Written by Brandy, Contributing Writer
A day in the life of who?
Truth be told, I don't claim the title of The Marathon Mom, although I totally envision motherhood as a marathon. And yes, my blog is called The Marathon Mom. But the reason for that is because I realized a LONG time ago, that I am anything BUT Supermom.
Oh, it's something I commonly hear when I am in public with my entourage of eight sons and my celebrity husband. (He's not a REAL celebrity, but everyone knows who he is everywhere we go.) "Oh, you're SUPERmom!" they say, as they count and recount our boys. "You look so well-rested and thin. What's your secret?"
And to keep with truth-telling, I have absolutely no secrets, and furthermore, begin to play back in my mind the previous night's wakefulness, choosing to forgo the details with the aforementioned polite inquirers.
I dare not start the marathon of a conversation it would be to explain my day's events, let alone the paradigm which affords me enough sanity to stay the course, and I smile pleasantly and reply, "no, I'm no more special than any other mom."
None of my days really look the same, as there are different schedules for different days with this many active boys.
But we'll start at 3:23 AM, since my day no more has a definite start than it has a finish.
The baby wakes to nurse. He's a big, strong baby, with plenty of marshmallow, and I no more suspect that the child needs a feeding than he does a diaper change. Nonetheless, I nurse and cuddle sleepily for ten or so minutes, and look to see what email alert just went off on my phone. I put the baby back in his crib just next to my bed.
6:00 AM, and he's awake again. Same story, second dance.
7:00 AM, and I hear almost simultaneously, the blast of water from the upstairs shower starting, and my phone alarm. It's time to get our 9th grader and 6th grader ready for their school day at the university model school they attend three days a week. I spend a few minutes talking to God while it's still quiet, ask Him for His mercy and grace for the day, and make my way to the kitchen. I kiss the early riser 1st grader who enthusiastically asks what's for breakfast. I make myself a coffee, not even missing my old vanilla creamer anymore, then get breakfast for him, and for the two older boys ready. Drew watches cartoons while I make lunches for the older boys and begin to hurry them along.
By 7:30, I'm filling water bottles, not just for the boys' day at school, but a gallon jug for their football practice afterwards. I'm asking them if they have all their schoolwork packed, lining up their lunchboxes at the door with their bags, making sure the 6th grader's hair is fixed, and all just in time to greet two or three other little boys who've woken up by this point. The baby cries, and when I pick him up, he shows me his usual jolly smile that lights up a room.
With the older two boys out the door with their daddy by 8:00, it's just me and my youngest six, with whom every day is a challenge AND a delight. I try to eat a few bites while I get them all fed, even the baby, who nurses and has 1/4 of a fresh smashed banana (just started this week), and then get them dressed (many times from the previous night's laundry load that got dumped onto the couch. What? You don't do this, too?)
Our goal is to start our studies by 9:00. There is no huge hurry since it only takes us a few hours to get everything done. Some days it might take a little more time if we choose to craft and then laminate American flags (like today). I begin our lessons every day with something you might know as "circle time". I sit in my rocking chair in our schoolroom, with our boys at my feet and we start our day talking about a specific character quality that we study for the week. We talk about what obedience or thoroughness or diligence means and how this quality is pleasing, then read a related Bible story, say a memory verse together, and then we pray for our day - for our family, that we would do all things as unto Him, and that each one of us would love Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.
By now, it's usually 10:00, and we always do Math at this time. Our 4th grader uses an amazing math curriculum called Teaching Textbooks, and while he's busy with that, I make sure the 1st and 2nd grader are working in their workbooks. Levi, by now, is pulling me by one arm and one leg to do HIS books with him. I happily oblige, while rocking the baby to sleep. It's time for his first nap.
With Lincoln asleep next to me in his travel crib, I work efficiently, from one boy to the next, teaching or reinforcing any math concepts. Rounding and estimating for one. Hundreds, tens, ones places for another. Subtraction and counting money with yet another. Levi and Landen have a fight, which I quickly extinguish, lest the baby is awakened and I become distracted. We all know what happens when a homeschooling mother gets distracted, right? If you're unfamiliar, it's sort of like when the phone rings and mayhem sets in.
Before lunch, all the boys have read their Bible readers, completed phonics lessons, Spelling, Handwriting, and Explode the Code. I cannot say enough how wonderful these workbooks are. The boys actually look forward to doing them.
After these lessons, one or more of us is getting cranky due to low blood sugar, so I take my cue and we all head downstairs to the kitchen for lunch.
By 1:00, we're back in our places and have resumed, with pencils in hand, where we left off. Lincoln squeals happily, and the boys have mostly learned to work amidst some noise. I try to read to Dylan his English lesson for the day, but Landen has a blue dry erase marker that he has scampered off with to color a toilet seat. When I get back, Lincoln is NOT pleased that I have left him for 7.4 seconds, and it's time to nurse again. Chubby boy happy again, English continues.
Then I make the rounds with each boy, slowly finishing up English, then maybe history and science with some, depending on the day. Landen plays quietly with a basket of Rescue Heroes from the 1900's and I'm grateful - and careful - not to say anything to him or else risk disturbing such a beautiful thing.
By 2:00, I help Levi finish gluing the cotton balls on his paper sack lamb puppet, and have the others start picking up their paper scraps from whatever art project they were doing, and I am more than ready to move on to the next phase of my day. Not that I don't enjoy it, but the list of multi-tasking jobs of a homeschooling mom of many can be quite assertive.
The boys get some free time while I start some laundry and clean up the lunch mess I might have left behind. I try to get Levi to take a nap with Landen, but he won't (and hasn't since he was two), so he scurries off to build forts with his brothers. With Lincoln in his exersaucer, I load the dishwasher, clean the kitchen and begin preparing our dinner, according to whatever I've planned on our menu.
We have to leave by 4:30 to pick up the oldest boys from football practice, so I get Superbaby nursed just in time. With two quick diaper changes, and a sippy cup filled, six boys are inserted into van, buckled, and away we go. It's actually sort of relaxing, the 15 minute drive there. And once two sweaty boys enter the van, poof! The fighting commences over who is going to sit where. (Remember when I said I'm not supermom?)
The next part of my day is commonly known as Chaos Hour around our house. Inevitably, this is the scene:
- Celebrity Husband is not home from work yet.
- Children are hungry, and I get dinner into the oven, and start a pot to boil for rice or quinoa.
- Landen has pooped, the baby is crying, and the doorbell rings, not necessarily in that order.
- The pot boils over, Lincoln needs to nurse, and Husband STILL does not answer his phone.
- The chicken needs to come out of the oven, and I ask the teenager, but he cannot hear me in his room. (Stinking headphones.)
- Landen needs a drink, Levi is HUNGRY, my phone rings...and it is NOT my Husband!
And just when I think I am going to come apart at the seams, mercifully, my husband appears through the front door. By 6:30 (please?), the table is set, water glasses are filled, and plates are loaded. Small cafeteria scene ensues.
With glasses crooked on my face, and hair pulled back, spit-up on my shirt, my husband miraculously asks how my day has been, while I balance Baby Sumo Wrestler in right arm while eating with my left. I drop a bite of food into my lap, and Dax (that's his real name) and I conduct a conversation using sign language across the table, since it's so loud. (Not necessarily loud due to misbehaving children, just loud with squealing baby, football stories, and little boy chatter.)
By 7:00, our family is on a mission to clean up after dinner. The big picture is to pull it all back together. Our central unit must be reined back in for the next day. If that sink is overflowing in the morning, then that makes a rough start for the day. Everyone has their assigned chores, and for the most part, we do them almost automatically. Within 20 minutes, the table is clean, the trash is out, the dishes are done, and the floor is swept.
What follows is a rapid succession of baths for little boys, showers for football playing boys, and whichever the middle boys prefer is fine with me, as long as they get clean. Pajamas are on, somehow matching, and then we pile around Daddy in the living room for a chapter from the Bible and to pray together as a family.
8:00 is bedtime for half of our children. And it's the time we catch up with some of the older boys. On Mondays, I go for a 1 to 2 mile run with one of our sons. Then I get a quick shower and ready for bed. I flip the laundry (again).
By 9:30, the baby is changed, then zipped into his sleep sack for the night, since he's too big and wiggly to stay swaddled now, and he's nursed to sleep. (Gasp!) They grow up too fast.
By 10:30 or 11:00, I place chubby, Marshmallow Boy whose smile lights up a room into his crib, and I am asleep just five feet away from him, in 48.2 seconds. I know he will be awake by 1:00, so I pray a quick prayer for all these blessings I've been given and I fall right to sleep. I know that in this season of my life, every day truly is a marathon, and that I'm going to hit the ground running in the morning, and do it all again.
The day, with a thousand details, has gone by in a blur, and I'm sobered by the reality that it all goes by way. too. fast.
Yeah, it's hard. It can even be grueling at times. But it's worth it. And His mercies ARE new every morning.
And that, my friends, is why I say...
Motherhood is a marathon. Enjoy the run.