". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Thursday, October 25, 2007


A few of my blogging friends have recently written posts detailing their daily routines. Having found it highly interesting to read about how others (especially homeschooling moms) spend their time, I herewith offer my own blow-by-blow of a typical day. If this bores you to tears, feel free to navigate away at will. But for anyone who is interested, here's what I did yesterday.

5:00 a.m. - Alarm goes off. Snooze for 10 more minutes.

5:10 a.m. - Get out of bed, stagger downstairs and make coffee.

5:20 a.m. - Pray. Check email, blogs & morning news.

5:45 a.m. - Prepare for literature class: review today's stories (O Henry's "The Ransom of Red Chief" & Katherine Mansfield's "The Garden Party") and grade essays.

6:30 a.m. - Eat breakfast, chat with husband who has now awakened, unload dishwasher, load dirty dishes, wipe down cabinets.

7:00 a.m. - Shower, blow-dry hair, put on make-up, make bed.

7:45 a.m. - Wake up 3-year-old and get him ready for preschool.

8:15 a.m. - Wave good-bye to husband and 3-year-old.

8:20 a.m. - Get dressed. Carry up some clean laundry and carry down & sort dirty. Switch wet clothes to dryer and start another load to wash. Finish laying out materials for class.

9:00 a.m. - Greet class. Talk to a Dad for 15 minutes.

9:15 a.m. - Teach literature class.

10:30 a.m. - Conference with student about her essay.

10:40 a.m. - Send email to piano students I need to reschedule. Feed birds. Get ready to pick up 3-year-old at preschool.

10:55 a.m. - In transit. Pick up 3-year-old and drop off two literature students on the way. Breathe sigh of relief when preschool teacher gives me thumbs up meaning 3-year-old didn't hit anyone today.

11:30 a.m. - Go outside with 3-year-old and water grass patch while he plays on the swingset. Take towels out of dryer for folding. Switch wet clothes to dryer. Prepare and eat lunch. Instruct older children to clean up while 3-year-old and I go lie down.

12:30 p.m. - Lie down with 3-year-old. Doze off while he watches PBS.

1:15 p.m. - Get ready to take daughter to art class.

1:30 p.m. - Take daughter to art class at day school. While waiting for her (the class is too short to merit going back home), go to husband's office to talk about family & household stuff. Make some photocopies for husband. Return home with daughter.

3:00 p.m. - Read to 3-year-old.

3:15 p.m. - Run errands. Return video to library that was left at home when we went yesterday. Pick up drycleaning. Buy stamps at post office.

4:00 p.m. - Read aloud from The Yearling to older children. Try not to collapse into a blubbering idiot at the sad part.

4:45 p.m. - Get ready for piano students.

5:00 p.m. - Teach piano lessons.

6:00 p.m. - Cook and eat frozen pizza.

6:45 p.m. - Get ready to go to nursing home and give instructions to children on what to do in my absence.

7:00 p.m. - Drive to nursing home. Listen to Sean Hannity on the way.

7:25 p.m. - Visit with my mother.

8:20 p.m. - Drive home. Listen to Sean Hannity again.

8:45 p.m. - Read to 3-year-old and get him ready for bed. Tuck him in and say prayers.

9:15 p.m. - Welcome husband home. Chat while he warms up a can of soup for his supper.

9:20 p.m. - Send 3-year-old back to bed (he heard Daddy come in).

9:30 p.m. - Tell older children good night, wash face, brush teeth, get myself ready for bed.

9:45 - Check email & blogs again, work on post about my day.

10:30 - Talk to husband.

10:45 - Turn out light. Confirm alarm is still set for 5:00 a.m. Experience difficulty falling asleep even though I am tired beyond words.

What was good about this day:

1) Literature class. I really like literature class.
2) Reading to my children. It's one of the few things I seem to be able to slow down for.
3) A chance to talk to my husband without interruption.
4) Blogs and email.
5) Visiting my mom and seeing an upturn in her mood.

What I didn't like about this day:

1) I didn't get any exercise.
2) I didn't read my Bible.
3) My children ate frozen pizza for supper.
4) My husband ate canned soup for supper.
5) My husband was gone from the house for 13 hours. After I went to bed, he stayed up another half hour doing homework.
6) I feel like my children fended for themselves too much, especially the older ones with regard to their schoolwork.
7) Various tasks I hoped to complete are still undone and must be planned forward yet again.

Today (Thursday) will vary somewhat from yesterday: instead of literature class, we will have family devotion and French class with Dad. There will be no nursing home visit or driving to preschool and art class, but there will be more housework and laundry (as my friend Laura likes to say, "the laundry is never done"), three hours of piano students instead of one, plus adult choir at church tonight (2-1/2 hours including travel time). There will also be another round of errands to run (pick up raw milk order, go to pet store, shop for groceries, go to Caribou to get a new bag of coffee). Taking all of that into account, there is probably even less breathing room today than yesterday.

Short of giving up my email and blogging time and sleeping even less than I do, I am at a loss for how to squeeze more into my day. But I am also constantly frustrated by the things that don't get done. And I worry that my children are suffering under the shadow of a mother who is so feverishly trying to check things off the task list that I have forgotten how--as James Taylor advises--to "enjoy the passage of time." This is one reason I cling to my email and blogging time--it is about the only thing I do purely for my own enjoyment, and I think these days it is keeping me sane.

Time to get ready for French class! Have a good day, everyone.


elephantschild said...

Oy vey! Our Wednesdays seem about like that, too. Adjust a little for the fact that I have only one kid, but then add back that all my shopping is 30 miles away. :)

Your list helps me understand why I start going stark raving mad when I've got to add 2-3 hrs of parttime AutoCAD work into each day.

C'est la vie, n'est-ce pas? Someday we'll look back in wonder and astonishment at these days. Wait! I look back in wonder and astonishment at YESTERDAY. :)

Kim said...

Think of how your kids are learning to be self-sufficient! There is always an upside to things :)

I don't know how you do it all. Now I'm glad I don't have a vehicle during the day so I'm forced to stay home.

Polly said...

I'm tired!

Hannah J said...

Just wait - it'll be a lot calmer when the older ones go off to community college (or a 4-year, for that matter) and you have the now-grown-up 3-year-old all to yourself.

Also - remember that you have only about 25 years or less until retirement!

Glenda said...

You get up at 5am!?!? Ugh, this must be why I'll never be good at anything except sleep. Getting up before 7am is always always always too tough for me to face daily.

Cheryl said...

Glenda, it depends on the day, but most days I do wake up between 5:00 & 5:30. Eventually the sleep deprivation catches up with me, though (especially if I've spent too many late nights blogging!), and I have to have a morning where I sleep in until 6:00. But I rarely sleep later than that, even on the weekends. I just seem programmed to wake up early. And I love the quiet of morning while everyone else is still asleep.

Jane said...

I'm with Glenda. I just cannot get up before 7:00 on a regular basis.

Reading about your day makes me realize what a time saver it is for me to have older children who do most of the laundry and clean the kitchen.

That's what allows be blogging time. :)

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

Wow, you manage to wash your face? You are so much more together than me ;)

I am the opposite, time wise. I wake up around 9, but I go to bed around 1 a.m.

And my goal is what Jane said.

Laura said...


How fun to hear about your day! How thankful we can be that we live during a time of frozen pizza and canned soup. (Although I love homemade...we just can't do everything all the time!) You have raised and schooled your older children well if they can handle most of their school subjects on their own. In my experience that is what has happened with all four of my kids and they are all turning out just fine...and smart, too. :)

Cheryl said...

Jane & RBW, I would have even less to show for my day if not for older kids doing kitchen clean-up & various other assigned household tasks (bathroom cleaning, sock folding, dusting, etc.). As much as I bemoan the laundry, it is my own fault I don't have more help with it since I have always been rather protective of it, fearing others won't be as concerned about stains, shrinkage, etc., as I. But I'm getting to the point that my older ones are old enough and I'm tired enough that I'm just about ready to enlist their aid!