A Day in the Life

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It’s time for another edition of “a day in the life” of a tenure track faculty with a young kid! If you follow me on instagram you may have seen my post in January with a quote from Ellie where she asked, “Mama, are you still sad?” Given the “fun” that day started off with, I decided to track my time. It was my first day back to work after taking one official week off for winter break (which is always rough), plus working from home the week before that. Mixed with a really early wake-up call from Ellie, we had a bit of a rough day. Here’s how it went…


Wednesday January 2, 2019

2:30am: We hear Ellie on the monitor and she sounds chipper. After finally getting her into bed earlier (and us getting into bed earlier too), 2:30am feels terrible.

2:45am: Mike slowly gets up, Ellie’s been screaming, he grabs his pillow and goes in… (maybe we didn’t wait long enough?). I toss and turn, while listening for Mike to come back to bed. He rocks Ellie, rubs her back, and then tries to lay down on the floor next to her crib to see if she’ll fall back asleep.

4:30am: I can hear Mike leave Ellie’s room, quite a long calm down this morning. I look to the door, assuming he’s coming back in but he turns on the fan instead (which we use for white noise outside of Ellie’s door to drown out any noises). I figure maybe he didn’t want to wake me up, knowing it’s my first day back to work and maybe he’s going to lay down on the couch. I lay in bed, tossing and turning. It’s been hard to get back to sleep during middle of the night wake ups. In reality, Mike and Ellie get up… she requests food, they have a snack and then she asks to go for a walk. .

5:00am: Ellie and Mike go for a walk and see two coyotes running towards the woods by our house. They see our neighbor drive by, who I’m sure is surprised to see them out and about.

5:30am: Mike and Ellie get back from their pre-sunrise walk and Mike makes breakfast (our usual scrambled eggs, steamed broccoli, and sweet potatoes), setting mine aside for later.

6:00am: I hear the pitter patter of feet running and check the clock, roll back over and desperately try to get some restful sleep before I actually should get out of bed.

7:30am: My alarm goes off and I ignore it, lay there for 5 more minutes and then turn off the alarm. After catastrophizing everything in my head (is Ellie just going to start waking up at 2:30am from now on?!) I spend maybe just a bit too much time scrolling through instagram while simultaneously willing myself to get out of bed. Dragging my feet like whoa this morning.

8:00am: Make the bed and feel like crap. I walk into the kitchen and find Mike sitting on the floor with his head in his hands while Ellie plays by herself next to him (that’s a win, right?!). He fills me in on their morning adventures. We wallow in the misery of a toddler who just doesn’t seem to want to sleep. A few tears may have been shed. Between interrupted sleep and the start of winter term (which always feels like a train wreck) I was not in a great mood. How did we survive infancy with night after night of interrupted sleep?! Ellie sees that I’m crying and gives me a hug and a toy and asks if I’m still sad (which warms my heart). What a roller coaster of emotions and it’s only 8:00am.

8:30am: I eat breakfast and renew some library books (we have piles of them). I check my work email (which I typically don’t like to do but given my week vacation, I want to see if there’s anything pressing). Ellie runs around the kitchen, as energetic as ever. You’d never know that she got up at ~2:30am.

9:45am: Ellie walks me to my home office (aka the guest room). She closes the door for me and I start off with meditation (I need it!). They hang around the house for the day (given Mike’s exhaustion after getting up at 2:30am).

10:00am: The first thing I’m doing today is planning for winter/spring terms. I had every intention of doing this over winter break, and then I thought, why am I going to spend my break planning for work when I can plan for work when I’m working! So, today it is!

11:30am: Email… continuing to address any messages that came in over break.

11:50am: Quick stretch break.

11:55am: More planning. My brain is like molasses today. Ellie goes down for a nap around noon too.

1:30pm: Back to emails and random administrative tasks.

2:00pm: Take a break for lunch. Ellie is still napping (clearly she needs more night time sleep if she’s crossing the 2 hour nap mark) and Mike is passed out on the couch. I am thoroughly jealous of both of them (granted I stayed in bed longer in the morning so I guess it all evens out).

2:45pm: Ellie gets up from her nap.

3:00pm: I do more administrative stuff and advising work.

6:00pm: Take a break to stretch and talk with Mike and Ellie. They are venturing out to the grocery store to pick up food for a few freezer meals.

6:15pm: More emails. Mike and Ellie head to the store.

7:30pm: Done for the day! I post on instagram and enjoy the silence of the house while it lasts. Toddlers make the house a noisy place!

7:45pm: Mike and Ellie get back from the store. I take a break from all the screens I’ve been staring at and play with Ellie. We all pitch in to unload groceries.

8:15pm: Ellie and I lay on the couch and watch Puffin Rock while Mike makes dinner.

8:30pm: We eat dinner.

8:50pm: Ellie finishes dinner and asks to watch more TV while Mike and I finish up our meals.

9:15pm: We read 2 books and head back to brush teeth and then to bed. As I’m rocking Ellie she cries because she doesn’t want to go to bed (while yawning at the same time)… pretty sure you’re tired kid! After she says she’s ready, I lay her down in the crib and rub her back. Still love the fact that she’s in a crib (and contained) and also it’s getting more awkward to deposit a 30+ pound really tall toddler into her crib. While I don’t want to make the transition to a big kid bed, I’m also very much ready for it.

9:45pm: I exit Ellie’s bedroom and head to the kitchen to debrief on the day with Mike while he does dishes.

10:00pm: Head off to bed. I guess the one good thing about getting a crappy night’s sleep is that it makes it that much easier to be in bed at a reasonable hour! We’ve (all) gotta get on an earlier schedule (just not 2:30am early)!