A Day in the Life {& Mind} of Jo – with a smattering of photos

Sometimes my working friends ask me what I do all day, now that all the kids are in school full time.  So here it is. A day in the life of Jo.  By the end you just might be so bored you’ll be counting your blessings that you have a day job.  ​But this was really fun to do, and makes for a good journal entry. 


6:58 – Richard’s alarm clock went off long ago, but we’re both still dozing in bed when Mim comes in complaining of a sore throat, and Simon shouts from his bed.  (The usual indicator that he has wet said bed.)  I pretend to be asleep and Richard gets up to take care of it.  

7:10 – Richard gets back in bed, Cameron (probably confused as to why none of the adults in the house are in the shower) asks if he can get in the shower.  Richard and I stay in bed.  Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling… 

7:27 – Everyone is up, asking for breakfast, Richard gets in the shower, I put on my slippers and a sweater.  

7:40 – Breakfast is served, cold cereal for most, banana with peanut butter and raisins for Mim.  

8:05 – This is the craziest time of the day.  “Mom I don’t have any trousers! Mom I didn’t finish my homework! Mom I can’t find my shoes!”  Thankfully Richard’s work schedule here makes it so he is almost always around to help. But nonetheless I have this dialogue running through my head. 

What day is it? Does Eli need his swim suit? Do Mim and Si have their reading books? Is it raining? Jackets or no? Wellies or shoes? Pack lunches? School trips? Homework? PE kits? Everyone ready? Simon go potty! Eli where is your lunchbox? It’s time to go! Mim go get your backpack! Umbrella? House keys! TIME TO GO!! Eli why aren’t your shoes on?!?

8:28 – Out the door. Richard and I joke about how there is no need to decorate for Halloween with fake spiderwebs when we have so many real ones! 

8:33 – At the bus stop. It’s cold this morning.  We can see our breath. 

8:35 – Catch the bus. Mim and Simon blow their hot breath on the windows so they can draw stick figures on the steamy glass.  Eli flips through his Bear YoYo collectible creature cards. 

8:45 – Off the bus.  Cameron sprints ahead to the school because he is slightly obsessive about being on time.

8:48 – Waiting with Mim in her class line and chatting with other parents.  Fatiha says she admires my family and invites me out for coffee, so she can ask me questions about parenting.  I act modest and try to pull my ego back down to Earth. I tell her I have no life-changing advice but I would love to chat and share ideas.  (I’m thinking about how the guys behind Freakonomics would say that chances are, Fatiha’s kids are going to turn out just fine because she is the kind of thoughtful, conscientious parent who does stuff like ask questions and read books about parenting.  And she IS a good mom.)  

8:50 – The bell rings and Mim’s class goes in.  Fatiha and I make plans.  I walk with Simon to his class line.  

8:55 – Simon’s class goes in and he waves at me non-stop until he is out of sight.  

The world is my Oyster.  (For the next 6.75 hours anyway…)

I walk down to my gym, but I forgot my headphones so I can’t listen to a podcast like I normally would.  So instead I compose this blog post in my head while I walk, and take a few pictures of what I’m seeing along the way. 

The most colorful gym you’ll ever see.

9:16 – I arrive at the gym and go for a swim. (I made a rhyme!) I started swimming last fall, but gave it up over the summer to spend more time running.  But as soon as my race was done I was ready for swimming again.  Swimming is much more pregnancy-friendly.  (#buoyancy) 

I finish my swim and take a shower.  There is an elderly lady who asks for help with her locker, so I help her.  She has no teeth, and I can tell that her mind isn’t what it used to be.  In fact, she doesn’t stop talking all while we shower and dress, and I can’t tell if she is talking to herself or to me.  I don’t answer. 

10:10 – I leave the gym and walk home.  No podcast, so I think about the elderly lady.  Children and the elderly can swim for free.  I think this is fabulous.  It must be good for them in so many ways; physically, socially, mentally.  When I used to swim early in the morning there would be a group of older ladies who came regularly and they would ask each other about kids and grand-kids and they would always notice when someone missed a day… I envied their sisterhood.

Walking in front of me are these two twenty-somethings. I find myself jealous of their sisterhood too. They are sharing a set of headphones and laughing and singing along to music, which reminds me of when Lori and I would do that on road trips, listening to Dixie Chicks or Deana Carter.  These two ladies are dressed in the standard wardrobe of London millennials; black leggings or skinnies with a black jacket (preferably pleather) for the girls, black trousers and a black or gray puffy coat for the guys.  ​​C’mon guys. Shake it up. 

10:24 – In the door.  Must have food.  I make a smoothie- my new favorite recipe!  (From my friend Kami, with some alterations.)  

3/4 cup Almond Milk
1 Frozen banana
1 scoop of almond butter (or peanut butter) 
1 Tablespoon of cocoa. 

MMMMMMM.  It tastes like a chocolate milkshake. 

10:30 – Hang wet laundry on the line.  It’s still chilly outside but the sun is shining and there are beautiful bird songs being sung.  I wish I could document those.  Our garden smells like fermenting pears, because, fermenting pears.  The pears are mostly in the top third of the tree, where we can’t reach them.  So they fall to the ground and rot.  One day I paid the kids 10p/pear to clean them up, but that got expensive.  So the next time I lowered the price to 5p/pear and I was met with mediocre effort.  

10:40 – Open my computer to do some blogging whilst finishing my smoothie.  But first I check Facebook, and get distracted reading an article on the Wall Street Journal about Meryl Streep.  

11:35 – Take a break from blogging to change the laundry.  Who knew a blog post was so much work?

11:45 – Resume blogging. 

12:20 – Finish blog post, order Nandos take-away for lunch, dry and straighten my hair and change out of my yoga pants. 

12:35 – Fold laundry, make my bed, clean up the dishes from breakfast. 

12:50 – Out the door, walk to Nandos, pick up my lunch. ​

1:00 – Sit down for lunch and an episode of Gilmore Girls.  (I’d never seen G.G. so when Lori came to visit she brought me seasons 1 & 2.) 

1:45 – Tidy up from lunch, out the door for a walk to Greenwich Park.  

My walk in the park is so lovely. I start off listening to my audiobook, but I have my camera with me and I am not able to concentrate on taking photos and keeping up with the plot so I switch to music.  Good music and good weather puts me in such a good mood and I get that “cup runneth over” feeling of gratitude for living where I live.  I start to feel what I’ve labeled as “anticipatory homesickness” because I know how much I will miss Greenwich Park, and a hundred other things about London when we are gone.  I also revel in feelings of independence and self-confidence when I am able to do something that is just about ME.  It sounds selfish, but I prefer the term self-care.  

3:10 – In the door in time to change the laundry and use the loo. 

3:20 – Out the door again, a few minutes early so I can stop and renew my bus pass on my way to pick up the kids from school.  

3:40 – Pick up Simon from his class, and then work my way up. Mim next, Eli, Cameron.  (The kids have to be released by their teacher from their class line.) 

3:50 – Back on the bus.  Afternoon buses are hot and crowded and smelly and the afternoon bus ride takes almost twice as long as the morning bus ride, due to traffic. 

4:15 – Back in the door.  Snacks for hungry mouths.  The kids disperse.  

4:25 – More laundry, folding and putting it all away.  Feeling soooo tired.  During pregnancy my “morning sickness” hits me most in the evening, but around 4:30 I start losing steam.

4:41 – I lay down on my bed for a few minutes…

5:00 – Get up to make dinner.  Richard has a late meeting so its scrambled eggs and bacon with fruit on the side. Not very impressive.  (I do cook sometimes.  Last night I made these – and they are delicious!)

5:25 – Feast. 

5:40 – Mim in the bath. Haircut for Simon.  Simon in the shower.  Haircut for Eli. Simon out of the shower.  Eli in. Mim out of the bath. Brush teeth and jammies. 

6:30 – Bedtime stories for the littles. 

6:40 – Clean up from dinner, dishes, last of the laundry folded and put away. 

7:15 – Mim and Simon are sound asleep.  Cameron and Eli are sorting football cards.  I put my pajamas on and put myself to bed with some chamomile & spearmint tea and Gilmore Girls.  (I’ll chalk this one up to pregnancy and a sore throat.)

8:00 – Cameron and Eli come and tuck me in and put themselves to bed.  

8:45 – Richard gets home, I get up to brush my teeth and snap these pictures of my sleeping babes.  Richard and I chat for a bit, and then it’s lights out.   

**A few notes:

Other things I do on a somewhat regular basis that I didn’t do on this particular day include: taking naps, going to the church to practice this week’s hymns on the piano,  wasting hours on the internet shopping and reading articles, read books, and other housework besides laundry. 

Things I did today that I don’t actually do on a regular basis: order take-away for lunch, binge watch t.v. shows, read books to my kids (I know! so horrible, but I’ve taken to delegation in this regard, making the older kids read to the little ones) and get in bed at 7:15.   

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