The boys call this their clubhouse. Shaun calls it their man cave. However, I secretly call it the "please give mommy a break" room!
Someone on facebook posted a newspaper article this week titled, Why don't friends with kids have time!? I absolutely loved it! It's everything I think and feel... I've just never been able to explain. The craziness of having little ones is hard to put into words. So, I was very pleased when Carolyn Hax of the Washington Post did it for me!
A reader wrote in and asked why don't my friends with kids have anytime for me? I work long hours and manage to get everything done... Why can't they? I want to know what a typical day looks like for them... And I don't want to hear about the library, grocery store, or dry cleaners because I do all those things too.
Carolyn at first wanted to respond with her forehead to the keyboard because she couldn't believe the question. However, she thought this lady might actually be serious so she decided to give her a real answer!
When you have young kids, your typical day is: giving them constant attention, from getting them out of bed, fed, cleaned, dressed; to keeping them out of harm's way; to answering their coos, cries, questions; to having two arms and carrying one kid, one set of car keys, and supplies for even the quickest trips, including the latest-to-be-declared-essential piece of molded plastic gear; to keeping them from unshelving books at the library; to enforcing rest times; to staying one step ahead of them lest they get too hungry, tired or bored, any of which produces checkout-line screaming.
It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15. It's constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier. It's constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family and friends. It's resisting constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone's long-term expense. It's doing all this while concurrently teaching virtually everything -- language, maners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity. Empathy. Everything.
She does also address that it is a choice and it is a joy!
So, here are just a few things I do on a daily bases:
When leaving the house I have to make sure three little boys are fed and fully dressed. This includes making sure Blake has a fresh diaper, that I have double knotted Isaac's shoes, and that Parker has gone potty. Seems easy but, let's break it down now. While I'm chasing down Blake, I'm asking the big boys to go and get their shoes. Then, while I'm telling Blake to stop kicking me, while I'm changing his diaper, I'm still asking the big boys to go and get their shoes. Once the shoes and one sock have been brought to me, I have to go in search of the other sock that has fallen to the bottom of the bin. In the meantime the boys have found a toy to fight over and I now become a referee. As Isaac is putting on his socks, I am trying to convince Parker to follow me to the bathroom to go potty. From the bathroom I hear Isaac telling Blake to stop putting carpet in his mouth. I leave Parker, who did have to go, and go fish hook the carpet out of Blake's mouth. But, as I approach him I see that his face is red and he is pushing hard. I go back and get Parker off the potty and then try and finish putting on their shoes. As I try to un-tie the double knot from yesterday, I bend my nail back and grunt from the pain. No time for tears... Back to Blake. As I pull back his diaper to see the damage, I end up getting poop under my nail because the "damage" came to the top of the diaper! One more clean diaper, turn off all the lights, grab my cell phone, and we are finally out the door! Easy huh!?!
Another exciting time is dinner. Meals are VERY simple the nights Shaun's at work. If it takes more than 15 minutes, it's not happening. While I'm in the kitchen cooking (or microwaving) the big boys decide to get in a fight. I send one to the stairs and the other to the dining room. Because this is the first time they've held still all day, they realize they have to go to the bathroom. Isaac heads to the downstairs bathroom and Parker flies up the stairs to another. While they are both humming the Star Wars theme song at the top of their lungs, I'm trying to keep the food from burning in the pan while fish hooking more carpet out of Blake's mouth (sometimes he even pretends that he is putting carpet in his mouth and then laughs at me when I check). I decide to put him in his high chair to eat some real food. Five minutes later I hear, "I'm done!" And then five seconds after that I hear, "I'm done too!" I quickly wipe the downstairs hiney and rush up to the other. When I get to the top of the stairs I hear a loud crash and then Blake crying. I panic, tell Parker to keep on waiting, and rush back down. This rushing is quite painful too. The cardio tennis class I do has me moving a little slower due to sore muscles. I give a sigh of relief when I realize Blake is still in his seat and just knocked his tray on the floor. I put it back on and head up the stairs again. Parker is now in the loft playing but, reassures me that he never sat down on the carpet. Another hiney wiped and it's time to rush back to the pan on the stove. After feeding the boys (I'll spare you with those details), we head back up stairs for baths. On our way I realize I didn't feed myself! Oh well...
Night time routine... I'll keep it simple. I have eight armpits to wash and 74 teeth to brush!!!
I am on constant duty. No bathroom breaks for me. Yes, I get to go but, I'm not alone (see picture below) or I have to rush because someone is screaming, crying, or having a crisis over a missing toy. Or heaven forbid it's a commercial and I need to fast forward! I am on call for every nose, hiney, and germ wipe. I know where every toy lives and how it work. Grocery shopping is planned around which store has the coolest and most spacious carts. When renting a movie from the Red Box there is only enough supply of patients to rent the kid's video. Unless, I have previewed the parent's movies on-line the night before! I am a mom of little people and my daily goal is to survive! A verse that I live by right now is Galatians 6:9. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up! How encouraging is that!?! I love it! This is the job I signed up for so I continue to say... Bring it on!
See, never alone!
At least I know I'm well protected!
Don't let the length of this blog fool you about my free time... This probably took two weeks to write! ;)