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What do YOU do all day?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I've seen lots of threads on what your kids do all day but I'm wondering what YOU do all day? Especially if you're not into cleaning the house or playing lol...

DS is 3yo. DH has a new job and his schedule will mean I end up solely in charge of DS for longer & later hours than before. I have no trouble getting through the first half of the day, I work from home 4+ hours a day so I keep busy with that in the early morning and then our a.m. tasks like breakfast, shower, etc. and then we'll go out for awhile but we are often home by 4 or 5pm and DH won't come home 'til midnight. Hopefully I can get DS to sleep by 9pm fingersx.gif but that still leaves 4-5 hours of time before bed where he just wants me to play with him. I hate playing, to be honest... I do it, of course, but I hate it. There aren't many outings we can do in the evenings and most of our friends want to be home & cooking dinner by that point. So I feel like that last part of the day just drags on & on and I feel BORED. Plus I'm exhausted since I get up so early to work before DS rises.

It's not that there's nothing to do, I could clean a bit I guess but I can only clean so much and I'm just not into that at all, and especially when I'm being interrupted by DS every 2 seconds. I'm trying to cook with DS more and that tries my patience but at least isn't boring! And hopefully with spring coming we'll be able to spend more time outside in the evenings. But even being outside is boring for me if we're just playing. I like to take walks or sit & relax but DS often just wants me to play with him in the yard and it's mind-numbing & I don't like our yard... And I really want to get back into working out but how do you fit in a workout with a needy toddler??

I feel silly posting this, technically I've been a SAHM now for 3 years so you'd think I'd have it down... but for the first year I was working full-time (from home with no childcare! faint.gif), the second year DS was still so very high-needs and cranky that we were in survival mode, and the third year DH was unemployed so I wasn't doing it alone. So I feel like I'm a SAHM again for the first time lol. I have plenty of ideas for things to do with DS but no ideas of what to do for me that I can work into a day with a toddler. Am I even asking a realistic question? Do most SAHM's just play with their kids & clean all day?
post #2 of 23

My situation is a little different since I have two kids. My ds is 5 and in school until 2 everyday and my dd just turned 2.



wake up, wash face, get dressed

feed kids

make lunch, get ds ready for school

start load of laundry

take ds to school

go on errand or to class/activity with dd

if time, start cleaning up

feed dd

dd in crib for nap


work out for 45 minutes

clean kitchen

start dinner, if I need to

get dd up, pick up ds

snack time

wrangle playing/fighting children

deal with laundry

try to complete a weekly chore like dusting, mopping or scrubbing bathroom

family clean up of toys, vacuum or sweep

kids in bath

finish dinner

kid dinner (we can't do dinner as a family on weekdays as dh gets home about 7)

kids watch a video

dh home, puts kids to bed


dh and my dinner, tv time

read and bed


My schedule was similar when I only had ds, but I had more time to get house chores done. I also would do chores while ds napped instead of taking the time for myself and I'm trying to find more of a balance now. I give my kids a certain amount of time to just hang with me, like when they are watching their video and want to cuddle. Now that there's two of them, I just can't be as productive, so I try to be more efficient. 


post #3 of 23
DH works 24 hour shifts 2-3 days a week, so I know what you mean with the late afternoon lull & major cabin fever. It's hardest in winter. Once it's warm enough I like to take the girls for long walks in the stroller. Helps keep me in shape, we all get fresh air. I used to not be into playing really, but with two it's so much easier. Once my youngest was about 10 mo old, the older lneeded me less because she found her live-in playmate. Now playing is much more fun because they're so funny together - and I'm not having to spend hours at it a day. I don't really like our yard either, so we spend very little time in it, but we do go to parks & playgrounds most days when it's warm enough. I'd say your best bet is to have another one, lol! I have a 3 y/o too & they're so sweet but can be intense with their attention- needs.
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
LOL we've been TTC#2 pretty much since DS was born, obviously hasn't worked out quite the way I planned 'cause 3 years later and still no baby!!

We just had 3 days straight of DH home & it's so much nicer. At least we get long weekends (though too bad that I have to spend one of the 3 days catching up on work!) Maybe we just need time to get into a routine.

I guess I feel like I need a hobby or something that won't take too much focused attention but will also start to teach DS that he needs to sometimes play on is own. Or maybe I just need to put music on more often so I don't get so bored while we're playing... I don't know.
post #5 of 23
I have plenty of ideas for things to do with DS but no ideas of what to do for me that I can work into a day with a toddler. Am I even asking a realistic question? Do most SAHM's just play with their kids & clean all day?

Full time mothering is a journey. Our society places much more value on "externally" generated feedback. Pay checks and promotions are regular ongoing reassurance that you are valuable and worthy. It takes 20 years to raise a child. Or become a master gardener, or whatever. Given time, allot of moms tune into their true essence, and naturally begin to cultivate a life based on the validation your spirit is offering. Staying at home involves constant adaptation and personal transformation, but on a gradule time scale that makes it easy to take for granted. Most people need someone outside themselves to reassure them that they are doing great work and their lifes path has been a worthy one. 

I prefer to make play my first priority. I clean only a few times a day( I rotate chores, and I make sure everyone takes care of there own garbage, or putting dirty clothes/dishes in their place). Children are are learning from everything we do. I'm not bored, I am teaching them by my example. Lessons that are critical life skills. How to relate, how to manage frustration. Hmm, I am curious now, what are the things I teaching them to find boring? It's a really hard job. But for me, I know it is the only thing I want to be doing with my life right now.   


post #6 of 23

DH works on the north slope, so while I am a SAHM it often feels like I'm a single mom as well. DS1 is in part-time K at the local public school and DS2 is just turned 3. After I get DS1 off to school, I do the usual...a little cleaning, then read books and knit. DS2 and I take the dog for a walk. I try to keep the TV turned off and let DS2 play on his own. I encourage a lot of independent, imaginative play :) Sometimes we'll just go outside and I'll keep an eye on DS2 and the dog while they run around. Then we go in the house, cuddle and read books. After I pick up DS2 we usually try to go to the park til it gets too cold, or I run errands. Some errands are easier with just DS2, some DS1 likes to come along for (groceries). After the kids go to bed I watch TV, knit, write, read.


When DH is home the only thing that changes is that I don't read or knit as much at night because he likes to have people over or just hang out with me.

post #7 of 23

Here's my everyday:


wake up. make coffee.

pick up dharma from the bed, who by now is upset that I've left her in bed. 

change and feed her and dress her.

wake up dakota. dress her and get her ready for school.

bundle up and walk to school. 

go home. deal with dharma being fussy. 

scarf down breakfast

sweep the floor 

wash dishes

make the beds

pick up dakota (she's in preschool)

make her a snack

put dharma down for a nap.

play with dakota

clean up the house

squeeze in a couple minutes to start or continue an art project 

put dinner in the crock pot


Dharma's awake, so nurse and change her again.

make lunch.

wash dishes again.

go over dakota's homework. 

play with the little ones. or if it's not winter, take them out somewhere (park, playground or beach)

dharma's down for another nap.

finish up dinner


watch a movie (all of us, as a family)

Dharma-bath time.

dakota- bath time.

movie time, story time, snack time

bed time for both my girls.

spend time with hubs and watch a REAL movie while I crochet (or nurse dharma, if she's particularly fussy)


oh, and squeeze in a shower in between all that. 



post #8 of 23

I hear you about the boredom thing. I don't have quite the long hours you do, though. My DS just turned nine months this week, so his idea of playing is to crinkle paper and pull stuff down. I keep thinking it'll get easier as he grows up and can play more interactive, imaginary games. For now though, I try the best I can, which usually means several bursts of crinkle paper play of a couple minutes each. Oh, and I listen to a lot of books on CD, so that even if DS is fussy and in the pick up/put down/ pick up/ put down mood, I can still listen. We also listen to Prarie Home Companion, NPR, This American Life, Radio Lab, and The Story. It passes the time and I don't feel so bad about listening to something as I would plopping down in front of the TV.

post #9 of 23

I don't really play.  I try to keep the house from imploding, keep the troops fed and changed and teach DD.  I spend a little time on the internet, sew or knit a little because to keeps me from going insane.  It is really hard to see progress in my life.  Cause i do the same loads of laundry  53 times a week and fry eggs all the time. Without my hobbies I think I would have way too many groundhog day moments.  We have a farm and when it is nice I let the kids free range outside as much as possible.  That seems to lessen the load on me and my vacuum.  Blech.  I hate cleaning and I don't have a schedule.  Generally it is just managed chaos.  

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
LOL I love that term 'groundhog day moments' -- that captures things perfectly! That's my life, a bunch of those groundhog day moments!

I am finding a few things that I enjoy AND can do with DS... we have been cooking together more, and painting, arts & crafts are great, and DS is asking to learn to write so that's another more entertaining way to kill time... The late-afternoon stretch is still torture though. I wish he napped or would do quiet time without me or something! I am tired of playing the same two pretend scenes over & over & over. I am even tired of being out & about. Really, I'm just plain tired... looking forward to the end of next week when I might finally get a chance to sleep 8 hours for one night.
post #11 of 23
I'm spry you've had a hard time conceiving again. I felt that way alot before having 2nd DC. I got bored Of the same routIne andthe need for ds to want to play wih me. DD is 9 1/2 moths now and they are the best of playmates. But I've found that my focus has changed too. Instead of trying to find an out from DS' constant needfor attention, I just simply give it to him now and don't stress about it. The only hobby I have right now is cookin and gardening, but ds(also 3) helps me with both and I try to enjoy it even though it's frustrating at times. I try and remind myself over and over that they are only this age once and it will be over before I know it and I will miss it!
post #12 of 23

I felt the same way with my needy first born (seems the first is the most needy, but probably b/c they are alone for a while).  I found that doing crafts and planning things (like a tea party with his stuffed animals, my son loved this esp. if we were really eating, but then again he was not quite 2 yo at that point)... my 3yo loves coloring!  We can color together for a while.  You dont' have to color the same cartoony stuff as him... do you scrapbook?  My son loves cutting although he doesn't do it right.  Give him some cool/pretty paper he likes and you can cut out real things for your scrapping while he just learns to cut.  Some other plans I made with my son (again this was before my 2nd was born, so my oldest wasn't quite 2... I don't know how well it'll work with a 3yo):


Craft a car or bus out of a box... draw and stick as much stuff on there...even make street lights, etc.

If you have floors not carpet, you can tape or draw on paper a race track for your box or train tracks or with the tape a neighborhood to drive around (even with little cars)

If he likes to cook, get out tons of safe cookware, empty seasoning jars, dress him like a chef and you can draw up a menu, etc. and take pictures!  grandparents will love it

Make a play mailbox, write or draw letters to send to friends or relatives (this is a good time for mom to get in some writing time or reading while he does it)


There are tons of places online that you can search for ideas... send me a message if you want some sites.


Also instead of him helping you cook, clean out your sink, fill it with water, toys and clean dishes and let him play like he's helping you wash dishes.  My boy loves it.


Lastly, if you have aerobic videos at home your toddler my happily join you or just saying it's exercise time and do a few sets of situps, pushups, stretches or whatnot and involve your son, he may actually love it.  It'll help him get those last wiggles out before bed and may lead him to sleep earlier or longer in the morning.



Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

LOL we've been TTC#2 pretty much since DS was born, obviously hasn't worked out quite the way I planned 'cause 3 years later and still no baby!!
We just had 3 days straight of DH home & it's so much nicer. At least we get long weekends (though too bad that I have to spend one of the 3 days catching up on work!) Maybe we just need time to get into a routine.
I guess I feel like I need a hobby or something that won't take too much focused attention but will also start to teach DS that he needs to sometimes play on is own. Or maybe I just need to put music on more often so I don't get so bored while we're playing... I don't know.


post #13 of 23

where are you crunchy_mommy?

go on a walk. put him in the ergo on you back and walk. we do a lot of walking usually but its been cold and rainy. spring is coming though and the sun is out longer and no more signs of a cougar. you probably do not have cougars....lol

stay really busy during the day then maybe you nights won't drag. i have been going through my baby not wanting to do things on his own and i know what that feels like. he pulls my pants and cries anytime im in the kitchen and sometimes i wish he'd just play on his own sometimes and sometimes he does. i notice that if i can stay in his space while im doing something he'll play on his own. like,when i pocket diapers i will sit on the floor next to toys and usually my baby will just play with his toys. or if i make a phone call i will make it from where my little one is hanging out..cause the minute i stand up he's about to cry.  finding a hobby is a good idea too. i was just thinking of bringing out the knitting.

post #14 of 23

I also feel like a single momma lots too, cus DH works 3 wks on and one off, 12 hour shifts...  


I get overwhelmed with the monotony of housework, but have endless projects on the go. 

I listen to CBC radio (canada) all day, or music ( mine or kids),

we get out of the house EVERY day at least once. 

we go by foot. 

post office, library, groc store, park... 

or just a nice long walk.

swimming is great.

Play groups are so good for us. 

I read when there's time.

I love to create things that our family needs by hand if i can.

food from scratch

and sewing/crocheting



and sometimes, I get bored. But that usually means its one of those "sad" days.  or hours. and it gets better!



post #15 of 23

My son is 2. 


Wake up around 8 am. Mommy uses the potty, try the potty for him, usually not though. If I'm having a good day, I'll make all the beds while he bangs around the upstairs for about 10 minutes. Bad day, we just head downstairs. Lately, i've been having a series of bad days. 


Take him downstairs, get him situated with his greek yogurt (seriously, if there is no yogurt heads roll). I eat my breakfast. After breakfast, he feeds his gold fish. I'll sit down with him, read a few books. Then, we sit down at his dry erase board with dry erase crayons and do our ABC's (he's SUPER interested). he usually asks at that point to watch "La LAH LAH!" which means Elmo. I'll put sesame street on for him and do the breakfast dishes and let out the dogs a 2nd time (husband lets them out at 5am and feeds them too). 


I'll try to get dinner started at that point. we don't have a microwave so defrosting meat at that point is when it MUST happen. I'll start a loaf of bread. If he's still engrossed in Elmo, I run downstairs and put the diaper load on "wash" (my husband ever considerate that I'm pregnant and poo smell is a trigger for me barfing puts the diapers on a rinse every night before he goes to bed). I'll usually grab an armful of clothes and bring em up, fold them, and put them away. 

Usually in this time frame, my son "besmirches" himself and tells me by pointing to his butt and says "MAMA! BATH!". I'll grab whatever laundry hasn't been folded, and bring it upstairs with us- I'll fold laundry and pick up the bathroom while he bathes. (He trashes it like a frat boy). 


Its about lunchtime by this point, so I get lunch for him, eat sometime myself, and he'll start getting sleepy by this point. We're no longer nursing even every day now, so he'll crawl into my lap and fall asleep, at which point, I'll turn on the TV, watch some HORRIBLE reality TV for myself while he's sleeping and surf the internet. I get anywhere from an hour to two hours of nap/ME time. In the highly unlikely event that he falls asleep NOT on me and in his bedroom, i'll shut the baby gate and take a shower. Usually though he crawls into my lap and sleeps and if I move him, he wakes up. 


If the weather is over 40 we go for about an hour walk. 


By this point, its getting close for my husband to get home, and we make dinner. I try to include my son in as many ways as possible- let him throw stuff in the pot, hand him dishes that I washed- tupperware and have him help me put them away. 


Husband gets home, and if I haven't showered, I hand over the reins to him, and shower! 


Once spring comes and my garden is in, this will change. This is just winter schedule. Summer schedule, I do a lot more laundry, hang it out to dry instead of using the dryer, and he plays in the yard a LOT in his playhouse, sandbox and slide or he "helps" me weed. (really he just plays in the mud) let me tell you, summer cannot come soon enough, i'm not happy about the TV thing, we started it when I had hyper emesis, and well, he enjoys it and when its cold and there's literally NOTHING TO DO i'm at a loss. 


post #16 of 23

do you have any friends whose partners work late as well? you could have a 4:30-7 or so playdate and have everyone over for dinner, or you could go to dinner at your friends house then go home and put ds to bed. It would break up the monotony a bit. I have a friend who's dh is gone 3 or 4 nights a week, so she likes to have us over for dinner or vice versa when DH is home late. It helps a lot!

post #17 of 23

Right now Im forcusing on surviving. Morning sickness is killing me.. But I can commit how it was BEFORE I got pregnant because I thought things went well..


4am- woke, worked out, showered

5am (ish)- skyped with DH (he was deployed at the time)

530- older two were up, I made breakfast and we read scriptures/had prayer

630ish- baby woke and I nursed him, most days hed want to eat solids after nursing so Id reheat whatever I had made for the girls

Then we got dressed, took care of the pets, watered plants

around 8- we did circle time and a few "school-y" activities like art projects, painting, reading etc, usually the baby would nurse again

around 9 we would go outside to play/burn energy

by 10ish they would be ready for a snack then they would play while I did house work or worked on crafts, the baby also nursed again

lunch was at noon..


The afternoons were hardest on me because I was already worn out from dealing with them all morning. Sounds bad but NO ONE is meant to be working 24 hours a day 7 days a week for months on end with no support or back up person. I know some people will tell me they can I say try it, its harder than it seems!


1230-1 was quiet time. They went into their room with books, the baby took a nap and I did whatever I wanted. I started this when I realized I HAD TO have some time to myself and no one wanted to help (which was funny, I lived near by inlaws after they convince my DH they would help me while he was gone and they didn't want to help).

around 1-130 we played together for 30-60 minutes then we took care of the pets again and folded any laundry that needed to be put away

130ish Id put them down with some kind of craft at the kitchen counter then either prep dinner (yes I know early but its hard to prep food around my children if they are at all hungry) or do whatever baking I needed to do. I make 99% of bread products from scratch so I bake a lot

230 or so the baby would be up and Id nurse him then everyone would have a snack usually after this Id read out loud while the children played.

That would last until around 330 on a good day which made it a great time to go outside again. We spent a LOT of time outside since the children love playing out there. Id read while they played.

we would head back in around 430, wash up and put dinner in the oven. While it was cooking we would do our night time chores other than sweeping and dishes. Basically refill pet bowls, pick up toys etc. The baby would nurse again around 5pm.

Dinner was usually around 530. Dinner is a pretty long affair lasting between 30-45 minutes then clean up so we wouldn't get done until close to 630. After that we did something as a family. Bedtime was around 730 for the girls. When they were in bed Id run the dishwasher (we would load in during clean up but I wouldn't turn it on until I went to bed just in case there was extra dishes to throw in), sweep the kitchen and deal with any bills/other household business that needed to be done. Then Id write in my journal and e-mail my husband (yes, I wrote him an e-mail every night..). After that I did whatever I wanted to relax myself until around 9pm when Id go to sleep.


The schedule worked great since my kids work best on a schedule. Then my husband came home ( Yay!!) and I got pregnant (yay again!!) and we moved.. so now its whatever I can do to survive during the worst of the morning sickness. Im starting to feel a bit better so hopefully we can find a workable schedule again!

post #18 of 23

can i just say that you are all awesome mommas?!!!!! really..how lucky our children are to have us and we are able(and lucky) to be with them even through the hard times. thats what make the good times so special.

post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the ideas everyone! It's gotten a little better since I first posted this -- DH is done with training so is able to go to work later which means I'm 'off duty' a little more. And we're falling into a bit of a groove I guess, though I still think I have a long way to go. Our best friends are away for an extended vacation so that's also part of what's making this transition extra tough -- we used to spend 2-3 days a week with them. The weather has been erratic so we've had a few nice days but most days it's still hovering around freezing temps -- and DS & I just don't tolerate the cold well, and neither of us like to be bundled up, so we're not able to spend hours outside like we do in warmer weather. So I'm sure once our friends return & the weather warms up things will be a bit better.

Here's our basic routine, though I'll admit it varies a TON from day to day!!

6am (or a bit later if I didn't sleep well lol) get up & work, I work on my laptop from bed otherwise DS wakes up as soon as I leave the room
8:30am DS wakes & does his morning routine with DH; they play while I work or DS listens to music with me while I work
11am I finish up my work for the day, shower, sometimes I take DS to yoga or storytime or playdate, otherwise he plays with DH & I work a bit longer or play around online
12:30 DH leaves for work, DS & I usually go somewhere if we aren't already out
4pm this is usually when we get home & have that late afternoon slump... sometimes we'll cuddle & listen to music (often while I read to myself) if I need a break, otherwise I (begrudgingly) play with him lol
6:30pm make dinner, eat
7:45pm bedtime routine and read to DS 'til he falls asleep, which is usually between 8:30-9:30 (he takes forever to fall asleep)
9pm I spend time catching up online or watch hulu or read until I'm ready for bed, usually 11pm or later
midnight - DH comes home

I don't do too much dedicated cleaning because of physical issues but we do a lot of cleaning up as we go along & keep the house fairly neat as long as it starts that way. We do the major cleaning, paying bills, grocery shopping, stuff like that when DH is home on the weekends to help or entertain DS.

So it's from 4pm-6:30pm (roughly) that most days it just drags on & on & on... By that time, most of our friends want to be home with their spouses, and it's too dark (and cold!) to spend much time outside, and there aren't any kids activities going on anywhere, and the library is closed, and DS is kind of cranky... If he was still napping, that's probably when he'd nap, but he's impossible to get to sleep and the few times I've succeeded, he's up past midnight. Sometimes we do homeschooling-type stuff at this time of day, he seems to like that & I do too, but I don't always have the energy or motivation for it at that point. Maybe if I get better at planning it the night before... but he's only 3 so I don't want to push "schooling" too much anyway. I'd really like him to play by himself for some time here... but he just won't. And what would I do if he did??? Read some more? I used to lots of art & crafting but can't right now due to carpal tunnel, and DS wouldn't really 'let' me even if I could. He does like to watch me workout on the Wii but I don't really feel comfortable with him just sitting watching me like that on a daily basis, it doesn't feel right. Maybe I've just lost who I am & what I enjoy.
post #20 of 23

I completely understand where you're coming from.  I completely uprooted when I had my daughter, just after finishing graduate school (but before starting a career!), and there have been so few moments to myself that I find I have no idea what I should be doing.  I'm, like, stripped down to my essence - no established hobbies, no active interests, very few friends... It's weird.  I'm trying to figure out who I am without all the things that I would ordinarily use to define myself, but I haven't come to any conclusions yet.  And I also HATE playing.  I tend to substitute involving my daughter in my chores for playing, which means that I end up spending a LOT of time on not too many chores. 


Does your LO do a bath as part of his bedtime routine?  If not, I would recommend a bath during that time when you have no energy.  I usually make a cup of tea and read while DD is in the bath.  She entertains herself much better there than normal, and it's one of those routined tasks that you don't have to think too much about. 


I also feel like it's critical to just get out every few weeks - not just for a few hours, but for an out-of-the-ordinary adventure.  I like to take DD hiking, or we might go to the Audubon nature center, or just on a road trip somewhere cool.  It's similar to the kind of adventuring I tended to do when I was young, so I feel like myself, and it's entertaining for Bea.  And there's no need for playing!

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