So time to time when I’m pregnant I feel like a bad mother. Why exactly, do you ask? Because when I’m pregnant I have the audacity to ask my kids to step up and help out. Gasp! How dare I? I’m the mother after all right? I’m supposed to change every single diaper, keep the house all times, wash fifteen loads of clothes a day, fold them and put them away, cook dinner from scratch, have fresh baked goodies for my children to eat, homeschool them all and maintaining civility at all times, plus make sure they are all clean at all times, well feed all the time, and put them down for their naps plus supervise their play outside and in at all times. Oh and do it with a cheery disposition. Right? Isn’t that what the poster mom of all mothers of the year do?
Pft. Right. Like that EVER happens. Here’s how it really goes down. Thanks to being pregnant I can’t sleep at night. I get in bed at ten or earlier because I’m exhausted. But then I toss and turn, get up to pee, and otherwise cannot clear my mind enough to fall asleep. I often find myself awake at 2 or 3 in the morning still. Unfortunately, Mark and David, my one and two year olds, didn’t get the “sleep in late” memo they’re up between 6:30 and 7 an every morning. Rarely they will sleep till 8. So I begrudgingly pull myself out of bed, or if I’m feeling really lazy, I try texting Emily before she leaves for school and I get Lilly up. She’s now 10 and maybe some people think that’s too young to watch siblings but it’s not like I leave the house and the alternative is insanity due to sleep deprivation. Besides I sleep so lightly I usually get about an hour of sleep extra, sometimes two. Sleep my pregnant sleep deprived busy desperately needs. I always wake up feeling exhausted. Anyways I leave her with instructions to change the boys and make them some breakfast (usually cereal, oatmeal, or grits. Occasionally she makes them toast or boiled eggs though but usually it’s the cereals). Then I try to get a little more shut eye knowing the house will be a disaster when I wake up.
I’m usually up by 9. I quickly get dressed and head out to the main room. Shane is still asleep at this point because he works second shift and doesn’t get home till 2 am. I sit down with my tablet, send the boys outside to play (not Mark because he is too little to have sense enough to stay out of the road). Then I have Sierra and Lilly clean up. Lilly and my eldest stepdaughter, Dixie, have kitchen duties after breakfast and lunch and Sierra cycles laundry for me.
“Quickly” I always tell them to clean up but apparently that means “take two hours”. So by the time they get done and often before they’re done, Mark is absolutely screaming for his nap. I try and put all four of the little guys to nap at the same time but it rarely works. If I do it works like this: Mark passes out right away. David passes out like thirty to forty five minutes later. Then I come back into the den, yell at Sierra and Jordan to stop playing take their naps, and hope to God Lilly has finished cleaning up from breakfast. Assuming she is, I get Lilly started on her school work for the day. Of course by this time she wants lunch so it’s kind of a slow start as she makes and then eats lunch at the computer. Plus this is around the time Shane gets ready to leave for work so I’m socializing with him since this is really the only time of day I get to see him during the week.
I probably get one to two hours of nap time out the kids which I use to read my daily Bible devotionals, check Facebook, watch a bit of Netflix, continue directing Lilly on her schoolwork so she doesn’t get distracted playing games. I also plan dinners, make grocery lists, get something to eat myself, fold laundry (easier to do when Mark isn’t all over the clothes), etc.
Shortly thereafter the boys all wake up and sometimes I make them lunch, sometimes Lilly makes them lunch, sometimes even Sierra makes lunch because she knows how to make sandwiches and ramen in the microwave. She knows, four, which numbers to put it on and with the exception of melting a spoon one time she actually does a really good job, albeit a messy one. Well of course the boys are making a mess the whole time and I’m trying to split my attention between them getting into sugar, creamer, ketchup, syrup, or whatever other condiment they’ve decided to try and eat today, and supervising Lilly and Sierra homeschooling. After lunch I send the boys out to play and try to finish school with the girls. Sometime before three thirty though we have a cleaning frenzy and I work on daily and weekly chores while the girls try to clean up after lunch before Emily and Matthew get home from school.
Then confess the inevitable drama as the teens find something the little guys got into during the day (we have a girls room and a boys room not individual rooms so we are struggling with teaching boundaries and respect for others personal things). The remainder of my afternoon is spent finishing homeschooling, miscellaneous chores, and putting out drama fires with all my kids who start acting worse as the afternoon wears on towards the supper hour (right now we don’t really have anything for them to snack on but we usually try and have fruit and such for them. Plus I usually bake more when I’m not pregnant so there’s usually more snacks around).
Then I start making dinner. Of course this is the time the kids like to act the craziest so I usually turn on Spiderman on Netflix during this time because all the little guys like it. They’re quiet enough for maybe an hour so I can cook. Usually. A lot of times though they come in the kitchen and annoy the crap out of me getting into everything and making a mess. Plus I’m still working with all the kids about the quality of their chores so I freak out a bit while cooking because my feet stick to the floor and it’s still messy. I tend to stress out a lot to tactile sensations this so it’s difficult to cook. Plus the whole I stand on my feet for five minutes and I’m exhausted and have to sit down thing.
If the kids are acting unusually crazy I have Emily start their baths while I work on dinner. This is pretty much the only time during the day that I can day they’re clean… I just see little point in cleaning them up during the day. They play in the dirt all day and the boys absolutely don’t even care how disgusting they are. They are the boys that play with bugs and put rocks their pockets. A little food on their faces is not even anything to blink at. I try to clean them up before nap but that even always happen. I know. I’m bad. I do clean them up before I take them out somewhere though so that’s a plus. Also I try to remind my daughters to brush their hair everyday but truly sometimes I forget that too, being caught up in all the day’s happenings. I forget that just because I’m clean it doesn’t mean everyone is.
So when supper is finally ready after an endless chorus of “I’m starving. When supper. I’m so hungry.” The wolves then come stampeding to the table. You’d think there would be a few minutes of quiet while they eat but no…that would be too easy. They always play, make a mess, and try and get into stuff. One day I will be able to buy a kitchen table big enough for everyone but right now it only seats the little guys.
I look forward to after supper time because it’s usually around bedtime for Mark and David then. I have them all go brush their teeth and put the boys to bed. This is kind of a relax time for me. Daily chores are done except maybe some crafts after the boys are out or a last load of clothes. So I research on my phone, read on kindle, or watch Netflix on my phone while I put them to sleep. Usually they are pretty good about going to sleep – one of the biggest perks to their play hard mentality!
After they are out I get my bath and relax with Netflix, research, playing a game, doing crafts, etc. Usually one to two hours. Then I try to go to sleep, have a semi regular bout of insomnia and do it all over again the next day!
So I’m far from perfect and it’s often chaotic here but everyone feels loved, we go to bed clean with the house clean, and everyone contributes to the household work, thus learning responsibility plus how to do their work. Since there are so many kids and we all do some work everyone is able to get down time. Everyone gets play time. Maybe not as much as they want but they do all get fun time. Usually at least two hours too, often more.
So maybe I don’t micromanage every detail of every child’s life because it’s just not humanly possible but we have worked out a system which works decently well at least big picture wise lol. Day to day it feels chaotic and busy but we get what needs to be done finished every day so that’s good.