I have 3 children. Three marvelous children, ages 7 months-3 years. They are the best little people and biggest blessings in my life. I know I am biased, and I have every right to be. Spring boarding from a family of 3 to a family of 5 has not been easy to do, but we've been willing and in love every step of the way. This family would not be possible if Josh and I were not a team and on the same page. I'm so blessed to have Josh's support and love every day. Every single day! We've never spent a day mad...maybe a few hours at most(and that was before kids mostly), but we are lucky that our respect and love for each other always outweigh the argument.
I am in awe of Josh. I think he does so much for us, and I'm lucky he thinks the same thing about me. It makes his need to fish and "fill his tank" outdoors easier to understand and support. We're a team and we're only as good together as we are healthy and good apart. If we don't take care of our needs as individuals, which is easy to do in a busy household, we are not able to give the effort to our marriage and our family need. Josh gives me my nights out and I give him his day or weekend of fishing/hunting. It isn't always easy, but we understand those the needs.
It's October and we have hit a rhythm. Here's my typical work day:
5:15am - pump for 30+minutes. I check school email and write emails at this time. I may or may not go back to sleep depending on the babies. We are trying to keep them asleep until 6:15 or later, but they need a little help some mornings.
6:00am - first alarm goes off and I do usually hit snooze (lasts for 9 minutes). I didn't used to hit snooze, but my lack of sleep means I need a little extra time waking up.
6:35am - I am done showering and dressed so that I can start. or take over from Josh (he now showers), dressing and feeding babies their morning bottles (5oz). Then I gather my lunch and other materials for the day.
6:50am - I wake Caleb and get him dressed. While Caleb says good morning to the babies I finish packing my lunch, the babies daycare bag with the clean cloth diapers, and pumped milk. Then Caleb snuggle on the couch for a few minutes until Josh is about dressed and coming downstairs at 7:10. Then we all get coats and shoes on, babies in carseats, and all three children loaded in the truck. Josh pulls out about 7:15 or 7:20am to take the kids to daycare, and I lock the door and pull out after him.
I get to school usually about 7:25am, some morning earlier if we are on the ball at home. I drop my lunch off in the office and walk upstairs to turn on my computer. While things boot up I write the Morning Message to my class, make copies if needed, and then check email to see if there are any new morning messages from students' families or staff. Somehow there is always plenty to do during this time.
8:00 students arrive and I am "on" for the day. I don't know how to give less than 100% when I teach. I am all in. My prep is before lunch, during which I pump. While I am stuck to my desk during this time I try to be organized and have all the materials I need to prepare and look over at my desk. If I don't, my time after pumping is quite frantic and rushed. Even if I am prepared, I am rushed. On Monday's I always pump again during lunch because I have an early prep and can't make it to the end of the day. Otherwise Tuesday-Friday I do actually have lunch with the staff. I usually make a few copies or have a few things written on a post-it I need to grab from a storage room or supply cabinet.
I have my students all afternoon without a break from 11:40am-2:35. Everyday we end the day reviewing the highlights of the day in a circle. Then we huddle in and on three say our class cheer. Every other month I am either on door duty (supervise car pick up) or bus duty (supervise and make sure kids get to the bus). Then by 3:00 I am back at my desk checking email, pumping, and perhaps making parent phone calls to check in. Unless of course there are meetings and I have to rearrange that pumping and prep time. From 3:30-4:15 I am usually free to gather materials, make copies, and get things ready for the next day. At 4:15 I pack up, grab my pumped milk from the fridge and drive 7 minutes to daycare. I pick up my children around 4:35. Caleb greets me with an enthusiastic, "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" and hug nearly every day. He pulls me to show me whatever he is playing with inside or out. Then I read the note about Caleb's day on the door for parents, and next I read about Mollie and Will's day on the counter, letting me know when they ate, pooped, slept and played:) We usually have a great day, with naps occasionally being off. I make at least two trips to the car to get everyone buckled in and to bring home the empty milk bottles and dirty cloth diapers.
We get home usually at 5:00 and Josh usually is home minutes before us. He usually helps carry everyone in and sometimes Will and Mollie are taking a cat nap from the lulling 5 minute drive home. We let them sleep for a bit if that's the case, and then we unload them and stack the carseats. Josh and I update each other on our day, and ask Caleb about his. We change diapers and throw a load of them in the wash. At about 5:30 I prep and feed the babies their solids, followed by a bottle while Josh makes the rest of us dinner. We all have usually eaten by 6:15 and then play for the next hour. I usually pump at 6:30pm. Shortly after 7:00 babies get PJs on and a bottle. They are in their cribs by 7:30. Then Caleb gets 30 minutes with us alone. Usually it involves puzzles, blocks, and books. Maybe some iPad time if we've "had a day" and are just all wanting to snuggle.
We are blessed; my mom comes almost every Wednesday to help out and love on her grand babies. By the time I get home the living room is vacuumed, usually a few other rooms as well. Laundry is folded and/or a load is going in the washer and recycling is all flattened/crushed and in the outside bin. She stays to help with bath time, which is always an assembly line. Just one more set of hands, and a 1 to 1 ratio for 3 hours makes life so much easier! Thanks Oma!
Josh and I take turns putting Caleb to sleep at 8:00pm. If it's my turn it includes 5-10 minutes of snuggling in bed. I'll take every opportunity to snuggle I can. There's lots of kisses and hugs, and our bedtime prayers.
After Caleb is asleep we are beat. We usually watch something we've recorded. We get the things done that must get done (a load of laundry, dishes, toys picked up somewhat, etc) and then I pump at 9:30pm or 10:00pn. After pumping I wash dishes from dinner if I haven't already and my pumping dishes. We head to bed and I am happy if the clock does not say 11:00pm.
At least once per baby we usually have to go stick a Nuk back in during our night's sleep, but sometimes they treat us to a quiet night. Teeth throw a curve ball in there too, and some nights are not so pleasant. But we usually find the trick and get babies calm, if not asleep, within a handful of minutes. Abd at 5:00am my alarm sounds again...starting the next day.
Throw in a run to the grocery store at least once during the week, a meeting or obligation, as well as maybe a kidless trip to somewhere for a bit of time turned "off." Once a month I have book club and once a month I have Multiple Blessings, a support group of moms of multiples.
I write this down to not evoke pity or to whine, but rather feel accomplished. Josh and I do this Monday-Friday with love and a sense of pride in our jobs and family. We know we aren't perfect. There are times we scrape by, and others where we throw in a great family walk, a drive to visit someone with all 5 of us, or even eat at a restaurant! We don't do that though unless we are with more adults than children. :)
We're on a strict budget so we find fun in the small things and deals. We take pictures and videos of our kids milestones and we whisper over Caleb's head about cute things he says and does. At night we enjoy a show together and kiss goodnight.
Every day is a gift and I am grateful....I am also exhausted. This is a phase, a sleepless phase.