A Day in The Life

D: this one is in honor of you, and all you do as a stay-at-home dad. 

It's also for all the other  mom's, dad's and caregivers trying to juggle home and family, work, school and life. 

 

I know you have had more than your fair share of days where you have been running around after your toddler(s) and kindergartener(s). Literally and figuratively. 

[Tweens and teens are definitely not excluded, but in our case that will be a topic in a few years time...]

 

Who would ever have thought that a stretch of 4 hours of uninterrupted, solid sleep would become a luxury that you are willing to bribe your spouse for? A week of laundry duty for some uninterrupted sleep....where do I sign?? Or if you are utterly desperate, a week of cleaning the bathrooms...ugh...okay, where is the pen??

 

The short, restless night turns into day and the list of to-do's commences. It will be a flurry of activity. Getting ready for school, making breakfast, brushing teeth, combing hair, packing lunch and backpacks. 

Tidying, neatening, cleaning, washing, vacuuming.  With the "help" of a 2 year old. 

For those of you who have been through that phase of life...you all know how that goes. It's a staccato of leave-it-alones, don't-touch-that, put-that-back, get-down-from-there, close-the-drawer / door, step-away-from-the-stove / electrical outlet / cat food etc.

 

Are you tired yet? I hope not because it's not even 10 in the morning yet. 

 

And so the day goes on. Grocery shopping is attempted, maybe a visit to the library or park, and finally it's nap time. An hour, or if you're really lucky, 2 hours (or if you have just won the nap time jackpot, make that 3 hours) of time to yourself. 

Ok, scratch that. It's time to get the rest of the laundry done; pick up toys, clothing and books; clean the mashed up crackers and spilled juice from the carpet; and do the school / office work that you are already behind on. 

 

So that brings you to mid afternoon when older child gets home and the next whirlwind swirls through the house. It's another flurry of activity with cooldrinks and snacks and homework and the burning up of pent-up energy from six hours in a classroom. 

If you thought it was time for some winding down, you either haven't ever done this before or you have blacked out the memory in post-traumatic-stress-disorder fashion. 

It's time to tap into the energy-reserve tank and drum up some enthusiasm for playing indoor tag and hide-and-seek, Hot Wheels and Thomas. Because it's the dead of winter. No backyard diversions and explorations for at least a month because it is w-a-y too cold. We have to patiently [exasperatedly] wait until Spring weaves it's welcome way into this part of the world. 

 

By now it's barely 5 o'clock. There are still at least 3 hours to go. 

 

The hours pass. Filled with playing and entertaining; preparing and eating supper. That in itself has become an event of Olympic proportions. Need a top notch crisis negotiator? Just ask a parent who has ever had to convince a child to eat the evening's fare. 

 

On a good day, only a handful of meltdowns have to be mediated and another handful of sibling squabbles adjudicated. On a bad day...umm, let's not go there, shall we?

By this time, I assure you, you are mentally and physically T I R E D. 

But there is still the bathtime and bedtime routine to get through. 

 

Alright, fast forward through that and finally the little ones are asleep. By now it's probably nearing 9pm. And at last, there will be time for you to continue your work, watch your favorite TIVO'd TV program and take a moment to catch your breath. Maybe even read a book and sip a Stella Artois. 

 

Except when you wake up, it's after 11pm. 

 

Dash it all! Dagnabbit!! WT...let's keep this clean, ok?

 

You did it again!! You fell asleep while putting the little tykes down. Once again, you lost that noble battle with the sandman. Friend and foe, he's a wily one, that wielder of dreams and slumber. 

 

So, against your better judgement (or because of pressing work deadlines) you slink out of bed and attempt to do what you've been wanting to do all day. 

If you are lucky, you will have at least 2 hours of uninterrupted "me" time. Time to work without distraction or unwind with a movie or treat-of-treats a book. 

Sadly, the spell is not to last though, especially if your 2 year old does not yet sleep through the night....don't ask....that's a subject for another day!

So what is left of the night turns into an audition for a jack-in-the-box show. 

Who said household stairs aren't a form of exercise?

 

By this time, it's easier just to give up the attempt at some personal time and go to bed. The list of your personal to-do's postponed for another day. 

And before you know it, it's time to start all over again. 

No need for an alarm clock. This household has two. They are both too cute for their own good and they both have dimples. And they both persist in getting up BEFORE 7am. Seven days a week, 365 days a year. 

 

But you know what? Despite all the {usually} tongue-in-cheek grumblings and occasional frustrated outbursts, I know we probably wouldn't have it any other way. Because deep down we know this is all temporary. Our boys are growing before our very eyes. Our lives are already different from 2 and 3 and 4 years ago. 

The day is coming when an unsettling quietness will make its slow descent around us. We will enter a new season of life. Our daily routine will run a different course. 

Our boys will be out of the house, on their own personal quests for a life worth living. 

All of today's moments will become "remember when's". We will smile with a nod of the head and shrug of the shoulder and marvel at how fast time has sped by, grateful for the love and affection, patience and acceptance that glues us together as a FAMILY.