a day in the life

Recently, I commented to a friend in an email that I’m often plagued by boredom. He responded, “From all the things you talk about on your blog, how do you ever have TIME to get bored?”

His comment reminded me that it’s high time I do another day-in-the-life post! I did one a few years back, when the kids were ages 6, 8, 11, and 12. Now the kids are four years older and my days look a little different: less home-centric and with more freedom and independence for everyone, me included.

My day’s activities involve detailed accounts of what everyone else is doing because much of what I do is monitor people. Even so, on this particular day (as on most days), I still had extended periods of boredom. See if you can figure out when they were.

* * *

Thursday, September 15, 2016 

5:15 My husband’s alarm goes off. I try to go back to sleep but only doze.

5:37 My husband wakes me. We have to leave for our run in 8 minutes (he woke me late), so I rush to dress and brush my teeth. My younger daughter appears in the bathroom. I tell her to go back to bed even though I know she probably won’t fall back asleep.

5:46 We leave on our run. The skies are cloudy so it’s pitch black. We meet up with my sister-in-law. We can see her flashing red light, but since we cut our flashlights, she can’t see us. She says it’s eerie, hearing our disembodied voices and slapping feet gradually approaching. We do a four-mile loop. When we arrive home, the sky is just beginning to lighten.

6:31 I heat water for oatmeal and ice the sweet rolls I dug out of the freezer. My younger daughter comes downstairs, followed by her sister. My older daughter fusses because the oatmeal isn’t ready and she’ll have to do chores on an empty stomach. I make my coffee.

6:50 Melissa is up. My older daughter finally heads out to do chores. Due to his time crunch, my husband is exempt from waiting for the oatmeal and gets to eat his beloved granola, this morning with blueberries. I empty the drainer. My younger daughter goes out to feed the cats.

7:00 I wake my older son on my way to the bathroom for my shower. My husband leaves, taking our older daughter with him. He’ll drop her off at the farm on his way to work. (She takes half of a mini-loaf of zucchini bread to tide her over.)

7:25 On my way downstairs, I stop by my older son’s room. He is still asleep. I wake him again.

7:40 While my older son eats. I finish emptying the drainer and pull his lunch—frozen pizza, fruit salad, zucchini bread—together. I check email.

7:50 I drive to the farm to pick up my older daughter. My younger daughter goes along for the ride.

8:00 I return home. My younger son is eating breakfast. My older son leaves for work, taking Melissa with him (to drop her off at the university where she works).

8:05 My older daughter, younger son, and I eat breakfast. I make a to-do list for the day, clean up the kitchen, start a load of laundry, do my morning ablutions, check email. The younger two play cards.

8:32 I set up my younger son’s dishes for him. I do math with my younger daughter.

8:55 I read a chapter of history to the three children and then Life of Pi to my older daughter. (My younger son listens, too).

9:26 I set my younger daughter up at the computer to practice her choir music. My older daughter works on her math problems by herself. My younger son does math with me.

9:40 I call the pharmacy to order a prescription refill and then the doctor office to schedule an appointment for my older son. He has cold sores all over the inside of his mouth and has requested to see a doctor.

9:44 I check my younger son’s math. He’s having so much fun with long division that he creates extra problems just for the heck of it. He goes outside to hang up a load of laundry. I help my older daughter with her math. 

9:56 My younger son takes his turn at the computer for his choir music practice. I’m cold, so I make a cup of tea: vanilla rooibos. Because my throat is a little scratchy and my nose is sniffly, I take a Tylenol, too.

10:15: The doctor’s office calls back and we set an appointment for the next day. I start a double batch of hot buttered rolls.

10:30 I check my older daughter’s math. She didn’t read my instructions to do only the odd problems and did all of them instead, so it takes me longer than anticipated to check her work. My younger daughter empties the dish drainer. My younger son settles down to do his reading: The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind.

10:46 I start my older daughter on her writing and knead the bread.

11:00 My younger daughter plays a card game by herself, my younger son goes to his room to read, and my older daughter does her writing and hangs up a load of laundry. I set the timer for 45 minutes and head to my room to write.

11:45 My younger daughter yells that my timer went off. When I come downstairs, she’s listening to the soundtrack from Outside Mullingar and drinking tea. It’s time for lunch. I have ramen with an egg. My younger son has ramen (he tries to drain some of the liquid and dumps a bunch of the noodles into the sink). My younger daughter has a leftover baked potato. My older daughter has a cup of noodles. We have leftover fruit salad and apples.

12:30 Rest time! I make coffee. The younger kids go to their rooms, but my older daughter goes outside to collect eggs and comes back in with a half-dead bird she found in the calves’ water tank. She puts it in a little cage and we set it in the partially-opened oven to warm. She breaks my sugar bowl lid, so then she has to vacuum the floor. I write a post. My older daughter stays downstairs to keep an eye on the bird while she does her biology.

1:30 My younger daughter gets the mail. I finish my post. My older daughter makes a nest for the bird. I eat some chocolate. Using the computer, my older daughter tries to figure out what kind of bird it is. (It’s eating!)

2:00 My older daughter starts the dishes. I make a batch of peanut butter fudge.

2:15 Everyone is in the kitchen. I begin shaping the rolls; my younger son helps. My older daughter is washing dishes. We listen to the radio.

2:50 I brush the tops of the buns with an egg wash, sprinkle them with sesame seeds, and set them to rise. The dishes are washed. My younger son lays by the bird, watching it. I start chopping potatoes for the oven fries.

3:00 My older son drives in. We listen to Freakonomics. My older daughter researches horse stuff on the computer. My younger daughter plays Set by herself. My younger son sits at the kitchen table and listens to the radio while idly stirring the bowl of flour and Parmesan cheese I have pre-measured for the fries. I bake the rolls. My older daughter empties the drainer. I vacuum. I research how to make tartar sauce and then make it. My younger daughter looks at photos on the computer. My younger son reads children’s books. I trim the fern in the kitchen, vacuum some more, snitch lots of fudge, and divide one buttered roll four ways, for tastes.

4:00 I bake the potatoes. There are four pans, so there’s a lot of flipping of potatoes and rotating of pans. My older daughter brings in the laundry. My younger daughter cleans off the table. My younger son straightens the downstairs. My older son practices his choir music.

4:45 The three younger kids and I eat supper. It’s a blond meal: oven fries and fish sandwiches. The kids don’t like the breaded fish fillets (an emptying-my-freezer gift from a friend who was moving) in the buns, but they love them plain.

5:00 I leave for town, taking the two girls with me.

5:05 I drop my older daughter at the farm for chores.

5:15 I arrive at school to pick up Melissa. She’s not outside waiting for us, so I go inside to search for her. While I’m looking, she appears at the car. We race to the dance studio.

5:30 I drop my younger daughter off at ballet.

5:50 Back home. My older son hasn’t yet left for town like he was supposed to (a schedule misunderstanding), so he tears off to pick up my older daughter from the farm and then drop her at youth group in town before heading to his play rehearsal. (On his way into town, he was supposed to also drop my younger son off at my parents’ house, but there wasn’t time, so my younger son stayed behind to wait for a later ride.)

6:00 Melissa eats supper. My husband showers. I discover a bunch of junk food on the table—the homeowners bought lunch for the workers and my husband got to bring the leftovers home.

6:15 My husband leaves to drop my younger son at my parents’ house (he’s spending the night there) before running to town to go to the store and to pick up my younger daughter from ballet. I visit with Melissa. She washes the dishes and I vacuum (for the third time?).

6:40 I read emails.

6:50 I lay down on the sofa to read Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry.

7:24 My husband is back home. He sits down beside me on the sofa and we visit. My younger daughter gets her shower and calls a friend to chat.

8:00 My younger daughter joins my husband and me in the living room.

8:08 I fix small cups of ice cream. Melissa joins us. Conversations covered: Mother Teresa, foot arches, family trips, number of cousins, etc.

8:42 My older daughter calls and my husband leaves to pick her up from the youth pastor’s house. I read Facebook and blogs.

9:05 My older daughter is home. In the kitchen, she munches on cookies and tells us about her evening before I shoo her (and her younger siblings) to bed, ordering her to take her bird with her. My husband and I try to watch Comedy Central, but the connection is bad so I give up.

9:40 I turn off the computer, brush teeth, shower, and climb into bed.

9:55 My older son calls to say he’s on his way.

9:59 Lights out.

10:09 My older son pulls into driveway.

Postscript: My husband can’t sleep. After two hours, he goes downstairs and watches Lost until 4 in the morning when he finally falls asleep on the couch. I don’t know any of this until 7:15 the next morning when I wake up and find my younger daughter in bed with me. I hurry downstairs to wake my husband because he needs to take my younger daughter to my parents’ (I have a writing morning planned) and Melissa to work. The older two kids sleep on….

This same time, years previous:
the quotidian (9.21.15), the big bad wolf and our children, baking with teachers, cinnamon sugar breadsticks, candid camera, when the relatives came, painting my belly, cornmeal whole wheat waffles, and vacationing till it hurts.


  • Crystal

    I wonder if it's from possibly feeling a lack of stimulating activity? I'm busy from the time I get up to pretty much the time I go to bed. My kids ages are 9 months to 13. But I find myself getting bored at times too. I love being home, homeschooling,etc.When I voice any "boredom" to others (which is Very seldom) I am met with comments such as "appreciate the time, don't be ungrateful" so that shuts me up pretty quick. It's a hard thing to describe when you are busy all dayour, but yearn for a little something more every now and then. You seem MUCH more outgoing than me 🙂 but I get it.

  • coleen

    Ah, I'm sorry you get bored. I've waited my whole life to be a stay at home mom, that didn't work out, I needed to work out side the home, but when my grandson was born (8 yrs ago) I got to retire and be a stay at home grandmom, while his mom and dad work. I'm loving every minute of it. He's in school now and I get to pick him up everyday and be with him till Mom or Dad get home. All that to say, I hardly ever get bored….. 😉

  • Margo

    I'm so tired just reading about your day!! But interesting, too, to see what you get up to in a day with kids slightly older than mine. I might have to do a day-in-the-life post, too.

  • Athanasia

    I think you were bored when you were trimming the fern and eating the fudge…those sound like looking for something to do because bored items.

    • Jennifer Jo

      Yes, the 3-5 hours are my draggy times. It's hard to be motivated and yet I feel like there's so much I could be doing if I just pushed myself….

    • Rebecca

      But maybe the draggy times are a signal to take a break already, you crazy Swiss! 😉 Eat some fudge and stare into space for a bit.

      My dad reels off his got-done list and finishes with "and now I'm going to go take my ease in Zion". Meaning, sit on the porch with his feet up.

  • dr perfection

    You asked us to guess when you were bored. It wasn't when you were cooking and when you were writing cause you like doing those things.

    I think most people experience boredom for parts of everyday and it doesn't have to do with how much we have to do, but whether we like what we are doing. I think you are normal!!

    • Jennifer Jo

      But then why do some people—even people who aren't busy—say they are never bored? Conversely, why do people find it so hard to believe that I could be bored? (You're right—boredom isn't necessarily related to a lack of activity.)

    • dr perfection

      Those people have different expectations. Someone who loves you very much told me that you are an excitement junkie. In my younger days, I was a bit of a junkie, too.

    • Margo

      This is interesting. I think I get bored when I have to sit still and can't DO something – hence the reason I drag knitting or handsewing with me everywhere. I LOATHE car trips and even just driving around town, actually. And some parts of editing are tedious and bore me to tears. But daily work at home? Not boring to me because I can DO it.

  • Joy

    Oh my. My husband and I have no children, so this list of activities and comings and goings makes my head spin. You were bored? I can understand exhausted, but don't see time to be bored.

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