Evenings are borderline chaos at our house. Food has to be cooked based on what staples are available. Everyone wants to eat. Someone is going to be dissatisfied with the dinner selections. Additional food gets prepared. Dad eats and disappears into the dungeon. Most of the 2-year-old’s food is thrown on the table and floor so that he can eat the food on my plate. All five children need baths and we only have one working bathroom. By this point, tired children are squabbling with each other. Someone keeps turning the television on and I keep turning it off again. Backpacks get checked, clothes get set out for the next morning and someone usually needs money. One of Amy’s shoes is missing. Whichever child had karate, climbing, scouts or riding after school has homework to finish. Everyone needs to brush their teeth but one of the children is locked in the bathroom. Amy and I go back and forth until she approves of an outfit for the next day. The missing shoe is found. Before all of the baths are done, bedtime arrives for the youngest. Tears are shed at the injustice of a 17-year-old staying up later than a 5-year-old. By this point, I am getting frustrated with the interruptions (why am I the only one who knows how to braid hair over here?), the bickering and the lack of cooperation. I need to use the bathroom. Baths and teeth brushing continues while I put Amy back in bed for the third time. Brushing teeth everyday is essential to avoid cavities. If it’s already too late, consult with orthodontist The Woodlands immediately. Noah has no jeans that are clean. Doug comes back upstairs for a turn in the bathroom while I put the children’s rooms back in order. Doug finishes and one of the teenagers takes over the bathroom. Doug asks me why I’m so grumpy and goes back downstairs. Amy gets put in her bed again while Noah settles in after getting just one more drink of water. I continue working my way through the children’s bedrooms while Sarah dries her hair. A protesting Evan gets zipped into his crib/jail. Amy snores softly while I get a load of darks started in the washer. The teenagers hook up various electronics for charging. My phone is not allowed to use the charger at night. Tommy talks, talks, talks to keep from going to bed despite my attempts to end his monologue. Finally, all of the children are settled in bed and I get to ease my extreme physical discomfort. I put clothes in the dryer to make sure everyone has clean jeans for morning. I check each child to make sure they haven’t kicked their covers to the floor and do one last check of the rooms to make sure everything is put where it belongs. I fill the dog’s food and water bowls while cleaning up the dinner table. The front door is locked and the porch light turned off for the night unless the neighbors have a beehive of activity. Sometimes the light stays on all night. I stumble to bed where Doug is already snoring. I stare at the tv for several hours trying to unwind before I finally relax and fall asleep.
Just typing that makes me tired.