For years I’ve gone the gym at 5 in the morning, the only time of day I can count on not to be claimed by others.
Today is no different.
It’s 6:15 and I’ve just returned home. I’m now minutes in to my morning routine of making two breakfasts, two lunch boxes, two snacks and one after school snack for the big one who stays late after school.
My phone lights up, having just received a text. I look at it. It’s text from my friend Amiee, who suggests I call if I’m up.
Of course I’m up.
So I call.
Aimee and I chat, each cradling our cell phones into the nape of our necks leaving our hands free to efficiently manage the making of the breakfasts and lunches and various snacks in between.
We’re quiet and quick like stealth ninja warriors who also happen to make a mean turkey and cheese sandwich with the crusts cut off just so.
We’re off the phone within 90 seconds. We have a lot more to say, but we’re moms. We need to think fast and act even faster. Children can never find their shoes, but they can always find their mom, even before the sun comes up.
It’s now 7:00 am, nearly two hours after I’ve woken up. I’ve already accomplished more than most would in double the time. I wake the kids, ask them to get dressed approximately 2000 times, coerce them to eat, get homework and library books into the proper backpack and get my kids out the door on time.
By 9 am, my daughter’s pre-school drop off time, I’ll have been up for four hours. I will not have eaten, pee’d or changed my clothes but I will have made enough food to nourish an army of grown men in the midst of growth spurts.
I will then go on to start the rest of my day.
I don’t know a mom whose day goes any differently.
At some point in every mom’s day someone will say, “I don’t know how you do it.” I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with being asked how I do it. It’s a patronizing comment disguised as a compliment. I could modestly say, “Oh, I don’t know. It’s all no big deal,” but that would be a lie. Being the CEO of the family is a huge undertaking. Ask any mom, she’ll tell you.
So how do we do it? How do moms finish a week’s worth of errands on any given day? How do we perform well at our jobs while making sure not to miss one of our kid’s endless mid-day school events? How do we give everyone attention? How do we have an answer for everything even when we have no idea what the answer is?
We don’t sleep a lot. This should not be mistaken for a lack of desire to sleep, rather a lack of time for sleep. We maximize our day and often enjoy the quiet time a sleeping family provides.
We eat standing up. If we eat at all.
We make calls in the car. Since most moms are poorly paid cab drivers, we spend a lot of time in the car. We use that time to return calls, make appointments (usually for our kids), or check in on family members in other time zones.
We make quick decisions. We don’t have the luxury of laboring over a decision. When faced with choices, we make one fast and move on. Some new decision will be coming soon.
We rely on the kindness of others. We can’t do what we do without carpools, aftercare, babysitters, friendly neighbors, flexible work schedules and everyone working together. We are required to be flexible and our kids are, too.
We wear what’s nearby. Sometimes getting dressed means picking up the closest wearable object. It’s always clean, even if it’s not on a hanger.
We get sick, we just don’t act sick.
We prioritize our time and constantly re-assess.
We don’t always have clean floors, but we do always have clean children.
We order online whenever possible.
We always have an extra birthday present on hand.
We go the gym at five in the morning, if we go at all.
We have helpful, supportive, involved spouses. If we don’t, we have helpful, supportive, involved family and friends.
We’re happy when our kids are happy. We’re down for the count when they’re not.
We show up for our kid’s school events and even volunteer to help.
We worry endlessly.
We are determined to be patient.
We are swimming instructors, baseball coaches, soccer referees, dance team supporters, filed trip chaperones and stealth car singers.
We go on roller coasters even when we’re scared. We make cupcakes even when we don’t know how. We listen to stories we don’t care about. We spend time with parents we’d otherwise not choose.
We push swings for hours on end.
We make sure our children are wearing sunscreen, even though we forget to apply our own.
We are sleep-deprived shoe finders who think ahead and prepare for the worst while preparing for the best.
We take what’s coming and roll with the punches.
We see our children’s bedtimes as a chance to relax, re-set and re-start for the next day.
And when our children tell us they hate us and our husbands says we’re not affectionate enough and our friends comment that we haven’t called, we take it and we take it in.
That’s how we do it.
*Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, would you mind taking a second to press the FB like button just below. This means the FB share button just above that will get jealous. So maybe hit both and like it and share it with some of your hardworking friends. It tells FB to show this post to people. And it tells me you like it. Both of those are good things. xo