracted and really not getting any task fully done.  I’m not really sure what you would call this…wasting time while attempting to be productive? Eventually I sit down at the computer to work on the blog. Just when I’m getting something actually accomplished…

2:30-Emmy wakes up.  

Girl, I know that a 1 hour nap was not enough for you.  I lie in my bed with her and nurse her so that she can go back to sleep and get back to the blog and doing some dishes and tidying up and listening to podcasts.   That’s my favorite thing to do to distract me from chores. I call the car mechanic and the accountant and pay the gas bill (I earn lots of adulting points here!)


I hear that little monster playing in my bed, she is still awake, so I get her up.  She didn’t sleep long, but she was in bed for a very long time. I finally serve us both a “real” lunch of leftover homemade tacos.  We eat together, but she decides to have only corn tortillas and corn for lunch, oh well, what do you do? I offered her a healthy, balanced meal and that’s good enough for me.  She drinks a lot of cashew milk and makes a big mess, hopefully she eats some protein at dinner. Right after lunch she asks to nurse again, even though it’s only been a little over an hour.  I leave all the lunch dishes in the sink. It was empty for at least 4.8 seconds, so I’ll consider that a success.

4:10-We go for a walk.

 I’ve been having weird hip pain in my right hip and the chiropractor suggested taking more walks, so awalking we go!  I can’t find my sunglasses, so we walk to dollar tree to get a new pair. We break and lose sunglasses so often that we aren’t allowed any pair over $5.  It’s about 15 minutes of fast walking each way. Emmy rides in the stroller. I almost always put her in the carrier, but upon the chiropractor’s suggestion, I’m trying not to carry her if I can use the stroller instead.  As soon as we leave, Vince calls and says that he’s on his way home. Yay!

5:10-We return home

Emmy and Daddy playing chase and tickle!

with 2 pairs of sunglasses and something fun for Emmy’s easter basket.  Vince got home a few minutes before us and he meets us outside. Emmy and daddy play chase and tickle & we go inside so I can start dinner.  While I cook, we all listen to a short episode of John Bevere’s podcast where he and his wife talk about the spiritual discipline of bible reading.  Emmy and daddy play roughhousing and I make white fish, broccoli and leftover quinoa and sweet potatoes.


We usually eat at 6 so that Vince has time to eat before the gym, but we got to eat even earlier tonight!  It’s the first night since daylight savings that I’ve had dinner ready on time. I actually told time by the clock and not the sun today.  Emmy makes a huge mess with mashed sweet potatoes, but eats a full meal. We read the next story in The Little Golden Bible Storybook. The stories are just a few sentences, but it’s our “family reading level” bible time.  It doesn’t happen every night, but if I leave the baby bible on the table during dinner, that helps us to remember. Emmy likes to hold the bible after we read it, so I clean her up and she gets down.

6:10-What do we do?

Dinner is done and it is still 20 minutes before Vince goes to the gym, this has never happened before!  We deal a quick game of StarFluxx. Fluxx is one of our favorite 2 player games with very simple rules. (Draw a card. Play a card.  That’s it!) StarFluxx is our favorite because the deck is very balanced, the games are quick, and it’s nerdy. Emmy joins us of course by sitting in her high chair at the table with us.  We give her some cards and let her “play” with us.


Sitting on the counter cures grumpy attitudes

Vince asks to pause the game because he has to run to his class at 6:30.  I take one more turn while he gets changed and I WIN! Vince says goodnight to the baby and runs to the gym.  I do a victory dance and clean up the game and get started on the dinner dishes. Emmy is in the kitchen with me, playing with the cans in the pantry and starts acting out.  I pause the dishes to give her some attention before bedtime. I feed her her vitamins crushed up in applesauce and let her sit on the counter and play with straws.

7:00pm-A little playtime

We color together and trace our hands.  We put the baby doll to sleep, she wears my shoes.  I attempt to secretly tidy the toys, but she wants to play with everything I touch.  She is so loving and keeps giving me hugs. I debate having her help me tidy up, but decide to just get her ready for bed.  She nurses, but again just keeps asking to nurse and I don’t hear her swallowing as I usually do. Only 3 nursing sessions all day long?!  Pretty normal for her age, but weird for us.  Let’s see how many times she nurses tonight.


We sing a little song and pray and I put her in her bed and say goodnight.  Sometimes I have no energy after she goes to bed, but I think that afternoon nap helped a lot.  I finish the last couple of dishes, pick up all of the toys and sweep the floors. They really need to be mopped, but at least they are cleaner than they were.

8:00-Vince comes home.  

He wants to shower quick and go to pick up a discounted pizza for pi day(3/14).  When he goes into our room, not only is Emmy awake and playing, she has thrown out every removable piece of clothing, stuffed animal and blanket, removed and thrown out her sheet and is sitting UNDER her pack n play mattress staring out the side, hahahaha!  We give her a hug and put her back on top of her mattress but don’t give her ammo (I mean blankets) back. Vince leaves and I make a GIANT bowl of chocolate covered popcorn and a cup of tea. I eat the whole thing and don’t regret it at all. At some point Emmy falls asleep without crying.

9:00-No pizza 

Vince comes home empty handed.  The line was too long, bummer. I settle in to finish up this blog post and add pretty pictures.  I didn’t do a great job photographing this day.  He falls asleep on the couch while we watch reruns.  I’ll try to get to bed as soon as I can. I’m not a morning person, but I’m not really a night owl either. I like to sleep.

There you have it, the ordinary, wonderful, blessed day in the life of one stay at home mom with a toddler and hard-working husband.   That reminds me…I need to start the dryer!

Adventures in unschooling a toddler-February 2017

Adventures in unschooling!  February 2017 toddler edition

“Mommy learns what unschooling is”


This week my toddler took all of her crayons and put them into the hole of a pool noodle!  

She’s 18 months old and she started doing this on her own when she was having free-play aka mommy was doing dishes.  I realized what a great fine motor activity that was and that I had actually been planning a similar but more complicated activity that I found on pinterest, using straws and an empty parmesan cheese container.  I hadn’t taken the time and energy to actually prep aforementioned awesome activity.


So, I hopped onto pinterest, as any good mom would do and I came across this term,



You’ve probably already heard it, but it was new to me.


Basically the idea behind unschooling is that children are naturally curious and we just let them learn by exploring their interests.  


I love this concept because sometimes the “education” that we push on children for their benefit actually has the opposite effect by making them frustrated and not want to participate in anything labeled “learning” or “education.”  I know few children going through traditional schooling anywhere who would say that they enjoy it or that learning is fun.  


Am I planning to exclusively “unschool” my child?  

No.  There are some things that we have to do in life that may not be the most fun.  I want her to have some basic knowledge and skills that may not fall into her “interests” and I want her to be stretched to learn to do things that aren’t initially exciting.


However this experience really taught me a lesson!  My child is already curious and has a desire to try things, learn things, and explore the world.  Probably the greatest educational gift that I can give her is to not squash that spirit!   So I will give myself a break and let her learn by playing, copying and trying things.  There will be lots of times that I need to step in and be intentional in teaching her, but she is learning so much in her playing-I’m going to enjoy watching her unschool!

Want to read more about how my ideas on education have changed since having a toddler?  I wrote about it here

What have you noticed your children learning on their own?  Do you incorporate any unschooling into your education plan?

3 Chores for my 1 year old (and how I get her to do them)


Having a toddler is my favorite thing ever!  She is starting to do things on her own, express opinions, and try new things.  While my 17 month old daughter is not saying many English words, she is definitely understanding, imitating, and cooperating.  1 year olds usually have a desire to please the adults in their life, so I intend to use that to my advantage!  I want my daughter to feel like she has a job and a purpose in our home, I want her to see that everyone in the home contributes and that she can have a helpful spirit.  

At this young age, teaching her to do the chores is much more work than doing them myself, so I’m trusting that through consistency I will reap the rewards later as she becomes self sufficient and independent. With practice, she will be able to slowly take over each of these tasks.  Can I hear an amen from moms of older kids please?  

“Doing a chore” with a 1 year old typically consists of four steps, 1-tell them what to do (cheerfully but directly). 2-show them how to do it. 3-help them do it. 4-praise them for doing it

1. Turning off the light before bed

This one seems small, but I hear so many parents complain that their older children won’t turn off the lights!  My daughter actually really enjoys this as a part of her evening routine, I think it makes her feel powerful because she always looks up at the light and says, “wow!”  

To teach her to turn off the light, every single night I say, “time to turn off the light.”  Then I point to the light switch and lift her up to reach it.  If she reaches out her hand, I will guide her hand right to the light switch and even pull it down if she is struggling with the movement of it.  If she does not reach out her hand, I’ll gently guide her hand to the light switch and turn it off using her finger.  I always tell her “thank you,” even if I was the one who turned off the light with her finger.  If she was distracted looking at the fan, I’ll remind her what she did, “you turned out the light!”

2. Picking up her toys

This one is honestly super hit and miss.  At 1 and a half, my daughter has JUST started putting items into containers, instead of only out of them.  Take out and put back in is one of her favorite games, but when she is playing independently, it always ends with take out!  At this age she is not ready to organize toys, put different toys in different areas, or stack toys nicely, but she IS ready to put something into a basket, so that is what we do.  Right now, this chore is typically only done when something is dumped out defiantly, so I need to develop some consistency around doing this chore every day, multiple times a day!  

To do this chore, I sit down with her and grab the toy basket.  I tell her, “time to pick up your toys” and I put a toy into the basket.  While we are completing the task, I say “thank you” every time we put one in.  I don’t require her to pick up every toy-I probably pick up 90% and she picks up 10% but at this age, the cooperation and hard-working attitude matter more than actual achievement!  At the end, I always tell her “all done, thank you for picking up your toys!”  

*pro tip- If your child is being defiant and refusing to cooperate in this chore, don’t accept that they will not do the chore.  Without anger or frustration, require obedience of your child.  Sometimes Emmy will throw herself down and shout, “no!” so I simply and calmly pick her up and tell her that it’s time to pick up her toys.  I carry her to the toy and use her hands to pick it up and drop it in the basket.  Even though she may be thrashing or whining I praise her extra for her (forced) cooperation, typically by the end, with a lot of encouragement, she is helping willingly and sometimes even running across the room for an extra toy that I missed in the initial pickup

3. Wiping up spills

I don’t know about your 1 year old, but mine thinks it’s funny to turn her sippy cup upside down when no one is watching and bang it on the floor until milk comes out.  Anyone else?….No?…Just me?…Okay.  

Well, what I do in this situation is RUN to the kitchen to get a towel to try to throw it on the spill before she splashes in it.  I tell her, “oops, you spilled, help mommy clean it up.” I show her how to wipe the towel back and forth on the spill.  If she doesn’t do it on her own, I gently place her hands on the towel and wipe it around on the floor.  I always tell her “thank you for your help!”

While these are the chores that we “assign” to our 1 year old, she can be involved in any chore by following the same simple steps, tell her what to do, show her how to do it, help her do it, and praise her for doing it!  As she sees my positive attitude towards chores and wants to be involved in chores, she is learning how to contribute to the household.  On a non-regular basis we have also been able to have her involved in scrubbing the bathtub, sweeping the floors, doing laundry and even the dishes.  Does her contribution in any way help the chore get done: no, in fact it’s usually harder,  but we are accomplishing something much more important and long-term by taking simple steps to get her involved in our lives and our home.  

I hope that these ideas help you keep it simple and fun so that you can get your toddler involved in chores today!  Let me know how you get your kids involved and helping by leaving me a comment below