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Morning Routine With a 9-Year-Old and a Toddler

Wearing PJs During Morning Drop-Off Is Just 1 of This Mom's Survival Hacks

Rachel Sobel lives in South Florida with her husband, 9-year-old and 1-and-a-half-year-old daughters, two dogs, and fish on its last fin. She is a writer, blogger, author, and speaker, and she works from her home office, which her kids think is a receptacle for their junk. Her husband is in finance and makes it home just in time for bedtime.

My Morning Juggle

6:00 a.m.
I wake up but am usually afraid to move because I know the second I do, somebody (read: my kids) will start ordering me around. I employ ninja-level skills to exit my bed, but I could probably march around with cymbals and nobody would move.
6:05 a.m.
My goal is to try to get myself as together as possible, including pouring coffee down my throat, before the chaos starts. I wash my face and brush my teeth, but that's usually as far as I get at this point in the morning. I start the painful process of waking up my older daughter, which feels like an exercise in futility.
6:15 a.m.
I am forced to turn on lights abruptly because whispering gentle wake-up sentiments doesn't work. Then I engage in begging at least 37 times.
6:30 a.m.
My husband's obnoxiously loud alarm goes off, but he plays on his phone for a solid 20 minutes while the toddler, who ended up in my bed at some point, holds him hostage.
6:45 a.m.
My older one is out of bed but barely. She is all kinds of annoyed. If I ever get to shower in the morning, it would be a miracle. If my kids showered, we'd never make it to school before lunch. Everyone showers at night before bed to save time and sanity.
7:00 a.m.
My 9-year-old gets dressed at a snail's pace sans the one shoe she is typically putting on as I am walking out the door. The baby and I both usually hit the carpool line still in the clothes we slept in the night before.
7:15 a.m.
I have to prepare cereal for my older one well before she's ready to eat it because it needs to be "mushy." She usually eats like five bites in the seven minutes remaining before we actually need to leave. Apparently, my toddler is on a breakfast strike and eats only a small handful of Cheerios in the car or the Goldfish she doesn't think I saw her take out of the diaper bag. I eat breakfast (and by breakfast, I mean half a granola bar I find in my bag) in the car on the way to school drop-off. My husband sits, leisurely enjoying his cereal while thumbing through a food magazine, looking at all the meals I will never cook, as we are prepping to walk out the door.
7:20 a.m.
I pray that my older one brushes her teeth. She tells me she does, but I have my doubts because the toothbrush looks awfully dry many mornings. I put on makeup only if I have to be somewhere after drop-off where it's unacceptable to look like I just rolled out of bed, but it's rare. For the first time EVER, this year my child wants to buy lunch at school, so basically, I feel like I hit the lottery.
7:30 a.m.
When trying to physically get out the door every morning, the phrase "anxiety-inducing" comes to mind. Almost every day, I can't find my keys just minutes before we have to leave, and I feel like I'm herding cats. More days than not, my older daughter forgets something in the house, and at least once a week I actually have to turn the car around to go back for a rogue item.
7:50 a.m.
Drop-off!!! And when I say the carpool line is a beast, I am not being dramatic. I am in the trenches for at least 20 to 30 minutes every day waiting for our turn for someone to open the door and extract my kid. We also have an obstacle course inside the car because she has to get out on the side where the baby's car seat is, so that requires her to climb under it while I pass her bag out of the front passenger window. I can tell the teachers are thrilled by it.
8:05 a.m.
Thankfully I work from home, so it's a quick commute. Much quicker than entering the carpool line. As soon as I walk in the door, I put the baby in the jogging stroller so I can release the aggression I have built up sitting in the carpool line.
8:20 a.m.
I go for a quick run, but my phone doesn't stop, so I am multitasking even as I try to sneak in some exercise.
9:00 a.m.
Without fail, every day when I come in from my run, one of my dogs starts barking like a lunatic the minute I open the door and ruins any chance of the baby finishing the nap she started. Although I set my own schedule and work for myself, I still have deadlines to meet on a daily basis. The challenge is really navigating emails and writing assignments with a stage-five clinger (aka my toddler) all over me. This goes on most of the morning or until my part-time sitter or a grandparent arrives to rescue me temporarily.
9:30 a.m.
There's a 40 percent chance I get a phone call from school that my older daughter has a stomachache or some other ailment and wants to come home. Fingers crossed!
Image Source: Rachel Sobel
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