A Day in the Life

by LJ Dovichi

I earn a living from home doing a little bit of everything: writing, illustration, design, and culinary type stuff. I’m often asked how I’m able to do all of that with a toddler underfoot. Well I guess he’s considered a preschooler now, but you get my drift.

There’s only way to do it and it’s not some high tech secret answer. It’s really all about time management, and the nice thing about being self-employed from home is that I can slate work in at any hour — from 4:30 am (it was ugly, but I was already up, so what the heck) or in the evening after Three-feet-of-fun goes to bed. The huge drawback is the motivation and to make sure when you slate the time to do it — you, in fact, do it. Let me show you.

A rundown of my day:

5:45 am My thirty five pound alarm clock wakes me up. Instead of zoning on children’s programming, I turn on the computer. By the time Three-feet has his snack and drink, the computer’s waiting for me, raring to go. (I’m hoping it’s just a phase for Three-feet and he’ll eventually learn to sleep in.)
7:30 am Breakfast. I’ve already gotten nearly two hours in on whatever project I have going. So I take a break and Three-feet and I sit down and have breakfast together.
8:15 am The meal’s been consumed, the table cleared off, and the dishes stacked in the dishwasher. That’s when Three-feet and I play games of his choice for an hour.
9:15 am I sit down for another hour on the computer to work. We have a timer system in place at our house. I set it and tell Three-feet he needs to entertain himself until it goes off. So, he’ll go off and read books, play blocks, color, whatever it is he wants to do. We have now built that up to an hour and a half of “don’t bug mommy time.”
10:45am The timer buzzes reminding Three-feet that he can now “bug” me which he promptly does — it’s like Pavlov’s bell. It doesn’t matter what that kids doing or how enthralled in the game, that buzzer goes off and he’s all over me like bees on flowers. It’s rather adorable. Since it’s almost lunch, we play for a bit and then make lunch together.
Noon Three-feet of fun is allowed a movie of his choice and I work for the length of the movie, appropriately commenting when it’s deemed necessary by my little tyrant (it’s amazing what you can work through).
1:45 pm We do arts and crafts. So I get all our art supplies out and while he works on his masterpiece I work on my illustrations and designs. I’m able to do this until he realizes I’m actually “working” then naturally he wants to play Play-Doh or something not drawing related. He’s a clever one.
3:45 pm The timer comes into play again so I can squeeze more work related stuff before dinner.
5:00 pm I stop working to make dinner and include Three-feet in the preparation. He loves helping me cook.
6:00 pm I’m blessed with my husband, who takes Three-feet to the park for an hour and a half every weeknight. This is my creative time. I work on my novels and personal projects that aren’t a paying gig yet. But, to be honest, sometimes I just veg out on a book or take a nap — you know have some mommy alone time.
7:30 pm Bedtime routine begins and we get Three-feet in bed by 8:30 at the latest.
8:30 pm It’s a toss up here. Sometimes I’m actually the better person and put in more time on my personal projects, but I’m also just as guilty as curling up in a blanket on the couch and watching a cheesy movie or playing video games.

I’ve found that a structured routine around your work and the child really helps the child understand that you’re working. I also make sure that I intersperse mommy and Three-feet time because he is after all only three and can’t go out and get a job yet (yeah, I know, what a little shirker).

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This entry was posted on Friday, June 27th, 2008 at 9:38 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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