I'm wiping off chocolate covered fingers while correcting math problems. Then I'm being asked which hemisphere various countries are in while I read with Michael. I'm chasing Odessa and swinging her up in the air while listening to Lillie practice the piano. I'm reading with Lillie, tying a princess skirt on Odessa and correcting Andrew's homework. Dinner comes around and as I haul Odessa on my hip so she doesn't scream, I set the meat to defrost and call the lady in charge of Lillie's valentine's day party so I can volunteer, in the midst of which I am having a helter skelter conversation online with the husband I've barely seen in two days. I check on Andrew, who is still working on hemisphere's and drag Odessa off the computer.
I set children to various tasks. Clean the artwork off the table. Set the table for dinner. Go wash up. I drag Odessa away from the computer where she is happily clicking. Then we eat and fall into our after dinner chores and I find myself working in harmony amongst my children.
Some days things just flow. I multi-task with ease and everything gets done. The children cooperate and no one fights. These are the days I love.
But most days, the chaos level in my house reaches insanity near dinner time. There are usually screaming, fighting children. Children banging on the piano out of frustration from their required practicing. Homework that isn't getting done and me telling someone for the billionth time to go do this, that or the other. Most days harmony is far from the experience, but on the rare occasion that things just flow, I feel as though maybe I've done a thing or two right. Maybe I've taught my children how to work and accomplish the tasks they've been set to do. Maybe, just maybe, I'm being an effective parent.
When I'm asked how I do it all, I usually answer that I just do. Because most days, it's true. We just do it. There's no grace involved, life just happens. And I close my eyes, pray a lot and count to ten. And then we just do it. Because who else is going to?
Of course, there's always tomorrow. And tomorrow may be complete and utter chaos and I may resign as a mother. But for today, I'm thankful for the ease with which my multi-tasking motherhood is going.