Sunday, May 5, 2013

Another Week of Single-Motherhood

I know I can't pretend to truly identify with the incredible burden of responsibility of single-parenthood, but this week I am mainly on my own, so this is as close as I get. And I'm thankful for that. Raising four kids is difficult. I love each of them tremendously, but they are a lot of work. Even though I'm a stay-at-home-mom, and I'm used to being on my own with them almost every day, it is different when I know Mike is not coming home at supper time, or even for the night.

Today is one of those days. Foolishly, I told myself I could do this, and that it wouldn't be that bad. After all, once they were in bed, I'd have a nice quiet evening (or at least an hour, depending on when Lauren settled) and then tomorrow, once Cody was on the bus, my day would pretty much look like it does every day. I made supper ahead of time so I could just throw it in the oven when it was time, and we all ate together. By that time, I was already struggling to keep from exploding because they were driving me so crazy. But I held it together, and when they were finished eating and requested to go play outside, I responded with an enthusiastic (and relieved) "Yes!". They went out and I did the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen, while taking care of Lauren. I bathed her while they were out, and then called them in for their baths. Bath time is not my favourite, but Cody went first (he can do it without any help) and then took care of Lauren for me while I helped the other two. So far, so good. Well, that is until Lauren barfed down my shirt. Technically, at her age it is still considered spit-up, but now that she is on solid foods, it smells like the real deal. And this one was substantial. I have to credit her. She totally filled my bra. I was so shocked and horrified that I didn't even move. I just stared at her, frozen in a sea of puke. Then I stuffed kleenexes down there to soak it up so I could run to my room and change. Good times.

By 7:30 p.m. I had Jamie and Micah tucked in to bed so I could read Cody's chapter book with him. We don't put them all to bed together very often anymore because when we do, they don't sleep. Here's where things got nasty. When I put Cody to bed, both the other boys were still awake. In fact, a while later, I was informed that Micah was playing with Lego in his bed. He denied it, but was caught with a whole tub of Lego. I was very angry. I told them in no uncertain terms that I better not hear another word from them. Not long after, things quieted down. In fact, even though I heard voices shortly after 9 p.m. (at which I issued another very angry admonishment to go to sleep), soon it was quiet. Then Lauren was in bed, and I sighed in relief. The house was...well, I'd love to say "clean", but let's not get carried away here. Decent. Semi-presentable. The living room was mostly chaos-free, and I was enjoying a fresh breeze from the open window. And then I found out Cody was still up. This bothered me. He has to get up by 7 a.m. to be on the bus by 7:35 a.m. Oh well. Sometimes he is up until 9 p.m. I figured he'd settle soon enough. He did not. In fact, at 10:20 p.m. he was not only awake, he was shouting for me and crying loudly that it was too dark in his room and wanted a night light. Yes, shouting in a room where two of my children were sleeping peacefully, and beside the room where my baby was also sleeping.

And so here I am, sitting in my bed after an evening of stress, knowing that my most volatile child is going to be woken up in the morning before his body is ready, triggering an intense mood issue that I have no energy to deal with. It is 10:40 p.m. now and for all I know, he is still awake in there. So now, instead of retiring to my room and having a peaceful time of writing in my journal, or working on my book, I am here venting in my blog. Instead of going to bed lonely, and slightly stressed out, I go to bed with an overwhelming sense of dread. Am I overreacting? Maybe. But guess what happens when kids don't get enough sleep? They get grouchy. And worse, they get sick.

Mike will be back tomorrow evening, but he will be gone again from Wednesday to Friday. I thought the first day would be the easiest. I hope I was right. I am easily the worst single mother in the world. I guess I rely very heavily on Mike's support, and even just his presence in this house. I am spent, and he has only been gone eight hours. I hope tomorrow will be a lot better than the scene I am currently envisioning. For now, I will go to bed, and pray that they at least sleep all night.

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