House & HomeMom's LifeThe KitchenWork and Passions

An (almost) typical day in the life of a mom blogger

by Meagan Francis on September 9, 2013

This is the final post in my series on blogging as a profession and working from home in general. To read the whole series, click here.

day in the life of a mom blogger

A couple of weeks ago I promised to share a glimpse of my day-to-day life as a work-at-home mom blogger. Of course, at that point we were wrapping up summer vacation, and our days were still pretty scattered and disorganized!

But now that I’m a week into the school year, we’re beginning to flesh out the bones of our routine again. I can’t say every day is exactly the same, but the following routine is pretty typical:

7 AM: Wake up. If I get out of bed quickly enough, I see my teenagers off (they get themselves up around 6:15 and handle their own breakfasts and such) and then have a few quiet moments before I wake up the younger boys. I admit though that sometimes I lie in bed until 7:15 or so and call out my “Love You’s!” as they’re walking out the door.

7:25 AM: Wake younger boys. They dress and come downstairs and I make them breakfast. Sometimes it’s eggs or pancakes and bacon, but more often it’s cereal or toast. I pull their lunches out of the fridge, take down the snack basket so they can choose, and sit and chat with them while they have breakfast. Then it’s ten minutes or so of supervision to make sure they get out the door by 7:55.

8:00 AM: Sit down with a cup of tea and start my work day. I usually make my task list the night before, when my mind is warmed up, so I just sit down, pick something off the list and get started.

  tea and to-do list

What might be on that list? It depends on the day. Sometimes I’ll sit right down and start writing, but there are always other tasks that need to be done, too: working with Sarah to coordinate images for posts, checking the Facebook page, answering emails from sponsors, and making sure I’ve met my commitments on different assignments.

But one of the reasons I brought Sarah on as Managing Editor is to help me manage! So I’m happy to say that these days I spend a whole lot more time writing and a whole lot less on details than I used to. I’d say that overall, I split my time something like this: 40% writing, 20% creating other kinds of content (photos, podcasts, video), 30% emailing and details, and 10% dreaming up new ideas.

9:30 – 10 AM: Clara gets up. Yep, you read that right. The girl sleeps in like nobody’s business, and I can get a LOT done in that morning stretch. (Look for a post next week on how Clara is spending her days, since she’s not going to preschool this year.)

10 – 11 AM: I get Clara’s breakfast, get her dressed/washed/teeth brushed, and quickly wrap up loose ends from the morning before putting on my workout clothes and heading out the door.

11 AM – 1 PM: Clara and I go to the gym. I drop her off at the child care center, then I work out for 45 minutes or so, then take a shower and get dressed. If there’s time (the gym daycare closes at 1) I’ll sometimes send a few emails in the gym café.

1 PM – 4 PM: This is the most unstructured part of our day. Usually I go back home and set Clara up with a quiet activity while I work.

clara-painting

 

Jon works a couple of days a week from home as well, so if I’m doing something that requires a period of quiet, like recording a podcast, he’ll often take Clara out of the house for a while.

When I have video projects to do, I generally set aside an afternoon when Clara is at a friend’s or family member’s house. Video is a family affair, with Jon filming and sometimes big kids helping to move equipment around.

My brother-in-law Scott does our editing, so when we’re working on a video it often turns into an all-day project with the three adults hashing out the storyline and structure and whichever adult isn’t working at that moment dealing with the kids, dinner, etc. It’s a lot of work, but it’s so much fun.

On other days, especially if I had a really productive morning, we’ll do something fun like bake cookies in the afternoon. I plan one afternoon a week for errands and another for a fun outing, like a trip to the library, playground or children’s museum. This is also the time of day that Clara will often have a friend come over for a few hours. If there is any prep work that needs to be done for dinner, or if I’m making something that takes a lot of time like a roast, I’ll use this time to get that process moving, too.

4:15 PM:Owen and William get home from school. Jacob has tennis practice right after school, so he won’t get home for another hour or so. Isaac, who’s in middle school, gets home at 3:30 but he usually wants to decompress for a while so I don’t really see him much until 4:30 or so.

When the boys are all home, I shut down my computer and hang out with them for a while. The younger boys sit have a snack at the island while I take a look at their school papers. Anything that I need to sign or pay special attention to, I ask the boys to put in the inbox on my desk so I can deal with it when I’m prepared.

kids-snacks-afterschool

We also use this time for packing lunches, while I’ve still got plenty of energy. If I wait until evening, I’m always grumpy!

By 4:45 or so the boys are off to play for a little while before starting their homework. I usually check my email one last time and deal with anything that needs to be done by the end of the business day.

5:00 – 6:30 PM: This is when I kick off my “Kitchen Hour”, which is usually more like an hour and a half. I’ll put on a podcast or some music, deal with any dirty dishes still in the sink (or have one of the boys deal with them while we chat), and start dinner.

carrots

The kids come in and out – sometimes they help with dinner, sometimes they do their homework at the island, and sometimes they come in there to screw around and wrestle with each other – which is when I kick them out!

There are days, of course, when we don’t have a big dinner all together – like nights when the kids have some activity or other, or days when Jon or I have lots of work on our plates and need to use some of that evening time to get it all done. But I aim for a full-on home cooked family meal at least 3 nights per week.

6:30 – 8:00 PM: Dinner, clean-up, reading time, a final homework check, baths and pajamas…this part of the evening goes by in a blur.

8:00 – 8:30 PM: The kids (slowly) head to bed, and I jump online again, check in with Facebook and Twitter, read blogs, etc. By this time of day my brain is starting to wear out, so it’s not a great time for me to do work that requires concentration. Mostly I just mess around.

8:30 – 9:30 PM: Time to relax a little. I might fold a load of laundry in front of the TV, have a glass of wine and flip through a magazine, or talk with Jon. If I’m up for it we might watch a movie, but most nights I’m too tired to keep my eyes open that late!

wine and magazines

10:00 PM: I put on my pajamas, brush my teeth, wash my face, and flop into bed where I play Candy Crush until I’m out of lives. Then I read. Sometimes I make it through a few chapters without a problem, but some days I fall asleep in the first paragraph with my Kindle still in my hand…and the next morning it starts all over.

You know what I realized in typing all this out? I work hard and stay busy, but working from home doesn’t mean I sit in front of my computer all day. I’m actually out, about, and away from my screen more than I thought, and that makes me happy.

I also realized how much life has changed for me since I first started writing as a career ten years ago. I no longer have little babies and curious toddlers to juggle, and that makes my work life easier and more forgiving. If you’re in the trenches and trying to start a business at the same time, hang in there! It really does get easier, and the foundation you build now in those stolen moments of time will allow you to soar when your minutes free up a little.

Finally, one of the nicest things about blogging for a living is the way my family and work lives mesh. When I’m baking cookies or hanging out at the playground or just sitting on the sofa with my kids, chances are good some great topic for a post is going to pop into my head.

I try to remind myself that not all writing happens sitting in front of a computer…living is what gives me inspiration and ideas for my blog. Many times I’ve worked through the details of a post while sitting on a park bench, and that counts as writing/working, too.

It’s just another reason I feel so fortunate that I can feed my family…by writing about family life! Blogging isn’t for everyone, but it’s the perfect fit for my personality, talents and the season I’m in right now.

If you think it might be a great fit for you, I hope the series of posts about pro blogging have inspired you. I have to say that just typing all this out has inspired me by reminding me how much I love my work. My work is my life, my life is my work, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

While we’ll still be publishing posts about working from home from time to time, this “day in the life” is my final post in the pro-blogging/WAH series I started over the summer. But if you’re an aspiring blogger or business owner, look out for the WAH mentoring and coaching program I’ll be launching later this fall. If you want to make sure you don’t miss it, shoot an email to meaganfrancis@gmail.com and put “WAHM” in the subject line.

Want more ideas
for creating a happier home life?

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer Fink September 9, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Thank you for writing and sharing this post! This might sound kinda stalker-ish, but I’ve often wondered about the logistics and reality of your day. We’re both writers, we both have more than the “usual” number of kids, and so I’ve wondered how you get it done.

What this post shows me is the value of focus: You’ve created a niche, and now most of your work is in that niche. I’m still all over as a freelancer, and starting to suspect that I may need to turn away some things so I have time and energy to build up others. I’d love to hear more about how you made that transition — from all-over freelancer, to focusing your time on your family/home-related writing and how that works, financially.

Reply

Meagan Francis September 9, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Jenny, I was right there about 6-7 years ago: freelancing about all kinds of different topics and very scattered. Focus is SO important, whether you’re doing more traditional freelancing or pro blogging. Once I started focusing on the mom/family niche I started seeing a lot more momentum, and felt like I had to do less scrambling, too.

I hardly do any magazine work anymore. At first it was hard to walk away from the big paycheck I could get from a single national magazine story, but I now find that piecing together a lot of lower-paying assignments that are all in my niche – and therefore easier and more fun to write because I can write from my experience and expertise rather than having to start over with each story – adds up to a better income overall.

Plus, I’ve become spoiled by being TRULY my own boss. I no longer have to guess what a magazine editor might think her readers want to see and then pitching that…instead, I write what I think MY readers will want to see. I don’t always get it 100% right, but since I’m closer to my audience I can see pretty quickly what resonates and what doesn’t.

Financially there was a lull while I was trying to transition from one kind of writing to the other, and that was a little scary. But I made it up a lot more quickly than I expected.

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Jennifer Fink September 10, 2013 at 11:12 am

Very helpful, Meagan. Thank you!

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Amy September 9, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Your blog has been abundantly helpful over the last couple of months. As a person just starting out trying to find her place in the writing world, I feel like I get direction from you. Thank you for sharing your life in such a transparent way. It helps me know I am on the right track!

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Meagan Francis September 10, 2013 at 11:24 am

I’m so glad to hear it, Amy! Thanks for the comment!

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Steven Cooper September 10, 2013 at 8:35 am

You have got it figured out. I am a new dad blogger and I am trying to get a lot done while still be a good dad and spend time with the kids and helping my wife around the house. We live in a two bedroom apartment and I have two kids so when I am working I go lock myself in the our bedroom. Meagan you are amazing to be a mom and a blogger. You have a good balance. I am still trying to figure out how to do the podcast thing in my apartment because there never is any quiet time.

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Meagan Francis September 10, 2013 at 11:26 am

Steven, that is really tricky (and one of the reasons I haven’t been as consistent as I’d like with podcasting, but I’m putting together a plan to make it more of a routine part of my week.) I think you have to be really strategic about it (podcasting late at night or super early in the morning, not so easy if you have guests on your show!), get child care or have your wife take the kids out while you podcast, OR accept that this is how your life is right now and make the background noise part of your show! People can be amazingly accepting of things like kid noise if it’s presented as a part of your life, and a part of your brand. But it can definitely be distracting to have little kids begging you for a drink of water and it’s not so easy to train them out of it.

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Holly September 11, 2013 at 1:20 am

This is really helpful to me. My career is still scattered in a few different directions and I don’t have one solid niche per se. I’m still doing the scrambling that you describe. I’m more successful than I’ve ever been, but I would like to find a niche so that I can give myself more downtime and relaxation.

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Poornima September 11, 2013 at 5:55 am

Hi, I really liked this post. Right now, just started on my blogging journey and with an active two year old, am juggling things along. Your post was inspiring. Slowly and surely I hope to be where I WANT to be, if I keep in mind my focus, my reader’s requirements and my support systems. Thanks a lot.

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Kathleen September 11, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Another great post! I really did enjoy this series. Like other readers commented, I love seeing how other people make it work. I can almost always pick up a tip or idea that I can incorporate into my routine.

I also really love how you hone in on one important fact (mentioned in your response to Steven): You have to accept and figure out what will work with your life RIGHT NOW. It will change overtime, as kids grow, situations and jobs change and habits change for you and your family. But I think staying focused on finding solutions based on how your life is now is key, instead of wishing it were different or trying to model yourself after someone else.

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Gina September 15, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Wait, you get up at 7:15, hang out sending emails and reading and writing all day, putter around and you’re too tired to keep your eyes open by 8:30 or 9:30 pm? Maybe you should talk to your doctor. I read accounts from working moms, with jobs outside the home who are up before dawn and still going at 10 or 11 (myself included). What gives? Sorry, I am not impressed.

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Meagan Francis September 15, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Hi Gina, it’s been a while. To be clear I don’t usually fall asleep until 10:30 or so…which works out to between 8 and 9 hours of sleep (interrupted often by visits from small children in the night.) I feel great and healthy most of the day – but yes, I do get mentally tired in the evening, and physically tired by bedtime. For what it’s worth, I wasn’t trying to impress you or anyone else, but give an accurate picture of what my day generally looks like. It raises an interesting point, though – why on earth do women feel the need to prove their worth or success based on how hard they run or how little sleep they get? Personally I’m aiming for a balanced life that includes enough sleep and time for the things that matter to me. That’s my goal – not trying to cram as much as I possibly can into a day. Hm, thanks for the fodder, I think this would make a good post.

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anonymous September 19, 2013 at 10:02 am

I have a reaction of complete and utter jealousy of the balanced and happy life you have created for yourself. I have one child, the age of your youngest, but he is in daycare from 8:30 – 5:30. It is get up, get him ready for school, work, work, work, work, work, leave at 5:00 pm., pick him up, make dinner, spend some time with him, put him to bed, clean, back to the computer to do more work and e-mail until 11:00 or so at night. I go to the gym 3 times per week during my lunch hour, making my whole day rushed (totally worth it, though). My work is rewarding but also very demanding, and your schedule sounds so sane in comparison. In fact, the only reason I am reading and typing a comment is because I am home sick with the stomach flu.

What I need to remind myself (and perhaps Gina as well), is that this is the product of my choices, and if the tradeoffs no longer feel right…well, maybe I should reconsider.

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