Lindsay Hayward is a part-time preschool teacher, sometimes actor, and full-time child wrangler. Her family relocated back to Texas three years ago after living in London for over a decade. She lives in Arlington with her South African husband, Sean, and their two sons Louis, 8, and Leo, 3.
6:15AM I manage to ignore my husband’s 6am wake-up call and decampment to the kitchen. I cannot ignore the doggy cannonball that next rolls into the bed. It’s our spoiled spaniel, Lady, who is intent on giving me sloppy kisses until I get up to feed her. There is a quick mental orientation: Am I home today or — as we call it — is it a school day? School day. Dang, no extra 15 minutes of beauty sleep.
7AM I am on autopilot until I’m halfway through my second cup of coffee, so I rely on pure muscle memory to sort out everyone’s school things and general school prep. Stuff that I need actual cognitive ability for — like lunches and outfits — are all done the night before. My oldest son wakes up early, so most mornings I find him either reading in his room or making his own breakfast. Thank heavens for small mercies.
7:15AM Oldest son and husband are nearly out the door for work and school. Sean and I consult our phone’s synced calendars, and have a quick day’s overview. He works as a consultant in Dallas and is actively involved in local politics; therefore he is normally out of the house roughly two nights out of the week. I rehearse in the evening when in a show. Otherwise, I’m out at least once a week for staff meetings, events or further auditions. My mother graciously and bravely (!) watches the boys as needed. Thankfully, I’m the only one with something tonight.
7:55AM After convincing the younger Hayward son to get up, get dressed and eat breakfast, which normally involves tears, tantrums and far more time than allotted, we are ready to head out into the world.
8:30AM We are in my classroom, while I am elbow deep in preparation for the day. I teach 3-year-olds at the same faith-based, play-focused preschool that I attended as a child in Arlington. My youngest son has attended the school since he was 8 months old.
10:25AM I catch a quick break while my class is at music. It is nice that students at our school regularly attend both music and Spanish classes during the day. The children really enjoy it, and it means I get a chance to check texts, emails and on the younger son.
11:15AM Another fast break in between my planned class activities. I get my room ready for lunch and then nap time. We eat in our classes, so everything must be up to code and ready for the children to eat and sleep. I down a quick, portable green tea. I also send the weekly electronic newsletter.
1PM After lunch, the children have naptime between 12:45 and 2pm. On school days, I use this time to snag a protein bar, prepare lesson plans, write in daily communicators, and put up artwork. It also means my 3-year-old actually gets a rest.
2:50PM I have sent my kiddos home or to extended school care, so it’s time to grab my youngest son from his class and race to get to older son’s school car line. Older son is in second grade at our local parochial school and currently preparing for his first communion. We pick him up and head to his piano lesson. On the way, older son and I go over his weekly spelling words, school day gossip and various Harry Potter trivia.
3:30PM Younger son and I watch older son’s piano lesson at his teacher’s house. Younger son plays with the piano teacher’s LEGOs and dog. I spend most of that time making sure that my 3-year-old doesn’t feed crackers to the dog. I am unsuccessful.
4:15PM We are home and in full after-school deconstruction. Older son does his homework on the kitchen table while younger son rides his bike around our fenced driveway. I am a whirling dervish in the kitchen, watching the 3-year-old through the open doors, double-checking math facts, unloading the dishwasher, making next day lunches and preparing dinner.
5PM While dinner is simmering, I throw both boys in the bath. Sometimes the only way I get the 3-year-old into our bathroom is in a football hold. Once he is in the water, however, he is loath to leave his pirate ships and plastic sharks. Older son barely touches the water in his tub, since he is in and out so quickly. I take my own lukewarm shower and try to get ready for tonight’s rehearsal, while unsuccessfully coaxing younger son out of the bath.
6PM The three of us sit down to eat dinner. My husband comes home in the middle of the excitement, which causes even more whimsical chair dancing. Sean and I exchange places and kisses, so I can go to the theater. As I leave, the boys manage to finish their meals in exchange for dessert.
7:30PM In the rehearsal studio, I go over blocking and character notes, and chatter with my fellow actors. In this show, I have a comic accent, so whenever I have a free second I go over my dialogue in character. I apologize to anyone who catches a glimpse of me, shouting and gesticulating wildly in my car on the drive over to the theater.
10:30PM I return home to find a very excited dog in the kitchen and an engrossed husband on the computer. Sean is a trained pianist, and most evenings can be found recording or transcribing music in the study. I clean and sort out the kitchen for the next morning, nibbling on a late-night snack of cookies, before I head to the study to use the other computer. I check all electronic fronts again — all while discussing the day with my husband.
11PM Sean and I get ready for bed. He finishes up a few more things on his phone, while I check on the boys. Older son is buried under his covers, a copy of the third Harry Potter book next to him, while younger son snoozes on top of his stuffed animals at the foot of his bed. I give them extra kisses and cuddles. I climb into bed next to the wretchedly spoiled dog and gently snoring husband. It will be a while before I relax enough to fall asleep. Sometimes, late at night, I worry that we have too many balls in the air. Then I think about how much the boys enjoy all of our adventures. I count my blessings and drift off to sleep.
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