Reddit Mom Details Relatable Daily Schedule Asking How Parents Can Possibly "Do It All"

"I feel like, as a family, we're drowning." The reality? Most parents simply can't do it all.

An image of a busy mom and her kids.
Photo: Getty Images.

How do other parents do it all? That's the million-dollar question nearly every parent has asked themselves at least once. Trying to keep up with work, take care of a family, manage a household, and navigate outside responsibilities can feel impossible, especially when you have young kids. Sometimes, it feels like you're never going to complete your endless to-do list.

Challenges like these led one mom to post on the Parenting subreddit: "I don't understand how other parents do it," wrote u/Pasta_is_only_okay. "I feel like I am missing something. My husband works a full time job at 40-45 hours a week. I work a full time job at 35 hours a week. Our daughter, almost 2, goes to daycare 5 days a week. I can barely fit in my 35 hours... often I fall short. I don't have what I consider to be much of any free time in my day...and I feel like, as a family, we're drowning."

She outlined a typical day on the thread:

  • 5:30 - 8:00 a.m.: Get up, eat breakfast, squeeze in 30 minutes of exercise a couple days a week. "Wake up the kiddo" and cuddle; change her diaper, get her dressed, make breakfast, and brush her hair and teeth. Pack her stuff to have her "out the door with dad by 8:00."
  • 8:00 - 9:00 a.m.: Moving slowly. "I should technically be starting my work day at 8:30," the poster wrote. "I haven't even showered yet. So I shower, brush my teeth, etc. Don't even wear make up or style my hair 80% of the time. Maybe get to my desk for 9:00."
  • 9:00 - 4:30 p.m.: Work all day, taking maybe a 20-minute lunch break.
  • 4:30 - 9:30 p.m.: Daycare pickup (40 minutes round-trip). Make dinner, have family time, do bedtime. Clean the dishes and kitchen; pack school lunch for the following day. Do laundry.
  • 9:30 - 11 p.m.: "We land on the couch together around 9:30," the poster said. "Watch a half hour of TV, talk for a little bit, get in bed close to 11:00. Start it all over again."

Phew, I'm exhausted just reading that. But am I surprised? Absolutely not. As a working mom with a toddler, I get it. Some days I feel super productive, and other days it feels like there just aren't enough hours and the ball's going to drop somewhere. And sometimes it does. Case in point: I currently have six clean loads of laundry just waiting to be folded. I probably won't get to them until the weekend.

The fact is, this is just the reality of being a parent, particularly one with young kids. "There's no time in there for errands," the Reddit mom pointed out. "No time for the unexpected. Not a lot of downtime. We often spend a large portion of the weekend just catching up on all the stuff we couldn't do during the week... Am I missing something? I know parents who work more hours than us... WAY more hours. I know parents with 2, 3, 4 kids. Do we just suck at this?"

Other Redditors chimed in, reassuring the mom that no, she and her husband don't suck at this; parenting is hard! Most said their schedules were about the same and that things might get better as the kids got older. "Honestly that all sounds about right for an almost 2-year-old," one person wrote. "It was survival mode for years until they became a bit more independent. It will get easier."

And while there may be room for more efficiency—showering at night, planning for a larger meal prep day to get ahead of the week, exercising with your partner or family to kill two birds with one stone—it's most important to give yourself a little grace. Focus on all that you are accomplishing.

One parent shared words of wisdom that all caretakers can benefit from: "At the end of the day, is everyone alive, healthy, fed, clothed, bathed, and relatively happy? Then you're doing great."

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