A Day in the Life
The Internet is weird. I'm about to tell you what I do all day, and you're going to read it from a magic machine you hold in your hands.
What is this life.
Despite my feeling slightly icky in the presumption you'd be interested to hear about what my day looks like, I love it when others share the same, so... here goes.
My brick ranch in North Carolina that has a front yard full of weeds, a kitchen stocked with dairy-free muffins, and a TV always ready to start a New Girl rerun.
Kaz, 41 - my Japanese husband whose greatest joy in life is making me roll my eyes at his jokes
Sam, 6 - first grader, simultaneous rule enforcer and breaker, and shark aficionado
Ben, 4 - Sam follower, screamer, and banana bread taster
Annie, 5 months - ray of sunshine or black hole of frustration
The Dark O'Thirty Hours
1:00am - Annie wakes up to suck the life out of me
If I'm awake enough, I'll read a book on my phone (current choice: I Let You Go), and if I'm not, I just hope I don't drop her while nodding off. (Not that that's happened before...)
4:30am - The same as 1:00am
Except with one tiny difference: I rarely go back to sleep after. It's the WORST.
5:30am - Take a shower and try and look like a person
If my hair is washed and my shirt is laundered, my sanity lasts longer. Not forever, but longer.
(Actual times not included because burglars.)
I pour myself an iced coffee to gird my soul and drink it while I unload the dishwasher. This is tricky, however, because I try and do it silently so as to not usher out crazy boys before I'm ready to field their threats of fictional shark attacks. (Their shark obsession is borderline clinical.)
In that steamy dishwasher are the boys' Planetbox lunchboxes that are fantastic and hella expensive but are still going strong after four years. I figure most people buy their kids a new plastic lunchbox every year, emblazoned with the current Disney obsession, so buying one once is pretty much the same. So I fill the compartments with turkey sandwiches, apple slices, and chocolate-covered sunflower seeds (peanut allergy hollaaaaa), and finish my coffee.
Get the boys going
They've already been awake for at least half an hour at this point, but they aren't allowed out of their rooms until we get them. So far it works. I realize they'll turn on me eventually.
They get dressed while I take their breakfast order. Yep, I'm a short-order cook. They don't choose any other meal (even snacks), but for some reason, I like to let them choose their breakfast. I'm insane. They choose various combinations of eggs, bacon, fruit, muffins, and pancakes. They basically have a Denny's Grand Slam every morning. Again, INSANE.
Oh, and Annie usually wakes up somewhere in here and waits in her bouncy chair while I run my diner.
The boys act out shark attacks while they eat banana bread, and I selfishly sit at the kitchen counter - away from them - and eat my breakfast with a book. It's ten minutes max, but it's kind of necessary. My breakfast depends on what the boys ask for; if they want eggs, I eat them, too. If not, my current favorite is a dairy-free pancake (I have a bunch in the freezer) slathered with peanut butter loaded with hippie seeds like chia and hemp. I sweeten it with the great pendulum swing of either local raw honey or the cheapest grape jelly known to man. I don't discriminate. Sugar for President.
Feed the baby
Because that's what I do. All. The TIME.
*Everything so far has revolved around food. Just pointing that out.
Get the oldest out the door
Kaz usually takes Sam to school on his way to work even though we live a few blocks away. It gives the kids more time to play, but on mornings when the weather is nice and everyone is fed and clothed in record time, we'll say goodbye to Kaz and the kids and I will walk Sam to school. It's our own personal Mayberry.
Play Candyland until I want to die
Ben is still home for a bit before preschool and wants to play a game. He hates to lose. I hate to play. Why we continue this charade I'll never know. He also always asks if it's lunchtime yet.
Get the middle out the door
Ben goes to preschool four mornings a week, and naturally the time he has to go is when Annie wants to nap. Poor third kid. Strap in, babe. You're along for the ride.
Annie Annie Annie
I feed her and rock her to sleep, and most of that half hour is in my arms. If there's any slice of time she's in bed, I'll prep something for dinner, start a load of laundry, or do any task that takes less than ten minutes. Because that's probably all I have. Fortunately, I have either a comedy TV rerun on in the background or I listen to podcasts.
When she wakes up, we go to Target because obvs. Or CostCo on less glamorous days, but at least I don't come home with a million more chevron notecards. Then we lie in the floor and I dangle stuff in front of her like a cat and she laughs and I laugh and I can't believe it's only 10am haven't I been up for like half a day already oh wait YES. YES I HAVE.
Repeat as needed.
At some point in there, I eat lunch. Sometimes I force myself to wait until 11am because I'm not a toddler, and other times I grab a handful of peanuts on my out the door because it just hasn't happened yet. Maybe that's why I put so much effort into breakfast; lunch is far less dependable.
Pick up the middle from school
He comes home with half his lunch left, so while I inevitably have to feed Annie (again) and put her down for a long awaited nap, he watches a TV show, nibbles on his leftover apples, and then puts himself down for a nap. This is one of my cherished parenting miracles; my preschooler closes up shop on his own and just goes to bed like some weirdo. I'll come out of Annie's room to a quiet house and a sleeping or softly singing four year-old. It's one of my favorite moments of the day.
Kill time with my two youngest while we wait to get the oldest
They both wake up a good bit before it's time to pick up Sam, so we all lie around and color and dangle things and do the general small children activities that bore me to tears. But they're cute and this is my marathon, so we stick it out.
Pick up the oldest from school
If everyone is happy and it's not a million degrees outside, we walk. If not, we drive, but we always arrive early. Annie sits on my lap and chews on my finger while Ben wanders the walkway and talks to himself. I never take my phone because it's only a few minutes, and it's nice to be disconnected just for a breath. Plus I chat with the other school moms which - real talk - isn't my strength, but if you don't have awkward conversations for a little while, real ones won't ever happen. Then Sam turns the corner, Ben runs to him screaming his name, they hug like they're on some after school special, and I enjoy those ten seconds of brotherly love.
It doesn't even last to the van.
Survive the hardest time of day
It's a mad rush to fix snacks, do homework, tend to my baby leech, get out the post-school willies, and get a move on dinner - all at the exact same time. The usual order of operations is as follows: we get home from school, and I'll put Annie in some contraption while I fix snacks and the boys run around like maniacs. Then while Sam eats, he does his homework sheet. Fortunately, his teacher is a saint who gives him one homework packet to complete by the next Monday - no daily assignments. PRAISE. Then the boys build train tracks or throw pillows at each other while I put Annie down for her final nap, and if I'm lucky, I'll make it out of her room with maybe 15 minutes to start dinner.
It's at this point the boys get the iPad, and I thank the heavens for technology that makes them quiet for longer than two minutes. I then juggle a waking baby who would trade her soul for some avocado, a humming stove with a red and/or brown dinner, and boys who constantly need me to "watch this." When Kaz pulls in the driveway around 5:15pm, I essentially lose ten pounds.
Single moms? I don't know how you do it. You are warrior wizards who deserve your own nationally recognized holiday.
5:30pm - Eat dinner like old people
Sometimes it's earlier than 5:30pm. I am not ashamed. The elderly population eats this way because they're wise and wonderful and know that early dinners are what dreams are made of.
6:00pm - Start putting Annie to bed
We do the whole bath, song, feeding thing, and she takes a lifetime to decide she's ready to sleep for longer than an hour. The boys are in bed by 7:45pm, and sometimes I'm still not in the land of the living by then hashtag babies eye roll emoji.
8:00pm - Reset Groundhog Day
Kaz and I pick up toys, wipe off counters, make lunches, I jot tomorrow's tidbits in my Bullet Journal, and we have a conversation for the first time that day that doesn't involve permission slips and pee spills. It's glorious and an anchor and often lasts less then twenty minutes before we both fall asleep on the couch watching Veep. I don't mind; we're marathoning together.
9:30pm - Force myself to wash my face like a grownup before I go to sleep in an actual bed
I mean, right? Taking the time to wash your face when you're bone-dead tired is possibly the hardest thing for an enormously privileged woman to do. But I do it, climb under my I-have-no-idea-the-last-time-I-washed-them sheets, and will myself to sleep as quickly as possible since I know I'll be on baby duty at any time.
It's a repetitive life that primarily involves bacon and breastfeeding, but it's mine and I'll take it.
What part of your day is your favorite?