A Day In The Life

Spring is in the air: the trees are budding, weeds have executed their annual hostile takeover of my yard, and my daughter just turned four months old. It’s a wonderful time.

Now that I’ve been a full-time father flying solo for about six weeks, I thought it would be interesting to give you a glimpse at my average weekday.*

5:30 – 7:30 a.m. My daughter wakes up somewhere in here. (Yes, she really does sleep until 7:30 some days.) If she’s up early enough (say between 4:30 – 6:00 a.m.) she will usually go back to sleep after breakfast for an hour or so, which lets me sneak in a few more Z’s.

7:30 a.m. I’m always up by this point either feeding her or getting her ready for the day. After she eats, Dad has a quick bowl of granola for breakfast. Then we say Bye-Bye to Mom who leaves for work.

Why is that other baby looking at me?

8:00 – 10:00 a.m. Mostly playtime. We play on the playmat, listen to music, read books, explore sensory bags, sing songs, practice tummy time and usually have 1-2 more feedings. Since she’s not mobile yet (although she is rolling from back-to-side and front-to-back) I can often sneak off for a few minutes to do a load of laundry or straighten up elsewhere in the house. But those times are quickly coming to an end.

10:00 – 10:30 / 11:00 a.m. – Naptime #1. Glorious breaktime for Dad (or to finally shower and dress for the day, if it’s been a hectic morning).

11 a.m. – 2 p.m. After feeding, more play. We usually move to a different room in the house so both of us can break up the day a bit. I will also eat something for lunch at some point in here. Another bottle will come near the end of this segment.

2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Naptime for both baby and Dad. I will readily cop to napping. I’m an introvert, I don’t naturally show emotion, and I’m not a high-energy guy. Being so expressive, high energy, smiley, singing, playing, etc. all day is emotionally and psychologically draining.

3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Same routine. Feeding, playing, reading, sensory and motor skill practice.

5:00 – 5:45 p.m. If it’s nice (and we’ve had a very mild winter this year like the rest of you), we’ll take a walk. I pack her up in the stroller and she naps while I walk and listen to podcasts or music.

5:45 – 6:15 p.m. Back at the house, she stretches out and plays a bit or has a bottle. I try to pick up the house from day’s destruction.

Bedtime. We don’t always make it to the end of the bottle.

6:15 p.m. Mom comes home! This is Alicia’s favorite time of day (and probably our daughter’s too!). While they spend time together, I get dinner ready. We eat together as a family.

7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Alicia gets a little 1-on-1 time with our baby girl, while I head out to the gym, to run errands, or otherwise do the housework that didn’t get done during the 10 minute increments I can steal during the day.

8:00 p.m. Bedtime. (Set by her, not us. My daughter is *usually* out like a light around this time.)

9:00 p.m. Alicia and I might spend a little time together to watch a TV show or just unwind. Sometime in the after-bedtime routine I’ll sneak in some time to write, read, or play a game. I need some fun creative time for me every day or I’ll crack up.

10:30 p.m. The last thing we do before going to bed is to “dream feed” the baby. This helps her sleep all the way through the night instead of waking up hungry at 3 or 4 a.m. She doesn’t wake up for this one but she instinctively will take a (small) bottle. We don’t want to overdo it at this feeding, it’s just a top-off for a good night’s sleep.

11:00 p.m. We’re usually in bed or heading that way, ready to do it all again.

Other full-time parents: what does your day look like? Similar, different? How can I improve my schedule?

*All bets are off on the weekend, with Mom home, activities, church on Sundays, and family outings.

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