You’re Invited… To My Pity Party!

I really try not to do this.  I make a concerted and conscious effort not to complain.  (Well, ok maybe I complain but I try to phrase it in an isn’t it funny that my two-year-old steals my car kind of way, not a my life sucks so much that I just want to die kind of way.)  But it seems like all I can think about lately is how much I’m trying to do.  It’s not necessarily that I’m unsuccessful either.  It’s just that… I don’t know.  I think it’s that the pace is starting to get to me, I’m wondering how long I can keep this up.

So in the interest of not sounding like I’m whining for no reason (I don’t deny that I’m whining I just have to prove that I’m justified) I’m going to give you the breakdown of a typical week.

Monday– Sean works 7-5 so I usually wake up when the babies do, which is when his alarm goes off at about 5:30 (I may want to mention here that both Irish1 and Irish2, while they go to sleep in their own beds, end up in our bed by no later than 2:00 every night.)  We generally get back to sleep (there’s no way I’m getting up that early) by about 6:30 only to be woken up by the Princess and then the Pea in succession (although not necessarily that order) coming in and climbing into bed with us.  By the time I haul my lazy behind out of bed about 7:30 Irish1 has wet through his diaper and there’s a big wet spot on my bed.

I shoo The Princess and the Pea off to school and spend the next 7 hours trying to work on the never ending kitchen project while simultaneously attempting to preserve the life of my last born from the hands of his slightly older brother who apparently wants to kill him.  Periodically I put the baby down for a nap and I get to stop my life saving vigil in favor of auto theft prevention.

About 4:00 the Princess and the Pea come home from school and I spend the next half hour to 45 minutes fighting with them over their homework and trying to clean up whatever mess I made while doing construction in my kitchen.  That done, I make dinner.

Sean gets home about 5:30 and we have dinner, hang out until 8:00 or so when the bedtime routine starts and on a good day we have everyone in bed by 9:ish and Sean and I get to hang out, fold laundry and watch  a movie or TV or something and eat brownies and ice cream until we both fall asleep in front of the TV and wake up and haul our sorry butts to bed.

Cue the crying babies, the hour long attempts to get them back to sleep in their own beds, the giving up in anger and the trying to sleep the remainder of the night with four people in our bed.

Tuesday– Starts the same except with fewer naps for the baby because when Irish1 goes down for his nap about 1:00, we all need to sleep.  Sometimes we even all do.  I’m definitely up by 3:00 I try to clean up a bit until the Princess and the Pea get home and we start our homework fights again.

When Sean gets home I try to be pulling dinner out of the oven because I have 15 minutes to eat before I need to leave to catch my train to work.  I spend about 45 minutes commuting (I try to get some writing done on the train these days too) and then 13 hours cutting kids open, or if I’m lucky blogging and playing on the internet, until 7:30 am when I get back on the train and try not to fall asleep and miss my stop.

Wednesday– I usually get home about 8:30, I’m in bed by 9:30 and I sleep until 3:30 or so.  (Let me take a minute here to tell you that I have the most fantastic husband who spends all day Wednesday taking care of my children and keeping them out of the basement, where our bedroom is, so I can sleep.  He really is the best!)  I get up just in time to have the homework fight, again.  And then I try to come up with something to make for dinner (which is also kind of breakfast for me) before I have to leave to get back on the train so that I can spend another 13 hours cutting children open or playing on the internet or some combination thereof.

Thursday– Like Wednesday, I get home about 8:30 and I’m in bed about 9:00 but I try to be up by noon.  That is the single most painful thing I do and I do it every week.  I have to get up by 1:00 at the latest because I have to turn days back into days and nights back into nights and sleep deprivation is the only way to do that.  Sean is home Thursday too so I lately I try to get whatever kitchen stuff that I’m either not strong enough to do or that requires two people, done before the Princess and the Pea get home and I get to have the homework fight again.

About half the time I have some kind of enrichment activity that I have to be to on Thursday night so I kiss my children and leave Sean to put them to bed alone, again, and head to book club or wherever.   I try to get home in time for folding laundry, watching a movie or TV, brownies and ice cream, falling asleep in the living room and finally going to bed.  I generally can get to sleep pretty well Thursday night, due to the sleep deprivation, but when the babies wake me up after about two hours it generally take me another 3 or 4 to get back to sleep.  Which is especially inconvenient because

Friday– I have to be to work at 7:00 am so I get up about 5:30 and stumble around the house and hopefully out the door in time to catch my train.  I spend the next 13 hours cutting kids open (no internet or blogging on Fridays) and then I ride the train home getting there in time to kiss the kids as they get into bed.

Laundry, movie or TV, brownies and ice cream, falling asleep, waking up, going to bed.  Cue the wailing babies.

Saturday– Sean works.  I try to do a good deep clean of the kitchen and front room, but lately I don’t really bother and just work on the addition, while yelling at the Princess and the Pea to clean their bedrooms, their bathroom, the playroom and take out the trash, and preventing fratricide between my two youngest children.

Sean comes home and we repeat Monday night. (Including laundry, movie or TV, brownies and ice cream, falling asleep, waking up and going to bed.)  (And, of course, wailing babies.)

Sunday– Sean works, we have church at 9:00.  I wrestle four children into church clothes and get them fed etc.. in time to leave the house at 8:45.  I wrestle four kids through an hour and ten minutes of sacrament meeting and then I’m left with just one overly tired baby who’s missed his nap for the next two hours.  After church we head home and I spend about 15 minutes thinking that I really shouldn’t just let them watch SpongBob all day before I wonder who I’m kidding and collapse onto the couch.

Minimal amounts of fratricide prevention, laundry, movie or TV, brownies and ice cream…  and hey, I’m good to start another week.

There is some variation.  Every other week I work Friday night rather than Friday day so the lack of sleep isn’t as much of a problem and those weeks Sean’s home both Saturday (much of which I sleep through) and Sunday but that does mean that he works more during the week so it all comes out in the wash.

I dream of unstructured days.

I dream of sleeping in until I’m just done sleeping.

I long to walk through my house without tripping over toys.

If either the Princess or the Pea could get their homework out, complete it, put it back in their backpack and put the backpack away without my having to point out each step you would have to treat me for shock.

I miss my husband.  With one or the other of us working nearly every day, and a lot of nights, I feel like I don’t see a whole lot of him. (I know Annie, I’ll cry you a river.)

I miss my kids.  Fighting over homework does not count as spending time together but I don’t have a lot of options for one on one time.

I’m not sure how long I can keep this up.

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15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cheryl
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 07:37:58

    How long *do* you have to keep it up? I’d start weighing options. Not that you haven’t already done it…

    Dude, you can complain away! I’ve got nothin’ on your schedule and I’m so impressed that you do what you do. I don’t know how you do it! Obviously you don’t know how YOU do it, either, eh? 😉

  2. Annette
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 07:57:44

    Man, I wish had something witty or helpful to say. Here’s hoping that something gives, soon.

  3. julie
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 08:18:47

    wow….can’t complain here…hugs

  4. Melanie J
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 09:16:01

    I feel for you. I was a single mom for a long time and this grind sounds way too familiar. But there gets to be a point where the kids need you a little less (for sleep time or homework time) and you gt to carve some more time out for yourself. It won’t be soon but it will happen so…hang in there?

  5. Jami
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 10:42:08

    Oh, I know what you mean. So, so much to do. And that homework fight is killing my relationship with the school monkeys. And oh, to sleep until I wake up. On my own. Alison, you have my profound empathy. Hope it lightens up soon.

  6. Alison @ hairlinefracture
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 13:03:43

    Good grief, woman! I’m tired just reading about your schedule. Complain all you want, I’m not going to disagree.

    When the two youngest start sleeping through the night (you can hope, right?) it will help for sure. I’ll say a prayer for you–you need extra strength.

  7. madhousewife
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 13:36:00

    Yikes. I hope your dreams come true soon.

  8. bythelbs
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 15:01:28

    I’m hoping it’s safe to say you won’t always have a kitchen to build and you won’t always have kids waking up during the night. Until then, feel free to whine and complain all you want. I think you’ve earned it.

  9. Catherine
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 15:05:11

    Knowing that you do 9:00 church with your four by yourself gives me hope. I can’t tell you how much I’m dreading next year. Wait…yes I can, it’s probably about as much as you’re looking forward to it.

  10. Lisa
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 01:22:00

    Oh my gosh, Alison. I am so sorry. I would suggest you just simplify, but nearly everything you listed is a necessity. Especially the brownies and ice cream. I believe I’d make that part of my routine three times a day if my schedule looked like yours!

  11. Jaime
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 11:08:41

    Wow. That is a week, Allison. I would complain all day, everyday, to everyone. But that’s just me. I typed out several versions of encouragement but they all just sound trite and insincere. So, I’ll just say, I hope that things get easier, more stable, less crazy for you soon. You have always been a strong person, sometimes too strong. So, don’t be afraid to ask and take help where you need it. Hang in there!

  12. Pink Ink
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 16:26:02

    Hang in there. We’re all entitled to vent, and your blog is a good place for it. 🙂

  13. suburbancorrespondent
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 18:47:17

    How you manage the shiftwork with 2 young babies and their erratic sleep patterns is beyond me! It’s the mess-up sleep that kills me.

  14. E
    Oct 22, 2008 @ 16:32:23

    My humble sister who doesn’t want to brag or show off, failed to mention that she reads scriptures with her kids before she puts them to bed and then continues to read on her own. People should know that.

  15. E
    Oct 22, 2008 @ 16:33:09

    Alison is my sister.

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