I can be a good mom. A really good mom at times. I listen to what my kids have to say. I try to encourage their interests. I try to teach them how to treat themselves and others.
Really, there are some good things about my mothering.
School mornings are most decidedly not one of them.
School mornings turn me into a much more malignant version of the Wicked Witch of the West.
“Where is your backpack?! Where are your shoes?! Why did you take off all of your clothes just as we were about to walk out the door?! My keys! My keys! Come on people let’s go. I simply cannot handle this today.”
Those are all spoken within about 5 seconds.
And I would like to say that I am justified. Mornings are crazy. Just yesterday, I handed Magoo two pairs of matching white socks and told her to put them on. She walked in the other room and came back with two completely different unmatching socks. I asked her what happened to them and she said she lost them on the way to the living room. How does that even happen?
And then there’s Goose. I’m trying to get everyone ready, and I have to spend fifteen minutes digging all the toys out of her pockets and backpack that she’s trying to smuggle into preschool.
And then we walk out the door and they decide to jump into the snow. All of them. And they kick it around and sit in it (that one is Mae) all as I’m trying to wrangle them the ten feet to the car. (We don’t even deal with the garage. Trying to get them all in there would be a nightmare.)
And then we finally are in the car and they all decide to empty their backpacks looking for things and inevitably leave things they need in the car.
And then they jump out of the car and Mae and I head home, and nearly every morning tears are threatening my eyes. Because every morning without fail as I leave that parking lot, I think of Sandy Hook. And I think of all of those Mamas whose last memories with their babies are school mornings. And what memory could be worse? Because I don’t think I’m alone in my school morning craziness. It seems to be the norm rather than the exception.
But that’s not how I want my kids starting their day. I don’t want them to leave chaos as they head into school. I want them to feel love and comfort as they head into the love and comfort of school.
And so we have started saying prayers in the car in the morning as the car warms up. Regardless of how the trip to the car went, this puts things in a different light. We ask God to forgive our morning transgressions and we ask the same of each other. We say a Hail Mary asking her to help us do God’s will. And then we say the Guardian Angel prayer. For me, this is like a plea, as I close my eyes and envision wings of protection covering all of my children, praying to their angels far more deeply than to my own.
And that’s nice. And I love it. And the girls love it.
But more can be done.
And so today, I decided we were going to do something different. As usual, the girls had to get their stuff ready the night before. And I checked their bags and made sure they had everything.
And then no one was allowed to touch anything. I put the lunch box in the bag. The back pack was not to be open. I made sure they got dressed without leaving their location so that clothes wouldn’t get lost during the three steps from the dresser to the bed. I made them eggs. I didn’t even try to get Mae into clothes. Her pjs would work the twenty minutes until we were back home.
And then they got their gear on. And no one was allowed to leave the mudroom once gear was on.
And it worked. We walked out the door. They jumped in the snow of course, but that didn’t bother me as much. And we all walked to the car.
And it was beautiful. It was perfect. My girls could start their day in peace.
And we said our prayers. And I still had tears as I left the parking lot. But I was okay. I was okay with how it went.
And I know this isn’t a solution. Mornings will always be crazy with little kids.
But the difference this time was that I accepted the difficulty. And in accepting it — accepting that they were all going to scatter like a bunch of butterflies and I would have to catch them all in the same net — I was able to find some ways to work around it.
I truly and deeply believe in the importance of peaceful mornings. I am horrible at implementing them. But I won’t give up.
Do you have any ideas? What works in your house that might help others? What areas do you really struggle with? I would love to hear.
By the way, my comments are not working well. The real comments are getting lost in the hundreds of spam messages I get a day. I’m not quite sure how to fix this, so if you want to comment, please do so on Facebook until things get straightened out. I hate to miss your comments, and I know I’ve missed quite a few. My deepest apologies for that.