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A Day in the Life of Christi Aldridge

Christi Aldridge is a single mom who lives in Burleson with her two children: Maya, 14, and Griffin, 5. She is a freelance writer who loves working from home and making a living doing what she enjoys most.

6:15AM The alarm goes off, interrupting a perfectly wonderful dream about Tyler Perry rescuing me from the single-mama doldrums and whisking me and my kids away to Africa … or was that the plot of his last movie? Sigh.

6:20AM Check emails and make notes about the deadlines I have today. Once again, I am a procrastinator extraordinaire (a quality I have sadly passed on to my oldest child, a “Mom, this super-huge project is due tomorrow!” type of kid).

6:30AM Pack lunches. My 14-year-old daughter just wants to nibble things like string cheese, crackers, yogurt and granola bars. My son will only eat two foods in his lunch: macaroni and cheese or vegetarian chicken nuggets. Nuggets are less hassle, and I still have to get dressed, so I toss the nuggets into the oven and finish my daughter’s lunch while I stop to feed our four family cats, Emmett and Rosalie Cullen (brother and sister, and yes, named for the Twilight characters), Miss Kitty and Willow. They crunch contentedly while I run around getting breakfast ready.

6:45AM Drag my 5-year-old son out of bed, who complains that he’s too tired to go to kindergarten. We go through this every day. We are not morning people, so I nod in sympathy and gather his small frame into my arms, carrying him gently downstairs so he can eat his waffle and watch SpongeBob SquarePants (I enjoy it too, and find Squidward hilarious.)

7AM Wake up sleepy-eyed daughter and start brewing my coffee. I love flavored coffee with flavored creamer; not totally healthy, but it’s my one small treat to get me going in the morning. Daughter eats breakfast and starts getting ready for school.

7:05AM Time to dress my son in his standardized school clothes and help him pull his shoes and socks on. We snuggle on the couch for a few minutes before the day begins. Transitioning from stay-at-home mom to mom of a kindergartener has been rough on both of us this year, and we miss spending time together in the mornings. We always sit for a minute or two quietly watching TV before it’s time to go to school.

7:15AM We only live one block from my son’s elementary school, so we walk to school. I stop and say “Hi” to the crossing guard, Elizabeth, who’s also a teacher at school. We always chat as my son and I cross the street holding hands. I love walking to school. Kids whiz by on their scooters and bikes, and I like hearing the things they say to each other on the way to school. Kindergarten is one of my favorite ages; they are just so cute.

7:30AM Time for coffee, and I get to grab a little bit of “me” time. If I have a television show recorded on the DVR that’s not little-boy appropriate, like Walking Dead, I’ll watch part of it while I drink my coffee and my daughter gets ready for school. If I’m really super motivated, I’ll begin my workday, but two cups of coffee first is a necessity.

8AM Take my daughter to her middle school. I let her pick the music, and that can range from Nicki Minaj to Justin Bieber or lately, Michael Bublé. We both have interesting tastes in music and have been known to listen to heavy metal or Broadway show tunes in the same sitting.

8:30AM At my desk for work. I’m a freelance writer, and I have several clients and lots of deadlines. I’m pretty good at pacing myself, and I like to have my afternoons free to run errands, so I get right to work. I stand up and stretch and grab a yogurt or bottle of water in between pieces, but I am on deadline, so I am diligent.

12PM Finally done with the majority of my work, and it’s time to take a break. That means going to Target, the grocery store, or doing any library, post office, bank or other “Mom” errands that are easier done without my 5-year-old tagging along. Working from home is still work, but I try to have some downtime, too. I usually feel guilty about sitting, so I’ll start laundry instead or pick up toys while I have a movie on in the background so it feels sort of fun. Or, I tune my Pandora to the ’80s station.

2:45PM I walk to my son’s school to pick him up. I’m so happy to get to see him after a long day of work. I also look forward to chatting with one of my mom friends while we wait for all the kindergarteners to come barreling out of the gym and into the sunshine. My son and I hold hands and walk home while he tells me all about his day and makes me laugh with some of the funny things that happened. We have a drink and a snack and play Wii games for an hour until it’s time to go pick up my daughter from middle school.

3:45PM Get in the long pickup line at middle school; my son plays with my Kindle while I return emails to my editors or grab a few minutes to leaf through Entertainment Weekly, my favorite magazine. (Since I don’t have time to watch movies, I love reading about them.)

4:05PM I finally have both of my kids back for the day, and we may make a Starbucks run for an afternoon treat or swing by the library to each pick out a new book. Once we are at home, I finish up a few loose ends with work and start some laundry or dishes, and think about dinner. The hardest thing about working from home is that I’m always at work!

5:30PM If it’s Friday, we usually go for pizza. We love Papa Murphy’s, and my son loves to “make” his own pizza creation. The sauce usually ends up in a big glob in the center, but he still thinks it tastes delicious. On other nights, we may have pasta with pesto, vegetarian chicken and rice, or veggies and potatoes. We don’t eat meat, but there are still a lot of options.

8PM My daughter loves to read to my son. He thinks it’s hilarious when she reads the Toot & Puddle books to him in a fake British accent. He also loves Mo Willems and any type of ghost or spooky story. We may watch an episode of Adventure Time together and then it’s time to go to bed. Every night he asks me, “Mommy, will I always be your baby?” And I answer without hesitation, “Of course you will.”

10PM Finally, it’s Mommy time. I pull out a book and read until my eyes get too heavy to read another page. I love reading; it’s my biggest pleasure besides my kids. I am reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova right now, and it’s wonderful. Sometimes if I have insomnia (it happens; there is a lot of stress associated with being a single mama) I play a silly game on my iPhone until I fall asleep and do it all again the next day!