“No, sit down, please!” I say for the hundredth time today. My daughter is trying to jump off the arm of the couch, convinced that she is invincible.

She has always been an adventurous child, getting into more trouble than any other child I’ve known. She looks at me mischievously. I know she’s about to try it again anyway, so I disrupt the baby while he’s nursing and grab her before she can make the leap. Cue the tears.

Lord help me, I can make it through this day.

The baby is hungrily searching for my breast, unfazed by his older sister’s dramatics. He lets out a loud squeal to let me know that he’s still hungry. “I know, baby, just a minute.”

My toddler is flailing around on the floor. I pull her up and hold her with my one free hand, desperately trying to stop her from intentionally smacking her head on the tile floor. (She has been known to throw herself backwards in the middle of fits, not caring what or who is behind her.) I successfully get myself, the baby, and the toddler on the couch in a position where I can nurse the baby and comfort the screaming child next to me.

It has been an exhausting day. The baby was up nursing constantly through the night, and my toddler woke up earlier than usual. She’s refusing to nap because she’s overtired. If she would just nap, things would get better.

I’m covered in spit up, wearing an oversized T-shirt, and my hair is still pulled back in yesterday’s messy bun. I would love a shower, but I haven’t gotten a break all day.

My coffee is sitting on the table, untouched and cold. I made it first thing this morning, but between blowouts, tantrums, nursing sessions, spit up clean up, and phone calls from various family members, I haven’t managed to take a sip.

Finally, a moment of silence. My daughter becomes distracted by a book, and my son happily nurses again. Thank God.

In some ways, having two young kids has been easier than just having one at home all day with me. My son is an easy, happy baby, and my daughter is finally getting more content playing by herself. She does not demand my attention constantly on most days.

I inhale slowly. I’m running low on patience and energy right now, but I can make it three more hours until my husband gets home. This is not a normal day. Tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow will be a good day.

“Mommy?” I look over to my daughter. “Yes, baby?” She climbs up on the couch and grabs my face in her two little hands. “I love you, Mommy.”

And that’s all I need to hear. All the tears, all the temper tantrums, all the struggles to keep her out of trouble – it’s all worth it.

“I love you, too,” I say as I wrap her tightly in my free arm. “And I always will, no matter what.”