Victory.

This is the first week of the first summer that I will spend with all three of my children home with me, all day, every day.

I am 34 years old.

All day long, I count the hours until the next hurdle is reached, and at night, when I’m reflecting, I think about years. Next summer I will be 35. Thinking about this is what made me decide to start weight training and getting serious about eye cream. I’m almost halfway to 70, and shit’s getting real.

Last summer I had a baby, and because I know my limits, we shipped our oldest off to day camp. It was a sound decision, worth every penny of the $1,000 that I had to scrounge up for it. One thousand dollars is a lot of money to us. Sometimes I feel like people assume that if someone is staying home with the kids, it’s because you have so much money that you simply don’t know what to do with it all. In such a case, according to those who are assuming, OBVIOUSLY the thing to do is to quit your job and space out in pajamas while infants and toddlers teethe on your fancy wares.

I do not fall into this category.

I’m home with the kids because I know in my gut it is what I am to do. I’ve tried to go against my gut before, and it never goes well. I feel like I needed to mention that, maybe more for my sake than for yours, because this week I have found myself asking myself WHAT I AM DOING trying to take care of all these children. Where did they come from!? How did this happen?! These are the questions I ask myself when I am standing in my kitchen surrounded by wailing, tiny people who throw things when they are angry.

I don’t have the time or the energy to fabricate lies. I’m going to tell it to you straight. If I make it through this summer without doing something absolutely bat shit crazy, it will be a miracle.

Things that qualify as “bat shit crazy:”

  • Leaving my home in a state of undress, noticing, and not caring.
  • Seeing my kid(s) drink my coffee, noticing, and not caring.
  • Breaking any number of laws, noticing, and not caring.

Yesterday, it became apparent that they boys were going to tear apart the house — no, I’m totally serious. Tear. It. Up. — if I didn’t do something to snap them out of it. A walk, I thought. A family walk will calm them down. To clarify, “family” walk consists of me and three kids, because it was Wednesday and Robbie was at work. So after dinner, out we went.

We got three streets over and Asher tripped and fell, skinning up both knees and his hands. Two minutes later, Maverick tripped and fell, bloodying one knee so badly that it was running down his leg into his rain boot. Both boys were limping and bleeding and crying, and the baby started crying too, just because. I hyper-focused on getting us home, but little did I know that getting there was the easy part. The hard part was trying to triage two bleeding boys, plus a teething, cranky, crawling baby. The bathroom looked like a crime scene when I was done, bloody hand prints on the wall included.

Today brought a whole new set of totally weird and unprecedented experiences that I didn’t have time to dwell on until now. For example, the baby ate a ball of dirt at the indoor playground. I’m not sure if Maverick drank any water. I had pie for dinner.

I was supposed to be saving it for Robbie, but I ate it because I HAD TO. But you know, as long as I’m not eating a handful of crack because I HAD TO, I consider the day to be a success.

See how we all have our arms raised up in victory in the family portrait below? That’s because we just made it through another day where none of us ate a handful of crack.

Our family, drawn by Maverick, age 5

Our family, drawn by Maverick, age 5

We look like we did … but trust me, we didn’t.

V-I-C-T-O-R-Y.

Something Worth Something.

I made it through Spring Break. Wow. I guess it was just a preview of what this summer will be like. A lot

A lot of good, a lot of bad, a lot of tears, a lot of laughter, A LOT OF CHAOS, and a lot of life. As hard as this is and as much as I struggle … and believe me, I struggle … I came away from that time exhausted and sunburned but feeling that good kind of tired that I feel when I know I’ve done hard, worthwhile work.

Maverick is 5 years and 7 months old and he now knows how to make his bed, take out the kitchen garbage, put a new bag in the can, set the table, and make his own sandwiches. He can also sweep and steam mop the kitchen with some help. He learned how to climb trees, which caterpillars are the stinging kind, and we’re working on tying his shoes. He can wash his own hair, takes a shower on his own and is pretty much all of the sudden a big boy.

Brothers sharing an afternoon snack.

Maverick picked a bouquet for me every day.

Climbing.

These are the things I had in mind when I signed up to be a stay-at-home mom. It brings me joy to sit outside on a blanket and watch my kids discover the world right there in their front yard. I love watching my younger kids watch their big brother. I love fostering independence in a safe environment.

We don’t have much money, so everything we do is simple — but it brings me so much happiness to see the magic that unfolds when you put a child outside and just let them do their thing. So while I may be nervous/terrified about the three months I’ll have this summer with my children, who will be 5, 2, and 1 years old … I think I can handle it? 

I was totally cringing with fright as I typed that sentence. I probably just jinxed myself for the next 7 years. Yikes. 

Anyway, clearly it’s not going to be easy, but I hope we can pull through it in one piece. And while I am certain the house and my eyebrows will be a hot mess, I hope I will feel kind of like I do now. Like I did something worth something. Because I did. I really, really did.

Watching big brother arduously drag the garbage can up to the house.