Submitted by Cliff
My wife and I work opposite schedules: I work during the day and she works at night. Four days a week, she leaves for work about 20 minutes after I get home. Sometimes it's hard, but I really can't complain. We've found a way to make it work. It's what we do for our three kids. We have a great house in a great neighborhood and a good life.
Our teen is a cheerleader. Our middle child is in martial arts. Our toddler ... toddles. You could say our hands are full, especially now that school is in session.
On Wednesdays though ... I want to pull my hair out, get Rogaine, grow more hair, and then pull it out again.
The morning usually starts at 6:00 am as my toddler wakes up looking for me. I make him a waffle, and he watches Sesame Street while I get ready for work. At 7:00 am I get my middle kiddo up so she can get dressed before I get my toddler dressed, and then I go downstairs to make lunches for my teen and middle kid, pack myself my own lunch and figure out an "on the go" breakfast for myself. At 7:40 am, we pack up the car, drop the teen at school, and make it to daycare by 8:00 am. That's when I head to work. My wife then comes home from work, takes the middle kiddo to school, and then goes to sleep so she can go back to work again in the evening.
At work, I enjoy being with adults, drinking coffee, and not watching Toy Story for the 300th time.
I come home at 5:30 pm only to kiss my wife goodbye as she takes our teen to cheerleading. At 6:00 pm, I pack up in the car with the toddler and middle kiddo and head to martial arts. While middle kiddo learns, the little dude and I go to the supermarket for a few things. (e.g. Daycare ran out of diapers and wipes.) If you have a toddler, you know that "stopping for a few things at the supermarket" is not a quick in and out experience. I'll just leave it at that.
I make it back home by 7:00 pm to figure out dinner only to leave again at 7:10 pm to get the karate kid and come back home. Karate Kid then showers and gets in her pajamas.
Once I finally figure out dinner (THANK YOU, GOD, FOR THE INSTANT POT), I give my toddler a bath and change him into his pajamas. (This, of course, results in the age old debate: monster vs. train PJs).
Dinner is ready by 8:00ish, and we can finally eat, clean up, and be done by 8:30 pm. I make a dinner plate for my teen so she can eat when she comes home from cheer (Thank you, carpool moms) and then text her instructions so that she doesn't blow it up and burn her hands when she puts it in the microwave.
Bedtime is 9:00 pm! Karate kid goes to bed. Toddler and I pick out books, check his diaper, he checks his teddy's butt to make sure teddy didn't poop, and we read a few books before bedtime. He is usually asleep by book three. I put him down and ninja vanish out of his room by 9:35 pm making sure I don't walk on the spots where the floor creaks.
Back downstairs, I clean up the toys, put the dishes away, go check in on my teen that came home during bedtime, and see her for five minutes before she goes to bed.
It's now 10:00 pm, and I'm EXHAUSTED. But I need some me time, so I don't go to bed until midnight. I spend the time watching TV and then need to go back into my toddler's room because he hears me and needs to be comforted back to sleep.
I make it to bed by 12:10 am. And I'm out until 6:00 am when the toddler wakes up, and it starts all over again.
Would I love a vacation on a beach with a cold Corona? SURE! Would I trade all of this for said vacation? Nope.
We do it for our kids. They may not understand now ... but they will. And it's worth it for those little moments like seeing my toddler fall asleep as I read to him at night. It's worth it to see my karate kid get her green belt and kick some butt. It's worth it to see my teen do her back tuck, handspring, spinny ... thing-a-ma-bob, and how excited she is when she lands it.
But I still want that Corona! ;)