when your wake up call is at 2:45, 4:37, 5, and 6 a.m.
when you get your sick 6-year-old daughter situated on the couch with a movie and you set the baby up in his pack-n-play to catch just a few more minutes of shut-eye just to be awoken by frantic screaming, “MOM, MOM, MOM.” You jump up, and ask with consternation, “What do you need?” “Um…I want to wear a red and white striped dress for Dr. Seuss day tomorrow!”
when you go to find the power cord to your laptop, one half is buried under a pile of blankets. You find it 45 minutes later.
when you have 5 loads of laundry in your room waiting to be folded because you just couldn’t make yourself do it yesterday or the day before that.
when the baby has diarrhea. And a crazy rash. And has had three ear infections, a concussion, and a dilocated elbow in the past four weeks. You hope child services comes and takes him just for one day, so you can catch a break.
when you put the baby gate up to try and keep your little Houdini out of the kitchen while you do dishes. He throws every single toy he owns over the gate for the entire time he’s locked out, making several really good passes all the way to the trashcan you moved to the other side of the kitchen.
when you have class at 4p.m. but you have to pick up one child from school at 3:30 and get another to daycare and a third to art lessons in between. You actually make it to class before 4:00 50% of the time. The other 50% you arrive within five minutes of start time. You think you are a freaking miracle worker. Everyone else thinks you are a hot mess. You don’t care.
when you laugh hysterically when someone tells you how nice you look at school trying to contain their complete surprise (but failing miserably) because you know they are thinking, “She cleans up nice.” They have no idea.”You think, JUST WAIT!!! You’re lucky I even wear clothes.”
before you can go to bed you have to walk the dog, take out the trash, deal with the pile of papers multiplying on your kitchen counter, respond to five e-mails and ten text messages, find your phone, charge your laptop the kids left dead, clean out the dog water full of soggy dog food (because your Houdini must have figured out how to get over the baby wall), and at least 40 other things that are different every single day, while yelling at your kids to get back in bed more than 10 times.
when you cook dinner EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. The process of cooking, feeding, cleaning always takes at least 2 hours. Even if you somehow justify tacos on taco Tuesday.
and when you finally sit down on the couch for two minutes before your eyelids refuse to stay open, you are stuck in the bum by a barbie foot sticking out betweeen the couch cushions.
Then you wake up an hour later and go to bed. Your husband rolls over. You give him a quick kiss, and roll over the opposite direction before he gets any ideas. You can’t sleep. Because your teenage daughter and her boyfriend are worrying you out of your mind.
You finally fall asleep at 1 a.m. The baby cries at 1:11 a.m.
16 years later. You sit down to write a blog post. You laugh. But you really just want to cry. And you really need a vacation. But tonight you are going to fork over $300 for your daughter’s soccer tournament. And you have a pile of doctor bills for another $600. And you have school all summer, and your Spring Break doesn’t coincide with your kids’ spring break. And. and. and.
I’ll get back to you in another 18 years. Hopefully I will tell you it was all worth it.
But at this very moment, you are certain that you’ll never make it. Unless you can somehow secure one week in a nice quiet hospital bed that will serve you postpartum punch. And then you remember you had a hysterectomy last year. You laugh. Then cry. Because you really need a baby nursery and some postpartum punch.
Oh, and do you have any idea how hard it is to study feminism as a literary theory when a Barbie movie is playing in the background? Near impossible.