4 kids, 2 dogs, 1 hamster and a fish.

In the world of Mommydom each of us has different experiences and different takes on parenting.  Some moms are drill sergeants while others patiently smile thru any temper tantrum like they are at the spa.  But the common thread we all have is this:  at the end of a busy “Mom-day” we are happy we put the same number to kids/animals to bed at night that we woke up with in the morning.  As the mom of 4 boys, 2 dogs, 1 hamster and a fish I am accountable for 8 lives on a daily basis be it aquatic, human, canine or rodent.  That makes for a busy busy busy day.

As the mom of 4 boys I count to that number multiple times a day.  Head count, 1-2-3-4.  Head count again, 1-2-3-4.  Oh, ok.  All present and accounted for.  Head count, 1-2-3…….. Where is #4? In the bathroom, ok.  How long has he been in there?  Alright, stop banging on the door he will come out when he comes out.  Head count, 1-2-3 + make sure the fan is on.

As the mom of 4 boys, 2 dogs, 1 hamster and a fish there is much to check and double check.  But there is a lot that goes unchecked and that’s not such a bad thing.  I am not the micromanager of backpacks.  I may look in a backpack every week or two if I am missing major amounts of snack sized tupperware containers but that really isn’t my job.  If you want to carry a backpack that attracts fruit flies because of the smashed banana at the bottom (yes, mom I LOVE bananas as a healthy snack at school– yah, right) then you will be the kid at school with the buggy backpack.  I have bigger things to do like make sure the toilet isn’t overflowing from the amount of time kid #4 spent in the bathroom or ensure that the 3 reserve gallons of milk are lined up in order of expiration date so that when I send a kid to the garage for milk he doesn’t come back with a gallon of cottage cheese.  Head count, 1-2-3-4 + a few fruit flies (and yes, that did happen– he had to clean the mess out himself).

Being the mom of 4 boys, 2 dogs, 1 hamster and a fish we routinely use the Natural Consequences form of punishment.  The idea of Natural Consequences in my house isn’t a parental concept derived from laziness, but from necessity.  There is no way I could possibly check and double check everything on everyday.  If you are silly enough to not wear underwear to school and don’t know how to properly tie up your sweatpants on P.E. day, well let that be a lesson learned.  I have said “always wear clean underwear” 1000x and if you choose to ignore those words of wisdom then you take the natural consequence of being called Full Moon Weitgenant until you graduate from high school.  I don’t need to be called by the principal about the incident because its not my butt that was shown.  I am a responsible parent teaching my kids responsible lessons and in no way, shape or form would I condone going commando in elementary school.  But if children who understand the words coming out of my mouth do not abide by said words…….. well let the embarrassing lesson teach itself. Head count, 1-2-3-4 + a full moon rising.

As the mom of 4 boys, 2 dogs, 1 hamster and a fish there is a lot going on at my house daily. There is alot to see, do, clean and keep track of- like the hamsters exercise day.  Everyone loves to see the cute hamster running thru the house in his little hamster ball.  As the mom its not my job to put him out for his exercise but it is my job to double check that hamster ball lid is on TIGHT because the dogs view hamster exercise day as a day for soccer practice.  Not that the hamster can’t handle a little friendly competition between the dogs on the hard wood floors, but we don’t need a missing hamster or a dog who is looking for a h’ourdouvre after a rousing game of soccer.  Head count, 1-2-3-4 + one hamster safely back in his cage.

As the mom of 4 boys, 2 dogs, 1 hamster and a fish I take the time to ensure everyone is happy and basic needs are met.  This includes the needs of the dogs.  Of course, I make sure they have food and water but I also have to make sure the backyard is clean and that they get the proper amount of exercise.  Granted, hamster soccer is fun but that isn’t quite enough for the active 2 dogs in our house.  They need walked and walked a lot.  Walking ensures there isn’t pacing and jumping on/off, on/off, on/off the bed all night.  Walking ensures a well deserved nights sleep for each and every member of the household, except the hamster who is basically nocturnal.   When I can, I meet my need for exercise with the dogs need to be walked and take them for multi-mile jaunts in the park.  My husband has never agreed with my power walking the dogs:  I say it wears them out, he claims I am just making them stronger and building their endurance so that they become some super canine walking nightmares.   But they LOVE the power walk, they have even taught themselves to pee within the slack time of the leash so we don’t break our stride.  That’s not the work of canine nightmare walking dogs, that is brilliance of a dog well walked.  Head count, 1-2-3-4 +  two tired canines.

As the mom of 4 boys, 2 dogs, 1 hamster and a fish the only one who doesn’t put demands on me is the fish.  Yes, his tank needs cleaned every few weeks and he needs a piece or two of food everyday but he’s the most self reliant being in the house.  He can even go a day with out being fed if the words “would someone feed the fish” fall on deaf ears.  Try that with a kid or a dog and see how it goes.  The fish is quiet and happy to spend time gently swimming up and down, back and forth with out any mention that he’s swum the same pattern in the tank all day everyday for the past 2 years.   He should be the motivational speaker of the house:  “hey you know that lady who sprinkles food in my bowl. Let her do her thing, she has a lot going on with you other 7 and you should just be happy swimming in circles until she remembers you are here.  Don’t complain about the flavors of juice boxes in the fridge, I have been eating the same stale fish nuggets for the past 2 years and I am thankful for them.  By the way, have you met my sister, Flo?” Head count, 1-2-3-4 + a crazy ass fish.

In conclusion counting to 4 all day long can be exhausting.  No to mention the power dog walks, hamster soccer games and conversations with a crazy fish.  So at the end of a day when I say goodnight to the fish, when I am listening to the nocturnal hamster do his nocturnal thing, and when I do that final walk thru to count 4 boys sleeping in 4 beds along with the 2 over walked dogs I think “I did it, I survived another day with the same amount of living creatures I started with”.  Then I look at the giant pile of unfolded laundry and think to myself “i wish that motivational speaking fish had hands”.  Head count, 1-2-3-4 + 2 dogs, 1 hamster a fish and a tired mom.


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