A Work Day In My Life in 2021
One post that I always get requests for is a “Day in the Life” post. I’ve shared these in the past (2017 here, 2018 here, 2020 here), but so much has changed since I shared those days…I’ve become a mom! Rory’s schedule now dictates my schedule, so I figured it was time to share a new look at how our days go around here.
While every day is different, my weekdays vary wildly depending on if my mom is here to watch Rory or if I’m in “mom mode” for the day. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Jan watches Rory from 8 am-5 pm. Somedays they’ll stay here, other days they go to my brother’s house, so Rory can play with her two cousins, or they’ll head to my mom’s condo. On Tuesday and Thursdays, I hang with Rory all day and try to squeeze in work in the morning, during nap times, and after she goes to bed.
Working Mom Day in the Life, 2021
Today, I’m going to share what a typical Friday looks like for me. Next month, I’ll share my day in the life on a “Mom day”, so we can dive into Rory’s schedule too. Note, this is also what life looks like for us during COVID, because we’re not really leaving the house and Finn is working from home. Perhaps my “Day in the life, 2021” will look a tad different towards the end of the year – all the fingers and toes crossed!
I’m someone who thrives on routine and order, so having a job that is a bit all over the place can be a struggle. Luckily, I’ve figured out how to make it work for me. Here are some tips I’ve shared about working from home and here’s another one about how I plan my week as a full-time blogger. These are both great posts if you’re also someone who thrives in an organized environment. Okay, let’s dive into my working mom day in the life…
Rise & Shine
6:00 am – My alarm goes off at 6:00 am and I jump out of bed since I’m not one to hit the snooze button. Instead, I get up right away. I glance over at our iPad/baby monitor on Finn’s nightstand and see Rory sleeping away. We used to keep the monitor on my side, but I found I was waking up too often in the middle of the night and staring at it. Now I sleep with an eye mask and Finn keeps the monitor on his side. I sleep much better because of this.
I head to our bathroom and hop in the shower. I get out and throw clothes on. I like to lay out my outfit the night before and I wear “real clothes” on my work days. Yes, I know I sound like a first-grader, but it’s one less decision to make in the morning and I don’t have to disturb Finn, who is still sleeping, as I rifle through my drawer or closet.
I swipe on some makeup and keep it simple. Even though I have zero plans to leave the house today, I always put a little bit of makeup on because it makes me feel more productive. I use this cc cream, this concealer, this mascara, this bronzer, and finish off with my favorite tinted lip balm.
6:30 am – I head downstairs and prep our first floor for the day ahead. I open up the blinds, turn on all of the lights, and empty the dishwasher. I make a cup of coffee for myself and grab a green juice from the fridge that Finn prepped a few days ago. I also make sure our bottle maker is on and put a clean bottle underneath it so Finn can just press the button when he comes down with Rory.
6:45 am – I settle into my office and open up my laptop as I sip my coffee. I clear my Playbook inbox and my personal inbox and check on the daily post. I like to make sure everything posted okay and I also share the post on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. I respond to emails and comments that happened overnight.
I hear Rory in her room, next door, making a few noises and I head to the bedroom to wake up Finn. Finn does the first shift with Rory every morning and it’s incredibly helpful for me. I can get ready for the day and get a headstart on work, while he gets Rory up, feeds her, and plays with her until my mom arrives or until she goes down for a nap between 9-9:30 am.
Rory is just about the happiest baby in the world when we wake her up in the morning. She giggles and grins up at us like she hasn’t seen us in months! I hear Rory and her Dada laughing as he gets her ready for the day next door.
They then stick their heads into my office and Finn does a little “Rory Drive-By” (you can view them all in this Instagram story highlight) where she pretends I’m her boss and she is my coworker at our workplace. Finn started this when Rory was teeny tiny and we thought it was so hilarious. I eventually started sharing some of them on Instagram, and the “Rory Drive-By” was born.
7:30 am – My inbox is under control and I’ve crossed off all of my morning tasks, so I head to our bedroom and finish getting ready. I dry my hair and straighten it and then make the bed. I’m the kind of person who has to make the bed every single day. The house just feels too chaotic if our bed isn’t made. Plus, it feels nice hopping into a crisply made bed at the end of a long day.
I also check out the laundry room and fold and put away any clean clothes in there. We now do laundry daily, so it’s a neverending task.
The Janny Arrives
8:00 am – I head downstairs and spend some time with my Rory girl before my mom arrives. When she pops through the door, Rory immediately grins and can’t wait to spend the day with Grama. The two play for a few minutes while I get breakfast ready for Rory. Today she is eating buttered toast, a banana, and some greek yogurt with peanut butter and berries. I’ll be sharing more about Rory’s eating experience later this month on the blog. Once breakfast is all ready, I leave the two of them to eat breakfast together and play until Rory goes down for her nap between 9-9:30 am.
8:30 am – Now that I’m all ready for the day, I like to hop on Instagram stories to check-in with my followers and talk about the daily post. This is a great way to keep my followers up to date about what’s live on the blog and give a behind-the-scenes look at the project.
Ever since having Rory, I often save the big project stories to publish the day the post goes live. I do this for a few reasons. 1. If I share a project in real-time, I am bombarded with dozens of messages asking questions, asking for links, and more. I’ve found that if I just direct my followers to the blog post, where all of their questions will be answered in-depth, I can save myself a lot of time! 2. The blog will always be my #1 priority. It’s a space where I can share so much more than I can via an Instagram story that will go away in a day. Getting people to the blog is always my goal, so sometimes I share sneak peeks on Instagram and give the real scoop on the blog.
The Work Day Continues…
8:45 am – Time to really get to work! I lock myself in my office determined to finish up two blog posts. I like to work around two to three weeks ahead, so I’m working on posts that you won’t see until the end of the month. I like to do my writing in the morning as I feel most creative and alert at that time. Most of my blog posts are around 1500-2000 words, so they take me quite a long time to write. I typically like to write all the words for a post, then add photos and links at the end. Linking takes forever and I feel like I’m always making little mistakes here and there. Thankfully, my mom is my proofreader and keeps things looking good around here. Thanks, Jan.
11:30 am – I’m hungry, so I head downstairs to eat and hang with Rory and my mom for a bit. We’ve been getting Farmer’s Fridge delivered every other week or so and it’s a lifesaver! We started getting it during our kitchen renovation but kept it going long after our kitchen was complete. I like their salads in a jar because I can just grab a bowl, toss it all in, and my lunch is done!
Rory just finished her bottle and she’s playing in the living room while I eat my salad. It’s actually pretty nice out today (chilly, but sunny), so Jan and Rory plan to go for a walk to the nearby park. Rory loves the baby swings! I help my mom get Rory all bundled up and I grab the stroller from the garage.
Quick Photo Session
12:00 pm – With the ladies out of the house, I can grab a few photos of the kitchen that I need for an upcoming blog post. I grab my camera equipment (you can find everything I use here), spruce up the kitchen, and start snapping away. I only need about 20 good photos for the post, so it doesn’t take me too long to grab them. If I’m doing a big room reveal or makeover, I usually take a couple of hours to photograph a space and I try to schedule those when Rory is out of the house for the entire day. My mom typically takes Rory to my brother’s house for the entire day on Mondays, so I’ll either plan a DIY project for that day or make it a big photography day.
12:45 pm – I head upstairs and work on editing the photos in my office. I turn on music, light a candle, and turn my little space heater on because it’s a tad chilly up here. I read an article awhile back that even when you do mundane tasks, you should make them as pleasurable as possible. Why wait to light a candle when company comes over when you can enjoy it now? I think about that often and try to make even everyday tasks a little more pleasurable.
I use Lightroom to edit my photos (you can find a tutorial here) and once they’re all finished I upload them to WordPress and airdrop a few to my phone to save for Instagram.
1:25 pm – An alarm goes off on my phone reminding me that I have a conference call at 1:30 pm. If I don’t set these alarms it can be easy to forget what time it is!
1:30 pm – I hop on the phone and have a kickoff call with a brand that I’m working with for an upcoming project. We discuss the deliverables, budget, and timeline for the project. Last year, I was a little worried about COVID negatively affecting my brand sponsorships, but I’ve actually found that I’ve been busier than ever. Many brands can’t safely have photo or video shoots for their marketing efforts, so they’re turning to content creators, like me, to create those assets for them. I’ve worked with many brands lately to create how-to video tutorials or original photography for marketing and social.
The world of blogging is constantly changing and it has been fun to see how my role has evolved over the last eight years, since I began doing this. Every year brings new, and often exciting challenges.
Finishing Out the Work Day
2:30 pm – The end of the day is left for random tasks: reading contracts, filling out vendor forms, scheduling invoices, and more. Blogging may seem glamorous, but it’s a job just like any other, with lots of paperwork and boring stuff. I’m grateful that Finn handles the financial side of the business because that takes a large chunk of time and it’s not a talent I have, whatsoever.
On Fridays, I also take about an hour to prep for the week ahead and schedule all of my Instagram feed posts and Pinterest. I use Trello to keep my daily schedule organized. I work on my Trello board for next week – adding tasks, moving content around, penciling in workouts, home tasks, and all of my work to-dos. Having everything written out and planned in advance really helps me so I can get started right away on Monday morning.
For social, I use Tailwind to schedule everything. I keep a folder of photos on my phone and upload the images to Tailwind so I can write the captions, link everything, and prep the weekly schedule of Instagram feed posts. I also make sure my Pinterest scheduler is full of pins and take about fifteen minutes to pin content from the bloggers and accounts I follow.
4:30 pm – My mom will be heading out the door soon, so it’s time for me to shift into “mom mode.” I put on athleisure clothes, throw my hair in a pony tail, and wash my face. I shuffle my mom out the door (she works hard for us and I want to make sure she has time to herself at night!) and spend lots of time playing with Rory. We typically set up shop in the living room and I can pull toys out of our TV console.
Dinner & Bath Time
5:15 pm – I head to the kitchen to get Rory’s dinner ready. We try to eat dinner together as a family when possible, but Finn is on a call until 6 pm, so it won’t happen tonight. Luckily, Finn preps lots of food for the week and I have stuff ready to go for Rory. She’s eating a veggie burger, avocado, sweet potatoes, and broccoli for dinner tonight. I heat up the same meal for me and we both sit down to eat. Rory feeds herself, so meals take a long time but it’s super entertaining and she has so much fun munching on anything we give her. I’ve found that if I eat when she is eating, she will eat faster and spend less time playing with her food, as she watches my cues. But no matter what, this girl gets messy!
Finn comes up after his call and runs upstairs to get Rory’s bath ready. We give Rory a bath every other day and I’m happy we have one tonight because this girl is filthy! Rory looooooves bath time. We can’t even say the word “bath” without her getting excited and thinking she is getting one. It’s adorable. I strip her down in the kitchen and carry her upstairs in her birthday suit to her warm bath prepared by Daddy. We have a bath time song that we made up and Rory loves when we sing it to her. She smiles and splashes away!
6:30 pm – I get Rory into her pj’s and give her a bottle. I have a list of songs I sing her every night, including one that I made up all about our Rory girl. I’m telling ya, I missed my calling as a children’s lyricist. Ha! We read two books, I zip her up in her sleep sack, pop her binky in, give her a kiss, and leave the room.
7:00 pm – While I fed Rory, Finn cleaned up bathtime, threw a load or Rory’s laundry in, and cleaned up the kitchen. (Bless this man.) He’s now making his own dinner and I sit at the island and we chat about our days.
Because it’s a Friday, we resist the temptation to both go back to working and instead spend some time together. We each pour a drink and head over to the couch to watch a show. We’ve been watching a lot of feelgood shows lately, like Nailed It! and SuperMarket Sweep and it’s fun to just sit together and laugh.
We find that we often spend our time talking about Rory as we gaze at the monitor and watch her sleep. Finn is always tempted to wake her up so he can snuggle her, but he always hears a hard “no” from me about his crazy idea. Instead, we discuss our low-key plans for the rest of the weekend.
9:00 pm – I head upstairs to bed, brush my teeth, and have Finn tuck me in. He tucks me in every night and sometimes I have to text him from the basement to come up to say goodnight. He turns on our sound machine and leaves, only to return in a couple of hours, once it’s his own bedtime.
So there you have it…a “Working Mom Day in the Life, 2021”! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below and be on the lookout for my “Mom Day in the Life, 2021” next month.
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.