A Day In the Life of a Graduate Student Mom

Good morning! The past few months have been extremely busy due to my new role as a first time mom. I absolutely love being a mom and wouldn’t change it for the world. However, as a graduate student, I am presented with specific challenges that other moms may not be faced with. I have limited time with my baby during the day and have homework at night. I really have to prioritize my time. So, today I thought I would give you a glimpse into what a normal day looks like for me, a student and mommy. I also think it will be fun to look back on in the future and see what day to day activities looked like.

5: 30am: Alarm goes off and I hit snooze as my husband jumps in the shower. About 2 minutes later I hear babbling and crying coming from the nursery. I wait a bit to see if it continues before getting up and heading that way. I’m greeted by a huge smile with two teeth that immediately makes me smile. Depending on when she last ate, I either feed her or carry her to the living room to sit in her Pack n’ Play while I brush my teeth.

6:00-6:30am: My husband is out of the shower and has made his way to the living room to say good morning to our daughter before going to get breakfast ready while I get dressed. We both eat breakfast and pack our lunch for the day.

6:30-7:00am: I get the baby dressed and ready for daycare while my husband prepares the bottles. We are out the door by 7 or shortly after.

7:15am: Drop off the baby at daycare and hate leaving her but knowing that it is the best thing for her.

7:30am: Arrive at work and head straight to my research lab. I’m the first one there so I turn on the computer and check my email really quick. Of course I have about 5-10 new emails (some of them junk) that need addressing.

7:45-8:15am: Set up my experiment so it will be ready to start by 9am.

8:30-9:00am: First pumping session of the day. I usually have a snack during this time and check emails again.

Maple candies


9:00am: Start experiment and work until lunch time. Sometimes I stop to have a snack around 10am. Breastfeeding hunger is real!

11:45am-12:15pm: Second pumping session. I also eat lunch during this time so I can kill two birds with one stone.IMG_20160218_090444045

12:30-3pm: Complete experiment and put in the data. Sometimes we have a lab meeting or journal club at 2pm.

3:00pm: Last pumping session. By this time I’m usually pretty hungry. I have another snack and plan out how I’m going to utilize the last hour of work.

3:30pm-4:30pm: Clean up from running my experiment. Graph my data. Send the graphs to my PI. Discuss the data with my PI and figure out next steps (i.e. will I test tomorrow, how long should I continue my experiment, what is the best way to present this data, etc.)

4:30pm: Leave to go pick up the baby from daycare.

5:15pm: Arrive home and play with the baby before she gets tired and fussy. Surprise surprise, I have a snack. (old picture but you get the idea)


6:00pm-7:00pm: I nurse her while my husband starts preparing dinner. We give her a container of solid food. Depending on the day she might need a bath. We try to let her play a bit before going to bed. She is usually asleep by 7 if not before.

7:00pm: My husband and I eat dinner and spend some time together before getting things ready for the next day. We usually do a few chores after she is asleep like start some laundry, dishes, clean the bottles and my pumping equipment among other odds and ends. Sometimes we do an at home workout together before dinner. Even though time is limited, staying fit truly helps me feel less exhausted and keeps my mood more stable and positive. I believe taking the time to exercise makes me a better wife and mom so I try to incorporate this into my day when possible.

8:45pm: I shower and then crawl into bed to try and read a few journal articles before the baby wakes up for her 10pm nursing session. At this point it is a challenge to stay awake and focus.

10:00pm: Nurse the baby. Depending on how much reading I got done, I either continue that or go to bed. Either way, I am asleep by 11pm at the latest.

2:00am-3:00am: On a good night, this will be the only time the baby wakes up to eat. Unfortunately, she usually wakes up 2-3 times per night. We are working on it.

5:30am: Start all over!

So, there you have it. An entire day, from start to finish. Obviously things differ a little from day to day but you get the gist of it. It may not seem that busy, but trust me, I go pretty much nonstop during the day. I was purposefully vague about my experiments because I know some people feel strongly about certain types of research and that just was not the point of this post. Also, now that I’m working on my qualifying exam, any extra time during the day goes to reading for and writing that. Fun stuff!

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!

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