Weekday mornings are tough around my house. My husband is the first to wake up, starting the coffee and checking e-mail before morning routines start in. I’m next, after hitting the snooze button a few times, so that I can shower and dress before getting my kids up. Somehow, making myself “get ready” for the day helps me stay energized for the next hour. Next, it’s coaxing, cajoling and sweet-talking the girls out of bed, followed by warning, threatening and yelling. Why is it that they rise before dawn on the weekends, but can’t be dragged out of bed on time during school days?!
Then there’s breakfast, vitamins, packing lunches, gathering backpacks, brushing teeth and hair, collecting special things for the day such as library books or book fair money, getting shoes and socks and FINALLY getting out the door (my husband has already gone to work by this point). I have one early child and one late one. The early one continually asks me “What time is it?!” over the course of the morning. The late one pushes her sister’s buttons by stopping to play the piano, or tying her shoelaces v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.
By the time we get to the bus stop and they are safely — and happily — with their friends, I wonder if I should go back to bed. I’m exhausted. I keep thinking “I shouldn’t have snapped at them at the start of their day,” or “I’ve got to figure out a plan for our morning routines to go more smoothly.” Back at home with my coffee, computer and some quiet time, all is well again and my full day begins.
Before I know it, it’s 3:40pm and time to head to the bus stop. I can tell in an instant if it’s been a good day or a bad one when they depart the bus. The bus stop is a flurry of activity, as many children have planned play dates during the short ride home, and most are excited to be finished with school for another day. If the schedule permits, it’s great to let them enjoy being kids with a little down time. Our immediate need, however, is for food. I try to first get something of substance into my own kids – cheese and crackers or something that will take the edge off low blood sugar. Moods can easily and rapidly go from sky high to rock bottom, so food is an all important factor.
I want to see them enjoy their brief downtime, but with snacks, homework, dinner, bath time and a decent bed time, it’s hard to fit it all in there. A little frustration starts to build just as it started in the morning…some suggesting, encouraging, recommending, then back to cautioning, advising, and giving consequences to end the day.
As I finally wind up my day, hours after the struggle to complete their bedtime, I say “I wish I had been more patient as their day ended,” and “Tomorrow will be better.”