'What Did You Do All Day?'

An innocent question provokes Devone to record her activities one day -- that it, until one of her children destroys the list

“What did you do all day?” my husband asked.

It’s an innocent enough question – I don’t think he was implying that I didn’t do anything. The emphasis was not on the word “do,” as in “What did you DO all day?”

But as I thought back about my day, I found it hard to remember exactly what I did do. How did the entire day slip past without me being able to get anything done at all?

This was food for thought. I decided (as often is the case with me) to make a list. The next day I put a pen and some paper next to my planner and as the day went along, I wrote down the things I did.

Well, I wrote them down when I could remember them, at least. And when no one had stolen my pen.

So here, for your reading pleasure, is a glimpse into the life of a stay-at-home, home-schooling, ordinary mom of four little kids. Read it if you dare (or if you just happen to enjoy the mundane.)

7:31am – Wake up to the sound of dog whining and Jedidiah banging the side of his crib with the palms of his hands. Notice that husband does not (or pretends to not) hear either of these things.

7:40am – Make up my side of the bed. Get dressed, brush teeth, half-heartedly comb hair. (What’s the point, really?) Grab dirty clothes from hamper in bathroom. Get dog out of cage and let him outside. Turn on coffee-maker. Trudge down hallway, prepare to throw laundry in washing machine only to see that it’s still full of the load that I forgot about last night. Throw laundry into sink instead. Try to close Adelaide’s door quietly so her brother won’t wake her up. Open Jed’s door and walk into a wall of what I like to call “the aura of poop.” Sigh, then laugh when Jed’s head pops up over the side of his crib and he yells “MA-MA!” then points at his diaper and grins. Change poopy diaper. Dress wiggly baby. Nurse wiggly baby. Read story to wiggly baby.

8:15am – Bag up poopy diaper and throw it away outside. Take Adelaide’s “breftast” order. Make eggs and turkey bacon while cleaning out dishwasher. Pull Jed out of dishwasher. Head to the laundry room to clear out the dryer and hang clothes on hangers and fool myself into thinking that they won’t look wrinkled later. Switch wet laundry over and put in new load. Help Adelaide get dressed, make her bed and brush her teeth and hair. Check eggs and bacon. Slice up strawberries. Pull Jed out of refrigerator. Make coffee. Get out plates and cups and forks. Answer phone. Give Jed Cheerios to snack on while waiting for the main course. Wash out sippy cup and fill it with water.

8:45am – Yell upstairs to Sadie and Josie to tell them breakfast is ready. Clean up mess that Jed has somehow made all over the floor using only cereal and water (the child has talent.) Fix Adelaide’s doll. Fix Adelaide’s hangnail on her finger. Put ointment and a new bandaid on Adelaide’s knee. Wash hands. Serve up breakfast. Ask Sadie to say a morning prayer. Read the story of Jonah from the Bible. Answer 17 questions from Adelaide. Warm up coffee that I forgot to drink. Clean up breakfast dishes. Wipe Jed’s hands while girls sweep up and wipe the table.

9:00am – Start “school.” Help Josie with her reading. Help Sadie with her writing. Show Adelaide how to stay in the lines and cut out the turtle she colored. Rescue Jed from the top of the couch. Read 8 books from library bag. Break up a fight over a hairbow. Start the dishwasher. Check email. Take out trash. Pick up blocks. Dance to bluegrass music (Josie's choice.)

10:30am – Go outside with kids. Chase butterflies. Chase Jedidiah. Check mail. Push kids on swing. Sweep front walk. Pick up dog poop. Draw pictures with sidewalk chalk. Take sidewalk chalk out of Jed’s mouth. Investigate newest bird’s nest. Kiss Adelaide's boo-boo when she trips and falls on the driveway. Catch a moth, a butterfly, a toad, a frog and some kind of scary beetle.

11:30am – Release today's captures. Go inside, listen to history lesson and do math. Laugh at girls’ new knock-knock jokes. Make two doctor appointments and one dentist appointment. Start lunch. Remember coffee is still in microwave and warm it up again. Answer phone. Wonder where Jed went. Find Jed in my room, drawing all over my list (and his leg) with a permanent marker.

12:14pm – Realize that I don’t have time to keep a list.

7:30pm – Give husband dirty look when he asks me what I did all day.

gail gorby June 24, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Oh Man !! I'm exhausted just reading that ! My admiration for you just keeps growing. You are such an inspirition to mom's, working outside the home or stay @ home one's.(But what happened after 12:14 ?) HEE-HEE!!!
Melissa Rockwell June 24, 2012 at 06:10 PM
I love this Devone! It's amazing how filled up our days get with all those little but yet still very important things! I think I should also make a list one of these days so I can show my husband what I DID all day! :)
Devone July 03, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Thanks Melissa - it really does make me wonder how much time I spend on things that are considered "mundane" by most people - and even by me, sometimes... I guess that's just part of the job description :) I'd like to see your list!
Devone July 03, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Thank you, I don't know how much of an inspiration I am, but the kids inspire me for sure.
Sharon August 01, 2012 at 03:32 AM
You do A LOT of stuff during the days with the kids, but it IS hard to describe or explain to someone. You just have to "be there" to appreciate how busy a mother is. It was worth a try, though, to keep a list for a day (or half a day).


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