"Surviving Monday" by Penelope

I wanted to give an introduction to myself but I suppose just telling you my day will suffice.

I got up at 4:20 this morning and reset my alarm clock to 5:10, because somewhere in my mind it's knowing I get to sleep in for another 50 min.  I get up, careful not to wake the baby who has somehow managed to come full circle from her days of hating cosleeping to needing to be in my bed.  Since my bed is actually a convertible couch in the living room, it is always a difficult feat to go about my routine without waking her.  If I am lucky enough to pull it off, this will be the last 20 minutes I get to myself until bed time tonight.
No that's not correct, there will also be the car drive to and from work. This morning I pull it off.  I opt not to make my sons lunch today because it's Mon and I just don't want to, he can eat school lunch.  This is the last 3 weeks of the school year and I've made his lunch all year.  I don't feel as guilty as I normally would.  With the few seconds of free time I've just given myself I get on Facebook and send a message to my boyfriend just to say good morning.  I haven't seen him in a week and I'm not sure how long it will be until we get a chance to see eachother again.  We've only dated for a month and between our work schedules and the distance apart we live, plus the fact that I'm gun shy, has made for an interesting relationship and we spend more time missing eachother than anything else.  I like it, I feel very safe with all the space, I don't think he knows that.  I forgot to pack the bag for the babysitters last night so I rush off the computer to go take care of that.  It's the great winter-summer clothing exchange so all the winter clothes, the ones I need, are hiding in Thing 3's room, lucky for me, she's still asleep on the couch. I get dressed, brush my teeth, don't bother to brush my hair but throw it into a ponytail, I work in a factory with a hair net, and start to wake up the kids.  Thing 2 (my 4 year old) first, who is the easiest to wake, then to Thing 1 (my 7 year old) who usually runs on Thing 2's energy this early in the morning and once they're up and have started putting on their shoes and jackets I start waking and dressing Thing 3 (my 2 year old).  I only give the kids about 10 minutes in the morning to get ready in hopes that they will fall right back to sleep at the babysitters.  Sometimes this works.
As we head out the door I realize I forgot my lunch and water so I rush into the kitchen to shove it in a bag real quickly and this is where the fun begins.  Thing 2 decides he has to make a lunch and nothing I say will convince him otherwise, sparing you the details on the fight, he is, at this point, heading out to the car in full meltdown mode at 5:40 am.  We live in apartments and I am embarrassed that my neighbors can hear.  They are all too kind to ever mention it if they do.  Everyone gets to the babysitters in one piece and I admit, today I ran out of her house quietly yelling, "freedom" and wishing her good luck.  She's a good sport.

Work is work.  As far as job relationships go I have the best job and crew ever. But the paycheck is getting smaller and smaller these days as it is slow season, and for some reason everyone is getting extra hours but me.  It's something that has been weighing heavily on my mind lately as my rent is 5 days late and I'm realizing that my financial issues have just gone into the blood shed red.  I don't know if my children will have a home in a week, and if we have a home will there be any power?  phone service?  insurance on my car?  There is a girl at work who is constantly a no call no show and I bite my tongue every time she gets offered extra hours and try not to scream obscenities because I just can't understand.  Even with that said I like my job and am very lucky to have it, it is my escape, a place where I feel safe and mostly unjudged, which is hard to find when you're me, so I keep my mouth shut. This is surviving work.  Being thankful for anything you can find happiness in. We can not stretch out the work day any thinner so I leave and head to the babysitters and with little hassle (woohoo!) get the children into the car.  Thing 2 has decided he cannot buckle his seatbelt on his own and whatever good mood I had mustered while I was at work is now gone.  It takes 5 minutes but he finally buckles and we drive the 3 minutes home.  Walking in to my house is rarely happy for me anymore.  No matter how hard I clean it it is always dirty.  "Make your kids do chores" everybody likes to give me that sage piece of wisdom.  I have been making my kids help around the house since time began but it makes no difference.  Not when there are four of us living in this cramped two bedroom apartment.  At a thought like that I tell myself to shut up.  We are so very lucky to have this place.  We are so very blessed to have all we can fill it with.  This is surviving, stopping the complaint and finding something to be grateful for.  I got off work a half of an hour early so today I don't have to be rushed to get Thing 1 from school.  Thing 3 convinces me to put on Frozen again.  Every. Single. Day.  and as much as I hate the Tv being on I let her because it keeps her from bullying everyone in the house, and gives me a quick minute to msg my boyfriend, we'll call him The Doctor since that's kind of the first thing we clicked about, you know other than thinking each other were hot.  Dr. Who? You may ask.  If you get it you'll get it, haha! The boys were never as mean as Thing 3 and I am at such a loss. And I'm so tired.  Thing 2 decides to throw a fit about something and the two of them pretty much take turns for the next hour throwing a temper tantrum about, well, anything.  I keep on asking myself "What am I doing wrong?".  I feel like such a failure at this point.  We leave at three to pick up Thing 1 from school.  Usually we walk but today I just can't stay on my feet that long.  I'm tired and it is cold and windy out.  Insert meltdown about pausing Frozen here.  I'm fuzzy on the details between after school pick up and beginning dinner, though I do recall the boys having to do a hug until you're happy, so we'll just skip to dinner prep.  I have Thing 3 at the table eating yogurt to keep her occupied only to look over and see that she has covered her whole head.  I laugh and think ok she can go take a bath while I finish dinner, I'm sure she won't mind.  She doesn't.  double bonus, no screaming at my feet for the last 10 minutes of cooking.  I go back in after 10 minutes or so and of course she has pooped in the tub.  As I'm draining the tub I go and turn off the dinner so that I can take care of this mess.  I decide it's easier just to get in the shower myself and wash everything at once.  As I'm pushing the poop down the drain because it's at a consistency that I would find grosser to pick up, I smile to myself, usually I don't get a chance to shower on Mondays.  This is the moment that matters the absolute most in my whole day.  The moment when I want to cry and instead find a reason to be grateful.  This is surviving.  The rest of my night will go much like the day.  Many tears, arguments, and bruises.  At dinner I have to perform the heimlich on Thing 2.  During the boys' bath Thing 3 gets a pen that fell out of my pocket and covers her body. . .again.  I decide to make cookies to sooth my soul, and burn 3 batches.  Then there's that moment, just before bed, when we all cuddle up on the couch and read a story.  We form one ball of arms and legs, all of their heads somehow find a spot on my chest.  It is like blanket of the purest form of love has encircled me.  A peace that is undefinable. This is no longer surviving.  This is living.  This is the moment that I crave.  This is why I survive.  There is nothing in the world more precious, more worth living for than to have these beautiful children.  Even after a day I almost didn't survive.  We head off to bed in tears and fights.

I know that none of this is exclusive to being a single mother.  All of the happenings today are inclusive of being a parent.  They are experiences we all have to one degree or another.  Being a single mother means I will have no one to talk to at the end of the day.  No one will see my tears as I cry myself to sleep.  No one to share the few moments that made me laugh, and no one to help me remember those moments and that they are what we need to hold dearest to us in the moments like these when we feel we have failed the day. That moment when I desperately need to take a walk around the block to clear my head will have to wait some unknown amount of time, not just a few long days.  I skirted over the fact that my child choked at dinner tonight, that's because I am still in shock and there is nobody to give me a hug.  I am too poor to keep up relationships, I cannot afford to drive across town to visit in a friends house and everytime I pick up the phone a child starts screaming.  That's if I even think of the phone.  I don't own a cell phone.  For years I have told people that it is because of a technology ban I have and there is some truth in that, for I don't lie, it's a rule of mine.  It's easier than explaining that I haven't received child support in years.  Even though the fathers can afford cell phones. And alcohol.  And carnivals, fishing, camping, traveling. . .friends.  This however is a topic for another day. And there is nobody to call to complain about that either.

I didn't cry today though, because at the end of the day I know it's just a rough patch.  I know that we all love each other and take care of eachother.  If nothing else they are simply one day closer to the day Thing 3 turns eighteen and I can sell all of my things and backpack across Greece.

This is my introduction, the simple truths of my life.  I am tired and starved for adult attention outside of work, but my life is good.  I got to shower, we have a home, and way too many things to fill it with.  We ate dinner and dessert tonight. And even though we probably all yelled more than we talked to each other today, we never hesitated to kiss and hug and say I love you the bazillion times a day that we always do.  
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About Amara Franklin

If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times... I LOVE MY LIFE. I have a great husband and the best little baby dudes in the world! I have found that raising twins is not so different than a singleton, just a little bit louder (and a lot more fun!). I look forward to going through this journey together... SUPER MOMS UNITE!


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