Lottie slept through the night last night. Insert all the celebration emojis here.

I used the uninterrupted sleep time to have a dream that Eric was leaving me.

He and I often discuss how dream-Eric can be a real jerk. Last night dream-Eric told me he was leaving me and the kids, and that he’d been secretly meeting another woman at one of his vacant properties. Dream-Melissa cried and begged him not to walk out of what seemed to be a car dealership showroom that was our house, but he walked out anyway.

When I woke up, my first thought was “What an a-hole.” My second thought was … “am I more jealous that there was another woman, or that he was in a vacant property?” I mean, all that peace and quiet…

One of my memories from early in our marriage is of a morning that Eric went to work before me. I was still in bed when he left and he came in to kiss me goodbye. “You’re hard to leave,” is what he said.

This was back when I wore decent pajamas and would secretly wake up and brush my teeth while he was downstairs making coffee, then jump back into bed and pretend to just be waking up.

This is now:IMG_1436

Somehow I think leaving has gotten easier for him.

This is my rattiest sweatshirt, pulled on over the nursing tank that I’ve both leaked through (thanks Lottie) and sweated through (thanks postpartum hormones) overnight. I’m mouth-breathing so I can’t smell the baby poop that is somewhere on me but I can’t locate.

And if this beautiful scene doesn’t make leaving difficult, the chaos that follows will. By 7:15 there is so much peanut butter and yogurt smeared all over the kitchen that it will be a full 48 hours before I locate the last of it. One kid’s at the table spilling his milk and another’s at the top of the stairs screaming because she can’t come downstairs until her bed is made and mean Mom and Daddy refuse to do it for her. The baby is crying because she needs to be fed but I’m too busy making lunches to do it right now. I’m at the counter seriously considering whether or not I could send Evelyn’s water for her lunch in a flask, because I forgot to run the dishwasher last night (again) and washing her water bottle at that particular moment just seems like way too much work.

Meanwhile it looks like the fish is swimming in horchata, because I want Evelyn to be part of cleaning its bowl and last week turned out to be so crazy that we haven’t done it yet.

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I must have lost my mind the day I agreed to take on one more creature to care for. Apologies, Nemo.

Honestly when Eric breezes through the kitchen on his way to work and the kids are running after him calling for one more hug and kiss, it’s all I can do not to dive for his ankles myself, grab on and beg him to take me with him/not to leave me/to send help as soon as he gets to civilization.

These days its the staying that can seem the hardest, not the leaving. When I worked, I’d dream of the day I could stay home with my kids. My house would be spotless, I said. I’d be in the best shape of my life, I said. The reality of it now feels a little like seeing a house online and then walking through it and realizing “man this isn’t nearly as big as the pictures made it look.”

I am blessed to be able to do it, and it has its wonderful moments. But man, it can be  isolating. I am jealous of my former self, the one who could leave the house without having to worry about finding childcare. Or better yet, who could leave the house without toting three kids along. Because that’s a whole different sh*tshow.

Some mornings, by some miracle, I manage to have my act together. I’ve packed lunches the night before, everyone’s woken up and eaten right on schedule, the sun is shining and the birds are chirping, my hair is combed and I have real clothes on. These mornings I get to where I’m going and look around for my round of applause and pats on the back, and no one is there to witness it.

Then there are mornings like today, where I sprint out the door ten minutes late, looking completely unkempt and the personification of the word frazzled. My empty light is on in my car, and I’m halfway to my destination before I realize I’ve forgotten to put any shoes on Alex.

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Sure, at least the socks match, but I don’t think anyone at the gym was giving me credit for that as I dropped him off in childcare shoeless, with a flask for a water bottle.

Then during my workout I pee in my pants every time I do a jump squat, come home and take a 45 second shower with the door open, because, toddlers. By the time the morning is over I may actually look worse than I did when I woke up.

Honestly now that I see it in writing I’m not at all surprised that dream-Eric left. I should probably be waiting for the day real-life-Eric goes out on beer run that he never comes back from.

I’ll just offer to do all the beer runs myself from now on. And hopefully I’ll remember shoes, but I make no promises.