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Mom With 3 Children Morning Routine

3 Little Ones Make This Mom's Morning Routine a Real Juggling Act

Lauren lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their three children. Most mornings, she's on her own with her 5- and 2.5-year-old sons and her 6-month-old daughter since her husband leaves early for his commute into San Francisco. This makes getting out of the house and into the office for her full-time job as an editor extra interesting (and always unpredictable).

My Morning Juggle

Wake up to whining that can only be coming from my 2.5-year-old. He's up way too early most days, so I bring him in bed with me to try to get him back to sleep (which never actually happens). Check monitor to see that the baby is still asleep and tip-toe to my older son's room to close the door so he can get a few more minutes. Get back in bed with my wiggly son, who pokes me in the face until I give in to his request for waffles.
Make a pitstop at the bathroom (gotta reinforce that potty-training!) on our way to the kitchen, where I pop waffles in the toaster. My son starts playing with Magna Tiles while continuing to whine about waffles. I put hot water on the stove for tea, mostly out of habit. I drink black tea every morning and usually treat myself to a latte if it's an especially rough one.
Waffles are up! Go to grab a kids' plate and realize they are all in the dishwasher that needs to be emptied. Mental note to do that later. Deliver hot waffles to 2.5-year-old, who shows his gratitude with a big smile. Hear my husband finish his shower, which means he'll be able to watch our son for a few minutes before he leaves for work.
I'm back in bed pretending to sleep and hear the whistle of the tea kettle. Sounds like my husband grabbed it off the stove, so I stay put. I grab my phone to check email and get a quick Instagram fix.
My husband comes in to tell me he has to leave for work, so now I'm up for good and on my own. I head back to the kitchen and start emptying the dishwasher. The little guy has finished his waffles and moved on to playing with trains. I'm halfway through the dishes when I hear the baby, so I finish up and go into her room to grab her. She's the smiliest in the morning!
My sidekick (aka middle child) is "helping" me with the baby by throwing diapers around the room while I change hers. He continues to fling Pampers all over the place despite my whispered threats (still trying not to wake the oldest). I'm annoyed but also can't stop him because now I'm nursing the baby.
My sleepy 5-year-old shuffles into the room and tries to snuggle on my lap while I'm still nursing the baby. It's a tight squeeze (not to mention he's way too big for this!) and I ask him if he's gone potty yet to redirect. His brother gets distracted and stops the diaper shenanigans to follow him into the bathroom.
The baby is fed, so I start to get her dressed. Run back into my room to grab my phone and check the weather app so I know if she can wear the cute tank romper I just bought her. It's supposed to be warm at our house and surprisingly warm in San Francisco, too, so I start to think about what I'll wear, but get distracted by screaming coming from the bathroom.
I break up a brotherly fight over who gets to use the bathroom stool first. Standard. Send the oldest to his room to get dressed and the middle to play in the living room, where I set the baby down with some toys. Pour my hot water and drop in a tea bag. I pop more waffles in the toaster and go back into my daughter's room to clean up the diaper disaster.
Boys are eating (waffle number three for the little one — he's partial to breakfast but doesn't eat much the rest of the day) and watching a show. I don't love having the TV on in the morning, but it's the only way I can get ready without worrying what they are up to. The baby is happily entertained by watching her brothers, so I brush my teeth and use a cleansing wipe to "wash" my face. I never know what my mornings will hold, so I always shower the night before I have to be in the office. I freshen up my roots with dry shampoo and throw on makeup, which is usually just quick concealer, mascara, and light foundation.
Pop out of the bathroom to check on the kids. Oldest wants more berries and middle is on the couch with syrup hands, so I grab a wet paper towel to do damage control while the berries are rinsing in the sink. Deliver the berries and grab the baby, who is no longer content to watch her siblings, and take her into the middle one's room so I can get his clothes for the day. I usually bring the clothes to him to save myself the extra step and possible struggle of getting him back into his room.
After a battle over my t-shirt selection (diffused by my convincing argument about matching colors), the middle is dressed for the day and still half-watching the show with his brother, who is still eating. Decide now's a good time to get dressed, so I grab my tea and head to my room with the baby. I lay her in the middle of my bed and talk to her while I figure out what to wear. I absentmindedly check the weather app again and am pleasantly reminded about the sunny day ahead. I try a few dresses before finding one that comfortably fits my postpartum, breastfeeding body, then quickly make the bed.
I make the boys' beds while the baby "plays" on the floor, then go back out to the kitchen to clean up their breakfast plates. I realize I need to eat something before I leave, so I throw two slices of bread in the toaster and search for my tea, which I find on a shelf in my closet. It's almost go time, so I start going through my mental checklist. First: lunches. My husband makes them for the boys the night before, so I grab them from the fridge and put them in their lunch boxes, fill up their water bottles, and set it all on the counter near the back door.
I finish buttering my toast and notice my 2.5-year-old with a funny look on his face just as he announces, "I'm about to poop!" I pick him up and run him into the bathroom just in time to avoid disaster.
TV is off and the boys are running around the house in their superhero dress-up gear. The baby is in her seat gnawing on a teething ring and I continue through my mental checklist. Next: pumping supplies. I pack up all my parts, check that my pump is charged, grab an ice pack, and put it all in my tote. I double-check that my wallet is already in there and then search for my laptop. I find it on the floor near my nightstand and remember to grab headphones for my commute. My bag's ready and the boys' lunches are packed, so I start the process of getting them out the door.
It takes almost 10 minutes to get superhero capes off and shoes on both boys. The oldest now wants to carry his own lunch box in his backpack, which is fine until the middle wants to do the same thing but his lunch box doesn't fit in his. The nanny arrives, which distracts everyone from the lunch box situation, and we run through the plan for the day while I hand over the baby.
As I'm pushing the boys out the door, my oldest reminds me we forgot to brush their teeth! We turn around and head to the bathroom for a quick brush and another potty stop.
I strap the boys into their car seats and run back into the house to give the baby a big kiss. I'm back out the door just in time to make it to preschool right when it opens at 8:00. As I'm dropping off the little guy, I promptly realize I left his lunch on the counter during the backpack/lunch box shuffle. I make a quick call to my mother-in-law, who thankfully lives nearby, to see if she can pick it up and deliver it for me.
Lunch crisis is averted and I'm on the train (standing room only) headed into the office. If I'm lucky, I'll make it with a few minutes to spare so I can pick up the latte I've been thinking about since I never actually got to drink my tea.
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