12 Hours in the Life of a Local Mom: Homeschooling, Work, and a Biopsy, Oh My!

6:30 a.m.

My alarm goes off. I need to pee but can’t bring myself to unravel from the cocoon of my comforter. I should also shower. I should have showered last night, but I fell asleep on the couch and never made it. I stay in bed.

6:42 a.m.

I pick up my phone. But instead of mindlessly scrolling social media, I click into email. This is a new daily ritual to check my email for school updates every single morning. Today, I read an email from my daughter’s teacher. He is concerned about my daughter’s Chromebook lagging in the Zoom meetings. Her voice is robotic and the video freezes. She hasn’t been able to verbally communicate with the class and he isn’t sure why this is happening, but it isn’t an isolated issue. He shares he has taken the initiative to work with the technology help desk on this issue already. I am thankful he did it and I don’t have to.

7:05 a.m.

My son saunters into our room and I put my phone away. He is searching for his morning cuddles and I’m always a willing participant. Lately, we’ve been using our morning snuggle time to practice letters. I name different letters and he uses his finger to draw each letter on my arm. Then we shift to rhyming words. We take turns coming up with silly words to rhyme.

7:30 a.m.

I can’t hold it anymore. I get up. When I come out of the bathroom, my daughter is in my bed now too. I shoo the kids to get dressed. I am working from home this morning and don’t need to get dressed right away. I go downstairs in my pajamas.

7:41 a.m.

I make coffee and get my son a bowl of cereal. My daughter makes her way into the kitchen for her breakfast too. We talk and goof around as I putter around the kitchen.

7:48 a.m.

The kids both have their breakfast and we are enjoying family time in the kitchen.

7:54 a.m.

I realize what time it is and alert my daughter that her morning meeting is starting in six minutes! I agreed to let her take her toast downstairs with her. She isn’t done and she’ll miss her meeting if she finishes it at the table. I wish her luck on her sound/video issues and tell her to call us if she needs us.

8:06 a.m.

I check my email again and see an email from my son’s teacher with today’s virtual learning plan. We enrolled him in a private school for his kindergarten year this year. They’ve been going in-person since mid-August and things have been going great. However, one kid in his class tested positive for COVID-19. Per the school’s return-to-learn plan my son’s entire class must stay home for two weeks and monitor for symptoms. We are now homeschooling my kindergartner while my husband and I both work full time jobs and manage the online learning of our third grader. My son has no sign of contracting COVID-19 yet. We are thankful.

8:10 a.m.

I realize we never finished my son’s school work from yesterday, so I sit down with him and work through a few videos and worksheets that we missed from the day before. Today is my husband’s busiest day of the week at work and I’m “on call” for home-school things. He takes Monday, Thursday, and Friday. I take Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

8:34 a.m.

I check my work calendar and panic. The first meeting of my day is at 9 a.m. with one of our assistant deans on Zoom. I am still in my pajamas. And I definitely don’t have time for a full shower and blow drying my hair at this point. It is what it is. I tell my son he can finish his worksheet (still from yesterday) and then he can watch Netflix. He is suddenly extremely motivated.

8:50 a.m.

I am dressed. My hair is pulled up and no one can tell I haven’t washed it. Netflix is on. Both kids are occupied for the time being.

9 a.m.

The dean isn’t on Zoom yet. I start to question whether I’m in the right Zoom meeting or not. My daughter comes in to tell me about her morning meeting. She is still having connectivity issues. I tell her I have a very important meeting and I need her to keep busy. I suggest she go work on language arts. She listens and goes to her learning space. Thank goodness!

9:05 a.m.

I realize I didn’t pour myself a cup of coffee. The coffee I made an hour and a half ago. I debate whether I can run downstairs to get some. The dean logs into Zoom. No coffee for me. We have a good conversation. The meeting ends promptly at 9:30 a.m.

9:35 a.m.

I pour myself a cup of coffee. It’s the cup of liquid gusto I needed today. It smells divine and I can’t wait to take the first sip. I have a procedure at the hospital later today and there is a little bit of anxiety about the appointment floating around my head. I notice the unfinished worksheets on the kitchen table. I break it to my son that he needs to stop his show to do some school. We need to finish yesterday and start today’s work.

9:40 a.m.

I bring him upstairs with me to lay on the bed and watch his morning videos from his teacher. I sit next to him and provide encouragement, all while realizing my stupid coffee is still downstairs on the kitchen counter.

9:55 a.m.

We practice ordering things from smallest to biggest. Then I get my son going with some independent videos (headphones on!), and I run downstairs to grab my coffee.

Smallest to Biggest: Tiny lego piece, Spiderman Lego guy, Seashell, Manticore, Transformer

10 a.m.

I log into Zoom to meet with a student. I am comforted by the fact that I have nothing to prove in this conversation and if my five-year-old interrupts me, it won’t be the end of the world.

10:31 a.m.

My meeting with the student ends. I was interrupted approximately 6 times during our 30 minute meeting. Both my son and daughter needed help with various things. Thankfully my student was understanding and gracious during each interruption.

11 a.m.

I have spent the last 30 minutes helping my son write sight words. My daughter has a break so I send both kids downstairs to play. I spend some time catching up on email and pulling some data for an upcoming work function.

11:28 a.m.

I can hear the kids playing and the TV on. My daughter has her math Zoom in two minutes. She needs to get downstairs. I get up to shout down to her so she isn’t late.

11:45 a.m.

Now my son is hollering from the first floor. He is hungry and can no longer live if he isn’t given his lunch at this very moment. I make my way to the kitchen to make him lunch.

12:05 p.m.

I quickly make myself an egg salad sandwich and eat half of it standing up. I decide to gift myself a seat for the second half of my sandwich. I grab my new boots from Target and attempt to put them on. Turns out wearing socks with this pair of boots is not possible. And that means keeping these boots is also not possible. I mentally add a trip to return these boots to my list of things to do.

12:15 p.m.

I get in the car and head to campus for a meeting with another dean. This one is with our senior associate dean and he’s requested we meet in his office with proper PPE and social distancing. You only get one chance to make a first impression so . . .

12:42 p.m.

I have made it to campus, parked, and head to my office. Turns out my meeting is a half hour later than I thought it was. I take advantage of 40 minutes in my office sans children and plow through some more email.

1:20 p.m.

I head down one floor for my meeting. I’m ten minutes early but the dean is ready and our meeting starts ahead of schedule. We have a casual get-to-know you conversation and all of my strategically worded questions to make me sound intentional and smart are wasted. I have to rely on my natural charm to get me through this first impression.

1:28 p.m.

The meeting is done and I head to the parking garage. I must move my car from one garage to another at the hospital. I’m scheduled for a biopsy on my breast today. I have a lump that was monitored a number of years ago, and was non-concerning. However, recently it has grown and they’d like to send a sample to pathology. I have more anxiety about the actual procedure than I do the results. (Future Linda will tell you the pathology report shows all samples benign, as suspected!) 

1:50 p.m.

Exiting one parking garage, driving across the medical campus, and entering another parking garage takes a surprising amount of time. I have driven a very short distance in 20 minutes and have managed to lose my mind about seven times on the way because everyone has forgotten how to drive and park today. I have a comment for everyone. Good thing my windows are rolled up. While driving I remember my son has a one-on-one Zoom meeting with his teacher at 2 p.m. Will my husband remember? I should text him a reminder when I park the car.

2:11 p.m.

I’ve made it to the clinic and I’m waiting in the consultation room for the doctor to give me an overview of the procedure. I am simultaneously Christmas shopping. Lakeshore Learning sent us a new catalog and I brought it with me in my bag. I’m making mental notes about items my kids would enjoy.

2:30 p.m.

They take me back to the room where the biopsy will take place. They have Pandora set up and play music for patients. I get to choose the channel. Bachelorette Party Radio baby! This was a go-to when I had an MRI three years ago and today is no different. Everyone is delighted. The first song comes on . .  Sexy Back. I’m not mad about it.

2:55 p.m.

I’m in the room and we are halfway through my biopsy. It occurs to me that I never sent that reminder text to my husband about my son’s Zoom meeting with his teacher. My phone is in a locker near the waiting room. I’m in the middle of a freaking biopsy and I’m now worrying that my son may have missed his meeting. I make a note to check in via text when I’m all done.

3 p.m.

I clear my mind and focus on getting through the procedure. Luckily I felt no pain, and very little discomfort. They explain that I should not shower until at least 24 hours after the procedure. Dang it. I should have showered earlier. Mistakes were made.

3:56 p.m.

The procedure is over. I go to the changing room and I am reunited with my phone. I find a video message from my husband. I push play. My son is sitting at the dining room table meeting with his teacher and being VERY cute with her. Yay! He didn’t miss the meeting. I’m so relieved. I get changed and head home.

Me modeling the ice pack hidden inside my bra.

4:10 p.m.

I’m home. My bra is stuffed with ice packs. I’m tired. But I want to hear how the afternoon went for each kid and their virtual learning.

5:34 p.m.

We order takeout, and my family pampers me by bringing me new ice packs and giving me refills on my drink. I relax and watch some Netflix to decompress from the day. I remember the school sent an email about updating Chromebooks. They suggested that if we updated the device it might help with the video and audio issues during Zoom. I don’t want to forget to do this, so I do it right now.

6:30 p.m.

Dinner is here and we enjoy a meal we didn’t have to cook. The lidocaine has worn off and the area that was biopsied is tender and aching. I get a new ice pack and put my feet up. I grab my laptop because there could be a new email from a teacher or the school. And I start to think about tomorrow . . .


Linda is a Michigan native who moved to Iowa City in 2011 and hasn’t left yet. She and her husband of twelve years, Jacob, have two spunky kids – a kindergartner and a third grader. Linda works full time at the University of Iowa as the Administrative Director for the Medical Scientist Training Program. Together, Linda and her family enjoy cheering for the Nebraska Cornhuskers (shhhh!), going on adventures both big and small, and playing board games (they have over 100 and will play with anyone they can talk into it). Linda is often told she has two volumes: on and off, and she will enthusiastically respond to any news you tell her. No matter the volume she uses, Linda is an “old soul” with a love for baking, embroidery, and old movies.


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