I am a night owl. Always have been. I come alive at night, I get creative at night, I get excited at night. I am fun at sleepovers. But this is not conducive to mom life, I have learned.
For example, every day at about 5 p.m., I think I’m going to die. I start cooking dinner, which makes me sleepy because sometimes I have to read directions (recipes), and I hate that. Meanwhile, I have a kid attached to each leg, chanting a little chorus of “Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom.” They are cute and PERSISTENT. At this point, my nerves are totally shot because I’ve had one little person or another constantly touching me for something like 9 hours, and you probably already knew this, but they aren’t really asking me to respond when they chant my name. They just like to say it over and over. It’s the toddler version of the co-worker who taps you on the shoulder a million times while you're talking to someone else until eventually you turn into the Trunchbull and toss them out the window and your brain explodes like a volcano and lava leaks out of your ears.
When my husband gets home, he perceives the impending ear lava and lures the kiddos away for some play time. I abandon dinner and escape to our bedroom for five minutes of deep breathing and scripture meditation. (Just kidding, I stare into nothingness or look at my phone, which is kind of the same thing.) Of course, on the other side of the house, husband started to look at his phone, too, and the kids, ever the little geniuses, see their moment of escape and find me again. “Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom.” So I get up, wearing one toddler on each leg (I am very fashionable), yell at husband, and finish dinner. We pingpong back and forth between adorableness and madness until eventually everyone has been served dinner, rejected dinner, had dinner forced upon them, been bathed, pajama-ed, kissed, and sent to bed, and I collapse on the couch, fully intending to rest. Except I can't because now it's dark outside, and I'm excited. I am no longer Trunchbull. I am Giselle from Enchanted, and I am singing to forest creatures. This night holds possibility! What could I do with all this fun free time? GISELLE, NO. You will stay up all night and then be tired tomorrow, too. Just sit. Except I need to clean up really quick, and then I'll sit. So I clean a bit (just a bit, I'm not completely insane), and for the first time all day, I feel productive. This gets me jazzed. “OH NO I’M GETTING JAZZED,” I say to my husband. “Do not get jazzed,” he says. I ignore the jazz, and light a candle. I will relax! But this candle smells so good an looks so cozy. “I LOVE THIS CANDLE!” I proclaim. “No, Caroline,” husband says. “You are getting jazzed. You always get jazzed.” “I can't help it,” I say. “I cannot stop the jazz. I feel the jazz deep in my bones.”
And then we're doomed. I get hyper and joke with him too much and he has to run away. I write something ridiculous (this), I paint something unnecessary, I pin everything Pinterest has to offer, mainly pictures of pink Christmas trees. And also I really want a white Christmas tree. “CAN I HAVE A WHITE CHRISTMAS TREE?” I yell to husband, who is in the other room, attempting to escape me. But my toddlers have taught me perseverance, and I turn into the 30-year-old version of them: Luke. Luke. Luke. Luke. Luke. What are you doing? Are you mad at me? Do you like me? What show is this? Is it good? I hate zombies. Do you like white Christmas trees? Don't you think you have too many t-shirts? Can I throw some of them out? Will you read this thing I wrote and tell me if it's weird?
He walks away but I chase him with my laptop. He makes a snack. I continue: I’ll make nachos if you want! I am so into nachos now. Have I told you about the nachos? Can we talk about your peanut butter and jelly sandwich making strategy because I have a few pointers, and also do you think it will help our marriage if I buy you your own jug of milk so that I don’t become enraged when you drink straight out of the gallon?
I begin sixteen projects, some necessary work or ministry related things, some not even close, research at least one bizarre historical figure or superstalk someone I barely know, until eventually I am finally tired and therefore grumpy. I sit around and complain for a while that I’m too tired to get ready for bed, but I finally summon the energy. It's after midnight when I finally fall into bed, and I inevitably start feeling stressed about how tired I will be tomorrow, which tempts me to make a list of all the things I need to remember to do tomorrow, but no, no, owl Caroline! Just rest, do not make lists! The self-lecturing makes it hard to fall asleep, but eventually I do, mainly because I stole my husband’s pillow, and his is much, much better than mine. “Tomorrow I will buy a good pillow for me,” I think, adding that to tomorrow's to-do list, which I wasn't supposed to do but did anyway.
I wake up the next morning with a jazz hangover. “I will not do that again tonight,” I say. “I will not get jazzed.”
(But I do. I always do.)
Written by a jazzed Caroline, at 9 p.m. on a Thursday night. Whoo whoo!