I want to tell you a birthday wish but first, allow me to share my average day.
Before the sun comes up Sylvia calls for a changing and morning feeding. Once Sylvia is cared for and content I wake up and make breakfast for, Luke. After going back and forth with him for twenty minutes regarding his school attire I do his hair (another twenty-minute procedure) and prepare his school book bag. After cleaning breakfast dishes (an almost impossible undertaking as Sylvia is opening every drawer and cupboard removing all items onto the floor) she has to be changed again. During this morning obstacle course, I am also tending to cries from falls, cuts, head bumps, scrapes, scratches, hurt feelings and of course constantly taking inedible objects out of Sylvia’s mouth she can choke on. If Sylvia lets me put her down and I get a minute or two – where all disasters are averted and needs met – I attempt to make a cup of coffee (but don’t count on drinking it hot). Luke now missed his school bus – because he couldn’t find one of his sneakers – so all of us must now rush to get dressed and into the car we go fighting morning traffic to make it to school on time.
Shortly after pulling back into my driveway the phone is ringing and the doorbell is buzzing as friends and family assume being home means endless free-time to devote to their wants and needs. While chatting with friends and family I prepare Luke’s school clothes and lunch for the following day, in addition, to quickly picking up the house from the morning chaos. Multitasking, I attempt to respond to some pressing emails that I’ve completely neglected for days, even weeks. Moments later (far from finishing emails and such) it’s nearing lunch time. With Sylvia on one hip and a spatula in one hand, I whip something up that’s debatably healthy. After feeding her (and creating a very dirty kitchen from the circus of lunch) I begin her nap routine.
When Sylvia falls asleep I put myself on fast forward throwing in some laundry, cleaning the kitchen, watering the plants, taking leaves out of the pool, scrub toilets (because we all know, with boys, it’s impossible to actually pee IN the toilet), grab the mail/pay bills, feed the fish, empty the dishwasher, make pediatrician, dental, car etc., appts. and try to fix/repair many things that the kids broke (because when a family is working with one income you do your best to save money wherever/whenever possible) before Sylvia wakes up shrieking for my attention once again.
I feed and change Sylvia, get her dressed and prepare a snack for Luke’s return from school. Luke arrives home and while he eats a quick snack I sort through a mountain of school papers. Once finished I am off to drive him to and from sports practice/events. After sports practice/games etc., we stop quickly for some groceries (and gas so I can mow on the weekend). I finally get home and juggling a baby on one arm and groceries on the other start dinner. While dinner is cooking I vacuum, change Sylvia, help Luke with his homework and start setting the table. I get the kids washed up for dinner in an attempt to enjoy a relaxing/peaceful family meal (yeah, I know, wishful thinking but one can dream 😊
Just then Eric walks in from work and asks if I called the t.v. repairman. After apologizing that I did not get the chance he looks at me perplexed asking, “what did you do all day?”
Taking a deep breath, I make Luke’s plate (and argue with him for a half hour over every bite) then make Sylvia’s food and feed her. By the time Sylvia’s finished with her dinner Luke wants dessert. After giving Luke dessert, I finally get a chance to have a bite of my (now freezing cold) dinner. In the midst of addressing table manners, I am able to choke down two quick bites of food before the kids are finished and antsy to leave the table. Starving, I wipe their hands, faces, and fingers and in the bathtub they go.
After baths, brushed teeth and pajamas, kids are put to bed with a story and prayer. Eventually, both fall asleep and then it is time for me to clear the dinner table, load the dishwasher, finish cleaning the kitchen and (let’s not forget) fold and put away the laundry I’ve ignored all day. I then pick up toys, tidy the house, turn lights off/alarms on and shut it down for the night. Once the house is quiet I take a shower and drop into bed ready to repeat this cycle in just a few hours.
There are no weekends, no holidays, no lunches, no coffee or cigarette breaks and Lord knows no bathroom breaks. If by chance I try to sneak into the bathroom there are little fingers under the door with screams of bloody murder outside it. There are no happy hours after work, no bonuses, pats on the back, “thank yous” or paychecks at the end of the week. If anyone thinks stay-at-home parents lie on the couch and watch Oprah while slowly eating bonbons you couldn’t be more off 🙂
So, what do I want for my birthday? A day off! 😊
That said, you could not pay me enough for a different set of children, spouse, or life. I am beyond fortunate to be able to do what I do and thankful to have a spouse that works equally hard. Every day is a labor of love for my family and I thank God daily for each and every one of them!