Sometimes I feel like time passes so slowly. The clock ticks by lazily, nearly mocking my weariness and the fact that if I have to tell yet another one of my kids to quit playing in the trash can or to stop pinching each other, I'm literally going to implode. Toddlerhood comes with a very intense testing of patience and I am here to assure you that when you have four toddlers at a time, it can be very intense.
Other times, however, time is fleeting. The last time I remembered looking at the clock it was 1:20pm and now it's already 8pm and time to get the kids ready for bed. I'm constantly trying to keep track of the to do list that's on a constant run-through in my head to see if I managed to get anything on it done that day. Eventually I'll write it all down on a piece of paper, then forget about the paper for two days and have already made up an entirely new list (with completely different items) in my mind again. See? Maddening. It can also make me feel like I've gone in a circle, like a hamster frantically running it's wheel, leaving me exhausted and feeling unaccomplished at the day's end. I've developed two ways to deal with that deflated-sort of mentality when the sun goes down.
1.) Accept that it's the end of that 24-hour period and, unless I've got the energy to stay up until 2am being productive, I need to just relax and get some sleep and try again tomorrow.
2.) Recount all the things I've actually done that day, even though they might not have been on my list, and realize I totally kicked ass. Like the fact that I made 12 meals just for the kids (and likely cooked two of them fresh), did two loads of laundry, perhaps took the whole crew on an outing somewhere, escorted them to the toilet eight million times, emptied and loaded the dishwasher, fed all the pets, changed linens, ran laundry, cleaned floors, did an art project with the quads, gave four baths and any other variety of accomplishments.
When I itemize things like that, it makes me feel much better about my efforts and also makes me realize why I'm so frikkin' tired.
Earlier this week, I had scheduled one of our babysitters to watch the kids so we could get a date night. It was a great chance to regroup since I'd been out of town for several days, to give the husband a break since he'd been picking up the slack, and to help us reconnect and get on the same page for the rest of the week as we both re-acclimated to our normal routines. It was seriously one of the best date nights ever! We discovered a new restaurant had been built and when we drove up to check it out, realized it was opening day and walked right in to a table. He got the sweet chili-glazed salmon and I got macadamia nut-crusted chicken, plus a half-priced bottle of wine. Soooo delicious. Then we headed down the street to our movie theater and saw the new Avengers movie, which was awesome. Totally perfect evening and totally needed.
It definitely helps that the husband and I prioritize date nights and other times spent together, so that we can maintain a connection that isn't always dictated by what mood the kids are in. Lord knows, there are plenty of days where we barely have a chance to exchange more than grunts and nods because the quads are going fast and furious.
Whether it's a long day or a slow day, sometimes they all end the same: I'm at the end of my rope and can barely take another second, the husband isn't home from work yet and it's past dinner time but I haven't started cooking anything and it's completely overwhelming to even think about getting through our evening routine and bedtime. But, not to undersell myself, I do have some days where I feel like a rock star and have knocked out a lot and feel good. Normal for you, too!? Awesome, I feel better already. I wished someone had warned me about the crazy highs and lows of emotions you go through in a single day as a mom. Raging frustrated to lovey dovey to militant maniac to germaphobe to sobbing hot mess to watching them sleep and wondering how they ever got on your nerves in the first place. Agghhhh!!!
Kailey has taken to yelling most of her communications, which drives me crazy, and the other kids will all start talking or arguing and I can't even hear myself to answer a question one of them is asking me. So I try to remove myself to another room so I don't resort to yelling back at them because then we really sound like one big happy family. And don't even get me started on the times a kid gets stuck on repeat saying the same thing over and over and over and OVER!
But then today, for instance, I took great pleasure in popping open a new Bota box of malbec and hearing the sound of the vino gurgling into my glass. Sometimes I forget it's wine and not water from the fridge and I'll be trying to fill my fish bowl-sized goblet to the brim! It's totally cool, though, because then I don't have to keep trekking over for refills. Small pleasures.
Occasionally, I call the husband and ask him how far away he is from home, ascertain traffic status and estimated arrival time before confessing I haven't had the time or energy to get to dinner yet. Wise man that he is, he'll offer to pick something up and I'll text him our order. This then frees up 20 minutes or so of time that I can go on to something else productive—like this blog post or organizing toys or vacuuming my floor that's inevitably laced with trails of goldfish crumbs like a completely unnecessary (and unrewarding) treasure map around the house.
These kids are most definitely my life's work and the loves of my life. They leave me very fulfilled and very drained at the same time. Which is quite the accomplishment, if you ask me! I wouldn't trade my days for anything and I'm grateful I still get to write and work from home as time allows to help me feel like a professional now and then, and not just the designated discarded-clothes-and-underwear-picker-upper. While being a mom is now 90% of my life, there's still that other percentage that I don't want to become forgotten or important. So whether it's a fresh glass of wine, a dinner I didn't have to cook, a newly published article I'm proud of, or an unaccompanied trip to Target, it's all part of me being me. It's not a perfect picture, but it's my perfect life that I'm living in a perpetual state of happy crazy...one day at a time. ;)