A Day In The Life Of A Mom Working From Home During A Pandemic

by Julie Workman
Originally Published: 

On an impromptu department lunch call this week, my colleagues were discussing the books they’ve been reading and the shows they have been watching on TV. I had nothing to add to the conversation. Zero. Zilch. Why, you ask? Don’t you read for leisure? Don’t you decompress with eye candy on TV? Truth be told, I can’t remember the last time I binge watched a show or had several uninterrupted hours to read a book. I have dozens of partially completed knitting projects in my closet and too many house projects to list.

As a lawyer, I’m used to keeping track of my time. Here’s an example of my typical day working from home with three kids during the pandemic.

5:45 a.m. Wake up. Say hello and good bye to husband for the day as I walk out the door to go to the gym and he prepares to leave to go teach high school. Read text from my mom at 6:00 a.m. (“Looking for Christmas gift ideas for the kids!”)

6:15 a.m. Work out (check email while warming up on treadmill). Have been working on PRs lately (bench press, dead lift, squat). Set PR on dead lift (185)!

7:25 a.m. Arrive home. Check email. Confirm 16-year-old daughter has packed a lunch and water bottle before ushering her out the door for school at 7:40 a.m. Put dinner (planned on Sunday) into crock pot and forget about it. Another text from mom (“Looking for Christmas gift ideas for the kids!”)

7:50 a.m. Encourage 13-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son to eat breakfast while I grab a quick shower.

8:30 a.m. Put birthday card to friend in mailbox (hooray for remembering). Make a cup of coffee. Sit down to work at dining room table. Force 9-year-old to sit at table with me to help minimize distractions. Remind 13-year-old not to doodle and to pay attention during her zoom calls. Respond to son every five minutes when he says, “Mom, look at this! Mom, look how cute the dog is! Mom, what does this mean? Mom, I don’t understand what I am supposed to do! Mom! Mom! Mom!” Breathe. Revise a lease amendment.

9:50 am. 13-year-old is jumping around doing gym class warmups in living room. Dog starts barking incessantly. Dog clearly needs to go out. Argue with kids over whose turn it is to take dog out. Remind 9-year-old to do asynchronous gym class (supposed to be 20 minutes of soccer drills). He wants to do this with a friend. Text friend’s mom, invite friend over for outdoor, socially distanced gym class soccer drills. Witness child and friend biking in circles around back yard.

9:55 a.m. Revise a purchase and sale agreement. Send a client comments and instructions on another purchase and sale agreement. Begin to review a zoning ordinance for an upcoming redevelopment submittal.

10:55 a.m. Realize that the load of laundry I ran overnight using the delay setting was done about four hours ago. Throw load of laundry in dryer. Throw frozen pizza in oven for lunch.

11:00 a.m. Send emails. Call with a paralegal regarding a title and survey matter.

11:20 a.m. Remind kids to eat lunch.

11:22 a.m. Review and respond to emails. Remind kids to eat lunch.

(Thank goodness the dog is now asleep.)

12:28 p.m. Kiss 13-year-old and 9-year-old good bye and wish them a safe walk/bike ride to school for their hybrid start times of 12:47 and 1:00, respectively (which are an hour earlier on Wednesdays, as if this isn’t hard enough to keep track of).

12:30 p.m. Breathe in the blissful quiet. Walk in kitchen to make a cup of tea. Notice sink overflowing with dirty dishes. Open dishwasher to put the dirty dishes in it and realize the dishwasher is full of clean dishes from dinner last night. Unload dishwasher, reload dishwasher. Eat lunch while catching up on emails.

12:45 p.m. Sit down to work.

12:49 p.m. Receive call from nurse at son’s school. I forgot to submit the daily Covid self-certification form online (again). Submit the forms for the two younger kids before I get a similar call from the junior high nurse.

12:50 — 2:45 p.m. Calls, drafting, work, emails, texts. Yes!! Almost 2 straight hours of work!

2:45 p.m. 16-year-old returns from school and interrupts the quiet. We discuss her day and the latest election news.

3:00 p.m. Sit down to work again. Text from mom (“Looking for Christmas gift ideas for the kids!”)

3:40 p.m. 9-year-old returns. The noise is home.

3:50 p.m. 13-year-old returns. More noise. Remind 16-year-old to leave for her sports class at the gym at 4:00.

4:00 p.m. Encourage children to go to park to enjoy the beautiful, unusually warm November day. Children park themselves on couches to play Minecraft and Fortnite. Argue with children over whose turn it is to take the dog out.

4:05 p.m. Make a cup of coffee. It’s a little late in the day for coffee, but such is life. Escape back to my “real” office upstairs. Express silent gratitude for having an office upstairs.

5:05 p.m. Husband returns from work. We are two ships passing in the night. We discuss what time the 13-year-old’s basketball practice starts tonight. Encourage 13-year-old to eat dinner before basketball practice. Return to office to work.

7:00 p.m. Take a break from work to have dinner with 16-year-old and 9-year-old. Express silent gratitude for the crock pot. After dinner, we clean kitchen and then walk the dog. I then sit back down to continue working while the 9-year-old returns to the Xbox and the 16-year-old does her homework.

8:30 p.m. Husband and 13-year-old return from basketball. We all say hello and I help them find dinner. I encourage the 9-year-old to take a shower. I remind him 5 more times over the next 35 minutes.

9:25 p.m. 9-year-old is finally out of the shower. I remind him to brush his teeth. We read a chapter of A Series of Unfortunate Events, book 12: The Penultimate Peril. I tuck him in and kiss him good night. The 13-year-old puts herself to bed. I return to work at the dining room table with the 16-year-old.

11:30 p.m. I’m unsuccessfully trying to stay awake so my 16-year-old daughter and I can “do our homework together” and retreat upstairs at about the same time. When we both get to a stopping point, we head up. I realize I forgot to respond to mom’s text. Bleary-eyed, I finally text mom: “gasoline gift cards for CC, Lego Avengers for AJ, Xbox headphones for CJ.” Collapse into bed and ruminate for 30 minutes while trying to read a book to settle my mind.

Today’s time sheet:

1.5 hours cooking; 0.5 hour wrangling children to walk dog; 0.75 hour household chores; 0.5 hour conversations with family; 1.5 hours to and from the gym and working out; 0.75 hour shower/get ready for the day; 2 hours of silly interruptions; and of course, all those billable hours …

This article was originally published on