A day in the life

I know this has been done exactly one million times before, but it gives you an idea of what life is like for us. Being a freelancer has its perks – flexibility (don’t tell anyone, but I sometimes work in PJs in bed) and making your own hours being just two benefits, but you also have to be very resourceful, have initiative, be solely self motivated, disciplined and a great multi-tasker.  So although this is a typical day, there is no such thing.  As you’ll see, we juggle parenting and work seamlessly….mostly…

6.30am: Woken abruptly from blissful sleep to shouts of “Mummy! Daddy! Mummy!” Mummy and Daddy groan and try to work out whose turn it is to take the first shift. My body sinks lower in the bed as the shouting increases and it dawns that it is my turn. We sometimes get a chance for a shift change, depending on the work schedule of the day. Today, unfortunately, I just have to get up and won’t get to go back for a catch up snooze.

6.35-8am:  Commence playing with trains. Son obsessed with ‘bong bongs’ (named after the sound level crossings make when they go down). I’m sprawled on Wee Man’s foam floor tiles which are letters and numbers that he can pull out. At the moment, ‘U’ and ‘C’ are favourites because they can become tunnels for the trains. Kettle is on, first tea of the day, also checking emails.

8-8.15am: Justin is slowly brought to life with a cup of tea and Cheerios (also a favourite in this house – a good circle goes a long way).

8.30am:  Justin is working remotely with a company in the UK, so goes to log on so that they can Skype communicate while the UK is awake (we are 6hrs behind Scotland). He’ll work with them directly like this till around 12.30pm our time, coming in occasionally for a cuppa.

9am: I’m writing emails, getting us both dressed (yes sometimes it takes a while); Wee Man is allowed to watch a little TV (PBS, so it’s worthy and educational, and also good quality). Right now, it’s Curious George, which we both like, and Cat in the Hat, which I’m not so keen on because I think the Cat’s voice is wrong. But hey, it’s got songs that Wee Man can dance to – always a good thing.

10am: TV off and gather everything together to get out the house. It’s a mild Dallas day for December (13C/55F), so we don’t have to bundle up like we had to do in the UK. Currently Hurricane Bawbag is happening in Scotland – a bit of a crazy storm. We’re off to the library for ‘singing and dancing’. Wee Man’s favourite. They also read books to the toddlers, but that’s not quite so much of a draw. We do take this chance to get some more books out – including one on using a potty, our next big challenge – and play on the sculptures handily placed outside the library.

12pm: Back home for some lunch. We had read a Christmas book that included cheese and crackers, which gives Wee Man an idea. Cheese, crackers, grapes and oranges for lunch. I’m snacking as usual, but will eat when he is asleep for this nap. I’m grateful that peer pressure from going to ‘school’, Wee Man has learnt that napping is good for you and doesn’t have to be an opportunity for a big fight, like it used to be. He sees his ‘moo-cup’ and wants to go down for his nap, which makes my life so much easier. Music is on, lights down, off to sleep and me off to work.

12.30pm: Justin stops in for some lunch. He is a NPE, a non potato eater (I know) so he compromises with a baked sweet potato. I get an update on how the project is going – good progress today – and start my work. Today I’m continuing to write test questions for a publishing company.

2.30pm: There are many ways that Wee Man has woken up from naps: teary, with cries, hungry, with “I want more cars” and “Daddy, I’m up” being some of the best ones. Today I get just a gentle “Mummy” and a smiling face on a bouncing boy. I struggle to get him out over the belly (did I mention I’m nearly 5 months pregnant?), and we head to the afternoon shift after a relatively calm nappy change.

2.45-4.45pm: Today Wee Man and I are cooking gingerbread cookies and I’m going to attempt to make a big batch of Chilli. I love cooking and the gingerbread recipe is one I really like, stolen from Julia Child of the movie Julie and Julia fame. It is messy, fun and five times longer than if I’d done it myself. We make Stars, Hearts, Christmas trees and one big Moose. In the middle, Justin comes in, and takes over playing with Ethan while I get on with the Chilli. He also takes him for a walk to the shops to get some ingredients I’m missing.  I’m not a big spicy eater, but Justin is and I try to at least add a little warmth to my normally more bland Chilli. One of the benefits of living in Texas, and any country that is not native, is learning about new ingredients. Today I’m adding in Okra, a vegetable unknown to me until I moved here. I’m also using Cilantro (also new to me) and more conventional Cumin, Turmeric and Paprika, and a good ol’ British OXO cube. Wee Man is disappointed with the OXO Cube, it is small, shiny and brown, but not chocolate.

5-6.30pm: We all have a little bit of playtime until dinner. We’re having soft tortillas with our Chilli, so it’s easy to make it all up. I sit down in a comfy chair for the first time today and it feels lovely on tired feet. We sit down and have our dinner together, Wee Man eating more tortilla than anything but at least gives the Chilli a try. Lots of cheese is eaten, as usual.

6.30pm: Bath time is started. This can go well, or badly. Today goes quite well, although all the many bath toys are tipped out. We manage to get nappy and pyjamas on without a fight so we head to our bed for story time.

7pm:  Wee Man has taken to going under the covers for story-time, which makes it dark and hard to breath, not the best story telling environment. We manage a few books, then, because it is a good night, he wants to go straight to bed. He takes his milk, his blanket and we put his waves on (the sound of ocean waves, I think it was because I went for so many walks while pregnant through Newhaven harbour in Leith), and amazingly, he goes without a fight or a shout. I take it back; this is not a typical day.

7.30pm: I’m tired, but I pack up my things and head to Alex’s, who is the director of the film I’m producing, where we’re having a production meeting. Kelly, who is our business development producer, is already there. We start with ordering some food, more things I’ve never tried – fried green tomatoes, which are great – and then down to business. We’re going over a shoot we did last week, planning for another one, and printing and writing Christmas cards. It is a good meeting, I enjoy working with both in my team, it is energising and productive, but our printing takes longer than hoped and it is a long meeting.

12.15am: Arrive home, pretty exhausted. Justin is still up and working, as usual, and I fill him in on the meeting.

12.30am: I crash out in bed, ready for what the next day will hold.


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