This morning I woke four sleepy humans. Some I gently patted, some I prodded, and one I pulled the covers off and tried to roll onto the floor when the pat and the prod fell short. I’m not proud of that last one.

I made five beds, one twice because someone snuck into it and tried to go back into sleep. It may have been me.

I took a shower and made myself look sort of human and flushed three toilets and fished one very wet pull-up out from under my bed.

I made two very strong cups of coffee.

I dressed one child and myself and told another that her “outfit” would probably get me arrested should I let her leave the house in it.

I reminded them all to brush their teeth. Four times. None did it. We’re working on this.

I yelled “stop screaming! You’ll wake the neighbors!” loud enough to wake the neighbors. Many, many times.

I drove to school once to drop the bigs off and back again a little later to drop off the stuff the bigs forgot.

I stood on the bus stop and waited for two more buses while trying in vain to fish the littles out of a neighbor’s tree.

I watched them drive away with a wave and a throat lump and I walked back to my empty house.

I cleaned their breakfast out of my car and my kitchen and my hair.

I dismantled pillow forts and unhooked Paw Patrol underwear from table lamps and threw in a load of laundry and reapplied the lip gloss I’d left on four cheeks in goodbye kisses.

I fed and watered the dog and wiped down the counter and turned off the TV and the coffee maker and a hundred lights and locked up and fielded 12 text messages and two phone calls and 384 red lights.

All before 9 a.m.

By the time I sit in my chair at work and fire up my computer, my Fitbit says I have walked 2.5 miles. All just to get us ready and out of the house. And if walking 2.5 miles and not actually making it anywhere at all ain’t exactly what this stage of life looks like I don’t what is.

I don’t tell you this to look for sympathy. Not at all. I am lucky to have a job that affords me flexibility. I am lucky to have a job. I am lucky to have four healthy kids and not need to spend extra hours taking care of special needs or going to extra doctor’s appointments or managing care with the schools. I am lucky to live in a culture where women can and do work freely outside of the home. I am lucky to be healthy enough myself to mostly manage all this.

No, I tell you this because if one more person says to me “wow, it sure must be nice to be able to waltz into work at 9 a.m.,” I am going LOSE IT.

To the working mamas, I feel you. I feel you so hard right now. But more than that, to ALL the mamas, I’m raising my cup of (now cold) coffee. You keep on doing you, sister, whatever that looks like.

Unless it looks like judgement. Ain’t nobody got time for that ish. Some of us have work to do.

Originally posted on Liz Petrone

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Liz Petrone

Liz is a mama, yogi, writer, warrior, wanderer, dreamer, doubter, and hot mess. She lives in a creaky old house in Central New York with her ever-patient husband, their four babies, and an excitable dog named Boss, and shares her stories on She can also be found on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.