Normal parenting can be hard

I don’t know how many people who read my blog are parents, but let me just say that normal parenting is hard. Parenting one child is an endless decision and exhausting expirence as a whole. I love being a parent and I love my kids – all four (plus two) of them.

I have four little ones, ages 3, 4, 5 and 7 and two of my boyfriend’s, who are 15 and 17.

I have mentioned before that my little ones have challenges, and this keeps me running most of the time. My laundry is piled up (clean but I have no energy to fold and take the stairs to put away) and I rejoice when I get a room looking as awesome as I can.

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The living room/library. The pile in front there are the toys the kids need to bring back into their bedrooms.

I love it when I can say that I finished something that most moms do easily. “Sure,” you think, “you cleaned a room. The whole house should be done because kids live there!”

I wish that was the case, though. The kitchen is kept clean since I can’t stand cooking in dirt, and I don’t want to kill anyone. The kids’ rooms are barely traversable on most days. My stair way is becoming a member of the dirty laundry club since the kids have decided that is the best way to send their soiled items to my laundry room. I try to clear that daily. My mud room has never been unpacked and so we still go through the path to get from the stairs to the kitchen daily. I won’t mention the state of the media room, my bedroom, the laundry room or our stock room. I cleaned the living room and the kids were left unattended long enough to give me days of work. I know that my living room will be another hour of cleaning again tomorrow. Sadly, I have to work this weekend.

My normal day without appointments (meaning the days I work my retail job) are as follows:

5:30 am – finally turn off the alarm that has been blaring for a half hour. I don’t want to move. My bed has accepted me finally and I know it will feel rejected.

5:45 AM – hear the oldest boy’s therapy cat plunk down from his bed to come and greet me. It is now time to officially drag myself from my comfort. I meet Emrys, the cat, at the stairs. He runs back to wake his human for his breakfast. I throw last night’s washer into the dryer.

6:00 AM – oldest boy is now making my coffee while I try and get the youngest boy from his bed. Middle boy is dealing with the squealing guinea pig, Speedy, that he wanted so bad for his fifth birthday. Emrys is happily eating his kibbles bits as well. Youngest daughter is sitting in her night gown in the middle of the living room looking like she just got back from a rave.

6:15 AM – youngest boy might be up. The others are now playing instead of getting dressed. I am trying to drink a swig of caffeine.

6:45 AM – I am frantically getting into my uniform and yelling at the kids to help each other dress. Youngest boy is finally out of bed, but is naked now staring at his clothes. He has two outfits to chose from and he doesn’t like the one he will end up wearing, but the other choice will mean being himself and teased at school.

7:00 AM – we should be in the van and pulling out of our half mile drive way. We might be wrestling youngest boy into his clothes. Everyone else might be getting their shoes on.

7:10 AM – I am pulling a crying half naked youngest boy to the van. His shoes are in my hands. The others are carrying my coffee, phone, and keys. They might have their shoes on or are still barefoot. Hopefully someone grabbed their socks today. Oldest buckles in the youngest and the two others fight over the booster seats. I start the car and slowly try not to run over our kittens while I make my way finally down the drive.

7:15 AM – we are now on the dirt road leading to the highway. We are 15 minutes late.

7:30 AM – I am supposed to be clocking in at work. I am dragging a full tantrum four year old into the daycare now shoved into clothes hastily in the parking lot. The others are either following or using the key for the door to lock me out of the daycare “on accident”.

7:35 AM – I show up running into the front doors of my job. I get sympathetic smiles and told tohurry.

7:35 AM to 4:00 PM – I smile, help people find their things, joke around with coworkers, unload the trucks and do other things in a retail store. I might even cashier or bring in the carts.

4:15 PM – I park my van outside of the daycare and sit for five minutes to hear silence.

4:20 PM – I enter the preschool room and am immediately approached by one of the teachers for the run down of what my youngest two did that day. Daughter probably bullied or fought with someone. Youngest son lost his temper at some point or tantrumed until my sister was called to come calm him down. There might have been an issue with the dress up bin again with my youngest son, as well.

4:30 PM – enter school age room to find out what the other two did today. Gather soiled undies and clothes from middle child and cringe at whatever behavior needs correcting for oldest boy. We leave while I am still processing information given from the teachers. The ride home is me questioning them and usually not getting much real information.

5:00 PM – we start in on behavior correction. Youngest boy usually changes out of school clothes and into whatever clothes he passed up that morning when I gave him his choice.

5:30 PM – I make dinner while they are running in and out of the house.

6:00 PM to 7:00 PM – dinner time. This usually means I have to figure out who doesn’t like what and take things off of other people’s plate.

7:00 PM to 8:00 PM – reading, Lego’s, coloring, bath time, and then fighting over which bed and room the youngest boy will sleep in tonight. Bed time. I start dishes, putting kids back into bed, and feeling the day catch me.

8:00 PM to 9:00 PM – standing in the hallway between their bedrooms and browse my Facebook, text my sister, or my boyfriend and I whisper a conversation while we make sure the kids stay in their beds and go to sleep. I also gather the cats that the kids brought inside that need to be outside. Only Emrys stays inside to help the oldest when he is needed.

9:00 to when I go to sleep – kids might still be awake, school work needs doing, write a thousand words to another chapter of a story, or write on my blog. Maybe fall asleep at 9:00 just because I am that tired. Most nights I am up until midnight just to get school done or spend time with my boyfriend. I throw a load in the wash and take the dryer load to my pile. Maybe I will fold, but most likely I am showering and falling asleep.

Midnight to 5:00 AM – three of the four have woken up for drinks, nightmares, sleep walking, bathroom, or night terrors. They don’t do it at the same time, either. My sleep is now broken into naps. Time to start the next day and do it all over again.

Maybe it is my day off from retail and today we will be in the van going to our appointments…

I wonder sometimes if I should clean in the little five or ten minutes I have between each child’s crisis? Most of the time I just stand for a minute against a door or wall and center myself. My oldest boy will be 8 in September. I have been doing this for eight years.

This is my normal parenting. I didn’t even get into correcting speech, using signs, and their special needs things we deal with daily. I didn’t say much about my boyfriend or his two lovely daughters, because his shifts change and so some weeks I have their help and some I am on my own.

Then I also daydream, cram school knowledge into my head, learn more on how to help my kids with their challenges, and drift into my worlds for each story.

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Youngest boy walking as behavior modification. He had a very tough time at school and was still very angry.

Most days I think I am lucky the kids haven’t staged a coup d’etat. Now everyone knows why I might be late on a few chapters every so often!

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