My days with the kids are pretty busy, in a “load everyone up just to unload them ten minutes later and take them into ____” kind of way. Today I’ll be buckling and unbuckling them 14 times, for example. Or 42 times, if you consider that there are three of them.
Usually I like to stay busy. Having things to do spreads the intensity out over enough people and places to keep it manageable. But sometimes it gets to be a little much. Yesterday we had some plans get cancelled and for the first time since summer, we had almost an entire day with nowhere to be.
Suddenly visions of a quiet and peaceful day at home with my kids danced in my head. It was going to be glorious. I probably looked as much like the heart-eye emoji as a human can as I pictured the lazy day ahead of us.
There were two important details I forgot to factor into my daydream, however.
1) My children have picked up on my downer mood this week, and they’ve done a fantastic job of making it their own.
2) As soon as I actually have time to sit down in my own home, other visions start dancing in my head — visions of everything there is to get done around the house, for example.
Yesterday it was twelve loads of laundry. I love a good exaggeration, but this is not one. There were twelve loads worth of dirty clothes that needed to be washed. And I mean needed to be washed. Sweet Baby Ray is out of clean underwear, and though I have nothing to show for it, I’ve more or less been pregnant since August and my waistline is operating under the assumption that we still are, so my clothes are fitting a little funny. And the two pairs of pants that currently fit were buried in there somewhere.
“No big deal,” I said. “I’ll spend an hour of quality time with my kids, and that will give them enough attention to then enjoy some time playing by themselves while I get things done.”
Oh, Melissa. Bless your heart.
I actually said that to myself.
Logically that equation makes perfect sense, but I forget that logic is not a word that can be applied to anything involving my kids. Having Mom all to themselves was like a drug that sent them into ugly withdrawals as soon as I tried to leave the room.
They protested. They whined. They cried. They screamed. And then they got way too quiet.
I walked up the stairs with the second load of laundry and as soon as I opened the basement door, Alex shouted “Mommy!! Drumsticks!!
As I was redirecting my son away from the tampons, I realized I hadn’t heard from Lottie in a few minutes.
Oh there she is. Just pulling out all the laundry I’d just gotten done folding.
Meanwhile Evelyn was calling from the bathroom that there was pee pee everywhere and could I wipe her butt and also get her different pants and socks because she’d forgotten to open the toilet lid before she sat down.
I’d forgotten that trying to get anything done at home with kids underfoot is like trying to line-dry your laundry in a monsoon.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who struggles to spend a day at home with the kids without also wanting to check some items off my list … and it just seems impossible to do both. If I focus on the kids, the laundry and housework piles up. If I try to get the laundry done, the kids are throwing feminine hygiene products on the sunroom floor and pretending to swim in them. I told Eric last night that this carnival game best sums up my life:
He had no idea which game I was talking about. Granted, I had to look up what it was actually called this morning because I was not doing a very good job of describing it. “You have a club and these ducks or worms or something keep popping up out of holes in a big game and you try and hit them back down and as soon as you do another one pops up somewhere else…”
This morning I managed to get all the kids dressed respectably and ready to go with time to spare. “Great!” I thought. “I can go throw those sheets in the dryer.”
I was gone for all of 45 seconds and walked back in to find Alex dropping Bingo chips one at a time in front of Lottie, while she greedily shoved them into her mouth. Not one at a time. I literally screamed “No!!” as I dove for both of them, which scared Lottie and ticked off Alex, resulting in this:
My household is so pleasant and peaceful.
Tomorrow we have another free morning and I already have a better plan in place — Christmas movies. The laundry will just have to wait for naptime. Assuming I don’t nap right along with them.