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A Day in the Life of Karen Katulka

Karen Katulka lives in Dallas with her husband Chris, her daughter Olive, 3, and her twin baby boys Cohen and Preston, 1. You can most often find her in the pantry eating candy alone.

6:30AM I hear faint sounds of one of my twin baby boys starting to wake up. It’s usually Preston.

6:45AM The faint sounds become not-so-faint. I will myself out of bed and slowly make my way down to the boys’ room where I walk in to find Cohen smiling and Preston tearfully awaiting my arrival. After brief morning snuggles, I tandem nurse the boys, change their diapers and put them on the floor to let them crawl.

7AM My 3-year-old wakes up and greets me with a sleepy smile. She kisses her brothers, says good morning and begins placing her order for Daddy to make her waffles.

7:30AM My husband and I sneak a kiss between pouring cups of coffee, cutting up strawberries and serving waffles to the kids. Chris boils some eggs for us and, if I’m lucky, I get to finish my toast without it turning cold.

8AM When one of my sons throws his sippy cup over the edge of his high-chair tray, we know mealtime is over. With a warm, wet cloth, hands and faces are washed. The boys are pulled from their high chairs and put in front of their toys. Olive busies herself with puzzles and crayons. I sweep up food from the floor, wipe down the kitchen table and pour myself another cup of coffee with plenty of hazelnut creamer, of course.

8:30AM I join the kids on the floor by reading three or four books to them, doing my best to use enthusiastic voices to keep the crawlers engaged (or at least nearby).

9AM I start a load of laundry; two more loads are on standby. I make sure the babies don’t have any unusual objects in their mouths (leaves don’t count as unusual anymore) and watch as Olive rides her scooter at warp speed around the corner, missing her brother’s fingers by a millimeter.

9:30AM With all fingers still intact, the boys go down for a nap. I grab a quick shower as Olive sits on my bed with a stack of her favorite books. When I’m done, I dry my hair, put on some makeup and get dressed in my mom uniform (any unrestricting outfit that is practical yet cute). 

10AM I make my bed, get Olive dressed (read: try to convince her she can’t wear her “owl skirt” every single day), tidy up her floor and tip-toe past the boys’ room as we head to the playroom to get Olive started on an activity.

11:30AM The boys wake up. I nurse them, change their diapers and head to the dining room. I cut up fruit galore, make grilled cheese sandwiches and sneak in my own bites here and there as I get the kids fed.

12PM Once I hear the sippy cup go overboard, I grab a wet cloth, wash the boys’ hands and faces and clean their high-chair trays. Olive puts her plate in the sink, and I pull the boys out of their high chairs, grab my sunglasses and we all head outside to play in the backyard.

12:30PM Olive shovels dirt from one side of the yard to the other, while the boys, quarantined in an empty baby pool, play contentedly with a few toys. When they tire of that, I set them free to roam the backyard, making sure (again) that they’re not swallowing rocks or anything left behind by the neighborhood cat.

2:30PM Everyone has to take a nap.

2:40PM I lie down on my bed to stare at the ceiling and check Instagram. I do not suffer from “mommy guilt” while I do this. I call it survival.

4:30PM The kids are up and out of bed. I start dinner. With babies nipping at my feet and a hungry toddler ready to eat, I quickly try to get food on the table.

5:30PM Dinner is served. Babies in high chairs, while Olive, Daddy and I say a blessing and attempt to enjoy a meal together amidst shrieks from the boys when they are not being fed fast enough.

6PM The radio is turned on and an after-dinner dance party ensues. No one is left out of this good time — all ages welcome. Mommy, Daddy, Olive, Cohen and Preston all take out the day’s frustrations in a 15-minute free-for-all dance party. We close the blinds and dance like nobody’s watching.

6:30PM Time for PJs! I take care of the boys and my husband takes care of Olive. I change the boys’ diapers one last time, zip up their PJs, nurse them, read them their favorite story, pray for them, sing to them and finally lay them in their cribs. We smile at one another through their crib slats and play one last round of peek-a-boo as we say our good nights. It’s the sweetest part of the day.

7PM My husband and I breathe a huge sigh of relief as we survived another day of three kids 3 and under. We sit down on the couch and hope there’s something good to watch on TV.

9:30PM I use these last minutes to tidy up one last time. All the toys go back in their baskets and the couch pillows get fluffed. I turn off all the lights. Brush my teeth. Take my vitamins. Get in bed, kiss my sweet husband and close my eyes, hoping for a good night’s sleep so we can be good and ready to do it all over again tomorrow. And finally, I whisper one last prayer thanking the Lord for this crazy busy but super sweet season of my life. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Diaries are penned by moms (and dads) in the Dallas area. The authors volunteer to share a day of their choosing and are not paid or endorsed by DallasChild. Send your diary to editorial@dfwchild.com. All submissions are subject to editing and may be cut for space.