I am all my kids have during the long summer days. They do not have people who want to take them for exciting sleepovers, or to the zoo, the pool, The movies, The park, beaches , the aquarium, a lake, splash pads, indoor parks, museums, or to any water park . They have me , and they have Pat, who is only able to do these things on the weekends or on holidays with us, because someone has to work to provide for our family. Therefore, it’s all up to me. The entire summer is up to me.
It’s up to me to keep my cool, at home or at these places. It’s up to me to make sure all 3–5 bellies are fed & full at least 3 times a day & to make sure there’s enough snacks & drinks. packed when we’re going out. It’s up to me to make sure each child stays hydrated on the hot , humid, summer days, and even on the not so hot & humid ones. It’s up to me to rub sunscreen on 4–6 pairs of shoulders & all exposed skin, to spray bug spray on each child from head to toe. It’s up to me to keep my eyes focused on at least my 4 little people & to know where each one is at all times, to make sure they are safe, being safe, following the rules & not killing / hurting each other, or anyone else for that matter. It’s me that has to watch the cool tricks of my only boy while he’s in the pool, or on the monkey bars, at the same time I’m trying to watch the new discoveries of my oh so growing 5 year old, and the small jumps she can do that seem so enormous to her. Then there’s the big kid tricks that Hailee has to show me.. and she wants me to record every single attempt and every which way she can try. At the very same time as all of that, I have this little nugget who wants to be big, ( they all want to be so big), this little girl who wants to play with her siblings and do all the amazing, big things that they’re doing, without me at their side, holding their hands, without swimmies on their arms rubbing roughly on their skin. If she’s not doing that, she’s attached to my hip or chasing me around crying for me to pick her up. This beautiful little girl who understands SO much for being 2, but at the same time does not understand the whys, or the how’s. She wants to adventure on her own, and always at the worst times, and she is so innocent to the dangers of this world, so it’s up to me to keep her safe. To keep all of them safe.
I’m somehow supposed to split my focus and attention in 4–5 different ways no matter where we are, ESPECIALLY in a pool, or in a crowded place that has multiple exits.
It is up to me to make sure I get all kids home safely, to make sure each child is buckled properly and safely on the car rides to and from. It’s my job to lay down the rules before we get to where we’re going, each and every time, even though sometimes it seems a waste of breath, and I’m repeating and reminding these rules more often then not. It’s up to me to do the dishes after most meals, (if I don’t want to be eating with crusty utensils ) , to come up with or find, and cook those meals the kids will hopefully eat. It’s up to me to check on their cleaning habits, to vacuum up crumbs and to mop up spills, no matter how many times they’ve screamed ANTS!! To scrub the play- doh off the chairs , and savagely do the same to any carpet stains ( see; potty training). It is up to me to clean up the remnants of a wasteful experiment gone wrong, after she “already cleaned it all up”. It is me who separates the clothes, colors from whites. It is me who puts the clothes in the washer, the dryer, and then folds the 4 loads of laundry we’ve somehow accrued in a 24 hour time span. It is me who will sometimes leave it all in a giant, wrinkled pile on the couch for 2 days, so that I can take the kids outside for the day. It is me who makes sure all 6 of us has clean clothes to wear, bathing suits, towels, etc. It is mostly up to me to call bed time, every . single . night, my job to read to them, or to make sure that they have read for at least 15 minutes every night, to trust their word because I am just too exhausted to have them read chapters to me every single night. It’s my job to make sure what they’re watching is appropriate, and to catch them when they’re being sneaky and have their phones in bed. Also, it is very much up to me to remind my 2 oldest that when they have sleepovers, they NEED sleep. That it’s okay to stay up until 2–3am ONCE, maybe twice , but it is absolutely not something she can do every single night with or without a friend over. Why?? Well it’s my job to explain WHY. Why what?? Why EVERYTHING. Literally, everything, and if I’m not sure of the actual answer, it is up to me to come up with something believable and realistic quickly enough that they do not hear in my voice that I’m pulling these reasons out of thin air. There’s always a why. If I recorded my everyday life, I’m answering the question “why” at LEAST 100 times a day between each child & man child , and my reasonings are mostly, because I said so, and often made up , and a lot of the time, my oldest knows that, and the others are left to ponder.
I am the one who makes the plans. I call or text the other parents, RSVP to the birthday parties, make small talk with other parents, invite friends over. It is my job to keep food in the house, at the same rate as my 2 oldest & my man child , are mowing all the snacks, fruit and junk, healthy and not, usually in a matter of 2 days. It is my job to know sizes, likes and dislikes, to keep up with what’s “trending”, so I can continue to try to understand my daughter and her friends ( 3 times over).It is up to me to make sure these kids are safe on TikTok , Roblox , Snapchat , watch party, and whatever else my daughter is on. She shows her siblings, the apps and to my son, “ it’s so unfair” that she has a phone, is allowed to have these apps, can walk to the corner store with a friend, can stay up later than him…. nothing is fair, life isn’t fair & that is just NOT what he wants to hear. So when he storms off to his room and slams his bedroom door… it is up to me to go into his room at some point after allowing him to cool off, and it is up to me to take away the XBOX he was playing, when he was supposed to be in bed. It’s up to me to take away the privileges of games, phones & other electronics when they are abusing those privileges. I’m the good guy half the time, and the bad guy the other half.
It’s me who calms the screaming and crying, wipes the tears, cuddles my babies, settles the fights, plays pretend, separates the arguing before it gets too rough, handles the booboos of all sorts. I have to be tough, but I have to be loving & kind. I have to teach lessons, but I have to show love and understanding. I have to be their friend, but more importantly, their mother.
I am the worrier of all worries, the one who has to have things done the right way, the one who has to teach my kids right from wrong, and to be honest with them, even if it’s things I don’t always want to be honest about.
It is up to me to make sure 4–6 people are bathed, fed, brushed their teeth & flossed, and tucked into bed each and every night with kisses, hugs & a cup of water…. multiple.times.a.night.
I am the keeper of snacks, sunblock, bug spray, happiness, sadness, cuddles, waters, candy, love , meals, gifts, prizes, surprises, the party planner, cab driver, chef, tour guide, maid, day planner, keeper of appointments, photographer, hoarder of ridiculous artwork that means so little to most, but so much to me. I am their teacher, & with the help of Pat, I keep them busy, and happy , healthy and loved, I remind them of things from when they were babies, I show them pictures & take their pictures to capture the memories that will one day soon be forgotten about. I do all that I can to make lasting memories & keep my babies close. I try to teach them the value of family, and that we are all each other has, so that they grow up and lean into one another. I want them to know who was there, and who was not.
I want them to know the truth, and I want them to know how truly loved they are by us.
I do not want them to have such high expectations of our families outside of this house, but I do however want them to have high expectations and standards for their own families when they grow up.
I want my kids to be loved more by their families.
I am not a perfect mother or anywhere near a perfect person, and it has not always been this way. I am in recovery, and have struggled with my addiction on and off for 15 years. Pat and I fought long & hard to be where we are today, to be the parents we are today, and we wouldn’t change it for anything.
It takes a village, but our village is small, and most only come around at their own convenience. We don’t need them. I don’t need them. All I want is for my kids to know and see the love, and have memories with our families, like I did when I was little.
Its okay, they do not need that. They have us , and they have each other. They are not burdens, or problems, they aren’t baggage or trouble… they are beautiful little amazing children, who only want to love and be loved. They have SOO much love to give.
It would mean the world to them to have their whole big family present and involved in their lives & activities. They don’t need much to have the best day ever… just some 1 on 1 time & attention from a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or even just a friend.
I will say it again, they don’t need it. They don’t need forced love and affection, or fake smiles & pictures for their social media pages… they don’t need selfish people, or people who chose favorites. They don’t need your birthday gifts , or cards… they don’t need your bullshit phone calls every few months and bullshit promises. They need love.
I am all my kids have during these long summer days. There is no one claiming to take them here or there on this weekend, that weekend , this night or that night. There is no one offering to take 1 child for the day, or offering to help out by babysitting for a night so we can go out. We don’t need it.
We have each other, and my kids will grow up knowing how important that is, and they will be NOTHING like ANY of you.