Diary
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For everyone who has ever asked . . .

What do you do?

For those of you who are always asking me what I do, and then look at me quizzically as I try hopelessly to put a day of my life words in five minutes or less, here is a typical day in my life.

Or, um. A day in my life. Because there is no typical in my world.

5:45 :: rise and shine, stumble downstairs for a cup of coffee, empty the dishwasher while the Keurig is working its magic, sit down at the computer in my office to check email and Facebook.

6:00 :: finish up the post I started last night about my son’s birthday and publish to my blog, promote my post on facebook and twitter and get distracted with facebook groups… there’s 20 minutes of my life I can never get back!!

6:45 :: make sandwiches, kiss my son (yes, he still allows this!!) and send him off to school.

7:00 :: holler to the girls to get up, check email, make another cup of coffee.

7:15 :: holler at girls to get up, sit down with 2nd cup of coffee and put out a facebook update and a few tweets for my client, Rose Romano’s.

7:30 :: holler at girls to get up, finish packing their lunches, pet the dog, pick up some clutter (cleaning lady is coming today!) and make some toast.

7:45 :: eat breakfast with the girls, rush around gathering backpacks and permission slips, coats and shoes, fixing last minute ponytails and nagging them to brush their teeth.

7:55 :: shoo them out the door as the bus rolls down the street.

8:00 :: PHEW! Peace and quiet.

I make another cup of coffee and sit down at my computer to check my last few emails. I respond and then leisurely peruse facebook for another little while before I get started on my three writing assignments that are due today.

Yes, three. Procrastinate much?

One look at my calendar reminds me that I have classroom visitations at my daughters’ school today. CRAP! They are earlier than I thought! I was going to try to fit in a long run this morning. Better make it a short one. CRAP! Cleaning lady is coming and the house is still not ready. Hope she’s running late. The house will have to wait till I get back from Round One of school visitations.

8:30 :: dash upstairs, throw on running clothes, lock up dog in her crate, head out the door.

8:45 :: start off down the street at a trot, no time for a slow warm-up today. As I run, my mind races through the posts I want to write today, what I’m going to wear, and whether or not my daughter will be upset if I don’t go for the entire 1.5 hour visitation.

9:12 :: I’m back home THREE MINUTES ahead of schedule! GO ME! Winded and flushed, I run upstairs and turn on the shower, gathering discarded clothes and toys along the way. I’m showered, lotioned, dressed, blown-dry and made-up by 9:45.

That might not be impressive in your world, but trust me. In mine? It is a new record.

9:45 :: Back downstairs, I gather my keys, coat, a coat for daughter #1 (that she forgot in her rush to make the bus), lunchbox for daughter #2 (see #1) and a permission slip that was due yesterday and hop in the car. I pull into the school parking lot five minutes later.

It is full, of course. All the other parents were there an hour ago. I manage to create a parking spot and rush inside.

9:55 :: school secretary lets me in, and I have to request a badge because of course I didn’t sign up for parent visitation ahead of time like I was supposed to. I make light of my ineptness, and thankfully she chuckles along with me.

I make my way down the hall, dropping off the coat and permission slip in a 4th grade classroom and then arriving in the 1st grade classroom to find the kids on the carpet, playing a matching game with the teacher on an electronic white board. Fancy!

My how times have changed since I was the queen of my 3rd grade classroom 15 years ago!

10:00 :: All the other parents turn and look at me as I weasel my way in, an hour late. I smile apologetically and try to be invisible. My daughter turns and sees me. I wave and smile in a vain attempt to send telepathic messages: I’m here! I made it! I love you! 

10:10 :: The game is over, kids return to their desks, and my daughter leans over. “Mom, you missed our show!”

knife –> heart

“Oh, I’m sorry, honey,” I say, feeling a little bit like dirt. I spend the next 15 minutes sitting on the floor of her classroom, listening to her read, gazing at her precious freckly face and thinking how grown up she is, reading her easy reader out loud with newfound confidence, thinking I could watch her all day, and maybe fitting in a run and getting those emails answered probably wasn’t as important as it seemed at the time.

10:25 :: Parents are packing up to leave. I tell my little one that it’s time for all the mommies to go, that I’ll see her later. I kiss her cheek and caress her silky blond hair and whisk myself out the door and down the hall, chatting with another mom on the way.

10:30 :: back in my car, back home, uncrate the dog, grab the leash, walk her around the block in a vain attempt to prevent her from peeing in the house.

10:45 :: get a few pictures of my outfit today, throw dishes in dishwasher, turn over a load of laundry, grab a handful of chocolate covered peanuts and return to my desk. A quick glance at my watch tells me I have less than 3 hours until I need to be back at school for the next class visitation.

11:00 :: begin plowing through my backed up emails, putting out fires where necessary and flagging the rest for action later. I’m negotiating sponsored posts, responding to blog commenters, deleting spam, fielding questions from social media clients, filling out contracts, invoicing for freelance writing work and delegating work to my VA for future posts.

11: 15 :: I come up for a breath, get up to get some water and change over the laundry and discover dog pee on the living room rug. Good times! Nature’s Miracle to the rescue!

11:22 :: I finally get to the laundry room to turn over the laundry.

11:30 :: Back at my desk, I decide to check Facebook before diving back into my work. Skype bleeps, so I see what’s going on there. There goes another 20 more minutes of my life that I’ll never get back.

It’s not all time wasted. I moderate a Facebook forum, so I like to check in there periodically throughout the day. I also promote some posts of my own and some of my friends, knowing that they’ll repay the favor when I need it.

11:50 :: open my blog’s dashboard and start a post about Black Friday shopping. Can’t finish that right now, so I save and close.

12:15 :: start a post for Family Your Way about holiday style, during which I also get the door for mailman and sign for a couple of boxes (one from the @cawineclub and one from @cakestyleme.) I’ll have to wait till later to see what’s inside, I have too much to do!

1:00 :: submit my post for Family Your Way, check email, respond where necessary.

1:10 :: start on Rose Romano’s November newsletter.

1:38 :: I come up for air. CRAP! Time to go! I wanted to be at my daughter’s classroom by 2:00 at the latest. Visitation only goes till 2:30.

1: 55 :: arrive at school. AGAIN.

I navigate to my 4th grader’s classroom. My reception is much warmer this time. She lights up when she sees me and runs over to give me a hug. A quick glance around the room tells me that I am one of the few parents in her classroom that made this a priority — a much different scenario from the 1st grade classroom I was in earlier that day where the parents lined the walls.

The kids are in small group, doing reading activities. I get to help my daughter with a writing assignment that is very much like a blog post. I am in my element, in a 4th grade classroom (I was a 3rd grade teacher, did you know???) tweaking a writing assignment. It is over way too quickly, and the next thing I know, I’m back in my car, heading back home.

2:40 :: I arrive at home, just in time to see the middle school bus pulling away and my son meandering down the street in his shorts and flip flops with tall black socks. I do not pretend to understand 7th grade boys’ fashion. I just go along with it.

2:45 :: greet my son, greet the dog, grab another handful of chocolate covered peanuts, and a quick peek at FB eats away 20 min of work time.

3:05 :: check email, make a few replies, flag the rest for later, and start editing my Kid Pointz post that I started yesterday on Keeping Kids Safe on Facebook.

3:20 :: the elementary bus rolls past my door. The girls arrive home, break for leftover birthday cake!

3:45 :: back to work, finish up Kid Pointz post, email the final copy to Marty.

4:05 :: a new email reminds me to create two new user accounts on the Philly Social Media Moms blog so a couple of members can write up recent events.

4:15 :: laundry break, check on the kids, grab a handful of chocolate covered peanuts.

Wait.

Did I eat lunch? Guess this will have to do.

4:30 :: another email check reveals my Christmas card proofs are in! YAY! I take some time to look them over and email back with some revision ideas. That takes a while. It’s getting dark out, and I’m winding down. Not feeling much like working.

5:00 :: I decide to respond to comments on my blog posts. This is fun; it t doesn’t feel so much like work.

While I’m commenting, I also field questions from the kids, break up a few fights, and clean more pee off the carpet. DANG DOG!

5:20 :: grab a phone call, grab a snack (Pirate’s Booty) and open my box from @cawineclub order. Can’t wait to put that to the test!

5:30 :: check email again where a pleasant surprise awaits me! Between that and the two boxes that arrived at my door this afternoon, it’s a good day to be a blogger! I eagerly respond to a really awesome offer and then open up my blog’s dashboard to start a post for Fashion Friday.

5:45 :: DADDY’S HOME!!!!!!

The angels are singing, I’m quite sure of it!

Then it’s dinner, laundry, and kitchen clean up . . . Glam life I lead.

6:50 :: finish up my Fashion Friday post.

7:35 :: answer the door, chat with neighbors and send my daughter’s playdate home.

7:50 :: shuttle the girls to bed, change into jammies, return downstairs for a rousing game of Up and Down the River with my husband and son.

We taught this kid this game 3 nights ago, and he is already beating us both. He definitely got his card playing genes from his dad.

8:30 :: We’re winding down. The kid begs for another game, but we both decline. I’m beat, so I head to bed. No lie. I am asleep by 9:15. Tomorrow’s a new day, and it will surely be as crazy as today.

Some days I spend more time writing, some days I spend more time fielding emails, some days I spend more time finding bloggers to review products for my clients, some days I spend more time more time engaging on social networks like Twitter and Facebook, networking and sharing the work of my friends and colleagues, knowing they will do the same for me when the need arises. With social media, what goes around comes around. The more we work together, the more we all succeed.

I know my life is no crazier than the next person’s. Every working mom is in the same boat. Balancing work, home, and family life is a constant challenge. My job(s) is/are a bit unconventional, but I know I’m no different than every other mom out there who is trying to do her best by her family and maintain some sense of self in the process.

Tell me about your typical day!!

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11 thoughts on “For everyone who has ever asked . . .

  1. Teaching has changed A LOT just in the last couple of years. Most classrooms have a SmartBoard, but I don’t. If I did, I wouldn’t know how to use it or know what to do if it didn’t work! I work with kindergarteners, and they don’t know what a chalkboard is! Our school doesn’t have any kind of visitation during class time. We had Donuts with Dad this morning before school.

    As a working mom, I used to be crazy busy with kids and teaching, never knew what direction I was going. But things have lightened up considerably now that one is away at college and the other in high school.

  2. I start my day at 5 or 5:30 (depends on if my body lets me sleep that long – used to be 6 but then we “fell back” and my body didn’t get the memo). I typically run solid with work right now (tiz the season!!) until 9 pm. Of course I work from home so I can flip laundry, make dinner, etc. etc. during my small window of opportunities in the morning and afternoon. Go me. Not glamorous but oh so very profitable.

  3. Up and Down the River!!! Need a reminder of the rules. Phil and I were talking about teaching our kids that game, but couldn’t recall the rules. We remember fondly the hours spent @ GCTS playing with Glenn and Paul!

  4. I was also a third grade teacher, and it is amazing how much the technology has changed the classroom! I remember being thrilled when they changed my chalkboard to a dry erase board, and I thought the overhead projector was such a great tool. 🙂

  5. I love reading about what others do during their days…perhaps why I love reading blogs so much? Your day sounds so busy and productive! I am so impressed that you can sit down and accomplish so much focused writing in a small period of time.

  6. We play the same card game but we call it Liars. Kids love it! My in-laws are here for a 2.5 week visit so we’re getting in lots of hands of Liars. It’s great that the three generations can play it together.

  7. Well I’m finally sleeping in this morning, it’s 8:00 am and I still don’t feel rested especially just running through your day – now I feel like I need to go back to sleep.

    It’s comforting knowing others have days like me. Without going through it all – my day typically starts at 6:30 am and ends between 10pm and midnight depending on my days agenda. Lately though I’ve had my plate full and even though I turn the lights off I’m so wound up I don’t get to sleep until 1 or 2 in the morning. My kids are grown now but, I still have 2 dogs that we walk 5 times a day. A mothers work though is never done regardless of age.

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