My phone is my alarm. Therefore my phone is also my sworn enemy. That number on there that you can't see for the brightness? 5:30 am. Every. Weekday. Morning. See, I'm a working mama with 3 boys and a husband who works in the film industry which, though it may sound glamourous, really just means he's not home all that much. During the week I pretty much fly solo and so if anyone is going to make it where they should be on time, it's 5:30 am for me.
Why so early? Cause life is busy and there are certain things I just know won't fit into my day once it gets rolling. Things like bible reading, focused prayer, simple quiet. They wouldn't exist in my world without this early alarm and so, though I loathe it each morning when a Snow Patrol song starts lulling me awake, I wouldn't have it any other way. Because I'm a working mom I need to have myself in order first so that when Thing One, Thing Two and Thing Three wake up I can focus on helping them get organized for their day. But first things first, right?
Once the java has settled nicely into my bloodstream it's go time with no looking back. I'll be honest with you here for just a second, if that's allowed, when Em first asked me to do this post I thought it'd be fun. But upon thinking about it through my day I realized I have a really normal, unglamorous life. I started to second guess whether I should even be doing this post or not. I mean, who wants to see my messy kitchen and bathroom counter? But something happened along the way. I'll share that a bit later. Sometime after the messy kitchen shot. But it would be a lie to say that I love every second of every moment of my life. Being a mama is hard work. It means day after day denying my own selfish tendencies and putting the needs of others before my own. But I believe it's what I'm called to do. Plus I believe in magic so, there's that.
At 6:30 I start to wake the munchkins one by one and they make their way in a daze to the bathrooom and file in and out of the shower in a routine that might resemble bootcamp. In, shampoo, out. In, shampoo, out. If anyone takes longer than their allotted time I assure you it will only be once because it just means that the next day they get demoted to the last one in spot. And nobody likes to be the last one in...
For the next hour our home is a blur of shower steam and homework papers. Lunches being packed, backpacks stuffed, planners signed and making sure everyone has a good solid breakfast. I leave for work when my kids have about 15 minutes left before they leave for school. Thankfully, Grandma lives just downstairs and she drives them to school for me most days.
I'm so thankful though that I have a job that allows me to work when the munchkins are in school and I'm off and ready to pick them up from school every single day. That's magic, dear friends. Pure magic. When my kids were really little I called that cluster of years, "The Tired Years". Now that they're 10, 11, and 13 I call this season, "The Driving Years". It's what I do. I drive to school pick up.
I drive back to school for a second round because SOMEone has SOMEthing every day after school. It could be film club or basketball or volleyball or track. Today it just happens to be drumline.
And we make our way back home. Again. But then something pretty great happens when we're all home and this is what made me change my view on my unglamourous and unblogworthy life. I realized that though it may not be the things that reality tv or hollywood magazines are made of, it's my life and I wouldn't change it for a million bucks. You know when I started to realize it? When we went to our forest like we do every day after school. Because the forest is magic, man. It really is.
Okay, okay it's not really OUR forest but it might as well be. We've never ever seen anyone else there and when we get there, everyone magically gets happy. The stress of the day slips away. Our weary bodies get renewed. We run and chat and play and we get all the way to our Hobbit Hole and then we loop around and back. Pure magic. Plus, if it's a day when the sun is shinin' warm on your back, well now that's just the ridiculous kind of happy where we all get a little silly and sing out a song as we hike through the green.
But magic, apparently, has to end at some point and we head back to the land of dinner and dishes. Let me introduce you to my best friend. Mr. Crockpot.
I'm a meal planning maniac and the crock pot truly is my best friend. Today I pulled a ziploc bag from the freezer containing homemade teriyaki sauce and chopped up some chicken and it simmered all day. When we get home from our forest, the house smells delish! But today is also the day when I grab one of the munchkins to help me prepare the meal. I do it once per week in the hopes of teaching them how to cook but also just to have some one on one gab time. Today my oldest boy helped make Risotto with Greens and Peas from Gwyneth Paltrow's new book, It's All Good. (and it truly is ALL GOOD!)
Today while cooking we conquered some studying for a French test, "How do you say 'the deflated basketball is underneath the table?" Y'know, the important stuff. Plus we covered a few relationship issues, some summer adventures we hope to accomplish and made up dumb jokes while chopping up the leeks. I'll spare you and you're welcome.
After dinner is when I start to wind down from the day. Up until then it's constant go, go, go and talking, talking, talking but it's inevitable that just as I finish up dishes and wiping down counters, someone has something that needs to be tackled. It could be a major project at school, or studying spelling words or fingernails that need some attention. (evidenced by the picture of the boy handing me flowers) It could be tears from something that happened at school or breaking up a sibling argument. All of which are fine with me because they involve sitting down. And sitting down is not something I do all day, aside from driving. (Thank goodness for all the driving!)
But of course today it was a school project that needed desert like objects. Of course it did! A cactus maybe, mom? Or a snake?
So we loaded up again in search of a garden shop that was still open and had a cactus. 3 stores in and I was about to give up but he wasn't. One more try, mom? And it's in these moments that I remember that this is what motherhood looks like. It means giving up 'me time' or 'couch time' or 'I just want silence time' and it means doing what we do for the littles that we love. We entered the last store and there wasn't a desert plant to be found but we found some random flower that hadn't bloomed yet that might just resemble a cactus, if it holds off on the blooming for awhile!
As we drove home we stopped on the side of the road collecting rocks and dead branches and we may have borrowed a bit of sand from the long jump pit at a school but I promise we'll return it once the desert project is over!
It's 7pm and I call it quits. No more projects or running around. We need to be done.
Half an hour later my real best friend and husband (same person!) walks through the door and the chaos ensues with the ringing out of the words, "Daddy's Hooooooome!" Words that sing sweet in my ears. Magical words. Words that mean I'm no longer the only person in charge!
I go semi-off duty once daddy's home because let's face it, at this point I'm not that useful. I'm tired and I drop things and my words don't come out quite right anymore. So we sit and chat, all of us at the table, as he eats his reheated dinner and then we bustle the munchkins off to bed. They're old enough to brush their teeth by themselves and to hop into bed but we choose to be a part of it each day.
This is when they get some good daddy time as he snuggles in their room with them and reads to them from the bible. I listen as I putter around, finishing up the days chores, spending time reading or blogging.
My days are full and so is my heart. I love this little family of mine, our days and our quirks and our routines. I love the hard work of it and how the sweet parts really truly feel like magic.
Thanks for being a part of it with us today!