Mornings are brutal. No two ways about it.
As head of the early morning household rush, I feel like a cross between a cheerleader and an Army logistics expert — whatever it takes to get the family out of the door and on time to school, work or warfare.
You know, the usual.
But there’s always something that trips us up: If the kid can’t find her shoes, the wife can’t shut down her computer. Breakfast can’t be decided upon. Homework is lost. Then the garbage cans are in the way of the car — thanks garbage collector! — or the neighbor has double parked on that one morning when you have no time to spare.
Something — anything, everything! — always intervenes to turn those already frantic mornings into clusterfudges of monumental proportions.
In those hectic moments, I always think: We are three people. How is this so difficult? And why can’t these people physically get. out. of. the. house!
Then I cool out and recall some of the more unusual things I’ve tried to make mornings a breeze … or at the very least less frantic. Yes, I’ve tried all the usual, craptastic Ann Landers ways you read about every now and then: get up early, get ready before the kids, drink coffee, communicate, not kill them all.
These are not those.
So here goes … the Top 7 Ways to Beat the Morning Rush:
Say there’s a big surprise in the car 1 of 7Big Bird, Superman, Dora, whatever it takes. Yes, they will be upset when they get in the car and realize that the big surprise of Imaginary Girl isn't really that awesome, but at least they're strapped in and ready to go. (Note: You can probably only use this once or twice before you get labeled with the Daddy's a Habitual Liar tag, so choose your morning wisely ....)
Feed them on the go 2 of 7I remember, before the child, getting all gripey about some oatmeal commercial and how the parents fed their kids in the car on the way to school. How sad, I thought, to lose the joys of family breakfasts and early morning bonding time. *Snort* Then I had a kid, school schedules hit and a bag of on-the-go Pop Rocks and speed is used as a lure every now and then. Sue me, it works.
Let them drive 3 of 7Not ALL the way to school, but at least out of the garage ... so long as they hurry up and get the heck going. In reality, they're just sitting on your lap, sort of steering a little. No big deal. But the kids like it. And once you're ready to actually drive, strap them in and voila, you've shaved minutes off your get-up-and-go routine.
Dress them the night before 4 of 7We had to be at school super early one day, and I just knew the morning was going to be a disaster, thanks to a little bit of homework left to do. So after bath the night before, I dressed my daughter in the dress she was going to wear the next day, calling it Silly Nightgown or whatever. When she woke up, she was already ready to go. A little hair and teeth brushing and we were golden.
Put the hammer down 5 of 7I'm not above threats and recriminations and punishment, and sometimes the only way to a breezy morning is dropping the hammer and threatening total and complete toy elimination if you don't EAT THAT BREAKFAST RIGHT NOW AND MOVE! In all seriousness, following through with toy disposals makes for at least an easy week of mornings. Until they forget and another toy has to take part in the Hunger Games ....
Put them in charge 6 of 7This may only work on older kids who actually care about getting to school and seeing friends, and it certainly has an air of peevishness to it, but try putting them in charge for the morning and seeing how long it takes to actually get going. If they miss the first recess, you can bet they won't be so late next time.
Leave your spouse 7 of 7OK, so I've never actually been ... brave? stupid? ... enough to try this one, but it falls under the things-I-learned-from-my-grandpa header. He always said he only offered one wake up call and after that, you were on your own. My wife is perpetually the last one out of the door, and I always harbor fantasies of saying, "We're leaving in five minutes" and then ... actually leaving in five minutes. The fantasy side of this scenario leads me to believe she would never be late out of the house again, not wanting to miss a ride. The rational side of this scenario leads me to believe I would never be allowed back in. If you try it, lemmie know how it goes.
Mike Adamick writes at Cry It Out! He’ll be sleeping on his blog’s couch, once his wife gets wind of this.
Slideshow photos: Morguefile