Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Morning Madness - Getting The Hell Out Of The Door Every Day

I remember one of the biggest adjustments to parenthood as a first time mom was the simple art of leaving the house.  Before kids, you just got up, did your morning thing, and walked out the door.  When my son was a week old, we had to take him to his Bris for 7am.  I think I experienced real terror on how I was actually going to manage to get out of the house with an infant at that hour... make sure the diaper bag was packed with extra clothes, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, etc., do a last minute diaper change, calm the crying baby, quick turn at the boob, put snowsuit on (Oh yes, born January 21st in the dead of winter), take snowsuit off, do another diaper change, put snowsuit back on, stuff crying baby into baby carrier, remember to actually bring diaper bag.... blah, blah, blah.  If you've been there, you know what I mean. 

Nearing the end of my mat leave with Myles, I think I had actual panic attacks thinking about how I was going to get both him and myself up and out the door by 7am every day.  Then add baby #2 to the mix and the anxiety more than doubles.  I've been at it now for 3 years and mornings are still far from fun.  I definitely have my timing down to the minute in order to leave on time, but there isn't a day that I don't end up in a mad rush by the last few minutes.  I don't think I ever leave the house leisurely on a weekday now that I have kids, except on the rare occasion when I'm not doing a drop off.  Those days feel like an absolute luxury.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I wake up at un-Godly hours.  I set my alarm for 5am everyday, but I'm usually out of bed by 4:45am.  I get up, brush teeth & put in contacts while trying to rouse myself, take some vitamins, do my 20-30 minute workout, feed the dog, finish making lunches (I try to do most of it the night before), take a shower, get dressed, etc.  By the time I'm finished all of that, it's usually around 6:30am.  Up until this point, my routine is at a very nice, unfrazzled pace, unless of course one of the kids has woken early.  Then they are usually tagging along and needing something.

Usually it starts with the breakfast demands (or TV demands).  Amazing how they are so absolutely starving and need breakfast NOW, when at other mealtimes, I have to force them to eat.  It doesn't matter if I'm half dressed or not dressed at all... they can't wait another minute! 

And then the fun begins... My daughter wakes up every morning with a rat's nest on her head, so we start with the hair brushing ordeal - brutal.  Out comes the brush and the No More Tangles Spray (thank the lord for that invention).  Once the screaming has settled down, then the dressing game begins.  No matter what I choose, it's the wrong outfit.  And if I ask her to choose, she can literally take an hour.  So there I stand looking at my watch as she's hemming and hawing and I have to remind myself to breathe.  She also has this special trick of wanting to play catch me if you can once the clothes are finally chosen.  Fun.  Not.  My husband tries to have her choose her outfit the night before and does have some success with this strategy.  But she definitely invokes the female prerogative to change her mind! 

The morning madness is taken to an even higher level on those mornings where I actually have to wake my daughter from a dead sleep.  If she's not up by 6:45am, I usually carry her into our bedroom and turn on some cartoons, hoping she'll transition from sleep zombie to TV zombie and won't have any kind of a meltdown.  And did I mention, by 7am coats and boots are being wrestled on?  So all those fun activities take place in a nice 15 minute window.  Because of course, we need to be dressed and leaving by 7am in order to roll out of the driveway by 7:10am.  I still can't figure out how that takes 10 minutes.  But it does, so it has to be calculated in.  Oh, yes, and somewhere in that 15 minute window during the wretched winter months I have to get outside, start the car, and clean off the snow.

Thankfully this past September my son started kindergarten.  So he's now my husband's responsibility in the morning because he doesn't leave for school until long after I've left for work.  Many days he's still asleep when I do the morning madness dash out the door.  But I used to do the morning routine with both of them.  And next September, Charley will start pre-K at Myles' school and I can once again return to just getting me, myself & I out of the house.  I'm counting the days... In the meantime I will try to remember how blessedly wonderful it is to look at her little face and get that warm good-morning hug and kiss.  It does make it all worth it. 

Here are some helpful hints I found for getting out the door in the morning.  I won't say "hints to avoid morning madness entirely" since I haven't quite mastered that.  If you have, please fill me in!

From "Hub Pages"

From "eHow"

From "Pick The Brain"

From "Associated Content"

From "WorknWomen"

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