Back when I first wrote my "Having it All: The Logistics" post (which I really wish I'd called "Having All of It That You Want: The Logistics," so much have I come to despise the phrase "having it all"), Alexicographer wondered how things would look once we no longer had both kids at the same day care. I said I'd come back and update once Pumpkin started Kindergarten. And then I forgot about it.
A couple of blog posts reminded me about it this week: AskMoxie had a post with a mother who is about to go back to work asking for advice and Laura Vanderkam had a post about that lawyer who quit with a dramatic exit email detailing how long/crappy her day was. I realized that our schedule has settled into a routine again, and decided that it was time to update my logistics post. I've cut and paste the old schedule in here, and modified it to reflect our new routine.
The Base Weekday Schedule
My husband still gets up at about 6:20 a.m., when the alarm goes off. I still get up earlier most days. I now set my alarm for 5:55 and try to get up for some "me" time. The plan is to go for a short run Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, do some writing on Tuesdays, and do yoga on Thursdays. But Petunia has a bad habit of waking up and messing up my plans. Or she'll have a bad night (or I'll be sick) and I won't want to get up. I recently had the bright idea of doing two of my 10-minute dance workouts, which actually worked as long as I let Petunia watch a show on my Kindle Fire. I prefer the run- the neighborhood is so quiet at that hour, and I enjoy the peace. But perfect isn't possible right now, so I'll take what I can get.
We all eat breakfast. I check my email and then shower, and do my hair. I also help get the kids dressed and ready. Petunia has started demanding that I get her ready, and in the interest of getting everyone out the door roughly on time, I have been doing this. Mr. Snarky has picked up an 8:45 meeting most days, so we need to get everyone out on time. Mr. Snarky makes Pumpkin's sandwich, which is a combination she invented- strawberry jam and cheese spread on a pita pocket. It used to be gouda cheese slices, but those fell out too much and annoyed her.
I now leave the house between 7:45 and 8:00 a.m., and so does everyone else. I kiss everyone good-bye. Most days, Mr. Snarky and I do some sort of dramatic silly good-bye kiss, because it makes the kids laugh, and when Pumpkin was still struggling with the Kindergarten adjustment, she needed a laugh. Now it is just fun to look into the car and see the kids laughing.
I drive to work, and get there between 8:15 and 8:30 a.m. Sadly, this is now usually closer to 8:30 than 8:15.
Mr. Snarky drops Pumpkin at the before care at her school (which is frustratingly as far from the only open gate as it is possible to be), drives Pumpkin to day care, and then drives to work,
arriving between 8:30 and 9 a.m.
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. (This is unchanged.)
I leave work between 4:30 and 4:45 p.m. and drive to day care. It takes roughly 10-15 minutes to get Petunia and her stuff gathered up and back in the car.
I drove to Pumpkin's school, which is a couple blocks from our house and Petunia and I walk across the entire campus to her after school care. I usually get to Pumpkin between 5:15 and 5:30. We walk back across campus and buckle everyone back into the car, which takes 5-10 minutes, depending on how many delays the kids create and if anyone melts down. We drive home from there, which takes a couple of minutes.
The kids watch TV or a DVD and eat a snack while I cook dinner. Mr. Snarky still leaves work between 5:15 and 5:30 and is home between 6 and 6:15 most nights, and then we have dinner. Traffic in the area in which we work has been bad lately, so he's been late a lot. Sometimes, dinnertime is only done a few minutes before bath.
If there is time, one adult plays with the kids while the other clears the table and puts away any leftovers, then comes and joins in the play.
We still take turns giving the kids a bath at 7 p.m. On Tuesdays, the other parent takes the garbage out. On Thursdays and Fridays, the other parent may start a load of laundry.
The kids have a snack at 7:30 p.m. For some reason, Mr. Snarky has stopped helping much with that, which may be something that I ask him to change. I think he got out of the habit when he had a big deadline and would have to do work during this time. I make my lunch, Pumpkin's lunch (except the sandwich, which would get soggy overnight), and Petunia's "lunch" (a plastic bowl with goldfish and pretzels that she calls her "runch" and will get very upset if we forget to give her in the morning. She eats it as soon as she gets to day care. I think she just wanted to be more like her big sister. She often insists on carrying her "pa-pack" to the car, too.)
Both kids now head to bed between 8:00 and 8:20. We still alternate nights for which parent gets which kid to bed. They both get 15-20 minutes of books before the lights go out. Pumpkin is usually too tired to read to us these days, but since her teacher tells us she's already reading in Spanish, we aren't too worried about that. Petunia still
gets snuggled to sleep, and has started insisting that I come in and finish the deal, even on Mr. Snarky's nights. Pumpkin went through a phase like this, too, so we're just rolling with it. I am now starting to lay the groundwork for convincing her to go to sleep on her own, though. I'll probably get more serious about that after the holidays.
Since I am almost always in Petunia's room snuggling her to sleep, Mr. Snarky almost always does the dishes and sweeps up the kitchen.
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. This is also unchanged.
I try to go to bed between 10 and 10:30, but sometimes it is as late as 11. Mr. Snarky comes in later.
Petunia sleeps through the night more often now. When she doesn't, she usually comes and joins us in our bed. Lately, she's been sleeping through until 5:30 or so and then coming down the hall with an armful of stuffed animals and climbing into bed with us. Very cute. But she then proceeds to aggressively snuggle me (hand up my shirt sleeve, feet pushing into my hip, etc.) so I don't get much more sleep once she joins us.
On Mondays, Mr. Snarky picks up Pumpkin and takes her to swim lesson. I pick up Petunia and come home and make dinner. They don't get back from swim lesson until almost 6:30, so I've started making things that take longer than 20 minutes to cook on Mondays. A couple of weeks ago, I even made zucchini soup (from scratch- I just noticed that the source of my recipe is now offline. I'll have to post a Dinner during Dora recipe!) and pumpkin scones. That was sort of tiring, though, so I doubt I'll be that ambitious that often.
On Tuesdays, my husband picks up Petunia. I leave work at my usual time, and pick up Pumpkin. I get a ~30 minute workout (down from ~45 minutes before the advent of the double drop off), and then we have leftovers for dinner. Mr. Snarky doesn't pick up Pumpkin because he has been under a deadline. That is supposedly past, so we may renegotiate this. However, Pumpkin really likes getting picked up a bit early and getting a little time with me (even if she's just sitting in the garage reading while I work out), so we may just leave this how it is.
On Thursdays, my husband has an early teleconference, which he takes
from home. I take both 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 8:45 a.m. I still pick both kids up, which can lead to sucky days like today when traffic was bad on both commutes and my total commute time for the day was a whopping 3 hours. This may also be up for negotiation now that Mr. Snarky's deadline has passed.
There is no soccer anymore. If Pumpkin wants to pick that back up, we can do it as an after school option on the campus of her school. She chose not to pick up any of the after school "classes" this fall, and we were fine with that. We figured she should just concentrate on settling in at school.
The routine when a kid gets sick is unchanged- 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, Mr. Snarky 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.
We still do Friday Night Beers, and plan out our weekend and either just talk or watch a show.
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 night if a kid needs me, and because I generally need more sleep than Mr. Snarky, who is the genetic source of Pumpkin's lower than average sleep needs. We may start alternating. But I hope not....
On Saturdays, we do the laundry that we didn't do during the week. Petunia is potty-training right now, so we have even more laundry than before. Pumpkin has gymnastics lessons at 11 a.m. I usually take her, because one of her friends is also in the class, and I'm friendly with her mom.
Every other Saturday, both kids have Chinese lesson after
lunch. Mostly Mr. Snarky does these now, although I sometimes sit in with Petunia. Petunia goes down for a nap during Pumpkin's lesson, and that requires me if we don't want any screaming. Sometimes, I have to take her out for a walk, which I usually don't mind too much, as long as I wasn't hoping to nap, too.
Mr. Snarky still likes to go for a run on Sunday morning. I write the menu
plan and grocery list, and then in the afternoon, one of us (usually me)
goes to the grocery store. This is unchanged, although I am experimenting with writing the menu plan on Saturday morning so that we can go to the store whenever is convenient.
Mr. Snarky still cooks dinner on the weekends, and we still 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. Usually, both Mr. Snarky and I need to do a little work, too. The extra commute time due to the double drop off/pick up has pushed a little more work into our evenings and weekends. We try to plan one fun thing per weekend, so that we can be certain that we won't let chores swallow our weekends.
Based on this, and my experience of being a mom in the workforce for roughly five years now, I have some observations:
1. Adding in the second drop off and pick up hasn't been as bad as I feared, but it definitely has a impact on our schedule and the amount of free time we have. I remain nervous about what will happen to our schedule next year, when both of our companies move to new buildings. My husband doesn't know yet where his company is moving. I know where my company is moving, and it is further away from home and nowhere near our current day care. It took roughly two months for us to settle into this routine, so I've resolved to give myself a few months to settle into another new routine when my company moves. I'm really afraid it is going to turn out to be untenable, which will require either leaving a job I really like and that is giving me lots of growth opportunities or leaving a day care we love. But there is no point worrying about that now. A lot will change in the next year, and I can't predict what the routine will feel like.
2. I think Laura is right that a lot of how we experience our days is colored by the narrative we have in our mind. I have certainly had some very difficult days when I had work deadlines and a child who was up a lot at night, and my life has felt a little crappy. OK, a lot crappy. But in the narrative in my head about my life, the crappiness is due to the kid not sleeping, and my day would have been just as crappy if I was staying home with the kids all day. And the hassle of the double drop off and pick up is a short term added stress on me that is necessary to keep the life I want. Not working is just not in my narrative, because for me, working is something I really want to do.
That is not to say that my narrative is the right one for all women- far from it. Just that my narrative is the true one for me, and I have to admit, I sort of resent how much my culture tries to pull me out of that narrative into a "women can't have it all" narrative or some such thing. But that is a rant for a different day.
3. Along those lines... I'd love to see a similar daily schedule for a stay at home mom. I suspect it would not be the unscheduled nirvana that some of the commenters without kids seem to think it will be. Certainly, my weekends aren't like that, even if I'm not trying to do any chores. My kids have natural schedules they need to follow, and they are still young enough that they need a fair amount of entertaining. Unless I want to just turn on the TV all day, I'm going to spend the majority of my day tending to their needs, which I find no more relaxing than most work days. In fact, sometimes my weekends are less peaceful than my work days!
I actually like the trade off of having family life to refresh me from the demands of my work and work to refresh me from the demands of my family life, although I will definitely admit that sometimes I would like a slower pace. Usually, I can think of ways to slow things down for awhile when I need to, but not always. Sometimes things just get crazy and all I can do is wait for calmer times.
I have also been keeping actual time logs since August, which is before Pumpkin started Kindergarten. I plan to pull the data from those logs together and analyze it soonish- I suspect there will be some interesting tidbits in there, and probably some things that I don't expect. But that will have to wait for another day, because I need to get to bed- I'm supposed to get up and go for a run tomorrow morning. Let's hope Petunia lets me!