We all have that idea of what a perfect family is, what a perfect mom is. I’m not it. I never will be. And most of the moms I know won’t be either. This was my reality, 20+ years ago when my two girls were in grade 1, and their baby brothers were one. It’s a bit different now with Peanut, since we homeschool, live in the Caribbean and not Canada, but the concept is still the same.
Myth: The kids wake up, and by the time they reach the kitchen, they are dressed, hair brushed, all smiles and ready to eat the hot breakfast consisting of bacon, eggs, pancakes, toast, and fresh squeezed juice that you, the mom slaved over for an hour. We all sit at the table and discuss what the plans are for the day. The loving kids eat with joy, then grab their bags and out the door for their school bus.
Reality: Mom overslept. Now I have to shake each child awake like they are experiencing a 8.0 earthquake, and yelling at them to hurry up, get dressed, tell them to brush their hair. By the time they stumble down to the kitchen, one half dressed, one only in undies and shoes, I have their bowls of cereal on the table. The fighting begins… One wants Capt’n Crunch, one wants Kraft Dinner… As they eat, I frantically brush their hair, locate their boots (didn’t they leave them at the door last night? did they get up and hide somewhere as we slept?), stuff their schoolbags with their lunches. What did I make for them? I hope it’s something the school won’t refuse. These days all they can eat seems to be tofu sandwiches with sprouts. Oh, and don’t wrap em in anything, your garbage will come back home since the school is ‘green’ now… When they’re done wolfing down their breakfast, I send them scurrying to finish getting dressed. I sip my coffee, wishing it had something stronger in it. As one girl is almost ready for meltdown #100 because she doesn’t want to wear a coat today – it’s winter, coats are NOT an option I tell her! – I hear the school bus driver angrily honking the horn at us. I shove the girls into their snowsuits and out the door and hope that they behave at school!
Myth: The house is spotless, and I only have light dusting to do.
Reality: I think my house was hit by a tornado. Four kids leave a house looking like a disaster zone. EVERY DAY!! Thank goodness for modern conveniences like dishwashers. Still, someone wrote “wash me” in the dust on the TV. The dust bunnies are asking for food and water. But do I have time to clean? Bwahahaha, NO. Just as I’m about to start dusting, the little ones wake up. Yes, twins. Again. These boys hit the ground running. My job is to keep them out of danger, fed, dressed, and alive. Everything else is icing on the cake. Cleaning? Are you kidding? Heck, by noon I’ve got them to nap, and cleaning will have to wait, I need a shower. I think my last one may have been 2 days ago.
Myth: A full three course meal is on the table by 5pm, the kids are dressed and groomed, I’m in a cute dress and wearing heels and pearls. We sit and dine by candle light, and talk about all the interesting things we did that day.
Reality: Fast food burger place, here we come. Bonus if they have a play structure.
Myth: Kids snuggled up, falling asleep to a sweet fairy tale read my mom, sitting at the edge of their bed. When they are asleep, mom kisses their foreheads. It’s now maybe 8pm, Parents get time to put up their feet, relax and enjoy each other’s company as they talk, read the newspaper, or watch tv.
Reality. I have read the same story at least 5 times to 4 kids who do not want to sleep, not ever! No, you don’t need to go pee, you just went 2 minutes ago. No, there are no monsters in the closet or under the bed… Finally, it’s an hour past their bedtime and they’re still wide awake. I kiss them all, turn off the light, and pray they fall asleep soon. It’s 9pm! I pick up all the toys strewn all over the house, finally dust off the ‘wash me’ sign, pass the broom over the floor and evict the dust bunnies. Dishes go in the dishwasher, and the kitchen counters get scrubbed. The kitchen floor gets mopped, and a load of laundry goes into the washing machine. The clothes in the dryer get ironed and folded, lunches for tomorrow get made (tofu again?) and I reward myself with a chocolate bar I hid in the empty box of oatmeal. By 11 pm I’m ready for bed, and I settle in for a much deserved sleep.
Myth: Mom wakes up to the break of dawn, feeling fresh and alert.
Reality: And I forgot to set the alarm again…