I am a mom. I have ten children. My life is not, nor has it been my own in many, many years. In my years as a mom to many I have had many questions from friends and family, and even strangers as to my life. Some more insulting than anything else. Questions like "Do you know how babies are made?", "Are you crazy?" and "Are you a Mormon? Cause only a Mormon would have that many kids!". I would have to say though that the two most common questions are "What do you do all day?" and the most common "How do you do it?". I think I will try to answer those two questions, or at least attempt to....
To do this I only have to go through a common 24 hour period. By doing so I can answer those two questions and countless others. Let's start at midnight shall we?
Midnight: God willing I am asleep, because heaven knows that won't last long.
2am: Brynlee's first time up. She happily eats and falls back to sleep pretty quickly now a days, thank goodness. I go back to bed by 3 or so.
4am: Skyler drags all his blankets and his wet self into my bed. I get up, change him, get him something to drink and settle him back into bed... my bed, right in between me and Jon.
5am: Brynlee's second time up. By this time I am thinking it's time to get her some cereal before bedtime so that she will learn to sleep a little longer in a stretch.
6am: Jon's alarm goes off and he is up and about.
6:30am: The shower has woken Jessi up and she is standing beside the bed staring at me, almost in a creepy way. Our conversations are almost comical at this early hour.
"Ugh Jessi, what?"
"Is it time to get up?"
"Well, does it matter? Looks like your up no matter, huh?"
"Can I watch TV?"
"Sure, please, go watch TV!"
"What?" (in almost a growl)
"Can I play on your iPad instead?"
"Whatever Jessi, just go out please!"
After all of that I might as well get up. I mean, why not?
7am: All the other kids are woken up and told to get ready. They will then be told to get ready about half a dozen times, per kid during the next hour.
7:20: We have a family prayer so that Jon and Megan can leave. She is late for Seminary again.
8am: I am rushing around trying to get clothes on the little kids so we can take the big kids to school. Abby is usually yelling at Joe cause he is still in his p.j.'s, Lacie is following me around with a brush and pretties in her hand wanting me to do her hair and Brynlee is full on screaming at this point, as we are all ignoring her.
8:15am: I walk in the door from taking the kids to school and look around my home, which at this point looks as though a tornado hit it, literally. As a matter of fact one did hit, or more like 6 or 7 actually. I now have 7 hours to get it cleaned up before the tornadoes come back and start the havoc all over again. But first I sit in my chair and love on my baby for a few minutes. Maybe I can get her to sleep so I can clean.
9:00am: Phone calls, while I get some chores done. My mom, my sister, my friend. We catch up, talk and gossip while I do the dishes, feed the baby, change Skyler and take care of all his diabetes needs. This can go on for an hour or more. Sometimes two. Sadly enough I have to admit, that after attending to the entry way, where the older kids scattered several shoes, coats and old papers out of backpacks, the living room where the kids played the night before, the kitchen where we all ate and my bedroom it's almost noon and I can't believe it is.
12:00pm: I barely get the kids ready in time to get out the door again. It's time for Colby to go to school. My neighbor Bethany is pregnant with twins and I have gladly taken on the task of taking her little kiddo to school with Colby, to try help her out.
12:15pm: I know at this point what I want to do, which is go home, put the kids down for a nap and grab a little sleep myself, but alas it's not to be most days. This is the only time when I am down to two kids, two easy kids and I know I need to run my errands then. I run to the store, the bank, post office and to my mom's to drop this and that off, or pick things up. It's easy with just Skyler and Brynlee, but depressing that I have to use this golden time to run errands. Some days I get to go home and take it easy. And by easy I mean I get to feed and change Skyler and Brynlee. Play with them for a while, make a few more phone calls and once the baby is asleep I get some canned soup out of the cupboard, heat it up and plop down in front of the tv for a few minutes. I might even pass out briefly. However, if I do, I often wake up to find that Skyler has poured Lucky Charms out all over the floor to eat the marshmallows, drunk all of my soda, colored on the tv with his new crayons and gotten my iPad all sticky while trying to watch Plants vs Zombies on Youtube. There is a price to be paid for falling asleep!
2:45pm: The first of the big kids start coming home. From here it's back to tornado mode. Kids, backpacks, homework, friends, snacks, music, tv, computer games and so so much more! The chaos cannot be described by words in any language. It's just wow, ugh, sigh, scream, laugh, run, run some more and fall apart.
6:00pm: Dinner. This brings on a whole new chaos.
"What's for dinner mom?"
"Ugh...I don't like that!"
"We had that two nights ago!"
"Why can't we have dinners like the Green's? They have good food!"
"How soon is dinner? I am STARVING!"
8:00pm: Bedtime starts. First it's Jessi, Colby and Skyler. It's take more than half an hour to chase kids around with diapers, pajamas and toothbrushes. Once they are down it's Joe. He likes to run from one room to another trying to resurrect Houdini in his attempts to be like him in avoiding bedtime. Once he is down, it's on to Abby and Lacie. They complain, moan, groan and love to give lots of hugs and kisses. I would like to think its because they love me, but I think it's more of another excuse to get out of bed.
9:30pm: I start to chase Megan and Isaac off to bed. Start. It takes nearly an hour to get those two to finally go to bed. Oh my and good grief and throw me out a window to put me out of my misery! By this point I am beyond exhausted!
10:30pm: Jon gets home from work. If I am still awake I try to recap the day without crying, screaming or falling asleep. All three are real possibilities.
Midnight: I fall into bed to start it all over again in about 2 hours!
Well, does that sum it up? I mean, we didn't even touch on the fine details. The fights, trips to the store after kids are in bed, the constant fighting that leaves me voiceless and all the items I step on...That's just the big stuff. How do I do it? To be honest, I just do. I do it by not thinking about it. I just go. Run. Talk. Listen. Lecture. Smile. Frown. Laugh. Cry. I just do it. Don't we all?