The Life & Times of a Sleep-Deprived Mom

I want to write a post, but my brain is so scattered.

All week I’ve misplaced what day it is. I swear today is the second Friday we’ve had, because yesterday was definitely Friday. Nothing has happened in the right order and not much went according to plan.

Early Monday morning I woke up and got violently sick. My first thought was, “Please God, I can’t be pregnant!” Luckily, it was just a stomach bug. The funniest part was later that morning; Josh said something that showed he was having the same thoughts. I guess we’re both pretty certain that our birthing years are over. Maybe it’s time to make that call to the doctor.

I’d like to go through the rest of this week for you, but I honestly don’t remember what happened Tuesday or Wednesday. It’s a blank for me.

Yesterday the kids and I went to visit Josh at work. This is always quiet the experience. Whenever we walk on the campus of Life Pacific College I feel like someone sprays my children with a magic potion that causes them to forget every lesson I’ve tried to drill in to them about how we behave in public.

And the running…down the ramp, up the stairs, across the field, through the landscaping. Trying to look cool and college-y relevant is futile when I’m yelling at Eli to get out of the tree, and “Hurry up, Cora,” and Ezra is crawling on the ground pretending to be a cat and Silas is tied to my body. I’ve given up on attempting to appear anything other than harried when I’m there.

Walking through the doors of the Cafe, the three oldest greet their father from 30 feet away with yells and pounding feet. Regardless of what else is going on, they run up to the counter and proceed to tell him everything that has happened in the last 5 hours. All at once. At an ear-piercing decibel. In 10 seconds.

Trying to dish up food for all of us is fun…for the 50 or so college students who are watching me. Constant reminders to sit down are alternated with questions on entrée, side and drink choices. Eli is in the stage where all of the non-caffeinated sodas or juices (or sometimes both) need to be mixed to make up his own special concoction. Ezra, as usual, refuses to eat anything expect pudding and maybe a sucker.

Why do I put myself through this, you may ask.

1) We love to see Josh. We miss him while he’s gone during the day and I wish we could eat lunch with him everyday.

B) There are times when I just need to think, and one of the best ways to think is to strap all of the kids in the car (where they can’t move) and drive. Josh’s job is far enough away that I get some good thinking time in, but not so far that the kids get antsy.

Fourthly, we spend a lot of time in our apartment. Stumbling on top of each other, cleaning up, making a mess, cleaning up again, watching TV and listening to the kids scream at the daycare downstairs. We’re bored, we’re cramped, we want to interact with other people. On the campus there’s a ton of students who want to play, there’s room to stretch our legs and home feels like a destination again instead of a confinement.

I’m not sure why I told you all that, but I’m going to leave it. This is the random workings of a sleep-deprived momma’s brain.

A couple more things:

Did you know we’re smiling now?

Did you hear that Eli won his first school award? Apparently he’s the Shoe Tying Sheriff. I find this interesting, as he insisted that we get him slip on shoes for school because he didn’t want to have to tie his shoes. Such a silly boy!

Thanks for putting up with my random today. We’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming on Monday, after I hopefully get some rest!

Have a great weekend!!

{I promise I’m not always so crazy! I’d love for you to sign up for (free) email updates or subscribe in a reader to my blog. Then you can get to know me when I’ve had more than 4 hours sleep.}

A Day in the Life

“Wow! You’ve got your hands full!”

I smile and nod as I manuever my way through the waiting room, lugging the infant carrier, trying not to knock the people I pass in the head or shoulder. I watch as the older three attack the play area, praying that there’s no fights or trips to the potty in the near future.

“How do you do it?”

Laughing away the question I make my way through Target. Ezra is in the shopping cart seat, Cora is in the cart itself and Eli pushes Silas in the stroller next to me. I try to get our necessities before Silas starts crying or Cora stands up in the cart, prompting a comment from someone about the danger of standing up in a cart (as if I wasn’t aware — they’re quick when your back is turned).

::

Daily I get curious remarks about life with four small children. People look at us in awe (and fear) when we enter a store, office or restaurant. We never got that response with three children…it’s like having the one more tipped us over the edge into looneyville and people don’t know how to relate to us anymore.

A rare picture of the four together...

I know I have a lot of children. I wanted a lot of children (and for those of you who knew me in 2007 when my opinion was slightly different, I beg you would stay silent). These are the children God had for us.

I think that I try to make it look easier than it is. There are many motives behind this:

  1. People already think I’m crazy, so it would be nice to trick them into thinking I’m handling this with ease.
  2. If I let people know what’s really going on there’s the fear that they would run screaming or call the authorities (not really).
  3. I’m prideful.

Yup, #3 is the kicker. I want to appear capable and in control. But, in the spirit of being transparent (something us Christians really like — in others), I thought I’d let you in on what my days as a SAHM of four children really look like.

::

Right now Silas is waking up at midnight, 2 AM and 5 AM. Frequently I wake up to nurse him and then fall asleep in our chair in the living room, which means that I wake up in time to put him back in bed, crawl in my own bed and sleep horizontally for 45 minutes before he’s awake again. This does not result in a restful night’s sleep.

By the time I wake up in the morning all three older children are awake. Eli, at 6-years-old, is able to get cereal for himself and, if he’s in a generous mood, he might get some for his siblings. Picture half a box of Cheerios strewn about the kitchen table and floor.

My secret mommy weapon right now is Phineas and Ferb. I’ll confess, my kids watch a lot of TV. During this nursing, newborn stage it’s hard for them not to. I’m trapped in a chair in the living room and if they’re watching TV I know they’re not causing trouble. We tried coloring, games, books and playing in their rooms — all of which ended in fighting, making messes and hurting each other. TV is safe and quiet. I like safe and quiet.

Lunchtime. We pretty much have three choices: PB&J, chicken nuggets or leftovers. These are my options too. Because if I try to make something else for myself the kids will immediately drop whatever food I’ve just prepared for them and loudly explain to me that they really wanted my food but didn’t know we had it. So I eat a lot of PB&Js.

After lunch is nap time, every parents favorite time of day. I explain to them that they’re not to get out of bed or talk or sing or play with Barbies or make a tent with the sheets or get up to go to the bathroom every 15 minutes or any of the other crazy things they come up with not to sleep. But they’re creative and I can’t always cover everything.

Have you noticed at this point that I have yet to take a shower or get ready for the day? Because that usually happens around 2:30 or 3 pm. As I write this I haven’t put in my contacts, I haven’t taken a shower and my blinds are still closed. What do the blinds have to do with anything? Well, I live at a church that has a daycare downstairs. I don’t want the daycare teachers to see that everyday my children and myself remain in our pajamas until 1 pm…because what’s the point in dressing them if we’re just going to be in the house? That would mean more laundry and my laundry machines are downstairs in the garage and they cost me money.

After I’ve showered and gotten properly dressed, I open the blinds and tackle the previous night’s dishes in the sink and PB&J confetti on the kitchen floor that Ezra makes instead of eating. The afternoon is spent in restoring the house to some sort of order. If the kids’ rooms have started to spill out into the hallway I’ll tell them to clean their rooms.

Another moment of honesty: Sometimes I just need a break. These breaks include hiding in the bathroom, hiding in my bedroom or sending them to their rooms to clean (because I know it will take them awhile).

I try to have dinner started before Josh gets home…this happens about 45% of the time. Silas has decided that 5:30 is when he’s hungriest, so I’m usually nursing when Josh walks in the door. What a wonderful husband I have, he comes home and helps me with dinner and the kids as soon as he gets here!

After dinner Josh has been taking the older three downstairs to play while I clean up the kitchen and/or nurse the baby again. Then it is back upstairs for everyone as we brush teeth, put on PJs and say prayers. By 8:30 or 9 PM the older three are in bed and Josh and I are finally able to spend some time together.

I relish that evening time and it goes by so quickly. Before I know it the clock reads 11 PM and I sense the futility of getting in bed just to be awoken in an hour by Silas.

::

So here’s the truth. I do have my hands full. And I don’t do it all.

My house in constantly in shambles. My children are usually in different stages of dress (or undress). I wish I could say I walk with them to the park each day for a picnic lunch after we’ve had our morning devotional and worship time. But…this is my life right now. I’m not particularly happy about the TV and crazy schedules, but it’s working for us.

Eli starts kindergarten in three weeks and then life will require more of a routine. I like routine, so I think this will be a good thing for us.

And my response to the question, “How do I do it?”

By the grace of God alone…

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain…

I Corinthians 15:10a

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