Thursday, June 8, 2017

A Day in the Life...

I get the question a lot, “how do you do it?” All you parents out there realize we all do the same thing, we survive. Less and less judgment on how that goal is accomplished, some days it is just enough to have survived. I have figured out what that looks like for our family, my desire is to be a well oiled machine that we may not only survive but THRIVE. I fight hard to ensure that we stay somewhat structured, organized and on schedule with a twist of fun. We strive to be proactive instead of reactive hoping to accomplish more during the day.

My day starts around 6:30am I am welcomed out of sweet disturbed slumber by 1-2 children. Baby is usually the first up he is ready to go at 6:30, I love his go get ‘em attitude. We usually snuggle and I try to sneak a few more moments of sleep while trying to distract him with my hand, which he willingly takes and begins biting to soothe his growing teeth. Shortly after that #3 and #6 come in squinty-eyed, yawning with hair everywhere as they climb into my bed. We all long to push off the busyness of the day just a moment longer. Yesterday was OFFICIALLY our first day of summer, so we are slipping into our long mornings. Pool, ice cream and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches filled days.

The first wave of us head downstairs where the coffee is brewing (thank you auto brew setting) and the chaos begins. Dogs and chickens get let out, bunnies fed and the table is transformed into a breakfast buffet. Bottles are made and snuggles had as we sleepily begin our day, around 7:30 #8 and #10 are extracted from their beds to come join us.

I am a loud mom, I do a lot of shouting in the morning, not USUALLY angry yelling just loud get moving yelling. Once the older kiddos are up and moving, the music turns on and the dance party begins. We love to dance, it helps keep the pressure low and the routine fun. Breakfast is laid out and people grab what they want. Sitting down we eat together chatting about the day to come. These days we all carry our meal choices out to the front porch where we swing, sip coffee, count cars and talk to our anti-Trump neighbor across the street.

Teeth, hair and underwear check as we head out the door. My favorite but oh so frustrating habit each morning is my need to carry a completely full mug of coffee that I carry in one hand while juggling my very active baby in the other. Spilling as I juggle him and locking the door. We all load up in the van and hit the road. We just transitioned from school mode to summer mode.

One of my favorite daily routines are our Power Poses, we start each day commanding our day and what kind it will be has been so good for us all. We take turns declaring what our day will bring, #3 shouts out, “great” with his fist in the air.

Our mornings are about to become less structured, there will be more porch sitting and two pots of coffee made. We will wear our pajamas far too long and eat ice cream for lunch. Our nights will get longer as we doing movie nights on our patio and play outside until it gets dark.

Our days are filled with the pool, play dates, appointments, swimming lessons, work, therapy, grocery store, bio parent visits, court dates or other errands depending on the day of the week. We do our errands together and my expectation is that we all can go through a store together in peace, and we do. I have noticed the more kids I have, the more comments I receive. People don’t know what to do with us it seems, we don’t fit in a box or into a mold.

We head home and then it is a round of pet feeding and letting out, snacks followed by our daily chores. I kick everyone out of the kitchen turn on a podcast and get dinner going. Assigning table setting tasks to everyone within ear shot. We get dinner on the table and several times a week we have at least one guest around the table, we love to entertain. Once we all are settled and we have thanked God, we take turns going around the table playing Happy and Crappy. We share one good thing and one bad thing that happened in our day. We talk about how we felt and what we want to do different tomorrow, we talk through our good choices and bad. We celebrate the wins and process the losses, it’s my favorite time of the day.

Dinner clean up is a family affair, the table is cleared and dishes loaded. Baths begin, bathing 5(6) kiddos is a full time job. For us it works to bundle the little kiddos and stagger the big kiddos over a few days, breaks up the time nicely. Baby usually just gets dipped into someone’s bath at some point. Following bath time is PJ time, cue 3 year old weeping and whining. We get everyone into jammies and start story time around 7, we sometimes have friends over who then help out by holding babies or getting jammies on. 7:30-8:30 is bedtime GOAL for all, snuggles, kisses and failed stalling attempts completed.

Once my house is quiet I begin to settle in spending my evening chatting with friends, reading, house projects, writing, paying bills, or catching up on a few shows as I fold laundry. I usually try to allow those evening hours to be restorative for me, filling them with things that fill my cup. The daily draw from my cup is great, pouring out into the holey cups of my children takes a lot. As an extrovert I am already high functioning when it comes to being with people, I love people so being a single mom is hard because there are aspects of it that are isolating but being a mom of multiples is great because I love pouring out and excel when I am doing so. I have found the balance of using my solitude as restorative time, preparing me for the next day!

I usually climb into bed around 11pm, catching a few hours of sleep before little hands touch my face and ask to lay with me. Hands that have lived nightmares, whose dreams are filled with memories of monsters. Little tired souls who are seeking a haven and rest, it is in the stillness of night that I am reminded just how much life has changed. The clock reads 4:30am and I am counting on those two more sweet hours I can snag before our day begins again. 

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