And down the stairs we go. I fend the baby off just long enough to help the kid pour his bowl of cereal. I sit down and the baby immediately starts moaning at my shirt in this, "I'm pretty sure you know what I want, but I'm gonna be extra loud just in case you forgot" sort of way. And just as he starts in, down the stairs traipse the 3 and 5 year old beauty queens with their blankets in tow and their curly hair matted up in fluffy rats nests plastered across their faces.
"Good morning Beautifuls," I say, as the oldest plops herself on the couch, but mostly on top of me, and starts loving on her baby brother, who is totally distracted and yanks away to smile at his sister as my plethora of milk squirts halfway across the room. I get him redirected to the task at hand just as the 3-year-old looks me point blank in the face and says, "I want breakfast," and continues to utter the exact same phrase over and over even though I've already explained to her just as many times that I can get it for her when her brother is done nursing. I love her, but she's the result of that phrase my mother told me over and over as a child, "I hope you get one just like you." Apparently mothers have that sort of control in life. I got one just like me. And she wants what she wants when she wants it and she wants it now.
So I plop the baby in his chair at the counter and immediately dump some cereal in front of him in hopes of distracting him for a couple minutes so I can get the girls some breakfast. That works for about 20 seconds. I flip the switch on my espresso machine, because I have one now you know. The girls get settled and I sit and start to feed the baby some food while I try and shovel some cold cereal into my face and end up feeding the baby half of it because he's the size of a two-year-old and eats more than I do. Meanwhile, whatever food I've given him that isn't mind, he throws on the floor. I guess that means he's done. I wipe him down and take his banana covered clothes off and change his diaper. In his cleanliness he decides to go sit in the middle of the food he threw on the floor and starts to eat his 2nd breakfast.
He's occupied, the 5-year-old is still eating, and the 7 & 3-year-old's have their noses in a book, nows as good time as any to get me some coffee! I enjoy coffee and today I'm gonna have an Irish cream latte. The whirring of the steam wand in my milk is comforting. The smell of the pulled shots bring me back to a simpler time in my life. I finally get to sit down on the couch to drink my liquid comfort and the 3-year-old comes over to announce she's hungry. You see, she eats about three breakfasts a day because every single night, whether the food is something she actually likes or not, she refuses to eat her dinner and is probably starving every morning. I reach around to give her a hug and realize she's wet. Awe... Crap. She must've peed the bed. She's potty trained mind you, but sometimes she just cant make it until morning and decides to NOT share the fact that she wet the bed.
Let the cleaning commence. I send her upstairs to go stand in the bathtub while I find and clean everything she's sat on. Then I head upstairs to take her bed apart and throw it in the washing machine. I go and have a talk with her about telling Mommy when she's had an accident and I decide to not just rinse her but give her a full on bath since I can't remember when the last time she actually bathed was. Oops.
I throw a yogurt on the table for the newly bathed and dressed child and by the time we are done, the baby has had it and needs some attention. We hang for a bit, play on the floor and soon it's time for his nap. I get him to bed and I sit my butt on the couch just to realize my epic cup of coffee goodness is cold and nasty. So I nuke it and the count down timer in my head starts... An hour and 25 minutes, tops... I take a couple of sips and set my sights on getting the other two kids dressed and ready for the day. That's a twenty minute fight... 1 hour, 5 minutes... The 3-year-old wants her third. Breakfast. I brush everyone's teeth and jump on the treadmill for a quick run. I'm sweaty, I'm gross... 30 minutes left, just enough time for a shower... And he's awake. Crap!
I bribe the older kids to play with and distract the baby with half empty promises of greatness so I can shower. I clean myself in less than 3 minutes, pack the kids some lunch, and we jump in the van and head to the library. We pick books, we check them out, and I need to run to the grocery store cuz we're out of milk... And yogurt, and probably a hundred other things I won't realize we are out of until I walk down the aisle and go, "oh yah, we need that." The kids eat their peanut butter and honey sammies in the van while I starve and by the time we get home it's time for nap number two for the smallest of the small fries. I get the baby to bed and for two seconds, the kids are playing nicely. I sit. That's it. I sit. And the longer I sit, the more inadequate I feel.
I need to be productive.
I need to make something I can sell since I don't have a job and I need some source of income because we have four kids and raising four children doesn't pay in cash.
I need to come up with some awesome craft to do with my kids like all the moms on Pinterest do.
I need to plan some child's birthday party with handmade invites and streamers made out of all of the old newspapers I've saved. Oh wait, I don't get the paper.
I need to document and blog about the latest wonderful thing one of my children did, like turning 3.
I need to go bake something delicious and gluten/sugar/dairy free because that's what good health conscious mothers do.
I need to go for a run because I'm not as thin as I could be and there is this mom down the road that is gorgeous and teensy. Why did I have to be the one with the slow metabolism and big bones!?
I need to create a handwritten treasure map and clues to the map and go bury treasure that I happened to have hand made in my free time the other day in some obscure place in order to entertain my kids because I was put here on this earth to entertain them.
And oh crap, I need to defrost some meat because I need to have it thawed for that dinner I pinned onPinterest that I need to have on the table when my husband gets home at 5:30.
And I am overwhelmed. Completely overwhelmed.
And I realize something: I suck. I'm inadequate. I'm not a good enough mother. I'm not the best mother, far from it in fact. And so I sit. Then a child cries. And another one yells and I jump up out of the fog of self appointed patheticness and I run upstairs to break up the fight. And I go downstairs and I sit on Facebook and see all of the wonderful and amazing things all of my friends are doing. I see all of the pins on Pinterest I planned on doing or making and I decide to start a project, or sweep, or vacuum, and a child cries. And I repeat the process. Until the baby awakens and I realize I never finished anything. The floor is still filthy and only half of the dishes are put away and we didn't do a treasure hunt and why am I so dizzy? Oh yah, I didn't eat lunch. So I grab a handful of leftover raisins from the kids' lunch and I get the kids a snack.
Some days we go hang out at the pool because I don't have the energy to do anything else. Or we will have dance parties or make forts or play games. But a lot of the time I just play referee. The husband gets home and most days I'm like, "welp... I didn't make dinner." And my husband, being the saint he is, will whip something up. Part of me just doesn't have the heart to make food for a bunch of people that just yell at me and tell me how much they hate it. I guess there's no joy in that.
So after we spend the better part of the evening trying to convince four small people to put a nourishing substance in their mouths AND swallow it, we spend the last bit of daylight wrestling them into their beds. And we get slandered while we do it... Like the time my husband told our 3-year-old she can't sleep with the tape recorder and she yelled, "STOP BEING MEAN TO JESUS!" at him. This is the point in time I tell them, "Mommy is done. Do not come out of your room unless you are on fire or have to go potty." And yet they somehow make it down the stairs a few more times to get a book, or tell me there's a bug in their bed, or just because they wanted to tell me a random fact about a Pokemon character they know before they all finally pass out around 9:30pm. And at this point the very VERY last thing I want to do is well, anything... Especially write a blog post about the wonderful antics of my newly three-year-old daughter. But I do it. And why is that? Why do we feel this overwhelming desire, as mothers, to make all other mothers think we are the healthiest, craftiest, most put together one of them all?
It's tiring, it's relentless, it's the farthest thing from glamorous, but it's the job. And we do it because we love them. And I know a lot of times people think I have it all together, which at times I do... But most times I don't. And that's okay. I'm sure I'm not the only one that has days when I'd rather sit, pantless on my couch, without makeup and my hair pointed sideways with food all over my floor, and everyone in their pajamas, than expend the effort it takes to leave the house. Or at least those people are better at hiding it than I am.