Planning for mornings

Look, mom, we helped ourselves to breakfast!

A Real Account of a Working Mom’s Morning

Planning for mornings
Look, mom, we helped ourselves to breakfast!

Best laid plans… You know the rest.  Planning for mornings is almost impossible with kids.  And I’m not here to offer you tips and tricks. I’ve tried them all, as have you. And I know all about your plans.

I know that you stayed up later than you wanted packing lunches, prepping breakfast and laying out clothes. I know that you think if you get up 30 minutes earlier and are ready before the kids wake, that it will all go smooth.

You know what else I know?  It almost never works out like that.  At least not at our house.  In fact, most mornings:

  • I oversleep because I’ve been up at least once with at least one kiddo.
  • One or more of my kids manages to make a bodily fluid mess within the first 10 minutes of their being awake.  It’s a fun game of hide and seek first thing in the morning.  Where’s the booger?  Probably on  your clean and pressed pants.
  • I fight with my 4 year old about what to wear.  Even if we have agreed on something the evening before.  Red plaid Christmas pants are apparently very in style this time of year.  I would let it go… but I can’t.  I just can’t.
  • I attempt to brush my daughter’s hair. This requires holding her legs down, putting her in a light headlock, and bribing her with breakfast candy.  I do what I have to do.  Even then her hair is barely acceptable.
  • We attempt to brush teeth.  The oldest has this down.  The others just eat the toothpaste.
  • My husband has gone out of his way to prepare breakfast. The oldest declares it “yucky” and the other two refuse to give it a chance.  Even if it is was their favorite yesterday.  Granola bars are served as a backup.
  • My husband leaves me for “work”. I put this in quotes because the next 30+ minutes of trying to get the kids into the car and to school is much harder than any other work he could be doing.
  • I finish up packing lunches, put backpacks on kids, sing the line up song and everyone lines up and waits for me.
  • I forget my shoes. And keys
  • I look for keys for 5 minutes and find them in Batman’s house (cave, whatever). Or worse, exactly where they should be. On the hook.
  • I line everyone up AGAIN at the door, find my coffee and have a quick pep talk with them about walking directly to the van so we can get in our car seats like big boys and girls.
  • I chase 2 out of the 3 kids down the play structure. I’m too old for this.
  • I sweet talk the kids into getting into their seats only to have one tell me they need to pee, have peed or pooped, or that they are hungry or thirsty.
  • Take care of above needs and FINALLY leave the driveway.

As I was writing this, I was smiling. At the time all of the above is occurring, it stinks. Mornings are hectic.  And if you have a meeting or deadline, you can pretty much guarantee that it will be harder.

Plus, I don’t have any super effective tips or tricks. You would think after countless mornings of getting the kids this close together I would have it down to a science. I don’t. But I would like to offer this piece of advice: laugh. Finding a shoe in the freezer is kind of funny the first few times. Watching your kid grow into their own person with likes and dislikes – even red plaid likes – is super precious. Having your daughter prefer her hair in her face because it tickles her nose is silly. And the moments pass so fast!

What does a morning around your house look like? Do you have any great advice for making it easier to get everyone moving? Can you relate to my mornings?  Let me know.  I love to hear from you!


26 thoughts on “A Real Account of a Working Mom’s Morning

  1. Thanks for the laugh! Such a true portrayal.

    1. It is so exhausting. But when you recount it to coworkers or your mom, you have to laugh. It’s so ridiculous to have to chase kiddos down the slide at 6:45 in the morning or to coax dog poop out of their hands. Ridiculous and precious.

  2. OMG, this is so funny and so true. All of it.

    Morning around my house looks quite similar. My son ALWAYS decides to poop in his pants just as I’m about to leave … especially if I’m actually on time for once.

    No one likes their breakfast options.

    No one wants to wake up, or if they do, they don’t want to get dressed.

    I consider every single day that I get the kids to sitter’s and school and me to work a small miracle. We did it. Another morning, check.


    1. I am with you. I actually sigh in relief when I get to work – before kids I thought that was just an expression. And not because I am glad to get away from them. I’m just glad we made it! Here’s to one more day before the weekend.

      1. Work is ALWAYS calmer than home with the kids 🙂 It’s almost like a spa retreat. Without the massages and whatnot.

  3. This was spot on! I will tell you, it does get easier as they get older. Mine are 7 and 10 and while we have new hiccups in the morning, no bodily fluids or chasing is involved 😉

    1. Shannan – I am so glad to hear it gets easier. And I could really do without finding boogers or pieces of food stuck to me when I get to the office. I don’t look forward to the homework battle though. My daughter is very strong willed.

  4. Stephanie Tsales says:

    This made me laugh. I had literally just snapped my daughter into the car seat this morning when I heard it…the dreaded sound of the blow out. I got her out as fast as I could, but alas, I was too slow. When it was all said and done we both needed new outfits and the car seat needed a cleaning. It was craptastic (pun intended).

    1. All you can do at that point is the slow-motion “Noooooooooooo!” …

      1. Stephanie – the blow outs don’t last long at least. Once solid food comes they are few and far between. Glad you noticed it before you got to daycare! I may or may not have driven to daycare with a poop diaper before just because I couldn’t stand to undo a car seat…. A blow out is different though. You can’t play innocent on that one.

  5. Awesome post! I think every working mom/parent can relate. You never know what will happen, but things do get easier. And, I love how you wrapped up this post. These crazy, manic moments are sometimes frustrating, but so full of precious memories and silly moments.

    1. Thanks, Shannon! I count the small blessings every day. And I really love the silly moments.

  6. Heidi Yeadon says:

    I have been a Nanny for the same family for over three years. Three kids. Grandma also lives with them. Neither parent wakes the kids up in the a.m. (Sometimes Mom does). I wake them and help them dress, brush teeth etc. before going to preschool I make breakfast. I make their lunches, pack their backpacks, find their eyeglasses, give them their meds. Dad reads the paper. Mom has left long ago. I make and take them to Drs. appts., haircuts, play dates, after school sports etc. with the help of Grandma. She and I do everything, me with the twins, her with the older child. There is a dog, a cat, housework, toys, everywhere to be picked up…..every Monday it looks like a bomb hit. I think you see where I’m going with this.
    Dad ALWAYS has an excuse for not hanging out with the kids despite working at home and/or ending his day at 4 or 4:30 on many occasions. It saddens me greatly. Most parents I have known are not like this. Obviously I was hired for a reason but, I think this is nuts. My heart breaks for these kids. Their home, all 8K square feet of it is not homey or necessarily comfortable to children. I wonder why they even have children. The twins want food every second of the day, and want to carry their blankets with them…even the 11 year old. She usually sleeps with her parents at night. She has cried and complained to me on many occasions. In daycare i would have to report this. It doesn’t seem to apply to children under the care of a nanny. It’s just shameful. The younger two attend a special ed preschool FT. They are exhausted especially Mondays and Thursdays. I am not supposed to nap them because it’ll affect bedtime. They want me to keep the kids awake so that when mom gets home at 7:30 or later she can eat with and see the kids.
    (They have a babysitter come help from 5:30 until 8 or so three days a week after I leave to drive the older girl to sports). needless to say all three of these kids have issues.
    Does anyone on here have any thoughts on how i can better cope with working as a nanny for these people? Please?

    1. Heidi,

      I’ve been thinking about how to respond to this for a few days. This is a tough one.

      First, let me say, working and parenting is hard. Parenting in itself is hard. You mention that two of the children are in a special ed class. A child with special needs could be even harder to parent. And I have to imagine that with an 8,000 square foot home these people have some stressful jobs that require a good chunk of their time and energy.

      I’m home on the weekends. I don’t have a nanny. And my husband is present and attentive. Yet still, every Monday morning it looks like a bomb went off in my house as well. Heck, after 1 day at home it looks like a bomb went off. Having a clean home is not the most important thing. Maybe they are using their weekends to spend their time with the kids and having to clean up the house would encroach on that time.

      It is sad that dad is absent and doesn’t feel like being with the children. But it does sound like the mom leaves for work very early and gets home late. You, yourself, say she wants to see the kids for dinner.

      I believe that if there is no abuse happening there is nothing you can do. Again, it sounds like the mom has a very big job outside of the home and is doing her best to be there for the kids. Some dads aren’t as comfortable with daily routines but maybe he is there for them at night or on the weekends.

      I understand that your heart hurts for them. But if I hired a nanny for my 3 kids it would be in part so that I didn’t have to do the morning hassle of getting kids up and dressed and off. I’m not sure how old the twins are, but around 4 years old naps can wane off.

      They are a lucky family to have someone who cares so deeply for their children and worries about their well being. It sounds like you might be overworked though. I would consider asking for help with the housework. If they have this large of a home, surely they can afford it. I was the BEST parent before I had kids. Because I had no idea how hard it really is and how guilty I was going to feel all the time. Yes, maybe you are there for them physically more often than the mom and dad, but I promise that their hearts are with them 24/7.

      Best of luck and be easy on this working family. I’m sure they are doing the best they can.

      1. Heidi Yeadon says:

        Thanks for your response Casey. I often don’t have people that understand what its like to be a nanny because i don’t seem to meet alot of them especially ones my age. I’m 53. This family has a different life than the one I had with my own daughter. We had less monetarily speaking but, we always had time together, love, and I attended all of her soccer games, practices, and recitals at school, by myself, as a single mother. We all cchose the kind of lives we want I suppose.
        I have been with this family for three years. The twins are four and their older sister is 11.
        It has been tough keeping my mouth shut when the kids act up because they haven’t seen their mother in three days and their father seems to avoid them. I know it’s not always like that with most families. My family wasn’t like that despite the large restaurant/nightclub that my father and mother ran for 14 years.

        I often feel overworked and underpaid but, I still carry on. I do not put cleanliness over the needs of the children especially in this case because the parents are not spending that much time with them on the weekends as you may think. Everyone in this household d leaves a mess wherever they go and they think someone else will pick up after them.

        Its a different mentality in this household. The parents hearts are selfish for themselves mostly. I am sure it is time for me to move on. I feel badly for the children because the parents have chosen material things and their careers and their big house over making sure their children feel loved, comfortable, secure, healthy and happy. Ask the 11 year old…sh’ll tell you how it really is. It breaks my heart.

        To the rest of you consciencious , caring, loving parents thank you from the bottom of my heart for keeping the balance in your lives so that your children are really honestly happy.

        1. My friend had a similar experience, and even though she doesn’t have any kids herself yet, she knows that parenting can be done better and kids can be happier.

          If you stay with the family, you can either:

          – keep your mouth shut about your opinions and die a little on the inside, while you can keep loving on those kids. You can’t replace their need for their parents, but you can certainly still love them when you are with them.

          – don’t keep your opinions to yourself, and risk being let go. I wonder if you could find the right way to communicate gently, without sounding judgemental to them, that their kids are hurting, and you have some ideas, if they are interested, in how to build a better relationship with their kids.

          Neither option is perfect, and it really depends on what you want to take on and what kind of people they really are. I worked at a daycare for 2 years in college, and it broke my heart to see parents drop their kids off at 6am while on the phone and not even say good bye, and then pick their kids up late after 6pm while still on the phone. I also had to wonder why they wanted to have kids!

          I worked at home full time for my 1st’s first year, then had to quit. I found myself being angry at an infant for interrupting me, and I hated how tired and stressed I was. It took a lot of bravery (and trusting that God would provide what we needed), a reduction of living expenses, and a huge reduction in “fun spending,” but quitting my job and being my kids’ full time caregiver while my husband works is the best decision we made.

          And my friend ended up gently suggesting some parenting/discipline strategies that they could work on together, and not only did it establish some boundaries for herself (“No, I will not sleep on the floor of the 5 year-old’s room so he will stay in bed!”), it got her and the parents on the same page with how to raise the kids. The mom (yes, she was kind of immature and self-centered) even ended up calling my friend “her life coach!”

          1. Thank you very much for your thoughts. Establishing boundaries is a great idea. I have tried to do that as much as I can. These parents are the same way and it breaks my heart to see them ignore the kids or push them away when they have too much hugging and kissing. Really?? Unfortunately, I have made suggestions and was reprimanded like a two-year-old for doing so except with much more inappropriate language. :-/

  7. This was great, and so true. And every time I toy with the idea of having more kids, I look at the mess that is our mornings with our 5 yr old and 2.5 yr old and know that it just wouldn’t be possible. Eating toothpaste? Yes. And painting with it. This morning my toddler decided to scrub himself with chocolate milk. 10 minutes prior to school departure. And it was hilarious. For a millisecond.

  8. One possible tip. I put my children’s clothing on them before they wake up. It cuts way down on time spent dressing them and the number of tackles needed to get pants on. I am very lucky to have kids that sleep like the dead. I occasionally feel like I am setting them up to get rolled as drinks in adulthood. I also used to have pangs of guilt whenever anyone asked me if my older daughter could dress herself. She is now 4 and a half and even though I have been doing this to her for over 3 years, she has learned to dress herself on weekends.

    1. Guilty admission here – I dress my kids, still. Even the almost 9-year-old. It’s just easier and faster that way. She dresses herself on weekends and non school days, but if I had her do it when we’re trying to get ready for school it would NEVER GET DONE! I’d rather just put her shoes on her than nag her about doing it and not get all of us out the door.

    2. There is nothing more agonizingly painful than watching a young child dress when you are in a rush.

  9. Michael Dad says:

    Since I know the rest of the story, I think you need to repost with the new chapter day two: bowling for children.

  10. This is AWESOME! It is nice to be able to smile and laugh at it afterwards, even if it is HORRIBLE in the midst of it. I know I will miss it when it’s gone.. in a little way.

  11. Pingback: Morning Preparation Tips for Working Moms - Hectic Morning Redo

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