Living the Dream
When I was a teenager, day dreaming about my future life, my dream always played out kind of like this:
I’d wake up every morning before the husband and kids, leisurely dress myself in cute, fashionable clothes, sexy shoes, and pearl earrings, arrange my hair neatly, and don my adorable little apron. I would stroll through the little bit of daily cleaning- dust while singing my favorite toon… vacuum with a little shake in my hips.
I’d wake my children and send them out for their morning chores while I prepared a three course breakfast in my five star kitchen. We’d eat as a family and we’d all kiss Daddy out of the door before settling down for school work, which of course, would pass without flaw because all my children would be self-starting geniuses, and I’d have to time to work on my knitting while they worked.
We’d have sandwiches for lunch. I’d allow that. Then the children and I would head outside for afternoon play time, with friends stopping by, plenty of flowers to oogle over, and lots of laughter.
Supper would be five courses and waiting for Daddy when he walked in the door. The children would then bathe and dress for bed, lining up for us to sweetly kiss them on the heads before tucking them as they drifted off into slumber- the angels! Hubby and I would settle on the couch, he with his books or television, and me with my knitting. Then we’d head off to bed, before 10:00 of course because we had another day in paradise awaiting us the next morning.
Ah. What a lovely dream. I don’t know which is more insane- that I actually thought that was what life in a big family is like or if that’s what my teenage aspirations were of!
My life rarely resembles my fantasies. Usually, it goes a little more like this:
I wake up insanely early to my husband turning on every light in the room as he walks out of the room and shouting that he has to leave for work and threatening to send the children in to wake me up. I yell, “I’M GETTING UP!” and promptly roll back over and hide my head under the blankets. I know it won’t last long, but since I just dragged myself to bed a couple hours ago, I figure the extra few minutes are worth it.
Yeah… maybe not. Less than 10 more minutes of delicious sleep and he follows through on his threat. Six, wide awake and already bouncy kids take advantage of the opportunity to ‘Go dog pile Momma!’ and I wriggle out from under the covers just as the first one hits the spot where my head was so comfortably rested. I sneak out of the bedroom while they all collapse in a heap of giggles, bouncing on my nice, comfy bed and slip into the bathroom to try and brush my teeth and wash my face before the stampede finds me.
I don’t make it often.
When I don’t, there are seven bodies crowded into out little bathroom… then of course, Daddy decides he needs to actually get ready for work and comes in to rearrange the floor decorations (i.e the kids) and push me away from the sink.
I retire to the kitchen to finish my morning absolutions and throw a pot of oatmeal on the stove. I shout to the kids they are not eating if their chores are not finished and they are dressed, and sit down to try and check my email… which rarely happens because somehow during the night every scrap of information I put into my kids’ heads seeps out through their ears, and they can’t remember what chores they are supposed to be doing, how they are supposed to do them, or where they put their underwear because they’ve mysteriously disappeared out of their underwear bins.
I make the children’s bowls and sit them down to eat, after I’ve pulled the baby down from climbing the bookshelf. I go to rescue my books and try to beat them gobbling to get the living room and kitchen cleaned. I don’t make it, of course, and we gather around the table to do our daily four hours of schoolwork.
Four hours turn to six because one of the children apparently has forgotten not only how to write an H but that H was even part of the alphabet, and also what the alphabet is, and why on earth he would need to learn it! I go as long as the little boys’ bottomless pits, well… you may know them as stomachs… can handle it and decide I’d better serve up something to eat before my floor is covered in pieces of little boys where they completely melted down. They don’t have time even for sandwiches- I think that’s an ear I’m stepping on that’s already been pulled off in preparation for the tantrum-, so I shovel whatever’s in the fridge onto plates- celery, raisins, applesauce, and maybe a cookie or two for their ‘gluing little boys back together’ properties.
I go into my speech about how all healthy little children need naps and now it’s time for them when I’m interrupted by my second daughter who sees fit to tell me that they don’t need a nap and why don’t I just tell them that I’m tired and am making them go to bed. So I switch tactics. I tell them I’m the mom and I’m tired and that means they have to take a nap.
But off they go and I cuddle up on the couch to read my latest read while the kids “snooze” in their bedrooms. Then Hubby calls and reminds me so-and-so is coming over and really is hoping I’ll have my special recipe of meatballs made because no matter how much the wife of so-and-so tries, she can’t master my recipe. I’d completely forgotten that we had company so I jump off the couch and dash to the kitchen to get the frozen rock that is the ground turkey for meatballs thawing and run around trying to scrub the kool-aid mix, squashed raisins, and smeared chocolate chips off the floors, slipping and sliding and crashing into things all the way.
The house half-way presentable and the meat thawed (even though I had to pry the door of the microwave open from where someone thought it would be a good place to practice their gluing skills with my Gorilla Glue) I start the most complicated part of the meatball process and I hear a CRASH in one of the kids’ bedrooms followed by what sounds like hyena’s cackling. I rush back there and find out that the boys had, instead of taking a nap, decided to build a tower out of every loose piece of furniture in the bedroom to get a higher platform from which to bounce on their bed.
I scold them and tuck them back in, then dash to the kitchen to start the meatballs again.
Several hours later, and several emergency clean up’s later, my darling husband walks in the door and congratulates me on how well the house looks and how hungry the smell of the food is making him. Shortly afterwards, there’s a knock on the door and I head to answer it when my amazingly considerate husband steps and in front of me and reminds me that I’d forgotten to get dressed this morning and he’ll answer the door while I go get some clothes on.
The company stays later than I wanted, and I spend my night divided between wrangling kids and chatting. They leave and I tuck the kids into bed, then start trying to clean up the wreckage that is once again my house. I finally get it finished and crawl into bed in the early morning hours where I fall asleep only to do it all over again.
But as hectic as it is, no matter how stressful it gets, I don’t know that I would change a thing. Like the song says “It’s just another day in Paradise!”