The alarm clock goes off at 6:00 am. After an hour, I force myself from under the cozy and warm blankets. With eyes half open, I head downstairs and brew a cup of coffee. For a minute, I stand there mesmerized by the drip.
When I grab the milk from the fridge, I do a double take to make sure I’ve grabbed the right pitcher. Both of my kids are lactose intolerant, and I buy two kinds of milk. The milk I buy for the kids is double the cost of mine, so I try not to use it.
The mountain of dishes is so high I have to work around it as I fix my coffee. I take in the delicious aroma and savour the first few sips. As I sit at the kitchen table I ponder the things I need to do.
By this time my oldest has made his way downstairs and is eating breakfast. Since he was a toddler, I have trained him well and mornings are easy for him. While he eats he gives me the weather report for the day, and I tell him to make sure he wears a hat to school.
As I get up from the table to wake my youngest, I ask him to make sure he rinses his bowl. He brushes me off, and I disappear down the hallway. I head upstairs and tackle the obstacle course that is my six-year-old daughter’s room.
As I scale the laundry mountain, I trip over dolls and stuffed animals. The mess in her room overwhelms me and I curse myself for letting it get so out of hand. I know that she is still too young to do it on her own and promise myself to find time today to help her.
When I get to her bed, I call her name and rub her back to rouse her. She greets me with moans and groans and a desperate plea for “two more minutes.” I try to convince her to get up, using everything from tickles to the line Anna uses to wake Elsa but nothing works.
After a while, I relent and agree to five more minutes of sleep even though it has been twenty minutes. Once I get back downstairs, I sip my lukewarm coffee. As I sit at the table I notice that my oldest is hunting for socks, and I tell him to look in the basket in my bedroom.
For a few moments, I stare without emotion into the fridge and opening and closing the cupboards. I am hungry but don’t know what to eat. There are still several things to do, and I am unsure what I have time to eat. With a sigh, I give up and head back upstairs.
My daughter still refuses to get out of bed. The frustration builds and I force myself to keep a level head. I keep trying to coax her out of bed using anything that pops into my head. I even try to make it a game, but nothing works.
Ten minutes later, I inform her she’ll miss the bus if she doesn’t get out of bed right now. When that doesn’t work, I am close to my breaking point and revert to a threatened grounding before she agrees.
I carry her downstairs, as this solution is the only way she’ll come out from under the blankets, and sit her at the kitchen table. We discuss breakfast, and I get it ready. I sip my cold coffee and make lunches.
My oldest has finished getting ready, and I ask him to help gather the lunch items. He gives me attitude but does as I ask and gets the fruit and snacks together. As I start on the sandwiches, he makes two piles on the stove beside me.
I am almost done when my daughter informs me she’s finished breakfast. While she puts her bowl away, I ask what she wants to wear. She tells me she intends to wear a dress. I send her up to her room to see what she can find. As the words fall from my mouth, I dread the fight that is bound to follow.
I finish up with the lunch pails and move on to the bags. I grab my daughter’s backpack and unpack it from yesterday. My oldest has formed great habits and always unpacks his as soon as he comes home, but I struggle with inserting the same habits into my youngest
As I unpack, I notice she has reached a new level in the reading program, and my heart swells with pride. She has improved so much she skipped a level. I call for her and continue to unpack the papers, checking for notes from the teacher as I go.
Seconds later she reappears in the kitchen wearing her favourite winter sweater dress and thick blue nylons. I remind her that the weather will be hot today trying my best to be gentle and soothing. When I mention the card from the teacher we spend a few minutes talking about it.
I tell her she skipped two levels, not just one, and she disagrees. We discuss the certificate she gets for each level and how I didn’t recall seeing one for the last level. She is certain she got one and I agree while being distracted by the time.
She yells and stomps her feet when I tell her to change. I use my most firm voice and tell her to try again. Most days I don’t worry too much over what she wears. But, there is no way I am letting her go to school in a winter outfit when it’s supposed to get up to 32 degrees.
In a fit of rage, she yells and tells me she won’t wear anything but a dress. She stomps and screams and drops to the floor. I tell her to get shorts on and offer to get a dress from the laundry room when she’s done. She is so angry she doesn’t register I am speaking.
She rants for a few minutes about not liking shorts, and I ignore her at first, which only serves to make her even angrier. We spend a few moments arguing. I become so frustrated that I raise my voice and command her to get shorts on, or I will ground her for the whole day.
At once, I regret being so harsh and her tears intensify with the sound of my anger. I know that if I give in now, she learns nothing, so I am forced to stick to the decision. She stomps off down the hall and up to her room, and I sit at the table feeling heavy and defeated.
Moments later, she returns with the missing letter certificate and pulls attitude worse than my 11-year-old. She informs me I was wrong, and she was right. I am torn between congratulating her again for doing so well and sending her back to her room as she still does not have shorts on her bottom.
By this point, I am so frustrated I tell her it’s wonderful that she found it but she didn’t do as I asked. She acts as if she forgot and I tell her to get shorts. She rants all over again but heads back to the bedroom.
With 5 minutes to spare, she appears with shorts on, and I dash to the laundry room. She is so happy that I grabbed one she like she hugs me. I try to explain that if she would listen to my words instead of getting angry, we would save a lot of time and stress. She is mesmerized by the dress and ignores me.
Once she is dressed, I realize that the bags are not ready and make a mad dash, and complete the packing of them before the bus arrives. Somehow I make it, and the kids head out to the bus. I spend a few minutes watching them wait from the window.
After the bus drives away, I take a few moments and finish my ice coffee and calm my nerves. My husband had made his way downstairs, and we discuss dinner for the day. Sometimes we break with a plan, but most of the time we wing it.
When he leaves for work, my day fluctuates depending on what time I have to be at work. I work part time retail at a paint store, so the hours are only semi-regular. On a typical day, I start at either ten or twelve. When I start earlier everything gets compressed to the bare minimum.
When I start later, I do many things. First, I spend an hour working on school related projects. I am working towards getting a college certificate for Creative Writing. I study for half the time and spend the other half preparing assignments or reading the assigned lectures or chapters in the textbook.
When I am confident I have put in enough time and am on top of everything, I switch over to working on the blog. I run this blog, which I created and dedicated to getting my writing out into the world hoping to become an author.
If I have slacked earlier in the week which I most often do, I spend half an hour setting up the posts on social media for the day. After that, I spend 20 minutes checking for comments, spam, and any other behind-the-scenes details that need attention.
Once I am finished I spend an hour writing. On any day I have multiple projects on the go and I divide the time between them. Most often I write short stories, 100 word short stories, poems, and personal pieces focusing on my life.
I have also just started a new once a month series called, “Terri’s Top Five.” These articles need much more time planning, researching, and writing, then any other typical blog post. I am still working out the kinks for the series and learning how best to manage the time and tasks involved.
At 11:15 am, I get ready for work. I wear a uniform which decreases the time to get ready. I used to work in a woman’s clothing store which required an hour to prepare for, so the uniform was a nice change.
Around the time when I am finished getting ready my stomach rumbles, and it reminds me I have not taken the time to eat yet. I grab something rushed on my way out the door. It only takes ten minutes to walk over to work.
I take an hour’s unpaid lunch and come home during the middle of the day. While I eat, I check emails and social media. Sometimes I tidy, and if I have time write more. I get back to work and finish for the day around 6:15 pm.
I arrive home around 6:30 and eat a cold dinner while inquiring about the kid’s days. Most of the time my daughter is having an hour of TV time, and my son is in his room. Neither of them has any interest in talking, so I sit alone at the table while I have dinner.
After supper, I head into the living room to spend time with my daughter before bed. We watch TV and sometimes play a game of memory. If I remember, we unpack her lunch and backpack, but I seldom do. I try my best to find out how her day was, but she doesn’t want to discuss it.
At 7 pm I get her ready for bed. It’s always a fight to get pajamas on, and more often than not she sleeps in tights and a dress. We read a story on the couch before she goes up as she likes to snuggle while we read and that is impossible in the loft bed.
After the story, we go up to her room, and I realize we never cleaned it. As I try to find uncluttered spots to step, I scold myself for not doing it. I help her climb into bed moving stuffed animals and books and then go fill up her water bottle.
Since its bedtime she gets chatty. I spend a minute listening before reminding her she needs to go to sleep. I kiss her goodnight and turn out the light. As I leave the room, I feel awful that I do not get to spend more time with her. I feel worse for interrupting the story.
When I get back downstairs, my son has come downstairs for TV time. Often, he uses the time to play PS4. I try to find out how his day went, but it’s impossible to talk to him while he plays video games. So I take the time to clean, write, or study until his time is over for the day.
I decide to do a load of laundry and run down to the basement. When I open the washing machine, I realize I forgot to switch the load I did yesterday and have to rewash it before I can put it in the dryer. This will be the third time I have washed the same load of clothes. I go back upstairs and shrug off my foolishness.
While I am puttering, I hear my youngest get out of bed and head upstairs to see what’s wrong. She tells me she’s hungry, and I tell her to wait until morning. She cries, and I cave and allow her to have an apple.
When she is finished eating, I send her back up to bed. On a typical night, I hear from her two or three more times before she falls asleep. Sometimes she wants more water or food, sometimes she’s had a nightmare, and sometimes she whines. The excuse varies, but the pattern remains.
When my son’s TV time is over, we chat for a minute on his way upstairs, and he kisses me good night. I do not have to tuck him in anymore and, as I said earlier, he is trained well. Once he goes to bed, I don’t hear from him again until morning.
Once both kids are in bed, I sit down in the living room. Even though I know I should clean or be productive, I always end up watching an episode or two of television. I am a huge fan of TV and watch several regular shows.
By the time the episode is over, I feel guilty that the house is messy, and I do not have things planned for the next day. But, I am exhausted and make my way up to bed. After I brush my teeth and comb my hair, wash and moisturize my face, I check on both kids before climbing underneath the warm blankets.