Have you ever thought about how many emotions you experience in any given day as a mom?  A true emotional roller coaster! It’s no wonder that my sanity is barely hanging on by a thread after 5 years of this daily game of feelings gymnastics. Take today for example…

This morning was supposed to be my “get up and go” day.  My spouse and I each have one of these a week. They are awesome! On these days I’m not responsible for getting any of the kids ready or shuttling to school/camp/wherever.  I wake up joyfully singing of freedom!

The emotions turn when I notice that my spouse underestimated the time needed to get the kids ready and the babysitter is picking them up early (ie: in 15 minutes) and they are not even dressed! Joy becomes annoyance and anger.  With much frustration, I give up the spare time I would have had for a stop at Starbucks and whip whiny kids into shape with a flurry of hair brushes, toothpaste, Crocs and scrambled eggs.

Spouse doesn’t even offer so much as a ‘thank you’ and I drive to work filled with resentment instead of my much-awaited Skinny Vanilla Latte.  I may have muttered a word or two about how I might as well be a single mom since I do it all anyway. I mean FOR REAL.

I arrive at work, sit down at my desk, and finally exhale for the first time today.  Trust me, work provides plenty of stress, but it is also the place where I can just *be*.  Most days I can drink my coffee while it is still hot and enjoy conversations longer than milliseconds. Time to reset, refocus and get some work done.  Productivity rules the day.

Lunch time rolls around and just as I was longingly staring at the thousands of pictures I have of my kiddos on my desk, my wife sends an apology text.  We end up on the phone and she’s being all cute and apparently she caught me at a good moment because the drama of the morning is quickly forgotten.  We laugh as she tells me a silly story about one of the kids.  The kind of story that no one else would find amusing but we do because these children are our everything – the sunrise to our sunsets.  What a gift it is to have someone to share this journey with.  A partner for the inside jokes and someone to shake her head the same way I do at the antics of our wild and crazy trio.  No one could ever get me like she does because she’s the only one who knows them like I do. Feeling thankful that I’m not, in fact, the single mom I previously wished myself to be.

Finally we get to the end of the day and I’m fried from a marathon management meeting but also anxious to see my babies. The highlight of my day is always their shouts of “Mommy’s home!!” and the bear hugs that follow. Today is no different and I enjoy their excitement at my arrival, but once that is out of the way, they get straight to the tears, whines, and uber-overtired-dramatics. Wine please!

We kinda sorta crawl our way through the witching hours without me completely losing my shit on anyone (did I mention my wife peaced-out the second I came through the door?? But hey, she did the dishes so we’ll consider it even).  I am so ready for bed time.  Sidenote: how is it that I long for my babies all day long and race home to see them, but when I’m home and with them, I can’t wait until they are unconscious, I mean, asleep? Is it like that childbirth thing? You forget how awful it is until you are back in the trenches doing it again? Kidding, of course. I love my kids, but they are draining me something fierce right now. OMG CAN YOU PLEASE TAKE TURNS SPEAKING?!?

My 3-year-old is wailing hysterically because she simply can no longer keep it together so she and I crawl into her bed for our fail safe: Pete the Cat. She instantly calms as I read and life is kinda nice again. By the 3rd time through the book (why isn’t this kid asleep yet??) I’m getting a little punchy and I start substituting “4 groovy buttons” for “4 stinky underwears” – which, of course, she thinks is hysterical and we wind up in a fit of giggles and tickles.  When she catches her breath, she throws her chubby arms around my neck and pulls in close so our foreheads and noses are touching. “You’re my best friend,” she says, and my heart aches from being so full. A few moments later she is asleep and I’m savoring the peace that has washed over me.

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Bed time for my other two offers a beautiful opportunity to cuddle and reconnect as well.  Then, it is on to cleaning out book bags, packing lunches, sweeping, laundry and…I’m out of energy before I even start. As if in answer to my silent pleadings, my wife walks through the door just then.  She decided to skip the softball game and instead, we team up on the to-do list finishing it in a fraction of the time.  When we finally collapse ourselves onto the couch I’m exhausted, but content.  All this insanity? This is the good stuff. I’m lucky to be this tired.

There is no doubt that parenting these children has taken the volume dial of life and thrown it way up. There is anger, frustration, guilt, sadness, happiness, exhaustion, and love to a higher degree than I ever thought possible.  The vividness with which I feel emotions now and the rate at which I cycle through them can be dizzying. But in a good way. Like that carnival ride I keep getting back in line for over, and over, again

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