January Diaries: Mary from 'Mary Loves' Guest Post

posted on: Friday, 6 January 2012

The third of my diary guest posts is from Mary who writes the blog 'Mary Loves'. I feel that Mary and I have parallel lives; she in Boston and I here. We both work in corporate environments, we both share this sense that we could be doing more. Whether it's trying harder at motherhood (is it ever just enough?!) or at life in general. Always striving to be the best version of ourselves. Mary has written this searingly honest post which really speaks to me. The way she describes her normal day captures the very essence of working motherhood. How little glitches along the way, like weather or traffic, can literally turn a good day into a not so good one. As soon as something stumbles into the cogs of the wheel, an imperceptible pressure is placed on the working mother. I think Mary describes this so honestly and so perfectly. Her love for her gorgeous boys shines through too and I adore that they dance and play every night without fail! 

I was so honoured that Lou asked me to write a guest post for her. This blog is one of my absolute favorites. Lou is always so honest and open in her writing, and I think that's why her blog resonates with so many people. She says quite eloquently what so many of us are thinking, and it's so nice to be able to nod your head and think "me too! me too!".  Thanks Lou!

A typical winter day in the life of Mary…

I wake up at 5:45, and I take a shower and get dressed. I get up early so I can get ready before my little guys, ages 2 and 5, wake up. (I try, anyway - lately I have had an audience for my shower.) I get dressed, go downstairs and prepare breakfast (often oatmeal in the winter), pack our bags, and get things ready to go. Mornings are often a blur of getting the boys dressed, fed, and out the door. I actually like it when they wake up a little earlier, because it allows us more time to eat breakfast together and talk, maybe even play a little before we have to rush off.

Winters in Boston can be tough, especially when handling the typical weekday routine. Thankfully, we invested in a remote car starter, and it has become one of my favorite possessions ever. It doesn't hurt quite as much to get myself and the boys into the car on a freezing winter morning. I won't talk about the days when I have to shovel first, though.

I take them to day care and then drive into Boston. My commute is about 35 minutes on a typical day, longer on a snowy or rainy one. I work from home two days a week, which helps tremendously. The other days, I've decided to look at my commute as having a block of time devoted to listening to music.  I try to relax and not worry about the traffic or the clock and just focus on the songs. Before I know it, I'm at the office. 5:45 to 9AM - my typical morning is long, so I work hard to try to make things easy on myself. (Yes I recognize the paradox there.)  

I work until 4, at which time I do that commute in reverse to go get the boys, and we are usually home by 5. I make dinner while the boys play, and then we eat together. We talk about our days, what they learned, and how they played. I make words with our magnet alphabet on the side of the fridge so my five-year-old can practice reading. He loves this, and he's getting really good! After dinner, we dance.  Almost always. My two-year-old's dance style involves hopping up and down, swinging one arm wildly over his head. It's awesome and I hope it stays his signature move. My five-year-old's moves involve more of his shoulders and hips. Equally awesome. Dancing very often ends with tickling or chasing, and then we move on to something else. When we're all in a good mood, I leave the dishes and play. Lego's, trains, marbles, puzzles…whatever it is, it's fun, and I love this time. I will admit, though, that there are some days that we're not all in a good mood, and on those days it can be better if I clean up while they play independently.

Then comes bedtime, which can be so difficult sometimes with my little guys. It can sap me completely of all energy. I find myself chanting, "It's only a phase, it's only a phase, it's only…" After baths and pyjamas and stories, it's lights out before 8 o'clock. 

Then starts my favorite time of day. Peace. I have been trying to take ten minutes to sit quietly - I would say meditate, but I am not very good at quieting my mind completely. I do try, though, and I will say that it does make a difference. I feel the muscles in my face and shoulders relax as I sit and breathe. I then hop on the computer for a bit, writing a post on my blog, reading my favorites, or catching up on email. I clean up the kitchen, pack lunches for the next day, and then retreat to the living room with a mug of ice cream. I try to get to bed by 9:30 or 10 so I can read for a while, although my fondness for the peaceful and quiet night time hours usually keeps me up too late. I always end my days in bed with a book.

If you have just noticed that my husband hasn't made an appearance, it's because he travels nearly full-time for work. I am usually on my own during the week.

And here is where I share my excellent, life-changing news! As of next summer, I will be taking some time off of work. Maybe as much as two years. Next year at this time, my "typical day" will look dramatically different! This is a very good thing. I am so excited at the prospect of having more time with my boys, walking them to school, and having more time to manage things at home. 

Lou, thanks so much for having me! Maybe you can do a similar series next year and I can share how much things have changed!  


  1. Wow Mary, that is AMAZING news....definitely life-changing. How exciting :)

    Love this post Mary....you live in a part of the world that always sounds so gorgeous to me. I've visited Boston although only for one day and I loved it. New England, Maine, Massachusetts are all places I want to explore more one day.

    I really enjoyed reading about your "two" lives, work and home, lovely post :)

    PS I have to tell you that when I think of you it's as a vision in Italy in that heat last summer with all those little ones!! I'm still full of admiration for you :) X

  2. Dear Mary! I loved this post. There is so much love in it and your wonderful approach to motherhood is such an inspiration.

    I too was (in Australia) and am (in Sweden) a solo mother. My husband flies in from time to time, but the bulk of life for me and the kids is 'father-less'. Practically it works just fine. It makes me feel so privileged - I get to monopolize my two beautiful little beings. I love it! But it's draining .. of course, and I know the need for those 'silent moments' when life and the world stops, if only for a brief few minutes.

    Gorgeous post! Thank you.

    Big hugs
    xx Charlotta

  3. super mary is super mom. so much to love. we are lucky she makes time to blog too, so we can get a daily dose of her sweetself. great post. so relatable.

  4. Thanks for having me, Lou! I must admit, though, that my "typical day" is rarely just that. There always seems to be something throwing me for a loop! It was fun to write, though, and think about how our daily routines continue to change and evolve, as the kids grow, as the seasons change, as work demands fluctuate...

    Simone - you would love New England. It is as beautiful as you imagine. I hope you get to visit again someday! Similarly, I have only been to London once, and it was only for a couple days. I am longing to go back, and I would love the chance to explore the country as well. One day... (ps - I love our Italy memories and have almost managed to block out memories of the heat and tired hot and cranky little boys...it was definitely worth it!) Charlotta - thanks so much for the sweet comment. I know what you mean. I wouldn't trade my time with my little guys for anything, and I know we have an amazing bond as a result. And Portland - I started my blog because of you...so thanks!

  5. Found you at Home....petty place here. I read your guest bloggers post....reminds me of when my kids were small...and I, too, was a working mother.....complicated, challenging and sometimes exhausting.