Truly you would think I'd have this down pat, that I'd not be where I am at right now, but I don't and I am. Parenting is hard. No, scratch that, parenting is impossible. Being a single parent just takes it to a whole new level of "oh my goodness will I ever get this right?!" Seriously, it has been the girls and me for most of their lives, since their dad and I always worked opposite shifts, but there was still that underlying knowledge that he was there to help, especially during those off hours. What a blessing that was. I am recognizing that more and more as these days go on. What I'm recognizing even more is that it truly does take a village to raise a child. Or, in the least, more than one adult! Ha!
I'm not trying to put myself in the "I'm the only mom who has done this" category, I am not that naive, but I am the only me that has done this and that in itself makes me the only one. We start our day, if we are lucky, somewhere around 530 (regrettably its been inching closer to 630). Have you ever, EVER, had to get 3 little girls around at that time of day? Let me remind you this is a one bathroom house! EXACTLY! It is like herding cats - an exercise in futility, but we're managing. Dysfunctionally of course. Then it is out the door to day care where I walk them in, talk to the provider, give them hugs, kisses, well wishes for their day, and race back to the van where I begin my decompression routine. Otherwise known as - turning the radio up and driving to the local gas station for a 32 oz diet Pepsi - fountain of course. After this I get to enjoy the next 35-45 minutes (depending on which side of the school bus route I am on) of me time. I really, really do love this time. I get it twice a day. It's coveted. I own it. If I call you or text you during it - feel blessed and honored because I've just given what little of the precious time commodity I have, to you!
I love picking up the girls. Each day they act so surprised to see me. "Mommy, you're here!" Ummm, yeah. I mean, really, after all these years you'd think they'd understand the routine, but its ok because I love seeing how excited they are to see me. I'd like to sit here and tell you that it is like this for the rest of the night, but I'm not going to lie. It literally takes 3.2 seconds from the time we all get packed into the van until the whining, complaining, tattle-taling, pinching, poking, kicking, crying, ok you get the picture, begins. One wants the radio, one the DVD started, and the other wants to talk. I'm sorry, I don't care how good of a parent you are, you simply CANNOT do all three at the same time. Nope. No way. No how. And wouldn't you know, the option you chose begins a sibling rivalry war of epic proportions. "You love her more than me!" "You NEVER let me have what I want." "You don't listen to what I say." Yadda, yadda, yadda....patience...now GONE! (And we aren't even home yet!) Did I mention it is a mile and half from day care to home. I know, right?!
Then when we get home the evening routine begins. Heaven help me. I am a creature of habit. I like to do the same thing. After all, don't ALL parenting books tell you that routine is the best thing for children? Obviously these people have never had to really raise these creatures. Don't get me wrong I do have adorable beasts, but small children, all girls, all with VERY DISTINCT personalities, all with growling bellies, homework problems, and an undeniable amount of exhaustion are well, NOT caring about routine. Routine is the bane of their existence. They want their woes cured and they want them cured now. Again, I face the "I'm only one person here!" issue. Seriously, how do I suck at this so badly? Once food has been given, homework completed, and some semblance of calm has taken over the next battle ensues.
I have to ask. Am I the ONLY mother alive that has girls who balk at taking showers? I cannot get these kids to get cleaned up to save my life. Really! I mean, isn't that supposed to be what girls do? Maybe it's their age. Please, Father above, tell me it is their age. Truthfully, I think it has more to do with the knowledge that bed is rapidly approaching and naturally it should. I mean, already 2 hours have passed and all we've done is eat and study and bicker. Girls bicker. They also pinch, kick, fight, pull hair, instigate, call names, and so much more. I love my girls, but I think boys may have been easier. Obviously God had something to teach me. (I'll take the Cliff's Notes at any time, please!) Now, an hour later when bathing is complete, hair is combed, teeth brushed, and the reminder that "yes, you do have to wear your pajamas" (you'd think they were practicing nudists) has been reiterated for the umpteenth time, we begin to talk through when bed time is.
Yes, it is the same time frame every night, yes they know this, but each day we have to go back over it - making it another 30 to 60 minute stress-inducing portion of the day. Why? Because little girls that are so past tired that they can't think straight want to do everything BUT go to bed. Bed is a bad word in their vocabulary. It is evil, vile, and their nemesis. In a couple of decades it will become their best friend, I cannot convince them of this now. Oh, but I try. I totally try. Our bedtime routine consists of tucking in, praying, tucking in again (the 4 year old), reminding them that they do, in fact, HAVE to sleep, turning lights out, hugs, kisses, tucking said 4 year BACK into bed, and finally descending the stairs. Where, if I am lucky enough I have some time to myself to do things like...sit here and tell you all about these things!
- One tired Momma. Night all!