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Morning Routine For Mom With a Toddler

From Snuggles to Play-Doh Messes, This Is How One Family Gets Out the Door in The Morning

Melissa and her husband live across from San Francisco in the East Bay with their almost 3-year-old daughter. Both parents work full-time, and their toddler attends a Montessori school. As the director of editorial partnerships here at POPSUGAR, Melissa commutes to work via BART. But to get out the door, her mornings require serious teamwork and a little bit of patience, along with swift and unexpected clean-ups.

My Morning Juggle

My husband’s alarm goes off. He hits the snooze button and I wake up grumpy. I was dreaming I was in Bora Bora. Maybe if I can doze off again, I can pick up where I left off.
Ugh, there goes his alarm again. He quietly gets up and out of bed, tiptoeing around to get ready without waking our toddler. I come to terms with the fact that I’m done sleeping and realize, miraculously, our toddler has been asleep for nine hours so I’m actually well rested. This is a rare occurrence. I pick up my phone and scan my calendar, news headlines, and emails, and mentally prepare myself for the day.
Crap. Just caught myself mindlessly scrolling through my social media feeds. I roll out of bed, wash up, and brush my teeth. Thankfully I showered at night (gotta find extra sleep where you can).
Our toddler quietly walks out of her room and schleps two blankets, Peppa Pig, and her “baby” over to our room and climbs into our bed — basically an invitation for morning snuggles. I lay down with her for a sec since I have an extra minute to spare.
My husband walks in with a cup of coffee and a cup of milk. Bless his heart. He joins the snugglefest, too. I gush about our toddler sleeping through the night. He breaks it to me that she actually woke up once, but he went in to ease her back to sleep. I love this man.
Our toddler gets up to use the toilet because she’s a “big girl” now and then brushes her teeth (after negotiating a Minions bandaid as part of the deal). I grab her toothbrush to do a quick pass before she bolts for the kitchen.
Before my husband heads out, he helps pull breakfast together. The toddler’s obsession this week: vanilla yogurt topped with Cheerios. She goes to the spice cabinet and pulls out a jar of pumpkin-pie spice to sprinkle on her breakfast (long story). It’s more than a sprinkle but we go with it. We have to pick our battles. We throw a vitamin on her plate for good measure.
The toddler says her goodbyes to daddy; he turns on the TV to her cartoon of choice so I now have a little bit of peace to get ready. I pop into the bathroom.
“Mommy!” she calls for reassurance that I’m still here. I respond, take a peek to make sure she’s OK and continue on. I put on a little bit of everything: eyeliner, powder, concealer, brow powder, blush, mascara, and lipstick to finalize my “no-makeup makeup” look. That’s still a thing, right?
I’ve learned to master a quick face in 15 minutes since becoming a mom, but I’m not the night-before outfit planner. I run my schedule through my head and know I need to run a lunch errand, so a sweater, jeans, and a pair of walkable slides it is.
“Mommy! I spilled my drink. I need a napkin!” Uh oh. I take a peek and thankfully the spill is small. I give the girl a napkin and try to wrap up. “Mommy! I’m done!” She always gives the play-by-play.
I spray on some dry shampoo and brush through my hair once (hair is not a weekday priority for me). Time to get her ready. Once her clothes are on, I tell her to put her shoes
I’m so glad we prepped her lunch last night. I gather the items, fill up her thermos, zip up her lunch bag and . . . her shoes still aren’t on. I calmly remind her to put them on. AGAIN.
I clean up the last bits of her breakfast (aka eat whatever is left of it) and oh boy, what do we have here . . . a Play-Doh mess. Where does she keep finding cans of this stuff? I thought we hid them all for this very reason. I clean up and notice her shoes are still not on.
I try, but fail this time, to calmly tell her to put her shoes on again. It feels like the millionth time and my patience is gone. I play tough and threaten to walk out the door without her and it works like a charm (almost every time).
We get into the car and she patiently waits to get buckled into her car seat. Whew! So glad today isn’t one of those days she puts up a fight. A quick two-minute drive and we arrive at the Montessori down the street.
I’m about to walk out when I’m hit with an onslaught of questions and comments from this energetic toddler bunch: “What’s your name?” “I have purple shoes!” I willingly participate for a quick second, because they are too darn cute.
I make and exit and . . . ah, “me time” begins. I take another quick drive to the BART station. I am so glad everything is in the vicinity. Convenience is EVERYTHING these days.
I park my car and walk onto the platform. I love the ease of getting to work within 25 minutes and not having to drive. I turn on a Spotify playlist, scan through my work emails again, and reply to all the group text messages I got last night while I was asleep (mostly playful parenting rants from my sisters).
Before I know it, I’m in the city. I walk from BART to the office, which thankfully is right across the street. I get in and head to kitchen for an “office breakfast,” because toddler leftovers are not going to cut it. I grab a piece of toast, hard boiled egg, and a couple of almonds.
Plugged in and ready to start my “other” job. I love being a working mom. I spend a moment being thankful for that. I am also quite thankful that this morning was actually calmer than usual.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Melissa Pinpin
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