Why mornings for mums can be the absolute worst... but I wouldn't change them
I have always been a morning person.
I know this statement will make some people hate me (wait – the story is not over yet!), but I just loved the start of a new day - even the notion of being up before everyone else made me feel energized, organized and just ready to get on with my day.
Then I had a baby. Then another baby. And now my mornings, far from being the haven of healthy breakfasts, morning radio and me-time of the past, have become a scene of utter chaos. CHAOS. "I used to be so organised," I frequently wail at my other half. "I had clothes laid out and to-do-lists and ROUTINES!"
Speaking of routines; Forbes magazine ran a piece a few months back on the morning routines of 12 successful women. Some of these routines included things such as:
4:45: "Wake up and have a bowl of quinoa cereal. I do an hour or so of 3rd or 4th series ashtanga yoga."
6:30: "Wake up and express in prayer how thankful I am to have woken up that day because someone went to sleep that night and didn’t wake up."
6:45: "Head down to the home gym for a workout."
7:45: "Pour my coffee and make breakfast and then sit by myself in my living room. Breakfast could be a smoothie or ezekial toast with cashew butter, or oatmeal with chia seeds and almond butter.”
Well, needless to say that particular article deflated me a little (a LOT. Thanks, Forbes!). In contrast, my morning routine (and I use the term 'routine' very loosely here) tends to unfold more along these lines:
4.05: Toddler wakes up (for the 3rd time that night) and wants to be transported into our bed (along with a tiny, made-of-metal Lightning McQueen car). I don't argue. 4am is a bleak time and my willpower is at rock bottom. I read somewhere that if someone is dying, 4am is apparently the time when most of them do so. I'm not surprised by that.
4.37: Toddler is finally asleep after six rounds of Twinkle Twinkle.
6.15: My iPhone alarm goes off and I nearly drop phone on toddler's head trying to get it off quick enough so it doesn't wake him.
6.16: Realise it woke him.
6.20: Attempt to have a shower, but ends abruptly when toddler comes in and DROPS iPad into shower as he is looking for someone to put on Lightning McQueen Youtube videos.
6.22: Worry briefly that toddler is developing a Youtube addiction.
6.23: Realise I don't really have the luxury of time to be worrying about anything right now.
6.30: Finish shower AND have time left over to do my hair. (Mentally high-five myself).
6.37: Pack lunch box for 7-year-old while toddler watches Youtube (iPad survived, mentally say prayer of thank-you to Steve Jobs for good product design and hard-wearing durability).
6.50: Attempt to dress toddler, who has decided that he does not want to wear clothes today.
6.57: Give up and go to wake up 7-year-old instead.
7am: Enjoy a lovely moment of mummy-and-daughter time with 7-year-old while getting her dressed (this is a good day!).
7.06: Reheat coffee I made 25 minutes ago.
7.13: Throw together a chia seed and kale smoothie for kids. JUST KIDDING. They eat Elsa-and-Anna yogurts. Make them eat a banana each. (Again, good day!).
7.15: Realise I need to leave in 4 minutes.
7.16: Realise I really need to start putting out clothes for myself the night before.
7.17: Realise toddler is still naked.
7.18: Shout at other half that toddler is still naked, but that I did try to dress him.
7.20: Inhale some cereal (some of which ends up on my shirt). Thank God for baby wipes.
7.22: Run out the door for work (leaving creche and school drop-off's with other half).
7.23: Run back in to kiss kids goodbye and tell them I love them.
7.24: Off to work.
(7.45: Stop and get HUGE coffee and say a little prayer that I actually made it out the door this morning too!).
Needless to say, my mornings and the 'routine' since having children could not be further from my childless mornings of the past. But believe it or not, much as the notion of pre-dawn yoga and quinoa/kale smoothies can sound tempting, I would not change these mornings for anything in the world.
Because when I am in the middle of it, trying to wrestle clothes on an unwilling toddler, discuss suitable-for-the-season footwear with a 7-year-old and make sure we all eat breakfast at the same time, I can't help thinking that this is what life is all about. And that when these days are over, I will miss them. And the knowledge that out there, there are millions of other mums, doing the exact same things as me soothes me too.
There IS comfort in numbers. And coffee. Lots of coffee.