The Morning Is All About Survival


Did you survive your morning today? Did you get the kids to school and then to work where you could finally relax? For a lot of parents, you are probably nodding your head yes. The morning is all about survival. You succeed and do it all again the next day. Mornings get better, but when you have young kids, it can feel like you are just doing whatever it takes to get out the door.

Lately for us, the mornings have been a grind. Everyone is waking up in different moods. The weather is cold. We don’t have the right cereal. “Cool” pants are dirty. There is not enough time for an episode of Sesame Street. Oh and somewhere in there, mom and dad need to get ready as well. That part becomes secondary in the game of getting out the door.

Charlie in particular has been dishing out the terrible two attitude lately. Nothing is right. Everything is wrong. Except when he wants it. Then it is right. But then you look at him funny and it’s all wrong again. Such a tightrope.

The milk, cereal box and bowl need to be arranged on the table in such a way, it’s like some puzzle that makes it okay for the kids to eat. They say they are done. You put everything away and then they decide they are actually hungry again.

Katie does her best to manage breakfast. I find it impressive that she manages to get some food in her own tummy. Between falling chairs, flying place mats, exploding Lego and the painful clang of a spoon hitting the floor, Katie and I keep pushing through.

We know that it ends once we cross the finish line, or in this case, the door leading out to world. Once out there, everything is fine. The fresh air hits and the kids turn back into happy kids.

Breakfast is the first hurdle. There are days when it all goes smooth, but like I said, Charlie is testing us. He is imposing his will on breakfast time. We have not broken. Yet.

The second hurdle is when Harry starts to turn down the pace. This is when it’s time to get dressed. I do my best to speed up the process. Why the kids are eating (or not), I pick out their clothes and have them ready. So then Harry can go and get dressed while I heard Charlie from the breakfast table to the bedroom. It’s harder than you may think.

Usually it is a good five minutes later. Harry will be sitting there just staring into space with his clothes still next to him. Now instead of tagging off and going in to dress Charlie, they are both in there tossing clothes at each other. It’s fun.

Finally Harry decides it is okay for him to get dressed and he disappears. I get Charlie dressed and he starts begging for “cookie” or what he calls Sesame Street. I can barely get his shirt on before he bolts out the door. This is the turning point of the morning for Charlie normally. Television.

I switch the kids again. Charlie gets comfy on the couch and Harry returns to brush his teeth. Hair done, teeth clean and we are done.

Both boys now watch TV for 20 minutes while everyone else gets ready. Pretty cool huh? After all that, we get a whole 20 minutes to get ready. But’s the best 20 minutes of the morning. It is quiet.

Before I go on, these mornings are normal. They are not horrible. They are what mornings with kids are like. There are far worse things in the world than getting ready for work and school. That being said, by Friday, it’s a lot to deal with. That is what weekends are for. Regrouping for another five mornings.

So everyone is ready. Kids are calm and  done their show. The final hurdle is next.

Getting dressed for the winter world. Uh…snowpants.

February was brutal. It was freezing every day. Normally I skip snowpants because it’s just easier. But February was too cold. So that means chasing Charlie around trying to stuff him into these puffy blue pants. He does not like it.

Harry, well he gets ready with his body always perpendicular to the TV. This means backwards boots and he keeps missing his arm holes on his coat. All hail master TV right.

So Harry is ready, Charlie, is ready enough to leave and I throw on my stuff. A quick bye to mom and we finally are ready.

From waking up to door is about an hour. Some days it feels like two. But we made it.

I get the door open and we break free to start the day. Are you tired just reading that? I am.

This does not even involves anything out of the ordinary. There are millions of parents who have more kids, special needs, weird situations and so many other variables that make the morning even crazier. I can’t imagine it.

After the kids are dropped off and I get outside, the world slows right back down. It’s calm. I can hear and see my surroundings clearly. I am relaxed.

It’s funny how going to work is the most relaxing part of the day.