Attempts At Adulthood

What I Do All Day When I Am Home With The Baby

I am, for now, a stay at home mother.  People sometimes ask what exactly I do during the day and I never have any idea what to say.   

Below is a fairly accurate description of most of the things I do on any given day.  To save time, repetitive actions like changing diapers and feeding the baby are not constantly mentioned but, please be aware, they are being done.

the ugly volvo what do you do all day

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Aaaaaaaaand, START!

7:00 Wake up wishing I had gone to sleep before 1:00 AM.  Feed baby a bottle.

7:15 Put baby in highchair surrounded by Cheerios and cut up pieces of fruit while I make a completely overzealous and unrealistic to-do list.

my schedule the ugly volvo list


I’ll totally get to this stuff

8:00 Change baby’s diaper and get him dressed to go outside.  You are possibly going, “Wait– the last entry was at 7:15.  It took you 45 minutes to give him Cheerios and make a four item to-do list?”  I know, right?  It doesn’t make sense to me either.

8:25 Bundle baby and put extremely bundled-up baby in stroller.  Make vague attempt at getting dressed.  Put leash on dog.

8:30 Take dog for 30-minute walk, the entire time feeling guilty that baby is outside in the freezing cold.  

my schedule the ugly volvo baby cold


“Explain to me again why I left the uterus?”

9:00  Return to apartment.  Carry stroller up the stairs of our third-floor walk-up.  Un-bundle baby.

9:05 Play with baby on floor, the entire time feeling guilty that dog didn’t really get enough exercise and is becoming clinically-depressed.

my schedule the ugly volvo dog sad


“Chew tennis ball.  Stare out the window at cats.  What’s the f*%king point?”

9:35 Lie on floor as baby crawls over my inert body.  Absentmindedly wonder if there is more to it than this– if maybe other people have some sort of routine that seems less stupid and boring and pointless.  Wonder if there is some big thing I should be doing to help the baby’s development that I am not doing.

9:40 Sit on the floor and clap, hoping to teach baby to clap.  Baby will not clap.   Go online and Google, “How old babies start clapping?” and read article saying they start to do this more between 9 and 12 months. (Baby is 11 months old)

9:43 Spend the next few minutes going, “Well sh*t, maybe there’s something wrong with the baby.  He should be clapping more.”

9:47 Remind myself that he seems really well-adjusted and happy so maybe he’s just a late clapper.

10:05 Get bored of playing with baby.  Attempt one of the things from overzealous to-do list. Baby immediately crawls out of my vision and begins eating dog food.  I abandon list and pull the dog food out of his mouth.  He becomes sad.  I cheer up baby by pretending to eat his hands.

IMG_3115


A great way to accidentally start your baby on solids.

10:20 Baby and I look at and point to the fan for a while, going, “Where’s the fan?  There’s the fan.”

10:40 Feed baby while listening to public radio.  Halfheartedly debate calling in to the Brian Lehrer show and giving them my opinion on something related to the Superbowl for no reason other than wanting to talk to an adult.

11:00

Change baby’s diaper and PUT BABY DOWN FOR HIS NAP.

baby sleeping the ugly volvo


AAAAAAHHHHHH!!! BABY IS FINALLY SLEEPING!!!!

11:01  GET STUFF DONE.  Do full load of laundry and run dishwasher.  Schedule 4 doctor’s appointments and 1 pediatrician appointment and 2 dentist appointments and pay several bills online and come up with creative re-design for website.  Sort through junk mail and recycling and go through online inbox, deleting old e-mails and responding to e-mails I have flagged.  Remember that I have not yet eaten breakfast.  Poach two eggs and make toast.  Eat breakfast, shower, get dressed a second time, reply to more e-mails.  Put load of laundry in dryer and fold laundry from yesterday.  Write blog.  Catch up on current events.  Feed/brush/play with dog.  Lie on sofa, letting myself “relax for just a minute.”

11:06 Open browser window.  Log in to my Facebook newsfeed.  Scroll down the feed, “liking” and commenting on statuses and pictures of friends.  See an article someone has linked to and think, “Oh, this article looks sort of interesting.”

11:20 ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

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11:45 ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

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12:34 ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

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1:03 ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

1:45 ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Eat Entire Box of Wheat thins. ???????????

2:00 ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

2:05  HOW IS BABY AWAKE FROM NAP ALREADY????  NOT CERTAIN OF WHAT IS HAPPENING.  THE LAST THING I REMEMBER WAS SITTING DOWN TO READ SOME SORT OF ARTICLE.

wtf just happened

2:10 Angrily swear off internet.

2:15  Take dog for 30-minute walk, the entire time feeling guilty that baby is outside in the freezing cold.

2:45 Return home.  Play with baby on floor, the entire time feeling guilty that dog didn’t really get enough exercise and is unhappy.  

2:50 GUILT, GUILT, INADEQUACY, GUILT, SHAME, MILD AMUSEMENT, INADEQUACY, FRUSTRATION, GRIEF,

3:30 Leave baby alone for a few minutes.  Wash dishes in sink until sink is completely empty.  Stare at clean sink for several minutes realizing that this is the only tangible evidence that I have done anything today.

my schedule the ugly volvo clean sink


My masterpiece.

3:40  Sit with baby on floor saying, “Mama?  Mama?” while baby laughs and proceeds to go “babababababababababababa,” which is the only thing he has said for the past two months.

4:00 Something?

4:40 Either cut up a bunch of vegetables for dinner or forget to do that.

4:45  Add a bunch of mundane items to original To-Do list and check them off in order to feel like I accomplished something.

my schedule the ugly volvo list 2

4:46  Jonathan arrives home.  Asks how day was.  Asks what I did today.  I show him clean sink and baby who is not crying or bleeding.

5:00 Elaborate closing dance number!

6:00 Audience rises to give me standing ovation as I smile and bow, tipping my hat to the crowd.  Flowers are flung at the stage as I grin and accept the overwhelming, thunderous applause.  As clapping continues I gesture to both the orchestra pit and the behind-the-scenes tech workers to remind people that I could not have done it without a lot of help from behind-the-scenes!  This is a joint effort, people!  I blow a kiss to the crowd, briefly unfolding a piece of paper from my pocket and telling everybody Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!  I can’t believe I’m up here right now but just want to quickly thank my agent and manager for believing in me and all the other extremely talented nominees and my wonderful husband, without whom none of this would be possible!  Thank you so much– hope to see all of you at the after party which will be, AS ALWAYS, a total blast!  You are all such beautiful people and I’m blessed to get to work with each and every one of you!  Thank you so much!  Goodnight, drive safe!

Remainder of Evening Attend various parties, trailed by the paparazzi.  Collapse into bed (as always) around 1AM.

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If you read this and were like, “Wow, your life is really boring!” please know that I added in a bunch of jokes and captions and whatnot and that my actual life is way more boring than depicted.  

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159 Responses to “What I Do All Day When I Am Home With The Baby”

  1. aewallace2013

    oooooooh I sooooo get the guilt. **I’m just sitting here rocking back and forth whispering “yesssss yesssss” like some kind of Gollum….

    Reply
  2. Jennifer Twisdale-Serrano

    wait til baby is old enough that you feel comfortable enough leaving him alone in the house while you walk the dog, only to return home to find the refrigerator door open, 6 apples with one bite each taken out of them, water mysteriously all over the kitchen floor, an entire roll of toilet paper in the toilet, and the kid in the basement door (that you know, you swear was locked and the kid can’t reach it, or can he?)

    Reply
  3. nikkiharvey

    Just found your blog thanks to freshly pressed 🙂 assuming that is your dog in the photo, it is a small dog and so 2 x 30 minute walks should be fine. Most dogs (ie dogs not bred for working) need 30minutes to 2 hours depending on age and size so an hour should be about right for a small dog. From your caption, it seems he sits around a lot- dogs that are under exercised get bored and will be constantly looking for something to do and generally don’t sit still. While dogs will of course enjoy more walks, they can be perfectly happy and healthy on less.

    Reply
    • theuglyvolvo

      I got a bunch of these comments so I’ll reply to yours (because it was really well worded and kind and practical). She totally gets more than that most days. Most days I take her for an hour in the mornings to play with another dog she loves who lives nearby and in the afternoon she either goes for a long walk or goes to the dog run for a while. And in the late evening she gets walked again. It’s really important to me that she’s exercised so I feel like she’s had a good day. This piece was more about how, on the rare days when I can’t do that for her (this winter has been CRAZY) how horrifically bad I feel. It’s not about doing a bad job (because I work very hard to take such good care of her), it’s more about that horrific parental guilt you feel, whether it’s a dog or a baby, that even though you’re working so hard it’s just not enough. and you feel like it’ll never be enough. Because when you love either a dog or a baby you want so much for them to be perfectly happy all the time. And you know they can’t be. But there’s a part of you that still wants it.

      Thank you very much for writing. Have a lovely weekend 🙂
      -tuv

      Reply
      • nikkiharvey

        I feel the same way about my dog and was just hoping to ease your guilt. On the odd less active days I find it useful to think of how I get. Some days I want to do the bare minimum, preferably stay in my pjs all day and watch lots of tele and I’m sure my dog feel the same sometimes…

  4. Desirae

    Unfortunately, I’m not a mom…I help my sister who is a recent widow with a 7 year old and 18 month old daughters. This is exactly how I spent Christmas break while she was at work. I would come home with food and other things in my pockets or stuck to my clothes wondering what on earth it or how it got there. I have GREAT respect and admiration for stay-at-home and single mothers. It is not easy an easy job. You do deserve a standing ovation.

    Reply
    • Pam Simpson

      I was a stay at home Mom and wouldn’t trade the time that I spent with my children for ANYthing. ( My education experience includes a B.S. Degree and I worked for years before choosing to be a stay at home mom..) Yes at times it was mundane, exasperating and monotonous , but that’s just the point… ‘at times’. More often my children were feeling the love of a devoted parent, learning about all that I could teach them and knowing true security. I in turn relished each step and new look of wonder as each child discovered this wonderful life God gave them. You cannot buy, rent or hire that. I was there for them when they were crying and sick as a child, when they wished I wasn’t watching them so closely as teenagers, and later to answer the phone and give advice to a college student at 1 am. I am still here for them, cheering them onthough they have gone on to begin their own adult lives. I am blessed to have been given the time to be with them, for it was only for a season. So, if you asked me what I did with my days I would have to say ‘ I loved and was loved in return’. Nothing is more satisfying than to know you gave all you could of yourself and did all you could to love another human being…..and I have two beautiful, loving, kind, successful children to show for it. What a legacy to pass on to each generation to come! Believe me, they WILL copy what you exemplify. So pat yourself on the back for taking the responsibility and caring enough about your child to give him your time. It’s the wisest choice for most and the HARDEST job in the world. After all what other job has you work 120+ hours a week, requires a lot of standing and squatting, requires the ability to lift up to 75 pounds, allows no time off, expects you to work even harder on holidays , requires difficult decisions and negotiation skills, expects you to wear many hats (culinary skills, time management, custodial skills, basic life saving techniques, money management….) and pays you no money??? But the pay out in love and the feeling of a job worth doing is priceless! One important thing to do is to find or start a ‘play group’ w a few other moms that have children the same age or close in ages. Then be REAL with each other. It is so comforting to hear from other moms that your child is not the only 11 month old that doesn’t clap etc. it’s a support network as well asap lace you and your child w can make lifelong friends. Best wishes for you and yours

      Reply
  5. Dear Diary

    […] even at the kitchen table when necessary). The other day I read a blog post by The Ugly Volvo, on What She Does All Day When She’s Home With The Baby and seriously, I laughed my head off and cried at the same time, because it’s exactly like […]

    Reply
  6. Susanah

    When my son was about three weeks old my sister said “So what do you do all day? Just eat and hang out?” My husband and I still laugh about it.

    Reply
  7. Jodi

    I stumbled on your delightful blog this morning while goofing around online instead of going to the gym. I laughed out loud (startling the dog). My “baby” is now 26 years old, and my decision to hop off my lucrative but soul-eating career track and be a full-time mom was the BEST thing I ever did. I lived your life, including the much adored guilt-inducing dog (a Westie), who was my first child. I felt very isolated (that was the era, all my peers were taking 6-week maternity leaves and then squeezing back into their pinstriped suits); I wish I’d had this wonderful community of bloggers and blog-followers! My perspective is that you will never regret your decision to be a stay-at-home mom; all the other stuff of your pre-baby life you can have again, but you can’t regain time with him. Savor every sweet, frustrating, exhausting, seemingly pointless beautiful moment together. You DO deserve roses!!!!

    Reply
  8. Roosmarijn

    Maybe a good tip, I learned from a mom of one boy (3y) and twins (1): do all your chores while kids are awake! This way kids learn that some things just need to be done and most importantly: when they enjoy nap-time you can enjoy too, without having to do chores. It was the best advice ever 🙂 Our daughter is now 19 months.

    Reply
    • limey7

      Awesome, you captured it perfectly! Our five kids are older, but we can remember a time when the most intellectual conversation we had together revolved around potty training, a night out consisted of getting some take out, and a ‘date’ usually meant an appointment with a broken piece of household equipment. I would recommend getting front loading washer dryers with the clear doors, just try not to sit down in-front of them yourself. Love the blog

      Reply
  9. Tunde

    Well, at least you have a lovely clean sink. I like to clean my sink when things feel out of control. Sounds weird but as you say, it’s tangible evidence — sometimes the only tangible evidence — that something got done today. Bravo!

    I love that you choose to answer this particular question and did so, so articulately. Well said, beautifully written.

    Reply
  10. lindag

    Yes, its not always an entertaining life, very fun like a circus sideshow, with my 3 daughters, life is fun. They also did the roll of tp clogging the toilet. And I guess only the first bite of apple tastes good to babies. And peanut butter sandwiches were about the same size as VCR tapes so thats why they went in the vcr player. Any leftover food just got hidden in the sofa. Child logic. Wouldn’t have traded it for any job!

    Reply
  11. Katia

    If you are concerned about what kind of activities to do with your baby at playtime you can check out a really good blog called mammaot. It has a lot of fun and developmentally appropriate activities for babies and toddlers. Also there is a book called Retro Baby in which the author, Anne Zachary gives a bunch of play ideas to boost the baby’s development without using any fancy or expensive gadgets. Many of these activities are simple and do not take a lot of time.

    Reply
  12. Jennyanydots

    I remember at work one day when I was in my last trimester, talking with a male colleague about how being home with the baby would be such a nice break from work. Oh, the incredible naïveté I once possessed!!

    You so brilliantly capture the absurdity and pathos of being a mother. Thank you.

    Reply
  13. Helena

    Wow, were you watching my life through surveillance cam? You brilliantly capture the endless guilt and futility of a new mother’s life. Thank you for making us feel less alone.

    Reply
  14. kate howard

    hilarious-we raised 6 kids-and we survived-i am a recovering adult of many children-alll good but it took a toll-your post was fabulous-you are preparing a little one for the world-it is darn important and profound work-(work!)

    Reply
  15. Samantha

    God that is genius! I love it and you! 😀 the best part is the ah yes just have a quick check of facebook….!

    Reply
  16. Elizabeth

    This. Is. Amazing. Just found you…on baby #3…and still feel like what you wrote is my life.

    Reply
  17. Rachel Wright

    I am so glad I’m not the only one constantly googling “when should baby _____” ! I have 14 month old twins and your blog, and this post specifically, hit the nail on the head!

    Reply
  18. Mrs D

    Fricken hilarious, lady! So true. The vortex of days that is life with a little.

    Reply
  19. Neem nooit een tattoo! (maar een kind is prima)

    […] Dus. Lees vooral alle tien de argumenten op The Ugly Volvo, vervang het woord tattoo overal voor kind en lig gegarandeerd in een deuk. Dat geldt trouwens ook voor alle andere hilarische bijdrages op dit blog. Zoals de excuusbrief die deze moeder aan haar hond schreef of hoe je dag eruit ziet als je de hele dag met een baby thuis bent. […]

    Reply
  20. Cheryl

    I am sitting here in tears…tears of laughter! I lost it at 4:46. Lmao! My life is taking care of my 1 yr old and loading and emptying the sink of crap….all. The. Time. Keep em coming!

    Reply
  21. Jen

    This was so funny and sooo me too….and there’s still so much more that we do in a day!!!

    Reply
  22. Jamila mohammed

    I’m a new mother. My baby is 9 months. why do we feel so guilty? I just wanna know! someone explain it to me plz

    Reply
  23. A day in the life… | Pickles & Bugs

    […] recently read one of those viral parenting articles about the schedule of a stay at home mom with an 11 month old baby. I got a good laugh from it, but the thing that really caught my attention was the fact that her […]

    Reply
  24. Laura

    This really made me laugh out loud thank you for that!!!
    How do you get you baby to sleep in cot…arg that is my mission in life then I could die happy, well that and getting her to sleep through (gasp) great blog 🙂

    Reply
  25. Hope

    Omg I am pretty sure I just injured myself because of how hard I was laughing at this. It’s funny cause it’s TRUE. My daughter is almost three now so the daily routine is different, but I definitely remember this feeling on a daily basis. Thank you for this. I LOVE it 🙂

    Reply

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