1. Bath time. I bathed my first child every night. I mean it aids in relaxation and is so good to keep them on a schedule! Insert eye roll. I even used to massage lavender on her entire body. Who is this baby? The queen of Sheba?! These days I smell the tops of my kids' heads and tell them they can make it another day. Nothing a baby wipe can't take care of. Actual bath time is as quick as possible in a conveyor belt of washing, rinsing and drying, all while shouting instructions and accusations. "Wash your butt! You didn't wash your butt, did you?!"
2. Food. I used to care about everything that went into my children's mouths. Then there was four and I was like "Yum, nitrates ... sounds like a vitamin."
3. Screen time. I used to criticize parents who would park their children in front of the TV or take little gaming systems with them to dinner. Dear unknown judged parents, I'm sorry. Forgive my naivete. I will sell my soul for peace and quiet.
4. Laundry. I'm a procrastinator. Especially bad when you have at least 10 loads of laundry a week. This is embarrassing but I've stopped washing sheets immediately after an accidental "peep" (where they wet just a little). I have a spray bottle with tea tree oil and lavender in it. Spray and let dry. Sadly there are no second days for clothes. I love summer when we can kiss socks goodbye as they are the bane of my existence and a huge suck on my free time. Never do smell check on floor underwear. Assume that it's dirty because it's not worth it.
5. Solid Rules. I give up. I'm clearly outnumbered. I still discipline but I choose my battles. Learn not to ask for things from someone getting bombarded and you're acquiring a truly wonderful life skill.
6. Personal hygiene. Thank God for dry shampoo. I recently broke a personal record and went without washing my hair for a week. My showers used to last an hour. Now I try to shave EVERYTHING in 30 seconds while filled with an underlying fear that something is going horribly wrong in my absence.
7. Extracurricular activities. I would like to seek out volunteers to give their time to ME. Maybe I could start a program with the high school.
8. Eating. I know the second I make myself something and sit down to eat it, one of three things will happen: All heck will break loose. The kids will want my food but then they will regurgitate it back on my plate. Or the world will come to an end (also known as nap time meltdown). May as well just scoop up another handful of goldfish and drink the leftover juice. Sigh. Sad when your multi-tasking includes eating and cleaning.
9. Conversations. Impossible without yelling something like "Get off the shed!" Especially on the phone because we all know what happens when we answer the phone. The apocalypse. Also, if I have to entertain you or be engaged, you're already fighting a losing battle. I'm sleep deprived.
10. My friends. Real friends can take being hung up on without an excuse or explanation. I love you all. I'll call you later. Maybe.
Jen Reekie was born and raised in Quincy and received a communications degree at the University of Kansas, which has come in quite handy as she communicates every day with four children who don't hear a word she says. This stay-at-home mom enjoys the challenge, though, and shares her experiences in this blog, "Mum's the Word." She welcomes your feedback, questions and stories about staying sane while raising kids.