A lot of people ask me how I get any work done with that cute pig-tailed girl hanging out with me all day. That’s a great question. Some days I don’t get a lot done because of all that cuteness. Some days I don’t get a lot done because behind all that cuteness is a strong-willed, feisty girl who tests my patience. Some days I do get a lot done because she’s in a good mood and entertains herself well. Some days not. That’s the beauty and curse of being a single, work-at-home mompreneur: every day is different. It’s certainly not easy, but I’m thankful I have the ability and opportunity to stay home with my little one and earn a living at the same time. I know that can be rare, and I try really hard not to take it for granted.
Whether you’re a curious reader or a fellow mompreneur looking for some camaraderie, I thought it’d be fun to document a full day in the life of me and little Sweet P (aka The Toddler). I’ll be honest, this day was one of the better ones: a happy toddler, a checked off to-do list, a balanced mama. It may have been an anomaly, the jury is still out. Nevertheless, here’s a peek inside a day in the life of a mompreneur with no babysitter (or spouse):
3:00 am The Toddler wakes and cries for the third or fourth time, and I finally decide she’s probably teething. She was drooling like crazy the day before and had her fingers in her mouth nonstop. And that’s her in-pain cry, not her tired cry, or her hungry cry, or her scared cry. Cause they’re all different. So I groggily roll out of bed and go into her room. Turn on the lamp and prep some Tylenol in a syringe. She takes it easily but is still uncomfortable. I pick her up and hold her for several minutes, as she lays her head on my shoulders and wraps her arms around my neck. We stand and rock for quite awhile before she drifts back to sleep.
8:30 am Screaming at the top of her lungs, the Toddler informs me she’s awake and would like to start her day. I lay in bed for just a few minutes to let my brain catch up with my body. What day is it? What do I need to do today? What do I need to do this week? Coffee. I need coffee. I grab my laptop, my new Mini JamBox (I love this thing, you guys.) and head downstairs. Drop off the electronics on the counter and grab the bottle out of the fridge. Head back to the screaming Toddler and offer the milk peace offering. She obliges and gulps it down while I’m on diaper duty. When she finishes, she sweetly asks, Lunch? She thinks every meal is called lunch. I say, Yes sweetie, but it’s actually called breakfast. To which she says, Cheese? This kid’s hilarious. Yes weirdo, you can have cheese for breakfast.
8:45 am First things first: cheese. I get the girl her precious cheese, and then get some music going. She wanders around the kitchen and living room with said cheese, while two hungry dogs follow her every move and occasionally get a few cheese licks in. I make the coffee and the breakfast (aka lunch), passing her little bowls of fruit when she stops by for more.
9:00 am I set up camp at the kitchen island. Coffee in hand, I check my email, reply to as many as I can muster the brain power for, check Facebook and Instagram (duh.), and check out today’s agenda in Asana. I live by Asana. I schedule out absolutely everything I need to do, even months in advance, so I can get it out of my head. Read all about how I use Asana right here. The Toddler spends this time reading books in the rocking chair, dragging out paper + crayons to color, or plays with her beloved beans. (Literally, just a bowl of dry kidney beans with a few scoops + smaller bowls. It’s brought hours of entertainment!). She’s like me in this regard — an independent self-starter who isn’t afraid to be by herself every now and then.
10:00 am Coffee + breakfast (lunch) are now dirty dishes — I clean up and pack up, and we head back upstairs. My office area is upstairs, so back at my desk I can do a bit more detailed work than I could at the kitchen table in between fruit cut-ups and cheese deliveries. Upstairs, the Toddler has free reign and plays in her room with books + toys, in my office with old paint swatches that she is particularly fond of, and in my closet with her other favorite thing (second only to cheese): shoes.
11:00 am Mommy’s working on writing Lesson 2 of her new course, Etsy on Autopilot, while Toddler is working on her coloring again. We take breaks now and then to read a few books together, change a diaper, get a snack, have a quick conversation about sitting on our bottoms in chairs and not standing on them. Ya know, typical mom-toddler discussions.
12:00 pm The Toddler is showing signs of fatigue, so I lay her down for her nap and then quickly dive into more detailed work on that Lesson 2. I save my need-a-lot-of-concentration work for nap time, so it's time to get down to business. I never know how long I’ll have for this uninterrupted work time — could be one hour, could be three hours. We’ll see . . .
2:30 pm The Toddler is still asleep! Thank you, Toddler. And the writing I needed to do for Lesson 2 is done, so I’m off to make a quick lunch before said Toddler awakens. I’ll prep her lunch too, though I doubt she’ll eat it. (She’s going through a phase. Breakfast is usually fun, but lunch and dinner – who needs those?)
3:30 pm Lunches have been served, so we get outside for some vitamin D and take a walk around the neighborhood for nearly an hour. Playlist includes Andy Grammer, Ed Sheeran, Breakbot, and some Macklemore for good measure.
5:00 pm The Toddler plays outside with the dogs while I sit on the patio on my laptop and attempt to squeeze in a bit more work. Not much gets done, as most of my time is spent having that same conversation again about sitting on bottoms when we’re in chairs. #toddleringishard
6:00 pm We do our nightly routine of cooking dinner, refusing to eat said dinner (and mama almost losing her cool because of it), and cleaning up the kitchen.
6:45 pm After about a week long hiatus, I figure the Toddler is probably due for another bath. She’s quite thrilled about the idea at first, but when she’s informed that she cannot take her play phone with her into the water, the thrill is gone. We bathe in a record 3 minutes, with the Toddler standing in the middle of the tub the entire time, sobbing. We move on to the pajamas, the combing of the wild hair, the reading of the books, and the drinking of the bottle. All tucked in with her stuffed animals, she waves at me from her crib and softly says, “Bye mommy.” #heartmelt
7:00 pm Mama takes some downtime and watches The Bachelor — because, you can’t not. On commercial breaks, I scroll through Instagram, reply to comments, and post a sneak peek at the early bird bonus for The InDesign Field Guide spring session.
9:00 pm Back to work I go, laying out 22 pages of PDF guides for Lesson 2 of Etsy on Autopilot. I’ve got Fixer Upper playing on Netflix in the background, occasionally pausing to listen for toddler cries. Thankfully, she’s sound asleep tonight.
11:15 pm Feeling drowsy and less motivated, I call it on the work front and start getting ready for bed. A quick check at Asana to see what’s up next for tomorrow, and one last peek at Facebook and my email.
12:00 am Finally fall into bed, large fluffy border collie nuzzled up next to me. I open up my Bible app on my phone and read my daily Psalms and Proverbs, a habit I got into thanks to a good friend a few months ago, and one I have clung to every day since. As I drift off, my mind wanders between prayer, my to do list, sweet moments with the Toddler today, and almost always — wondering when I’ll get to spend this life with a true partner. I try really hard to be content in the place I am, just me and my little strong-willed girl, but to be completely honest, that word “single” in front of mompreneur is a tough one to fall asleep to.
12:15 am The Toddler cries, and her mom rolls back out of bed.
I share this play-by-play not to glamorize anything (I’m far from glamorous), but to bring reality back to the term “mompreneur” — or even just “entrepreneur” for that matter. It’s a term that maybe sounds like we get to hang around in our pajamas all day, watching Netflix, perfecting Instagram photos, and playing with happy-100%-of-the-time babies. Ok, ok, I do wear a lot of pajamas — but you get my point, and it’s this: this job is lonely. It’s exhausting. It requires late nights and nap time hustling. It’s a constant inner battle that pulls you between mom-mode and boss-mode. It’s a desire to show your kid what hard work looks like, but also to sit in the dirt and talk about bugs for an afternoon. If you pull anything from this mostly-for-fun post, I hope you’ll at least find new perspective on your own day-to-day as you get a peek into someone else’s. And if you’re a fellow mompreneur: good job, mama. You’re doing good. Even on the days you feel pretty crappy about how you’re doing — you’re doing good. And you’re not alone.
I was originally planning to add something here about my upcoming course, but I’ve been feeling too salesy lately, so here’s a free download for you instead. I don’t need an email address in return or anything, just want to give you a free little reminder to enjoy some downtime with your loved ones this year and do something fun.
What does your day look like as a mompreneur? Do you feel like your work is never done and the job never quits? Me too.
I wrote a book about becoming a single mother.
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