A Day in the Life with Lucy

working at home with a baby

Life with a baby is anything but predictable! Some mornings I open my eyes in the darkness before dawn and see a pair of big dark eyes staring back at me. And I know I’m in for a long day. Other times, the bright light of afternoon filters through my curtains and lets me know Lucy’s been a darling and we get to enjoy breakfast at lunchtime. (What?! Yeah, this happens.) But lately we’ve been starting our mornings around nine, and both of us begin the day feeling rested and happy to be with each other.

Phil and I co-sleep with Lucy, and I think that helps a lot when it comes to a quality night’s sleep these days. When she wakes up in the middle of the night, all I need to do is roll over to feed her, and we both just lay there in a twilight state and quickly go back to sleep. Next thing I know, it’s morning! We lay there and play in bed for a short while, then I get her dressed for the day, lay her in her crib while I get dressed, then put her into our Ergo baby carrier to make my breakfast smoothie followed by coffee and some light reading.

By this time, Lucy’s eager to lay on the ground and play happily with her toys while I flip open my computer and see what chaos is waiting for me in my e-mail inbox(es!). I check out my social media outlets, respond to e-mails, work on writing blog posts, and work on client projects for Freckled Nest. Sometimes Lucy watches me while I work on projects for the blog or while I start food prep for lunch or dinner. But usually that’s pushing it. She starts getting tired again around eleven, and by noon she’s all worked up and fighting naptime.

entertain a fussy baby

When Lucy starts grabbing at her face and grunting out pathetic little cries, I know it’s time for her nap. This doesn’t happen at the same time every day, and while sometimes she’s ready after three hours of having been awake, sometimes she naps earlier or later than that. We don’t schedule her sleeping, we just try to read her cues at this point and help her sleep when she needs it.

So how do I get this fussy baby to sleep? Before I was a mom, I had no idea such a thing could be so difficult. But I think I’ve figured out the science to putting Lucy to sleep. First she gets a dry diaper, some fresh food from Mama, and then she snuggles up in our Ergo while I sit on a fitness ball and bounce away and shush loudly to the bouncing rhythm. On bad days, we do this while Baby Einstein plays in front of her face. Apparently Baby Einstein is magic! Phil’s parents got us this box set for Christmas that Lucy just loves! So thankful.

Finally! Thank you Jesus. Lucy is asleep! I tiptoe out of her room where I have laid her in the crib, pray that my ankles don’t crack as I walk (the weirdest thing wakes up this baby!), and then do a little dance once I’ve disappeared down the hallway. Let the whirlwind of productivity begin!

Coffee and HIppie Hippie ShakeLittle Lucy Jo Johnson- Mandi's baby from Making Nice in the MidwestPat the Bunny baby bookLittle Lucy Jo Johnson- Mandi's baby from Making Nice in the Midwest

work at home mom

Before Lucy came into my life, I worked from home with about the same productivity as I do now. What?! How is that even possible? I’ll tell ya, these days if I have a spare second, I’m amazed at what I can accomplish. I’m way more efficient  and much more conscientious about redeeming the time. If I have a spare moment now, I’m not sure when the next one will come along. So I get something done. I still have the luxury of time-wasting activities like browsing Pinterest and (ahem) blog reading. But I get to do that fun stuff while holding Lucy while she nurses, while I’m pumping milk for storage, or while I’m bouncing the babe to sleep. (Now when you see pins from me popping up on Pinterest, you’ll know the chances are good that I have a baby on my breast! Ha!) It also helps that Phil and I share a car, so unless someone is assisting me, I’m stuck at home until Phil’s back from work. The lack of an extra car certainly helps remove potential distractions from work!

While Lucy naps, I eat lunch and then pull out my supplies and get to work on my to-do list, take pictures for blog posts, update Fine & Dandy, and sometimes do work for design or photography clients. I prioritize this time by first tackling the task that is stressing me out the most. Then I can take a breath and cheerfully work away at the rest of my to-do list. And about halfway through that list is when Lucy decides to wake up and demand my attention once again. It’s cool, I’m usually ready to be distracted!

Sometimes this baby is entertained in the most productive ways! She loves to sit in her Ergo carrier and watch me dust, vacuum, do dishes, or get dinner ready. Everything interests her, and she seems to think housework is simply the most fun ever! I’m hoping I can wield this for good in the future. Midday is a great time for me to straighten up the house a bit, because I usually make a big mess when I’m slicing, dicing, and working my magic in the kitchen preparing dinner. Plus, it’s really awesome when Phil gets home from work and the house is sparkling clean and he’s caught me mid-chore. Lots of points for me! But I’ll admit, sometimes it’s nice when he comes home when the house is a giant mess and Lucy is in the throws of a big fit. He knows my days aren’t easy, but his walking in the door to find chaos awaiting is a nice reminder for him every now and then. I kid, I kid. (Mostly.)

Phil’s a school teacher, so he gets to come home a bit earlier than most working dads. I’m so thankful for that, and that he still has a job for a couple more months! His school district is making big cuts after this school year (and his name is on the list), so who knows what sort of job Phil will have after this May, and who knows how this change will affect our schedule? But if there’s anything I’ve learned about having a baby in our life, it’s that flexibility is crucial to survival. Until she’s old enough for scheduling, we have to be able to adapt our plans to what Lucy has in mind, and you know what, this control-freak is okay with that! Little Lucy, you’re already teaching your mama more than you’ll ever know.

Lucy’s highchair here, her baby carrier in multiple colors here, nursery floating bookshelves here

blogging with a baby on my lapcrib wall artwork nurserysweet potato soupbaby diaper laundry

24 Responses

  1. Natanya says:

    I love this Mandi! Thanks for walking us through a day in the life :) It’s fun to see how you still accomplish so much with a baby on the hip!

  2. Sam Malone says:

    Wow, I do not know how you do it! I work full time with no kids (just a puppy) and I still can’t get everything done. This was a great post, loved having a little peak into your life :-)

  3. Oh this is such a lovely post. I really look forward to your Lucy posts. I hope to be able to work from home when we have kids, it seems like the best way to get things done.

  4. Angelica says:

    I really enjoyed this! Lucy is as adorable as ever. We co sleep too, and it’s the most wonderful thing.

  5. leah. says:

    thank you for posting this! lucy is adorable and i love hearing how other mamas manage to be productive while caring for their little one. i breast-fed too and loved not needing to wake up in the middle of the night to get out of bed and make bottles!

  6. Elise says:

    Love this so much. Gorgeous photos!!

  7. this post, though it sounds like a wild life, makes me want to have a little babe too! It sounds like you are growing up a lot and enjoying your time as a mama.

    It is really nice to read mandi!



  8. Amber says:

    I often miss the days when my one sweet baby would let me sleep in often. Now that she’s 3, she’s very regular with her wake up time, and that wake up time is 6 a.m. Often as early as 5. And if she happens to sleep until seven her little brother or sister are likely to be up early. Man, I miss sleeping in :)

    two nap tips I didn’t hear until my second kid:
    1. Put baby down for nap at the very first signs of drowsiness. By the time they begin to get fussy its already “too late”, they are overtired and you will have a tougher time getting them off to sleep.
    2. Put baby down for their first nap an hour after they first wake in te morning. Then 2 and no more than 3 hours after they wake again. Might sound crazy, but this sets a good tone for sleep for the rest of the day.
    You don’t have to “schedule” a baby’s sleep to begin recognizing and establishing sleep patterns and routines. If she’s usually showing sleepy signs by 11 as you said that might be a great time to drop everything and get her down, or try as early as ten/10:30. Then she might take another mid afternoon nap too :)

    Just some tips. Obviously do what works best for you though, sounds like you have a nice routine that allows you to both work and play :)

    • Mandi says:

      Oh yes, I am enjoying the sleeping in while I can! It’s great because these days I can stay up late to get work done. Thanks for the tips!

  9. Little babies falling asleep with their arms above their heads makes me melt.

  10. Valerie says:

    Sounds quite manageable and thats what you hope for at this age, anyone declaring every day is baby bliss is a total fibber (is that a universal word, or a Scottish word lol). We co-slept and LOVED it. My son just turned 4 and sleeps 80% of the night in his own bed, slipping in with us some place around 5am, mostly we hardly even waken and we just find a wee hand draped over your face etc. I am going to miss it when it stops, so I am sure I don’t need to tell you but enjoy it as much as you can for as long as you can. :)

    • Mandi says:

      Oh yeah, fibbing is something people do here too! Haha! I know I will miss it when Lucy doesn’t sleep with us any more, but I’ll also be glad to cuddle with Phil without anybody getting in the way. :)

  11. Emily E. says:

    Such a sweet post!!
    Could you tell me where you got your highchair? I found the link, but couldn’t get it to work!

  12. Joy @ OSS says:

    This is the sweetest post ever. Such warm fuzzy feelings :)

  13. VanessaMeryl says:

    Hi girls!!! <3 I see you've uncovered the fireplace ;) miss youuuu

  14. Kristian says:

    I really enjoyed reading this. Such an interesting peek into your life.

  15. Sarah says:

    I RARELY comment on blogs (I know I should) but I couldn’t not comment: she is so unbelievably adorable and your photos are gorgeous and I loved reading about your days. Such a good post.

    (Says the one who has been up with an 11mknth old for an hour…. I miss sleep. This post was a good one to read while bouncing my own baby on the exercise ball :))

  16. Lauren says:

    I love this kind of post, thanks for sharing! Lucy is all sorts of adorable, and I’m so inspired by your productivity!

    Big fingers crossed for Phil getting a ripper of a new job. We’ve had (in a whole different country!) similar things going on here, but it’s always heartbreaking when teachers are the ones cut. Hopefully it’ll be the start of a grand new adventure!

  17. Your best post ever.
    LOVE it.

  18. Thank you for sharing your day with us. Lovely photos of Lucy and your home! x

  19. Heidi (@makereadyblog) says:

    I saw your home tour on a beautiful mess, and I’m so glad it led me to your blog. I love this post; I have a one year old daughter, and while I currently work outside the home, I’m making the transition to working at home over the next couple of years. And, of course, my girl will be staying with me. I know from the occasional days that I do work at home that it’s not easy when you’re also caring for a little one. Props to you for making it work!

  20. I just love posts like this. I have a voyeuristic streak in me, and it’s so satisfying to get a solid look into someone else’s life. (And Lucy’s afghan is gorgeous)

  21. kate says:

    Dude, that book Hippie Hippie Shake is awesome!! Written by an Aussie too :)