I’ve had a feeling of writer’s block lately. Or… maybe more of a writer’s bottleneck. Or a writer’s lack-of-belief-symptom. A mishmash of having too many things and thoughts to share and too little trust that someone would like to read them, I guess. That’s the long diagnosis.
And I know the best cure when you feel like you can’t write is to write anyway, so that’s what I’m doing here. I thought I’d tell you about what an ordinary day at home in September 2021 looks like, simply.
I wake up first, usually. Sometimes that’s the product of actually being awake most of the night for various child-related reasons – kind of like oops, it’s morning? Well look at me, awake already! (Or rather “still”). But other times I sleep – we sleep – decently and it’s just my morning self making herself heard. I’ll forever be a morning person, by the way. I love being a morning person.
If I can sneak out of bed without waking Theo up, I will. Not because I’m not tired ever or couldn’t really do with a bit more sleep but because I treasure a moment’s peace and quiet so very much it’s hard to resist. (And yes, we co-sleep – we have a giant wall-to-wall bed and Theo and I rule one half and Mike the other.)
It’s usually between 5:30 and 6:00am when I tiptoe out the bedroom door. I go to the bathroom, have a sip of water and check my phone – but only to see if anything important has happened. It’s more of a “click the home button to see if anyone near and dear has texted or called” as opposed to checking news apps and opening Instagram (although I’ll admit to sometimes doing that too).
“I also find I tackle whatever comes next in a more balanced way when I get to wake up slowly and just be for a bit.”
Then I lie down on my back on the soft rug in the living room and move through the four gentle back/core exercises I got from a physical therapist following giving birth to Theo. They’re not demanding much muscular effort these days but my time commitment and the whole sticking-with-the-routine means the world to me. Not only does my sometimes iffy lower back stay in check despite many hours of carrying, lifting and holding if I just take a few minutes every morning to look after myself, but I also find I tackle whatever comes next in a more balanced way when I get to wake up slowly and just be for a bit. Be me. Not a wife, however much I love that. Not a mother, however much I love that too. Just me.
Then I typically hear a little grunt or two, perhaps the sound of some sheets being tugged at or a wonderful combination of words I’m yet unable to interpret but adore to their fullest anyway and that signals that Theo is up. And – most of the time – Mike too. Some days Theo wants to breastfeed right away. I’d almost go as far as saying his preferred “slow wake up” would be that – taking in the world while in my arms, tanking up some energy, finding his tune – and then off he goes. I lie on the rug and breathe deeply. He breastfeeds.
We make breakfast, all three of us. I’m in charge of everyone’s oatmeal bowls, Theo likes to play with rolled oats, pots, pans and whisks on the floor and Mike is making his coffee and trying his best to find his tune, too. It usually shows up out of nowhere about three sips in 😉
Post breakfast, I usually take care of brushing Theo’s teeth and getting him dressed and such. Mike typically does the dishes in the meantime but on “office days” – in other words days when one of us is trying to get as much work done as possible – the primary parent is responsible for those regular household tasks as well (but sometimes that means they don’t get taken care of until the evening and that’s fine, too).
So let’s say this is an “office day”. Then we’ll just quickly check in with each other to reestablish what we already have discussed during our “Monday meeting” (where we go through everything we need to do during the week, private as well as work). That could sound something like “So will you go upstairs to work on those photos?” or “You’ll cook and shoot that recipe now?”. Basically, we know what we’ll be doing but like to just make sure we’re on the same page.
“We pick some lingonberries, admire giant mushrooms, collect pine cones. Walk around, look at the trees.”
So if Mike pops up to the office around 8 o’clock, Theo and I will be getting our clothes on to head outside. We roam around the garden(s) first – we look at the status of things, try to resist harvesting green tomatoes (mostly one of us), tidy things up where tidying is needed. Then we might pop into the tool shed for some hammering action, or we go check the rain meter, or we go spy on some growing chanterelles. We pick some lingonberries, admire giant mushrooms, collect pine cones. Walk around, look at the trees. Perhaps little maestro points to the swing and then we swing. Perhaps he’s in the mood for a wheelbarrow ride and then we ride. Or perhaps the barrels are full of water and the watering cans look completely irresistible. Then we play with water.
Sometimes we grab the backpack and go for a walk. A woodsy stroll, a tour down to the water, a mailbox journey – you never quite know if the backpack concept will fly so rolling with things and being adaptable are key concepts here.
Then around 11-something – after a proper snack/light lunch – we get ready to go for a run. All of us, that is, so we call down Mike and get the stroller out. Theo gets an extra layer of clothes on if the wind is chilly and there’s that fall nip in the air, and he’s usually asleep after a few kilometers.
We talk a lot during our runs. Nonstop, even. We talk about family, relationships, work, running, people we look up to, things we’ve read. And food, of course. One of these “normal” weekday easy runs usually lasts some 1.5 hrs and 15k. When we get back, it’s shower and (second) lunch time. Theo is typically feeling fresh from his nap and the person not showering can usually easily prepare food while he rummages around on his own. Lunch will of course be… soup and sourdough. We LOVE this lunch concept and have stuck with it for a whole year now. Two go-to soups are our Pantry Lentil Tomato Soup and Creamy Celeriac Soup With Potatoes and Thyme. A couple of slices of bread on the side and mm, it doesn’t get much better.
After lunch, there might be some more office commitments that require one of us but we really love to have the afternoons together outside. We might shoot some pictures for Instagram, our website or various work gigs, check off some garden maintenance, head into the woods to just explore (extra plus if exploration is paired with a cinnamon bun)… so yes, basically together-time. And whether one parent or both, we like to go for a bike ride, too – we pop by mormor’s (Theo’s grandma and bonus grandpa), we go say hi to the local sheep tribe, we ride down to the water and look at the waves and seagulls and wave to the occasional boat that hasn’t given up the season just yet.
And then we harvest veggies and cook. We always decide who’s primary parent and who’s in charge of the food (I’m realizing this is a pillar in our parenting – clear communication for the win!) and usually divide it so the one who’s spent less time with Theo during the day will mainly hang out with him. But he likes to be in the kitchen too, that little guy, so very often cooking turns into a somewhat wild and unorganized wonderful mess of three chefs and a delicious soup 😉 In September, we go back and forth between summer harvest galore in the shape of quick pastas and gorgeous salads if the weather has been warm and hearty stews and fall comfort food if it’s been on the chillier side. Our Zucchini Chickpea Curry, Summer Pasta with Zucchini and Eggplant, Cauliflower & Corn Tacos and Quick Butternut Squash Soup with Carrots, Apple and Crispy Chickpeas are definitely frequently seen in our rotation right now.
I clean up after dinner and Mike is in charge of Theo. We’ve had this system since the very beginning – I do morning bathroom routine, Mike does evening. I really appreciate a moment to myself pottering about in the kitchen and getting a little micro break before I go on the night shift, so to speak.
And around 7pm, Theo is usually ready to go to sleep. As I still breastfeed and breastfeeding is a quite magnificent sleep inducer, it usually doesn’t take many minutes until our little guy is fast asleep in my arms. This all happens on the couch. When I can tell he’s in deep sleep, I place him next to me with his head on a little pillow and then I put a blanket over him.
As this portrays a weeknight, we both then “go to work” for a bit. Mike actually pops upstairs as soon as he has handed a tooth-brushed and pj’ed up Theo to me, and I pick up my phone or the laptop when baby is asleep next to me on the couch. I write blog posts and Instagram captions, respond to comments and emails, draft running plans, proofread recipe instructions, do translation work… you name it. Mike will edit photos, format blog posts, write pitches, send out bills, brainstorm recipes etc. “Time efficient” is our joint middle name so trust us when we say that we can get a boatload done in an hour!
… which leads us to 8pm. When phones and laptops go bye bye, and we rejoin for about an hour on the couch. Sometimes we just sit there, next to each other, and talk. (You’re looking at two experts at quiet conversations.) Sometimes we read for a bit and then put something on TV. Sometimes we watch TV the whole time – but always with intention. As in, a show or broadcast we’ve actually selected and want to watch – never something we randomly just zapped our way to.
And then around 9pm, I’m dead tired and ready to go to bed (sometimes this happens at 8:05, too). I scoop Theo up and bring him into the bedroom, and Mike usually follows about an hour later.
That’s us. And that’s an ordinary day in September. But I don’t really want to call it ordinary. Because I think it’s anything but ordinary to get to live a life with so much freedom and together-time as well as so many hours spent outside. To some, it may seem boring and empty and not busy enough – but to us, our quiet everyday fills us with gratitude every single day. Perhaps downshifting is for you, too, if this sounds like something you could get used to as well. Take care, everyone – and thank you for reading.
Share this post!
If you’ve enjoyed this post (and perhaps other ones as well), maybe you would like to support us on Patreon? For as little as $3 per month, you would play a huge part in helping us create more of the content you like, as well as keep our blog ad-free. And if Patreon isn’t your thing at all, please remember this: each time you like, comment, cook one of our recipes, recommend us to a friend or in any other way spread the word about us, you do us an immense favor. Thank you so much for being part of our mission.
– Sophia & Michael