A Day in the Life: Erin (Adjusting to Life with a Newborn, a Toddler and a Preschooler)

Written by Erin, Contributing Writer

When Stephanie first gave us the “A Day in the Life” assignment, I thought: “By that point I should have a 6 week old, and we should be starting to get into a new routine.”

But life happens, and Baby Girl came almost two weeks late. So, as I write this, I’m still less than a month postpartum.

After suffering PPD after my second, I’ve been determined not to overdo things this time around. I firmly believe that postpartum women shouldn’t just “jump back into life” if they can help it. Our bodies desperately need a time of postpartum healing.

All in all, I took it easy my first few weeks postpartum, napped a lot, re-learned how to nurse a newborn and used my List PlanIt membership to work on building a new homemaking notebook to help establish our “new normal.”

But even in the midst of trying to maintain a restful postpartum period, when you have 3 very small children–ages 4, 22 months and a newborn, there will always be what I call a “crazy day” here and there.

Today was one of those days. Disclaimer: This day is not typical*, but these days do happen, and it’s important for other homemakers to see that we bloggers have all been just as humbled as you.

Thursday, Sept. 20:

4:30 a.m.: I nurse the baby. We snuggle and drift back to sleep.

6:30 a.m.: My husband leaves for work. I nurse the baby again and read my devotional.

7:00 a.m.: Little Girl enters my room. I tell her she needs to go back to sleep while Mommy takes a shower.

7:15 a.m.: I get out of the shower and get my toddler out of her crib. I pull her into the bed with me and the baby, who I nurse again. I ask my 4 year old to dress herself with the outfit I had set out the night before.

7:30-8:40 a.m.: I change and dress both the toddler and baby and fix my two older girls’ hair. I dress myself, pop in a flexi clip and decide to put on make-up today since I am going out in public. While I’m getting ready, my toddler pulls a thermometer out of the bathroom cabinet and sticks it in her ear. She starts crying–loudly. We have a doctor’s appointment today anyway, so I make a mental note to ask the doctor to look in her ear. I hold and soothe and and pray aloud: “Jesus, please help her ear feel better!”My 4 year old watches me dress and says: “Mommy, your tummy looks squishy!” Mental note: I must work exercise into my new schedule.

My mother calls from South America. She left a week after my baby was born to accompany my sister and her three small children back to Argentina, where her husband is from. My mom is there for a month, and my dad is leaving today to fly there as well. My mom tells me that my dad was supposed to pack insulin for my sister–who is type 1 diabetic–but he left it in the refrigerator. He works almost an hour away and won’t have time to come back. She asks me if I can get it and meet him somewhere halfway.

I know I don’t have time today, but I do it anyway.

I load the girls and their breakfasts up in the van (my parents’ van–mine broke down the day before) and head 15 minutes in the opposite direction of where I need to be.

9:00 We are now leaving my parents’ house after securing the insulin.

9:15 a.m.: We arrive at preschool. The doors to the building are now locked, and the car line has ended. I knock on the door, but no one answers. I walk around the building until I find a classroom window and knock on the window until I get someone’s attention. The director comes and unlocks the door. I apologize for being late and kiss Little Girl goodbye. There is a parent brunch today at 11. I tell the director I hope to come but that the younger two girls have doctors’ appointments, so I may be a little late.

9:30 a.m.: I stop back by my house because a lady from my local Mommies Network is bringing me a new mom snack pack. I had told her I would be home by 9:15, but by now she has come and gone and left the bag on the front porch. I feel rude. I grab the bag off the porch–grateful that it included a protein shake because all I’ve eaten this morning so far is a banana. I head down the road to meet my dad.

9:50: My dad meets me at a gas station. I give him the insulin.

10:00 a.m.: I arrive with my two little girls at the doctor’s office. We’re in the waiting room for quite a while.

10:30-11:55 a.m.: We have an incredibly long well-baby check-up. The baby isn’t  gaining enough. I need to eat more. (A banana is not enough for a breastfeeding mother to have eaten by 11 a.m. Yes, I know this, but I have three kids I need to feed, and I forget about myself…and we all ate breakfast in the car today anyway.) She tells me to cut dairy, and I may need to cut gluten. She tells me Toddler Girl needs to cut gluten because of some digestion issues. That’s OK–Little Girl’s been gluten free for over a year. We can totally deal with that.

I nurse the baby, not even bothering to cover up. I look at the nurse: “I’m sure you see boobs all the time, right?”

“All the time,” she laughs. “All the time.”

I get antsy when I see the clock at 11:40 and realize I need to pick Little Girl up from preschool in 20 minutes–and it takes me at least 25 minutes to get there. We are waiting on results from a UTI test for Toddler Girl, and I step out in the hallway: “I’m not trying to rush you,” I tell the nurse. “But I have to pick my other daughter up from preschool.”

Toddler Girl fusses the entire time we are at the doctor. She wants to watch Dora on my phone. I wish I had never introduced her to Dora–OR Netflix on my phone.

11:55 a.m.-12:20 p.m.: The receptionist and nurse help me get the girls in the van. I try calling the preschool to let them know we are running late, but no one answers the phone. We’ve obviously missed the parent brunch. Toddler Girl cries the entire drive. Mental note: Budget WAY more time for well-baby visits.

12:20 p.m.: I pick Little Girl up from preschool. She runs away from me and giggles. I finally get her in the car.

12:30-1:30 p.m.: I decide to forgo my caffeine fast and swing by the coffee shop drive-through and get myself a chai. The thought of making lunch–even a quick and easy lunch–wearies me at this point. I cringe at the thought of what I’m about to do but then yell to the backseat: “Girls, we’re going to Chick-Fil-A.” I think about the MSG we’re about to consume…but then I remember that real food is our norm–but it’s not our god.

While in the drive-through line, I text Stacy (Makes Cents): “I totally now get why people feed their kids processed foods.”

She had a new baby herself 3 weeks ago.

“AMEN to that,” she texts back.

At Chick-fil-A, while I’m fumbling for correct change, the worker starts humming the Jeopardy theme song. Evidently I’m taking too long. I then can’t get the van to go from park to drive. I nervously laugh and look at the two workers in the drive-through window. “This isn’t my car.”

I know I must sound delirious. “I’m borrowing it.” My irrational mom thought at the moment was: “What if they think I stole it??”

1:45-2:15 p.m.: We arrive back home. I climb to the back of the van and unbuckle the “big” girls. Little Girl hops out but Toddler Girl wants to be carried. I balance her on one hip and the Chick-fil-A bags in the other hand. I stuff my chai in one of the bags.

When we get to the front porch, my chai spills out–all over my shoes.

I start laughing.

Little Girl asks: “Mommy, why are you laughing?”

My answer: “To keep from crying, honey. To keep from crying…”

The girls and I eat lunch, and I nurse the baby.

2:30 p.m.: I tell Little Girl: “We are ALL napping today!” I put both girls in bed and lie down on the couch with the baby and nap myself.

5:00 p.m.: I wake up out of a deep sleep. Little Girl is yelling for me, asking if she can come downstairs. A few minutes later, my husband gets home.

“What’s for dinner?” he asks.

I answer: “Um, pizza?”

And this is why I should have made myself more freezer meals while pregnant.

The rest of the night follows our usual routine. We bathe the girls after dinner, and we read a Bible story together and pray as a family. After the girls get to bed, I work on this post…in hopes that Stephanie won’t fire me for consuming both Chick-Fil-A and a take-out pizza all in the same day. ;) (Remember…I just had a baby?!)

Do you ever have crazy, unproductive days?

*If you want to read about a more “typical” day at our house, I’ll be posting our daily schedule over at my site soon. I had drafted it here, but I couldn’t give up the opportunity to share with you one of our chaotic days. Because that’s real life. And humbled homemakers, if you have have days like this, too, you need to know you’re NOT alone!*

About Erin O

Erin is a follower of Jesus, wife to Will and mommy to three little redheaded girls (born in 2008, 2010 and 2012). She is a life-long, professional dreamer and recovering overwhelmed homemaker. Her mission is to encourage, educate and empower her readers at The Humbled Homemaker to live a grace-filled, natural life. She is the author of a 200+-page eBook all about cloth diapering-- Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert: A Simple, Comprehensive Guide to Using Cloth Diapers.

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  1. Emily Yoder says:

    you are so amazing and comforting to me. thank you because your day sounds like mine. i have three boys under three and a half. it is wonderful, exhausting and worth it! thank you for sharing you and your life.

  2. oooh, is this ever the truth! The only way to get through it is to accept it! Its all in stages and no one stage lasts very long. We have 3 children and 3 foster children…I am trying to convince hubby for one last baby! (our 4th) My only reasoning is that the biological clock is ticking one baby is still young so why wait and have to start over..but how to you convince someone that although you are about to burst at the seams, or into tears, that you are so busy you dont even have time to pee, or eat!, that you still desperatly want one more baby?! I guess it shows how much of a personal sacrifice we are willing to make for our babies when we willingly add to the chaos because we so desperatly want them.

  3. Thank you for sharing this. Some days, maybe many days, I feel like this. Your honesty is appreciated!!!

  4. Terri Pain says:

    Bless you for this post :) Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou :)

  5. You are amazing! I am so thankful for your honesty and “real” voice that comes through in this post! There are just days like this…and God gets us through! The fact that you were able to laugh over the spilled chai…fantastic! I spill my coffee (on myself, in the van, in my purse) on a regular basis, and most of the time my response is less than that good…! And sometimes I can’t even blame it on my kiddos! Saying a prayer for your encouragement today – and every day. :)

  6. Loved this, Erin! Enjoy the chaos while it lasts. Someday you’ll miss it. :)

  7. I was laughing continually throughout this post – laughing with you, because everyone has “those kinda days” where things just can’t seem to go right! Haha Chickfila is a good pick-me-up on those days; I’m sure you were very glad the day was over. :)

  8. Oh, I LOVE this … it is so good to know I’m not alone! Thank you for sharing!

  9. Oh my goodness! This made me laugh – not at you, but WITH you, because I’ve been there so many times. You’re right – you have to laugh to keep from crying and do the best you can. I also broke down this weekend on a very busy Saturday and fed my kids McDonalds. It grossed me out for about 10 seconds, but then I let it go, thankful that I didn’t have to make it! :-)

  10. Thank you so much for choosing such a day to post about. I appreciate your honesty, because we all have those days, but sometimes it’s easy to believe that we’re the only one! You’re doing great mama!

  11. I also appreciate the honesty. I am 7 weeks pregnant and have had horrible nausea (not really morning sickness because it lasts all day). This past week I have fed my family frozen pizza twice as well as frozen corn dogs because I have felt too sick to cook. I am past feeling guilty. Thanks for keeping it real!

    • Don’t beat yourself up! My husband mentioned the other day that we ate out more than our fair share during both my first and third trimesters this time around. Congrats on your pregnancy! I hope you feel better soon!

  12. Girl, this post made me laugh and smile and nod so much. I only have one baby (which must seem like a five-star vacation to you at this point!); I can’t imagine how crazy it must get with three kids! Your post was wonderful. Thank you for writing this.

  13. I love this! Even with one kid when we have a totally crazy insane day I always feel so guilty to run through somewhere. Love your honestly!

  14. That’s definitely real life! Sometimes you have to do what you have to do. And like my husband and I told each other the other day, “If you have to eat garbage, at least make sure it tastes good!” Chick-fil-a was a great choice! ;)

  15. I imagine “high-profile” :) healthy-living bloggers could be fearful to share a day like today, with (gasp) two to-go meals (!!), imagining that readers might be tempted to lax on the healthy eating as a result. The irony is that honesty like yours ENCOURAGES other moms who want to be healthy. I feel less condemned, more “normal,” and even more resolute to keep eating healthy! Thanks so much for sharing your crazy day!

    • I really struggled with sharing this…but I felt like people needed to know! If we all “clean up” for each other and only show the “good” then it will be incredibly discouraging for someone else who is struggling! One reason I named my blog the humbleD homemaker is because I am NOT perfect–FAR, FAR from it!

  16. *nutritional*

  17. thank you for writing this I have felt so guilty for not giving my two eldest (4 and 2) the same nutrisional start I am giving my 6 month old due to lack of information but also after having that information choosing on hectic days to resort to fast food also love laughing so you dont cry

  18. What a great post!! I’m also a SAH/Homeschooling mom who is currently 18 1/2wks pregnant & have a 6yr old, 5yr old & 3 1/2 yr old. So I can completely related to this on every single level. Each one of my kiddos was 19 months apart. Some days are so crazy and hectic that it takes all you can just to get through it. Thanks for your honesty. Praying the Lord gives you (and me!!) the endurance to make it through those crazy first month or two of having a newborn and settling into the new “normal”. God bless you!

  19. Awesome! My youngest is 3 months, and I have two other preschoolers. We all have those days. I’ve had days where I’ve lain on the floor and cried – you do what it takes to survive.

  20. I love it. Thanks for being real and not pretending to be someone you aren’t. I have a four year old, 2 year old and 5 month old, so I totally get the season you’re in. I am THERE, sister!

    • You are there! I am afraid it will be even more challenging when my baby becomes mobile. Ha! I remember when my second was born, I thought: “Oh, I have a good 8 months before she crawls.” The child started crawling at 4 months! I looked one day and she was moving across the floor, and I thought: “What in the world?!”

  21. Loved this! I can totally relate … after the birth of my 2nd child (almost a year ago!) it has felt like so many of our outings or errands somehow wind up with us at Chick-Fil-A. It is also an easy place to let my daughter run around inside in the play-place, which is another reason we go there (more often that I’d like to admit)! I’m so glad you got that long nap though … those first few days postpartum, even if things are going great, are still so very tiring, recovering from birth.

  22. Shiree Martin says:

    Love it! It makes last night’s Wendy’s run for dinner not feel so guilty!

  23. Erin, I love this one! Some weeks, it feels like all my days are like this, haha!


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