My Morning Juggle
I hear the vibrating of my husband's phone. He is considerate and at least doesn't put a real alarm on, but it still wakes me daily. My husband slips into his workout clothes and heads to CrossFit. It takes a bit, but finally, I doze back to sleep.
My kids' OK to Wake Clocks turn a glowing green. They barge out their rooms like caged animals and wake me up. I manage to croak out my "good mornings," but it is difficult.
I let my kids run amuck in the house while I lie in bed to check my email and do a little social media scan, allowing my brain to wake up.
The first fight breaks out. I grumble, put some pants on, and play referee. My daughter has wrecked her brother's Lego creation. I conduct a timeout — without coffee in my veins yet.
I pour my already-made coffee (I am grateful my husband makes this before he drives to the gym). I sit my butt on the couch and guzzle. I turn on The Today Show, though I never hear a single word.
Husband comes home sweaty. The kids squeal and run to him like they haven't seen him in 365 days. This joy never gets old.
The kids play around me and the coffee finally does its job.
I cut up strawberries, toast two bagels, and spread cream cheese on them for the kids. I place the plates on the table and yell, "Breakfast, kids!" They rush to the table and begin scarfing them down. My daughter brings 8,000 dolls with her and my son brings his fixed Lego creation. "When you're done eating, you both have to get dressed," I tell them. Staring into the eyes of my daughter, I say, "You have to wear long sleeves today. It's cold out."
I go to YouTube and find a quick 30-minute HIIT routine, press play, and place my free weights on the couch. I begin with jumping jacks.
My husband is done getting ready for work and walks into the kitchen. "Get back in that chair!" I hear him yell at our daughter. "You have to finish breakfast before you can play."
As I'm holding a plank, I hear the loud grinding of my husband's blender making a smoothie (something I never eat). He shares some with our daughter.
My husband gives hugs and kisses to everyone, including me, the squat-jumper, and leaves for work.
I make a mental note that we have 25 minutes before we need to leave the house. My son enters the family room where I'm working out to start another Lego project. "You have to get dressed and brush your teeth," I remind him. "Oh yeah, Mom," he says. "I forgot."
I gasp for breath as I do my burpees. My daughter waltzes in, still in her pajamas. "You need to get dressed right now," I tell her.
My son walks in fully dressed and with his teeth brushed. His curly, moppish hair is messy and looks freaking adorable. As I'm attempting push-ups, my son asks, "Mom, why do the back of your thighs have wrinkles in them like that?" I laugh and he goes to his Legos.
My daughter struts into the room wearing a leopard-patterned sleeveless dress. The heat in my chest is now not only from the workout. "It is going to be cold out today! You have to wear long sleeves!" She cries and runs out of the room. (No, setting out clothes the night before does not work with my little girl — she changes her mind a million times after the nighttime layout.)
I finish my workout and do not grant my body any stretching (my body will be pissed at me later for that). I walk into the kitchen and chug water. Now, it's go-time. Panic sets in.
I walk down the hallway to the kids' bedrooms, afraid of what I'll find once I see my daughter. There, I see her standing in her room — with only underpants on. She's done crying but has forgotten about clothes or school. She is playing with her dollhouse. I crouch down next her and speak to her firmly, but softly: "Sweetie, pick out a long-sleeved outfit right now, or I will do it for you."
"OK, Mommy!" She smiles and chooses a white and black striped dress — with long sleeves. Man, I love the fight within my girl.
I go into my room to use the bathroom and change out of my sweaty shirt. I put deodorant under my armpits and throw on a different workout shirt only to mask my stench.
My daughter chooses neon socks to go with her outfit and I do not give a rip. She chooses a leopard bow to go with her outfit. Again, I do not give a rip. I brush the snarls out of her hair and glide the bow into it.
"You have to brush your teeth now," I tell my daughter. "Noooo!" she screams in my face. I click my phone to see the time. "Cool," I tell her. "Be the stinky kid."
The kids and I head to the mudroom to get our shoes on. My son grabs his own lunch box because he is apparently more responsible than his mother at only age 6. While putting our shoes on, he asks, "Mom, isn't it share day?" He's remembered this for me and his sister. "Crap. It is." I hurry to my daughter's room and grab her favorite doll and, thankfully, the strong-willed child listens.
We all pull our shoes on and head out the door. My son buckles himself in and I strap my daughter into her car seat. I look down and notice she has sandals on. "Welp, your feet are going to be cold today!" I tell my daughter. "I don't care, Mom," she says as she rolls her eyes at me.
I start the ignition. I may be sweaty and my daughter's toes may fall off because they are frozen, but damnit, we are leaving the house on time.
We glide through the elementary school drop-off line. My son unbuckles himself, kisses me on my cheek, and we both say, "I love you." I watch him run to his spot, trying to be the line leader. His book bag shuffles back and forth as he runs. I realize how small he still is and feel immensely blessed for him, wishing he could stay this age forever. Full of sentimentality, I drive to my daughter's preschool.
My daughter and I park at her preschool. I unbuckle her and she hops down onto the concrete. We hold hands walking into school and she greets every breathing person she sees. Despite our tiffs this morning, I am filled with pride. Her smile and booming voice make people's day. We stand by the lockers until her teacher opens the door.
Her teacher opens the door and greets all of her little students. My daughter reaches for her name tag and I clip it on her dress. We hug and both say, "I love you." I exit that school to my car as a triumphant mother.
I get in my car, crank the Hamilton song "My Shot," and get stoked for a whole two and a half hours alone to shower and write. But still, as mothers tend to do, I already miss my kids.