4:17 AM – I awaken to the sound of the cat throwing up. That awful (Whoooock-whoooock-whooooock sound that makes your skin crawl. I lie there waiting for the impending “splat” that follows. It happens, and so I think that I can possibly go back to sleep. I roll over and accidentally awaken the Chihuahua. He leaps up from under the covers and starts licking Little. I panic, thinking that the whole house will wake up because of our stupid, vomiting cat. Luckily, everyone stays asleep.
4:21 AM – Whoooock-whoooooock-whooooock, splat. OMG, whatever. I throw my covers off myself and get out of bed and start the day. This is normal. This is usually what time my day begins, but today it feels worse because of the cat vomit incident. If I can’t sleep until the moment my alarm goes off, it’s a genuinely bad day.
4:23 AM – I step in cat vomit, smooshing it between my toes. Big wanders out of his room and tells me that there’s cat vomit “right there” on the floor. Super.
6:18 AM – Big wonders where his Diamondbacks hooded sweatshirt is. I have no idea. We proceed to argue for 3 minutes about ‘what will he wear!’ and ‘why didn’t I know it was going to rain YESTERDAY and TELL HIM?’
6:30 AM – Big leaves for school and slams the door. Little is now awake demanding a Hostess cupcake.
7:15 AM – Little would like me to cue up his favorite movie “Boogey Man” to ‘that one part’ where Boogey comes up from the basement to scare the little girl. I literally have no idea what he’s talking about, so Little cries until 7:30 when we leave the house.
7:25 AM – Little is still crying. I grab clothes for him and get him dressed. He begins crying harder and tells me that his jeans are ‘squeezing his left leg in a funny way.’ I tear through the house looking for pants, which are packed in the fall/winter wardrobe of the garage. BTW, when did it turn fall? I was just spending every weekend in the pool and now there’s Pumpkin Spice Latte stuff everywhere. I blinked and the world was #PSL, boots, people taking pictures of colored leaves and crockpot foods “trending” on Pinterest.
7:45 AM – we are now late for school for Little. We race to the car and Little stops in his tracks and begins crying again. My stomach hurts; this crying could be a result of quite honestly ANYTHING. This time, it’s because before he went to bed last night, he let his worms that he caught at his father’s house go in the front yard. He simply can’t see the worms now. Where are they, he sobs. I have to have a ten minute conversation about how worms go to different homes, blah blah blah. He wonders if any bird ate them overnight. (OMG, just-get-in-the-car!) I put on his seatbelt and he unbuckles because HE wants to do it. Whatever; I don’t care who does it…just do it! I run and get into the front seat and put the car in reverse. Little announces he can’t do his seatbelt, and would I please come do it for him?
7:53 AM - I’m now 23 minutes behind schedule and flying down Highway 89 listening to the Mary Poppins soundtrack. I can’t handle this soundtrack for any amount of time. It makes me want to scratch my eyes out from the inside. Little loves it, but only loves three songs on it. These three songs make my ears bleed. I have lost 24 minutes of my life to Mary Poppins today, but 120 minutes a week. 120 minutes that will never be given back to me. Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke should have thought about the long term effects of their songs, I think.
8:17 AM – I arrive to drop Little at daycare. He doesn’t want me to leave, and wants me to tell everyone at school about this little caterpillar we found at the house yesterday. My story gets shorter and shorter as I tell people. The final version was “little fuzzy yellow guy. Probably venomous. You should google it during class, I gotta run!” I’m 99% sure the faculty sees me coming and just cringes. Hot mess coming, everyone MOVE! Little tells me I’ve hurt his heart today; first with his worms and now I’m leaving him at daycare. My soul dies a little. I’m already almost 30 minutes late to work, what’s another 10 minutes?! I stay and color a flower. He needs me to add a bee. I add the bee to his picture. Now he wants me to add grass. My nerves are so shot at this point I’d color an entire landscape if he’d just comply and let me leave without tears from him. Finally, after carefully examining the picture I drew, Little agrees to let me leave. He also instructs me to “throw that picture away on my way out.” My face burns with fury. Goodbye, Little.
8:30 AM – I jump into the car and immediately search, “Gangster Rap” on Spotify. My poor ears! MARY POPPINS FOR 24 MINUTES! 2 Live Crew starts blasting on my car stereo as a take a deep breath; eyes closed. Words that would make people shiver are screamed through my car stereo speakers. As I open my eyes, I see another parent staring at me through my car window. Please; like you don’t know.
11:15 AM – I have just realized that I never turned on the crockpot (because it’s fall, obviously) at home. Awesome. There are raw chicken breasts just sitting on my counter. My mind wanders during my meeting, and I have a morbid thought that maybe the vomiting cat could ingest the raw chicken, and maybe that issue could just “take care of itself” before I get home. Cats have nine lives though, and there are only two chicken breasts in said crockpot. Next time, I shall cook nine. Duly noted, I thought.
12:17 PM – I’m in the same meeting humming Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious over and over and over in my head. I can’t even focus. I can think about is Julie Andrews spinning around in her dress singing this to the Bank’s children, Jane and Michael. What is wrong with me? This, my friends, is lack of sleep.
12:29 PM – My cell phone rings for the third time from Big’s school. I excuse myself from the meeting. Big whispers into the phone that he has no lunch money; and I let dead air hang like a dark cloud in the conversation. Finally, Big confides that he HAS lunch money, but simply not enough to afford sparkling cranberry juice and a popcorn ball as an ‘add-on’ after lunch. Hmmmmm. I take time to explain that this is not a reason to call me three times at work. We hang up. As I get to the door to go to the meeting again, his school calls. *sigh* Big is there again, trying to gain clarification. Does that mean that I will add money onto his account right now, or did that mean that I wouldn’t? “Don’t call me at work for this ever againnnnnnnnnn,” I breathe into the phone. Goodbye, Big.
4:30 PM – Speed up the pace at which I’m answering emails. I have 30 minutes left at the office. Hurry, hurry, hurry. I call 4 pm at the office “the witching hour.” Everything that could have gone wrong all day at work happens between 4-5 pm, as a means to test us in the hospitality industry. At 4:59 PM I’m wildly shoving everything into my bag/briefcase/purse/trash bag to get out the door in time to get Little. I leave like a tornado at 5:00 PM, waving at the team as I run by. “I’ll call you!” I shout as I run out the door.
5:14 PM – I have SIXTY seconds to get Little! I run into the office and stand at the desk. I don’t have a fancy security badge to get my child, so I can’t activate the door to get in. This bugs me so much, but I never take the time to fix it.
5:45 PM – Try to come up with a new dinner; not the crockpot raw chicken that’s been *NOT* cooking on my counter all day.
7:00 PM – Bath time. I run Little a bath. He comes in and doesn’t want bubbles. He would like it drained and run again without them. At this point, I don’t care. I drain it and re-run the bath. I have 25 minutes of silence while he plays with all the Batman characters in the tub.
8:00 PM – Bed time. I use that term loosely. Little gets in bed and thus begins the Maurer Family Inquisition. I promise, almost word for word, this is how the night went:
Mom, I went to the Halloween store and they didn’t have frog suits.
Is my iPad charged? Can you check?
How do you spell the word COOPER?
Kayden got a cut on his finger today; did you know that?
Mom, why does the owl in our neighborhood sit on our lamppost?
Mom, where does owl go during the day? Like where does he live?
*I want to get out of bed.
Call my dad. I want to go to Dad’s house. May I FaceTime him right now?
Does dad know that you tell me no? You’re supposed to let me anytime.
*Mom, who is YOUR dad?
*Mom, my leg hurts. Do you think I’m growing?
Gross! I just touched some earwax in my ear. Where did that come from? Is it brains?
I’m not sleepy. Are you sleepy?
How many TOTAL bites of dinner did you have? More or less than me?
I wonder…could you cut my hair like Lauren does?
Mom, are you dressing up for Halloween?
Do you PERSONALLY know Santa? How old is he?
My tongue is wet. It’s always wet and slimy. Is yours? Can I feel?
Do you think centipedes have puppies as pets?
If our dog could talk, what do you think he’d say?
I’m seriously not tired. Mom are you still in my room?
I’m telling my teacher that you never let me sleep. Are you asleep right now?
9:47 PM – I tiptoe out of Little’s room.
10:03 PM – Big comes into my room. He needs a glue stick. He forgot to tell me that the American Flag essay is due tomorrow; and he’s gluing on his “stuff.”
11:59 PM – After all the housework is done and my final work emails are answered, it’s bed time for Mom. I put my head on my pillow, wondering if a spoon full of sugar truly does make the medicine go down; because I need some really big Advil!
12:01 AM – As if he has radar on when I can finally sleep, Little comes in to snuggle and co-sleep. He wraps his tiny little arm around my body and whispers that he loves snuggling with me, and that I ‘calm his soul.’
This, my friends, is a day in the life. It’s usually the same thing day in and day out. Some days are worse (nope, not kidding) and some days are a little better. The majority of our days are constant on the go, 17-20 hour days of sheer chaos. I’m not sure that this is a result of being a single mother; I have to truly believe that all parents experience the chaos in their lives. So, if your friends offer you help, my advice is to TAKE IT even if you don’t think you need it. Take time for yourselves. This pace is great for only so long. If you offer to take Big and Little and I shriek wildly into the phone; it’s because I’m already dreaming of gangster rap and time to lie on my couch in silence. Be kind to yourselves and help other parents who may need a break from their day to day routine.