This is an example of a typical day where I am doing the morning nursery-run and Lion is doing the evening one. We alternate every other day, so every week, I either do 3 mornings and 2 evenings, or the opposite. I have written a post on nursery runs to explain why this is one of the best decisions we have made as a couple and talk about the stigma that still exists around leaving the office early.
6.30 a.m. : Wake up (usually by the sound of one of the girls calling for us). Lion immediately jumps in the shower whilst I get Apple’s bottle of milk ready. I go and collect Apple from her cot, give her a big hug, and bring her in bed next to me. She drinks her milk while I feed Peanut.
6.45 a.m. : I leave Peanut and Apple in our bed under the watchful eyes of Lion who is getting dressed, and I jump in the shower.
7 a.m. : I put my make-up on (I will one day do a post on working and make-up) and I get dressed. Whilst the dress code at my work is casual, I do have a “work” wardrobe, consisting of a few colourful trousers, t-shirt and shirts and a few more glamorous pieces. It makes picking my clothes in the morning super easy.
7.15 a.m. : Lion dresses Peanut whilst I dress Apple. Peanut being a baby, she is way easier to dress than our wilful toddler. Therefore, Lion is usually done in 5 minutes. He prepares a spare outfit for her day at nursery and also puts 3 bags of breastmilk in her bag. Lion kisses me, Apple and Peanut and leaves for work.
7.30 a.m. : Apple finally agrees to put her socks on and brush her teeth. We are ready to go.
7.45 a.m. : We hit “the Bermuda triangle of the morning routine” : 15 minutes that disappear right between the moment you think you are ready to leave and the moment you actually leave. The Bermuda triangle of the morning routine is usually a blur of last minute laundry batches, of “1 more biscuit Mummy please “, of remembering that I forgot to put deodorant on etc. We finally get out the door.
8 a.m. : We arrive at the daycare centre. First, I drop Apple off in the toddler room where she will enjoy Weetabix or toasts, then I bring Peanut to the baby room. I give them both the biggest kiss as even though I am already exhausted, I will miss them terribly and am a bit jealous of the nurses who get to spend the day with them.
8.45 a.m. : I arrive at my desk. I can walk from the nursery to the office, which is great. I know I am super fortunate to have such a short commute. On my way to the office, I usually try to reflect on what I want to accomplish during the work hours. On arrival, before heading to my desk, I grab breakfast in the canteen (toasts or porridge or a couple of poached eggs)
9 a.m. : I start my day by replying to the emails I marked as important the night before. I also look at the daily stats of how sales performed the day before, I update my little monthly view spreadsheet with sales performance from the previous day and I open my calendar to see if I have a day of desk work or a day of meetings. I try to group my meetings on the days I leave early to collect the girls, and keep the day I can work later for desk work such as reporting, building board slides or defining the launch strategy of a new product.
10 a.m. : I check in with my team. I try to spend at least 30 minutes a day in informal interactions with my team, as I find I get some interesting insights out of it.
11 a.m. : I take my first pumping break. It takes me 30 min from leaving my desk to being back. I use those 30 minutes to check on my girls with the nursery. Then I do some reading on business. Marketing Week and Harvard Business Review are my go-to publications. I mark interesting articles and then pass the reviews around my team, to encourage other people to read them.
12.30 p.m. : I am an early lunch person. I bring my lunch in about twice a week, usually a salad or some leftovers from dinner. If I didn’t bring my lunch, I’ll go out and grab a sandwich or salad. I eat at my desk almost every day as it saves me time. Once a week, I have a networking lunch and once every fortnight, that networking lunch is actually with my husband. We use that hour to give each other insight and advice on our professional challenges (although sometimes, we also just spend the hour looking at pictures of our girls).
14 p.m. : Second pumping break. I make that one shorter (20 minutes) and also catch up on my reading. I was afraid those pumping breaks would distract me from my work but I actually find that by stepping back twice a day and reflecting / reading on industry topics, I actually come back to my desk with renewed creativity and clarity.
16 p.m. : I catch up with my boss. We usually talk about how my team is doing, how he can support me and we very often drift to strategic discussions about the future of the business. I find those interactions both exhilarating and slightly frustrating because gone are the days when I could just stay in work until 9 p.m. to work on a very hypothetical business plan for an innovative product that we had just brainstormed in one of our informal catch-ups.
18 p.m. : I wrap-up. I quickly reply to as many non-important emails as I can. I also jot down my achievements for the day and save any positive / complimentary email I have received into a feel-good folder that is intended to boost me through any dip in self-confidence. I have an informal chat with whoever is still in the office and I leave. On the other side of town, Apple and Peanut have been collected by their Daddy and they are having dinner.
18.15 p.m. : I am on my bike. As my husband and I alternate mornings and evenings childcare duties, one of us always has their bike in the office. I cycle as fast as I can and I arrive home at 18.30 (again, my life would be so much harder without this dream commute).
18.30 p.m. : MUMMY’S HOME ! I hurry through the door. The girls are usually upstairs having their baths. I rush up and smother them in kisses (and Lion gets a couple too). I then take over the care of Peanut, dress her in her P.Js and we both go in my bedroom for her last breastfeed of the day.
19 p.m. : The 3 of us gather in Peanut’s room to sing her good night songs. One last kiss and she goes to bed.
19.30 p.m. : It is Apple’s time to go to sleep. After she is in bed, both Lion and I share a relieved look as the rush of the evening is over and we can finally enjoy a bit of peace and quiet. Needless to say that after 30 minutes of the girls gone to bed, we start missing them. The ambiguity of parenting ! Between Apple’s bedtime and dinner, Lion and I have 30 minutes of personal time. I use mine either to catch up on work emails or to do a bit of yoga or just watch a couple of silly videos on Youtube.
8 p.m. : Lion and I join one another in the kitchen for a debrief of our day whilst we prepare our dinner. Sometimes we don’t have a lot to say if the day has been quiet. Sometimes we are too tired to talk. And sometimes, this casual husband / wife conversation turns into either a business meeting where we ask for feedback on an idea, or into a therapy session where we support one another after a difficult or stressful meeting or presentation. We very often review each other’s work and we are one another main coach.
8.30 p.m. : We eat dinner. Dinner is usually either a quick but healthy meal (A salad, an omelette, a soup) or a more sophisticated homemade meal that we pull from our freezer. We have gotten into the habit of batch cooking every week-end as a remedy against impulse take-aways. Depending on whether we are doing the quick or the sophisticated option, we will eat at the table and keep talking, or we will sit down to watch a show (at the moment, we alternate between Altered Carbone on Netflix and old re-runs of The Big Bang Theory)
10 p.m. : We get another 45 minutes of personal time. I use mine to express some milk, do some light reading (a novel or newspaper articles – The Guardian for instance).
10.45 p.m. : We say good night to one another as our night shift begins. I go to bed first whilst Lion feeds Peanut a bottle of expressed milk (or formula if I haven’t pumped enough). He joins me after the bottle but I am usually fast asleep and praying that the girls will sleep through the night.
There is not enough hours in the day to do everything. The list of what I don’t do is huge : limited exercise (apart from my short bike commute), house is in a mess, longer-term chores such as holiday planning etc often take a back-seat, I usually take 3 days to reply to friends’ or family’s emails. Finding longer periods of personal time to do things for me, such as write this blog, is also a challenge. But I know that we will look back on this time as parents of two young girls as one of the happiest in our life.
Yes, life is at its most exciting !