Family life

A day in the life of a stay-at-home mom

Far from tidy and perfect, Jennifer Pinarski shares what her day as a stay-at-home mom looks like.

photo[1] Dishes aren't always the first priority. Photo: Jennifer Pinarski

Follow along as Jennifer Pinarski shares her experiences about giving up her big city job and lifestyle to live in rural Ontario with her husband, while staying home to raise their two young children.

7:00 a.m. — Breakfast and the morning rush

On most days the kids are awake well ahead of the 7:00 a.m. alarm, but somehow it doesn’t stop the morning from being hectic. For breakfast, we alternate between smoothies with homemade muffins or oats. I try hard to make sure they eat a hot, homemade meal, and I'll admit that this is a luxury I have as a stay-at-home mom. Our Friday mornings we're even busier — we all volunteer at my son's school, serving up nutritious food at their hot breakfast program. We leave the house at 7:30 a.m. to help other volunteers prepare and serve breakfast to upwards of 60 students. My three-year-old also volunteers, and I'm glad she thinks that washing that many dishes is fun.

9:30 a.m. — Stay-away-from-home mom Weekday mornings I try to get my daughter (and myself) out of the house. We usually attend playgroup or a family drop-in swim program. Without the social structure of daycare, playgroup has been very important in helping my daughter learn to play with other kids.

11:00 a.m. — Grocery shopping Most days we only need ketchup, but I still manage to leave the grocery store with pizza buns, milk, horrifically expensive out-of-season nectarines (to avoid a temper tantrum), butter and yogurt. The only thing more dangerous than shopping on an empty stomach is shopping with a preschooler who also has an empty stomach.

12:00 p.m. — Lunch time Despite having eaten the pizza bun and pricey nectarines on our shopping trip, my daughter is still hungry. By far my favourite part of being a stay-at-home mom is being able to make a hot lunch for my children. Our favourite? Crepes and fruit.

12:30 p.m. — Screen time After lunch, it's TV time for my daughter while I sit with her and blog or take care of online banking. Often she’ll drag her toys into the space where I’m working and just play alongside me.


1:30 p.m. — Cleanup time Just kidding. We go outside to play in the afternoon. The dishes can wait.

2:30 p.m. — The “how can I make the next two hours go really fast” time I’ve tried for years to get my kids to take afternoon naps or read quietly on their own just so that I get a break from the chaos and noise of being a stay-at-home mom. Instead, we usually all read together, play dolls or bake. I almost always forget that supper will be in a few hours and do zero supper prep — and because cookies and cupcakes taste better.

4:00 p.m. — The afternoon rush From the time my son gets off the bus at 4:00 p.m. to whenever I get supper pulled together, it’s a whirlwind of washing enough dishes for supper, breaking up sibling fights and asking the kids to feed the dog. More often than not the Wii gets turned on.

5:00 p.m. — Supper Also known as the “don’t you remember I don’t like this, it’s gross!” hour — unless it’s breakfast for supper.

6:00 p.m. — Tidy up before bedtime Just kidding! We bring out all the toys and make a mess and play together. If the weather is nice, we’re back outside.


7:30 p.m. — Bedtime routines Our bedtime routine looks like this: two kids in a 10 sq.ft. bathroom with a sink they can’t reach, trying to spit on each other while they’re brushing their teeth, trying to pee on a single toilet at the same time and fighting over what book they will read and who gets to hug me first. I’m almost always covered in pee, toothpaste and spit at the end of this.

8:30 p.m. — Tidy up before my bedtime Just kidding, again. I’m either crocheting, blogging, exercising or reading. Depending on how well the kids slept the night before, the amount of work I need to do, how excited I am about a new crochet pattern, or how interested I am in the podcast I’m listening to while exercising, my own bedtime varies from 8:38 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

What does your day look like? Tweet me @jenpinarski.

This article was originally published on Jan 13, 2014

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