I Don’t Know How I Do It

I am not a morning person. I hate mornings. I loathe mornings. I have never in my life woken up to see the sunrise of my own free will, because…well, eff you, sunrise, that’s why. You’re boring and horrible. I’m going back to bed.

If you had asked my husband and me for our respective Biggest Parenthood Fears before we had kids, I’m sure his would have been something about not being a good provider or having enough patience or whatever. Mine was: I don’t like waking up early.

And it was a shock for awhile, when I’d do that half-wake-up thing on early Saturday morning, remember that it was Saturday morning, awwwwwwwww hell YEAH Saturday morning, roll back over to sleep in, and…WAH. WAH. MAMA. MOMMY. MOO-OOO-OM.

But oh, my God, there are just so MANY of them now. There’s always SOMEONE waking up early and deciding it’s a good time to 1) poop, 2) throw up, 3) cry, 4) see what happens when you poke Mommy’s eyeballs, 5) play a nice quiet game of MONSTER CAR CRASHES IN SPACE KABOOOOOOMMM, or 6) sneak downstairs and provide an early morning soundtrack of mysteriously alarming crashes, bangs, uh-ohs, booms and…is that the coffee grinder? Jeeeeesus sakes alive.

But school has raised my hatred of mornings to a new level. I now have two children to send off to school every morning. Two children who suddenly have decided they also do not wish to get out of bed EVER. Two children who are the slowest dressers/breakfast eaters/shoe-putter-on-ers on the planet.

Two children who of course need to be in two different places at two different times, with two different sets of school accoutrements (backpacks, lunchbox, snack, folders, permission slips, etc.), PLUS A NURSING BABY OH RIGHT HIM, and…I, me, myself, the world’s most cranky and non-functional human being on earth, am the one in charge.

Every morning I feel like I’m shortchanging somebody: Noah gets snapped at because he’s refusing to get out of bed, Ezra goes to school with his shorts on backwards because I’m too distracted to notice, Ike wails from his bouncy seat because he’s hungry but I MUST get breakfast on the table for his brothers if they have any chance to even eat half of it before I’m barking at everybody to GET OVER HERE TO THE FRONT DOOR RIGHT NOW I AM LEAVING WITHOUT YOU SO HELP ME. (Luckily no one has been going to school long enough to point out the many levels of ridiculousness in that threat. YET.)

Someone doesn’t get as good of a breakfast as I’d like, something gets left behind on the counter instead of getting put in the proper backpack, we’re the jackasses running full-tilt to the bus stop as everybody else is boarding, or I have to ask the babysitter (who doesn’t arrive until the tail end of all this nonsense) to drive Ezra to school instead of taking him myself, even though I KNOW he’s going to cry and I desperately want to be the one there to comfort him, but…the baby. I have to nurse the baby. I’m so sorry, buddy. I’ll drive you tomorrow, I PROMISE.

I just…feel like I’m really BAD at this morning business. Still. Just like I was always afraid I’d be.

And predictably enough, the mornings when I breathe a sigh of relief and mentally congratulate on a job well done are the mornings I’ve managed to shortchange only myself. Sure, I had to skip my shower and my coffee…but we made it to the bus stop with minutes to spare. Okay, so I showed up at Ezra’s preschool in pajama pants and spit-up on my shirt…but the baby got to nurse off both boobs before we left and I didn’t rush him through it. So I catch the sight of my make-up-less face in the rearview mirror and see the face of someone much older than I am, someone who needs to moisturize/pluck her eyebrows/get her roots done, someone who looks SO TIRED…I did it. I made it through another morning. I got goodbye hugs and kisses from fed, happy boys and smiles from a fed, happy baby and I did it all before I would have even been out of bed, in my previous life of no kids and flex time.

(And then, of course, it’s time to get to…you know, “work.” Because everything up until the minute I opened the laptop was a damn vacation.)

Some day I know it will get better: The kids won’t need so much help from me, or any help at all, and I’ll be able to bump myself back up the priority list and not be seen in public looking like a hungover swamp monster. I’ll be able to sleep in on the weekends if I want to. Ohhh, that will be so nice.

And yet…because this is motherhood we’re talking about, where there may be winners but YOU are never one of them: That vision is sadly muddled with a future version of me, waking up early anyway just to be there when they go, perhaps standing in the kitchen begging someone to let me scramble a damn egg for them, please, guys? Please?

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