Friday, December 2, 2011

Don't Ask.

Do not ever ask a stay at home mother what she does all day.  You will get punched in the face.  And then you will receive this explanation:

I wake up at 1AM, 3AM, and 5AM, and then sometimes I get to go back to sleep until 6:30 or 7.  I let the dog out.  I put orange juice in sippy cups and nutella on whole-wheat bread, and sit the kids at the table.  I kiss them good morning and I ask them if they slept well.  I go up the stairs to bring the baby down and nurse her while the older ones are eating.  They finish before she does and they get nutella everywhere before I can wipe it from their hands.  I put the baby in a safe place from the older kids and clean up the nutella and let the dog back in.  I change three diapers and put three sets of pajamas in the laundry.  I refill the sippy cups and unload the dishwasher.  I resolve a lego conflict.  I separate the screaming children and let the dog out.  I fold some laundry and start two more loads.  I put the oldest in timeout for pushing her sister.  I make a cup of coffee.  I start a movie for the kids.  I feed the baby and type a few words one-handed.  I remove wet underwear from my oldest with my feet.  I let the baby sleep in the swing.  I microwave my coffee.  I play dress-up and tea party.  I tell them how delicious my "chocolate" tea is, and how pretty they look in the cinderella dress.  I load the dishwasher and wipe down the countertops.  I let the dog back in.  At 9 I bring them upstairs to watch Little Einsteins so I can brush my teeth, put clean clothes on, make my bed, and straighten my hair.  I grab some clothes from their room and get them dressed.  I text my husband to say hi.  At 9:30 I feed the baby and put the kids on the car to go to the commissary / department store / doctor / mailbox / park / neighbors' house.  I smile when strangers say "you've got your hands full!"  At 11 we come home and I make their lunch and sit them at the table.  I put the groceries / purchases away.  I feed the dog and let her outside.  I feed the baby.  I let the dog back in.  I go to the bathroom and then I eat for the first time. I pour my abandoned coffee down the drain.  I search for a lost earring.  I remove my 3 year old from my two year old.  I  make faces with the baby and take some pictures.  I refill sippy cups.  I check email while they're calm.  Ayla knocks over my water onto my camera.  I take apart my camera and let it air-dry.  At 1 PM I change two diapers.  I swaddle the baby and put her down for a nap.  I find a pacifier for the toddler and put her down for a nap.  I play play-doh, cootie, chutes and ladders, and practice letters with my oldest.  I praise her rainbow-colored sculptures and her cootie creativity.  I commend her progress with the letter "R."  She plays outside while I get on the computer again to finish Christmas shopping / date night planning / grandparent correspondence / best friend's wedding planning / hand-me-down selling / side job working.  I get something out for dinner.  I refill sippy cups.  I let the dog out and back in.  I clean up an unidentified mess.  I put all the toys back in the playroom.  I put all the puzzles back together.  I sweep the kitchen and vacuum the living room.  I wipe down light switch covers and doorknobs, or wipe down the baseboards, or vacuum the upstairs.  I write a thank-you note / wrap a gift / plan a daytrip / schedule playdate or doctor appointment / respond to an invitation.  The napping kids wake up.  I change two diapers, get the toddler a snack, and feed the baby.  I type a few lines one-handed.  I text my husband to say hi.  I take a phone call from mom / grandmother / aunt / in-laws / friend / neighbor and build a tower in the playroom with the kids.  I take Barbie away from the dog.  I put ornaments back on the tree, play-doh back in the canisters, jewelry back in my room, dirty clothes back in the hampers, and do another load of laundry.  I change my shirt because it's recently been covered in various body fluids.  I empty the dishwasher and wipe down the counters.  I flush the downstairs toilet and hope there's nothing valuable in it.  My husband comes home at 5 and keeps the kids out of the kitchen while I make dinner.  He chops veggies for me and butterflies chicken.  He changes diapers.  I feed the dog.  We eat dinner.  He tells me how good it was.  We put a family movie on, and I go upstairs to get PJs.  Hubs bathes all three kids, and I dry them off and put PJs on them. I put day clothes in the hampers.  They finish their movie.  I feed the baby, swaddle her, and put her to bed.  I ask my husband how his day was.  I do a puzzle with my two-year-old and I clap my hands when she puts the last piece in.  He reads the girls a story and puts them to bed.  I get in the shower.  He lets the dog out and back in.  I do the dishes.  We watch some TV or a movie.  I go to bed, and I wonder if I did enough for my little family today.  If they learned anything, if they got enough attention, if they got enough hugs, if I yelled at them too much, if they were over- or under-stimulated, if their pajamas are warm enough, if they are happy.  And I hope one day they understand I tried. 

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