Chaos is the New Normal

Every evening in our house is complete chaos. Okay, maybe not every evening, but at least most of them. I’ve tried many things to just have a normal night. You know, normal like everyone else- coming home from work, cooking dinner, doing homework and maybe relaxing. I’ve made lists. And I’ve made lists of lists, just hoping that ample organization might work. I’ve tried thinking outside of the box and letting the kids be “independent” and let them decide their evening. That crap does NOT work. So, back to the old fashioned schedule. That is about as close to normal as I can get. Although, that’s assuming that the boys are completely obedient (like all elementary aged kids of course) and that the baby is perfectly content. Thankfully, most nights it’s only one part of our evening that is crazy. Maybe homework is a struggle but by dinner and shower time we’re back on track. Or sometimes it takes FOREVER for them to get in the shower but homework and dinner were fine. And then, sometimes, at least once or twice a week (you know every day in my exaggerated world) all aspects of the evening are chaos. Take for instance, last night. I was dog tired picking the boys up. Carrying Asher in his car seat makes hauling laundry down to the basement from the third floor in college seem SO easy. Once I get him situated, we make our way to pick up Elijah. When I get there, it’s clear he is NOT happy to see me- a great feeling for a mom missing her kids all day. I messed up his plans for the afternoon- completing his homework after school. This eventually morphs into a massive meltdown, complete with crocodile tears. As I am driving, now pick up Aden, I am in utter bewilderment as to what just happened. I swear we went from “I missed you”, “how was your day”, “anything exciting happen today”, to total hysterics. By the time we get to Aden’s school, since we were surprisingly a little early (which makes me naively think that we might have some relaxing time later on), I spend a while talking through things with him. By the time I get Aden, Elijah’s back to being a normal 9 year old boy. Aden gets in the car and he is mad that I will not get take-out food. He’s mad that we have to have food at home. The dialog I went through in my head was something like: “Listen pal, I’m even less excited than you because this means I HAVE TO COOK! I worked all day, just had to talk your brother off the ledge after hauling your baby brother all over the place in that non-ergonomic car seat. We need groceries and it’s the week before Christmas which means I’m NOT taking you all into the grocery store to pick up anything because it would be way too nuts right now and then you would really have no time to get anything done tonight.” I thought through it for a moment and then decided not to go there. I would have to spend way too much time explaining what ergonomic meant and then some debate would ensue about who is right or wrong. So, we came home and I threw together some chicken fried rice because that was about all we had- rice, eggs, a small amount of chicken and some mixed veggies. Easy right? Sure….

So, the schedule typically is as follows once we get home:

  • Snack/homework
  • Dinner
  • Showers
  • Free time (if time available)
  • Bedtime (8:30pm-9:00pm)

So, I was carrying that gigantic baby in the non-ergonomic car seat into the kitchen and the older boys are fighting about whatever- honestly I’m not even sure what it was. We had only been home about 10 minutes so what could it possibly be? They’re yelling and I believe a few pieces of crayons and marker caps were flying. Of course, I yell. That happened before I could even practice any of the new aged parenting tactics I saw on Pinterest. That flew out the window when I saw a market cap fly past my head. Of course Aden is being annoying and Elijah wants to punch him- thankfully he didn’t. Aden is mad at Elijah for yelling at him. I can’t get too mad, because of course I just yelled so wouldn’t it be hypocritical to say anything? I thought that for a moment and then remembered that I’m the mom. I try hard to show my kids love but this house is not a democracy- hubs and I are co-dictators. Our job is to teach them how to behave and since these kiddos are not cookie cutter children, it’s different for each one. Which means yelling sometimes works and then other times it’s talking, taking away privileges or whatever else so they can grow to be respectful young men. Sorry, I digress. So, after the art supplies were picked up (for the most part), I begin making dinner. Asher is still sleeping from the ride home so I figure this is the perfect time to begin cooking. I put the oil in the pan to cook the veggies, start the chicken and get the rice going in the rice cooker. Just in time for him to wake up. So, I get him situated with a few toys while I run back to the kitchen to monitor the food. Aden then waltzes in declaring that he cannot do his homework. The same equations that he has been doing for a week. The same ones that he did just fine last week. You know, today they’re just SO hard. I mean, he might actually have to think a little bit. So, I walk him through the equations (again) and he starts working. Now Asher is getting restless. What’s that smell…oh the veggies! Take them off the heat and wait for the rice and the chicken to cook. Aden comes in again declaring he cannot do the math. This cycle was repeated about 4 times.

So, on to dinner, the next item on the schedule. I did manage to get dinner cooked- not before burning the eggs a little though. It wasn’t too bad- certainly edible so I was moving forward. Aden made it VERY clear that he does not like chicken fried rice and now Elijah dislikes it as well. Of course! I forgot I was a short order cook! Silly me, please, let me make you anything you would like oh little ones. But, by this time with the craziness that had happened since I left work, I didn’t care. So, we went with simple breakfast items and called it a small victory. I barely have their items on the table and Asher is notifying me that he is done waiting patiently for his food.

By the time I am attempting to eat, the boys are all done so I instruct them that it’s time to get in the shower. Now, they’re old enough that they can get in the shower with little to no instruction (when cooperating). Last night was not one of those nights. So, while I’m holding the sleeping baby – mainly so I can eat my food quickly without waking him – I am continually reminding them to get in the shower. I am completing my food (a true luxury!) and I am hearing what sounds like a herd of elephants upstairs. Now, the tired, cranky side of me wants to yell up there to remind them that they need to be getting their pajamas on. However, if I do that, I wake Asher and that was enough to make me get up and see what is going on. I go upstairs and they are running around completely naked. I just see damp towels laying on the floor. Aden is in one room looking for jammies while Elijah is in another room digging through baskets of clean clothes (yeah whatever, I will eventually put them away). I guess for them to get to that point, it took a LOT of running around. Naked. Ok, another lecture follows and they finally get dressed and in this case, get shuffled off to bed since it’s a school night and most of our time was spent in a whirlwind. Surprisingly, considering how the evening went, they did manage to get to bed on time.

I head downstairs in anticipation that someone will be thirsty, need another hug or be scared. But, to my surprise, they went to bed just fine. Now, with hubs in school we’ve been a lot slower to start our shopping and planning for Christmas. So, he had just gotten home and I had decided that in order to ensure Christmas would happen at our house, I needed to run to the store and get some shopping done. I managed to get about 75% of the shopping done and was back home by 10:30- not too bad if you ask me! I figured it had been quite a night so I was in bed shortly after getting home and was praying for a good rest because I needed it! Now, the fun does not stop there. The next morning was just as crazy. A late start, clothing issues, breakfast issues, packing lunches, you get the idea.

Chaos is just part of the normal routine for us. Sometimes it’s less crazy- we cherish those days. Other times it’s even worse. Those are the days that make me feel like a superhero if we make it through relatively unscathed. I think that there comes a point, at least it did for us, when we had to accept that this was going to be our life for a little while. Between hubs being in med school, having a new baby, me working and the boys normal school requirements, life would be hectic. However, we do know that there will be a time where things begin to even out a bit. Maybe it will be when he is finally a doctor, or when all of the kids are at an independent age or maybe just for this year as we get used to all of these new things. At the end of the day, I’m okay with the chaos. It’s our chaos, it reminds me what we’re working towards. Plus, I get some GREAT stories out of these crazy nights and I just have to laugh at how ridiculous it can sometimes be.

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