Between Pinterest, my love of reading, and the fact that I would be completely lost without the internet, I end up doing a lot of reading, particularly blogs. During my nightly perusals, I have noticed a common occurrence; it seems like a lot of people, specifically bloggers, have it all together. Maybe it just appears this way with their fancy pictures and their perfect crafts but it seems like a lot of families have all the time in the world to blog about their perfect little lives.
I’m always reading things like, “we don’t have time outs in our house” or “we are a media-free family” or “we have quiet craft and reading times scheduled throughout the day” or “we go on nature hikes every ten minutes” or “we grow and harvest our own bamboo which we use to build shelter, furniture and spoons” or “we grow grow organic cotton and then make all our clothes from scratch” or “we butchered Bessie this morning and we’re currently hacking her up in the back room so that we’ll have healthy meat all winter long.”
Sometimes, it seems like I am the only one who is barely keeping afloat while I’m treading the murky waters of life with young kids.
A typical day goes something like this: I wake up to the patter of feet coming up the stairs, where one or both kids jump on me informing me that it’s morning and they have to pee. I then spend the next 20 minutes trying my darndest to get my groggy ass out of bed in a timely fashion. Too late. Before I manage to get dressed, Kaelum often wakes up and I stumble out of bed long enough to get him and bring him back into my bed nurse him, congratulating myself for buying an extra 10 minutes of horizontal bliss. Of course, with his two older sibling bouncing on the bed and usually fighting over something silly and sibling-ish, he is more interested in watching them than in eating. So much for my extra 10 minutes.
I make it downstairs with mismatched socks but I’m just happy I found a clean pair of underwear. I reach for the oatmeal only to remember we are out and I forgot to buy more and I need to go grocery shopping but who the hell wants to do that with three kids in tow? I tell myself I’ll go after they are in bed, but usually by that time I have lost all energy and motivation, even though it’s like a mini-vacation going to the grocery store by myself. Pour me a Piña Colada in aisle 4. Back to reality. I flush some bread down and announce that we are out of oatmeal. This is met with some mild-to-moderate whining, which is nothing new so I ignore it.
While the toast cooks, I help Bailey get dressed and ask Hayden (at least seven times) to get dressed, which he finally does. Today he came out wearing a long-sleeved red shirt with a bright green t-shirt over top and red wind pants that were too small. He looked like a neon Christmas elf waiting for the North Pole to melt into a flood. As any mother knows, you need to pick your battles. Because of this, I let Hayden wear some strange stuff (the other day he wore his favourite green super hero shirt over top of his dressy plaid button-up which he insisted on wearing backwards) and I generally don’t say much, but the pants were a bit much for even my standards. After more whining and arguing, we finally got the clothing situation sorted out.
By now the toast is cold and I go knife hunting only to realize there are no clean knives. There are dishes in the sink and I should have filled the dishwasher and ran it before bed last night, but by the time I gave the kids heck for tromping through the house for the third time in their mud-caked shoes, swept the mud clumps off the floor and scrubbed the mud smears out of my carpet, gave them their second bath of the day (after losing her boots in a mud hole, Bailey abandoned them all together and walked knee-deep in the goopy muck) and got them in bed, the mere thought of loading the dishwasher proved to be more than I could handle and I abandoned the task with gusto.
Back to breakfast. I fish out a knife, clean it up and make breakfast: coconut oil, honey, flax seed and cinnamon toast, my go-to meal for the not-so-rare times I’m out of oatmeal.
By this time, we’re down to the wire. This means we still have half an hour before we have to get out the door, but somehow we are still always rushed and I know this. I pull my breakfast into the bathroom where I half-heartedly brush my hair and try to make myself look more like a human and less like a harried mother. I spray down my children’s wild hair while they complain, “you’re dripping on me!” and “not me first, do Hayden’s first!” or vice versa. Not sure why that matters but I hear it every morning.
After completing the other various tasks that need to happen, we are 15 minutes away from needing to leave. This is when I make the first announcement to “get your boots on!” This is usually followed by seven or eight subsequent requests, and by this time I am out of patience. Of course, if I have given myself more time, I would be able to help instead of hollering at them to complete the task while I change Kaelum into his clothes.
I grab Hayden’s school bag and curse under my breath because I realize that I forgot to make his lunch. I tell the kids once again to get their boots on and quickly whip together a haphazard array of snacks and sandwiches. I head to the back room where the kids are bugging each other and fighting and of course, don’t have their outerwear on. By this time I am exasperated, as much at myself for not getting my ass out of bed when I should have as at their inability to follow a single, simple order. I try to remind myself that they are just kids, but usually my blood pressure is up and I am starting to lose patience by now. I’d like to think that my impatient tone makes them move faster, but sadly, it doesn’t.
We finally get out the door and usually make it to the school yard just as the bell is ringing. I am running and pulling Hayden along while willing his little legs to pick up the pace so that the teacher doesn’t have to stand there holding the door open for him yet again.
Mornings are the most hectic time, but the rest of our day is usually not much better. I have a half done load of laundry that I got interrupted while doing when Kaelum decided it’s time to cry and carry on until Mommy picks him up for no other reason than the fact that he likes to be held by his most favourite person in the world. I also have a house that looks like Taz just ripped through at any given time. I am baffled daily by how much dirt makes camp on my floor. It comes in droves and most of it seems to hide until about an hour after I’ve put the vacuum away, when it comes back with a vengeance, bringing along more squatters to join the fun.
Usually by about 4:30, when there’s paint or play dough spattered throughout the kitchen, I clue into the time and I madly scramble to find something to make for dinner. The kids often start to whine out of hunger, so I put on “one more show,” even though “one more show” usually happens at least a few times a day. Bailey often likes “helping” me cook, which usually consists of her standing on a chair in her underwear mixing and licking and dipping the spoon back in to mix and lick some more. Often during this time Kaelum has decided he needs another round of mommy-holding time so we alternate between him fussing when I need two hands and me trying to cook Rick Allen-style.
I’ve bored you long enough so I won’t even get into the bedtime routine, but the point is that our lives are crazy, busy, hectic, loud, full of squabbles and compromises, and generally nothing like the put-together lives I seem to encounter in the blogging world. Either these people know something I don’t, or they aren’t being completely honest about what their lives look like beyond the pretty pictures. Or maybe they were smarter than us and didn’t pop out three kids in four years.
So if you pop by my house on any given day, it is guaranteed you will stumble over a toy or a felled laundry pile or a pet or a felled child. There will be dishes in the sink, and most likely on the counter. The play room will be a mess and there’s a good chance the bathroom won’t be sparkling like Mr Clean just put his brawny arms and bald head to work. I will probably be hollering at one or more of my children for something they did or did not do. But I can promise you there is always a lot of love and energy. And never, ever a dull moment.