I’ve been writing a series called Daily Rhythms. You can catch up here.
A few weeks ago, I chronicled an entire day in the life of Sweet Mama K. Today, I am happy to share with you a slice of life from all the way across the world.
Kacey (you may remember her as the founder and chief editor of inspowoman) lives in London, England with her family of 5 and I was so happy when she decided to share with us what a typical day looks like for them. I think you will find her life, with all its similarities and differences to ours, so interesting. There are two things I especially enjoy about this narrative : 1) the names of their English friends (okay, alright, I am a self-admitted baby name enthusiast…I guess this even translates to other countries). and 2) Her pictures. The one of her eldest in the eye exam chair looks like something straight out of a turn of the century movie. So dreamy. Enjoy.
The day starts at 5:30 am when my alarm goes off. But let’s be honest, I’m incoherent thru snoozes until closer to 6. I make my way down from the 3rd floor master suite in our London flat, stopping on the 2nd floor where my daughters (5, 3) and my son (2) are sleeping soundly in their respective girls and boy rooms. Slowly (& ridiculously quietly) I push the girls’ door open and hang a scarf on the inside doorknob- their signal that they can come join me downstairs once they wake up. Down another flight of stairs to the main living room, down another flight of stairs to our “basement” dining room/kitchen. I grab my cozy corner of our little couch and pull out the current bible study I am working thru with an incredible group of women that I’ve met over the last year and a half.
A few pages in and I am joined by my eldest daughter. Who promptly curls up next to me on the couch and begins flipping thru her own book, knowing that this is sacred quiet time. By 6:45, the littlest guy begins stirring and I begin the climb again to get him out of his crib before he climbs out on his own. (a skill he has mastered during play time but thankfully has yet to do during bed/nap time….) my middle daughter joins us and we head down for breakfast. Today? We had Natural Greek Yoghurt and Gail’s granola. As well as strawberry banana puree smoothies for the kids. We finish up together and head upstairs to get dressed for the day, I make sure this is by 7:45 to keep us on track.
The girls dress themselves and I dress my son and the 3 of them play in their rooms together while I get myself ready. On this particular morning, they are playing quite nicely. My husband joins each of us for awhile before he goes- he’s headed to Germany for the night. Kisses good-bye and big “I’ll miss you!s” and he’s out the door. The kids and I end up down in the main living room and pick out shoes and jackets for the day and pack 3 bananas in 3 mini backpacks for the communal fruit bowls at school. We prepare for our commute- which means, the little guy is strapped into the seat of the stroller, my middle daughter stands on a board on the back of the stroller, and my eldest daughter straps on her helmet to scoot. All armed with muffins for the long trek. It’s 8:45 am.
We walk 1 mile along the Kings Road, a very busy and very popular shopping road in Chelsea. We left in enough time this day to stop at the fire station and stare at the fire trucks and wave at the firemen for a few minutes and to pack a lunch for a homeless neighbor that we surely will bump into along the way. Thankfully, it is beautiful day so our commute is greeted with sunshine and comfortable temperatures.
Once we arrive at school, the children are each in charge of their backpacks and we travel down the flight of concrete steps outside leading to school. I fold up the stroller and carry that and my purse and barely hold my son’s hand. I am sweating like it’s my job. I run up and grab the scooter and we finally make it in the front door. We shake the teacher’s hand as a greeting and the girls go into their classroom while I take my son to his. It is his FIRST day staying at school today and we are a mix of unsure, excited, ready and not ready. He has been doing this drop-off with the girls for a year and a half, so naturally he thinks he owns the place and walks in in such a way. Upon my departure, I have 3 very happy children ready to do a half-day of school and I leave, thanking the Lord for the way He has provided for us with our move from the US to the UK- providing an intimate school that has been such a blessing to our family.
I have nothing in my hands and no stroller to push. Um, the first time in 5 years, really… And it is an odd and invigorating feeling. I’m really excited for the season of life where I get to run them around from hobby to hobby, help them channel their passions and strengths and talk thru things. I’ve loved babies, but I find myself eager for this next season. Anyways, I set off on a run (all by myself) and I get a quick 4 miles in at Battersea Park before heading back to the house to shower (all by myself) and prepare lunch for the kids (all by myself) and walk back to school to pick them up (all by myself…). All by myself? Yeah, for the first time in 5 years.
After repeating the commute steps in reverse- schlepping the stroller and scooter back up the steps, gathering the children, strapping 1 in, standing 1 up, and preparing the last to scoot; we head home. They are too hungry to make it home before they break into their egg & mayo sandwiches, ice waters, and dried mango. We eat & chat while we walk our mile back to the house with many complaints of hot/cold, tired and needing the toilet along the way and many funny stories about how Miss Anita forgot her crackers so she had to run to the store before lunch so she would have something to eat. Can you imagine?! Home at last, I scoop up my big school boy and bring him right to his crib for a nap. Us girls play in the main living room for a bit before the world’s best nanny arrives in our door. Another one of God’s incredible blessings to our whole family. I grab my laptop to get an hour’s worth of work in for Inspo- the website that I edit. I settle in at Café Nero and my fingers get to moving as quickly as possible for the hour that’s mine.
After that, I boogie back to the house (2:30 pm) and grab my eldest daughter for an eye exam and ballet. An eye exam for a 5 year old is kind of hilarious- can you read those letters? No. Now can you? Yes. Which was better? The first one. Um, but you couldn’t read them with the first one… Yes. Once we are done and we establish that she could probably benefit from reading glasses, but would she actually wear them? We head off to ballet at Chelsea Ballet School. It’s about a mile in the other direction of school. So my big girl scoots and this time I pull her most of the way. This is one of my favorite times with my girl because it’s just us and she really gets to chatting when she’s in the middle of things. Like scooting. We talk about schools and new schools and friends and missing friends. We talk about who would win in a race between a bike and a scooter. We talk about what we will have for dinner and what she likes about ballet and whether or not her sister would like the Bounce ball that she is snacking on. She tells me about visiting her brother in his classroom at school because she wanted to check on him (which she asked to do about 30 times in the 3 hours that they were there..) and I marvel at her big and kind heart and remember that this will be her “proud moment” on the day.
We make it to ballet and see our good, good friends, Slavyana and Vasilisa. The girls run into class together in their matching uniforms- hyacinth blue leotards, white skirt, white tights/sock, pink shoes, hair in buns- and Slavyana and I sit on the concrete steps outside and have 40 minutes to just chat. They are newer friends who moved to London recently from the Ukraine by means of Los Angeles- London. We talk about schools and a project she is working on. She seems to accept my invitation to join our Alpha group this term and once again I’m humbled to our Father for the way He works. We gather the girls and scoot together for awhile on the walk back home.
Once home, our nanny leaves and it is time for the triple threat- dinner/bath/bed. My wild child (middle daughter..) decides she’d rather bathe first and before I know it, she is naked and climbing in the tub. I decide this is not a battle we need and declare bath/dinner/bed instead. All 3 kids in 1 little tub and I spray them with the removable showerhead like an assembly line. “Heads back, eyes closed!” “No, mommy, no!!” And just like that they’re clean… While they splash and spray each other with squirt guns, I run down the 2 flights of stairs and pound some chicken to throw in the oven and boil some water on the stovetop for pasta. Somehow we all end up downstairs and we brush hair and put on pajamas and “help” add the pasta to the boiling water. Once it’s all ready, we sit at the table to eat. Dinner can be hit or miss with a 2, 3, and 5 year old but tonight seems to be well-received. They all actually sit in their seats and we consume our food together, wrapping up the day. It’s about 6:30 at this point. Ahhh…. We clear our spots and the kids play while I clean up the dishes. We live in quite a small space, so rooms are very multi-purpose. The dining room/kitchen/quiet time space also serves as another playroom- with doll houses, pretend food, and lots of books. As well as our arts & crafts room, laundry prep room, ironing room. Oh yeah, and a treadmill,-exercise room. Naturally.
Finally, we are ready to head up to bed. Teeth are brushed, hands and faces are washed with pink soap and more stairs are climbed. My son goes down right then, at 7:15 and the girls crawl into their beds for a bible story. We read thru the Jesus Storybook Bible on the iPad each night, a great habit that started about a year ago when we did it for Advent before Christmas. It usually seems like they aren’t listening until they ask ridiculously intelligent or involved questions. I bend over each girl and share a moment that I was proud of them during the day, kiss their heads about 100 times and get 1 more snuggle. I close their door and head back downstairs. A bit more tidying up and I finally sit down. Tonight? They don’t call me upstairs for at all- which is not the norm. So I enjoy sitting all the more.
I fold laundry and watch Ted Talks. And then head up to bed and crawl in with a murder book that I’ve been enjoying. I reflect on the day: 3 healthy children, a good connection with my traveling husband, overall joy thru some of the current challenges of life right now, 9.4 miles on foot, and topped off with a phone call to my mom and a good night call from my lover. It is 11 and I drift off to sleep…