A Day in the Life {I Don’t Know How You Do It!}

One phrase I hear more often than not when it comes to being a solo parent with a somewhat demanding job is, “I don’t know how you do it!” Most days I don’t know myself. I do know that I rely heavily on prayers and coffee, amirite?! So in case you’re wondering, here is what a “normal” day looks like for me:

6:30-7am My tiny alarm clock goes off, and 2-3 nights a week he ends up in my bed. This means it is a precious wake up call where he squeezes my face and says “I love you so much, can we turn on the TV?”

You can never be too safe when drinking your morning milk.

7am I turn on an episode of Mickey (or whatever the flavor of the month is) and give my squirt some milk and fruit while I sit alone in the bathroom and check my email. I work from home and remotely from my organization’s office in DC, so my colleagues are usually starting around this time. I also use this hour to load or unload the dishwasher and switch out laundry.

8am By this point I’ve usually dealt with 10-20 emails all while trying to get myself and Henry dressed. We load up for school in time for an 8:30am drop off.

8:30am This is when I sit tight at home and work/take conference calls/finish the load of laundry that was swapped out earlier. This is how I sit for the first 3-4 hours of the day. If I’m low on work calls, I might try to work from a coffee shop for a change of scenery. I also head to a coffee shop when my house is so messy it is distracting.

12pm-1pm I typically take an hour “lunch” break in the middle of the day to run whatever errands are harder with a toddler, which is all of them really. But bank, post office, dry cleaner, and any other errands that have an unpredictable wait time or would involve getting in and out of the carseat for less than 2 minutes of dropping off/picking up are what I focus on with this time.

1pm This is when I either head home from the coffee shop or errands depending on the day. Afternoon comes with another pot of coffee and trying to keep my inbox clear. I work for a small trade association planning events so there are always little tiny fires to attend to … and sometimes big ones!

Homemade pizza is a go-to several times a week.

3:30pm I start thinking about dinner about now. My goal is to have dinner ready once I pick up Henry from school which makes for an easier evening. Henry and I don’t eat the same dinner most nights because I don’t particularly love chicken nuggets with a side of cantaloupe for 90% of my meals nor do I have energy for a fight over dinner. Homemade pizza is one easy dinner that we can both enjoy!

4:30pm Is when I wrap up work and try to leave to pick up my son. If we can be home by 5:00, he can eat supper before he gets HANGRY then we can enjoy some outside time or another Mickey or 38 books. My one super prideful parent moment is that Henry has only been the last kiddo picked up ONCE. 

6:30pm Begins wind down time. Bath, jammies, teeth brushing, reading, etc.

7:30pm By this time Henry SHOULD be down (sometimes earlier if nap was short at school or later if we went out for pizza/ran other errands). Once he is down I finish my dinner and begin to clean up. If it’s Tuesday I’m watching “Fixer Upper,” obvi.

8pm This is where I’m crazy. I’m starting to do some side work baking and a few other kitchen related things/blogging, so my “second job” begins. Tonight I’m going to attempt to prep cookie batter for 12 dozen cookies. I also have nighttime to do the household things like taking out garbage, cleaning out the fridge, and picking up toys. I try to do one sweep of the house before bed so it’s not chaotic the next morning.

11pm Bedtime. Sometimes earlier depending on the day OR later if I have other work to finish up before my colleagues are back at it the next morning.

Sometimes Henry makes it to my bed before I do. 


So there you have it. That’s how I do it. It’s a whole lotta Tim Gun style “making it work.” One of my New Year’s resolutions was to simplify my life and schedule. Keeping my weeknight out of house commitments to a minimum is helping me stay sane, for sure! I would encourage you to take stock of your day and figure out what excess you can trim out or ways to find efficiency! Although a full day, it’s nothing that I can’t handle for a season or two or seven! And if you ever want to come over and clean my house, I won’t fight you.

How do you make it work?

Sarah Joy Hays is a native of Louisiana and graduate of LSU! She returned to Baton Rouge in 2015 after 6 years living and working in DC. She is a proud momma to an enthusiastic, red-haired toddler and is navigating all of this as a solo parent; fully relying on group texts with other moms, coffee, and Jesus. Sarah Joy, or SJ, has devoted much of her abundant spare time to the Moms on Campus, South Baton Rouge Presbyterian Church, and her newly founded Foundation that will focus on emergency disaster response. She claims to love to read, journal, and cook; but only manages one of the three out of daily necessity. SJ dreams of having a Target collaboration based on coffee mugs and dry shampoo one day… till then she will enjoy running her bakery CounterspaceBR and growing a consulting business!


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