I don't know how single parents do this on a long term basis. Here we are on day 4 without Noah and I'm seriously ready to lose my head and it wasn't even a bad day. It's just exhausting being ON all the time.
So here's a bit of cold hard truth because some how I missed it growing up. Being a mom is so hard. I mean it's REALLY. REALLY. HARD. I've talked to some who brush this fact off and to them I say, that is some serious denial or some amazingly good drug.
Shortly after I had Gabby, I remember thinking, this isn't so bad (that was when she was sleeping 20 hours a day, including all through the night). Then she hit 6 months and stopped sleeping. Then it became impossible to contain her. Then she couldn't communicate what she wanted so she would get frustrated. THEN she learned how to communicate and from there I knew I was so completely out of my league.
The nice thing about watching your life-as-you-know-it slip out from under your feet is that it gets easier with time.
To those who think the role of a stay-at-home-mom is an easy job (there's been some discussion on fellow Lifferth blogs), let me break down my day for you:
- Wake up multiple times during the night to nurse my baby or change his diaper
- Try to fall back to sleep multiple times
- Wake up at 5:45 AM and go jogging (true this is my own doing, but it's the one hour I generally have to myself)
- Wake kids up at 7:30 AM (they're usually overjoyed)
- Deal with incessant whining for the 30 minutes it takes to get the kids ready for the day
- Remember you didn't feed the kids as you're rushing out to the car to get Gabby to school
- Come up with some fantastically portable food for Gabby to eat on the way
- Drop Gabby off by 8:10 AM
- Return home and let Alex play the Wii for 1 hour while I do the dishes, sweep, pick up toys, vacuum. The time is now 9 or 10 AM depending on how messy the house was
- Shed a tear knowing that it'll all be messy again before the day (or hour) is through
***Pardon me while I go retrieve my screaming Oliver who just woke up***
15 minutes later
- Take Alex to do something active (go to the park) for roughly 1-2 hours
- Scour the house for something Alex will eat and then feed him lunch
- Try to put Alex and Oliver down for a nap simultaneously (today I was successful in also putting myself to sleep)
- Pick Gabby up promptly at 2:40 PM and either have a playdate scheduled, a fun activity or a good explanation because that will be the first thing she asks when she gets in the car
- Find an after school snack or the kids will be grumpy
- Let kids play for 1-2 hours (intervene when I hear screaming, which is inevitable) while I do laundry or some other menial task that needs doing. Occasionally I get to read a book
By the way, I'm also feeding Oliver about every 2-3 hours for 15 minutes each time
- Practice the piano with Gabby for an hour--this is perhaps the most draining hour of the day for me because I'm also trying to ensure that Alex is occupied and Oliver is happy and not putting anything into his mouth
- This is usually where Noah comes home from work and takes over the kids, but as you know he's currently on a business trip (5:15 PM)
- Clean kitchen again
- Make dinner
- Hear complaints from everyone but Noah about dinner (but also generally enjoy one another's company at the dinner table)
- clean kitchen again
- Do homework with Gabby while Noah and Alex have male bonding time, the time is now 7:00 PM
- Bathe kids
- Get kids ready for bed (jammies, brush teeth, reward chart, scriptures, family prayer)
- Read to the kids for about 20 minutes (Noah reads to one and I read to the other)
- Take care of last minute requests (water, food, an extra hug) the time is now 8:00 PM if I'm lucky or 9:00 PM if I'm not (tonight I wasn't lucky)
- Nurse Oliver to sleep and pray he stays that way for the rest of the night (he usually ends up downstairs with me, grumpy because he's so tired, until about 11:00 PM when I go to sleep)
- Live up the remaining hours of the night by blogging or being with Noah (I prefer the latter)
Written up like that, it seems horrible when in fact I love almost every minute I have with my kids and my husband. In addition, you have to understand that while it's simply exhausting, each item in my list includes moments like this:
Seeing Gabby read a book to her adoring little brother.
Yes it's hard, but I'm having a truly incredible experience that I wouldn't trade for anything (not even my dream of singing at the Met). I am growing by leaps and bounds-even since moving to Indiana I'm amazed at what I'm learning about myself and the world. Giving EVERYTHING I have to my family is turning me into a person I quite fancy (and I think Noah fancies me to).
So don't take this to be a complain-o-blog because that's not my intent. I love what I get to do day in and day out and I am so lucky I married a man who respects me and everything I do.
Also, I do not want this post to take away from the fact that Noah is also working incredibly hard--this is not one sided by any stretch of the imagination. We could not have the life we have were it not for his tireless efforts at work and at home. The man is a machine I tell you.
My reason behind writing this post is this: to demonstrate that mothers don't just sit at home eating bon bons (although the occasional one is nice).