Being a mom of three little ones is taking its toll on me. Last Friday I was sicker than I have been in a long time, I was unbearably nauseous and threw up seven times in three hours – in short, I was asking for someone to put me out of my misery by lunch time. I lived and am surviving through the beginning of whatever it is I’m catching now from the kids but I can’t seem to get back on the horse. Olivia had a week off of school because of how sick she was (not nausea but congestion/throat/nose issues) and of course, the Monday after I was sick was the day she was ready to go back. I dragged myself up our driveway holding her hand and struggling under the massive weight of the new flashlight in my other hand at 6:45am and thought to myself, this is not working. Overworked, under-slept, stressed, and miserable and it wasn’t just because I was on the mend. Due to many reasons, I have not been myself.
I decided to make the effort to change it. One of my largest annoyances with people is that they see a problem, they visualize a solution, and then they do nothing to solve it. Drama creates attention and people LOVE attention. So rather than solving the problem, it’s so much more beneficial to ignore it and thrive off of the outcome! Not me – whining over the fact that Olivia has to go to school early isn’t going to help me get up any earlier or feel better about doing so.
My current problem is the “Mom Cycle”, here’s an example:
6:20 AM Alarm chimes. My finger scrambles over my phone screen trying to touch the “ignore” part of the screen. I blindly shove the switch to vibrate so I don’t wake Rachael.
6:25 AM Alarm vibrates. I touch screen.
6:30 AM Alarm vibrates. I touch screen and groggily sit up. I stare at the clock for two minutes.
6:32 AM I pull on clothes (in the dark), grab my glasses and my phone (which I now hate) and silently leave the room without waking Cameron or Rachael. (While we’re living with my parents, Rachael sleeps in her playpen in our bedroom.) I wake up Olivia, dress her and do her hair, she goes to the bathroom, I throw her snack and water in her backpack. While tying her shoes I check her homework sheet to make sure it’s signed, sheet goes back in the folder which goes back in the backpack.
6:45 AM Coats are on, grab 2 ton flashlight, make sure Olivia has coat zipped and backpack on, head out into the good ol’ country PITCH BLACK morning to catch the bus.
6:51 AM (Also known as “whenever the bus arrives”.) Livy crosses the street, gets on the bus, I wave to the long line of windows having no idea where she is on the bus because she’s barely tall enough to see through the windows. Head back home.
7:00 AM I arrive home somewhere around this time and attempt to sit down. If the kids aren’t awake yet, most mornings I’ll start to build a fire in the family room. If Duncan’s awake, I generally tend to him and his breakfast. Within the next hour Rachael and Cameron wake and come out to have breakfast.
From 7:00-9:00 AM During this time it’s generally a free for all. Most times it’s filled with breakfast and Rachael deciding when she needs to go potty or whether she wants to finish her cereal. Duncan asks about 20 times if he can play the Wii, I respond about 20 times that he may play the Wii as soon as he’s done with breakfast and has finished his chores. On a good morning, he does them. On a bad morning, he cries. Rachael hugs him.
From 9:00-10:00 AM Cameron starts to get ready for work, he leaves around 10:00 AM and work starts at 11:00. I make his lunch while he finishes up, kiss, and he’s out the door to work.
10:01 AM Mistakenly announce that it’s time for Rachael’s nap. Rachael hears and takes off running repeating, “Nooo nooo nooo!”
10:03 AM Finally find the baby, scoop her up, change her diaper, put her to bed.
10:04 AM I check on the house, look at what needs to be done, decide what to do, what to wait on. Nine times out of ten, some of the things that I could have done are things that need to be done IN my bedroom where Rachael is sleeping. If I would have started this earlier I could have put the laundry away in my closet rather than piling it by the door…
From 10:05 AM-12:00 PM Trying not to overdo it, because I’ve been known to AHEM overdo it, I clean throughout the next two hours taking mini online breaks or nook times in between to not go crazy. Unloading the dishwasher, doing the dishes, vacuuming, cleaning bedrooms, taking out the garbage (if there is any), laundry, sweeping hardwoods, watering the Christmas tree, stoking the fire, pulling out meat for dinner, cleaning the upstairs bathroom, reminding Duncan to feed the cat, coaxing Duncan off the Wii to do some preschool sheets, the list goes on… I don’t do these things all together everyday, on general my Wednesdays (laundry day) are full of these things but that day comes once a week, THANK HEAVENS. On a normal day I do the vacuuming and kitchen cleaning and skip the laundry and big jobs.
12:01 PM About this time Rachael wakes up. Me: “Lunch time.” Duncan: “I don’t want lunch.” Me: “Why not?” Duncan: “I’m not hungry.” Rachael eats her lunch.
12:05 PM Me: “Duncan, big snack time!” Duncan: “Oh GOOD, I’m SO hungry. What is there?” Me: “I made you a snack sandwich, snack Gogurt, snack crackers, and a snack apple with snack peanut butter.” Duncan: “Oooh, I LOVE snack!” Rachael pointing to her lunch: “SNACK!” Helpful Hint #375: ANYTHING can be a snack when you’re four. (Or 22 months.)
From 12:30-2:19 PM Finish up the lunch dishes, wipe down the table, more of the cleaning listed above, sometimes a second vacuuming. Run around after the children, cleaning up after them, hiding markers from the baby, telling Duncan he needs a break from the Wii, jumping up every time Rachael announces “Potty!”, stoking the fire, possibly eating some lunch myself, blogging, a little online window shopping, etc. Rachael goes down for her second nap around 2:00. Sometimes she takes it, sometimes she doesn’t.
From 2:20-2:49 PM Study and read scriptures. Sometimes this gets done, other days I read one scripture and mentally count my blessings that I at least got to read one.
2:50 PM Leave to pick up Olivia from the bus stop. Because of the nasty dogs on our street that are ALWAYS out because their humans don’t feel like dealing with them, Duncan generally stays at the house and watches me from the storm door. Pick up Olivia, walk home with her and talk about her day.
3:00 PM Olivia throws jacket, shoes, and backpack on the floor right in front of the door. I remind her to clean them up, she does. We sit down to do homework and talk about school and what she’s doing in class and with her friends on recess.
From 3:45-5:50 PM More kitchen cleaning while getting ready to make dinner for nine people (ten with Maddie) and then make dinner. Rachael wakes around 4:00 or 4:30. Stoke the fire, pull out the now clean dishes from the dishwasher.
5:50 PM Get my sisters or the kids to set the table, or do it myself. This request is always met with lovely whining.
6:00 PM If dinner is on time, we eat at 6:00. Sometimes it’s later – okay, a lot of times it’s later.
7:00 PM Remind Brinsley to do the dishes after dinner. Help to clear the table, gather the dishes, put away the placemats, wrap up the leftover food, wipe down the counters and table. Scramble to get the kids started on our new struggling bedtime routine: Liv shower, Dunc shower, panties and pjs on, in bed, I come around and reads books with each (or together), say prayers, kisses, they go to bed. Hurriedly put away laundry or books or shoes or bags or whatever in my bedroom while delaying Rachael’s bedtime.
8:00 PM Generally by 8:00 all three kids are in bed and fairly quiet for the time being. They get up about 1-2 times depending on the circumstances.
From 8:01-10:30 or 11:00 PM Sit, finally, on the couch and watch Netflix with Cam. Surf internet. Blog. Waste time. Basically it’s a struggle between being exhausted, but not tired; happy to be done for the day, but itching to do SOMETHING because it’s free time; looking forward to sleeping, but not looking forward to the next day…
6:20 AM Alarm chimes…
See what I mean? But I’m not going to continue whining over it – the parts of it that I can control I’m going to change to help me for the better. If I can be better rested, prioritize, not procrastinate I think I’ll be a better wife and mom – what’s there to lose? They say that if Mom’s not happy, nobody’s happy… maybe they’re right?
Personally, I do a lot better and feel a lot better about everything around my if I have a schedule written out, or a to-do list where I can cross things off. While this has worked great in the past, now that we’re back in school and out in the country – the schedule is VERY repetitive. Occasionally I’ll surprise the kids with a trip to the library and the park next door during the week. But between trying to save on gas (that’s a 20 minute drive) and trying to save my sanity from running around after them and discreetly “hushh!”-ing them for the entire time we’re in the library, it doesn’t happen every week.
So what’s the next best thing? If a schedule is set in stone and never-changing, who says I can’t shake up the goals? I’ve been trying a new method to keep myself motivated and creatively active. It’s worth a shot, right? With a happy and creative mama comes happy and creative kiddos that are in better moods due to busy hands. What could be better? Part II posts tomorrow.