A Typical Morning in my Week and Most Likely Yours Too!
I wake up at 5:00am every day so that I can have some time to myself. It’s not that I don’t love my children and my hubby, but after teaching part time and coming directly home to take care of my sweethearts and then chasing after them for most of the afternoon, I find that I’m a better mother if I get some time to myself. Sometimes I only get the morning time to myself, sometimes just time in the afternoon, and sometimes I get both or neither.
In the end, I find that it all evens out.
The morning time is specifically used to do things I find most relaxing such as reading my Bible, doing some writing, knitting something for a friend or my children, followed by getting a shower, and preparing the kids lunches on days when they go to the sitter or to daycare. Ideally, this means I get one and a half hours to myself in the peaceful quiet of the house as the sun slowly rises and caffeine gently makes its way into my system.
There are days when this regularly happens. This morning, for instance, my son tried to get up with me but is now happily back asleep which has enabled me to write this blog post. It’s nice. It’s peaceful moments like these that I cling to because most days... Most days I snooze a little bit when my alarm goes off at five. Very rarely is this because I want to sleep more. I’m actually a very perky morning person and I thrive in the moments before, during, and directly after the sunrise.
My one and a half year old son Bear has a sixth sense about when his Mommy is waking up and he doesn’t feel that I should ever be deprived of his company. When I shift in bed, he seems to know it. If I get up to pee in the middle of the night, he whimpers because he realizes I’m awake. Anytime Bear hears me when he should be sleeping, he wakes up and begs for a long nursing session. So, if I’m snoozing the alarm, it’s either because he woke up at 3:00 to nurse and I was finally able to fall back asleep at 4:30, or it’s because I’m waiting to get out of bed until he falls back asleep because he heard me getting ready to get up.
So, instead of my normal, quiet, Bible reading, happily writing, lunch preparing, sometimes dishes doing morning to myself, this is what happens.
5:00am: The alarm goes off. I snooze it because I hear the crinkling of Baby Bear’s mattress as he shifts in his crib and then stands. “Mama? Mama!” he says, testing the waters. I lay still, not breathing. If he doesn’t hear me, he will give up.
5:09am: I was just considering getting up because Bear was silent. But then the alarm went off again and he started calling my name once more. I snooze it again and continue laying there, holding my breath and checking Facebook on my phone.
5:14am: Bear is quiet and I don’t want to risk the alarm again. I tiptoe out of bed trying to remember which parts of the hallway don’t squeak when walked upon. I manage to sneak past his room and into the bathroom. I close the door before turning on the light but I wasn’t stealthy enough. As I sit on the toilet I hear him. “Mama? Mama! MAMA!” and suddenly it’s a battle cry complete with heartwrenching sobs that let me know that he feels utterly abandoned without me. It’s decision time. Do I continue pretending not to hear him, holding my breath while trying to just get a few minutes to myself or do I grab the sweet bundle of fuzzy baby boy from the crib and try to read my Bible and prepare lunches with his company? I can’t handle the sobbing and growling that were purposely intended to pull at my heart strings to I choose option number two.
5:21am: I pull the sweet toddler boy from the crib and snuggle his fuzzy, blonde head close to my cheek. He clutches his blanket closely, frantically fingering the tag with one hand while he pats my back with the other one. His diaper needs to be changed but I know better than to do that when he’s still stifling a few, leftover sobs.
5:23am:I go into the kitchen with the sweet boy who still has a dirty diaper. He wants to nurse but I feels like I haven’t drunk anything in hours so I put him on one hip and try to grab a sip of water while turning on the Keurig to get my coffee ready. If I can just drink a little bit before nursing, it won’t feel like I entered the Sahara as he sucks whatever moisture I have left, so I drink the water with one arm and hold him with the other as he reaches under my shirt trying to get to my milk.
5:25am: Now he’s abandoned the hem of my shirt because he wants my water. I share some of it with him and put him on the counter in front of me as I grind the beans for my coffee. He gets wiggly so I put him on the floor which might as well be prison because he goes right into five alarm mode and screams with all his might while grabbing my knees and throwing his little, reddening head backwards. I take a deep breath and fill the Keurig cup with gresh coffee grounds. I pop it in, shove a mug under the spout, and press the button. Deep breath. I pick up the angry boy who goes back to fingering the tag of his blankie and patting me on the back while shoving his head into my neck.
5:27am: It’s time to make lunches. I attempt to grab all the snacks with one arm while holding Bear with the other. It’s taking twice as long. Besides, I need to get a knife to slice the cheese and I can’t do that with him in my arms, especially since he’s frantically trying to get under my shirt once more. I put him down and he’s back at my knees trying to keep me from doing what needs to get done. I should have just left him in the crib.
He’d be crying just as loudly but the lunches would get packed more quickly. I bite the inside of my cheek and finish the task as quickly as possible while he grabs at my knees and angrily follows me around the kitchen.
5:38am: The lunches are made. Bear is beside himself. I settle down on the couch to nurse him, pulling out my phone in an attempt to open my Bible App so I can at least listen to the Good Book. He latches on and we lock eyes. I talk to him a little while while he calms down and nurses. Soon, he’s shoving his fingers into my nose and my eyes which means he’s feeling better and he’s forgiven me.
5:45am: He’s done nursing. We talk and laugh a little while he toddles around the living room and meanders towards his bedroom.
5:48am: I get up and I’m about to grab my coffee when I remember that Bear still hasn’t had his diaper changed. I shudder to think that he’s been in that diaper since bedtime last night. I grab him just as he gets through his door and I place him on the changing table wondering whether this is going to be a giggly diaper change or a screaming, rolling, kicking, fighting diaper change. It’s somewhere in between. He’s happy but he wants to stand up once he’s naked and flash the neighbor’s house through the window that’s next to his changing table. The moment my hands are off him reaching for pins, throwing his sleeper in the hamper, grabbing diaper rash balm, etc, he’s back up at the window dancing and giggling, as naked as can be. It feels like playing with a jack in the box.
Up. Down. Up. Down. Thankfully the neighbors don’t have a window on this side of their house.
5:51am: Baby Bear has a new diaper. He’s happy because he’s been nursed, but he wants cereal. And a “nana.” I grab the cereal and cut the banana into it. I place it on the end table next to my “quiet time spot” on the couch. He happily starts spilling his food everywhere eating his food and I settle down to read the Bible.
5:52am: I remember my coffee. I get up to grab it just as Bear grabs his bowl of dry cereal and bananas and dumps it on his head. I take care of the mess.
5:54am: I have to pee again. I go into the bathroom and Baby Bear screams because I’m abandoning him so I motion for him to join me in the bathroom and he toddles in with a happy smile on my face. He’s angry at me because I won’t hold him but then he notices that I’m sitting on the potty and attempts to reach through my legs to touch the water.
“NO!” I say suddenly and abruptly, which causes him to burst into tears. He only cries for a second because then he sees the toilet paper. “Tissue?” he asks, grabbing it and running across the length of the bathroom holding one end of the roll before I’ve realized what’s happening. I sigh. At least his hands aren’t in the toilet water.
5:58am: It’s almost 6:00am. I have to leave for work at 7:30 and I’ve not showered, dressed, had coffee, eaten breakfast, or read my Bible. Baby Bear has been nursed, snuggled changed, dressed, and is on his second breakfast. I consider waking my sleeping husband but I know how hard he works and how late he stayed up last night trying to figure out how to get all my new photos to fit on our external hard drive so I decided to let him sleep. Well, at least my coffee’s ready. I grab it. It’s no longer hot but I’m afraid to take the time to microwave it because Baby Bear is silent in the other room.
5:59am: I walk into the living room with my lukewarm coffee in hand to find Bear attempting to empty his sippy cup into the sub woofer. “NOOO!” I yell, sloshing the coffee everywhere as I hastily place it on an end table and rush towards my curious little boy.
“Bear, NO TOUCH!” I say, “Don’t touch Daddy’s speakers!” He pouts again, and then he’s crying and asking to nurse because it’s the only thing in the world that truly makes him feel safe. I sigh and sit down to nurse him. He nurses for thirty seconds and then gets down. I cover up my boob but he notices so he looks at me and screams accusatorily, his body rigid with anger. I pull it back out and he walks up to take a couple more sips, dancing as he does so, then he jumps back down to play. I wait until his back is turned this time before covering up. Phew! He didn’t notice!
6:05am: I wipe the drips of cool coffee from the end table. I didn’t spill as much as I thought so I settle down to read my Bible. “Mama? Mommy?” I hear from my five year old daughter’s room. “Is it wakeup time,” I sigh. “Sure, Baby. You can get up.” She comes over and snuggles next to me on the couch which makes her Baby Brother jealous so he screams and then climbs up onto my lap, kicking her in the side and managing to take my phone (with my Bible app) from me.
Then she whines because she was just kicked. “Oh, honey,” I say to her. “He didn’t mean it. He’s just a baby.” I try to hold them both close but it’s too confining for Baby Bear so he pushes both of us away and gets down. My daughter, Bunny climbs into my lap for a full hug which makes Baby Bear angry because it means Mommy is not available to him. We ignore his complaints for a minute as we get some quality snuggle time in.
6:10am: “Okay, Bunny. Mommy really needs to read her Bible,” I say, moving her off my lap and reaching for my phone and my coffee. Now my coffee is actually cold. I can’t even pretend to enjoy it. I need to warm it up. 6:11am: I zap my coffee in the microwave and try not to think of all the chemical pollution this act will introduce into my body. “Mommy, I’m hungry,” my daughter says. I grab her a bowl of yogurt and add fruit to it and set it at the table. She’s about to eat it when she realizes she hasn’t peed in 12 hours and it’s an EMERGENCY. She runs to the bathroom —well waddles because she has to grab her crotch to keep the flood gates from opening.
She gets there and panics because the light is off. “Mommy, help!”
“Bunny, you’re a big girl. You need to figure out how to turn the light on yourself, even when you have to pee,” I say as my son comes into the room with a plastic spoon and teacup and offers me a drink.
“I CAN’T!!!” she shrieks.
“You have to,” I counter, trying and failing in my attempt not to raise my voice. My son is reaching for me again so I lift him with one arm and open the microwave door with the other.
“THE PEE IS COMING!!!” she yelps. I sigh and give in, leaving my coffee on the counter to walk to the bathroom and turn on her light. Meanwhile, Baby Bear is in a coverless prefold and it’s wet so it’s back to his bedroom to change him. 6:14am: I put Bear’s second dirty diaper of the day into the diaper pail and realize that it’s full. Diapers get washed better when there are less of them so I kick myself for letting it rise to this level. Again. I put him down and point out his box of cars hoping to distract him so I can take the dirty diapers into the basement. He’s not fooled. He follows me. I grab him in one arm and attempt to hold the very heavy bag of dirty diapers away from my body with the other arm. As we pass the bathroom Bunny proudly tells me that she made it and only got a little bit of pee in her underwear. I roll my eyes. “That’s awesome, Honey!” I say, trying to mean it. I try to open the basement door and turn on the light with both hands full. Then Bear grunts at me because he wanted to turn on the light so I flick it off with my chin and lean closer so he can do it. Meanwhile, the muscles in my arms are aching. He turns on the light and claps, “Yay!” he says.
6:16am: Bear and I are in the basement. He’s occupied by a basket full of clean socks so I feel safe in folding the dry clothes onto the laundry table, emptying the washer into the dryer, and putting the dirty diapers into the washer. Then I look up and realize he’s scattered the socks all over our already super disorganized basement. It’s okay. I’ll take care of that when I get home from work, I tell myself. At least I got the diapers in the dryer. I scoop up the giggly boy and get upstairs to find my daughter halfnaked in her bedroom, attempting to get last summer’s sleeveless flower girl dress down so she can wear it in the middle of winter. “Bunny, it’s too cold for that,” I say as I pass her. She goes from happy to screaming in 1.5 seconds flat.
“But PLEASE, Mommy, PLEASE!” she wails as she comes out to the kitchen in her underwear to plead her case.
“Bunny, did you change your underwear?”
“PLEASE, Mommy PLEEEEAAAASE!!!”
“Bunny, did you change your underwear? And no, you may not wear the dress. Go change your underwear. And close the door to your room until you’re done screaming.”
The door slams but the sounds of her wrath still filter through it.
6:30am: I’m about to grab my coffee and sit down to read the Bible when the alarm rings that tells me it’s time to wake up my husband and the kids so they can get ready for daycare/work. How ironic. I put Baby Bear down and walk to my bedroom. I mean to be nice to him, I do, but it’s been a long morning so I’m not. “Dave, DAVE!” I say as I abruptly turn the lights on. “I need you. Now!”
6:32am: I walk back to the living room and sit down to read the Bible and then I remember my coffee. Back to the kitchen to grab it when I realize that Bear just dumped the fruit and yogurt I’d prepared for Bunny (that she forgot about) and now there’s blueberry stained yogurt all over his clothes, the floor, the chair, the table... In that instance, I don’t even know what the world patience means. “DAVE, DAAAAAVE!” I yell. “I NEED YOU NOW!” I grab the blueberry stained little boy and walk by the room to see that he hasn’t even roused. “I’ve been up since FIVE,” I yell, “and I haven’t had coffee or read my Bible or had a shower because I’ve been taking care of kids and the house for an hour and a half all by myself and Bunny peed in her underwear and Asher’s had two dirty diapers already and now there’s blueberry yogurt everywhere and WHY AREN’T YOU OUT OF BED YET?!?! Can you please go clean up the yogurt? Please?” I hate how I’m starting to sound as winey as my five year old.
6:45am: I’ve finally cleaned my one year old and changed his diaper for the third time because he somehow managed to fill it with peanuts in the spare moments that he was out of my sight this morning. Now he’s in his second outfit and I made sure it was perfect for daycare because I know how busy my husband gets in the morning after I’ve left. It’s tough getting out the door on time with kids in tow. I take a deep breath as I put him down and walk into the bedroom because I need to get dressed and ready for work myself. My husband is sitting groggily on the bed. “Is it all cleaned?” I ask him.
“The yogurt. It’s all cleaned up right?”
“What? I don’t know. I’m not awake yet.”
“Are you kidding me? Well, can you please do it now?”
“Sure, just let me pee and get dressed,” he says, rubbing his eyes.
I bite my tongue because I shouldn’t say the mean things that come to mind. It’s not his fault he was wrenched out of bed half asleep and he hasn’t gotten his bearings yet. I was the one who chose not to awaken him before things got out of hand.
6:50am: I walk into the living room to grab my iPhone with the hopes of listening to my Bible as I get dressed and I find that Baby Bear has found the yogurt he spilled and is dancing in the mess. Anger spills from my nostrils and ears but I won’t let it get the best of me. Instead, I lift the dirty baby boy and bring him to my groggy husband who is in the hallway on his way to the toilet and place the baby in his arms without a word before shutting myself in the room and locking the door.
6:52am: I grab a long skirt and a nondescript shirt and sweater. My legs are hairy, I haven’t showered, and now it’s too late to do anything about either problem and I don’t really want to draw attention to myself this morning with anything flashy. In the background the soothing sounds of the Psalms bring me peace and I start to feel like a human being again, feeling terribly for the way I spoke to my sleepy and very patient husband just moments before.
6:59am: I walk into the bathroom to clean myself as best as I can with a washcloth and some homemade dry shampoo for my hair. My five year old comes in wearing the flower girl dress that I just vetoed, but with a striped long sleeved shirt and polkadot leggings underneath. She’s also wearing her Ariel socks underneath sparkly, kitten heeled “glass slippers.” “Mommy, I put a long sleeved shirt on so it would be warm enough,” she says, trying to draw my attention away from her disobedience.
“That’s a great solution,” I say, “but I told you not to wear the flower girl dress. If you would have asked me first, that would have been fine, but since you didn’t, there will have to sit in time out for five minutes for disobeying me. You can wear the dress, though. I like the striped shirt idea.”
She starts wailing again as she walks to the time out chair in the living room.
“Your bedroom.” I say, “And close the door until you are done screaming.”
7:12am: Somehow, I’m dressed and I manage to look halfdecent and I don’t smell (at least not yet). My family is sitting calmly in the living room, the kids at Dave’s feet like a perfect painting as he reads them a rousing rendition of Green Eggs and Ham. I shake my head because I still haven’t had time to really read my Bible. Listening to it as I run around the house like a mad woman is great, but not so nice as getting to really sit down and savor it. Well, that’s okay because now it’s time for us to have our family Bible time.
Wait...no, we’ve missed that too. That should have happened at 7:00. We’ll have to settle for just some family prayer time. “Time for prayer!” I say more cheerily than I feel. I sit down and then remember that I’ve neither packed Bear’s diaper bag nor prepared a lunch for myself. “Oh, wait. I’ll be back in five minutes.” 7:13am: in a flurry of madness, I grab three pocket diapers, a new wet bag, and make sure his travel wipes case is stocked with fresh wipes. He still has his change of clothes from yesterday. I rush to the kitchen and place the diaper bag next to their lunch box.
Then, I slop some of last nights stew into a reusable container and manage to get the lid on before realizing that I also slopped it on myself. I throw some water on the new splotch and I realize that it will probably freeze before it dries but I don’t have time for a new shirt. I grab a banana for a morning snack and as I’m walking back to the living room to put these things in my bag I remember my coffee.
7:18am: I’m finally seated, coffee in hand. The rest of my family is happy because Daddy isn’t as highstrung as Mommy and it’s easy to be happy around him. “Okay, I’m ready for family prayer time!” I say, trying to sound happy and calm even though I’m not. I take a sip of my coffee. Cold. Oh well. It will have to do. We each take turns praying for each other and in that beautiful moment all the stresses of my day are forgotten and I’m reminded that God has everything under control even when I don’t.
7:39am: Wait, 7:39??? I’m gonna be late! I rush to the bedroom to grab on shoes and then outside without a coat to heat up the car. My son, meanwhile presses his face against the cold glass of the screen door and cries inconsolably because he knows this means Mommy is leaving soon.
7:41am: Back inside with shoes on, I grab a scarf and coat as I rush to make sure I have everything. Bear follows me around begging, “Nurse? Nurse?” and I hate to leave him on a “No,” so I let him latch on for a few seconds and drink some liquid love despite the fact that I really don’t have time for this.
7:44am: I have one minute until the last possible moment I can leave without being late.
We gather for our traditional family hug where we all hug together and then each hug and kiss each other in turn. I savor the sweet baby lips and soft skin and the feel of their small bodies grabbing mine. As I put my son down, he wipes his nose on my shoulder so I now have a snot stain to match the stew stain. Eh well. At least there’s something there to remind me of his sweetness. I reach for my sweet husband who doesn’t judge me because he is all too familiar with the way I rush around the house like a mad woman trying to do everything and accomplishing nothing most mornings. Amazingly, he loves me anyway. Then I walk out the door and wave, blowing kisses and showing sign language for “I love you” as I enter the car and congratulate myself for making it in the nick of time.
7:45am: I sigh as I open the window to keep waving and put the car in reverse. I made it.
I will get to school just in time. I begin to back out of the driveway, still waving and blowing kisses to the sweet faces in the mirror when I remember I forgot my phone. I stop abruptly and sprint to the house leaving the car running and the door open. I can make it. I can! I rush into the house as my husband smiles at me.
“Phone?” he says as I blow past.
“Uh huh!” I manage. I grab it, and I’m out the door in seconds. I’m sure I can still make it! I’m sure I can. I can’t be late for the morning faculty meeting again! 7:47am: I’m back in the car, now driving down my street and still waving at my sweet family who is looking on from the big picture window behind me. I take a deep sigh as I look at the clock. I’m officially late. To make matters worse, I remember that I left my coffee in the house and I’ve only had a couple sips all morning. I sigh. Now that I’m just a little late I might as well be really late. I decide to drop my milk jugs by the local farm so I can pick up the fresh milk on my way home from work. As for the coffee? Lots of other teachers must have my morning problems too because there is always a freshly brewed pot in the faculty lounge. In the meantime, it will take me a total of 18 minutes to drop by the farm and get to work so that’s 18, wonderful minutes I will get to listen to my Bible.
Oh happy day!
As I drive, listening to the Word of God and catching my breath after the long morning, I can’t help but laugh and be thankful for it all. Just because going about life with young kids is difficult doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. I wouldn’t trade my life with my crazy family for anything!