Sometimes when I read other mama blogs, it’s like entering a different world – airy and bright, where it seems as though all the other mamas have got it together, are doing everything right and it’s nothing but chuckles and sunshine in their homes. Their children are perpetually happy and those much-blessed mamas endlessly gad about dressed fashionably while juggling full-time work-at-home jobs, child-rearing, and with mad housekeeping skills that would make Martha hang her head with shame at her comparative slovenliness.
Yes, I’m sure that all is not fairyfluff and roses in their lives, and the aforementioned might only represent one miraculous day out of 365, but on the days when I can barely function, it’s easy to think that I must be doing something wrong.
This is how my day usually feels like:
If I’m lucky, then Halle only wakes up once at 3am for her potty (while shrieking fit to wake the dead) and I stagger back to bed for more sleep. At 6:30 one or both of the twins wake up – shrieking loudly – and as the adrenaline spike slams into my bloodstream, I am jolted awake, as though stuck with an electrified cattle-prod.
Then, while they play (and destroy whatever attempts I have made to tidy our home) I drag myself to the kitchen to prepare a breakfast that they will hopefully eat, and not use to redecorate.
As for myself, I have little appetite. (Which is great for my waistline – I’ve lost 10 pounds in the last couple months, only 27 more to go!) I’d much rather sleep, but I know better than to try laying down on the couch. I’d quickly have two nearly-4yr-old heavyweights bouncing up and down on me like a human trampoline. Sometimes I’ll try to hide just so I can have some peace while I stare blankly at a wall and drool. I dare not leave the girls alone too long, lest they take advantage of my absence to do heinous things with their breakfasts.
After clearing the table, we either have some activity, playdate or roadtrip to go on. That requires catching nimble-footed girls who don’t understand why one cannot parade around nude outside. Because the seatbelts will chafe, I tell them exhaustedly.
By the time we are ready to go out the door, whatever benefit I may have gained from a night of broken sleep is long gone and I feel as though I’ve been run over by one of those roller trucks that flatten asphalt on the roads.
I’d make some coffee for myself, but A) I can’t figure out how to work my husband’s ancient drip coffee maker, and B) it would take too long even to boil water and do instant.
Stopping at a Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks is out of the question, too. It would require taking the kids out of the car with me, trying to keep them from demolishing the coffee shop, and then somehow herding them back to the vehicle (while managing not to spill boiling hot coffee on anyone) and wrestling them into their carseats while they shriek loudly. It’s just not worth it.
Why isn’t there a coffee fairy for mamas? I’ve been a good girl!
By the time we’re mid-way through the morning, any shred of patience (and dignity) is gone and I’m bellowing at the girls like a marine drill-sergeant.
“ZANNA PUT THAT DOWN!” “NO, HALLE DON’T EAT THAT!” “GO AROUND THE SWINGS!” “STOP PUSHING YOUR SISTER!” “YOU WANT CANDY?! I WANT WORLD PEACE – NEITHER OF US IS GETTING IT ANY TIME SOON!”
To which my girls reply by looking up at me solemnly and pat me softly on the hand with a kindly “I love you mommy.” and yank me down to give me a kiss. Then they go back to play.
I’ve got very good girls and I’m a very lucky mama. I know this. But it’s still so hard to deal with the perpetual exhaustion.
After lunch, I’m counting down from the meridian of the day until my husband gets home and I can throw him to the wolves while I get the heck out of Dodge.
Sometimes if I’m fortunate, the girls don’t notice when I crawl into a corner out of the way to catch a short nap.
At last it’s time for cooking dinner. The girls offer many tips and advice, and much criticism of what I’ve chosen to prepare. Only the promise of dessert afterwards will get them to eat sometimes, no matter how tasty they found the same meal the previous week.
And at last my husband comes home. I give him a couple of minutes to change clothes, tell me how his day went, before I hand over the girls, plonk dinner on the table and make myself scarce.
Fortunately, my husband really loves spending time with the girls.
I am also a very lucky woman to have a husband like this.
He entertains the kids so they don’t think to question the groans and whimpers that might drift through the wall from my bedroom where I’ve collapsed upon the bed, twitching and curled into a fetal positon.
At last, after the girls have gone to bed – which is admittedly much easier since we started the 1-2-3 Magic! system – my husband and I have some prayer time, and then try to prepare ourselves for the following day. If I’m lucky, I’m not too bleary-eyed to watch a half hour of a favorite TV show. But mostly I’m back to my favorite activity – staring blankly at the wall. My husband will come over every now and then, pat me on the back and considerately wipe away the drool.
He’s such a nice man.