One of the questions I get most from new mamas is “what do you do all day with your baby?!”
It’s a question I’ve asked many moms myself, hoping to catch a glimpse of inspiration. So now that we’ve found somewhat of a groove, I thought we’d share a sneak peek of our lives (as a stay-at-home, attachment parent) with you.
Our day-to-day schedule varies quite a bit, but the essence is always the same: do the things that feel good to do.
This might just be me, but I can only sit so long in a room full of toys — it just feels unnatural and hard for me! I can’t fake enthusiasm for things I don’t actually have interest in (like a bunch of plastic), and baby can read me like a hawk. I personally find it much easier to find activities I enjoy, and weave baby-appropriate events into adult-ish activities.
Summed up, my philosophy looks somewhat like this: I do what I love, while being sensitive to baby’s current development and evolutionary needs.
For example, things that my baby currently needs include: consistent access to safety and support (aka mama), spaces to move and explore, different experiences to stimulate growth, plenty of rest and good nutrition, exposure to language and social interaction… So I keep this knowing in the back of my mind as I set about my regular days. I provide her with what she needs indirectly, rather than centering my life around her.
Here’s an example of our day (life with a seven-month-old), give or take an hour:
6 AM — Just before sunrise, baby wakes. We wake up slooowly, baby rolls around in bed, we stretch and cuddle and yawn. Baby and I slip out of the room to give Bear some extra sleep.
We go to the bathroom together — baby on the potty, me on the toilet. She watches everything flush down the toilet. We brush our teeth together — me with my toothbrush, her with a mini version. I comb my hair with a big brush, and she combs her hair with a small brush.
Everything I do, I give her a similar-ish task to be involved in, inviting her into the experience.
When we get downstairs, I assess how she’s feeling and start the day accordingly. If she’s feeling independent and bold, I set her on her playmat, and I sit on my yoga mat. We start off together with a morning meditation. We pull an oracle card together (as in I’ll pull one, and she’ll pull twenty-or-so), and then I practice yoga beside her as she plays. We have a little basket of real instruments that she absolutely loves, a wooden stacking toy, and a few balls for her to choose from. This usually keeps her entertained for twenty minutes or so, the perfect amount of time for me to chant, stretch, or strength-build.
If she’s feeling cuddly and close (aka only wants to be held), we’ll start by making breakfast together. I wear her forward-facing or on my back, and she watches me chop veggies, scramble eggs, or shake up all sorts of different ingredients into a green juice. I give her spices to smell, veggies to taste, and we hum along as we work together.
After breakfast, we tidy up our space together: unloading the dishes, wiping down counters, making sure our placemats are back in place — and then we head outside to enjoy the sunrise.
Lately I’ve been re-kindling my love of photography, so I always have my camera on my hip for candid street shots.
She’ll watch me frame and take pictures of various interesting things, and reach her little hands out to help me click the shutter. If she’s feeling playful, I’ll set her down to explore the landscape while quietly shooting photos beside her.
Some days we’ll meander along the riverside, or head to a park, where baby can play in the grass. Other days we bring our ukeleles (a regular one for me, and a baby-sized one for her), and make music outside together.
8 AM — 2 hours after her first waking, she’s usually ready for a nap. We head home (so both of us can rest), and take a few minutes to de-compress. I nurse her to sleep in our bed, and we rest there together. Some days I’ll write while she’s sleeping, some days I’ll make jewelry, and some days I’ll nap alongside her.
10 AM — Baby sleeps anywhere from 1-2 hours in the morning, and wakes up rolling and happy. She smiles at me and I smile back and we get ready for a lovely day.
We make the bed, potty together, and then start on our house chores. If we have laundry to fold, we pour all the clothes onto the bed, and we sit in the pile together — me, sorting clothes, her, investigating everything. We play peekaboo and feel all the textures and sword fight with the hangers. She pokes her fingers through wool loops and holds a scarf out to me, inviting me to explore too.
10:30 AM — We usually head back out for a bit of morning social time, which is always changing. A hike with a friend, a trip to an open gym, music class, a new museum, grocery shopping, the farmer’s market, or some other lovely adventure that gets us out and about. Tahvy is not a fan of being in a car seat or stroller, which I’m okay with, so I typically wear her on me as we walk or transit around the city.
I give her space to stretch and breathe whenever we arrive in a new location. She loves to hold my hands and walk around the room, initiating exploration herself. When she sees something she’s interested in, she’ll carefully let go of one hand, squat down into malasana, pick up the object with her free hand, and slowly stand back up — it’s amazing to observe her mindful movements as she learns to use her body. She’s fascinated by little specks on the ground, all kinds of light, tasting different kinds of leaves, sticks, crystals, spoons, and touching the textures of beads, fabrics, brick walls, blankets, soil, foam blocks, or whatever’s in the space each day.
11:30 AM — We share a little lunch together, whether we’re out or back at home. We practice baby-led weaning, which makes prepping meals a breeze. We essentially eat the same thing, so I just take a little bit of whatever I’m having off my plate for her. Cherry tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, avocado and broccoli are her current faves. Everything we eat is organic and fresh, locally-sourced whenever possible.
12:30 PM — After a fun morning out adventuring, we’re both usually ready for a nap. If we’re out on a day trip, she’ll take this nap while on me, and if we’re home, we’ll nurse to sleep.
2:30 PM — Our second half of the day looks similar to the first, including chores, social time, nature, music, movement, and free play. Bear is often home by now, so he takes Tahvy for half an hour while I invest in self-care. I draw a long mid-day bath, soak in herbs and epsom salts, light a few candles, and meditate. This half hour, you guys. It nourishes me enough to stay present and collected the other 23.5 hours of the day.
3:30 PM — On cold or rainy days, we stay in and indulge in some art and sensory play. I might draw, and give baby some colourful foods to smear around. I might knit, and give baby a spool of yarn. I might make jewelry, and let baby choose the gemstones to go in each piece. Or I might cook, and engage her in preparing a meal together.
If it’s nice to be outside, we pack up a few snacks, instruments, a picnic blanket, and some books — and we head to the park, either the two of us or with some friends. I might train acroyoga or handstands, as she practices standing balances on a tree. I might read as she investigates a tiny caterpillar. Or I might play music and sing as she drums along with sticks we find along the way.
5:30 PM — When we get home, Papa Bear usually makes a delicious dinner for us (how lucky are we?!) of protein and greens, paleo style. We all sit at the table together, bless our food, and savour our meal together.
6:30 PM — As we wind down for the day, we turn the lights low, and get ready for our final shavasana. Baby and I take a bath together, splashing and singing and laughing in the tub. We brush our teeth, do our final pees, and cozy up in bed. Sometimes baby wants to move a wee bit more, and I practice yin yoga beside her. Then when she yawns, we’ll lay down together, and settle in for a good nights sleep.
8:00 PM — Baby is fast asleep by now. Some nights, I’ll slip out for a few sweet moments with Bear. Once in awhile, I’ll have a creative project I’m dying to work on… but most nights, when baby is asleep, so am I.
Till Morning — We sleep skin-to-skin, cuddled up together, my breast in her mouth for a good portion of the night. When she’s hungry, she’ll nurse on her own, and at this point I won’t even wake up. If she needs to pee, she’ll give a little kick, and I’ll take her to the bathroom to potty. We don’t sleep through the night by any means, but we are both happy and well-rested.
Wake up, and repeat.
Writing this all out made me smile and realize how much I love our life, right now. It’s hard work, of course, but it’s also possible to make the most of this time and thrive. We feel strong, happy, nourished, and healthy, and that’s all I could ever ask for!
Wishing you all strength & grace through your days, and a life full of all that you love.