Day in a Life: My day as a working mum with three boys

I’ve been meaning to document our family schedule since Sean started P1 this year because it has changed a fair bit this year so here goes.

A little background: I am a working mum to my boys Sean (7yo), Ryan (4.5) and Jo (2.5). This is a typical weekday for us:

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0615-0630 The husband Foops and I start to wake up around this time. Since having kids, we have had no need for alarm clocks anymore. A quick cuddle (while trying not to wake Jo who sleeps between us) then we gently wake Sean up for school.dsc05029

0630-0640 Foops goes off to wash up and change for work. Sean takes a shower and changes into his school uniform (with my help, because err, he likes to dawdle).

dsc05024My helper prepares his breakfast and packs his snack box for recess. Usually something simple like a sandwich, biscuits or a bread bun with a pack of Milo or yogurt.

dsc082740640-0650 Sean sits down for breakfast. He doesn’t get home from school till 230pm and he doesn’t always eat properly at recess time so I always make sure that he finishes his breakfast (like a small bun, a hardboiled egg or a slice of pandan cake) before he leaves the house. (I gave up barking at him to finish his Pediasure milk coz he takes forever. So no more milk for this boy!)

I do a quick check of his school bag because I did not manage to do it the night before. He is supposed to pack his own bag but I think he has figured out he brings pretty much the same books everyday so he doesn’t bother anymore. I clear his pencil case and bag of rubbish and pencil shavings (ugh, boys!), check his diary and homework file, sign a form, sharpen his pencils and replace his storybook (for free reading) with a new one. (Writing this down makes me think he really ought to be doing all this himself!)

I ask Foops to do some last-minute reading with Sean because he has Chinese Oral test in school this week. We remind him to speak clearly and maintain eye contact (which is something he really needs to work on) with his teacher. dsc01854

0650-0710 Foops sends Sean to school by car (about 15 minutes away), and then drives off to his office in town. He squeezes in a morning workout at the gym then goes to work. (If Foops is out of town, then either my FIL or I will send him to school.)

I wash up and change to work clothes. Ryan and Jo wake up around this time.

Ryan’s turn to wash up and change. Usually my helper sees to Ryan because Jo is super clingy to me in the mornings. He always cries when he sees me getting ready for work, ‘I don’t want Mama go anywhere! Nobody at home with me! WAAAAAA!’

As my parents are staying with us now, my mum takes Jo off my hands and brings him for a cuddle in the garden so I can leave for work without feeling too guilty. (The only people he wants in the morning are my mum and me.)

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0715-0800 Ryan has his bottle of milk. He is a milk monster so no problems getting him to finish quickly. Ryan’s school bus arrives at 0730 to bring him to school.

I drive off for work. I have to deal with the peak hour traffic so it is a long boring ride. I gobble down my breakfast in the car. Foops and I have a quick chat on the phone (just before he goes to the gym) coz we really have very little face time especially on weekdays.

0800-1700 I work in a biologics company and my normal work day is quite hectic.

I have a free hour at lunch – today, I finish my lunch quickly and retreat to my desk to edit this blog post and buy groceries online as we are out of rice and detergent at home (online shopping is the best thing ever for working mums!). I also send a message to my mum to remind her to revise Sean’s Maths textbook with him later in the afternoon as he has a Maths test this week.

I usually knock off on time (5pm), something I am very grateful for because my brain is fried by then.dsc02815

0800-1115 At home, my mum and Jo have breakfast and read the papers together. They potter around in the garden, read books, play with toys together.

My helper makes the beds, washes the two toilets and does a round of laundry. Then, my mum and helper start to prepare lunch.

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1115-1200 Ryan comes home from school. He washes up and change into home clothes. Then Ryan and Jo have lunch (my helper helps to feed them).

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Some days, my sister and nephew pop by for lunch. My FIL and MIL like to come over to have lunch sometimes and play with the kids too. (My friends like to joke that my house is like a community centre because everyone gathers there.)

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1200-1500 The younger boys play for a bit before they retreat to the room for an afternoon nap with my mum.

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My mum claims she has to grab hold of a leg of each child in order to get them to quieten down and sleep. Sometimes she has to resort to smacking their bums 😉 (They always somehow need to poop at this time too.)

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1430-1500 Sean comes home from school (by school bus). He takes a shower then eats his lunch by himself (my helper prepares his lunch then goes off to rest). He is usually famished after a long day. He doesn’t mind eating alone because he can read and eat, and take his own sweet time.

He also has to patch his lazy eye (which he hates) for 4 hours.
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1500-1800 Sean sits down and does his Kumon worksheets and revises his spelling/tingxie/Berries for the week (I give my helper instructions on what he needs to do the night before). At P1, he does not have much homework from school.

dsc01557Then he practices the piano (he is about Grade 1 level now) for about 20 minutes. He does it all on his own dutifully because he has learnt that finishing his work early means he can relax after dinner and watch TV.

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Grandma and the younger boys wake up around 1530. They have fruits and a snack. Here they are having homemade pizza. Yum.

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My mum then sits with the older boys to do some writing/reading for Ryan and spelling/tingxie/reading with Sean. They have been doing this since they were young and I think they have greatly benefitted from the sessions.

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1800-1900 My helper tidies up the house and folds the laundry while my mum cooks dinner.

I get home around this time and bring the boys out to play. Fresh air does wonders for them. (Plus, I think my mum and helper usually feel slightly exasperated by the boys by this hour so I always try to rush home from work to take my boys off their hands!)

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While the boys scoot and run circles around me, I do some HIIT exercises (star jumps, squats, lunges, mountain climbers, etc). That’s the only time I have to work out all day.

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My boys always go barefoot and love to roll on the ground so they get really dirty. Their favourite games are hide-and-seek and soccer. So happy they can play on their own now and sometimes with the neighbourhood kids too, though Jo likes to stick to me sometimes and insists I play pretend games (masak-masak, sit on his ‘aeroplane’) with him.

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1900-2000 The sky gets dark and this is our cue to go home. I put all three boys into tubs and quickly shower myself, then the kids (yes, entire bathroom gets soaked after we are done).

We get dressed and finally sit down for dinner. I set a time limit of 30 minutes for the kids to finish their dinner (else, they have to continue eating on the patio in the dark – the threat works like a charm!).

Over dinner, I catch up with the boys about their day in school (in between nudging them to eat faster) and listen to their stories. I do a quick check of their school bags and prepare (with instructions on post-it notes, etc) what needs to be done the next day.

Then Ryan practices the piano with me (1 scale, 4 songs – 10 mins max). I have to endure a lot of whining from him and at the same time have to fend off Jo who will insist on banging on the keys and climbing onto my lap as well.

After Ryan is done, I ask Sean to play the few pieces he has been practising so I can guide/correct him if I need to. He grumpily accedes to my request. Welcome to our witching hour!

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2000-2100 Once everyone is done with dinner and piano-playing, the kids happily settle down to watch TV (Paw Patrol, Bubble Guppies). They change to their pajamas and have some fruits.

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Papa comes home around this time. He is the fun parent these days so they are always happy to play with Papa.

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Lately, the older boys (especially Sean) have been a bit obsessed with Pokémon Go. We are pretty strict about not letting them play with devices on weekdays but allow them to trade their TV time for phone time to check on their beloved Pokemons.

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Sean’s bedtime is at 2030. He brushes his teeth and reads for a bit.

I accompany him for a while in the room (we still sleep in one room, with the older boys on the floor). Sean rattles on excitedly about his Pokémon Go quest (we have been playing over the weekends). Finally we say a little prayer together then I leave the room and let him sleep by himself. He usually falls asleep quite quickly. Phew, one down!

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2115-2200 End of TV time for Ryan and Jo (though not without some screaming and tears).

I read the younger boys a few books and then bring them to bed (they take afternoon naps so I let them stay up a bit later).

Jo sleeps on the bed with us. Ryan sleeps on the floor next to Sean (who is usually asleep by this time and thankfully sleeps so deeply that he doesn’t get woken up by his brothers’ shenanigans).

I love our nightly chats with the younger boys but we usually have to put up with a lot of running in and out of the room to drink water or pee, laughing and singing, jumping and shouting for about an hour before they FINALLY fall asleep.

While we are in the room, my helper does a thorough clean (tidy up, vacuum, mop) of the house and lays out the boys’ school uniforms for the next day. Am always very grateful I don’t have to deal with the household chores and wake up to a clean house every morning.

2200-2330 Yay I manage to not fall asleep with my boys for once. I get up to pack a few shop orders and finish my novel (currently reading A Man called Dave, by Dave Pelzer).

I am back in bed by 2330. We haven’t been able to evict Jo from from our bed (‘I am still small, Mama. I am a baby!’) so he sleeps sandwiched between us.

Jo is a bit fussy throughout the night and wakes up twice – once to drink water and a second time because he wet the bed (he is still in diapers at night, must have leaked). I wake up to change him while he cries the house down. The wet patch is too big (and husband is sleeping soundly which means I can’t change the sheets) so Jo and I move to sleep on the spare mattress on the floor. Zzz.

0630 My natural alarm wakes me up. Here we go again!

Yes, our days are crazy and oh-so-full but I love this stage of my boys’ fleeting childhoods and would not trade it for the world.

PS. Our previous family schedules: 2015 , 2014 (Oct), 2014 (Mar), 2013, 2012 (Dec), 2012 (Jun), 2012 (Mar), 2011, 2010 (Dec), 2010 (May), 2010 (Jan), 2009 (Sep), 2009 (Aug).

(Note: I wasn’t able to take all the pics on a single day so some of the photos you see in this post are from my archives. I also hardly appear in the pics because nobody takes pics of me!)

This post is part of the Day in a Life blog train hosted by Mum in the Making. Click on the button to take a peek into a day in the life of other mummies!

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Tomorrow, please join inspiring stay-at-home mum Mary of Simply Lambchops as she brings you through her day. Mary is mum to three little lambs. She advocates for Down syndrome at SpecialSeeds.sg and blog at Simply Lambchops to preserve precious memories of her children. Talk to her about crocheting amigurumi and coffee and you’ll see her eyes lit up with excitement.

10 thoughts on “Day in a Life: My day as a working mum with three boys

  1. Debs G

    I feel sad that nobody takes pics of you! Get your boys to do it sometime.

    Oh, and I laughed when I read your little one’s reasons for staying in your bed! I think my #3 will be like that too. Always my baby.

  2. Candice

    I can relate to so many of the antics from your boys! all the “i need to pee/poop!” when they are supposed to go to bed. -_-

    i actually love sleeping with the kids in one room. they are not going to want to let us cuddle them to sleep in a few years’ time!

    1. Debra Post author

      Somehow always need to pee/poop when eating or going to sleep -_-”

      Yes, I actually like sleeping in the same room as them. The older boys do sleep in their own rooms on weekends sometimes (but takes forever to fall asleep coz they keep talking). I am the one who is not ready to let go.

  3. Ashlyn

    It’s such a blessing to be able to end work at 5pm! It really makes lots different to get off before the sun set. Thanks for sharing your routine and making it seems a mission possible! It’s so full and encouraging!

    1. Debra Post author

      Haha thanks. Very chaotic sometimes with lots of people coming and going.

      Sean is very dreamy and needs a lot of pushing. Really need to train because I am not at home with him all the time!

  4. Jus

    Oh my goodness, I really don’t know how you juggle it all! From work to kids to your little biz. Just reading the first hour of your day makes me dizzy, you are one amazing Mama! And I love how you work seamlessly with your mum and helper and hubby to care for your boys. Thanks for sharing your day!

    1. Debra Post author

      Grateful for my village – I really can’t do it without them. I love what you do at home – my dream to stay home with the kids. Thanks for hosting! Looking forward to the rest of the posts.

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