The other day the boys were all home from the Mothers’ Day Out program they attend twice a week. I had seen the marking on the calendar and was watching it approach with, I have to admit, some fear and trembling. A school holiday – yay!

Of course I love spending quality time with my four children, and I know that some parents spend each day with their children. I wasn’t complaining, it was just that I was worried about keeping the babies happy while showing some personal interest in the 4-year-old’s activities. Everyone likes to be held or directly played with which is impossible for one parent to do for the entire day. I just knew that someone was going to begin to cry or act up in order to get my attention. Our oldest boy is also beginning to stretch the limits of his independence. I know the parents reading this know exactly what I mean.

I decided to plan and organize and fill the day with so many different activities that no one could feel slighted. The night before, I looked over my game plan and hoped that by the time my husband came home, all five of us would be so worn out that the bedtime routine would be quick and painless.

The day arrived. “No more morning shows!” I over-happily announced at the early (too early?) hour of 8:30 a.m.

“What?” said my only talker, still in his pajamas.

“Let’s clean up our breakfast mess and go check the weather!”

To my delight, we had loaded up the dishwasher and the quad stroller before 9 a.m. The boys seemed to enjoy our walk. I pointed out any birds, cats, or flowers I saw, and there was no fighting amongst them as I pushed them along. I was even able to get the oldest out walking on his own once we hit a green patch near our house. I checked my watch – 9:45 a.m.

What was I going to do all day? My game plan seemed to crumble before the slowly-moving hands of time.

I won’t bore you with hour by hour details, but I am happy to report that while the day did move by slowly, we had a really fun time together. We put on some fun kid CDs and danced –  even the babies ran around the room laughing. Big Boy was able to eat his lunch in the backyard picnic-style and then decorate the patio with sidewalk chalk. Everyone went down for nap at around the same time, which gave me some blessed moments of non-excitement. Books were read as if we were at story time and even though I was the only one who stayed within the lines, we all had a blast coloring. Our day together concluded with a quick trip to the train playground near Katy Library.

I think the trick was that I was able to put my day at their level. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do housework or computer work. I was one of them for the entire day. I tip my hat to those stay-at-home parents who don’t have the opportunities to have their children attend a MDO program. It’s a lot of work to be a child (and responsible parent!) day in and day out.

That was my day – how do you all do it? Share your stories and tips with those of us who are in the kiddo trenches alongside you!

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