The alarm sounds at 5 am. The first order of business is trying to get out of bed without waking the sleeping toddler snoring at your side. If you are able to maneuver out of bed, carefully removing the foot from over your head while keeping her asleep, the morning has high hopes of going smoothly. If the beast awakens you just move into survival mode and hope to make it through the morning with minimal meltdowns. Most mornings begin with a few minutes stretches or exercise, breakfast preparations, smoothie making, lunches (if you failed to make them the night before) and most importantly coffee! DON’T FORGET THE COFFEE!
Time to wake the children if they haven’t done so themselves. Routine is critical so start the day with a few snuggles, eating breakfast (Thank heavens for the husband’s diligent breakfast preparations and first-class smoothie regime), remind them to eat the breakfast, chase a naked 3-year old with a hairbrush and then convince both children to get dressed. Reminders to eat, dress, and put on matching shoes and socks will be delivered at least 5 times. Oh yes, don’t forget to get yourself dressed with any time left and throw the mascara in your bag because it can be applied at a stop light.
Depending on the day this is usually the load up and roll out part of the morning. Gather the stack of lunch boxes, water bottles, breakfast items still not consumed after asking 10 times and your briefcase. Then begin the run down in your head to ensure all important contents such as wallet, phone, keys, and children are in tow. This is usually a two person effort or at minimum requires 2-3 trips back inside while trying to avoid the grass in heels or being sprayed by the sprinklers.
These are the working hours and will vary from day to day. The morning emails and setting a daily plan almost feels like a break from the early morning home activities so savor the relaxation. Around lunch time you will line up the list of folks to call like the pediatrician, school, and dentist. They’re usually on lunch for an hour and a half while you have a 20-minute break to call them so inevitably you will keep trying to call them throughout the week. Also, try to remember: the dentist closes at 4 on Tuesdays, you need to stop on the way home for $9.00 cash for the field trip tomorrow, a birthday card for your employee and sour cream for Taco Tuesday.
Carpool pick-up time and the beginning of “The Witching Hours.” These are the hours where only the strong and strategic come out alive. The hours that combine school pick-up, unloading the car, homework and dinner preparations. Silence is golden but not with a preschooler who is most likely getting into your nail polish kit again (the bathtub is just going to stay pink at this point). When the meal has been prepared a variety of needs will arise including but not limited to: an urgent bathroom trip, a change in seating arrangements, a fork that needs to be converted into a spoon and most likely a drink refill from at least one that fell on the floor. When all else fails, bribes and playing airplane still work as a last resort to ensure adequate nutrition is obtained. Bath time and the nightly floor mopping after said bath means you’re on the home stretch to bed time. Just brush a few heads of hair, referee teeth brushing time, lotion, books and songs and it is lights out!
Lay with the toddler while she begins to fall asleep. When she is snoring, carefully sneak out of her room, even the stealthiest will discover that they have motion sensory radar on you and will waken as soon as movement is detected. Then spend the next 30 minutes sending them back to bed while they ask for water, a different stuffed animal, more blankets, no blankets, or different blankets.
This is the point in that day you may actually be able to sit down! Rest not, for dishes, laundry and packing school bags await! Make sure you check the school activity schedule for field trips, water-play days, in-service and show & tell lineup.
Squeeze in a shower, a little nightly beauty regimen and make some tea. Look down and realize you really need to make time for that pedicure… Make your notes for the next work day, to-do lists, review P & L’s, work on side business ventures and steam your suit for the meeting with your regional bosses the next day. Set the alarm for 5 am and crash as soon as your head hits the pillow.
The days are long at this point but the years are short. I am thankful for my wonderful, supportive partner by my side as he truly carries his share of the load. Whatever your family dynamic I wish for you a strong support system as it truly takes the village to raise the child. I am grateful for the caregivers that help expand their little hearts and minds during the day allowing us the opportunity to contribute to society and the communities we serve. As a working mother, you learn the importance of time management, structure, and most importantly that it is “OK” to let go of things that do not serve you. You learn that the most important gift you can give your family is your time and therefore you learn to make the most of it! Hire that cleaning lady every once in awhile so you can spend your weekend at the zoo or the beach rather than scrubbing toilets. You learn to have faith in others and realize that you really can have it all if you stay strong, disciplined and keep around a good stock of wine!