Weekends are hard

The morning starts just past 7am with the four-year-old blasting into my room. “It’s morning!!!” he shouts.

I look over to the baby in my bed, the one I brought in around 3am who finally fell asleep somewhere around 6. He is now flailing his arms and legs, squealing with delight. I put a movie on in my room and hope to stay in a sleep-like state for just a little longer.

The five-year-old bursts in and for about 15 minutes we all snuggle together and watch the movie. (My husband is in the nursery with our baby daughter and I’m hoping they are sleeping through all of this. Because having both of us start the day exhausted is so much worse.)

The cuddle time is short lived. As I nurse the baby boy, the big boys start to do Karate in my bed, which Drives. Me. Crazy. They ignore my warnings to stop, to sit down, to calm down. It’s barely 7:30am and I’m already yelling. I actually see my day spinning down like a tornado. It’s not even 8am and I’ve already lost.

I try to pull out of it. I change the baby. We go downstairs. I make a pot of coffee.
I have to get out of the house today, I think as I start slugging dirty laundry down to the basement. Because with four children, if I don’t keep the machines going every day, I’ll never catch up.

There’s noise from the living room. A lot of it. The tv, and the rambunctious boys, and one of the babies. And the grime. How did my house get so grimy? All I can see is the grime and I just want to get rid of it all, wipe it all away, and the baby is fussing but just one more minute I’ll be right there I’ll be right there I’ll be right there.

Oh fuck it. The bathroom is half clean and the kitchen floor is half swept and my coffee is half cold. I sit down with the baby. I try to redirect the boys. I have to get out of this house today I have to get out of this house today. How cold is it, again? How cold is too cold to take babies out? Where can I go that doesn’t involve spending money and isn’t sensory overload? I have to get out of the house today.

It’s not that I want to escape them. I want them. I want the kind of moments I have with them when it is just me and one of them. Why can’t we have those moments all together? And now the four year old is screaming the most jarring scream, big hot tears streaming down his face because yet again their rough play got too rough. I have to get out of this fucking house.

My husband wakes up and takes over for a bit.

In the shower I think of Newtown. And how those moms would give anything for this day. And that gets me through the next few hours. I clean my bathroom. I put on a skirt and a little makeup and go back downstairs.

My husband suits up the boys and takes them outside. It’s 19 degrees and there’s snow on the ground. I roll the twins’ highchairs over to the big kitchen window so they can see their brothers sledding down the hill in our backyard. The babies eat black beans and toast and cheese and apple sauce, all while watching their brothers with big huge eyes.

I make quesedillas for the boys and keep them warm in the oven so when they come inside, freezing cold, they will have a hot lunch waiting for them. Because I love them and I want them. They are just so loud so loud so loud and if I could only get out of the house.

But it’s freezing cold and finally the grime is starting to fade. After lunch, I get them to help me, the big boys. What is more exciting than spraying Windex? I soak up their remaining pre-school-ish-ness. Still such ernest cleaners they are. I try to enjoy the moment, the temporary respite from arguing and whining, without worrying about the fumes of the toxic chemicals. The babies’ lungs.

Juney dances to ukelele from britta alexander on Vimeo.

A musician friend is staying with us and he plays music constantly, which helps. My baby daughter wiggles her bum every time he picks up my ukelele. My heart melts. My boys thank me for their lunch.

The day goes on much the same. Ups and downs. Moments of calm in between meltdowns, spills, tears, grumpiness, yelling, sweetness, and all the while, little Juney shaking her bum. I catch myself counting the hours until bedtime. Then I think of the Newtown moms.

I get four loads of laundry done. My husband helps me fold. I wash at least 5 sinkfuls of dishes throughout the day. I don’t get to the vacuuming and I never get out of the house. Everyone’s kids are sick. But I do get a nap. And a string of funny texts with a good friend throughout the day.

All along I calculate, What would make this better? And usually I can see what is needed. But weekends, lately, are just so hard.

Is it because it’s 19 degrees out and our options are limited? Should we become one of those families whose kids do activities? Would it be better if we all split up? Would it be better if we all piled in the car together? Where does a family of our size even go???

I don’t get out of the house because the only thing I come up with is to go shopping, but I think going shopping would feel worse. And getting out takes so much effort. Winter. Stuck. Loud. Newtown. Painting. LEGOs. Karate. Music. Books. Babies naps all off schedule. Crying it out. Inside. All of us. Enjoy them now they grow so fast. Newtown.

Next weekend I really will get out of the house.

juney and paul

9 comments on Weekends are hard

  1. Shalagh Hogan
    January 26, 2014 at 10:20 pm (8 months ago)

    Brilliant and familiar. And am nodding off. Bravo and well said. Good night
    Love,
    Shalagh

  2. Christin
    January 26, 2014 at 10:28 pm (8 months ago)

    Britta, thanks for capturing the collective joy, guilt and frustration of parenting little ones. Especially on weekends. And especially when the application of required outerwear is a project unto itself. Weekends are hard. Mondays are easy breezy.

  3. Betsy
    January 26, 2014 at 11:47 pm (8 months ago)

    Britta, this is incredible! You are an amazing mama. Thank you for being so honest. XOXO

  4. Veera Hiranandani
    January 27, 2014 at 8:24 am (8 months ago)

    Love this post, Britta. Honest and well-written. I remember when I had babies in the winter. So hard. And you’ve got a double helping! I hope you get out today!

  5. Adrian
    January 27, 2014 at 10:52 am (8 months ago)

    I think about the Newtown moms, too. You do need to get out of the house, and you will. Next weekend. Thanks for having the courage to share the truth. It sets you and the rest of us free. XOXO

  6. Nina Max
    January 30, 2014 at 8:47 am (8 months ago)

    It’s already been said but I love your honesty too. It’s really hard, really, really hard and I’ve only got two! And one is more or less self-sufficient. My goal some days is not to say “just a minute” so often. And to do the laundry. And to leave the house…
    xo

  7. Nina Max
    January 30, 2014 at 8:49 am (8 months ago)

    One more thing. Any thoughts on how to survive school vacation? I’m dreading it.

  8. Alison Marra
    February 3, 2014 at 4:40 pm (7 months ago)

    Interesting and comforting to know I’m not the only one who says “Newtown” to myself like a mantra. Not even close to the only one, I’m sure. But still, comforting to know.

    Weekends are tough. I feel you, sister. Thanks for the honesty, and for the always beautiful writing.

    xo

  9. Adrienne
    February 4, 2014 at 3:22 pm (7 months ago)

    Thank you for this. With twin four-year-olds and a house full if teens, my noise is only slightly different. And now I don’t feel so alone.