Where’s My Free Time?

free timeSerious question: Were our moms constantly exhausted and stretched so thin, almost all day every day? When I think back to my childhood, I picture my mom so chill, full of grace, always put together (even if only in shorts and a T-shirt, she still looked nice), and always on top of things. Our homework and school projects were completed before the deadline, dinner was almost always home-cooked and ready at a decent time, the house was picked up, she always had snacks waiting for us after school, and bedtime was chill and timely. Sure there were times of rush and chaos, but that’s not what sticks out to me. She’d even have time to lay at the beach or watch a movie (a full movie!), or go play Bunco with girlfriends. I thought that was the normal way of life, but now that I’m well into my 30s, work full-time, and have two young kids of my own with a busy social life, I am dying to know, HOW THE F DID SHE DO IT?!

How does anyone do it? When are we supposed to do it? We are pulled in so many different directions all the dang time and so much is expected of us, that we hardly have time to even remember to pee some days, let alone have free time. I’m talking about us moms, of course. (Don’t get me started on dads. They’re great and we love them, but sometimes I’d like to switch brains with one of them just for a day to see what really goes on in there. Know what I mean?!)

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My mom, dad, younger sister, and myself (when I was around my oldest daughter’s age). How does my mom look so refreshed, rested, and beautiful?!

Before kids, we were able to be ourselves when we wanted, how we wanted, and where we wanted. Of course, having kids was bound to change that, it’s inevitable, but I was not prepared for all of the additional expectations that came along with motherhood. Not only are we expected to raise our children and maintain their day-to-day, but also transport them around town for after-school and extracurricular activities, pack their lunches and snacks for extended day, make sure they always have clean socks and undies, help with homework, cook a healthy dinner, squeeze in quality family and play time, schedule play dates… the list goes on.

Yet somehow, with all of this, most of us are also expected to still work a full-time job, keep up with dishes, laundry and housework, shower and look presentable, try to be a good spouse, and make sure you’re spending quality time together, and try to maintain some sort of social life of your own. It. Is. Exhausting. Not to mention hard! We don’t let ourselves admit that enough.

I’m not saying I do it all, all the time. My husband is wonderful and helpful (and I am very thankful), but he certainly does not think of the majority of things that need to be done without a few gentle nudges (and then not-so-gentle pushes) from me, and I can guarantee you that his head isn’t constantly spinning with a to-do list of what’s next. My brain never shuts off. Maybe that’s part of what leads to the constant exhaustion. That + everything above + a 16-month-old who, for some godforsaken reason, HATES SLEEP. My life is about as blurry and chaotic as this photo of me with my girls.

A typical day for me looks something like this:

  • 7:00 a.m. Wake up, get the kids up, dressed, fed, and ready for school. (Some days it’s easy as pie, other days it’s WWIII trying to get out the door.)
  • 8:30 a.m. Leave to drop the kids at school / school drop-off / daycare drop-off.
  • 9:00 a.m. Home for coffee, breakfast, and work (thankfully I have the option to work my 9-5 remote).
  • 12:00 p.m. Lunch, a workout if my schedule allows, errands… squeezing in whatever I can to make the evening less stressful and chaotic.
  • 4:30 p.m. Pick up kids from school/daycare. Wrestle my alligator I mean toddler to get in her car seat, and then fight with the 6-year-old about her dance leotard or tights because of course I picked the wrong one and she has to throw a tantrum about it which leads to another one about her hair because it’s tangled and needs to be brushed and put into a bun but it hurts and she hates brushing it so she doesn’t want to and now we’re 15 minutes late for dance class and going to be another 5 minutes late because she’s the biggest dilly dally on the planet and has zero sense of urgency and now I’m stressed and sweating and somehow she’s eating a lollipop and the little one is either crying or laughing (I’m too worked up to tell) and all I want is to walk to the restaurant next door to her dance studio for the biggest glass of wine they have. Whew.
  • 5:45 p.m. (but should have been 5:30) Dance class. I hope and pray my youngest doesn’t lose her shit while we hang out in the car, and I try to decompress or catch up on emails/social media work.
  • 6:30 p.m. Pick up from dance class, and likely either eat tacos at the Mexican restaurant next door, or pick up dinner on the way home because by now I’m mentally exhausted and there’s no freaking way I’m cooking dinner at 7:00.
  • 7:30 p.m(ish) Bath time (supposed to be quick but LOL because again, my daughter is the dilliest of dallies) and pajamas.
  • 7:45 p.m./8:00 p.m. Bedtime for the little one and supposed to be the big one, but she remembered she hasn’t had dessert yet and her day won’t be complete without it, so she needs at least a Tootsie Roll so she’s able to sleep. 🙄
  • 8:30 p.m. Finally get the 6-year-old in bed, but now she needs story time and snuggles. Usually, this is part of my husband’s nighttime routine, while I do dishes or try to get the baby back down — again — because, like I said, she hates sleep.
  • 9:00 p.m. Quiet. Finally. This is when my husband and I may actually be able to turn our brains off and watch a show together and fold laundry, or I’ll catch up on blogging.
  • 10:30/11 p.m. Head to bed, but obviously turn the TV on for one more show because obviously sleep isn’t a priority, plus it’s the only time we snuggle and aren’t multitasking. Fifteen minutes in, I pass out (even though I try to convince him and myself that I’m not sleeping) he turns the TV off, we both finally drift off to sleep, and then… the baby wakes up. Because she hates sleep. I’m lucky if I get four hours of consecutive sleep at any point during the night.
    Not mentioned: The breastfeeding, washing pump and bottle parts, trying to get the little one to walk, telling my oldest for the 100th time that she can not make slime over the carpet, etc. etc. etc.
free time
free time
Blakeley Vinicky
Born and raised in Savannah, GA, Blakeley has been a Jacksonville resident for more than 14 years. She moved to Jax temporarily for an internship at The Jacksonville Landing (RIP), fell in love with the city and a boy (her now husband), and ended up sticking around. She is married to loud and crazy Chicago-native Jimmy Vinicky of nearly 10 years, and has two daughters, Daisy and Poppy. In addition to writing for Jacksonville Mom, she works full time in Public Relations, runs her own lifestyle blog This Blonde Life, and is a freelance makeup artist. She loves adventuring with her family, and you’ll rarely catch her sitting around home doing nothing. Her favorite local spots include Sipper’s and Breezy coffee houses, Wicked Barley Brewing, Cap’s on the Water, Ink Factory, happy hour at One Ocean’s Azurea, and soaking up rays at the beach.


  1. Same girl same!! The only thing different that I can attribute your endless supply of stress and anxiety to is the fact that I didn’t have to deal with a cell phone constantly ringing or the immediate need to respond to a text or email 24/7. That one small thing has most certainly added much much more to your already overloaded daily plate. Remember, you do not have to do everything! You are the only one who will know if you don’t also make 72 cupcakes lol! You’ve got this girl and before you know it, you will be missing it just like I do! I love you dearly darling, Mom


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