I was holding my breath, waiting for a relaxed morning after the mad rush to get to my son to school on time. It’s always a bit chaotic getting out the door, one child is generally screaming, one is refusing to wear a coat, and the other is taking off down the hallway for another toy to have in the car.
I was eager to make a hot cup of coffee, sit down with a sleeping bear cub, and not think for a moment.
The relaxation never came, neither did the coffee, at least the hot part – which is the essential quality of a worthwhile cup in my world. I still drank it quickly and felt the rush of caffeine through my veins just as my little one needed to “go now, mom”.
Before I knew it, lunch time was upon us even though I feel like we just returned home from dropping my oldest off. I talk sweetly to my daughter to keep her in her best spirits while she is forced to wait for me, her personal chef to prepare her desired meal for the mid day. My littlest is propped in his bumbo on the dining room table nearing his expiration and just lost the entire contents of his tummy onto his third shirt for the morning.
It’s okay though, I tell myself – because i’ll have a relaxing afternoon to look forward to.
I feed the baby while my daughter talks to herself while we eats her favorite lunch of cottage cheese, apples, and peanut butter — but separated in the chewbacca bowl.
I guess I “missed” that meal, I’ll grab a bite of the banana from the fridge that was leftover from breakfast and jump into the next activity for the day – flash cards — on the floor. Not a constructive on the floor, a dump on the floor. We count as we pick them up and match them in pairs. I think I got to 72 and stopped.
A screaming baby is lulled to sleep by warm milk as I do my best to keep a whining toddler off of his head. She too needs a nap, but refuses to admit the reality as I bribe with promises of holding her with her favorite purple blanket from nana, her three favorite baby dolls, and a plastic tea pot. She’s really into tea pots because her best friend Casey had a tea party with her a few weeks ago. These are big deals!
As she falls into a sleep, I realize the time is close to school pick up. I breath a moment, grab my phone to browse something mindlessly while I hold a sweaty child as they sleep. My tummy growls, but “i’m stuck here” I convince myself of the importance of just remaining until it’s time to go so that I can have those few relaxing moments. I end up reading the first few paragraphs of my devotional for the day and….
Seven minutes pass as I startle to a rise by a boisterous clang as the trash truck dumps the garbage outside. Both children startle and we start again. I grab my coffee and finish the last big swig, we do potty time,nurse the baby, deal with the gush of spit up running down my shirt as I burp him and rush out the door to grab the oldest after his full day of school.
Therapy day! Here we go! Music therapy first and then physical. We make our way through the big hospital and up the elevator door as I hand my son pieces of string cheese to fuel his sessions. He eats as though he hasn’t eaten for days, but he’s always been a ravenous eater. It’s actually a challenge for me to deal with most days, causing a great deal of anxiety at meal times. But there’s no time to discuss that right now. I have a baby nursing while I’m being instructed to pick up the toys after they were intentionally thrown on the floor, the claim “too heavy, mom”. Moments, mere moments. I’m still breathing.
After two hours of therapy we walk home because we share an alley with the out-patient hospital where my son has therapy. This is one of the most convenient aspects of our lives right now! It’s dinner time and the anxious cries begin to come in waves as all three expect to eat immediately. It’s paprika rubbed chicken tonight, which sounds fancy, but was actually incredibly simple! Plus, I made multiple pounds of it at the start of the week for nights like these. We sit down to the table, I pour my husband and I big glasses of a new Malbec we picked out together over the long weekend in Chicago and smile at each other as the baby decides it’s time to throw the nightly fit, the oldest is filling his mouth before the last bite is swallowed, and my daughter is disgusted by the “spicy” on the “meaties”. She instead asks for “beanies and rice”. I feed the baby and decide dinner will have to wait.
Bedtime! Baths! Meds! GO TO SLEEP!
One baby lays on me and I dare not move. I beckon my husband to grab me a cookie from the freezer as I fall asleep to big bang.
My time is spent by three children, every day. I love it. I love them. I wouldn’t trade my life at home with them for anything in this world. I’m not just saying that. But finding the room to breath is nearly impossible. Keeping myself in check with food and sanity is a mounting issue. Self care is non-existent. I do somehow manage to keep a clean home, which I guess is something – but not the most important thing right now. Still.
Recently, I’ve had some candid conversations with my co-best-mother-friend-spirit- and been motivated and inspired to create new patterns in our days. I’m not sure how it will go down, but it will. Days where I take into account my own needs while managing the precious lives entrusted to me. Time where I am able to breath and to feel. To sit with the feels. To manage them better.
But, mostly, what I need right now from all of you is to know where to find one of those things that keeps your coffee warm. No, not a microwave. One of those things you plug into an outlet and it keeps it warm all day long. What are those called?