Mean Mommy & Morning Madness*

I try hard to be a patient mom.

I have three children under the age of six, so sometimes I have to dig deep to find that patience, but I can usually find my inner zen mama to get through most moments.

Today my inner zen mama died and crazy mom came out.

I love my children. I do. Sometimes I have to say that out loud to remind myself that I do, but I really do. They are wonderful.

…except between the hours of 7 – 8:30am.

Getting my children dressed and ready to get the weebean to school each morning is the BANE OF MY EXISTENCE. Oh my gosh. Let’s review this morning, shall we?

This morning actually started last night, when at almost 9pm I had to go upstairs and tell the weebean to go to bed… again. She is normally out cold by 7:30 or so, but for some reason she just want to play and play… and play and play. She finally begrudgingly laid down (after I threatened to remove the toys she had snuck into bed and hide them for a few days).

I knew it would be hard to get her out of bed this morning, so I waited as long as I could. By 7:15 I knew she and Tank needed to get going on breakfast, so I went upstairs to wake them up. I try to do this gently… I don’t turn the light in their room on, I softly call their names and rub their arms and back for a minute or two. Sometimes this is enough. When it’s not, I usually start singing and joking–I might tickle them a little or crack jokes. When that doesn’t work, I get stern and tell them they need to get up or we’ll be late. This is usually enough to get Tank out of bed. The Weebean? She was not having it today.

So I put “Nice Mama” away and put on my serious face. I told her she had until the count of 10 to get out of bed before there would be consequences. I got to about 6 before she finally whined herself out of the covers and down the ladder. We started downstairs, where I found Tank halfway down, refusing to go any further because he was “scared”.

Of what, you ask? Of breakfast. (obviously)

It was barely 7:25 and I was already digging deep to find my zen mama just to get my kids to the table to eat breakfast. I apparently prepared the wrong breakfast for Tank, because he started sobbing hysterically at his bowl of honey nut cheerios, while his sister scowled at her bowl of Reece’s cereal and refused to eat.

Awesome.

I decided to take a breather and left my cheery children with the Hubster for a minute so I could grab a quick shower. It’s always after my shower that the non-stop battles begin.

I usually have to ask the kids 3 or four times to get dressed. I will bring their clothes TO them, and it still takes FOREVER. Sometimes they will get half dressed and stall at putting pants on, or socks. So I am constantly reminding them to complete the process so that I can do the Weebean’s hair.

She complains about this pretty much every. single. day. She wants to wear her hair down, but we’ve already had notices sent home that there was lice in her classroom, and I will do everything in my power to prevent that from coming into my house. So, she has her hair braided or put in fun pony tails every day. She usually loves her hair once it’s done, but it’s like she forgets that part every day when I call her, and I have to deal with lots of complaining until it’s finished.

Then, heaven forbid, I ask my children to go to the bathroom and brush their teeth before we start getting them dressed in their outside clothes. For some reason, me asking them to do this crosses some line and it provokes end-of-the-world whining every. single day. When I finally get the Weebean INTO the bathroom, half the time she will come out two seconds later, having “forgotten” to do one or the other, despite doing this EVERY DAY and I have to send her back in, with more whining.

Then if all this fun wasn’t enough, it’s currently -100 in Ontario and I need to stuff three children into snowsuits, neck warmers, mittens, hats and boots. Today the Weebean just would not get ready. I can usually get her (slowly) started while I try and wrangle the boys, but for some reason, it took her 10 minutes to put on a sweater and one leg in her snow pants. We were already running late, so when I encouraged her (again) to please hurry I turned off the TV show I normally let her watch while she gets dressed. For some reason, this made Prince Will absolutely lose his mind. He started sobbing and flailing while I was trying to stuff him in his snow suit, she started complaining, and Tank had his grumpy face on over in the corner. I dug deep to find my zen mama, but I had absolutely maxed out my patience limits by that point and she was gone.

So, mean mommy came out to play. I’m not proud of it, but I yelled. I lost my cool today. The kids finally got dressed, so I kicked them outside while I cooled down a little, got myself and the Prince ready, and then I stormed out the door. I hauled them all into the garage while I strapped the Prince into his stroller, and decided there needed to be a consequence to curb this behaviour. Instead of putting my kids in time out, I put their new favourite toys in time out… indefinitely. They will earn them back when they can be better listeners in the morning.

We had a long, silent walk to school, but luckily I had a minute to chat with the Weebean before the bell rang. I apologized for yelling, but I needed her to understand how hard it is to get three uncooperative kids ready for school in a limited amount of time. She was less pouty by the time we hugged and she went in, but she was not pleased that Princess Pony would not be available to play when she got home. Tank will be without his new Darth Vader doll until mornings improve.

*sigh*

Am I alone in this? I feel like we struggle through our mornings every day and it’s SO HARD. Occasionally we have a good day, but it’s a battle more often than not. I try to keep them relaxed and be fun, but I get so frustrated when they don’t listen to what I’ve asked them to do and have to repeatedly ask them to eat, or get dressed, or use the bathroom, etc.

Is there some magic trick I’m missing?? How do you get your kids ready for school without fighting??

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One Comment

  • lola

    Ok so you are not alone – I had 5 children under the age of 8 at one time (madness..lol) and there are a few suggestions I would like to make:

    – have kids lay out their clothes the night before. My kids call it “making my dummy”. This quickens things up in the morning and empowers them to make the decision of what to wear so no fights about clothes in the am b/c they are excited to put on what they have planned. A few minutes of prep before bedtime saves fights in the am.
    – no TV in the mornings. Yes hard to change this bad habit in the morning but very effective to keep children focused on the task at hand. DO THIS. Replace it with fun, upbeat music that the kids can sing and dance to as they get ready.
    – get them an alarm clock and set it. Have them wake up to an alarm. Yes, they can do this at this age. It teaches them responsibility for getting themselves up in the morning and then they don’t resent you waking them up. They have to get out of bed to turn the annoying alarm off. Trust me, it works!
    – teach them to regulate their own bedtimes. My kids put themselves to bed now. It was a process but I am so glad I taught them this. I don’t tell them to go to bed, they go when they are tired. They learn to listen to their bodies and know if they stay up late they will be tired in the morning. Again, this is a process…sometimes painful as you watch them adjust their body clocks. But it works. My kids know that by a certain hour at night I don’t want to see them but if they want to stay up all night in their rooms that is their prerogative. It gives them power to make their own choices and also feel the natural consequences for their actions.
    – have a designated space for all of their outerwear that is easily accessible by them. I had my husband build a locker for each of my kids in the garage so they each have a space for their backpacks, shoes, jackets and mitts etc. etc. It helps them find and be responsible for their own things.
    – breakfast: if they don’t like it, they go hungry. Their choice. I don’t cater to them. I provide healthy options and they can take it or leave it. No child ever died by missing breakfast. But they will think twice about it next time.
    – start earlier in the day. Better to have some extra time leftover before school to play on the playground or get an extra verse of scripture in before heading out the door. Make time to have a good moment and everyone will feel better.
    – take your shower AFTER you come home and the kids are dropped off. You won’t feel so rushed and can take more time for yourself after their needs are met. Or take a shower before you go to bed at night; this is also very relaxing.
    – if they are late, they are late. Put it on them, not you. Most kids don’t like to be late for school b/c they miss fun things, their friends and teachers give them a bad time. Let them feel the natural consequences of this and you will find you never have to nag again.

    With love from,
    Tried and Tested. xo

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