Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Day in the Life

I often wonder what other mom's days look like.  It's probably just typical insecurity that I feel like I spend less time stimulating my kids little minds than other moms, my kids watch more tv than other kids, I'm not as fun and creative as other moms, and I selfishly try to steal away whenever I can from my kids to get some time on the computer or just to myself certainly more than anyone else does.  I like to think that I'm just so busy doing all the stuff it takes to care for all these dependent children that I have less time for creativity and one on one time than other people. Or, that and I like naps more than other moms.

While this may be the lamest subject I can think of to write about, the monotony has really been eating at me lately and it's what's on my mind. Plus I'm camera-less and without inspiration. So should you wish, read on, and I'll detail a typical day around here, one where we don't have anywhere in particular to go.

7- 7:30: The household alarm that is Phoenix wakes up.  Could be earlier than this, but is never later. (Ryan is long since gone at this point, of course.) In my usual tired, hoping-for-more-sleep state, I go take a bottle in to the twins, hoping to detain them a bit longer so I can doze for a few more minutes.  (If I was wise, I would actually use this time to get myself showered since it's always a battle once everyone is awake.  I am almost never wise.)

8am:  I hear "Pik-ews! Pik-ews!" as two little people enter my bedroom, Phoenix ecstatic at having found a jar of pickles under one of the cribs after he climbed out of his crib as usual and went exploring. (I can't help but chuckle, as always, at the insane amount of energy Phoenix has in the morning. I try to enjoy it, knowing it will wear off and by 10 am he'll be a screaming mess.) As usual, they finally woke up Cash with all their squawking and Cash let him out of the room.  Chubs is still stuck in his crib since all the extra girth makes him not quite as spritely as his brother.

Go rescue Chubs and everyone gathers around eagerly for pickle distribution. Pickles this early?  I try one.  Yech. They each eat about 10.

We get going slowly, as always. Diapers changed, dishes put away from yesterday, breakfast served.  I steal away while they're finishing their breakfast.  Probably to the computer.  Possibly to shower, but most likely not.  Splash, splash. Dang!  Just like yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that I forget and I leave them too long and now they are delightedly splashing around in the remnants of their cereal bowl.  I jump up and quickly remove the cereal bowls.  I get down on my hands and knees to clean up the mess that has hit a 10-foot radius, and as always, the boys grab my hair with their grubby cereal hands when I'm within reach which irritates me, as always.

10am: Wow.  How is it already 10 and I feel like we finally just got breakfast cleaned up?  I finally go back to finish up the email I was sending.  Someone is at my side begging for help to finish taking all their clothes off.  Within seconds the other twin is at my side requesting the same.  I get distracted checking blogs and emails and soon realize it's been a good while and I still have two naked boys running around.  Better go check the floor for puddles. The tv stand seems to be a particular favorite and has taken another hit today.

Get everyone dressed after tantrum-throwing when clothes had to be put back on. Maybe we should go somewhere now. Oh, except me - I didn't get ready yet. Let me just go check the computer again real quick before I get in the shower, see what the weather is going to be like today. Too bad, everyone suddenly is crying and all need attention.  Ok, let's build some train tracks.  Wow - how did all these toys come out in a matter of seconds? I think as I pass by on my way to get the train set.

I build a wicked cool track as usual.  We sit and play.  I finally think, hey everyone is content, let me sneak away and get something done, or oh yeah, finally shower.  I get away for a whole 18 seconds before I hear, "Oh no!  Oh no!" And someone is running to me with little tracks that have been disassembled demanding that I "Fiss-it!"  This scenario repeats about 10 times before I finally manage to close the door to the bathroom before someone finds me.  I do however exit the shower to find an assortment of toys shoved under the bathroom door.

I come out to find the tornado of toys and junk that has hit the house five times worse than before.  Maybe we can finally go somewhere.  Oh, now it's too close to lunch and naps.  Guess we're not going anywhere.  Break up fights, calm crying and try to entertain for a while since the twins are almost never able to self-entertain for more than about 1 minute.  As usual.

12-12:30pm.  Aaaahhhh.  Nap time. My favorite time of day.  The morning has left me exhausted.  Clean up. Try to spend a few minutes alone with Cash, but soon my eyelids win out and I'm off to take a nap.  Too bad Cash doesn't nap anymore, but at least he'll sit quietly and watch a movie or play with toys while I do.

12:45:  Drat.  I've only slept for 10 minutes and now have been woken up to snickering over the monitor.  That little rascal is out of his crib again.  I go put him back in with a bottle and try to go back to sleep.  I try for a really long time, but my efforts are futile because once I get woken up I can't sleep again.  Maybe today would be different, I hoped. But it wasn't.  I can't go back to sleep, as always. Post-nap chocolate time.  I always need a pick-me-up when I'm groggy and wish I was still sleeping. At least half the time this is when showering actually happens.

4pm: Finally get out of the house to go somewhere!  Go to the park.  This lasts until one of three scenarios ensues:  1. I can no longer keep the twins away from other people's food/drinks/toys. 2. They've remembered which of the three gates doesn't latch and I can no longer keep everyone in one area and the playground is too crowded to see them all easily.  3. They've gotten too comfortable there and the twins are both trying too many dangerous stunts on equipment they're not big enough for and I can't get to both of them at the same time. A broken appendage is only seconds away.  Pack up everyone screaming and have the whole playground watching us/sympathizing with us/clucking to themselves that I'm way in over my head as we leave. Typical.

Walk home through the park stopping for everyone to talk to me about my stroller and my kids; pause for Asians to pose for pictures with them. As usual.

5pm: The witching hour.  I loathe this time in our house.  From about now until bedtime.  Get home to find the mess still waiting for me. Try to make dinner.  Kids won't leave me alone.  Everything I pull out of the fridge they steal off the counters and run off with.  They bring more and more toys into the kitchen.  Still trying to make dinner while stepping over cars, blankets, a large mobile car, the chair they've pushed into the kitchen to stand on to aid in thwarting my dinner preparation, and every letter of the fridge alphabet magnets.  All while tripping over the crying kids hanging on my ankles.

5:30pm: I finally lose it, freak out and yell at everyone to get out of the kitchen and leave me alone.  I give in and turn on a movie, although they're so crazy at this point it doesn't hold their attention.  Listen to screaming and wailing as Cash goes wild bouncing off the walls and torturing the twins. Flinch at the crashing noises cringing, realizing Cash has found the footstool and is pulling everything out of all the closets in the house.

6-8pm:  Anywhere in that time frame Ryan gets home. Asks his typical question: "Why is everyone so ornery?" I give the typical answer, "I don't know.  Maybe they're teething. Maybe it's just more likely that this is their personality because our kids cry all the time and this is actually pretty much what they do all day." Anyhow, no matter what time he gets home, I have this theory that it's always about a half hour too late. I was holding it together until just about a half hour before when I couldn't take it anymore.  I was also trying to keep the house clean until about a half an hour ago when it all went to pot. If it's a particularly bad night I may even shove the kids on him and go hide in the bedroom to fume by myself.  May even take my own plate of dinner so I can have 5 minutes to eat in peace.  More commonly, however, the twins are freaking out and hungry so I put them in their high chairs and starting feeding them dinner as it's ready, so by the time I'm ready to sit down and eat, they're already done and screaming to get out. I shove a few bites in my mouth standing over the counter as I start to clean up. Lovely.

8pm:  Sit down with my hands in my head as I survey the damage after the bed-time frenzy.  Will my weary soul to get up and start chiseling away at the disaster.  I must, as having a clean house at the end of the day seems to be the last thread of sanity I cling to. Start hearing the "I'm going to bed" threats from my husband.  These will be repeated in about 5 minute increments until they are actually fulfilled, anywhere from 8:30-10pm.  I try to get over the shock of him actually going to bed by 8:30 but it still manages to surprise me that someone goes to bed that early on a regular basis.

8:30pm:  Chuckle as I hear what sounds like a really close, "Ha-woah????" Phoenix is out of his crib of course, his little lips practically pressed under the door frame as he lays down to watch the passing feet and yell out to whoever might possibly rescue him.  Ashton is screaming in frustration that Phoenix gets to run around and have all the fun, watching under the door, stacking cans of mandarin oranges against the door.  This lasts up to an hour and a half before blessed silence finally prevails.

9:30pm: Finally all my have-to duties are done. I'm exhausted, but the thought of going to bed just to get up and do it all again tomorrow without some sort of restorative time for myself is soul-crushing.  Ryan will ask why I'm not coming to bed now, but I just can't.  So I finally do something I want to do, but more likely realize I need to exercise and so I do that instead.  After that seems to be the only time for some back therapy and scripture reading and I finally roll into bed sometime around 12:30am, tired and sighing that it's so late and the kids have all slept for a few hours while I haven't, yet somewhat refreshed that at least I got to be me for a few hours. BY MYSELF, most notably.  Remember that Phoenix is still in a ball on the other side of the bedroom door and get back up to go move him to his crib.  Have to push the door and his little body just enough to shimmy my way in and pick him up. NOW to bed.

1-2am: Finally turn over ready to yell at Ryan for the ridiculous amount of movement that has allowed me zero sleep up to this point - only to find he is blissfully unaware of it all as he is dreamily conducting a symphony in his sleep.  Or performing surgery.  Or making a couch.  Or fighting a superhero battle. All common events based on the feedback I can elicit when I'm on the right track asking the right questions.  I may give in at this point and just go take some Ambien.  Cause heaven knows it's all going to start again in a matter of hours.


Tennille said...

Oh, Jen. So nice to know that other mothers sometimes drown in the drudgery of everyday life. Makes me feel better, somehow! The only advice I can give is to get up before the kids and take a shower. I know it's annoying, but I started doing it a while back (except for Saturdays and Sundays) and it really is the only way that I can feel somewhat put-together and sane, amidst the craziness. Life may be psycho, but at least I'm showered, dressed, and have a bit of makeup on. It's a small consolation, but it's something.

Safire said...

I hate that mind numbing sameness every single day. It's the reason why I try really hard to schedule something every day so I make myself get out. This past week with all the snow made me not be able to get out at all. Drove me INSANE! And I have to say that my kids eat chicken nuggets for lunch 50% of the time because I didn't get ready in time to go out before lunch. I guess it does get better. One day they will all be in school!

SuburbiaMom said...

I caught these little hidden notes in your day: 1. You have food storage! and 2. You played with your kids!

Don't beat yourself up, too much. You'll find a good medium (and have to keep finding it as the years go on!)

Anonymous said...

Here I sit at 8:17 p.m., in a house that is a shambles: dinner still sitting cold on the stove, toys everywhere, the kids who should be in bed playing together in their room.... happily, for once. I wish I had the self-discipline to get cleanup and bedtime under my belt before I come read your blog.

So many times reading your post I felt like I relate so much to your day. Today I have been feeling like all other moms are better than me, too, for pretty much the same reasons you listed. James says I need more routine. Maybe that would help. I know I always feel better if I get the kids dressed, do the breakfast dishes and shower before getting on the computer.

Funny about always having to stop in the park to talk to strangers about your kids/stroller. :)

Rochelle said...

Yay for other moms that are going crazy too! And, I totally agree about dad's arrival being half and hour too late no matter what time it is...why does the crap hit the fan right before they get home?!

Anonymous said...

You are a great mom. You are where you are supposed to be. Difficult but so right. Please respect yourself. Your job is the most crucial job in all the world. If I lived by you, I would babysit your kids while you fixed dinner. I would clean up their toys and bathe them for you. Please know your job is so important. You are a gold medal mom.
A mom of five - all grown now.

The Spendloves said...

My favorite part of this post was figuring out what they were saying by your spelling... made me giggle to think of them eating pickles. I have to agree with Tennille though, if I'm not at least dressed for the day before I get them up, I'm in the worst mood all day. I don't know what it is... Maybe it's just that time alone in the morning where I still feel on top of things. Ah.. it fades so quickly.

Anonymous said...

You could apply to Super Nanny - get her expert advice and a $5,000 stipend. She won't tell you what you probably already don't know or do BUT having a third eye may help. I find your family cute and your attitude refreshing and honest. Being a stay at home mom is difficult - one of the most difficult jobs in the world.

AnnaMarie Ferrell said...

I hear you. I always tell myself that I'm going to start teaching Katie things...and doing cute, fun projects. And here I am, hoping her books distract her long enough for me to check blogs. :) It's how we stay sane. You're doing great. Your kids are happy, you engage with them, and love them. And you need your alone time. Too bad we always have to have it in the middle of the night, but I guess that's life!

Anonymous said...

Hold on there! I arrive on Tuesday.
You are doing a great, great job, and just need a tiny bit of help for two weeks.


Laurie Jones said...

Oh Jen. That makes me SO tired. I can't imagine taking care of twins and staying sane. You have inspired me to post about our days. I would have to do a productive day and a lazy day, because we have both around here. I can't seem too get to bed too early-you just need that time to yourself.

Chadlee said...

Our days are so similar, though it sounds like your kids are a lot more active. I feel the same way about so many things - I try to keep the house clean all day, but of course when Steve gets home, I'm trying to make dinner so the kids have messed everything up again and the kitchen is a disaster. And it's hard to go to bed knowing you have to wake up early and live the horror of it all again and again each day. Yep, I'm there with ya. And I'm not quite sure how to deal with it. If you find a good solution, let me know!

Coach said...


May I suggest you give up shame and guilt for Lent?

Jenilee said...

Jen, I am right there with you. Of course I only have one two year old right now and not two, but I do know how you feel. There are so many days when I feel like we just made it through the day, no fun activity, no real purpose for the day, just made it through. Those are the days I wish I was a better mom. I am relieved to here other moms, that I think are amazing, have the same kind of days. We are in this together.

camille said...

so you know that I always read about your boys and see myself in that situation altogether TOO soon! I dread the "climbing out of the crib" stage since we are just entering the climbing on the chair/table/anything within reach stage. I too hate the witching hour(s) of 4:30-7:30 and think it is hilarious that you also stay up dreading the "starting over tomorrow" thing. When are we going to learn that more sleep might actually HELP us deal with 3 dependent children ALL DAY! I'm SOOO glad I'm not the only one and to be perfectly honest when I read your blog it makes me feel better about my own situation (I mean this with so much love) but I know that I'm also in for it, just a few months behind you :) :)

Angie said...

Sometimes I WANT people to see what my life looks like, that maybe they'll understand. Sometimes, I don't even want to see what my life looks like, because even in retrospect it's just too exhausting to think about. But almost always, when I see what someone else's life looks like and it resembles mine, I feel solidarity, relief and sisterhood. Your post did that for me.

I agree with Neelie and BT. It used to drive me nuts when our mom would suggest strongly that getting up before the kids would make all the difference in the world, because there are just times when you just can't manage it and the week or so when you have to just dig in and do it to get your biorhythms in gear are truly awful (to sort out the early to rise AND early to bed part), but it really does help, it gives you some peace in advance of the chaos to arm you and gird your loins so to speak and that is more restorative than the peace at the end of the day is recuperative. But regardless of how it feels, you are doing a great work.

laura said...

I love your metaphor about the clouds. I also believe that we decide to be happy; we have a choice. I love your insight from the scriptures. Thanks for sharing and being so candid. It's always good to know that other moms feel the same way and experience similar feelings. But we all pick it up and do our best each new day, huh!?