Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Having it All: The Logistics

Thank you all for your nice emails and comments on my last post. I almost didn't post it, because I was worried it would come off wrong... I'm glad I went ahead and pushed the "publish" button. If nothing else, I now know where to recruit when I get around to starting a company: right here!

I got one really nice email from a young woman in grad school, who is worrying about how she will put all of her puzzle pieces together. She wants kids, and she wants a career in biotech... and she wonders how it will all fit. She'd read my last post, along with my recent rants about work-life balance and having it all, but wanted to know more. I remember looking ahead and being afraid of trying to live the life I am happily living right now, so I decided that I'd answer her on my blog, rather than just via email, on the principle that if one person asked, maybe other people are wondering the same thing.

My first piece of advice is to stop worrying about future problems, and just work hard and do great science now. In other words, don't lean back ahead of time. Once you have kids, you can decide whether or not you want or need to ease up on your career, but whatever you decide, it will be easier to keep your career viable if you have a strong reputation built in your earlier years. Whether you keep working or take a break, that reputation will serve you well. I think that one reason I haven't suffered from much "working moms are slackers" bias in my own career is that I have a sterling reputation for productivity- and have maintained it. But we are also actively recruiting someone right now who is coming back after about 5 years off with young kids. We actually sought her out and asked her if she was ready to come back, on the basis of having been impressed with her work before she took the break.

My second piece of advice is to figure out how to be productive within a reasonable work week now. It is much, much easier to do this before you have the stereotype-inducing baggage of motherhood to contend with. Even if you end up not having kids, you'll probably want to have a life outside of work. And you'll be happier and more productive now. So it is an all-around winning proposition! Figure out what your work limit is. Figure out where your time goes when you are in the lab- chances are it isn't all to work. That's OK if that is how you want to manage your time right now, but an awareness of this will help you later.

My third piece of advice is to choose your partner carefully. Look for someone who will actually be a partner, i.e., pull his or her fair share of the work around the house, be a fully equal parent, and collaborate on solving logistics problems. Update: I was reminded in the comments that some mothers don't have partners, either by choice or circumstance. I am sorry- it shouldn't have taken a comment to remind me of that! But I obviously can't write about the logistics of making that work. I wrote a little more in the comments, and hopefully some single parents will weigh in, too.

The woman who wrote the email also asked if I would write a post with the details of how my husband and I make it all work. I've decided to do that, but with a certain amount of trepidation. First of all, I find it hard to believe that it will actually be interesting to read. If you agree with me, stop reading right now! I won't be offended. Second, I think it is too easy to read a post like this and think "well, I can't do XYZ like she does, so clearly I can't have kids and a career, too." But that is a mistake. The details of my life aren't actually very informative, because the details of every family's arrangements will be different, depending on the temperaments and sleep needs of the kids and the adults, the specifics of the jobs involved, the transport options in the city in which the family lives, etc., etc.

But she asked so nicely. Just ask my kids- I'm a sucker for a polite request! So here goes. Please don't read too much into the details, and remember- you are smart, and you will presumably find a smart partner. Together, you can probably solve the particular logistical problems your life poses once you have kids. Trust yourself.

The Base Weekday Schedule

My husband gets up at about 6:20 a.m., when the alarm goes off. Most days, I get up earlier (as early as 6 a.m.), when one or both of the kids wakes up. If the kids are "sleeping in," I get up at about 6:40, when my husband gets out of the shower. If Petunia's had a particularly bad night, I make my husband get up when she wakes up for the day, and I try to sleep a bit more until the alarm goes off.

We all eat breakfast. I check my email and then shower, make my lunch, and do my hair. I also help get the kids dressed and ready as makes sense- but the morning routine is primarily my husband's to run.

I leave the house between 7:40 and 8:00 a.m. The kids usually walk me to the car, carrying my purse and my lunch for me, then give me big hugs and kisses and wave goodbye. This is my second most favorite part of the day, second only to the big smiles and hugs I get when I pick them up from day care.

I drive to work, and get there between 8 and 8:30 a.m.

My husband finishes getting the kids ready, leaves the house between 8 and 8:30 a.m., drives the kids to day care, then drives to work, arriving between 8:30 and 9 a.m. (It turns out that the time you lose dropping the kids off is mostly compensated for by the fact that when they are in the car, you get to use the car pool lane on our freeway on ramp.)

We both work all day. I don't take a long lunch break most days, although I do occasionally meet a friend for lunch. I go for a 20-30 minute walk at lunchtime if my meeting schedule allows. I actually find that the walk helps me think problems through, so it can be a very productive thing to do. I usually manage a walk at least twice a week. If I have a meeting too close to lunchtime and can't walk, I usually still take a short break, by goofing off online while I eat.

I leave work between 4:30 and 4:45 p.m. and drive to day care. One of the bonuses of my current job is that it is only a 5-10 minute drive from day care. Unless it is raining, in which case it can take more than 30 minutes to get there. This closeness to day care is what gives me the wiggle room to leave a bit later sometimes. At my last job, I left by 4:30 without fail.

I drove home with the kids. We are home by 5:30 p.m. most days.

The kids watch TV or a DVD and eat a snack while I cook dinner. My husband leaves work between 5:15 and 5:30 and is home by 6 most nights. Dinner is served between 6 and 6:15 p.m., and we're done between 6:30 and 6:45 p.m. It isn't slow food, but I try to make healthy things.

One adult plays with the kids while the other clears the table and puts away any leftovers, then comes and joins in the play.

The kids have bath together at 7 p.m. My husband and I take turns giving the bath. Some nights, this is a pain, but a lot of nights it is a lot of fun. The kids usually play well together in the bath, especially if there are bubbles.

The kids have a snack at 7:30 p.m. Both adults usually hang out for that, but if one of us has a lot of work to do or just needs a break, the other will cover snack alone.

At about 8 p.m., Petunia goes to bed. One parent goes and handles that, and the other stays up and plays with Pumpkin, or, if feeling particularly wiped out, watches a show with her.

At about 8:30 p.m., Pumpkin goes to bed.

Both kids get 20-30 minutes of books before the lights go out. These days, Pumpkin reads to us for some of that most nights. Petunia still gets snuggled to sleep, which takes 15 minutes to over an hour, depending on whether or not we've offended the gods of toddler sleep (seriously- I have no idea what causes the variation). Pumpkin got snuggled to sleep until she was three, but now goes to sleep on her own after one story (I made up a story about a zebra trying to get all the other animals in the zoo to go to sleep, and have had to tell it every other night for years. Let this be a warning for you. If you make up a story, make it a good one! I rather like mine, but even so, I'm getting a little tired of it.)

We take turns getting the kids down- one night I do Petunia and my husband does Pumpkin, the next night we switch. Whoever finishes with their kid first does the dishes and sweeps.

Most nights, we're both done by 9:30. Then we work, do chores like paying bills, blog, watch TV, or do whatever else we want/need to do.

I go to bed between 10 and 10:30. My husband comes in later.

Petunia may or may not sleep through the night. Probably not. Usually, I go and resettle her when she wakes up, but sometimes she'll accept my husband instead. It is not uncommon for the adult who is resettling her to fall asleep in her bed and spend the rest of the night there.


On Tuesdays, my husband picks up the kids from day care. I leave work at my usual time, but come straight home and get a ~45 minute workout in before dinner, which is leftovers.

Every other Wednesday, we have a big "clean up" session to get the house tidied up so that the cleaner who comes the next day can actually clean it. The adults do most of the tidying, but we do get the kids to help pick up the toys.

On Thursdays, my husband has an early teleconference, which he takes from home. I take the kids in. We make a concerted effort to get me out the door by 7:50 a.m., and I get to work by about 8:30 a.m.
We both pick the kids up. Pumpkin goes to swim lessons with my husband. I bring Petunia home and attempt to do my workout DVD. She usually does not co-operate. I need a Yo Gabba Gabba workout DVD. (Seriously. They should make one. I suspect there is a reasonably large market for such a thing.) I usually get my workout in after dinner, while my husband gives the kids their bath.

Starting in a few weeks, on Fridays I will pick up the kids and go to a park near day care for soccer lessons for Pumpkin. Petunia will play at the playground during the lesson. My husband joins us about halfway through the lesson, and then we all go out to dinner at a nearby small food court (our choices are Daphne's Greek or a local BBQ chain) and are home by bath time. Last summer and fall, we did this on Tuesday nights.

When a kid gets sick, one of us picks her up and takes her home and the other one finishes the day before picking up the other kid. We choose who has to leave work based on our work schedules- basically, who has a meeting that can't be missed or who has the deadline coming up first. We also roughly take turns. I call my Mom (who is retired), and if she can, she flies over from Phoenix to stay with the sick kid the next day or two. If she can't, my husband and I take turns, or split the days (one works morning, the other works afternoon), and we try to work from home as much as the sick kid and the rest of our schedule will allow.


On Friday nights, after the kids are in bed and the dishes are done, my husband and I crack open some beers and sit down and plan our weekend. One of us writes a list of things to do, which includes chores, any work we need to do, and at least one fun thing for the kids. Once our weekend to do list is written, we chat or watch a show- usually a British mystery, because that is one type of show we both like.

I try to sleep in (until the decadent hour of 7:30) on the weekends, to help compensate for the fact that I am the one who gets up in the middle of the night most nights. When Petunia starts sleeping through the night, we'll probably each get to sleep in (or stay in bed reading for an hour or so) one day.

On Saturdays, we do laundry. We complicate this by hanging the majority of it up on a clothesline and just finishing it briefly in the dryer. Using the fancy retractable clothesline he made his parents lug over from New Zealand at one point makes my husband happy, and the kids love to help (hand us clothes pins), so even though this saves us at most $1/month, I figure it is time well spent. Also, it seems criminal to waste all that San Diego sunshine. Anyway, my husband usually does more of the work around laundry than I do.

Every other Saturday, Pumpkin has a 45 minute Chinese lesson after lunch. One of the adults takes this with her. I can count to ten, and know a bunch of colors and fruit in Chinese now.

On Sundays, my husband goes for a run in the morning. I write the menu plan and grocery list, and then in the afternoon, one of us (usually me) goes to the grocery store. We tried getting groceries delivered, but didn't find it to be a big help, so we dropped that.

My husband cooks dinner on the weekends. He usually makes enough for leftovers at least one of the two nights. We often have my sister over for dinner one of the two nights. We also have the usual mix of play dates, birthday parties, family outings, trips to the park, visits with friends, and other fun things mixed in with the chores.

Petunia still takes a two hour nap after lunch. Pumpkin has "quiet time" (usually TV time, but sometimes coloring or reading time) during this time. I work, blog, or read. Sometimes, I take Petunia for a walk for the first hour or so of her nap- she's sort of outgrowing this, though. Maybe eventually, I'll go out for a run instead. My husband works or does chores (usually yard work) during naptime. Sometimes, one of the adults is really tired from the night before, and naps with Petunia.


So there you have it- our logistical plan in all its boring detail. We got lucky on a few details- we both work in the same part of town, for instance. My mother is retired and willing to come over and babysit sick kids. We also made one very good decision, which we didn't really recognize at the time we were making it: we chose to buy a smaller, more expensive house closer to work, rather than a larger, cheaper house further away. This means our commute is only 15 minutes without traffic, 30-40 minutes in heavy traffic. This really makes our lives easier. We also choose to do a lot of our shopping online, which may or may not increase the cost, but spares us from needing to take frequent trips to a big box store. We go to Costco for diapers, beer, and cereal once every couple of months. We go to Trader Joes for their various yummy foods and cheap wine about once a month. We take the occasional Target trip. Otherwise, we buy almost everything we need online or at our grocery store.

Like I said- I wouldn't read too much into the details of how we've worked things out. Think of this as a worked example problem. The problem on the test will be different, but applying the same general principles will probably lead to a solution.

Feel free to leave your own tips and tricks in the comments, or ask questions if the detail above wasn't enough for you.


  1. We are two working adults, two large and active dogs, two social cats and one preschool kid that doesn't have friends living nearby. Without the dogs and the 45 min drive from home to work via daycare we would have SO much more time, but pets give so much back including the daily health walk that they will stay.

    We have a cleaning service coming every week and I can warmly recommend it to anyone who can afford it (in Finland people don't use these services widely yet). I bought a vacuum cleaner robot to take care of the dog hair on the floor, it saves my time. Shopping lists and generally some degree of planning is key to not wasting time. One needs to reserve time slots for relaxing too. And as you wrote, it's really important to choose a partner that does his/her part.

    Sometimes I feel that all my life is just performing from morning to late night, but then I realise I really don't need to do that much. I don't need to have everything under control. The victim attitude ruins everything. I have signs that say 'Happy wife, happy life' and (translated from Swedish) 'It's better to have a little dirt in room corners than a clean hell'.

  2. "My third piece of advice is to choose your partner carefully" the most impt in my opinion! I love that your mom can fly in from Ph. that is a fabulous option.

  3. this would make a FAB blog carnival topic, and make for a shifted public discourse around motherhood and work that instead of telling women what they are doing wrong has women themselves saying what they think they are doing right. hmmm how to organize! I KNOW FOR women's history month!!! March 8 international women's day!

  4. ok join in the blog carnival on March 8th more information here

  5. Anonymous5:30 AM

    Your advice and daily routine is so similar to mine, I could have written this post! I am a successful assistant professor at an R1, married, two kids. Routine-wise: The only differences between myself and cloud are that my kids are 1 and 3, and they go to bed at 7pm instead of 8-8:30 pm. I work out from 7-8pm 3nights per week, and during their naps on the weekend.

    I want to chime the advice to not "lean back" now, and to choose your partner carefully.

  6. I'm glad to see this. Just read 168 Hours--did you post on that at one time?--which goes through similar scheduling discussion.

    Just wanted to add a reminder: not all folks with kids have a partner, which makes scheduling trickier. I had my first, as a single mother by choice, in my 3rd year on the tenure track (would have been sooner if there hadn't been that whole infertility/miscarriage thing).

  7. See, people always like these detailed posts. I'm convinced they are dull as bricks. But the readers are always right!

    @feMOMhist- wow, I'll be in a blog carnival! Since I already wrote my post, it is a sure thing that I can participate.

    @gwinne- that is an excellent point. I apologize for leaving that viewpoint out. And I even have a regular reader (@mom2boy) who has been a single parent for awhile! Sorry, guys. I obviously can't write logistics details on that. The only thing I can say is that when I've done short term single parenting (when my husband is on a business trip), I find it physically more exhausting, but mentally a little easier, possibly because I just do things "my way" no matter what, but more likely because we treat it as a little holiday and do things like stop for fast food on the way home from swim lessons. (But OMG. Swim lessons while trying to keep the 2 y.o. OUT of the pool was a nightmare!)

  8. @ Cloud: I'm a bit of both (single parent and partnered parent) because my husband spends large chunks of time away from home. During the academic year, he's away for 10 weeks at a time, and only comes home every other weekend. In some ways, it is "easier" - I think the kids feel the difference, that there is less slack, and they actually demand less from me. I feel like we become this really tight team, and our system generally works well. But it is so very exhausting & stressful, physically and emotionally - so not "easier" overall. Of course even when I am on my own with the boys, I have a partner who takes some of the mental load (he pays my bills and takes care of some logistical things).

    Generally, though, my logistics (both with and without partner) are similar to yours, except without partner I do absolutely no exercise (other than running after children). The only difference is that my boys go to preschool rather than daycare, and they aren't in aftercare, so we hire someone to pick them up and bring them home 3-4 days a week.

  9. I think the hardest thing for me and for many is that one little or big thing (like sick kid, sick parent, doctor appts) can throw off a schedule. That's why flexibility is the most important factor, especially at work and with an understanding boss and co-workers.

    I'm still adjusting mentally to the lack of time if any one thing goes out of whack. You're lucky not to have dogs! As much as I love them, I have to say that I often wished that we did not own dogs, which involves walks, feeding, vet visits, grooming, etc..!

  10. I agree, this is fascinating and helpful. A few modest additional thoughts that occur to me about your situation ...

    Your 2 kids are both in the same preschool. I'd guess this is typical assuming the age window is appropriate, but not inviolable. I wonder how having Pumpkin start kindergarten will change things. We are a one-kid family, but chose as our first daycare one that DS officially aged out of when he reached 3 (and perhaps should have moved him sooner, in retrospect), so had we been blessed with another kideither we'd have had kids 2 different places or we'd have had a different arrangement for kid 2 than for kid 1 (of the 3 facilities we have used since DS was born, 1 takes kids 0-~3, 1 takes kids ~4-5, and 1 takes kids 1-5. So really any way you cut it we'd have had kids different places for at least part of a year, or have had to use different facilities for the 2 different kids. Which is OK; we have a lot of good choices in our area. But it would have been something we'd have had to figure out or manage differently).

    Am I right in thinking neither you nor your DH travel much for work?

  11. i read every word, not boring at all! it made me feel better about what feels like our hectic daily schedule. aside from a few minor things, ours is very similar. i'd say to the woman who asked you about it: we are busy, but busy doesn't mean it's not fun, by any means. it may not ever feel "balanced" or look like what you thought it might look like, but it is all worth it.

  12. Hi Cloud,

    It is Laya again here... Second comment. :)
    (sorry for randomly commenting without a proper intro)

    I really like your views and the way you share your thoughts. I have a son, 1.5 years old. I work in the IT field. So, this is about me...

    We have a very different schedule at home... But shared fairly :) My parents are our neighbors... Enough said!

    I like that part of the schedule where you take time out to workout. I should try that too!

    Consider me your follower!


  13. Lisa C.12:13 PM

    Hi Cloud :)

    I very much enjoyed your post & the details, not boring at all. We are about to welcome our first kid and I am a bit scared of how the workload will get balanced. My husband has a much longer commute (sometimes takes an hr to get home) and a less flexible schedule (i am an academic).

    Right now things are pretty balanced, although hectic as we are furiously trying to get the house in order/ fixed up before the baby arrives. I think we are both looking forward to the change and a new focus on family.

    I agree with your comment about choosing a partner wisely, although I will undoubtedly be in charge of daycare pick ups & drop offs, I know my husband will help me balance the load.

  14. @gwinne- I did post on 168 hours- the life reorg subject tag will take you to the things I wrote about it.

    @Erin- it is interesting that your kids pitch in to help make things work when your partner is out of town. I think kids pick up on these things and try to make the family dynamic work more than we give them credit for. (And I think it is a great lesson for them to learn, about how if you all work together, things go better.)

    @oilandgarlic- yes, little things that didn't matter much before I had kids- like bad traffic due to rain- can really mess up our schedule now. My friend over at Bad Mom, Good Mom calls this the "insufficient margin" of working parents.

    @Alexicographer- yes on both counts. It will be interesting to see how our routines change once Pumpkin starts Kindergarten in the fall. A lot will depend on which Kindergarten we end up at. Maybe I'll post a follow up once the new routine is in place!

    Neither me nor my husband travels much for work right now. My husband is starting to travel a bit more. It is workable- as @Erin says, the kids seem to catch on that they need to help out more. But I strongly prefer that he go early in the week, so that I don't have to do the Thursday swim lesson on my own.

    @hilahil- YES. Busy does not mean we aren't have fun!

    @Laya- welcome!

    @Lisa C - congratulations! I found the initial adjustment hard, but manageable. Don't worry if the first few months seem really, really hard. It gets easier as you work out your routines.

  15. the milliner7:30 PM

    I love these detailed posts! It's pretty rare to have a detailed discussion like this with an IRL friend. And the posts like this pretty much make me feel that all factors considered, we're doing OK.

    We pretty much share a very similar schedule. But add in much more for the commute for me - about 1 - 1 1/2 hrs home to daycare to work (thanks to the location of our new and amazing daycare). It's hard to believe that the my commute used to be 30 mins total before. But the savings for moving to a government subsidized daycare as well as the amazing program an staff are well worth it.

    I do drop off & pick up as we decided to go down to one car & DH works downtown where parking is astronomical anyhow, so I've ended up cutting my work day shorter 9:30-4:30, and I usually work through lunch. So lucky my boss is OK with this. I deliver what I'm supposed to (an more), so I think it makes it easier for metro get this flexibility. Also he has a kid around the same age as mine so he gets it too.

    We have a dog, and that definitely adds another stress to the schedule. But one thing that has really helped us was getting a dog walker to take her out in the afternoons. This means that by the time we get home, she's ok to stay inside until her late night pee. We live on the 3rd floor of a walk up, so logistics of taking her out after work when you're alone with a 3 yo are tricky.

    Oh, and we are so getting a vacuum robot. That is brilliant. The dog is the primary reason for th dirt tracked into the house. The vacuuming is one thing I wish I had more time/energy to do more often.

  16. the milliner7:32 PM

    Argh! Typos galore!

  17. Hi Cloud,
    I'm so glad I stumbled on your blog. I am a thirty year old professional (and also a newlywed). I find myself worrying about having kids because I am afraid that I will have to give up part of myself or part of my career in order to do so. Your blog has been an honest and articulate argument that it can be done. So, thank you. I really liked your point (from a previous blog--not this one) that you find yourself pleasantly surprised that your life has expanded with kids, rather than contracted. I LOVE that perspective, and I've really taken it to heart.

    One question I have for you, though, is when do you have time for your friends? I have several close girlfriends, and although our friendships have changed since our early twenties (or in a couple of cases, since our elementary school days), those friendships remain very important to me. Do you make time for girls' night out? How have your friendships change with the addition of your girls? This is the part that I most fear losing when I do have a child.

    Thanks in advance for your response. Keep writing! :)

  18. Our schedules are very similar except I do mornings and DH does dinners. I think I have it a wee bit easier than you because my kids both go to bed early (not bragging! just blessed) so we have evenings free from about 7:15 onwards. Also, we have a nanny who comes to our house so I don't have to do pickup or drop-off. I'm home by 4:45 every day and we eat dinner at 5, but then I tend to do an hour or two in of work in the evenings. This is both a pro and a con of self-employement - mostly a pro in that I get to arrange my schedule in a way that suits both my work and my family. My husband is also self-employed so we have lots of flexibility. But he also travels quite a bit for work - I find those weeks a real struggle and I tend to spoil us with more take-out and more t.v. in his absence.

    I really like these detailed posts as well. I sometimes find some inspiration to tweak things here or there.

    The one thing that is definitely missing in my life is time for friends. It is RARE. Maybe a great night out with friends happens once a quarter (if that).

  19. @the milliner- don't worry about the typos. There were some clear auto-correct ones in there, which always make me giggle. So you were just cheering me up!

    My husband had a brief moment of wanting a dog, and I talked him out of it. Basically, I don't want any more living things depending on us! Well, maybe a fish. We'll see. So far, Pumpkin hasn't asked for a pet.

    @Liz- I'm glad my blog is helping you! That is wonderful to read.

    To answer your question- I am a member of a book club that gets together once per month, and I go almost every month. That is sort of like my girl's night out, I suppose. I think it can be done, but as @Jac says, it is hard. Time is at a premium. I really appreciate the friends I have who are happy to come hang out with me and the kids on the weekend- that makes it easier to stay in touch. Also, sometimes I meet friends for lunch during the week.

    Basically, I think that you will make time for the things that are really important to you. Motherhood really shows you what is important, though, because some things you THOUGHT were important will drop off your radar, and you won't miss them. But if you have a really tight group of friends and they are willing to make a bit of an effort to meet you where you are, especially when you have a little baby- you will probably find a way to stay close.

  20. Yeah, I love the logistics type post - but then again, I'm such a planner I spreadsheeted our routine over a fortnight and I menu plan over that period too. This was partly for my benefit to make sure I felt my life was balanced and partly so my husband could see exactly what he needed to do when. This is particularly important because he's studying hard out for exams again & he gets a lot of free passes on housekeeping stuff to account for that - but not on kid stuff. This is important because we actually have a pretty messy schedule. I work a 5 and a half day fortnight, but that half day is flexible and accruable.

    I'm going to do a logistics post of my own - I'll link up to @feMOMhist's car

  21. yay Zenmoo and others are more than welcome. I love hearing how people make their lives work for them.

    women as experts of their own lives!

  22. Thanks for this post! It's very informative to see how other (more experienced) people handle having kids and a career. I certainly hope I can have it all too! We've only been doing it for a couple months now, and it's going pretty smooth most days. The only thing I'm having a hard time with (okay apart from chronic sleep deprivation) is the predictability of every day. How do you keep your life from getting boring?

  23. @InBabyAttachMode- you're in the early adjustment period when honestly, my husband and I were just trying to survive! For us, it got easier to break the routine as our baby got older and we got more confident as parents. But I think every baby is different on this front- our second child is much more accepting of disruptions to her routine than our first was at the same age.

    The variety in our lives in mostly on the weekends these days. I do miss the ability to call my husband and say "I had a hard day at work, let's just go out for dinner tonight." We're probably close to being able to do that again, but I'm not sure we'll do it much.

  24. @Cloud

    That's what take-out is for!

  25. I *love* these posts, and plan to do my own, but in the mean time, I just wanted to comment that my schedule is very very close to yours, but I am totally confused about how you start dinner at 6:00 or 6:15 and are done between 6:30 and 6:45. That sounds impossible to me. Everything else, yes, but eating dinner in 30 minutes seems superhuman. We sit down to eat between 6:00 and 6:15, too, but we are lucky to finish by 7:00. Usually more like 7:15. The 1yo is slow because he eats his body weight at every meal, and the 3yo is slow because each bite seems to take 10 minutes. You know it's bad when every single dinner requires a potty break in the middle for the 3yo.

  26. @Nicky, the secret is... my kids are crappy eaters and don't eat much at dinner. Well, the 2 y.o. isn't terrible, but she eats pretty fast. I have no idea why. The almost 5 year old eats like a bird. And sometimes I think she just photosynthesizes.

    You should totally join feMOMhist's blog carnival on the topic!

  27. Anonymous4:35 PM

    Thanks for the great post!

  28. the milliner8:02 PM

    @Cloud, IMHO, I think not getting a dog when you have young children is the most sane thing to do. Not that it can't be done. But I don't think I'd introduce a dog at that time, if I didn't already have one. We had our dog pre-kid, so at least our dog routine was down before we added DS to the mix. Once DH tried to float the idea of a second dog, and my response was the same as yours: I can't be responsible for one more living thing!

  29. My routine is very similar, except my husband and I both have days when we travel. We make it work, but I still feel guilt over not doing more play dates and organized sports. I just can't bring myself to spend every saturday morning for months at competitions. Still trying to come to terms with it all, but 90% works just fine.

  30. Anonymous12:42 AM

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