Saturday, February 2, 2013

First Day {the REAL version}

Have you read this months First Day post?  Check it out before reading this one.  That way you can see the day first and then get the scoop on what really happened...

Mommy Moments

I’m sitting here in my Lazy boy, with my red laptop and third cup of coffee of the day. 

My hair is fixed in a ridiculously large messy bun, and there are dark black circles under my eyes from the make-up I was too lazy to wash off my face last night.  The living room is a mess: the floor littered with throw pillows, little-people figures, and cat food. 

Don’t ask me why there is cat food.

Because no one seems to know why it’s all over the floor, the mantle, the doll house, and the dining room.  My bets are on Olivia.  The curtain rod across the sliding door is broken, hanging half way down the wall, and it’s no surprise to me after the “cat-fight” I just witnessed my 6 and 3 year old having.  My heart is heavy and bursting with words, and in order to stop the inner monologue running through my mind, I must type it all out.  Every last detail.  Not because it’s been a fantastic day.  Not because I really want to remember it either.  But because I desperately need to change my perspective.


You see, today is First Day.  On the first day of each month, I take about a million pictures to record what a “normal” day is around here.  The idea is that I can see without words or descriptions, the subtle and also huge ways that our lives change over time.  Not just the special days that we are all put together, but the days we stay in our pjs and eat leftovers for lunch and for dinner.  The days we watch too much TV, eat too many sweets, or shamefully drink 3 cups of coffee loaded with cream and sugar.  The days we are sick. The days we are tired.  The days we are in trouble, impatient, or even just mean to each other.  Because our “normal” life isn’t perfect.  It’s hard.  It’s full of ups and downs and lots of lots of in-betweens of just existing and surviving.

I’m tired of just surviving…

Not in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine life would be so full of challenges.  This season of life that I am in finds me in a near constant and seemingly endless arrival of one trial after another.  Unable to catch my breath, I feel both overwhelmed and oppressed, and unable to do much to change my circumstances.  That in itself, just sounds completely pathetic.  In the midst of it all, I can easily become discouraged and distraught and I’m sure, completely negative to everyone around me.  I know in my head that I am blessed.  I even feel it in my heart sometimes.  But much of the time I feel so burdened with life, that I can hardly focus on the blessings.


This is one of the reasons that I blog.  I love to write and I love to take pictures and blogging is fun for me just because of those things.  But I also blog to force myself to find the blessings.  The little successes that week.  The quality time we have together.  Even the character building that goes on.  Because they are there, even when you have to look really hard for them.

Unfortunately, while I “edit” my life for myself, I’m also editing it for anyone glancing in.  A simple look at our life here may appear that I have it all together.   That I plan and purpose our days perfectly, all while cooking amazing food in a superiorly clean house.  And am always kind and cheery and singing up little tunes while I work.  And don’t forget about my June Cleaver hair and apron.  Right?


How about a glance at what a “normal” day is around here? 

A real day, with all the drama and mess.  Now, try not to be jealous when you read this.  Or sad either.  This isn’t meant to be a pity party or a show-off.  Just a very real, and raw look.  Maybe you can relate.  Maybe you can’t.  But at least I can rest easy knowing that I told the truth.

In pictures, our day looks pretty amazing.  But here’s what happened behind the scenes:


To start off the day, Elaina wakes me up at 7:10 to tell me that Olivia is naked and running around the house.  I really want to go back to sleep, since Olivia had me up several times last night, so I pretend not to hear her and wait for Saul to get up.  He does, tells her to get dressed and crawls back in bed with me.  A few minutes later, Nate yells out under his door that Isaac was sneaking downstairs.  A big “no-no” around here, and that gets me up and already I feel crabby.  Having dealt with him stealing and hoarding food last week, I’m convinced we are in for a challenging couple of months again, and honestly I’m just not up for it.

Olivia, who is still naked, is begging for her milk and pulling at my hand to drag me downstairs.  I convince her to shower instead, and while she is, I go downstairs to get her milk and a clean pair of panties from the dryer.  While I am downstairs, I see cat food all over the floor in the kitchen, the dining room, and the living room.  The cat meows and clangs his empty water bowl, asking for a re-fill. I figure I can leave the cat food for now and hope he gets busy eating it up, so I run upstairs to get Olivia out of the shower and hope to convince her to get dressed.  She surprises me and asks me to comb her hair and even lets me trim up her bangs.  I look in the mirror and notice big black circles under my eyes. Wow.  I am looking old.  I throw my hair in a big messy bun, and am off to make a simple breakfast of toast, eggs, and juice. I feel like begging Saul to stay home with me, even just a little bit longer, but since tonight is my “girls-night out”, I want to make sure he is home on time so that I can go.  We all kiss him good-bye, and wish him well on his day.



I make some coffee and spill water all over the counter because I am too impatient to pour it slowly.  Gah.  Another mess to clean up.  About this time, Nate decides he’s bored, and tries rearranging his bedroom furniture.  When I ask him about it, he mouths off a disrespectful remark, something to the effect of keep out of my business, so I help him occupy his time by having him run stairs 50 times.  He is uncooperative at first and complains quite a bit, so we call Saul at work for a little motivational pep-talk about how a wise child listens to, and obeys his mother.  It seems to work, and he finishes his exercise, just in time for his school assignment.


After I help Nate get settled, I go in to check on Isaac, who has been asked to stay in his room until I am ready to discuss the mornings events.  A look under his bed reveals stolen vitamins, a pudding cup, chocolate candy bar wrappers and lots of other trash, all new since Friday.  My heart is broken and worried and I feel totally unequipped to handle the emotional reasons he is stealing.  I give him his school assignments, a double load because he is behind from mis-behaving yesterday.  He spends much of the morning, crying in his room.  Meanwhile, the girls are bickering downstairs.  I wonder what they could be so mad at each other about, especially since they’ve had a great week of playing together.  I pour myself another cup of coffee and start Elaina’s reading lesson.  Then onto her math, and we call it quits for the day.  She and Olivia decide to watch Horseland on Netflix and I am happy to have them entertained for a bit so that I can get a few things done.



I’ve got tons of laundry to do, so I start with the load of towels from yesterday’s clogged toilet clean-up.  Totally gross, and unfortunately, a near daily occurrence around here with a three year old who is learning moderation with toilet paper.

I hear giggling coming from the living room, which quickly turns into crying and screaming.  Upon investigation, I am shocked to witness my two prissy daughters in a full out brawl, hitting and scratching each other, neither one of them willing to yield.  I’m so shocked, in fact, that I do nothing about it and instead just watch, I’m sure with absolute horror on my face.  And then I take a picture.  You know, because it’s First Day and all.  They are both covered in bloody scratches and bite marks, and refuse to make amends with each other.  This is totally new territory for me, so I think to myself better look up how to handle that during nap time later.


Time for lunch.  Sandwiches again, with chips and an orange.  Saul surprises us with a visit home for lunch too.  Perfect, and just in time to fill him in on the fight.  I am so happy he is home, because no one can cheer me up quite like he can.  A few giggles later, he comments on my wardrobe and asks if I’m going out for girls night out with my girls all out…yikes!  Better get dressed before he gets home later. I wonder if my bra is dry yet


The boys are back to their school work, and the girls go downstairs to play house.  I should start the dishes and get in shower.  Maybe after the kids lay down for naps.  Elaina comes upstairs to tell me that Olivia is pouring water all over the place downstairs.  I go, and find just as reported, that there is indeed a huge mess.  Time for quiet time, even if it is early, I just need a break.  I tuck in Olivia, and sing her requested “Away in a Manger” lullaby even though it is February, and I’ve tried to sing her every other lullaby I know.  Back downstairs to finish up my chores so that I can shower and get dressed for the day.



Not even five minutes later, I hear the pitter patter of footsteps running around upstairs.  I go to check and find Olivia MIA.  After looking in the bathrooms for her, I discover she has clogged another toilet.  I deal with that, and then go to look for her downstairs.  I’m thinking…Seriously? ugh!  I just want to shower

I find her laying on the sofa with Elaina, and the rest of “quiet time” is spent disciplining Olivia and putting her back in her room, over and over again.  At this point, I am unwilling to budge, and am just as stubborn as she is.  After all…who does she think she got it from? I am the queen of stubborn-ness.

It’s 3:00 already now, and I dismiss the kids from naps.  They are chattering and asking me questions, and all I really want is just to sneak upstairs to shower and have a few minutes alone.  Maybe at 4 when I allow TV time and give them a snack.  Off to do the dishes…


The rest of the afternoon goes smoothly, with only a few fights from the girls.  Nate is doing extra chores to earn money to pay for his broken glasses.  Isaac keeps coming downstairs asking for help with his school work, and I am impatient and frustrated with him.  I know I am not helping the situation, but I’m so angry about it. 

I offer a snack of chocolate grahams and milk. Suddenly the girls are best friends again.



Nate is chattering at the table with the girls about a light sabre, so Elaina starts crying because of how “unfair it would be for Nate to have one and not me.” I reassure everyone, that there will be no light sabres at my house, after all, you each show me how uncivilized you are every day.  Only responsible Jedi Knights can have a light sabre, and that’s after they’ve proven to their moms that they know how to use it correctly

They aren’t buying it, and casually the subject is changed to horses.

I decide to fix a simple dinner of arroz con leche for dinner because I am too tired and lazy to cook.  And maybe I can still sneak in a shower before girls night out if I can save time on cooking.  Saul calls to tell me he is on his way home.  Phew…my relief is coming.


I sit down to color with the girls, in the hopes that if I get them occupied, I can sneak away for a quick shower.  After helping Elaina draw a ballerina, I’m finally able to run upstairs for my shower.  Then back down to dish out the rice, and I’m off for girls night out!



After a wonderful and long evening with 5 amazing women, I am finally home and ready for some time to myself.  But it doesn’t take long for my eyes to feel heavy and my body to ask for my bed.  I set my alarm for 7 am because I have Bountiful Baskets and a full morning of errands.

                                         *                       *                          *                          *

I know this season of life that I am in, is temporary, and relatively speaking short-lived.  It is crazy busy and usually completely exhausting.  I’ve chosen this life of stay-at-home-homeschooling-housecleaning-cooking-serving-domesticated diva-hood, and happily serve here, counting on, and hoping in the fruit of the future.  Most days are like this, and many are harder, but my perspective is this:  It wasn’t too long ago that I begged God for the chance to be here, arms full and heart bursting.  He has a sense of humor, that God of mine, and no doubt gets more than a few belly-rolling laughs while watching my days unfold.

I hope that you’ve had a chance to laugh too, and get an image of what it’s really like behind all of the photographs.  Really, a picture can say a million words, but now you know a bit more about what those words are.  At least around these parts…

I’m sure First Day’s won’t ever be the same again.

Mommy Moments

Click for more of my fascinating thoughts on mothering.  Or general ramblings of my crazy life.


Erin D said...

I feel for you. IMO, anyone who says they don't have days like that is full of a certain end product. :)

Thank you for showing a real day! (Sending you a virtual, totally non-creepy hug because it sounds like you could use one)

Nicole said...

Girl, I have days like that and spend the whole day chanting, "show them grace" over and over! Life can be tough, but you my friend are even tougher!

My awful days are usually followed by wonderful ones. I hope that is true for you too.

Jill said...

This is almost exactly how my day is going! I too have 4 children and while it's very challenging/stressful on most days I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Thanks for sharing. Sometimes it's good to know I'm not alone in how I feel.

Kim said...

We get cat food everywhere too.. and we are a (so far) kidless house!

Jenny K said...

I can relate to this. I only have one child, but I can definitely relate. Parenthood is difficult and nothing like I expected. Thanks for keeping it real.

Jaime said...

I feel as if, though written awhile ago, this was written for me! I was working full time at a good job downtown and my husband was working full time. When he started up school it really affected our time with our two boys and I really started having second thoughts about working. When my husband gave me his blessing I gave my notice at work. I laid out an elaborate plan of how I would keep our house immaculate, how I would teach my son the basics during preschool years, we would do activities and experiments... with a 2 and 4 year old 'immaculate' is a bad joke and the ebb and flow of my day is nothing like I pictured. It's been a really tough week or couple of weeks, knowing that I should be with my kids at home and yet wanting SOMETHING more. I feel like each day I ask for forgiveness for the same thing and ask for more patience and tolerance...and then forgiveness the next morning for my shortcomings. I feel restless, loving to write with very little time to do so before bedtime (which is a job in itself!) and by the time they are asleep my brain is too tired! Thank you for painting this picture for me. Showing me that choosing this life isn't perfect, things don't flow daily, but we are with our little ones and WE asked and prayed to God for this! :) Thank you and God Bless
Jaime B