…and Taming the Mommy Monster.
Something mysterious happens in my house on some mornings. It’s not pretty. I’m not proud of it. Somewhere in the rush of trying to get everybody out the door to school, I transform into a complete Mommy Monster. I’m talking Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I hear myself snapping about hair being brushed and lecturing about dental hygiene “…you’re going to have those teeth for the rest of your life…”. It’s terrifying.
I go to bed at night as a pretty normal, fairly easy going Mom. I wake up happy. I’ve been a morning person most of my life. I have literally done cartwheels out of my bed in the morning. I’ve even been known to wake my kids up by singing to them. To further emphasize this point, my college roommate doesn’t eat eggs because of me. She was the opposite of a morning person and my cheerful knocking on her door in the mornings to let her know that I had made her breakfast led her down an ugly path of lies and deception. She would hide out in her room pretending she couldn’t hear me. It was a sad situation. (I love you, Roomie!)
My Mommy Monster persona leaves me feeling guilty all morning and starts my tender hearted children’s day on such a sour note. I try my best to change the mood I’ve set on the drive into town, but I always know that I could have done better as I’m watching them walk into school. I have found a few ways to make our morning rush less harrowing. They are probably pretty obvious, but I know that with as busy as life gets with two sets of twins I sometimes forget to employ my meltdown prevention tactics.
OPERATION: BE PREPARED
Most of this happens the night before. I’ve noticed when I follow these simple (although sometimes time consuming) steps, our mornings look a little more like a Disney movie and a little less like a scene from the Titanic when the ship is going down and people are pushing each other overboard to get a spot on a life raft.
- Develop a bedtime routine and stick to it. Sleepy people move slow and are ill-tempered. Having a consistent bedtime routine is a must.
- Set out everybody’s clothes– including socks and shoes- the night before. Simple time saver, especially when you have little ones who like to help pick out their own outfits.
- Have all bags (school bags, diaper bags, gym bags, lunches) packed and ready to carry out the door.
- Be thinking about breakfast. I know this might sound silly, but when you’re cooking for a small army of people breakfast can take a long time. Know what you’re having for breakfast the night before. Prepare it if you can. I have a few go-to breakfasts that I can put together the night before. My kids love oatmeal and I have a great recipe for an oatmeal casserole that can be prepared ahead of time and baked in the morning or even baked ahead of time and reheated. I also make oatmeal in the crock pot that is always a big hit. For those mornings that just don’t go as planned, keep an emergency quick breakfast on hand. Granola bars and yogurt are easy and quick and not a nutrition disaster emergency option.
OPERATION: LET IT GO- TAMING THE MOMMY MONSTER
Even with careful planning and preparation, people are people and sometimes meltdowns happen. I try to remind myself that probably nothing that happens is going to lead to the end of the world. Do I love the idea of my kids waltzing into school with their hair not brushed? No. But, it’s not the end of the world. Do I feel like insisting on zebra patterns not being worn with polka dots? Yes…but again, life goes on. I sometimes need to remind myself to pick my battles and let the rest go. Even being a few minutes tardy to school won’t stop the Earth’s rotation. That one is a little harder to swallow and I could write for a day and a half about teaching children the importance of punctuality. However, is a tardy slip really that much worse than a morning of yelling and hurt feelings? For me, I think my relationship with my kids ranks higher than making the first bell on time. But seriously, teeth brushing is non-negotiable.
Hopefully some of my strategies will help you tame the morning beast and get out the door on time. I’d love to hear what other techniques you use to help beat the morning rush.