I have three children ages 6, nearly 5, and 2 1/2, and I feel like I’m only just now entering motherhood, like, for real. I’ve been at this for 6 years, have given and taken all kinds of parenting advice, have read a whole host of books and research on parenting and childhood development, and I’ve managed 3 children born within 3 years and 10 months of each other. I would think I would have felt like a mother by now. Well, yes, but mostly no. I have suddenly been thrown into being a manager as well as being a parent, and it has taken me a bit by surprise. I’m sure I’ve heard other parents talk about this “managerial” aspect of parenting multiple school-aged children, but I must have tuned it out or something. Wow, it’s a real thing!
Everyday by 7:45 a.m. I’ve worked out, showered, fed three children, eaten, packed three snacks and two lunches, hurried two of the kids out the door for school, and hopefully have the dishes finished. Whew! By 1:00 p.m., most days, I’ve practiced flute 3 hours, made snacks for two, taken care of odds-and-ends around the house and have lunch made and eaten for two, and dishes finished….again. Before I leave to pick up the kids from school, I use the rest of the 2 hours for laundry or grocery shopping, cleaning, and toddler play/learn time (we’re working on colors and sight words). At 3:00 I pick the kids up from school, and then we’re really “off to the races”: snacks, homework, piano practice for my daughter, continue laundry, cook and eat dinner, run kids to tumbling class, piano lessons, or [soon-to-start] mid-week catechism depending on the day; oh, and I teach flute lessons in there, too. Then it’s time for bedtime routine, prayers, silent reading, then lights out. Every.Single.Day.
While folding clothes after dinner tonight I found myself surprisingly feeling like a manager, even considering making lists of what needs to be done and when, and as a result, like I was just entering motherhood for the first time: completely blown away by the enormity of having children. As the shock wore off and the last pair of socks were folded, I realized that I nearly forgot to help my daughter with her piano practice today! She had had so much homework, that I let her play until dinner, then it was time for a bath, and piano practice nearly fell by the wayside. Yeah, maybe making lists is a good idea….
Never would I have thought that 6 years in to being a mother I would only just realize what an undertaking this is. Yes, I’ve known how massive of a job it is — I have, after all, nursed 3 babies around the clock, changed more diapers than I can count, and have been sleep-deprived more than I care to think about — but it’s this managerial side to parenting that is really making this real for me, and, man am I blown away! Thinking on all this I realize how happy I am that I came to this particular realization, so now I have a new approach to handling my new, much busier, daily routine. I’ve been a little wide-eyed and flustered since the beginning of school, but that was before I understood that I need to be a manager, as well as a mother, wife, daughter, (cook, laundromat, cleaner, etc., etc.) and flutist.