We’re out of food. After nursing the baby and feeding the older kids a snack I get them loaded into the car and head off. The baby cries during the entire drive to the store. We arrive and the baby continues to cry in the carrier.

As I walk my pants fall down. I grab the side of them in a big bunch to keep them up. With my other hand I bounce the baby in the carrier. She doesn’t stop crying.

I try to push the cart with a 30 pound toddler and groceries with one hand. I alternate between giving the cart a push and yanking up my pants.

I’m frustrated. The baby is still crying. I’m thinking about how expensive pants are and cursing myself for losing weight. Because heaven knows I feel just as fat as I did twenty pounds heavier than this.

We’re almost done shopping. As the cashier rings up my groceries, I try not to think about everything to come tonight. The crying on the drive home, the chaotic rush once we’re home and I try to unload groceries while kids run around my ankles and scream and cry and complain and beg for things.

The drive home is unpleasant as the baby cries the whole way and I realize all I have eaten today is a sandwich and my stomach is not so subtlely protesting.

The scene as we arrive home is a rerun of every other time we’ve arrived home. The kids are standing in my way everywhere I go. Literally at my feet no matter how many times I tell them to go sit down on the couch or at the table. It’s like a bad case of deja vu.

My impatience builds as their mouths cease to close for one second. All four of them are making noise. Loud noise. The older ones are asking for food despite seeing me making dinner. The baby is crying. Of course she is crying. She is always crying unless my breast is in her mouth.

I feel my anger swelling up and I utter the phrase I’ve uttered a hundred times before.

“You are all going to bed without dinner if you make one more sound.”

They start to look at each other quietly with expressions that tell me they will start to giggle together in a few seconds. The thrill of making noise after mommy tells them not to will be too much.

Brooklyn’s hand goes up to her mouth to stifle a giggle.

“Ok, go to your rooms until dinner is ready. And shut your doors.”

The kids are gone but baby is not going to stop crying until she and I are laying in my bed with the lights off. She wants to go bed. And she doesn’t want mommy away from her.

Dinner is done, the kids are at the table, the baby is at the breast.

I am worn out.

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