Comes a time...

when every mother is faced with a certain decision. To nap, or not to nap? That is the question. There comes a time when a nap may no longer be a good thing. There comes a time when one needs to make a necessary decision, a big sacrifice. Eliminate the afternoon nap and one may not get a (much needed) break during the day, but one can (potentially) have a fairly quiet evening. Keep the afternoon nap and one is certain to get a nice mid-day respite, before picking the kids up from school, before all hell breaks loose. Now which, I ask, is better for the psyche?

Some parents do not have this choice, the luxury of eliminating the afternoon nap, and wish they did. It is truly a sad day when a child no longer needs his or her nap. It is a day when a mother, slowly but surely, begins to lose her sanity if she has not done so already. One can only hope that one's child, should s/he have given up the afternoon siesta, will contently sit and watch television... for a couple of hours!

But what to do when given the choice? And which is the better alternative, a break in the day and a very late night, or no break whatsoever from 6 am until 7pm? (All without pay!)

Unfortunately, today the decision was made for me. Alexander fell asleep on the way home from the aquarium. I tried to wake him up when we got home but he was in such a deep slumber I couldn't. I did catch a little break, but then all hell broke loose this afternoon as it usually does. Rebecca forgot her cheerleading outfit and there was a game after school. I did not know this; SuperMom is not a mind reader. I picked up Christopher and drove off immediately to the gas station. Apparently she saw the car pull out of the parking lot and got pretty upset. She called as I was filling up the car, yelling and screaming at me. As though this was somehow my fault. But, of course it was. Everything is. Christopher, upon hearing how upset his sister was (the car is equipped with Bluetooth), suggested I pick up a snack, some ice cream, from the store inside. With the nozzle still in the tank I went in and chose three chocolate eclairs. By the time I came out the car had been filled.

I met Rebecca in the reception area and appologized (to make her feel better) and told her that her brother had selected a special treat for her to have when she got home. She didn't say anything or crack a smile until I told her it was not healthy! She screamed and hollered at everyone once she was home. She is too big for me to forcefully put her in her room, and she can be mighty fresh to her mother. She told me, not too long ago, that I yelled at her too much. And you know what, she is probably right. But, by that same token I will not be disrespected, talked back to or treateded rudely. I told her that perhaps if she treated me with a little respect and a little kindness instead of greeting me in the morning, barking at me with her Miss Grumpy Pants attitude that maybe I would be a little happier. Sheeesh...

Miss Grumpy Pants really needs to get to bed earlier. She gets overtired and cranky. I have known this for 9 years now. I try to be a fair mother and let her watch American Idol (she is addicted) when her homework and everything else is done. The she goes up and reads for a while. If she gets really in to a book she stays up. I can tell her to turn her lights out but I know they will get turned back on again when I go into my bedroom. I am so darned tired and fried by the day's end I do not have patience to check whether she'll be turning her light back on or not. The only thing i can focus on at that point is my own bed with me in it.

Now I really wish that Aleander had not fallen asleep. My evening would have ended at 7pm with a kiss good night followed by a long hot bath and a glass of wine. (The older two would be quietly watching TV downstairs) But now Alexander is up for another 4 hours. He is drivingdrivingdriving us all batty and Miss Grumpy Pants has her major attitude back. And I am too tired to deal with it. I can not run up and hide in the tub partly because Alexander is a danger to himself and others, but mostly because he won't let me bathe in peace, and there is no point in a bath if one can not relax.

I have two arms and 3 kids and I simply have not found a way to balance them all. Each child requires something different from me, yet each child needs everything from me all at once, at the very same time. Each child is in a vastly different phase, heading in a vastly different direction, all at once. And somehow I have to be with all three kids at all three places. Life was easy, so much easier with just two children. I have no idea at all how moms of 4 or more can manage, function normally and stay sane. I lost my sanity on September 7th, 2005 and am on the verge, thisclose, of releasing my inner Brittney.