The Army used to say “We do more by 9:00am than most people do all day.” At the time, I believed that to be true, as the day started with PT, breakfast, barracks cleaning, showers and then off to some sort of training. Twelve years later my days aren’t so physical in nature, but I accomplish an awful lot by 7:30am. Since I woke this morning I have cleaned up the kitchen, ironed John’s work clothes, cooked cinnamon rolls, filled 1 bottle and 5 cups with milk, served breakfast to 7 children, prepared 3 cups of coffee (2 for me, one for John), nursed one child, dressed 2 children, changed 3 diapers, packed 2 lunches and one snack, reitterated the stranger danger discussion because I have a new daycare before/after care child today, and then finally sent my 2 big kids and one extra out the door with backpacks, lunches, and umbrellas with my husband – all by 7:25 so that nobody is late for school or work.
Now I get to sit down for just a moment before someone is screaming for food, fighting over a ball, needs a diaper changed, or some other “urgent need” that might occur with an 8 month old, 14 month old, 18 month old or a 3.5 year old. Just when things start to settle down, my part-time 7 month old baby will arrive, followed by an almost 3 year old…just in time for me to start preparing lunch while hungry littles cry at the gate or hang off my legs. Naptime brings a whole new set of issues…How do you keep one rambunctious, non-napping, no-inside-voice-having, jumping-off-the-walls, three year old boy from waking everyone up while you try to clean up the tornado that hung around all morning and still pay meaningful attention to him? If someone knows this answer, please let me know, as I’m still looking for a solution. Before I know it comes after school when the big kids bound through the door, ripping open their backpacks to show the 40,000 pieces of important junk they have brought home, tell about their day, tattle on someone for something, ask for a snack, beg for something else, chatter chatter chatter, play the new song they learned on the kazoo or recorder, and clamor about asking what’s for dinner. Yeah, the Army might have been tough work, but I’d challenge anyone to step in my shoes for a day and at the end of the day I’d want to hear their answers to the following:
- How many cups of coffee did you drink?
- Do you want something stronger?
- One a scale of 1-10, where do you rate your sanity?
- Were you able to pee without someone screaming at the door, or crying because you shut a door?
- Did you remember to eat?
- After you got all the kids fed, homeworked and cleaned, picked up the house, put away the laundry, cleaned the playroom, supervised chores, and then put all the children to bed for the night, would you do it again tomorrow?
For what it’s worth, I love my life and wouldn’t change a thing…unless I was somehow able to hire a maid to do all the picking up and cleaning.