A Day in the Smith House

Welcome to The “Day in Our House” Project! I’m shadowing the regular, ordinary days of some awesome stay-at-home/work-from-home mothers. Read about the inspiration behind this project here!

It’s 7:00am. Blake has been up for an hour and a half and has worked out, gotten ready for the day, and taken this picture of me sleeping. No shame here.

7:30am: I get breakfast started for the kids and Blake heads off to work. (O my — that boy is fine.)

7:30–8:00am: Everett wakes up and eats breakfast while I read the Wall Street Journal. Especially on long days when I’m almost exclusively with my kids, it makes for such a better day if I’m thinking about bigger issues than how much brown sugar is allowed on each person’s oatmeal. (Come on, please tell me one tablespoon is not cruel!)

8:00–8:30am: Everett plays downstairs while I get ready for the day.

8:30–9:00am: The sleepy girls wake up, everyone gets dressed, and I help them pick up their bedroom.

9:00–9:30am: The girls eat breakfast and Everett eats a second breakfast. After breakfast, we gather around the fridge and review the “7 Rules of our House”.

  1. Obey right away

2. Honor Mama and Pop

3. Do not hurt

4. Speak kindly

5. Do not whine

6. Tell the truth

7. Help your team.

(These rules are so simple, but somehow so hard to obey.)

9:30–10:00am: I workout outside with the kids. This has not always gone well in the past, but they have been much more excited about exercising with me since I rebranded working out as “Ninja Training”. I am their sensei.

10:00am: Penelope has had enough of life. I put her down for a nap, get dressed, and pick up upstairs. (Capsule wardrobe brought to you by Cladwell.)

10:15–11:00am: I turn on classical music, get out a quiet activity for the kids (like drawing or duplos), and read out loud to them. We usually start with a story from the Bible, and then read from a chapter book, like Little House on the Prairie.

This morning, Moses is leading the Israelites out of Egypt, and Ma and Pa Ingals are primping for the dance at Grandpa’s house.

11:00am-12:00pm: We go outside and do an activity like painting with watercolors. (It’s different everyday — playdough, chalk, water in buckets, etc.)

My kids are not very interested in being creative if I just tell them to “go be creative”, but if I sit down and start making art, they eagerly join in. It’s great for them, and it’s great for me. (I love creating, but for some reason I feel it’s a luxury instead of something I was designed to do. Lies, lies, lies.)

11:45ish: Everett and Charleston get into a little fistfight and they go to separate rooms for a timeout and discipline. After a few minutes, apologies, and hugs, they start playing again. (I didn’t get a picture — I’m sure my kids will be very grateful in 10 years.)

12:00pm: We prep and eat lunch. Today, our groceries for the week are being delivered.

One of the biggest perks of living in the Bay Area is groceries from local farms are delivered to your kitchen counter.

For free.

It’s seriously one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

12:30pm: It seems just about impossible for my kids to eat lunch in less than an hour. I don’t know why. They hardly eat anything.

1:00pm: It’s nap time! Everyone washes up after lunch, goes to the bathroom, and gets tucked into bed. Even though Everett’s almost 5, he still takes a 2-hour “quiet resting time” where he plays (and sometimes falls asleep) in his bed. It is great for everyone involved.

1:30pm: I take a serious, 10-minute nap. EVERY SINGLE DAY. It is very necessary. And wonderful. Even on days when we just at home, I’m emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausted by nap time.

I used to feel really guilty about resting when I was tired in the middle of the day. I felt like I shouldn’t be tired, or that I was being weak, or indulging myself and being lazy. (There’s a nasty drill sergeant in my head sometimes. Again — lies, lies, lies.) But those things just aren’t true.

When I treat myself like a human, and not like a machine, I am much happier and energetic the rest of the day.

I have a ridiculous system — outside, no phone, on a yoga mat, with a dishtowel over my eyes. But I can go from wide awake to deep sleep and back again in just about 10 minutes. This may be my biggest accomplishment in life.

1:45pm: After I finish resting, I put on a kettle of water and make tea. It takes about 5 minutes for the water to boil, and while I’m waiting a do a mad sprint pick up of the kitchen and the first floor. (Because I just took a nap and have so much energy!) It’s amazing how much you can clean in 5 minutes if you’re focused and looking forward to a cup of Earl Grey.

2:00pm: Today Blake called to let me know an evening meeting with a group of potential investors came up, so he wouldn’t be home for dinner. He’s typically home around 6pm, but this is actually an accurate snapshot of the season we’re in right now. Blake is part of a startup accelerator and raising a round of money in Silicon Valley for our startup, Cladwell. That means our whole family needs to be flexible and roll with last minute changes. The biggest help I can be to Blake right now is keeping everything running smoothly at home. Even though he won’t be with us tonight, we will still make it a good night. (I’ll add an “alternate ending” to give a picture of what a night with Pop at home is like, too.)

2:30–3:00pm: I read my Bible and pray. This is sweet time. I’m only halfway through the day, and there’s already a long list of things I need forgiveness and grace for. I’m renewed, reset, and ready to face the rest of the day.

(Also, this app is amazing if you’d like to read through the Bible in a year.)

3:00–3:30pm: I checked my email, paid bills, and talked to one of our tenants. It was so boring I forgot to take pictures. Let your imagination run wiiilllld.

3:30–5:00pm: We head to the park and play. Everett plays with kids on the playground, and the girls hang close to me. Charleston still loves to drink her milk cuddled up on me, so we just sit. It’s great.

5:00pm: We head home and get dinner ready. The women from Cladwell are coming over for dinner and the Olympics, so I’m feeding the kids now. We do dinner as a family sometimes, but I honestly really love feeding my kids early and enjoying a quiet, uninterupted dinner later in the evening.

(Yes, I hear family meals are important. But right now they’re really loud and hectic. We’ll put them down as a 2017 goal.)

Please don’t judge this dinner. It’s gross. I know. Sometimes you just need to dip your quesadillas in ketchup. So gross.

6:00pm: I make some brownies and the kids help me “clean up”. (What eager helpers they are.)

Olympics with friends? YES.

6:00pm: Erin and Robin, the secret sauce of Cladwell, come over for dinner. When you’re living in a new place, it’s great to have built in work friends. They’re a blast.

7:45pm: The kids head upstairs, brush teeth, get changed, and we read a story. Sweet dreams.

11:00pm: Blake gets home just in time to watch Michael Phelps win his 87th gold.

12:00am: We sneak into our kids bedroom and stare at their chubby little cheeks. These are good days, filled with good work. I’m completely spent, but so grateful I have the privilege to help shape their little hearts.


ALTERNATE ENDING: Here’s a regular night when Blake’s home after work!

6:ish: We grill out on this adorable mini-grill almost every night. (It’s so stinkin’ cute.)

Every evening Blake asks us, “What were three awesome things about today?” It’s a great exercise for us all to practice thankfulness.

If being thankful is something you want to practice more, I can’t recommend this app enough. (Now there’s even an app that changes your attitude!)

Everett always has new things he’s thankful for. Charleston is thankful for “Mermaids!”. Every. Single. Day.

We walk down the street to catch the Pokemon out at twilight. (They don’t stand a chance.)

Once kids are down in bed, we put on a record and talk. We’re not audiophiles — we just love how listening to an actual record is an event in itself. It helps us slow down and enjoy each other without distractions.

And — that’s a day! Goodnight ya’ll.