I knew that as a mother of 4 children life was going to be hectic. I made a choice to have a large family and I knew the chaos that would come with that.
B4 is now 2 months old, the newborn fog has lifted and I am free to do a little more than constantly feed him. Still, sometimes I feel the days never end, there are longer gaps between feeds where I can do things, I might even sleep for an hour or 2 but it still doesn’t feel like I have that day/night thing happening yet.
Technically speaking, today started at around 4.30am when the baby started stirring. My body clock is so out of whack, I was watching a movie in bed rather than sleeping (thank god for smartphones and tablets!). B4 rarely cries, just stirs, feeds and goes back to sleep. While he’s feeding I continue watching the movie and do the “Facebook scroll” but considering everyone I know is sleeping not much has changed since a few hours earlier. The baby goes back to sleep around an hour later. Woo hoo! Now, early in my mothering years I would’ve taken the opportunity to shower and have a hot cup of tea after a 4.30am feed but with a toddler in the house there’s a chance the noise will wake him so I decide to keep watching the movie and eventually fall asleep.
My alarm goes off at 7am, didn’t even hear it. Vaguely heard the 2nd alarm 15 minutes later, snoozed the 3rd alarm, woke up on the 4th one, laid in bed going through one of the many “lists” of things to do that sit in my head. Today is going to be busy, if I can at least re-wash the load of washing that’s been in the washing machine since Sunday and fold the washing currently taking up room on our couch (won’t say how long it’s been there but I can see our Halloween costumes in the pile – it’s now December!) I will be happy.
Finally decide to get up and face the day, some days it’s easy others it’s hard. We are now running late!
Breakfast is like a production line. 3 bowls, wheatbix, little bit of honey, fruit, milk. The 3 older boys eat, the baby sleeps and I constantly shush anyone who makes any noise that might wake the sleeping baby. I rush to make school lunches which is also a production line.
The TV is going – ABC Kids. There is no need for a clock with that going. I know exactly how late we are running based on what kids program is on and so do the kids. This is why Mums lose their shit when the programming changes (which is frequently – thanks ABC!!!).
The 3 older boys are still at the kitchen bench, eating, chatting, making mess (tip, clean up wheatbix before it dries and sets like concrete).
I make myself a cup of tea knowing it’s unlikely I will actually drink it!
Time to hurry along the boys a bit. Thankfully the B1 is self sufficient gets himself ready for school.
The B2 is standing frozen in front of the telly with half a school uniform on.
The B3 is smearing wheatbix on his face calling it sunscreen – reminder must thank childcare for teaching him how to apply sunscreen.
The baby is still sleeping – YAY!
A few weeks ago I signed up for an outdoor training session with other Mums. I’ve been once. Knowing the chances of getting to that training session today is pretty much nil, we walk to school, my intention is to walk a little further after I’ve dropped the boys off. It’s up hill and I have 2 kids in the pram, it’s a pretty awesome work out anyway!
Everyone is ready, we rush out the door and arrive at school as the bell goes. We greet parents and other kids on the way past B1’s classroom, arrive at B2’s classroom. Get him settled, listen to him read while chasing B3 around the classroom and B4 screams. I look at the Mums dressed to go to work and for a second I am envious of them, but then I remember that I’ve been there, done that and I can tell you the grass is no greener!
My aim of walking a little further after drop off is cut short as B4 doesn’t settle. We head home – quickly. I feed B4. Normally during feed time I catch up on emails, do more of the Facebook scroll, make some phone calls, do some online shopping but today I am writing the blog.
Suddenly, it occurs to me that I haven’t seen or heard from B3 for a while. I walk around the house with B4 still feeding and find B3 in his bedroom eating a tube of toothpaste, it’s smeared everywhere – on the carpet, walls and child. I wipe toothpaste off B3 (while still feeding B4 – multi tasking at its finest) I’ll come back and clean the carpet and walls shortly.
Next while changing the baby I can hear someone playing with the front door. I hope it’s someone breaking in! Nope its B3 trying to escape. Grab B3 from the front porch and redirect him to our play area and deadlock the front door.
We now need to head to the shops to organise some costumes for a school Christmas performance at the end of the week.
Load up the car.
We get to the shops and realise I don’t have a pram with me – not sure how that happens when I have multiple prams. Put the B4 in the carrier and decide to let B3 walk ……. in Spotlight. Enough said, don’t think I need to elaborate on what happened there. Apologies to Spotlight which was “toddlered”.
I find a trolley and do a little more shopping. Remembering the cup of tea I made but didn’t drink and the breakfast I didn’t even make I decide I need a coffee. B4 is settled in the carrier, B3 is happy in the trolley so I slowly stroll through the shops enjoying my coffee.
Finish shopping and head home. Remember that I bribed B3 with McDonalds for lunch to stop pulling stuff off the shelves in Spotlight, I go through the drive through and head home. As a Mum of 4 you really appreciate anything that has a drive through! B3 falls asleep on the way home.
Get home, manage to carry a sleeping B3 to his bed without him waking – YAY!
Turn on the washing machine to re-wash the same load of washing for the 3rd day in a row. Today I am determined to hang it out.
B4 wakes and is unsettled. I steal a few chips and a chicken nugget from B3’s happy meal. That’ll probably be lunch for today. B3 finishes his happy meal for afternoon tea. B4 is fed.
Attempt to put breakfast dishes in the dishwasher. B4 wakes unselttled. Spend the rest of the time til school pickup settling and playing with B4. Chasing B3 and attempting to at least tidy our main living area.
After school tonight B1 and B2 have basketball. This week the first game starts an hour after school so we have time to rush home, have afternoon tea, get changed and return to basketball.
At basketball B4 becomes unsettled by the noise and the B3 throws water on the floor. Lucky for me, the mother of a friend of mine helps me with the baby. B2 plays first. The team scores their first ever goal – YAY. Watching 6 year olds play basketball is both the cutest and most frustrating thing you’re ever likely to see.
B1 is up next. His game is not so frustrating. B2 is crying as he wants to go home. B3 is crying because I’ve taken his water off him. B4 is criying because he’s a baby.
I can feel other parents looking at me. I smile and nod at the usual “you’ve got your hands full” coments.
Basketball is over we head home for dinner.
This is the worst part of the night for B4. He likes to cluster feed. Don’t know what that is – Google it – and then try and figure out how you make dinner. bath children, supervise homework and put children to bed all on your own with a baby who wants to feed constantly for 3 hours straight. Let me know if you have any brainwaves because this is where I begin to fall apart!
Baby feeds. Settles. I make a salad for dinner. Baby feeds, settles, I cook some chicken and pasta to go with salad. Baby feeds, settles, I get dinner on the table for the boys. Baby feeds, settles, I inhale some food myself. Baby feeds, settles, I bath B3. Baby feeds, settles, I shower B2. It’s moments like this I’m grateful B1 is self sufficient.
It is now 7.45pm and any smugness I had for having things under control quickly goes out the window. Everyone is tired. B3 has an epic meltdown because he didn’t like my choice of pyjamas. B4 is wanting to be fed again. I give up on the pyjamas argument. B3’s tantrum continues for 10 minutes egged on by B2. I realise that B1 has been in the shower for about 20 minutes. And I wonder why I have a massive water bill!!
In between B4 feeding and settling I also supervise homework, put B3 to bed, put B2 to bed, put B1 to bed. Bath B4. Finally he settles for the night. It’s 10pm. I clean up from dinner. It’s now nearly 11pm. I dig out the necessary clothes for tomorrow from the pile of clothes I didn’t even think about folding, on the couch they will remain until tomorrow (this was written on Tuesday, I am editing it on Saturday and the washing is still there but multiplied!!). I remember that I haven’t hung out the washing – again, it will get re-washed tomorrow and maybe hung out. That toothpaste never got cleaned up either.
I head to bed around midnight after watching a bit of telly. Sick of looking at the mess in my bedroom I decide to clean that up. I fall asleep several hours later before it all starts again tomorrow (or is that later today)!
One of my favourites quotes about parenthood is that the days are long but the years are short. That is spot on. I know that I am not always going to be knee deep in children. This is not going to last forever so I will cherish every exhausting moment while I can. I know that one day I will get “me” time, I see it with my friends now who had children at a much younger age. Sometimes I am envious of them, sometimes I’d love to let my hair down without the thought of trying to be a mother with a hangover (something you only ever do once!!). I’d love to go out on a date. I’d love to meet new people. But then I look around me at the mess and chaos. Sneak in on my 4 beautiful boys peacefully sleeping and sigh – I am content. This is what I signed up for so this is where I will be until they no longer need me. There’s plenty of time in the future, when they are grown men, to enjoy my hot cup of tea.