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Mom With 2 Children's Morning Routine

Grilled Cheese and Lost Library Books Are Part of This Mom's Way-Too-Early Morning Routine

Kate lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, 7-year-old daughter, and 4-year-old son. She works from home part-time as a writer and editor. She's never been a morning person, but finds it especially awful now that she's responsible for getting three people out the door every morning, two of whom seem quite determined to make it as difficult as possible. Here are the details of one morning in her busy, kid-dominated household.

My Morning Juggle

Wake up to 7-year-old daughter running through the halls and slamming doors. This is a regular occurrence, but it still shocks me every time. Glance at clock, scoot over to make room for her, and tell her it's too early to be awake, knowing there's a 50/50 shot she'll fall back asleep.
Constant kicking and squirming tells me daughter will not be going back to dreamland. Tell husband, a happier early riser than I am, that I'm going to move to her bed to catch a few more minutes of sweet slumber. Crawl in her pink room and am reminded that it's time to wash her sheets soon. I doze off.
Hear both kids playing loudly in the hallway before husband comes to wake me. He is quickly followed by my daughter, who's threatening to attack him with a foam sword, and my 4-year-old son, who's "blasting" him with his Ghostbusters proton pack. Groan a little, then roll out of bed. Did I mention I'm not a morning person?
Husband heads to shower while I start making beds, stripping my daughter's sheets, and reminding both kids to get dressed, brush their teeth and hair, and stop hitting each other with swords. This process is always a one-step-forward, two-steps-back situation. In between nagging children to do all the things they're supposed to be doing, I manage to throw on workout clothes, scrape my hair in a ponytail, and brush my own teeth.
Daughter is dressed and ready, so we head downstairs to feed her breakfast. Pour her a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, served with a side of berries, and we go over her weekly spelling words. Son, still in his pajamas but carrying his clothes, comes down and demands a grilled cheese. Breakfast is not his jam. And he hates jam (and any other fruit-based product). Make his grilled cheese while I also unload the dishwasher, start a load of laundry, pack my daughter's snack and lunch, and make sure she has everything she needs for school.
Realize that I have no idea where daughter's library books, due today, are. Of course she doesn't remember either. Search in all the regular places, come up empty handed, then write a note to her teacher explaining they'll be overdue, which I send along with the school day's other requirements: a stuffed animal (it's "bring a fluffy friend day," earned for something that my daughter apparently did well), a check for the book fair (my daughter requested $63 of books; I negotiated her down to $6), and multiple forms for next year's registration. I can't believe I'm about to have a second grader.
After the sixth reminder, daughter finally gets her shoes on, and I send her off to the bus stop across the street, watching her from the window until she boards and rides past our house. On rainy days like today, this window situation feels like I've won the mom jackpot.
Finally get around to making coffee around the same time my husband emerges to leave for work. He helps out in the mornings when he can, but today was not one of those days. Kiss him goodbye and turn attention to my son. The hour that we have together in the mornings before his preschool is one of my favorite times of the day. We play, chat, or just chill on the couch and cartoon it up. Today, I convince him to help with a very necessary edit of the collection of action figures, vehicles, and play sets that are overtaking our living room. As you can imagine, he isn't all that into the project, but eventually, I make a dent while he is distracted by Scooby-Doo.
Convince son to finally get out of his pajamas and get dressed just in time for his carpool. A close friend and I started switching off taking our sons to preschool when we figured out it would give us an extra 30 minutes a day. It's a lifesaver; plus, I love listening to my son and his buddy talk about the silliest, craziest things when it's my turn to drive.
Ship son off to preschool and sit down to answer emails and start work before I head out to my 9:30 workout class. (I get the bulk of my work done on the two afternoons a week I have child care.) Another morning survived!
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