It's 8:15PM, I just put the three-year-old to bed for the second time, and I'm wiped out. It appears that a tornado has gone through my house. I think it looked like this this morning too but I can't remember. The kitchen is a total mess even though the dishwasher has been unloaded, reloaded and is running yet again. So at least it's not the same mess. It's just a new one.
As a stay-at-home mom, I feel like our society has a renewed respect for what we do. I've never received the question, "So what do you DO all day?"
Rather, when people hear I have four kids, they tend to say, "Whoa. You must really have your hands full!"
To which I've learned to say (through a great blogger whose name escapes me) "Yep...full of good things!"
But, many times every day I find myself wondering, "Have I accomplished anything today? What have I done all day?"
Every day I marvel at my inability to accomplish anything.
So I thought it would be amusing to put together a little minute by minute, mommy style. For amusement, for my own sake to see what my day really looked like, for commiseration of other moms who also got absolutely nothing "accomplished" today.
So here we go.
1:47 AM: 3-year old wakes me up to tell me his blankie has disappeared in his bed and he can't find it. I go and help him...it actually is fairly well hidden under his quilt. Tuck him back in. Go back to bed.
2:00 AM: Mind is swirling about the checkbook I balanced before I went to bed. Pray that God will ease the anxiety in my stomach so I can sleep. He does and I sleep.
6:26AM: Hit snooze, with the lame excuse that I had to find a blankie in the middle of the night so I shouldn't have to get up yet.
6:40AM: Remember that I actually have somewhere to go today and it would be most appropriate to take a shower first. Husband is already gone for the day, and yet again, I was sleeping too late to kiss him good-bye.
7:00AM: The house is actually still quiet when I get out of the shower! Make coffee, pack school lunch, and turn on PBS for the middle two children while Evelyn gets ready for school. While I'm turning on PBS Gregory falls off the couch and bangs his forehead hard on the edge of the coffee table. Loud cries. Goose-egg bump forms instantly. I try ice but he kicks and screams. I cuddle him for one minute but have to get the school-ager breakfast. He calms down. I feel terrible.
7:29AM: Walk to the bus stop in the -22 windchill with Evelyn. The bus is a couple minutes late so we stand there and shiver together in the brutal wind. I stand on the corner and wave goodbye because she always tells me she wants me to blow her kisses as the bus drives away. Yes, it's cold. But if I can start her day out feeling well-loved, it's worth it.
7:36AM: Sprint back to my warm house, take one drink of hot coffee, put a bagel in the toaster in foolish hopes that I might actually get to eat it warm.
7:39AM: Kids come up from watching PBS and request breakfast. My bagel pops up and I know it'll be cold when I get to it at this point. Get the kids breakfast. Griffin calls to me from his crib. Go get him. While I am getting him, Gregory yells at me that he spilled his cereal. Continue to change Griffin's diaper. Go back to kitchen. Wipe up spilled cereal. Get Griffin breakfast. My coffee is cold. Microwave coffee. My bagel is cold. Retoast bagel.
8:00ish: Kids are done with breakfast and immediately begin jumping on the couch and yelling and fighting over toys. I peanut butter my now too-crispy bagel and try to enjoy my breakfast despite the decibel levels of my living room. My coffee is cold again. Microwave it again.
8:10ish: Try to unload the dishwasher so I can reload it with breakfast dishes, but every 30 seconds I have to take the 18-month old toddler out of the dishwasher because he keeps climbing in while I'm unloading it. This makes the job too long for me to finish at this time. Sigh. When I get home from our morning outing and have to make lunch, I know the kitchen will still be covered in our breakfast mess. Whatever. Time to give up.
8:15ish. We have to leave in 15 minutes. My baby needs shoes. My three-year-old needs to pee. My five-year-old is upset that "I already did my hair Mom! Why do you have to do it again?"
8:27AM: Put your shoes on! Where's your coat? Let go of your brother's neck! Stop screaming right now. Where are you? Come here please. You need mittens today. Griffin please don't take your mittens off again. Leave her alone. Keep your hands to yourself. Mom my zipper is stuck. Mom where's my backpack? Mom can we watch Tarzan again today? Mom what are you making for supper? Mom when is spring coming? Mom I think Griffin smells poopy. Mom where's my backpack? Quit calling me Gregory...My name is Ironman! Mom am I late for preschool? Mom I love tractors. Greg why aren't your boots on? Lily please go get in the van. Mom it's not a van you have to call it our TRAIN!
8:30AM: Ahhh...out the door. But I still have to do car seats. I might actually loathe car seats. Especially with parkas.
And so on and so forth. I'm tired reliving it and you're probably tired of reading it (if you haven't already quit).
But at least when I look back on it like this, it helps me remember WHY my house still is a mess, and why the empty diaper boxes are still in my living room, and why the pans Griffin was banging on as he was crying at my feet when I was cooking supper are still in the middle of the kitchen, and why the dishes aren't washed, and why the laundry isn't done.
But my kids were hugged. And as the day went on there were puzzles assembled and baby cuddles and sitting by the fireplace and books read and prayers together and baths and suppertime devotions and laughter.
And that stuff doesn't show as easily but that doesn't mean it doesn't matter. It's what actually does matter.
So, I don't know what I did all day. If you ask me, I don't know how to answer.
But whatever I did it made me really tired. I might just have a cup of decaf and a caramel roll and call it a day. Or I might get up and wash my dirty dishes. I'm not sure.
And although my minute by minute wasn't necessarily productive, I think it was covered in love.
And although my hands were really full today, they were indeed really full of really good things.