Wake early to quietly tiptoe to the basement to scoop seed and start a new batch of chicken fodder soaking, slip on coat and boots, lock the dog-who-likes-to-bark up, walk down the driveway to let the chickens out of both coops (while propping the gate open so the polish bantams will come out of their roosting tree to eat), feed chickens, muck out coops and/or fill watering buckets, gather the early layers eggs. Traipse back in the house to at least few kids awake and in some state of screaming and/or playing. Fix and plate breakfast. Let the wild things out of bed, tell the biggest no he can no longer wear those clothes for what would be the third day/night solid. Change three diapers- at least one poppy, dress three wiggling, giggling kids. Strap kids into their seats, push in chairs, refill waters, field requests for milk. Quickly start the kettle heating, and grind fresh coffee beans. Manage fighting/pestering/siblingness at the table until the kettle starts whistling. Brew coffee, prep coffee cup, blend coffee once brewed. Wet cloth for dirty hands. Leave it sitting on the counter where I grab a forgotten fork and snatch a quick sip of coffee. Return to table to deal with plates on the ground and requests for seconds. Banish the dog out from under the table since he’s snatching food. Go back to grab forgotten cloth and kick the cat off the counter where she is trying to drink milk out of a glass. Take “turns” wiping off dirty hands and faces (no, mommy really does need a turn wiping your face, you missed half of it). Field requests for thirds from an oddly hungry child. Gather plates and drop them in the sink. Pop open clean dishwasher to unload. Attempt to manage children wanting to help, all but one of whom can’t actually help. Return to table to pick up last plate with most the the “thirds” request still on it. Soothe child who’s finger was smashed in the playing with the dishwasher door game. Quickly load all the remaining clean dishes onto the counter and close and lock the dishwasher. Put them away as the children wander off to indiscriminately throw baskets of toys around. Clean up breakfast prep, compost the leftovers and put dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Once again fending off little helping hands who were lured by the creaking sound of the dishwasher door opening. Grab coffee, head towards the couch. Hear dog barking at door to be let out, make detour and then remember he still hasn’t been fed. Feed him, refill his water, let him outside and finally collapse on the couch. Take a sip of the already cooling coffee. Quickly move coffee out of reach of the toddler who’s trying to climb in my lap. Blot at splashed coffee on my leg from another toddler climbing on the back of the couch. Field requests for a show, a game, a playdate, can’t-we-do-something-special-right-this-momentness. Glance at the clock. Realize the alarm went off only 2 hours ago. Sniff the air. Someone needs a diaper change. Hm. Make that two someone’s.
this. this is my reality. this is the reality of any mother really- stay at home or not. one child or eight. these little tasks. these simple things. these care-giving moments. multiplied by four at a high mommy-neediness age.
This is what I do all day.
There are a lot of times that all.I.want. is to sit in a chair by myself for FIVE MINUTES.
But then there are times that I hear their giggles on the trampoline and nothing is as important as joining them.
I don’t think anyone loves every moment of this parenting thing. We are all flawed, selfish people, and parenting is the most self-sacrificing, humbling, and confusing thing I have ever done. Hm. Well, perhaps it ties with marriage in those categories!
But oh, how important these everyday moments of servanthood.
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