5:32am: A small voice can be heard over the monitor, calling your name. The voice gets louder, more insistent. You roll over, and pray it stops.
5:38am: The small voice is now screaming. You launch yourself out of bed, praying big brother doesn’t wake up little sister with his cries. You trip over the monitor cord in your desperation to stop the crying in time.
5:52am: You return to bed after having changed big brother’s dirty diaper and acquiesced to his request for bedtime prayers and a sip of water. You can hear little sister babbling in her crib now, since her brother’s cries woke her. You listen fearfully for him to begin again, and eventually fall into a fitful half-sleep.
6:30am: Your alarm goes off, and you shuffle off to the bathroom for your morning shower. For the next thirty minutes, you run through the day’s schedule, household chores, and miscellaneous tasks. You have a play date this morning, an article to proofread during nap-time, and the bathroom needs to be cleaned. You’re debating lunch options when you realize that big brother is about to call for you to get him out of bed.
7:15am: You get big brother settled on the couch with his morning cartoon and a cup of milk. You sit down to a bowl of cereal and notice the basket of laundry you didn’t fold last night. You choose to keep eating, and promptly forget about it by the time you’ve rinsed your bowl in the sink.
8:00am: You get little sister out of her crib, where she’s been playing happily since she woke up from her little post-early-morning-wake-up powernap. You give her a cup of milk as well, and move on to kitchen chores.
8:45am: You prepare breakfast for the kids. Big brother has changed his mind five times already, but promises that he wants pancakes now. He begins crying when you set his plate down, claiming he told you that he wanted waffles. Little sister has already finished her pancake, so you give her big brother’s too. Your husband comes to say good-bye before leaving for work. He doesn’t bother to ask why big brother is still sniffling; he already knows the answer.
9:00am: You walk through the living room on your way to the kids’ bedrooms to grab a diaper and notice the laundry basket again. You keep walking.
9:30am: It’s time to leave for your play date. Actually, you probably should have left five minutes ago, but you realized that your diaper bag was lacking diapers. Also, little sister had a dirty diaper so instead of being five minutes early, you’ll be about ten minutes late.
10:00am: You’re chatting with some fellow moms when you remember the laundry basket. Well, nothing you can do about it now.
11:15am: You leave the kids playing in a clean living room after getting home so that you can microwave some leftover chicken nuggets and rice for lunch. You notice that the microwave is smelling a little funky, so you spend a few extra minutes wiping out the inside and wondering what caused that acid green stain on the back wall. In five minutes, every toy bin in the living room seems to have exploded. You spend ten minutes cleaning everything up before sitting down to a hastily-eaten, somewhat cold lunch.
11:23am: Little sister tosses a whole plate of rice onto the floor and proceeds to laugh maniacally. You decide that the first ten minutes of nap-time will need to be devoted to mopping the floor. Your deadline for your article is still two days away after all. Plenty of time.
12:45pm: Little sister goes down for her midday nap, and you spend the next 45 minutes alternating between trying to teach big brother and shushing him. Thankfully, he’s willing to sit with a few books while you clear the kitchen of excess furniture in preparation for mopping.
1:30pm: Big brother is finally settled in bed, after postponing with a trip to the bathroom, an extra sip of water, and locating his necessary stuffed animals. He will NOT go to sleep without his six Paw Patrol figurines, one of which got kicked under the coffee table in the living room. You make a mental note to vacuum this weekend. With him down, you have one hour to mop the kitchen floor, go to the bathroom (because you’re only allowed THIRTY SECONDS of privacy when your kids are around), and work on your article. You blink, and the hour is over.
3:15pm: Both kids are awake, and ready to get moving. At the last minute before getting little sister out of her crib, you remember the laundry, but it’s too late now. The kids are screaming to go to the park, so you pack two identical snacks, two water bottles, and two balls in your bag. You also reload the wipes because you realized while changing little sister’s dirty diaper this morning that you only had TWO WIPES LEFT. You wrestle the kids into shoes, and corral them out the door and to the car.
5:00pm: You’ve enjoyed a lovely walk, a peaceful few minutes on the swing, and a sweet sibling moment (that you couldn’t get on camera because it was over too quickly). You also broke up two squabbles, kissed one scraped knee, and lifted little sister up the ladder to the big slide two thousand times. Your back is aching, and as you drive home, you run through your list of tasks to be completed before the night is over: make and eat dinner, give the kids a bath and put them to bed, put in your daily run, and clean the bathrooms. You feel like you’re forgetting something, but you can’t think what.
6:30pm: Dinner has been made and served to varying degrees of success. Big brother didn’t want to eat his chicken; little sister threw all of her corn. Everyone ate the sweet potato fries, except your husband of course. Your husband graciously begins washing dishes, while you settle on the couch for a few stories.
7:15pm: The kids are in bed (though not yet asleep), and you’ve already changed into workout attire. On your way out the door, you notice the basket of laundry again, and immediately rearrange your list in your head. The bathrooms can wait until tomorrow; you WILL fold that laundry before bed. But you’ll run first.
8:15pm: You settle down to an episode of one of your typical shows while you FINALLY fold that laundry.
10:30pm: With the laundry folded and put away, your teeth brushed and face washed, and your prayers said, you prepare for sleep, hoping that all will be peaceful and quiet until tomorrow morning’s alarm. As you lie in bed, you count your chores rather than your sheep, and even as you reflect on the chaos of your life, your final thought as you drift off is that your chaos is beautiful, and that you’re lucky to be able to do it all over again tomorrow.