I am a homeschooling mom with two little ones running afoot while I teach.
I (usually) manage to keep up with the house although I usually get much leniency with folding laundry. I am very thankful that my husband prefers his clothes clean and doesn't care if he has to dig through baskets for them (minus socks and if you knew the temperature of our floors you would understand).
I try hard to cook all of our meals with the challenge of opening the fewest amount of packages or cans. (Scratch) I also try hard to use as much of the food we have grown (veggies and meat) and processed.
I do the outside chores when hubby can't be home because of meetings or work. I lug in the firewood when he is not around. I light and tend the wood stove or I get cold with my children.
I run the house while he is at work or sleeping (night shift worker).
I pull a ton of little jobs for our small, just starting Mennonite church.
(And my dream is to knit much of my children's clothing, but I might just settle for finishing my daughter's blanket which was started the summer of 2008.)
I am sure I do more and can't remember.
I remember transitioning a year ago from 2 children to 3. I remember being physically exhausted with muscle aches that were created merely from getting kids in and out and in and out and in and out of the vehicle as we ran errands. I remember feeling like I needed more hands and arms. I remember feeling completely inadequate and unable to keep up with THEIR needs without thinking about the mess of a house around me.
Then, I adjusted and although everyday I leave home, and many I don't, I still have 15 seconds here and 30 seconds there of feeling completely overwhelmed, for the most part I feel like I am doing pretty well.
My kids are mostly well behaved and are somewhat polite. I make people laugh when I go out and see friends (that wouldn't be Girls night out that would be librarians, cashiers, moms at story time and other community folk). My kids charm the socks off of many who see them and I get a kick out of telling people that my boys are not twins but 2.5 years apart in age with my second born built like a linebacker.
Then today happened.
Today is my second day taking care of a nearly 3 month old. I have 2 more scattered days before I begin a Monday through Friday schedule that follows the school districts calendar. Her mom is a teacher.
My first day two weeks ago was consumed by my 1 year old screaming all day because I wouldn't let her play with the "baby doll."
Today? Today was spent physically punishing the majority of my muscles as I transported 4 children (2 who don't yet walk) to the library, to the grocery store, home and then back to the school where the wee one had a baby shower to attend with her mother. Envision: 22 pound 1 yr old on left hip with diaper bag at elbow under her, wee baby in heavy car carrier on right elbow while walking backwards to make sure the 3 yr old was keeping up with us and that he and his brother were not arguing over holding hands which I USUALLY require, all in 5 degree temperatures with a NASTY wind.
I exaggerate not when I say I moved car seats around in my recently purchased, small 1995 Minivan a minimum of 5 times today. I started with two changes before the baby even arrived. The cold making my fingers hurt like nothing I have felt in a very long time. My 3 kids spread out comfortably in the 2.5 bench seats but the addition of a rear facing infant seat! OY. I wanted it in in the drivers side of the back bench seat. After all, that allows for MY children to have easy access to their own car seats where we have proven works for our family. It wouldn't fit there facing the back!
I moved MY baby to that spot and moved the baby seat to the front bench passenger side facing back when I realized my oldest had to crawl on hands and knees in order to get to his seat. Me getting over that far to buckle him was even more challenging. I was also convinced that the site of me plopping the 1 year old into that back driver's side seat and then twisting to buckle her had to be even more intriguing.
So then after our second car trip I changed the seats again while the van was still warm. Let me just say changing car seats is not fun but it is physically less painful with a bit of residual heat! Now my baby and my biggest are in the middle seat as they have been. (Although for ease of car seat shuffling she and my middle son swapped seats.) The baby seat squeezes on the back bench on the passenger side because the front bench is shortened at that area. This is great except for the fact that my middle son will have to be a monkey to get to his car seat EVERYTIME he gets in. We shall see what our next outing looks like. The only other option I see is for both of the little ones to be in the short bench and the big boys be int he back. So if MY baby can live with a "Real Live Baby Doll" strapped into a seat beside her without screaming that might be my best option even if it doesn't leave my oldest to assist with entertainment and snack passing.
I am no superwoman. I DID manage to teach school today. I did manage to take care of the kids but I am exhausted and beat. My house is exploding in disgust and I need to stop typing and get our supper started. I have not felt the twinge of defeat in a very long time but today when we finally got home and it was just me and my three. . . I just wanted to sit, curl up under a blanket and cry! It was a hard, hard, hard day.
I committed to babysit through this school year and then we would evaluate how it is going. If today were the 27th of May I know my answer. Yet I also know that I felt this way for at least 2 months with each of my own children. I felt like I would NEVER get our schedule figured out. Never figure out how to transport all those bodies. I was ALWAYS exhausted and worn down from the constant demands upon me. Then before I realized it all of that faded away and I felt like I had never known anything different. And all was well.
I am praying my transition happens quickly this time!
Now I must stop typing and go fix supper, do my double tower of pots and pans and find my Calgon!