What Does a Stay-At-Home Dad do All Day? April 2014

As this series continues I’ve realized that it’s having the positive effects I had hoped for. When I record what I do during the day, I do better things. In his book, Die Empty, Todd Henry uses this idea as an alternative analogy to “live every day like it’s your last.” Henry suggests imagining that someone will follow you around from the moment your alarm rings to the point you fall asleep and record your day. This record will serve as the definitive account of your life, it will be the first Google search and be included in your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn profile. It’s a good framing tool that I agree with. So what did I do on April 28th?

My alarm went off at 610 and by 620 I had my coffee brewed and was writing. I’m still very happy using the Sleep Cycle app. Mornings before anyone else gets up is the best time for me to write a rough draft of something.  I’ve started a new blog, People Smarter Than Me where I share ideas and patterns that – you guessed it – people smarter than me have figured out. This morning I was able to draft two posts there.

Around 705 I roused my kids, fed them breakfast, and delivered them to school.  Our morning routines have gotten quite efficient and I was home around 820 when I did a round of kitchen clean-up, started some laundry, and wished my wife a good day as she headed out to work.  I then edited some of the posts I had drafted in the morning. I was also able to finish a book review of The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking for a site I’m going to be contributing to. The short review, it was very good.

At 955 I took a break from writing and began the miscellaneous tasks of adulthood.  I called our bank, a hotel, and finished one load of laundry.  I browsed the digital library catalog for new releases and then outlined some blog posts to write next. I then left to pick up our daughters from school.

From 1100 until about 1245 I got the kids, made everyone lunch and started some coloring and sticker crafts at our table.  This seems like a long time for just those things, but I was also drying, folding, and depositing more laundry as well as probably checking in on Twitter.  After that I cleaned the kids’ rooms with their help.  It rained and was cool all day, so I did even more laundry. I’ve always acted with the assumption that if I do these types of things on days with crappy weather, I’ll have more free time on days when it’s nice.

Somehow from 230 to 315 the kids played quietly and I actually wrote the posts I had outlined, thinking I would not get to them for at least a day. It’s rare for me to get so much time to spend writing during the day and the key, for me at least, to capitalize on it is to have things ready for me to do if they decide to do something on their own. In fact, this is a common feature of any day that goes well, having things lined up and ready. It’s part of the reason we have an efficient morning routine and part of the reason I’ve been so productive lately.

After this my wife got off early from work and I went to workout at the YMCA. When I got home around 500 we made dinner for the kids, gave them baths, and cleaned up a bit more. We had a family dinner around 600 and the kids got to watch a show after dinner while I cleaned the kitchen from dinner and took a shower.

The kids played or a bit after the show and I got the kitchen area ready for the next day. We then sat down and read children’s books until they went to bed at 830.  After they went to bed my wife and I watched a bit of The Colbert Report and then she went to bed while I finished The Signal and the Noise, bring my book total for the year to 22.

Overall it was another nice day, one where I woke up with only a handful of things to do and got them done and more. I got to spend time with my daughters and wife and do some writing.  And that’s about what a stay-at-home dad does all day.

The other posts in this series are are in the What do you do all day category.



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