The choice to start a family is one that reaps priceless rewards while, at times, is accompanied by agonizing frustration. Life as you knew it is over. Your little one rules the roost now. Having kids is a full time job in addition to your other full time job. Working mom or working dad is just one more title. A typical day for working parents now goes something like this.
Early Morning Workouts
Oh, so you want to go to the gym, do you? Pre-kids you were all about health and fitness. Clean eating and religious with your workout regimen! You were a physical specimen! Then, the charge of the diaper brigade overwhelmed your daily routine. Getting to the gym after work is now a non-starter, so you're left with two options; find time at home to sneak in quick workouts or go early in the morning. As in, before work early.
Welcome to the sounds of a 4:00 AM alarm clock. (That's an ugly hour, by the way. Especially in the dead of winter.) But, you stagger out of bed, brush your teeth, and splash some water on your face. Drink your protein shake on the way there and you're good to go. On the plus side, you'll find that the early birds in any gym are loyal, dedicated folks, and you never have to deal with the dreaded New Year's Resolutioners. An early morning workout is a great way to rev the engine. Just be sure to rush home to help your wife get the kids to daycare as you both scramble to get to work on time.
Drive to Daycare
You're a modern day dad, so you gladly pitch in when it comes to driving your newbie to daycare. For the most part, it's pretty uneventful. But every so often, you're the nail to life's hammer. It's called the diaper explosion. Upon arrival, you discover the unpleasant circumstances emanating from the backseat, and dread consumes you. If you're lucky, the daycare teachers take mercy on you and help you deal with a poop-soaked onesie. Yup, your day is off to a roaring start.
Arrive at Work
Drop stuff at desk. Head to kitchen for coffee (see below). Confer with boss while trying not to hear Charlie Brown's teacher's voice. The coffee-boss sequence repeats itself a few more times before it's time to head home. And try not to forget that you need to stop at daycare first.
If you weren't a coffee drinker pre-children, you more than likely worship at the caffeine altar now. Getting up every few hours for diaper changes and feedings will do that to you. And just when your bundle of joy settles into a sleeping pattern that allows you to get some valuable shut eye, teething commences and you're up every few hours once again. So, you learn to love coffee. Scratch that- you NEED coffee. And any time of day will do. First thing when you get up, at work, or drive-thru on the way home.
Coffee is now your friend
Photo Source: Flickr/anokarina
Though it might be called lunch hour, in most cases lunch is only a half hour. Oh, those precious 30 minutes. Free rein to ignore client calls – this is your time, not theirs. Usually, you like to surf the web in order to catch up on what's happening in the sports world since you now go to bed around 8:30 while stuffing your face with whatever leftovers you grabbed from the fridge during the morning's mad dash out of the house. Not today. You see, your little guy is teething. That means he was up crying four times last night. So while he has the luxury of a scheduled two hour nap at daycare, you're plotting how to eat lunch while still scoring 20 minutes of your break for some fast zzzzz. Feet up, lean back, and power nap.
Drive Home from Daycare
Preparation is key to survive this gauntlet. (Psst...that means snacks and music.) The same way you might've had a colossally bad day at work, your little one could be Captain Cranky Pants on the ride home. That's why snacks and music are so effective. He can munch on a few graham crackers while enjoying timeless classics like Wheels on the Bus and Itsy Bitsy Spider over and over...and over. By the end of the week, you have the worst ear worm imaginable, but it sure beats listening to him scream for 30 solid minutes.
Dinner, Bath, and Bed
Once you pull into the driveway is precisely when the next hour or two becomes one gigantic blur. Get the (crying) kiddo inside right into mama's out-stretched arms. Of course, she has no interest in seeing you when her little angel rolls through the door. Nope, your next job involves walking the dog. Hey, if she's gotta go, she's gotta go. And just like the mailman, you walk her in rain, snow, sleet, or hail. And picking up after her is just the cherry on top. You deal with plenty of dirty diapers, so why not the dog too? Pup patrol doesn't relieve you of dinner and bath duties. Nice try, though.
By the time your day is done and you have some time to yourself, it's around 8:30. And all you want to do is go to bed.
So that's a typical day for working parents. And it starts all over again tomorrow. So set your alarm, because 4:00 AM will be here before you know it.
Are you a working parent? What's a typical day in your life like? Share in the comments below.