The days are long, but the years are short, they say. Right now, I am in the trenches of the “long” period of motherhood. I’m ridiculously outnumbered day in and day out by this tiny army that I painstakingly grew and nurtured inside of me.
My days are long. I wake up (late, of course) after a night of climbing in and out of bed to nurse my littlest back to sleep. I go to get my littlest so I can groggily change her diaper and nurse her yet again. At this point, I am so parched, I feel like I have crossed the Sahari desert and my canteen is full of sand. I let her play on her play mat while I sleepily watch her from my bed.
The nights are too short. I hear my older two yelling my new name (“Mama!”). I go to get my oldest to put her on the potty. She informs me that her night diaper leaked. I start stripping her bed as I hear the plaintive cries of my middle child. I go in to see her holding out her hands streaked with poo as she informs me they are “dirky.” I drag her to the bathroom, getting poop all over my shirt, and start running the bath. My oldest on the potty says that she also wants to take a bath. I shake my head at her and bathe my middle child. I drain the water, dry and dress my middle child, finally get my poor oldest off of the potty, dress her as well, and carry one while the other holds my hand down the stairs. I hear my littlest fussing on her play mat upstairs in my room. She is getting sleepy and needs her morning nap. I toss my dirty shirt in the laundry, wash my hands, and put my littlest down for her nap. I hear voices from downstairs declaring they are hungry. I strip the other bed, lug all the sewage laundry downstairs to put in the wash. I wash my hands again and serve the older girls some breakfast. I can’t leave them alone, so I guess I’m showering during their afternoon nap. I do my best cleaning myself up in the sink. They are done with breakfast, so I have to mop them both up and clean up their utensils and trays. The stack of dirty dishes in the sink is starting to look like Everest. I guess I can do that during afternoon nap too.
The years are short. I cannot believe I have been at this stay at home mom thing for three years already. Seems like only yesterday my oldest was born. The older girls proceed to ransack the play room. I try to sit down to read some emails, but my oldest has just announced that she needs to poo poo on the potty. I take her into the bathroom to do her business. I hear a crash and a wail from the play room. I run to the scene of the accident to pick my middle child up and kiss her bumpahead. My pantless eldest runs into the room to announce she has done her business. I chase her back into the bathroom to clean her up and wash her hands. I put the washed laundry into the dryer because my middle child will need her favorite blankie for her nap. (It is a hand made one, so I can’t buy a replacement.) I hear a fight brewing in the play room. I go back to break it up. I hear my youngest crying from her crib. I go upstairs to get her, change her diaper and dress her. I go back downstairs to nurse her while the two others play. By the time she is finished, the older two are hungry for lunch. I put her in the exersaucer so I can prepare lunch. I run back and forth trying to toss food in front of two hungry toddlers as quickly as possible. I try and throw something together for myself. The older two need refills and the youngest needs her lunch as well. I feed the baby with one hand while I shove food in my mouth with the other. The older two have been done for a while and are starting to throw food on the floor. I mop up the baby and go to mop up the older two. I add some more dishes to Mount Everest. I try and sweep up the floor. I guess I can try and eat something more substantial during their afternoon nap. Add that to the list. I put all the sheets back on the toddlers’ beds. I put on the toddlers’ shoes and let them go outside. I get the baby set up in a Bumbo in the shade. I try and check those emails again when my middle child starts wandering away. I go chase her down and bring her back. I notice the sun is really bright and begin slathering them both in sunscreen. By the time I am finished rubbing sunscreen all over two unwilling toddlers, it is time for everyone’s afternoon nap. I put the baby and the Bumbo back inside. I run back outside and drag two truculent toddlers inside. I change the baby’s diaper and go upstairs to put her down. I change the middle child’s diaper and go upstairs to put her down. I put the eldest on the potty and put a pull up on her once she has peed. I put her down.
I go back downstairs and try to remember my nap time list. What was I supposed to do again? Empty the dishwasher, do the dishes, fold the laundry, eat something, shower, clean the floors, pay the bills, put everything back in order in the backyard, tidy up the play room, check my emails, make some calls, zzzzzzz. I am awoken by the baby’s cries. Time to nurse her again. Only a matter of time before the girls wake up and I do my morning routine all over again. Hopefully without having to clean up any poop this time. And then cook dinner for everybody. Rinse and repeat.
The days are long, but I have never been more content. I will always cherish these short years. Because when they say, “I love you, Mama,” at the end of a day that felt like it would never end, it makes it all worth it. Hang in there, mamas. The days are long, but the years are short.