4:00 o’clock p.m. – the most stressful part of my daily 24 hours. The week days are relatively easy until I notice the clock rolling around to about 3:45 and my heart begins palpitating a bit and my breathing becomes hurried as I brace for the onslaught that’s about to occur. Josh and Jada nap from about 2:00-4:00 on a pretty consistent basis. Luke comes home between 4:00 and 4:10 and the kids get off the bus about a mile down the road at 4:15. At about 3:30 I begin preparations for dinner. Making dessert, pounding out chicken, cutting veggies -just generally having everything prepped and ready to go before the clan enters the house because if I don’t have it chopped, prepped and in pots and pans my anxiety levels start to soar through the roof with not only the immediate ambush of random conversations regarding who did what to whom on the playground or whose teacher was absent or whatever it may be, but also the added bonus of four kids noticing that mom is frantically working in the kitchen and they all desire to “help” at this point. I’ve discovered if the preparations are done there is no need for anyone to offer their assistance, and there is additionally no need for any curious onlookers to hang around wondering what little morsel of uncooked goodness they may be able to deviously pop into their mouths. It probably sounds horrible that I don’t want the assistance of my little angels, but honestly, it is stressful to have 6 miniature humans (and one mama) and 60 tiny fingers all vying to do something as I’m just trying to get a decent meal on the table for the family.
They, the children, will usually engage in their afternoon jabbering for a few minutes upon entering the premise, notice that the kitchen seems lacking of any sort of fun or rewarding activity, and run off to play.
So at about 4 it truly begins. The babies are the first to be present, arising from their restful afternoon slumbers. If the sun is shining, they go outside and play, if it’s not, they play in the basement. They are fairly easy and compliant and they get along really well on most days. Then Luke comes home. His bus comes to the front door which makes it somewhat more manageable. I walk him off the bus, give him juice, take off his braces and shoes and bring him to his room where he is very content to watch Veggie Tales until dinnertime. Then – I brace, truly brace for the 4:20 boom. I generally sit very nonchalantly on the couch, maybe writing a bit or checking email acting like life’s a breeze, even though my innards are beginning to churn with anticipation and anxiety. I hear the minivan reel into the garage (my husband usually gets them on his way home from work), and the rolling, thundering patter of 8 small feet, the cacophony of 4 boisterous or argumentative voices, depending on the day, as they all at once pounce their glorious presence and muddy shoes upon my once quiet, controlled, and semi clean domain.
“Mom, here’s the paper for the field trip I have next week, Mom I need to remember a bathing suit, towel, and underwear tomorrow, Mom, Thursday is my FAVORITE day in the whole entire world, Mom what are we having for supper, Mom can I go play with Ellen? Mom, look at this bracelet my best friend gave me, Mom, it was Todd’s birthday today, Mom, did you do the bin? Mom do we HAVE to do Spanish tonight, Mom what’s for dinner? Mom can I ride my bike to Brooklyn’s house, What’s for dessert, Mom here’s the art work I made last week, Mom do I have to do this homework right now, What’s for dinner again?”
It is mind boggling and literally mind blowing. I swear I lose brain cells in this 10 minute conversational stretch and then just as quickly as it begins, it ends, and they all scamper away to their own private destinations. I have absolutely no system in place for this chaos, well, other than having dinner preparations well under way before they walk in the door because I truly would go mad if I were one of those moms who looked at the clock at 5:00 and thought to myself, “I wonder what I’m going to make for dinner?” We would eat PB&J every night if that’s how I worked, not that the kids would complain, actually they would probably love it. Dinner time is next, stay tuned….
Just keep livin!!