A Day With Irina Schneid
My days oscillate between me being a design practitioner, an academic, and a mom. Some days I have back to back client and site meetings, other days are filled with back to back theory lectures, faculty meetings, and design studio courses, and then I’ll have days with pre-school drop offs, daycare pickups, play dates, and ballet classes.
Owning a business and teaching part-time sounds like a flexible arrangement for a mom of two kids under four, but in reality, it feels like there is never enough time. Specifically, there is never enough time for me, since I’m always trying to stay on top of what everyone else needs (read: socks, snacks, lost puzzle pieces). I am not going to pretend that I have a balance – sometimes all I want is to be able to complete a full thought without interruption. Since my kids are still so young I take things one day at a time, hoping that at the end of it, we are all in one place and in one piece. Generally, my weekday goes as follows:
5:00am: I wake up when the baby starts crying and we hear him on the monitor; the kids share a room, so my husband tries to get him as quickly as possible. I’m usually half-awake by the time he comes back upstairs and passes the baby to me to nurse. On rare occasions, the baby falls back asleep and we all get an extra 30 minutes of sleep.
6:00am: My 3.5 year old daughter comes upstairs on her own and asks for her morning smoothie - this has been a routine for a long time so we know to prep it the night before. She is allowed to watch videos for about 30 minutes while I shower, grab clothing for the kids, and get the baby dressed. While the little guy eats breakfast, I prep my daughter’s lunch, his bottle, bibs, jackets, shoes, and hats, making sure that no one forgets anything at home.
8:00am: We are (hopefully) out the door at this point. School drop off is a labor-intensive process, so my husband and I try to split it, whenever possible. My daughter is in public pre-k and my son is in daycare, so we have to walk two kids to two different schools in two different locations, with two different drop-off times. All of this is pending multiple tantrums about shoes being too tight, socks being on the wrong feet, or not wanting to wear socks at all. By 8:10 we operate exclusively on bribery with 1-2 blue M&M’s.
9:00am: On my walk home from dropping off my daughter I check in with my contractor, suppliers, or anyone else I that need to touch base with before my early meetings. On days when I both practice and teach (Fridays, for example), I come home, get dressed and run to a client meeting or site visit before commuting to class.
11:00am: Once I am back home from my morning meetings, I clean and prep dinner for the evening. I teach in the afternoon so by the time I get home in the evening and pick up the kids there is no time to make dinner unless everything is prepared ahead of time.
I load the laundry, clean up after breakfast, and meal prep while trying to eat lunch at the same time. Despite the fact I am home alone without the kids, I still end up eating lunch one handed while standing and doing three other things at the same time.
12:00pm: By 12, I run to catch the train to class in Brooklyn. I teach from 1-4pm and have an hour-long commute by Path train and subway to get from Jersey City to Brooklyn. I teach Graduate thesis at Pratt Institute, where I work with students on individual design projects within a structured studio setting. It is very concentrated work, so the hours fly by while we are engaged in desk crits or pinups.
5:00pm: On Fridays, class ends at 4pm, so I’m usually back in Jersey City by 5pm, at which point I have to pick up the kids, one school at a time, and get everyone home while stopping at my daughter’s favorite tree to pick up yet another rock (kids and rocks- I can’t explain). Once we get home, we wash hands, I make dinner, feed the kids, bathe the kids, and get them dressed for bed (so much easier said than done).
7:00pm: I put the baby down to bed and play with my daughter until my husband comes home (typically by 7:30). We sit down to eat dinner, and on Fridays we light candles for Shabbat. We try to have a formal shabbat dinner, or as formal as possible with a toddler. Then we have what my daughter calls “family dessert,” at which point I stuff mini chocolate chips into a handful of raspberries. My husband then takes our daughter downstairs to read books, brush teeth, tell her a “pretend story,” and tuck her into bed with a flashlight and stack of books in hand.
8:00pm: Once I have the kitchen to myself, I clean up after dinner, do the dishes, prep her smoothie for the next day, pick up after the kids, and sit down to do an hour or two of work. I take calls with prospective clients, work on existing projects, continue research for a research paper, write assignments, or complete readings for class.
9:30pm: My brain completely shuts off by this point, so we watch Netflix in bed for an hour and go to sleep to be up by 5 the next morning. We’ve been really into “Kim’s Convenience” lately… it’s hilarious! By 10:45pm, we’re fast asleep.