Last year FOR SURE, and I think the year before, too--although, as my mother says "I've slept since then," so I can't remember perfectly--weekday mornings were the worst times for us. I worked on my nice face for the day as I drug myself out of bed, I worked on my nice face as I woke up the two older kids (one who was always gripey), I worked on my nice face as I pulled a crying and clingy Baby Chickadee out of her crib, then continued to work on my nice face as I balanced Baby Chickadee on my hip while making breakfast, asking questions about lunch, making lunch, reminding them to watch the clock, telling them to go pick out something to wear, finding jeans in the basement, then finding socks, ALL WHILE HOLDING THE CLINGY BABY, remember, then making sure teeth and hair were brushed before we rushed out the door.
You guys. That was a lot of crazy in our first 45 minutes each day.
But this year is so much better. Lots of little things equal up to Mommy not having to work on her nice face so much. Now, it is just there.
First of all, I've been praying about it. Which, my 20-year-self cocks an eyebrow and tilts her head with a, "Really?" But... yes. When we love God, when He has lined up our desires with His own, He gives us the desires of our heart. And the desire of my heart is to be a good Mommy. My children will have plenty of material for their therapist someday based on what I did wrong over their years in my house, but God is growing me, pushing me and guiding me to be better. And this year, with our mornings, especially the mornings I've prayed that He help me be a blessing to my children, that 45 minutes goes much smoother than it would have without Him.
Other things, too. Like they pick out their clothes the night before and lay them out. GENIUS, and done by hundreds of thousands of other moms for ages before now, but I finally learned that YES, this is the way to go. Everything they picked out is there, waiting and ready for them as soon as they come down the stairs.
Baby Chickadee usually sleeps til 7:30, after breakfast and after lunches are made. I'm not sure I can control that, but I certainly appreciate her desire to sleep longer than she did last year.
I don't make them breakfast anymore. I want to. I want to make them pancakes or eggs or french toast in the morning but I had to make a decision between feeling rushed with an irritated face or letting them eat cereal while I have a nice face. And that processed, easy morning staple won. Now they pour themselves a bowl while I'm putting together their lunches, then I can sit as I drink a cup of coffee and actually enjoy their conversation. That is, I can enjoy their conversation on the mornings they're awake enough to make any.
AND, drumroll please, I have been making it to the Y immediately after drop off. I know. I've been patting myself on the back for that. I've been laying out MY clothes the night before, too, as well as Baby Chickadee's, and we are happy and fed before we drop off G and Little Missy so we can make it to the Y by 8:15. Getting that heart pumping is a good way to start the day. Then we're home by 9:30 and have plenty of time to play and pick up the house before lunch and a nap.
So I'm writing this all less for you than for me, so that six months from now when the nice face is slowly getting replaced by the aggravated face I will hopefully remember this column, read it and be reminded how mornings should be done.
Erin Fox is a weekly columnist for the Augusta Gazette and a busy mother and wife. Her popular blog - erin’s little corner can also be found on our webpage,augustagazette.com.