Ever wondered what life with four kids looks like? What about life with four kids, two dogs and 8 chickens during confinement, no school and with no help by your side..? While for some might seem like a total chaos, this out-of-this-world Mamma makes it seem like a piece of cheesecake. She makes motherhood look natural and, as she is known on Insta as well, as Simple Motherhood. How beautiful, right? You’ll always find her smiling, proactive, energetic and with a great initiative. Plus, I have to mention that despite the many living humans she has to be a manager of at home, she is one of the quickest responding moms I know – I sometimes take more time to reply to e-mails and DMs than she does, and I only have ONE human being at home!
Needless to say I had to scroll a few times to get to her 8am activities (usually the time I slowly get out of bed), so that says a lot about her schedule and duties. But keep reading to see what a 24h day in the life of Emma Ludeke looks like! It’s going to be fun!
If you told me eight weeks ago that I would be spending the next two months period at home, with my children aged 5, 4, 18 months and 3 months, building a new family home at our Byron Bay farm, and looking after a Great Dane puppy whilst homeschooling the two eldest, I would have told you that it wasn’t possible…
Just prior to isolation beginning in Australia our nanny of six years finished up all of a sudden (great timing!) and our borders to NSW (we live in Qld) closed, which meant that my Mum, who normally comes up on a Tuesday, wouldn’t be able to visit. So not only was I worried about protecting my family from catching the virus, but also felt daunted by the prospect of me being at home by myself (as my husband was still able to go to work, but not travel, which I am so grateful for) with the four kids each day whilst having to homeschool the two eldest. And Well…. I did it.
Restrictions have relaxed and my Mum is now able to visit, the kiddos are heading back to school on Monday and I am just hopeful that everybody continues to be smart and no further peaks occur!
So back to the start. The first couple of weeks were extremely hard, but eventually we all settled into a steady routine that worked for us as a family. Most days looked similar albeit with a different craft activity or task in the afternoon.
6:00am – Our son, Jack (4 year old) wakes up. My husband usually gets up with Jack and lets the dogs out, checks his work emails, puts the bread in the oven and (sometimes) makes me a cup of tea. Jack usually heads down to the “quiet basket”. This is a basket that I might put a book in, the night before, or something “crafty” that he can do by himself when he gets up in the morning, so he doesn’t disrupt the girls. At the start of isolation I also began a “bread starter” to use when making our sourdough bread so fortunately we didn’t run out of yeast.
6:30am – usually the girls Charlotte (5 vear old) and Bella (18 month old) are awake by now and we are all in bed for cuddles while I feed the 3 month old baby, Queenie.
7:00am – we all get up, get dressed and make our beds. My morning routine is fast. I usually wear activewear most days, because it works for me during the day when I don’t have a minute to spare, and need to be ready for anything. I don’t wear makeup, unless I am leaving the house (which didn’t happen during isolation). So, I brush my teeth and wash my face, and then put on Olay moisturizer, which also has an SPF 30 (two steps in one!). We found that while in isolation, these little routines help set us up for the day.
7:30am – My husband starts cooking breakfast, which is usually rolled oats which have been soaked overnight in water and a touch of vinegar (to help with digestion). Whilst he is making breakfast, I am usually putting the washing on and doing a general tidy up of the house, to make sure we are ready for the day. My husband does a yard check (because we have two dogs – one being a Great Dane) and then gives our pups their breakfast.
7:30am – we all have breakfast together of the rolled oats, honey and cinnamon, while the baby sleeps.
8:00am – I take the puppies for a walk and my husband looks after the kids and and to make sure the dogs have water.
8:30am – I am back from the walk and put the washing out (hopefully before the husband leaves for work) and water the plants (at the moment we have self-seeded tomatoes, lemons, limes, herbs, pomegranates, chili’s and passionfruit growing) and make sure the kitchen is cleaned up from breakfast.
9:00am – My husband leaves for work and the kids and I start school. Our school had sent home work books and posted videos of what the kids were expected to do each day, so we tried to complete the entire day’s work in the morning because it was just too hard to get them to concentrate in the afternoon!
This usually took a couple of hours, so while I was assisting Charlotte and Jack with their school work, I would set up an activity for Bella to try to keep her amused. Her favorite is warm soapy water in a bucket which she can ladle into other vessels. Some days it will keep her amused for hours or otherwise I have some natural playdough that I pre-make in the thermomix and keep in the fridge for her to play with.
10:00am – I feed Queenie (on the move) and then let her have some kick time while the others finish off their tasks.
11:00am – Queenie usually then falls asleep around this time and so the kids and I would do some block, Connectix or Lego work. We usually have a theme each day. Yesterday we built a rocket ship!
12:00 noon – The kids then watch an episode of Playschool while I get their lunch. Usually a glass of milk and a slice of freshly baked bread with vegemite. We also have 8 chickens so I let them out for the afternoon and the kids collect the eggs and give them some vegie scraps, if we have any left over from the night before.
12:30pm – I take Bella up to bed and let the kids have a play and tidy up before they head upstairs for their rest. Some days Charlotte doesn’t sleep but I find that it helps for her to just have quiet time in her bed, so she is calm for the afternoon activities.
1:00pm – I vacuum the floors (we picked our white porcelain tiles prior to kids) and mop every second day. I then feed Queenie and we have cuddles while I check my phone for any emails that need answering etc (I am a Partner in a Family Law firm, when not on maternity leave).
2:00pm – the kids are up and we start our craft activity, bake, or go for a swim in the pool. Yesterday we made butterflies out of cardboard and then painted them. Bella is still a little young but she enjoys painting and being with her siblings. I traced the butterflies on cardboard. The kids then cut them out, painted them and decorated them with dried flower petals.
3:00pm – Charlotte the decided to set up an “at home” day spa yesterday. She found all the nail polish and make up in the house and set it all up. When the kids have ideas like this I like to go along with them because they can be so creative and the games can last for hours. We all had our nails painted, mini massages, homemade face masks (1 tbsp of coconut oil, 2 tbsp of coffee grounds (can be used) and 1tbsp honey) and make up applied.
4:00pm – It’s time to feed Queenie again. Usually she is already awake and with us at this point. So, I might have her in the Mumma etc baby carrier or the bubba cloud – whatever works really because it is usually a bit crazy right about now. The kids then help me feed the chickens, clean them out and feed the dogs before we go upstairs for bath time.
4:45pm – Bath time can be a little mad and a bit of a juggle. I try to bath them all at the same time. Queenie goes in first for a little kick and then the other three hop in. My husband usually gets home around 5:00pm to 5:15pm and can help me dry and dress them all.
5:15pm – I start on dinner or my husband cooks if I have washing to get in and fold. The kids are usually helping us prepare dinner – thank you Hello Fresh! Or they are playing in their playroom.
6:00pm – we eat dinner as a family every night together around a table except for Fridays when we make homemade pizzas and have movie night in the lounge room, which the kids look forward to each week. Dinner usually consists of our meal and then some fruit and because we have just had Easter, they are allowed an Easter egg each night if they have eaten all their dinner. The kids are expected to take their plates to the dishwasher after their meal because with such a large family everyone chips in.
7:00pm – we all head upstairs to clean teeth and read a book as a family before bed and then the kids usually have quiet time before falling asleep.
7:30pm – I feed Queenie and then my husband and I clean up after dinner (if he isn’t working).
8:00pm – I have a shower and use my Maaemo purifying facial cleanser, vitalize face elixir and hydrating face cream. By the time I have completed this process (5 minutes usually) it’s time to check emails, review my social media, chat to my husband, possibly watch Netflix (currently Tiger King) and get ready to feed Queenie around 9:00pm before heading to bed around 10:00pm. I love reading at the moment and have enjoyed reading several books this year including What Happy People Know.
So, on reflection, while Co-vid has been one of the scariest times to have a young family and newborn, it has also been one of the most rewarding times. We lived a slow life, with our days focused on each other, cooking, reading, crafting and not having to rush off to school pick up and daily commitments. The kids have never been healthier, my husband and I have never been happier and I think we have reset our values, our focus and as a family we hope to continue with the “new normal” into the future. I am so grateful that I was able to spend a “bonus” couple of months at home with my children watching them learn, grow and at times fight because what else do you have if you can’t be positive.