But you are tired.
Your day starts early, before your alarm. Wait, it starts in the middle of the night, with the three-year-old who had a bad dream. You groggily walk him back to bed, then can't find sleep for yourself again. Until the alarm goes off, and then you can't seem to wake up.
The baby is teething and wakes up before everyone. She should have slept another hour, so you already know she's going to be out of sorts when you need to get some work done this morning. The five-year-old is hanging on you. "Can't you sit with me, Mommy?" You feel your heart sigh. But you can't stop: The seven-year-old can't find her shoes and is crying, and three year old just knocked the baby down because she had his truck. No bleeding, but that's going to be a bad bruise. The 9-year-old stops you as you rush to find some ice: "Mom, can we have a date night tonight?"
Where do I start?
The day marches on insistently, with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks: preparing food; making sure no one chokes; hearing the whining about your choice of food; breaking up arguments about who got the bigger cookie, the better toy, the better spot on the sofa, the Rescue Hero undies, the Cinderella bandaid. Wiping up spills; wiping off hands; wiping off faces; wiping off bottoms. Cleaning high chair trays; throwing in load after load of laundry; and trying to do the dishes before anyone burns down the living room. You think your life is one constant interruption. No matter how hard you plan, how hard you try to divide yourself up evenly among all your precious charges, you feel someone is getting cheated.
Get down off the counter. No, it is not snack time yet. Yes, you need to take a bath. Now. Put the cat down. Please pick up your crayons. Please pick up your shoes. Please pick up your jacket. Please put down the cat. No, it is not snack time yet. Did you wipe? Did you wash your hands? We do not throw fits. We do not write on walls. We do not pull people's hair. Would you like someone to speak to you the way you just spoke to your sister? What? She took her diaper off? Where is she? Everyone stop what you are doing and find the baby! No, it is not snack time yet. Didn't I just say that?
You have an errand to run, so you are faced with a decision. You can pack them all up (which will take an hour of tracking down screeching toddlers and changing last-minute diapers, re-dressing those that have stripped themselves, thinking through snacks and packing meals for the road). The errand will take twice as long because you will need to stop at the toy section and look at the fish, and take the candy away from the baby at the checkstand ("But she wanted it!" your five-year-old says). Or, you can ask your husband to take off work (again). Or you call and try to request a favor from a friend (again).
Sigh. Maybe I'll try to do it tomorrow.
Bedtime is the hardest. You are really tired by now. You've answered questions all day, about the sky, the grass, the baby's poopy diaper, rescuing renegade hamsters from behind the bookcase, all while practicing addition facts and listening to your seven-year-old tell roundabout versions of a book she read today. Again. You've lifted, hauled, carried, and drug into and out of high chairs, car seats, changing tables, shopping carts, washers and dryers. You've buttoned, unbuttoned, zipped and unzipped, tied and untied, combed and brushed.
You try to read a bedtime story but nobody seems to be listening. You get the baby to bed while your husband helps the three and five year olds, who have no interest in cleaning up the Hot Wheels that got dumped all over the floor, after you thought you had finished cleaning up earlier. After a time finagling little arms and legs into pajamas, and saying, "No, you may not go to the bathroom again," you move to the seven-year-old, who is getting to bed too late, again. By the time you lay out tomorrow's clothes and tuck in with a kiss and a prayer, you find that the nine-year-old has given up on you and has fallen asleep in her bed. You kiss her and whisper I love you and pull up her covers.
Exhausted, you return alone to face the remaining undone dinner dishes, and across the kitchen, you are not sure, but was that a glimmer in your man's eye....? =)
May God grant you a peaceful sleep tonight, and the strength to do it all again tomorrow.
YOU CAN DO THIS!
(It wasn't all that long ago -- I still remember. And YES, it is worth it...every minute of it!)
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Maybe you identify with this, too: Where do I fit in?