Morning Warfare

I’m not a morning person. It takes me a little while to wake up. My husband and ex-roommates can verify that, before kids, I had a guideline. No, it was more of a rule that it was safest not talk to me before I left for work in the morning. You could call me the minute I was out the door; that was best.

Josie is a morning person. She is 100%, in your face, loud, starting at about 6:00 am every day.

Sometimes we struggle. Some mornings there is sobbing, sibling slap fighting and resulting time out(s). On these mornings there is usually some maternal yelling and I spend the rest of the day being mad at myself and trying for forgive myself for losing my business.

As a result, I do my best to streamline our morning routine, to put out her clothes the night before, to make sure she puts socks on before she leaves her room so we don’t have to go back for them. I plan a menu of breakfast options so she has multiple sources of protein, but not so many that I have to make every breakfast food in existence.

As Josie gets older, we can talk more about mommy’s dislike of loud noises in the morning and the appropriate and inappropriate times for loudness. Paul and I try to make mornings fun by talking like pirates, challenging each other to races, and giving lots of rewards. Sometimes these tactics work. Sometimes they don’t.

The other day we had a super-great morning. Josie and I were both so chipper. I think she skipped to the car and actually got in right away and then I thanked her. There was no yelling, no crying, no children slap-fighting. If a neighbor had heard us, I don’t think they would have even thought about calling CPS. Not once.

Later that day, I found myself thinking about what we did right – a mental de-brief of the morning. What made this morning different? Then I remembered the email. Before I went into the kitchen I checked the email on my phone and discovered that The Huffington Post would be publishing my essay the next day. Interesting. Perhaps I need to work less on Josie and more on myself. Perhaps I need to be less of a pirate and more of an empathetic mother. Or, perhaps I just need to make sure I get an email that is just that happy, every morning.

8 thoughts on “Morning Warfare

  1. Barb

    Great post. Every mother, even mothers that have always been morning people, can relate to the morning thing. In the morning I’m always all about getting up and out as quickly as possible, and my kids are all about fighting for every last second of being in the bed or being in the house or being with their mommy as they can. The mornings when things work best for us, the mornings when I don’t end up screaming and crying and begging as I try to get them in the car 15 minutes past my original goal, are the mornings when I get up a half an hour earlier. I give myself that quiet time to myself to get organized and breathe deeply and slowly. I’m glad they don’t wake at 6am. :)

  2. Aly

    I can relate to your post in so many ways. I think as mothers, we need to consider what we’re holding emotionally and how it impacts our interactions with our children. Personally, I notice a dramatic shift in my interactions with Henry after I get an email from a client saying that they want to book their wedding with me. I also notice a direct shift when I receive a rejection email. It’s sad, but it’s true.

    I’m working very hard on balancing my own emotional world and finding a way for it to exist alongside my role as a mom. As a mom, I can be sad, and I can talk to Henry about how I’m sad, but I also am striving for that not to so directly affect my mood where he’s related. A tough lesson, and definitely something to work on.

  3. peggy

    Oh, boy. Can I tell you about how many mornings resulted in breakfast wars, dressing wars, car seat wars? I’m embarrassed to admit that once–on my way to work–I extricated the screaming daughter from the carseat and sat her on the curb. Just to get her to shut up. Not my finest moment. But, we live and we learn (at best) and we revert to old patterns, even when they are teenagers (at worst.)
    Bottom line? We are not perfect, as parents. As people.
    A good morning helps, but we can’t count on those good mornings. Every day is a new adventure.
    Thanks–as always–for sharing your experience.

  4. Tami

    Love this post! Love the responses! Love that you were in The Huffington Post most of all!

    As a fellow non-morning person, I totally get it. Mercifully my kids aren’t early birds. But mornings are still stressful if we have somewhere to be. We are always late, and mostly I’ve given up beating myself up over it.

    This week we are in quarantine waiting for the chicken pix to erupt. This morning I handed my kids my iPhone and let them watch Fireman Sam while I half-slept. It was decadent and while I’m not proud of it, I would do it again. Maybe tomorrow.

  5. Katherine Post author

    Aly, that is so true. I was talking to some friends this morning about that very issue. The mother, or primary caretaker, is so often the mood predictor for the family. It’s definitely true for the kids but even for the spouse. If I’m grumpy or my fuse is short, Paul’s tends to be short too. But aren’t we also are entitled to the full range of emotions? I love what you said about not letting it effect our mood as we interact with our children. There’s a goal!

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