Tuesday, March 26, 2013

what do you do all day?

For our Tuesday link-up, Holley asked us, "What's a typical day in your life like right now? How can you see God's hand in the "small" and ordinary too?"
It was that Christmas party at the Chancellor’s house that made me realize I needed a different explanation for my life, a different answer to that question handed out to me along with my plate of h’or doevres, “What do you do?” 

I stood amidst the crush of professors and campus staff, all of us juggling small plates of cute food, making requisite small talk.  I think I stood out a bit in my bright red turtleneck sweater from Motherhood Maternity (this was ten years ago, OK?).  My husband and I were invited to this faculty shindig because he was the president of the Graduate Student Association.  We stood smiling politely at one another and eating our meatballs when one of the faculty members in my husband’s department joined us.  They chatted about department things and then, not wanting me to feel left out (no really, I am happy to just stand here quietly munching my carrot sticks, thank you) turned to me and asked, “So, what do you do?”

“I stay at home with our son,” and gesturing to my obvious belly, “and I’ll soon have another child to care for.”

With kind eyes, he then asked, “So, what do you do all day?”

Standing there, my feet aching in pumps I should have left in the closet, I stammered my way through a truly ridiculous litany of changing diapers, doing laundry, and making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  In the car on our way home after the party, I told my husband, “I seriously need to rethink my answer to the question that professor asked me…that was embarrassing!”

Ten years have passed since that cocktail party and my grad student husband is a professor himself.  When we attend similar gatherings now, I am more confident in sharing about being at home, homeschooling my kids, and caring for our family.  I’ve become more comfortable in my skin, helped along by my husband who is ultra supportive of what I do, and often lets me know how highly he values it.

So, you want to know “what I do all day?”  Well, let me tell you…

My typical day starts early when the alarm goes off at 5am.  I scoop up my workout clothes in the dark and head into the bathroom to get dressed for the gym.  I have been working out in the early morning for years.  I love having such an important thing checked off on my list before breakfast!

I walk back in my door by 6:40am greeted with the smell of freshly brewed coffee, and by my husband and son who are up and getting ready for the day.  My son has to be at school at 7:00am four days a week for a 0 period band class.  He is already dressed and eating breakfast when I get home.  I practice true love and servanthood, making his lunch before pouring my first cup of coffee for the day!

In the quiet after my guys are on their way, I grab my coffee and Bible study bag and head to my favorite blue and white chair where I spend some time praying and studying Scripture.  My homeschooled daughters usually sleep until 7:30 or 8:00am.  This hour of quiet is a gift, a real boon to the beginning of my day.  I will often use the time to do some writing as well.

Once the girls are up, I shower and get dressed while they get themselves ready.  We eat breakfast together and afterward they take care of their guinea pigs while I do my kitchen chores and prep for our homeschool day.

The girls and I will work together on science, math, language arts, history, piano and chores throughout the morning.  We break for lunch and some time to play outside.  I try and finish our school day so that they have at least an hour or so to play before we have to go pick up Stephen from school. 

If I’ve prepped dinner ahead of time and the house is not a huge disaster (a slight disaster is fine, though!), I will take an hour or so in the afternoon to write.  During that time, my son is doing his homework and my daughters are playing.

The evening finds me in the kitchen where I love to play Mumford and Sons or some other great music while I cook dinner.  When dinner is ready, our family gathers around the big pine table in our eat-in kitchen, talking over the day, making plans, sharing the meal.

Besides that morning hour of quiet, my favorite time of day comes near its end, when the kids are bathed with jammies on and teeth brushed. Our family settles in the living room to listen to my husband read aloud.  We have enjoyed countless books together this way.  The kids will often play quietly with toys or draw, or if they are really tired, just snuggle under a blanket to listen.  I may crochet or knit, or simply sit and soak in my husband’s voice, the story he is reading, and the rare time to sit still.

So much ordinary in these days of mine.  Messes made and cleaned up.  Laundry sorted, washed, folded, dirtied again. In the homely, quotidian activities of homekeeping and homeschooling I have learned about that servant-love he showed us when He rose up from the table after that last supper, wrapped Himself in the towel, and knelt to wash the feet of his friends.

Linking up with my God-sized dream team sisters over at Holley's blog.


  1. Loved reading your post! Lots of ordinary in our lives, but also wonderful memories.

  2. Oh my! I can so relate to this - I am so confident that my choice to stay home is the right one until someone asks the dreaded question "what do you do?" Thank you so much, you have truly blessed me today with your words. It's nice to know we are not alone. Peace and blessings to you.

  3. I loved this, friend! What joy to have a glimpse into your life, and how lucky you are to have a husband who reads aloud each night.

  4. Like Elizabeth said, I think it's awesome that your husband reads aloud...what a cool way to spend time together as a family! I love this glimpse into your day...thank you for sharing! :)

  5. Beautiful! Love how confident you are in answering the dreaded question now! : ) And loved hearing about your neat!

  6. I work as a researcher, and I get that question and often flub it too. I find it hard to talk about myself and I do such different things everyday that it is hard for me to people "what I do all day". What I keep rediscovering is that the important thing is to be comfortable with myself no matter what I am doing.

    1. Holly, I loved your last sentence, "What I keep rediscovering is that the important thing is to be comfortable with myself no matter what I am doing," because that is exactly what I am finding as well. It feels like such grace from God, to grow more comfortable in the skin we're in :).