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A Day in the Life With a 3.5 Month Old
It almost seems silly to finally get around to publishing this post. So much has already changed since I documented this day two or three weeks ago. Annie is sleeping better some nights (HOORAY), I’m no longer sleeping on her floor (HOORAY), and I’ve gotten a lot better at knowing when she’s actually fussing or needs something during the night and when she’s just moving through sleep cycles. But here it is anyway, as a sort of #TBT, I suppose. And as a reminder to myself that everything, both the wonderful and tough, is fleeting. When things feel hard, I remind myself that it’ll pass. When things are beautiful, I remind myself to soak it all in.
I’ve always been interested in “day in the life” type posts. But since having a baby, I am obsessed with them. I love reading about how other parents with babies the same age as Annie are spending their time. When do they get their workouts in? How, exactly, do they entertain their babies? How do they handle it when the “schedule” goes awry? Do they have help? (Do they mention that they have help?)
So one day a few weeks ago (already feels like a lifetime ago!), I decided to loosely document my own day! Even though every day feels a little blurry right now, this was a pretty typical Thursday — a day when the nanny was here to hang with Annie from 7:30 AM until 2 PM, and when I had plenty of work to do, none of which required a trip into the city. (I go into the city for podcast recordings or meetings once a week or so.)
So here’s what a recent Thursday in the life of a work-from-home mom of an almost-4-month-old human and 3-year-old puppy (always a puppy to me) looked like. (I’ll kick it off on Wednesday night, because it’s the sleep part I really like reading about…)
8:40 PM: Annie is in bed for the night. She started sleeping in her crib a few weeks ago, in hopes it would help us all sleep better. She can be a loud sleeper, so I thought moving her to the crib would help with the fact that I wake up at every little noise. (Oh LOL!)
10:15 PM: I’m in bed AKA I’m on the floor of Annie’s room. I learned that when I sleep in the master bedroom with the baby monitor, I’m still awakened by every little noise. I constantly wake up to turn the monitor on and check on Annie. Most of the time she’s fine, but when she does toss or turn or fuss, it’s a little annoying running down the hall to tend to her, especially on nights she’s extra tossy and turny and binkie-flinging. And so for now, I’m sleeping on her floor. Not on an air mattress, because I’m too lazy for that. Just…on her floor. And at least this way Brian and Ellie can get some good sleep!
(Update on this: I’m no longer sleeping in Annie’s room! She’s become a slightly more sound sleeper over the past two weeks, and I’m getting used to her noises so I’m not constantly checking the monitor. It’s an adjustment for everyone, and sleeping on her floor was not a good long-term solution. Ouch, my back! It feels good to be back in a bed, as of a few nights ago!)
12 AM: I wake up because I hear Annie fussing around for her binkie. This could be a bad sign of what’s to come. I usually like her to sleep a bit longer before fussing for that thing, but I pop it back in and she’s good to go.
3:38 AM: I randomly wake up and decide to take a bottle of milk out of the fridge, knowing Annie will need it soonish. I’m fine with not nursing directly, but I do hate that when Annie gets hungry during that one nighttime or early morning feed, I don’t always have milk immediately ready for her. It doesn’t take long to warm the milk a bit by submerging it in a cup of hot water (I don’t use a bottle warmer), but it’s that little extra step.
4:45 AM: Annie is stirring a bit, so it’s time to eat! (Yay for having the bottle ready!) She’s super gassy and rips a huge burp. Then she’s smiles. We rock in the pink chair for a while, and even though I’m sleepy and my back hurts, I’m savoring the snuggles.
5:25 AM: I put Annie back down and go back to my floor.
6:20 AM: Time for me to get up. I’m a bit bleary-eyed, and another gray, rainy day doesn’t help perk me up.
6:35 AM: I pump for 25 minutes. I’m down to three pumps a day and am getting just about enough for what Annie drinks each day. While I pump, I check my email and social media. Once I’m done, I empty the dishwasher, sterilize some pump parts and bottles, make the bed and the “bed,” and go to the bathroom. (I honestly can’t remember this day now, weeks later, but I think Brian left for work early that day.)
7:10 AM: I eat a Superhero Muffin standing in the kitchen while sharing and promoting today’s episode of the Ali on the Run Show, kicking the ball for Ellie, and watching Annie on the monitor. She’s fussing for that binkie again, so I run in to pop it in before she freaks out. I want her to get just a little more sleep before we start our day. I brush my teeth and go to the bathroom for the second time.
7:30 AM: Annie time! She’s up! Mornings with Annie are the best. She wakes up happy and smiley and I just love staring at her while she wiggles and stretches in her crib. Never change, Annie! (I’ve also found that no matter how her night went — smooth sleeping or flailing around — she wakes up at 7:30 like clockwork. God I love her.)
7:40 AM: I change the 12-pound morning diaper and then hand Annie to the nanny so I can get ready for the day. (I love that our nanny also loves Ellie. Usually when she gets here, she’ll give Ellie attention for a few minutes while I play with Annie, and that makes Ellie happy, too.)
7:50 AM: I’m out the door with Ellie in tow. We take a quick potty walk (for her — I already went twice, remember?), and then I drop her at daycare. Fortunately she runs right in and plays with her friends. Some days she’s hesitant because she wants to stay home where all the action is, but today was easy, and it’s nice that her “school” is right next to our building. It’s easy and convenient.
Even though Ellie likes going to school, I feel guilty whenever I bring her there, which is 2–3 times a week right now. When Annie was first born, Ellie was going a lot, because I was so nervous about having them both here at the same time. Now, Ellie only goes to school if the weather really sucks, because it’s tough to take her for walks with Annie when it’s super freezing or raining or snowing. Doing our best!
8:10 AM: I’m in the car, headed to Orangetheory, which is a 10-minute drive away.
8:30 AM: Orangetheory! It’s a strength day, but I skip the inclines because my back was hurting me last week and it’s finally feeling better and I don’t want to mess with it again. Oh and also I’m lazy.
I don’t like using nanny hours to work out, and this is also something I feel guilty about. I feel like I should be using the time I have her helping with Annie to focus on work, and for the most part, I do. But some days, like when Brian has to be at the office early, I know the only way I can get a workout in is if it’s when she’s watching Annie. (I am clearly very much still navigating part-time-wannabe-full-time-work-from-home-mom life.)
9:30 AM: I change in the studio bathroom and then go to the coffee shop next door to get work done. It’s a lovely spot with delicious ricotta toast! On tap today: Writing sponsor spots for all seven of the Q&A Week podcast episodes (coming in March — this was an ambitious project!), writing a blog post, coordinating some upcoming guest stuff, sourcing photos for a piece I wrote for Dance Magazine, sending a ton of emails, and starting to organize stuff for my taxes (the worst).
11:15 AM: Blog post done. A dozen emails sent regarding the upcoming live show at New York Road Runners. Avoided getting to the tax stuff. Time to head home!
11:30 AM: Annie is up half an hour early from her nap, but that’s OK because she’s all smiles! I hang with her and the nanny for a bit, and then I jump in the shower.
11:50 AM: Back to work! I sit at my computer to keep the to-do list going. I take a few breaks when Annie refuses to eat or is being extra chatty. I finish up another blog post and write the majority of the intros and closers for Q&A Week. Annie refuses to eat lunch (that’s weird), but goes down for her nap fine.
2 PM: The nanny leaves at 2 PM, and I’m always sad to see her go on Thursdays because then we don’t see her again until next week and I love her and miss her. (We can talk about loneliness another time!)
2:10 PM: Pump time! I’m down to 15 or 20 minutes for my midday pump, which is nice and not daunting like the ol’ 30-minute sessions I was doing. I keep working on my computer while Annie naps and I pump. Once I’m done pumping, I pop some sad Trader Joe’s frozen chicken tacos in the oven for lunch (I was going to eat them for dinner the night of the Super Bowl, but ate cake instead), and then finish chopping some Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes to go in as well, either for dinner or for lunches.
2:45 PM: I see that the Ali on the Run Show has hit and surpassed 1 million downloads. (On a day I didn’t release a “real” episode, no less. Go figure!) I eat lunch while working on a mountain of podcast-related stuff, then take the veggies out of the oven and organize Annie’s bottles. So many bottles.
3:25 PM: I see Annie stirring on the monitor. Naptime is over! I change her, and then we stretch and read some books for a while. And then Annie takes a big poop!
4 PM: Feed Annie. Within the past week, she went from downing every 5.5-ounce bottle to being way more interested in her hands and playing around than eating. We eventually get through 5 ounces, and then she’s done. She poops again while feeding, so after a good burp and a little spit up, I change her again. We play for a bit and read another book, and then I realize we need to get out of the house.
5:06 PM: We dash out the door to make the 5:12 ferry to Brookfield Place. Annie likes the boat. She stares at her stroller giraffe for a while, and then dozes off. Perfect, since this is usually the time of her last little nap of the day. The second we walk into Brookfield Place, all the lights and noises wake her up, but she’s content to look around and take it all in. I make a return at Lululemon and then we’re right back on the 6:07 PM boat home.
6:35 PM: Back home! I change Annie and put her on her play mat. I realize I should be a good wife and make dinner, and since Annie is happy, I’m able to whip up a Blue Apron meal while she gives rolling over her very best effort. (Not there quite yet, though!)
7:15 PM: I get Annie’s bath stuff ready while she hangs out in her swing, which she is very quickly outgrowing. So crazy! That swing was our lifeline for a long time! Brian comes home early and picks up Ellie from school on his way.
7:30 PM: Bath time! Everyone’s favorite time! Annie is very interested in splashing around, and it’s pretty adorable. Brian and I take turns scarfing down dinner while bathing Annie.
7:50 PM: I put away Annie’s bath stuff and get my own “bed” together for the night. AKA two blankets and a pile of pillows on the floor.
8 PM: Brian pours me a glass of Prosecco to celebrate one million downloads. But instead, it takes two hands to feed Annie, who is suddenly very hands-on with her own bottle. Hands are so fun! (It’s cute, so I can’t even be annoyed that feeding now takes 3x as long as it used to!)
8:15 PM: I pass Annie to Brian so I can tackle a mildly urgent work email.
8:35 PM: Send email. Prosecco still untouched. Annie is done eating, so we kiss her goodnight. I turn on her humidifier and white noise, swaddle her up, and rub her forehead as her eyes close. Ugh, I love her.
8:50 PM: Get into PJs. Take one whole sip of Prosecco. Sit down to pump. Post the Daily Annie on Instagram Stories! Brian takes Ellie out for her last potty walk.
9:15 PM: I’m done pumping and bottle everything up. I throw everything in the dishwasher and run it, then brush my teeth.
10 PM: “In bed.” AKA on Annie’s floor. This is not ideal, but it’s temporary…right?
And then Annie slept zero hours! Ugh. She actually went down fine, but started fussing around midnight. She was gassy and uncomfortable and nothing would make her feel better. Eventually, I brought her onto the floor in the DockATot so she could snuggle next to me and I could rub her belly — sometimes that helps! — but nope. It was a rough night for Ali and Annie! The night before she slept so well, so I tried to replicate everything, but she’s a baby and sometimes it’s just not consistent! I’m getting better at being OK with that and not constantly trying to analyze and mimic things when they go well once.
Even after a tossy, turny, uncomfy night, Annie still wakes up happy! So I do the same.
And that’s our day! Not too exciting, not too eventful! I try my best to dedicate mornings to work and afternoons and evenings to Annie. I was productive on this day and got out of the house with Annie, which I consider wins, but I never did finish my Prosecco. Win some, lose some, we’re just trying to survive ’em all!