Just Heather

Brenia moved out of her toddler bed and into the bunk beds Stacia has just relinquished.

I suppose I should feel sad or nostalgic—lamenting the passage of time and the loss of Brenia’s baby years—but mostly I’m just hoping it means she won’t be joining me in my bed in the middle of the night. Her story of “I was squished in my bed with Stuffy” just didn’t fly with me. I’m sure that bear really compares to 42″ of toddler sleeping sideways in my bed—not to mention the feet in my face.

Stacia is now sleeping on a mattress on the floor (so there’s no “under the bed” to clean), and soon to be sleeping on a yet-to-be-built loft. She’s moving into the highly marketed “tween” age. She is just at that in between stage where you don’t know how to treat her or what might interest her from minute to minute.

She’s not a little girl any more, but she’s still far from teen angst. I’m grappling with my new role as mother of an almost preteen. We’re wading into the muddy waters of tooth fairy disbelief, schoolyard tales, and No Boys Allowed clubs which will all lead into makeup, gossip, and boyfriends.

That just might make me cry.

  • Even at $2.99/gallon, I still prefer to drive in circles with the little ones snoring in the back than return home and risk waking them by stopping the car. (Don’t worry, dear, I don’t actually do this, though I have taken the scenic route on many occasions.)
  • I eat my children’s holiday candy. (Not all of it—just the good stuff. Reese’s peanut butter eggs have been a great source of sustenance in recent weeks.)
  • I take advantage of the fact that my children can’t tell time to put them in bed early.
  • I may say “Just pick a bathroom and go!” but I wouldn’t sit on that potty either.

The job of a SAHM is not an easy one. It is packed with carpools, runny noses, doctor appointments, and household chores. That image of the housewife sitting on the couch with her bon-bons? If only. But at the end of the day, I’m left looking around my trashed house wondering what it was I did all day that made me so tired.

A few months ago, we completed an exercise in my women’s ministry that shed some light on my daily life. I knew I was busy, I just didn’t realize how busy I truly was. We were given a grid with all the hours in a week and told to start filling it in. Begin with standing appointments and known tasks, then move on to things that aren’t scheduled, but require time out of our day. For example, I calculated that I spend 2 hours each day feeding and diapering the little one. That’s a task that is 5 minutes here, 20 minutes there, but adds up to a decent chunk of my day.

Turns out I have several such tasks—they don’t warrant a note on the calendar, but they do require much of my time. Supervising homework, returning non-sleeping kids to their beds, and cleaning spilled milk (yes, this is a daily one!), not to mention how many times this given-birth-3-times body goes to the bathroom each day. Once I filled in all the daily items, mundane chores (including laundry, coupon-clipping and grocery shopping), and, um, time with my husband—and allotted for 7 hours of sleep each night—there wasn’t a white space on the calendar.

So what happens when soccer season hits and each weekend suddenly needs nearly 5 extra hours—1 for practice, 1 1/4 for each game, and travel time back and forth all 3 trips? Or the bathroom crashes through the dining room and I’m pulled in 3 different directions for cleanup and repairs?

You get one over-worked, sleep deprived, celibate cranky mommy.

4:00am: Summoned by vomitting Stacia
4:15am: Gag while attempting to cleanup said vomit
4:20am: Decide cleanup can wait until morning
4:21am: Settle sick kid onto my floor
5:15am: Stacia pukes again
5:20am: Settle sick kid onto floor once again
7:15am: Early morning wakeup call by baby
7:20am: Baby back to sleep. God bless her favorite lullaby CD.
7:25am: Attempt to go back to sleep
8:15am: Brenia awake for the day
8:20am: Convince her to play quietly in her room
8:21am: Briefly wonder at her aquiescence; call school to inform them of sick kid’s absence
8:25am: Attempt to go back to sleep
8:45am: Awake to Stacia vomitting
9:00am: Breakfast for non-sick kids
9:15am: Launder puked-on bedding/clothes that shouldn’t have been on the floor
9:25am: Throw away puked-on toys that shouldn’t have been on the floor
9:30am: Spray carpet cleaner on the floor
9:35am: Call pediatrician for medical instructions
10:15am: Hubby awake—also sick—announces intention to take a bath in hopes of relieving what ails him
10:45am: Walk in on hubby taking a shower
11:15am: Notice a familiar dripping sound
11:16am: Mad-dash around the dining room to save all pictures from massive water damage coming through the ceiling
11:20am: Frantic phone calls to plumber, water restoration, and insurance company
12:00pm: Plumber arrives
12:30pm: Lunch for non-sick kiddos
1:00pm: After cutting giant hole in dining room ceiling to access pipes, plumber determines there is no leak
1:15pm: Plumber finds several cracks in bathtub
1:30pm: Hubby pissed that the one time he takes a bath it leaks, while my nightly bubble baths do nothing
1:45pm: Pay said plumber; show Chem-Dry into the wet area
2:00pm: Wonder how an $84 plumbing diagnostic fee became $127 when he didn’t actually fix anything
2:45pm: naptime for all kids
3:15pm: Instructions from Chem-Dry for 3-5 days of industrial fans and dehumidifer—again
3:30pm: Collapse onto couch for much-needed nap
3:32pm: Snack for baby
4:00pm: Nap for baby
4:15pm: Collapse onto bed for much-needed nap
4:20pm: Console non-sleeping baby
4:25pm: Collapse onto bed for much-needed nap
4:30pm: Console non-sleeping baby
4:35pm: Collapse onto bed for much-needed nap
5:00pm: Awakened by sickling to turn on the downstairs television
5:05pm: Find hubby asleep on the couch right next to the remote for said television
5:10pm: Retrieve fussy baby; Realize “lunch” consisted solely of milk
5:11pm: Feed baby
5:20pm: Start dinner
5:50pm: Realize starting dinner meant deciding what to fix while juggling baby on hip; attempt to put fussy baby down so I can actually cook something
6:00pm: Peel potatoes since for mashing as it’s about the only thing the sicklings will eat
6:15pm: Marvel at the disaster that is my house
6:45pm: Give up on any sense of routine and put baby to bed early
6:50pm: Wish I could end the day and go to bed early myself