What Do You Do All Day?

What do you do all day?

When I was a young mom, a childhood friend asked me this. I understand that the question is among the Top Ten mothers hear, but it was the first time someone had literally asked me.

My friend had been working and going to school. She was genuinely curious about what filled my time each day since I did not have a job outside the home.

At the time, I really didn’t do much. I say that now because I …just barely sat down to eat lunch and it’s 2:30 p.m. I feel lucky that I showered this morning before everyone awoke.

alexander-dummer-150646-unsplash

So… what do I do all day?

Just for kicks, let’s break today’s schedule down so far:

Night before: stayed up late to do my online homework after staying up late helping my second son start work on complete his science fair project.

3:00 a.m. Woke the five-year-old up to go potty because he’s had two nighttime accidents.

5:00 a.m. Woke to tell my alarm that was way too early. Went back to sleep without recalling this conversation.

6:00 a.m. Got up and showered.

6:30 a.m. – 8:10 a.m. A haze of getting four children and a husband up, going, breakfasted, clothed, up again, going again, thanking the wonderful husband for making lunches, breakfasting again, reminding boys to brush teeth, finding shoes, thanking the wonderful husband for gluing pictures and a header onto a trifold board, getting them all out to the car, and finding my coat and keys.

8:30ish a.m. Arrived at school and helped two boys carry their extras into said school.

9:00 a.m. Left school to run errands.

12:30 p.m. Came back home from errands to post office, grocery store, pharmacy, library, and pharmacy again.

12:30 p.m. – 1:20 p.m. Fed Five whilst putting away groceries and distracting him with “Curious George” cartoons.

1:40 p.m. Ignored loud ‘napping’ noises upstairs as I finally made my lunch.

2:00 p.m. Updated monthly calendar on wall with appointments and dinner plans (for three days so far! Woot!).

2:15 p.m. Sat to eat my lunch and type a blog post.

In addition: told my oldest son who called that I am not going to pick him up early from school because he’s bored.

The rest of the day is just as busy; with karate lessons, cub scouts (for the boys and for me because I’m a den leader), dinner, computer time, homework, baths or showers, bedtime, and bed.

adult-angry-beautiful-366063

If you are still with me, then you can see that being a mother is busy. You probably also saw that it is mind-numbingly dull. I mean, I lived this schedule and my brain skipped as many lines as it could in reading over it.

Another, later time that I was asked The Question:

What do you do all day?

I came up with a metaphorIt’s like you’ve been assigned to keep a pot of water almost-boiling on the stove all day. You need to make sure the pot doesn’t actually boil, so you have to watch it and can’t really do anything else diverting.

I think raising a toddler is a lot like this, especially if he or she has dropped The Nap. You have to watch the toddler all the time to be certain he or she doesn’t start a fire, but any attempts to do other things lead to fires.

Now that I am older and have older (and more) children, the scenario of the pot is still true. On top of that, though; I also need to mop the floor around the stove, allow others to maintain their own pots without interfering too much, snap at them for fighting over shared space around the stove, and squeeze another pan on there for making dinner.

Having been a stay at home mother for the duration of these child-rearing years, I have a question for the parents who work on top of all that:

What do you do all day, and how the heck do you do it??

rawpixel-660721-unsplash

Morning Routines

daiga-ellaby-354484-unsplash

The boys’ carpool ride arrives at 8:10 a.m.

Right on cue; our three handsome children who attend elementary school line up at the door Sound of Music style. They’re dressed smartly. They’re clean, their clothes are clean and pressed, and their socks and shoes match each other. What’s more, they’ve packed their own healthy lunch and eaten their own balanced breakfast. As I kiss each on the top of his head, I am treated to three radiant, teeth-brushed smiles. They skip out the door holding hands and singing of brotherly love and making the world a better place. “Goodbye, Mother, Dear,” they chorus as they skip.

Yep, in a parallel universe.

In this universe, my neighbor often shows up around 8:15ish. All right: 8:20. Ish. We’re near the end of the school year, after all.

As if they cannot possibly hear a knock that has sounded on the front door since last August, my elementary-aged children continue to do what they were doing. Boy #1 scrolls down his Amazon wish list to see if he’s already added that particular Lego set. Boy #2 enters the room to demand to know where his mother put his item that he absolutely must have RIGHT NOW. Boy #3 is casually eating cereal while reading a book.

According to an advanced mathematical formula I’ve developed, only 1/3 of the boys will be dressed. 1/2 of that third will not be fully dressed. Further; 0% will have completely clean garments, matching socks, or even matching shoes. The only thing my offspring know about ironing is that the iron gets really hot and they will be burned alive by parents yelling at them if they get within 5 feet of it.

The next five minutes are a complete chaos of sorting shirts to backs, shoes to correct feet and owners, food to lunchbags, backpacks to backs, and a few parental hands to figurative backsides. After passing a last-minute toothbrush swipe and underwear check, my little darlings grumble out the door to the sound of impatient honking.

I love my neighbor. She drives in the morning because she’s doing that whole work-outside-the-home thing, and I’m not usually dressed before 10 because I’m not.

She and I love our children. We love them getting ready on time, dressed in a manner that upholds the family name, and sitting quietly and seat buckledly during carpool. We especially love when they do all of these things without prompting.

It’s a good thing we love them in the real world, too.