fitting life into…life

My alarm goes off at 6:00 every morning, which for some reason sounds excruciatingly early. I stumble out of bed around 6:15, shuffle into the bathroom, wash my face, and try to put my contacts in without getting a fistful of fur in my eye, since the cat decides that this is the best time to jump on the counter and rub all up on me.

I shuffle into the kitchen, shuffle into the girls’ room (I do a lot of shuffling in the pre-dawn hour) and attempt to wake them up. Rachel is super cuddly, but eventually rolls out of bed. Claire is cranky and whiney, but eventually lets me drag her out. We do our best to leave Zoe alone, since she needs her sleep, and wrangling 2 kids is easier than 3 (shocker), but she gets super pissed if she misses out on breakfast with her sisters and often forces herself to wake up and join us.

From the time they are up, it’s a whirlwind of eating breakfast, making lunches, packing snacks, brushing teeth, feeding the cats, getting dressed, brushing teeth, letting the dog out, getting socks on, BRUSH YOUR TEETH, SHOES! SHOES! SHOES! Like, how does one forget to put on the left sock?

Somewhere in there, I manage to get dressed myself. Walk to school, head out for a run (maybe), come home, make coffee and breakfast, shower (maybe?), take Zoe to school, come home, work work work, head out to start the pickup process. Come home, snacks, folders, all of the dishes I neglected throughout the morning, more coffee, clearing space on the table for LEGOs or more drawings or bookmaking, and for the love of cheese fries, please hang up your backpack before I trip over it again.

Coffee or no coffee, once the late afternoon rolls around, I am beat and want nothing more than to flop on the couch, but then it’s what’s for dinner?  then panicking about dinner and then the actual making of the dinner. Then it’s eat your dinner, sit on your bottom, and no, sour cream is not an acceptable side dish. 

Baths (maybe), brushing teeth, dry yourself off, PJs, books, lullabies, lights out. I finally flop on the couch and listen to the giggles and the continued craziness that comes with three girls sharing the same room and wonder when will this not be chaotic? Where are the slow-moving evenings I remember as a kid, where there were no drill sergeants, where I would jump into my dad’s lap as he watched TV and breathed into his face so he could smell that I brushed my teeth?

I’m exhausted. During these days there’s no time for writing, or if there’s time, there are no words or inclination. I’ve opened up countless drafts, only to stare at the white space of doom. I can’t seem to find time to vacuum, fold the laundry, contact that person about that thing, clean the bathrooms, but in reality, when there is time, I have to choose between doing those things or taking a much needed break. I feel the constant push and pull of the “need tos” and the “want tos” and wonder how everyone else balances it all out, how they fit life into their life.

In the evenings I start dreaming of going to bed with my book at 9pm. I want to write. I need to straighten up that dining room table. I should do those strength exercises I put off earlier. But all I really want to do is dial up some Netflix and binge watch Friday Night Lights, because let’s face it – that’s the only way this laundry is going to get folded.

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  1. I watch a lot of TV while nursing. I stopped cooking dinner when the twins were born. We survive on takeout and frozen meals. The kids are all mostly clean and fed, and the older two are usually left to their own devices (i.e. self-entertainment).

    Quiet evenings – what is that?

    1. Girl, you are in straight up survival mode right now. No shame in takeout and frozen meals and self entertainment.

  2. I see myself in this.
    I also see myself on the couch tonight at 9 pm with the laundry basket beside me. And I’m watching Netflix.

  3. PREACH.

    It took me four and a half hours of Law&Order last night to force myself through the backed up dishes and laundry. It’s like I’m on nanny detail from 7am-8pm, and then once everyone finally quiets down I start my second shift as housekeeper.

    So. Tired.

  4. But the joy I see in those kids’ pictures? It means that despite all the crazy you are creating a childhood for them that they will cherish. And sister, we have to encourage each other, because from my vantage point you are doing a mighty fine job. Mighty fine, indeed. I’m just so proud of you for your laughter and your spunk and your humor and dedicating so much time to your littles. The lost tooth, the itchy rash, the times at the park, the jumping up and down and macaroni. It’s all just bound up in a web of beauty because when they got older it will be “remember when” and “what the hell was up with. . .” and they will throw back their head in laughter at all the awesome. The awesome that YOU and your husband have created. The childhood that YOU helped craft. I’m just so damn proud of you.

    1. This comment made my day, Amanda. And I realize looking back that this post is more about the daily grind and less about the gratitude. Which is funny, because I wrote about this in my journal as well, and remembered to mention how grateful I am that I get to stay home with them and be here when they get out of school and take them to Sonic for limeades on Fridays. I’m so very grateful to have this time with them.

  5. Oh yeah, this sounds verrrry familiar. I’m having a hard time fitting life into life too right now. I thought I would have more time and be less tired as the kids got older, but um no, not yet. But thank god for Netflix and Friday Night Lights, I love them. 🙂

  6. Netflix Instant has to be one of the top few things to come out in the past 20 years that is just a game changer in terms of how it affects our life. Who wants to fold laundry in a world without Netflix? Communists, that’s who. Just kidding, I’m sure even communists love Netflix. 😛

  7. I was sharing a similar story with my older brother recently. He was here visiting. His 2 kids are in college now and he lives alone. As I lamented the chaos and the mess and the various reasons to exclaim WTF, he said, “In 10 years, it’s all over.” I couldn’t believe it but yes, for me, in 10 years this is done. I’m home alone. His point was to just be in it. Because soon enough it’s over. And he was speaking from experience.

  8. Amen. I can barely figure out how to get the laundry folded, let alone write. But I’ve just surrendered to the craziness lately and lowered my standards when it comes to accomplishing anything beyond parenting. It’s funny that you wrote this – I always think you manage to achieve so much in terms of writing etc!

  9. This is relevant to my life. Also, every life ever. GOD BLESS NETFLIX. And you and your lovely writing.

  10. Honestly, I feel like I could have written this . . . but oh, the snuggling, and the temptation pre-coffee, kids in bed, knowing they *need* to get dressed . . . but, if they *really* needed to get dressed, why are they so warm and comfy?

    It’s funny, Sunday nights are my “chill out” night . . . which means binge watching something & folding laundry. Honestly, if it weren’t for a few moments of downtime at work every now & then, I’d have to hang up the blog.

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