My Shift Ends At 8pm

Why doesn't this happen in my house?  WHY?!
If you HAPPEN to be walking past my house around 8pm and you hear screaming from within, please don't call the police.  Really.  Please.

I am really starting to understand my mother's point of view as time goes on.  I remember her saying that she lived out in the country so that nobody noticed when she yelled at her kids.  (Was she kidding?  I really am not sure....)

I jokingly tell the kids that my shift lasts from 7am until 8pm.  That gives me a good 13 hours of mom duty before I get to clock out.  If the kids insist on being awake after 8pm,  SANITY is a bonus, NOT a guarantee.  (Do you find it annoying that I capitalize things all the time?  Because I just love it.)

Anyway, back to me. 

So, you are walking past my house.  On any given night you might hear me shouting (by an open window of course because I am an idiot and don't think about stuff like this until I notice neighbors staring and also because the kitchen sink is by a window) you might hear me yelling,



Did I mention that I live with my mother-in-law (who I think hates me, but really, who can blame her)?  Did I also mention that it is quite possible that my husband is playing MS PAC MAN while this is all going in.  (Ms Pac Man because, of course, he is a feminist.  Of course.)

Some days I think that if I make it through the day without physical violence I should just get a straight shot to heaven.  Does anybody else feel that way?  ANYBODY?!!!

Other days I think that I am going to burn in a fiery (but hopefully SILENT) hell for the rest of eternity.

Anyway, if you happen to be walking by and you hear me shouting I just want to try to convince you that I am not always a horrible person.  I guess being a horrible person some of the time may qualify me for horrible person status, but I am hoping it is more of a percentage deal.  Like I pass if I am a good person 71% of the time.  Hopefully.

Today, during the day these things happened:

-Somebody brushed the dog with a person brush.  (We don't actually have a CLEAN dog.  Just so you  know.  I think he is itchy.  And I can really only be expected to keep my children clean, the dog has got to fend for himself.)

-Found underwear on the counter in the bathroom.  Dirty.  Not mine.  Not a child's.  (No more details will be provided.)

-Took the kids to swim lessons.  Listened to one of the children complain the whole way about having to walk.  (Yes I realize that kids have shorter legs and they get tired.  I have to tell you though, this particular kid really enjoys complaining non-stop.  You are going to have to take my word for it.  Ironically, looking at this post, it really annoys me to hear somebody else complain non-stop.)  Seriously, swim lessons are fun and they always have energy DURING them!  WHAT THE?!

-I got mad at my husband about something.  Not sure what it was but I am pretty sure it was his fault.

-Water dumped on the floor.

-Lots of urine.

-Poop juice.  (I don't really want to describe this.  Let's just say it is a phrase we use in our house a lot and today it involved a baby playing in the dog water and then getting her diaper removed....)

-Did I mention I have stretch marks?

-Fighting amongst the kids.  (Yes, upon reflection I realize that my kids fight with one another because I suck in some way and am constantly modeling imperfect behavior as opposed to perfect/awesome/non-violent/monk behavior. 

-My almost three year old screaming NO!!!!!! at every and any thing I asked her to do.  (No she does not eat food coloring.  She didn't even have sugar today.)

-One of the kids broke a brand new thing that my mother-in-law bought for herself.  We will add this to the list of: antiques, washing machine, dryer, trampoline, baseboards, etc.

When I look at this list even I have to admit that it doesn't seem like that big of a deal.  I mean, what is my problem?  Honestly, I don't know.  But this much I do know:  My sanity has about a 12 hour window.  If you would like to push me farther than that there is a very good chance that something unpleasant will shake loose.  You may be able to hear it come loose from the street.

I think I need to move to the country.

I really want to be one of those bloggers with four children who can gush about kind communication and patience and talking it out.  But I really don't understand how it works.  How do you get to the ragged end of a long day and handle with grace and dignity the horror that is bedtime?  I really don't know. 

I am kind of hoping that other mother's suck at bedtime too and also freak out at the end of the day and need a moment of silence to themselves.  I hope this doesn't make me a bad mom, but really, maybe it does.  I hope the kids remember some of the times I am kind and patient throughout the day.

Maybe I should just practice my game face and being a better liar!  I would be dishonest but I would sure look better.  Plus, I should probably shut the windows.  Sound sure does carry out of an open window.

Peace out mamas-

May your bedtimes be peaceful, pleasant, and smell like lavender. 


momto5 said…
((hug)) i am not sure whether to laugh or cry with this post. we have nights like those as well. i am pretty sure everyone does once and awhile. i have night owls. we just got everyone to bed maybe 45 minutes ago... like after 11 PM. so i am going from about 7 am to 11pm. and there are times that i am like... what is up with these people??? have they lost their minds. OH WAIT! THAT'S ME!!!
Anastasia said…
Thank you so much for this! I needed this today! As a single mom I "lose it" at bedtime more often than I care to admit. The neighbors may hear me yelling "the rules at bedtime never change! You know what you're supposed to do! Can you not just get ready and lie in bed properly for once?! " ... I may or may not slam the bedroom door on occasion too. :S
melissa v. said…
RAWR you make me laugh. I have an expiry time, too. And I LOVE your disclaimers fending off the food dye and etc advice givers who just have no sense of humour. You know you're popular and widely read when you start doing that. =P My favourite yell is "GOOD LORD IN HEAVEN CHILD BRUSH YOUR DAMN TEETH!" or perhaps "SIT DOWN QUIETLY SO WE CAN HAVE A NICE FAMILY STORYTIME!" (sometimes I insert a sit your ASS down, and sometimes I don't. Because, you know, that would be a bad example and all that jazz).

I'm positive that #1, the neighbors all know I have a child named Matthew who gets yelled at a lot (he's my mischief maker), and that #2 I make them reminisce about their childhoods. When their mothers yelled at them around bedtime.

There's only so much bedlam a momma can take =D especially with FOUR KIDS. Which is my personally invented and favorite hashtag on twitter.
Jessie said…
This is hilarious. Thanks for the laugh! I don't like bedtime either. :)
Jessie said…
This is hilarious. Thanks for the laugh! I don't like bedtime either. :)
Well you've done it again. You've written a post that could have been torn from my own mind and heart. Granted, I am a mama of just one 2 year old so we do have some differences. But pretty much everything else was spot on. I love your blog and on some days, reading it provides that little kernel of hope/laughter/permission to forgive myself that gets me though the day. Please hang around forever. xoxo
Jessi said…
No you're not alone. Bedtimes here are not always pretty and sometimes do end in me losing my temper. I don't know what the deal is, it's the same routine every night - pajamas, potty, teeth. Why do I have to tell them over and over? Same thing in the mornings. It's tiring.

They just want to play. I want them to get it done. When I'm exhausted at the end of the day and it takes 1-2 hours for the bedtime routine and they want to be silly and mess around it can really set me off.

I did notice though that my anger and harshness was causing my 4 yr old (the one the anger had mostly been directed towards) to become defiant and also more likely to hit her siblings. I pray a lot about it, usually for God to make me a better mother than I was today. I'm working on letting the little stuff go, reducing my time on the internet and paying real attention to them more, so that their only interactions with me are no longer "Do this, do that, why didn't you ____? I told you 5 times!!!"

It's getting better and my 4yr old is becoming more agreeable and kind again.

You're not alone. Parenting is really hard. I appreciate you talking about yourself openly like this (in a very funny but real way, too) so that other moms like me don't feel like we are the only ones failing at motherhood.
Anonymous said…
my shift ends at 3 year old goes to bed at 9:30. lets just say my toddler knows a few swears, because the more tired mommy gets, the more her 'guard' goes down
sara said…
There's absolutely no way my husband would be playing video games while I got 4 kids ready for bed. Perhaps you need to have a chat with hubby about that.
Unknown said…
"I really want to be one of those bloggers with four children who can gush about kind communication and patience and talking it out. But I really don't understand how it works. How do you get to the ragged end of a long day and handle with grace and dignity the horror that is bedtime? I really don't know."

This. Thank you! I don't know either. :-/
Jeanna said…
I want to give you the opportunity to feel really virtuous by telling you that usually my shift ends around 5. Or, you know 3. So good work for lasting 3 to 5 hours longer than I do! :)
Jen-Jen said…
I have had some pretty aggravating bed times. Both my kids hate to go to sleep, but I find if we start earlier, even though it takes longer, there is less fussing (on all our parts). Also, with the two year old, if I have a toy brush her teeth it works better than if I try to force it.
There is this too:
and this:
Tami said…
Daddy simply MUST be a part of bedtime. It's completely required. In the 1 hour (or so) it takes to get the four kids ready, his blood pressure comes close to yours after a full day of motherhood. It's only fair. I say he gets to do the dishes once everyone is in bed too, so his blood pressure equals yours, but that doesn't usually happen. Wishful thinking.
yup, sounds like our house! Except for me it's 9pm. I can get witchy all the sudden, and look at the clock--yup. 9:05. I knew it. Hubs comes home "why are you being so mean?!" I know YOU got to clock out, but I didn't. "But you didn't even clean the house!" Yup. it's been ANOTHER day like that. Are the kids alive? Yes? then my job is done. If mama aint happy totally applies at our house.
Anonymous said…
So true! Have you ever tried Faber and Mazlish, at least for the routine stuff (like sending them reminder notes about teeth etc..). It takes a bit of time investment but reduces overall stress levels!
Mama Birth said…
I don't know who faber is- but we do have the same routine EVERY NIGHT. I think this is part of the frustration for me. I mean, REALLY? Why are you fighting this? You are tired and we did this last night, and every night your WHOLE LIFE? Why is bed time such a freaking shocker?

And thank you for your comments. Ya'll make me feel....less alone.
Joy@WDDCH said…
I read this to my husband, along with the comments, after a harrowing bedtime tonight. Blech! You are NOT alone!!!

I do use the lavender sometimes (I spray the vents in the kids' rooms so when the A/C turns on it blows throughout the rooms) but that doesn't always mean it is peaceful. We TRY! We're trying. I try so hard to just hide or let the kids play a few more minutes so I can talk to myself and say "You will be patient. You will not raise your voice! You can DO THIS!" How on earth do these little ones conquer me almost every night in the bedtime battle?!?!

And I agree - why is bedtime such a freaking shocker when we do the same. Exact. Routine. EVERY. Night?!?!?!
rainbowmarket said…
You are definitely not alone! Even on a different continent and with different challenges to face I feel you. And let me say I only have two kids and my husband helps with bedtime but for me it is not just bedtime stress - it is everytime when things kind of fall on one another - poop here, spill there, yelling, waking the baby and here we go, mama snaps and uses words beyond imagination. Sometimes. Sometimes I congratulate myself on how aloof I am and maniging it nicely (usually minutes before the unimaginable words take place:-) Thank you for the detailed description of what one day will be a laughing matter even for you:-)
Anonymous said…
Well, I only have three children. And they were in bed by 11 last night. And I, ummm, yelled. And I probably cussed. Then I realized I left my balance in the car. Its an essential oil blend. I usually put it on my wrists prior to bedtime. Then I care less when it takes longer. Its a thought. That being said, there are some nights that theres nothing more to do than shut the door and walk away (not my baby. But my 5 year old? Heck. Yes.)
Anonymous said…
not a mom yet but loved this blog.. too funny. Hopefully, you are laughing too!
Enjoy Birth said…
I SO agree. I can stay calm and rational, until the clock chimes 8. Then I wonder what the heck is going on??? Why do I suddenly yell at anything that happens. Because I am DONE. I tell my boys, "I am done being the mom today." Luckily my big boys can put my little boy to bed if I just can't hack it anymore. But for the most part he is in bed by 8 and the big ones can get themselves into bed all on their own. It feels pretty miraculous!
Unknown said…
I just want to say that I could have written this, word for word. Bedtime is horrible. It is my least favorite time of day, by far. I wake up every morning dreading it. I also have a small window on sanity, and by bedtime it's completely gone. My four children would all agree with that.