5 a.m.: “N,” our 3-year-old, wakes up ready for the day. I put her back to bed and say, “It is very early, not time to get up yet.”
5:20 a.m.: She’s out of bed again …
5:45 a.m.: … and again
6:20 a.m.: I can’t go back to sleep, so I get up and take a shower.
6:45 a.m.: I go upstairs and find that “N” and “L,” our 2-year-old, have turned on their light, pulled out their My Little Pony dolls and are wearing what can only be described as disco ball antennas on their heads. There’s no going back to sleep now.
7:15 a.m.: Everyone is up and eating breakfast. “R,” our 9-year-old, eats three bowls of cereal and a bowl of strawberries, and I think he truly may eat us out of house and home.
8:30 a.m.: We are all in the car taking the two oldest boys to school. “R” and “A,” our 6-year-old, are in the back of the van taking off each other’s hats and throwing them to the front while quoting The Lego Movie. Meanwhile, “N” is in the backseat screaming because she has been awake for over three hours already and is exhausted.
9 a.m.: We are at the doctor’s office for a second flu shot for baby “W.” He gets the shot in his perfectly chubby leg and doesn’t even cry.
9:30 a.m.: We are at the grocery store picking up our WIC items. At the checkout we are treated as lesser human beings for using our WIC checks. The cashier says to me, “Baby food and formula is expensive, and I could see why some people need help affording that stuff.” I bite my tongue and try to give a genuine smile while wanting to say, “I CAN afford it! I do not use WIC because I have to, I use it because it is given and recommended we use it for these beautiful foster children that are overflowing this shopping cart. YOU are not doing me a favor by checking me out and judging me.” As we walk out of the store a precious old man says, “You have a beautiful family,” and my frustrating interaction with the cashier is forgotten.
10:15 a.m.: Back home everyone is hungry for lunch. I get baby “W” down for a nap and get “N” and “L” busy playing in an attempt to push lunch back at least a little bit.
11 a.m.: Lunch
Noon: Baby “W” is awake and “L” is napping. “N” (who will not nap) is lying on the sofa having quiet time and watching her favorite show.
1:30 p.m.: I have two kids napping and one having quiet time. I think maybe I can catch up on emails or read a book. Instead, I start on the five loads of laundry that are waiting to be folded.
4 p.m.: “R” and “A” are home from school. “A” got a “sad face” today for not following directions or sitting still during carpet time. “R” has math homework that he doesn’t even attempt to have me help with and says, “I’ll just wait for Dad.”
4:45 p.m.: I start getting dinner ready while trying to hold a fussy baby and referee the other four kiddos.
5:30 p.m.: The seven of us sit down for dinner and share the highs and lows of our days. I feed the baby a bottle while I eat, my husband encourages “N” to eat three more bites of her meal, “L” doesn’t like her broccoli, and “R” wants a second potato. “A” doesn’t want any potatoes because they make him “need to throw up.” Still, we are all sitting down at the table together sharing a meal and conversation and for that I am happy.
6 p.m.: It’s kids and Dada time. The noise level in the house is quite possibly higher than it has been all day. I love hearing all their giggles as Daddy throws “N” into the air and she says, “Higher, Daddy!” as “L” brings a book to “Momma” (because she cannot yet say “Dada”), as “A” and “R” take turns on their new Xbox game and have their dad help them get to that next level. There is nothing like the sight of a daddy playing with his kids.
6:30 p.m.: We begin the bedtime routines. It starts with “L” and “N,” who woke up so early they can hardly keep their eyes open as we rock and read. Next is “A,” doing everything he can to try and delay bedtime. Shortly after the baby is in bed, we have a few spare moments to give “R” time of his own with Mom and Dad.
8:15 p.m.: After a quick game of Scattergories (which, sadly, I lost), “R” gets ready for bed.
8:30 p.m.: All the kids are in bed and my husband and I finally get a few much-needed minutes to ourselves. We talk a few more minutes about our days and then we turn on our favorite TV show and RELAX!!!
9:30 p.m.: I have been up since 5 a.m. and my pillow is calling! As I lie in bed, I say my prayers and reflect on another crazy day in the life of this foster momma. I am thankful. Thankful to have made it through another day, thankful all the kids are asleep, thankful they are safe, warm, fed and loved. I’m especially thankful that I have been given the gift to be their momma, even if just a little while.