While I don't know how to answer that question in detail, I figured that giving you a detailed account of my day might explain to you better than anything else.
And what better day to pick to do "a day in the life of" than today, when I'm quite pleased at my productivity.
I can't give you an exact time for certain things, just an approximation of when I did what.
A Day in the Life Of Penny7:30: Get woken up by the kids.
7:30: Check the status of my yogurt that I made last night. It was so hot that I just left a covered pot on the counter with no insulation and it turned out superb.
7:35: Gave Lee (my nearly 3 year old) oats with yogurt, to fill his tummy and occupy him while I showered. Spike showered together with Mommy, as he never wants to leave my side ever. (Read more here.)
7:35-7:45: Took a frugal shower together with Spike, then got dressed.
7:45-8:15: Ate breakfast (oats and yogurt) together with the baby, while simultaneously checking my email and comments I received on my blog while I was sleeping.
8:15-8:30: Together with the kids, watered my small container garden and noticed that I now have 6 tomato seedlings in addition to 5 squash plants and 5 okra plants. My 2 types of peppers and green beans did not sprout. I'll have to try again.
8:30-8:45: Took in my dry cloth diapers from the clothesline, then chilled on the porch for a little bit with our neighbor and cutting out some more fleece to make more cloth pads.
8:45-9:00: Put away the potato candies (this recipe, with variations) I made last night for Lee's birthday party on the 31st. His birthday will be a big deal (for reasons irrelevant to my blog) so even if I had wanted to do a tiny, homey party, I can't unless I wanted to upset lots of people, so big it will be. But I'll be making everything from scratch; you can count on that for sure! It not only keeps the cost down, it allows me to serve a variety of delicious foods without breaking the bank.
9:00: My 11 year old sister came over to hang out for a few hours.
9:15-9:45: Cleaned 2 whole chickens and divided by type. Froze thighs and legs, put wings and breasts into the fridge to be cooked later. Put carcass, skin and neck (plus other chicken scraps I got free from the butcher) in a pot with some water and boiled to make broth and chicken fat for later use.
9:50: Put milk in a saucepan to make evaporated milk for a future recipe.
10:00-10:20: Made butterscotch caramel chews for Lee's birthday party.
10:20-10:30: Strained vegetable scrap soup I made last night and used it to make flavored rice to go with our lunch.
10:30-10:40: Washed the equipment from making the caramel chews.
10:40-11:30 Made fudge together with the kids and my sister for Lee's birthday party. This was a gooey sticky mess, but we had a great time!
11:30-12:00 Washed the many dishes from all the food preparation and did a quick mop of the floor.
12:00-12:30: Packed my husband lunch and served the kids and myself lunch. (Rice, lentils and curried red cabbage sauerkraut.)
12:30-1:00: Went on the computer and started making a list of all I had done so far today, answered some emails, and responded to comments on the blog.
1:00: My sister went home.
1:00-2:00: Played with the kids, did some coloring and letter practice with Lee, and just chilled out with the boys. Said good bye to hubby as he left for work.
2:00-2:15: Put a load of wash in the machine.
2:15-2:40: Walked over to my cleaning job with the kids, foraging for figs, carobs and apples along the way.
2:40-5:00: Cleaned someone's house. The kids played with her kids and helped me too.
5:00-5:15: Kids ate supper. (Pitas with humus and veggies.)
5:15-5:45: Visit to the free local petting zoo with the kids. We saw hens and roosters, guinea pigs and pigeons, geese and peacocks, parakeets and turkeys as well as sheep, goats, and dogs. We had a really nice time!
5:45-7:30: Played at the playground right near the petting zoo. The kids had a blast. Spike discovered slides and officially loves them, Lee practiced some words in the local language and was so proud of himself when he got the playground kids to understand him, and I talked to some moms about saving money. The perfect closing to a perfect day!
7:30-7:45: Bus ride home. It was within walking distance, but Lee was too tired to walk and I didn't bring my double stroller or baby wrap. On the ride home, Lee fell asleep.
7:45-8:00: Fed Lee some more lentils and then put him to sleep.
8:00-8:30: Relaxed a bit in front of the computer, then finished typing up this list.
Still in the plans for the rest of the day?
Cut up cucumbers to make lacto-fermented pickles, cook some salsa for Lee's birthday party, set up some chickpeas and white beans to sprout, hang up the laundry from the machine, and do a general tidy up before Mike gets home between 11 and midnight. Then probably bed for me.
My day is pretty much over. I've accomplished a lot, but don't feel wiped out. At all. Not exhausted nor stressed at all, just satisfied that I had a really great day.
Does my day seem busy to you, or can you feel that though it was productive, it was a very relaxing, enjoyable day? Once I put my day into words, can you understand how I do manage to make everything from scratch and get everything done, or do you still not get it?
Do you do more or less during the day? What was/is your basic schedule for today?
(P.S. I do realize that I am able to do as much as I do because I'm a stay at home mom. Don't think I don't know that.)