I don't know about you, but by about 7pm (ish - I'm not that strict) I just want my children to be asleep. I love them dearly, can't imagine life without them, all that jazz, but they get up at 5.15am.
Everyday. Without fail.
Yes we have tried later bedtimes, blackout-blinds, no drinks before bed, more drinks before bed. We've tried clocks with rabbit ears, reward charts, CD players, night lights. They still get up at 5.15am, and they still take hours and hours to get to sleep at night.
By 7pm I've been with them for almost 14 hours. It's a long time to be in anyone's company - let alone three small, demanding children.
By about 3.30pm I start to flag, and by 6.30pm I've had it. I cut their requests off with loud shouty "NO's" before they have even got to the end of their (long dithery) sentences.
I don't want to read Peppa Pig, play dressing up, sculpt things out of moonsand or push them on the swing in the garden.
I don't want to pull any more wipes from Nine month's mouth, beg Two to keep her nappy on, serve Four cups of tea and generally play hostess/HR manager/cleaner any longer.
I just want to lie in a dark room, on my own, in silence, and tell myself kind thoughts. I might even pat myself.
This is "full time" parenting to the MAX! and almost impossible to do well or with any enthusiasm on no sleep.
Admittedly, we are toss at the cry-it-out technique. We don't do it. The main reason for this is because if one starts crying and we don't get to them PDQ (pretty damn quick), then they wake up the others, and they start crying as well. Then I cry, and swear, and throw things.
So we become a tag team, and dutifully sit with each of them, Four, Two and Nine months, until they are asleep. It takes about four hours in total.
We never have an evening. When they are all finally down for the night, we are too nervous of waking them up to put the TV on, and too shattered to watch it anyway.
We just sit in the half dark - our faces perfect replica's of Munch's Scream.
It does not stop there either, they wake up during the night as well. Two is the worst. She wakes screaming and we have exactly ten seconds to get our befuddled limbs into action and hot foot it into her room before she wakes up nine months. I help the husband get there by pushing him out of bed. He gets me back by putting Nine months in bed next to me to pull my hair and bite my nose when she wakes at 5.15am.
And so this is our life. Yes, this is the life we picked, Yes we are very very very lucky, we have three healthy happy children. Yes I know these days will pass. Apparently I'll even miss them (ha ha ha).
Maybe, once I've finished catching up on all the lack of sleep.