I get asked all the time, "How do you do it?" I know I'm not alone. Usually when someone asks me this, it's in the context of parenting/homeschooling. My answer is twofold. First, I'm completely anal retentive and have mad time management skills. Or so I'm told.
Moving on, the second part of my answer includes the fact that I do NOT get it all done. Ever. I am human. Even I have things I hate doing. Or won't do. Or both.
Today, though, let me walk you through a normal Monday so you can see how it gets done (or not).
6:30 a.m. - Alarm blares. Hit snooze.
6:39 a.m. - Alarm blares. Hit snooze.
6:48 a.m. - Alarm blares. This time I actually turn it off and get my rump out of bed. I stagger down the hall to M2's room, where her alarm is blaring, turn that off, and wake her up. I debate this whole 8 o'clock bedtime thing because clearly it ain't workin' if she's now sleeping through her alarm instead of getting up with it. Ponder going back to 7 because the kids would never know.
6:50-7:32 a.m. - Get dressed. Make the bed. Swap out the dirty towels in the bathroom for clean ones and start that particular load of laundry. Throw frozen strudel thingies in the toaster and pour glasses of milk for breakfast for the kids. Wake M1 up and inform him there is food (it's amazing how fast that boy can move when food is involved). Eat a container of yogurt for my own meal. Put some bunny grahams in a sack for M2's snack and set it near her backpack. Ask the kids to put their hampers in the hall so I can sort and wash their laundry today. Empty the dishwasher while loosely supervising the kids brushing their teeth (mostly this meant making sure they were quiet because Oz was working till 4:30 a.m. and needed his beauty rest). Clean the litter boxes while the kids put away their part of the dishes and put on their shoes and coats. Clip M2's pedometer onto her pants pocket. Pile everyone in the van.
7:33 a.m. - Breathe a sigh of relief that we're on our way.
7:44 a.m. - Drop M2 off at school. She didn't want to be walked in today, so I sat in the car pool lane to make sure she got to the door okay. She did. She happily gave the fist-bump greeting to the eighth grader who has taken to helping the morning monitor and wandered in.
7:55 a.m. - Make it back home. Send M1 out to release the chickens from their prison... er... coop... and bring in some stray arrows that have been sitting in the garage for a couple of weeks, attempting to stab anyone who walked past with knees at just the height of the top of a hay bale. Debate with M1 about whether he'd rather go to Lego Club or take a nap today. Lego wins. I resolve to fix coffee.
8-8:30 a.m. - Get the boy started on writing comparison sentences. Check Facebook and the news on my phone. Think about a friend of mine who has an important appointment today for a vision loss problem. Worry about her. Worry about another friend who has a broken foot and whose toes have been turning purple whenever she stands up. Wonder who is going to complete the trifecta of crappy health issues because my friend whose house has flooded and has to get new flooring thanks to the leaking fridge doesn't really count. Hers will go into another trifecta of crappy appliance issues, and someone else has already claimed slot #2 there.
8:30-8:45 a.m. - Start load of laundry #2. Start the boy on math. Boil some navy beans so I can soak them for the rest of the day and have them for dinner tonight. Say good-bye to Oz, who has arisen and is off for the day.
8:45 a.m. - Find out that the third member of the health issue trifecta is my grandfather, who is currently in the hospital and is likely to be taken to a nursing home after his release instead of back to his assisted living center. Not good. Not horribly surprising, but still not good.
8:46-9:30 a.m. - Park my carcass on the couch and browse forums while M1 finishes up math and whines about spelling, mostly dictionary practice. Explain the importance of dictionary skills in real life, not the least of which is being able to find requested books on the reserved shelf at the library. Start this post, to be edited at various times during the day.
9:32 a.m. - Start coffee. Thank heaven for whoever first peeled that particular cherry, ground up the seed inside, steeped it in water, and drank it. And the person who invented caramel macchiato creamer to go with it.
9:36-11:30 a.m. - Get coffee. Finish up on the computer while the boy finishes spelling and colors a picture for history. Set up and play a game from "Story of the World" entitled the 'Fast Tax' game. Treat the boy's asthma in between games. Wonder why he gets a rash every time he plays outside these days. After the game finishes, explain the point the game makes about why it would have been cheaper to pay the gold/salt tax and go through Ghana than to keep the extra cash and go around it. Illustrate with Legos. Find a rabbit hole. Go down it. Discuss supply and demand. Use Jerusalem as an example (Would the world's Big Three religions be fighting if there were three Jerusalems? Five?). Listen to the boy's questions about gas/oil prices and the current events in the Middle East. Bust out the globe to further illustrate and discuss the issue. Express irritation with Gadhafi. Find a bend in the rabbit hole and discuss the recent earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. Inform the boy that we have relatives there, all of whom are fine. Explain the Richter scale and how much stronger a 7.0 earthquake is compared to a 6.0. Illustrate with Legos. Read e-mails bouncing back and forth from various family members concerning the status of my grandfather. Take a deep breath and head back to the living room to begin science.
11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - Read a chapter on cloud formation and weather. Go over definitions. Perform an experiment in which the boy gets to create his own fog.
12:15-12:45 p.m. - Lunch. Fold the laundry from load #1. Pull load #2 out of the dryer. Start load #3 for the mom's group consignment sale next Monday.
12:45 p.m. - Do a quick Internet search on dragsters, how their races work, and what kind of fuel they use before...
1 p.m. - ... piling into the van to take M1 to Lego Club. He had built a dragster and wanted to know more about them before showing it off to the group.
1:15-3:00 p.m. - Lego Club.
3:10-3:20 p.m. - Fetch M2 from school and drive home. Listen to her admit that she and her classmates had spent the day making farting noises at each other. Giggle and cringe simultaneously and explain that the teacher probably does not appreciate that, no matter how much she tolerates it. Listen to M2 say "everyone does it" and take a deep breath. Ask her if 'everyone' doing it makes it polite and okay. "Yes." Ask her if everyone was hitting her, if that would be okay because 'everyone' was doing it. "Yes, because I don't care." Deep breath. Drop the issue.
3:20-4:45 p.m. - Get home. Fold and put away laundry load #2 and pull load #3 out of the laundry. Make a list of items to sell and tentative prices to be tagged later. Start simmering the beans for dinner. Start frying up the sausage to go in the beans for dinner. Send the girl to her room until she can be nice to me after she announces that she can't stand me and that Oz is the only person in the house that she likes and is nice to her. Accept her apology and pull out the violin for practice. Practice violin with the girl, prepping for her solo 'contest' on Saturday. Learn that my friend who had the ophthalmologist appointment has a detached retina. Worry. Learn that the girl who had stolen the second slot in the appliance death trifecta has probably also claimed slot #3. Be grateful it's not me.
From 4:45 on, the day was like most others. The kids played and read books. I finished dinner. We ate. Baths and bedtime for the kids. And now, here I am, parked on the computer again, watching Top Gear and getting ready to work on the cross-stitch pattern I'm attempting to finish by M2's birthday (it's going to be close).
One day, much like many others. A day in the life of me.