I forgot to move the elf (again), the light-up snowflake fell off the top of the house and the living room looks like a toy factory for Santa’s elves. I’ve unsuccessfully attempted to cook meatballs for the last two nights only to give in and order take-out. I didn’t take out the garbage this morning because I forgot last night. I forgot last night because I was rocking my 9-month-old to sleep while my 4-year-old continually crept in with requests every five or so minutes to either put cream on her back or change the music on Alexa. Her version of tip-toeing, of course, is unlike an adult’s version and it is always accompanied by a loud and mischievous “shhhhh,” willing the baby to wake up so she can torture-play with her some more.

What was I saying? Right. I forgot a lot of things this week. I printed out our Christmas card list that I had drummed up proudly. This year no family member would dare make fun of me for not sending out my cards! I’d send a card out to every single person we knew . . . just as soon as I remembered to bring the dumb list home from work. Tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow. There was always tomorrow.

Tomorrow came and I was getting the girls ready for daycare. My older one wanted chicken nuggets for breakfast and the baby wanted to chow down on my shoulder like I was a chicken nugget. Ouch! Who knew 9-month-olds bit? I thought that was a toddler thing? I threw strawberries, yogurt, and a side of Entenmann’s coffee cakes on the table for my daughter, smiling proudly that I had not only won the breakfast battle but that I had also managed to serve her something half healthy, when the baby reached just far enough over her high chair to knock over the entire plate. My 4-year-old looked at me and said, “It’s OK, I’ll just have chicken nuggets.”

I moved the Elf on the Shelf to the banister (someone had to teach the girls a little pole dancing) while my daughters destroyed the playroom, again. I packed up the car for school before Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick brought it home at the end of Trolls Holiday. These millennial trolls sure beat the crap out of their fugly counterparts from the 90s.

On the drive to school, I played the role of Joan Cleaver and belted out Christmas carols with my 4-year-old. I wore a huge holiday smile accompanied by an equally huge drool stain on my favorite scarf, which reminded me that the baby was teething and needed a CVS run during lunch. Did it ever stop? After putting the baby’s items in the school’s refrigerator and hanging up her pink puffy coat and little winter hat, I took my older daughter’s hand and told the teacher to message me as usual if she needed me.

“The baby?” Her sweet teacher inquired.

“Yes, if you need anything with the baby,” I smiled cheerfully thinking I must not have been the only sleep-deprived one. I questioned leaving the baby there. I shut the door behind us and walked halfway to my other daughter’s classroom when I felt a tug on my hair. OH, the baby. Yes, I tend to wear my baby like an additional bag. Don’t judge until you have tried it yourself.

Her teacher and I had a good laugh at my expense while the baby gnawed and drooled on her sleeve. I then dropped off a very excited little girl who couldn’t wait for the creepy puppet show to start and drove my tired self to work.

When at work, my girlfriend picked half a Goldfish out of my hair and helped rinse the drool stain out of my scarf. I cared more about the fact that a Goldfish in my hair meant my daughter didn’t follow the breakfast rules and less that it had acted as temporary hairspray for the right side of my head. In my pre-kid youth, I had been told once I resembled Sarah Michelle Gellar and here I was the doppelganger for the lady with the pitchfork in the famous American Gothic painting.

This is my life. This is my life while my husband travels. Any questions?

Sometimes, my husband is away just one day. Other trips, he is gone four to five. Those trips humble me. Single parents deserve statues resurrected in their honor at the very least. I am truly in awe of their abilities because when my husband is gone just a few days, I’m forgetful with a side of impatience. This doesn’t mean I don’t love my children, it just means I have an insatiable hunger for serenity. I will admit though, I do relish in the chaos just a bit as well. Sometimes I pretend like I am in a sitcom and the director has asked us to really let loose on the next take and let me tell you—my kids nail it every time.

I forget a lot sometimes, especially when my husband is away, but I never forget to give love. Oh sweet slobbery baby kiss, love. It’s the kind of love that leaves drool on the side of your face after a face hug and makes your nose tickle with baby boogies after an Eskimo kiss.

The hectic mornings and exhausting nights are all worth it. We are all worth it as working mothers.

‘Tis the season for chaos personified with a side of love, right?

Originally published on the author’s blog

Nicole Tynan

Nicole is an advertising executive by day, Momma by day, night and carrier pigeon and struggling writer by . . . whatever free time she has left! She's been published on BluntMoms and Theo Media.