Welcome to ellie’s The Mommy Diaries, where we hear from moms who are juggling the agony and the ecstasy of life, work, relationships, and parenting. In each installment, we ask a mom to share what’s going on in her world.
First up, we’ll spend a weekday night with Chantal, a mid-thirties lawyer living in NYC with her husband and her 3 year old and 10 month old daughters.
This is a true story. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.
6pm: Husband and I return home from work. The kids are fed, but Toddler needs to be bathed and has a runny nose (cold #2 of the month but who ’s counting?) Our nanny leaves for the day.
6:15pm: I eat dinner (leftover turkey chili and kale that I quickly sautée with garlic) standing in the kitchen talking to Toddler and scrolling through Instagram.
6:20pm: Husband eats dinner on the floor with Baby while scrolling through Twitter.
6:25pm: I realize that I never put the sheets that Baby peed in last night in the dryer. Frantically enlist Husband to do that so we have sheets to sleep on tonight. (Mental note: get a second set of sheets!) Baby is getting tired and has reached stage-five clinger status. How dare I give her to Daddy so that I can pee???
6:30 pm: Husband wrangles Toddler into the bath. I think two small cupcakes were negotiated. She’s tough.
6:45 pm: All bathed and playing with toys in the kids’ room. The best part of the day.
7 pm: Bed sheet is dry! Husband makes the bed while I read stories to the kids.
7:15 pm: I nurse Baby to sleep. I was supposed to put her down awake to sleep train her but instead, I went down the Instagram rabbit hole for a few minutes too long, and she passed out.
7:30 pm: I put Baby in her crib. One down, one to go!
7:45 pm: I color and play with Toddler for a bit. We make books out of paper and tell each other stories while flipping pages. She’s getting to be so fun — and opinionated.
8 pm: Toddler refuses to go to bed without Daddy. Daddy suffers from narcolepsy that is undiagnosed (“it’s a disability!”) and has been known to fall dead asleep in Toddler’s bed while putting her down. Toddler is getting dependent on him being there and also knows he’s a sucker. “Please Daddy! Just lie in my bed for three and then four minutes. And hold my hand.” He melts, but I convince her that Mommy wants to put her down. I get her down by singing her at least twelve songs.
8:30 pm: Success! I’m alone! In bed!
8:40 pm: Husband comes in. Snuggles up and hopes to get lucky. I know I’m minutes away from getting my period so it really needs to be now or never. I miss him and being in bed just with him.
8:45 pm: We check monitors and close the kids’ bedroom door. Kids are asleep.
8:50 pm: Our make-out is getting hot-and-heavy when Husband stops and says “oh!!” For a moment I think he notices I haven’t showered in a few days–-but then I realize that Toddler has materialized next to the bed and is staring at us. She is either part ninja or part ghost. Thankfully we’re still fully clothed. She bursts into tears, confused as to why we ’re having fun without her and upset that there is “no room on the bed” for her. I leap off Husband, run to her and hug her. Nothing kills the mood faster than being reminded that you’re a parent.
8:55 pm: Time for Toddler to go to bed once and for all. Daddy takes her. I assume the mood has been killed for good and eat my weight in chocolate. Period and a cold are coming.
9:10 pm: Husband reappears, miraculously cured of narcolepsy. With TWO doors closed and the monitor at full blast, we continue where we left off.
9:30 pm: We’re done and scramble to get dressed. Even though we’re exhausted, it’s nice to connect and pretend that we are still young and sexy.
9:40 pm: Husband goes to play video games and I put on a tv show in the background and text with my BFF for 30 minutes about babies. She just had her first baby and I am so happy for her and want to help in any way I can. I tell her it will all be fine and not to worry. I’m suddenly feeling confident since both kids are sound asleep in their own beds.
10:15 pm: I text my BFF that I love her and need to go to sleep.
10:17 pm: Baby is up and pissed my nipple is in another room. Her crying wakes up Toddler, who screams for Daddy (“No, not Mommy!!”). Husband is stuck on a competitive video game he can’t quit so I nurse Baby and sing a deranged version of “hush little baby” to both of them. Toddler falls back asleep. Baby refuses to be put down. I notice her runny nose, confirming that she has Toddler’s cold (again).
10:20 pm: I give up and bring Baby to our bed. She settles in smugly with a death grip on my boob. Husband comes in and I confirm that it’s handled for now, but I may need him to put Baby down once I get her to sleep. I ask him not to start playing the competitive video game he can’t quit. He nods and walks away to play the competitive video game that he can’t quit.
10:30 pm: I settle in with Baby and think of closing my eyes. Then my crotch feels warm and wet! I’m relieved when I realize it’s actually someone else’s pee on my crotch. Baby has peed through her pjs and sleep sack pretty impressively.
10:34 pm: Husband helps me change Baby from head to toe. Now she’s awake and totally cool with it. Gurgles and plays with her toes. Debates practicing crawling on our bed. I stick a boob in her mouth but her eyes are wide open. She smacks my breast, apparently not satisfied with the speed with which my milk is coming out. She sticks her fingers into my mouth and tries to touch every tooth. Fun game.
11:34 pm: I almost get her to sleep a few times but the cold plus a diaper change has her amped up.
12pm: Call for Husband that I am exhausted and plead/beg/cry that he take Baby. He agrees but says he is going to let her cry it out for a bit so we need to put Toddler in our bed. I agree. He could have said he was taking Baby to the moon for a minute and I would have wholeheartedly agreed. Toddler comes into our bed half asleep and then plops back down to sleep completely vertically — somehow making the king size bed seem too small. I curl up into a tiny ball on one side of the bed with one hand on her arm in case she does cartwheels in her sleep off the bed.
12:30 am: I check the baby monitor and Husband is rocking the sleeping Baby. So much for tough love and crying it out…he must have fallen victim to Baby’s sniffles too. At least she is asleep!
1 am: Husband gets Baby to sleep next to him in Toddler’s bed without boobs! He is a miracle worker.
4 am: Baby cries, waking me up. I go in the room to trade with Husband after my glorious 3 hours of sleep. Baby is fussy because of her cold and gassy from the veggies she ate last night. She is grateful to see me and immediately latches and farts loudly three times. We find a comfortable position on the bed (for her; I’m half off it and twisted) and close our eyes. We doze and switch sides a few times.
5:45 am: Baby fusses and definitely doesn’t want any more milk. She becomes aware of Toddler’s bed surroundings and is suddenly awake and excited. It’s still dark outside so I try to get her back to sleep. Check my phone and see it’s technically morning. Throw in the towel. We go play in the living room, where the dog is sleeping and looks at me like I’m insane waking up at this ungodly hour. He moves higher up the couch, turns away from us and passes out. I’m never been more jealous of an animal.
6 am: Toddler wakes up with FOMO. Jumps out of our bed and right into playing with us. Husband is comatose in the bed. Crippling narcolepsy strikes again.
7 am: Change, dress, clean and feed both kids. Husband takes the dog for a walk and brings back a large can of Red Bull to stay alive.
8:10 am: Nanny arrives (late because of trains, but who was watching the clock? Not me.) I resist the urge to hug her and instead give her Baby. Husband leaves dressed, clean, and caffeinated. If he didn’t look and smell so good, I’d hate him. I chug water and wolf down the kids’ leftover breakfast while pumping and then go to get dressed.
8:45 am: I realize it’s too late to shower. Apply under eye concealer, deodorant, and dry shampoo liberally.
9:10 am: Grab work bag and marvel that I’ll actually be at work at a decent time. Discover that on the way home last night my pumped breast milk spilled in the bag and now literally everything is sticky and smells like spoiled milk. I want to cry but realize I ’d have to redo makeup and it’s not worth it. Wash and clean everything as fast as I can.
9:30 am: Grab a random dry bag and some snacks and head to subway.
10 am: Still waiting for the damn subway. Send work email about tardiness due to late subway. Refrain from mentioning breast milk disaster to male bosses.
10:30 am: Finally arrive at work and drink hot, caffeinated tea. Peace.
(At least until we start it all over again this evening!)