4 minute read

Anyone with little kids knows how hard it is to get them out the door in the morning. On days when you think, “I’m actually on time”, one child inevitably squeezes toothpaste all over their clothes, has stuck their hand in ketchup and smeared it on their face, or has just had the mother of all poops and requires half a box of wipes to be changed. Here is what the average morning looks like in our house. It’s not pretty, but I’m writing about it because I always want to remember parenting as realistic as possible.

5:34: Alarm goes off and I shoot up in a way that is definitely taking seconds off my life. By now, Aaron is in the shower. I throw on some leggings (see number 9 from this post) and head downstairs.>

5:36: Heat up Zoe’s bottle and monitor her video feed. Say a little prayer that she doesn’t wake up for 9 more minutes so I can finish making lunches.

5:37-5:45: Make school lunches. Max and Zoe’s new school doesn’t have an in-house chef (I miss you so much Primrose!), which means I have to make lunches. It was fun for about a day when I got to pick out cute lunch boxes and bento box containers. Now I realize that packing lunches involves careful planning, psychological profiling, and a little bit of maternal intuition. The goal isn’t always health, some days it’s how to make sure Max has a better lunch than Luke, other days it’s how to get Max to tell me “I’m the best in the world”. The latter is easy, include anything that tastes delicious. To pack lunches, I follow this simple flow chart:

On an ideal morning, the kids wake up after lunches are packed and coffee is brewed. On mornings when Zoe wakes up before lunch supplies are put away, she eats her weight in cheese for breakfast. We give it to her because we are afraid of her.

6:00: Max’s wake up lights turn on. By now Zoe has screamed her way out of her high chair and is carrying around an english muffin with cream cheese on it. Yes, we know how gross that is.

6:00-6:30: Max is a great breakfast eater, but o.m.g. so slow! If he were left alone, he would happily eat until lunch. During this time, Aaron and I alternate between reminding Max to “put your bottom on the chair”, and “eat your breakfast” while chasing Zoe around the kitchen trying to get her dressed. On days when it is possible, we even manage to put her hair up. Not in any of the cute ways I imagined doing a little girls hair, but in a barely brushed, off-centered, half pony tail kind of do. And when an opportunity arises, we sneak a bow in. We are careful not to put her socks on, so she isn’t “fully dressed”. This way, Max can still “win” at getting dressed. A contest that is very important to him and easily results in a tantrum if he doesn’t win (eye roll).

6:40: Aaron leaves for work. Ten seconds later, the garage door opens and Max runs out to wave goodbye. I grab Zoe and run after him to make sure he doesn’t run into the street. I yell for him to come back in, knowing he won’t until Aaron’s car is out of sight. For half a second I think how sweet it is that he loves to see Aaron off, and how much I’ll miss it when he stops. But Zoe’s screams always bring me back to reality.

6:40-6:55: Zoe yells. We don’t know what she wants. During this period, I convince Max to go brush his teeth. This usually involves some variation of “I bet you can brush faster than Zoe”, “I bet your breath will smell like chocolate ice cream”, or “there is no way you can brush your teeth before Zoe puts her socks on”. He wants to do everything by himself, which is great at times and this is one of those times. Although, on any morning there is a 50% chance half the toothpaste will be all over his clothes. I don’t change him anymore because who-knows-what will be smeared on his clothes by the end of the day.

6:55-???: Drag, carry, wrestle the kids into the car. It is a constant struggle with who gets to open the garage door. To compromise (or parenting weakness) I let them both open and close the garage doors to their hearts delight. Luckily Zoe depends on me holding her up to press the button, so she is forced away after one or two pushes.

Sometime after 7:00: Right now we live 1 minute from their school. Drops offs have been surprisingly easy for Max, even at a new school. Our routine is to drop Max’s stuff in the Froggie room. He shows us around and gives Zoe time to say good morning to Marshmallow (the hamster). Then Max and I drop Zoe off in the Giraffe room. Max is a huge help here because you know … Zoe. He picks out books and toys for her to play with then gives her a hug and tells her, “I’ll pick you up later” or “I’ll see you on the playground”. It melts my heart to hear him say those things.

Get back in the car. Then…


… just kidding. Then I go to work.

What are your mornings like?