I thought of you late last night- I and many of our mom and dad friends can relate to this exhaustion brought on by fun. You are a stay at home mom of three children. I *was* a stay at home mom of two. I couldn’t cut it! It was too much work and so I went back to the office job! SO first…I applaud you!! You ROCK!!!! You’re at home all day with three demanding children and you are not in an insane asylum (yet)!
So here’s what I thought late last night: the exhaustion is not from doing stuff specifically, it’s from doing anything at all!!! Even the simple act of getting in the car is an undertaking! Before kids, if I wanted to go somewhere I got my handbag, my keys and sunglasses and got in the car. Took me 2 minutes (tops) to get on the road. That simple everyday act with kids thrown in the mix turns a 2 minute act into a 45 minute adventure – sometimes longer! Take the following scenario that any of us could claim has happened to us…
[THIS IS NOT A DRAMATIZATION! But still do not attempt this at home!]Kids come with accoutrements one has to pack up for an outing. There’s the wee one that can’t walk yet and has to be carried everywhere, the middle-one who is all cuteness but needs help with everything still, and the oldest who is a ball of energy and curiosity but still needs help with most things. All the kids have to be helped into their clothes and shoes, you have to remind the potty trained ones to go to the potty and ultimately have to follow them in there to insure they have gone, wiped, flushed and washed their hands all while keeping an eye on the one who isn’t mobile yet but manages to maneuver his way around to the electrical cord and is gumming it when you return from your 3 minutes in the bathroom. [Maybe that only happens to me.]
So…getting in the car…now that we’ve all pottied it’s time to pack up the car. Today we are going to the gym and then to the pool. The gym has a daycare so no need to bring anything – fun and toys are covered. Wrong! Wee one is still in diapers and that means he needs clean diapers, wipes, and spare clothes (just in case). You’re working out for an hour…kids get hungry and thirsty and they get loud about it – so you throw in some light snacks and sippy cups for their time in the gym daycare. There. Finished. Let’s get in the car. Wait, no, we’re headed to the pool too. Let’s get three swimsuits, water shoes, towels, and something to have for lunch as well. Better bring a change of clothes, food gets messy. Oh yeah and sun block, and of course the new sunglasses little girl recently got!
Into the car we go! So you hoist up the 25 pound bulky car seat with wee one in it, corral the kids out the door, which is not unlike herding cats! Wave hello to the neighbors across street and pile the kids in the car. You start strapping them in their car seats so they aren’t able to get into mischief while you load up all the snacks, diapers (darn! forgot swim diapers!). You unload the kids (because you can’t be seen leaving your children unattended in the car!); you all go back in the house leaving the back to the minivan open with half your things piled in and the doors open causing that annoying Bing! Bing! Bing! to sound letting you know your keys are in the ignition with the door open (Thanks! Really needed that constant warning... you know, just in case the car drives off by itself).
You return with the swim diapers and load the brood back in the minivan, strap them all in again and finish loading up the trunk. You get in the driver’s seat and you smell something rotten. Ugh - diaper explosion! You turn and look at your wee one who is grinning at you as if he gets the joke. He’s actually quite happy to have unloaded that mess from his body! You and the brood all pile BACK out of the car (because you can’t be seen leaving your children unattended in the car – won’t those damn neighbors please go inside!) and you take wee one back inside to change his diaper. This is no simple mini-diaper explosion (actually there’s no such thing) you find the diaper explosion went all the way up his back…so after a quick dip in the baby bath and clean clothes and diapers you all head back out to the car.
Finally ready to go only now it's taken so long to get out the door that it’s already snack time and the kids are complaining they're hungry as if they've never been fed their entire lives! But you're a smart mama...you've got snacks in the car already...you get out and run to the trunk to get the snacks. You return to the driver’s seat and you pass them out to the kids to shut them up so you can (maybe) drive in peace to the gym.
Meanwhile, the childless neighbors across the street have been outside watering their lawn and watching your circus act in complete mouth-opened wonder. They’re wondering what the hell is wrong with you. Seen from their perspective you have:
1. Loaded the kids in the car
2. Taken them back out, leaving everything strewn in the driveway and the keys in the ignition (the bing, bing, bing drawing their attention)
3. Loaded the kids BACK in the car
4. Took them back out again
5. Loaded them in the car AGAIN!
6. And now you are you just sitting in the driveway with the motor running
They think you’re weird. They know you’re that person in the parking garage at Christmas time that gets in, turns on the car but never backs out while they wait to take your parking spot. They shake their heads at you and go back to watering their lawn.
You’re pulling out of the driveway and realize in the chaos of …all of that… you forgot YOUR accoutrements! You’re still in your PJs! You haven’t changed to your gym clothes; you didn’t pack YOUR swimsuit or food for you!
Much to your neighbor’s amazement, you are pulling back up your driveway after only making it half way down and you and the kids are once again getting out of the minivan! You go in to pack your things because you won’t give up; you can’t give up (I would’ve by now, by the way) you are going to have fun damn it!
~ ~ ~