I have been pretty up front about the fact that I suck at mornings. I have written more than one blog post about the debacles that have occurred in the hour after we roll about of bed before we frantically peal out of the driveway. It’s not pretty. After I complain about the repeated clusterfucks (That looks wrong. Kind of like it should be clustersfuck, sort of like the plural of cul-de-sac is culs-de-sac. Anyway.) that comprise my morning routine, I usually shake it off, shrug, and tell myself something like, “Oh well, that’s just the way things are. It’ll get better.”
Unless it gets worse. One morning this week, it got worse. In fact, I think I may have hit bottom.
We slept late- both the girls were up around five a.m., and when they both finally fell back asleep, I was sure as hell not getting them out of bed. Here’s the thing- I should have gotten out of bed on time, but instead I snuggled up to them and remained warm and content in bed.
We did all right on the first stretch of morning prep- I long ago stopped showering in the a.m., and we all promptly got dressed and downstairs for breakfast according to schedule. I set the girls up with some food, and then things began to unravel.
We couldn’t find Izzy’s lunchbox. Or her coat. How the hell does this happen? More importantly, how does this happen over and over and over? Are normal people this scatter-brained?
We were still on schedule to depart on time, and then we couldn’t find Sophie’s shoes, I left my sweater upstairs, and I had to run back in from the garage twice to retrieve important items like my phone and my coffee mug. (Not. Optional.) To my horror, the last few scrambles put us further off the mark than I had realized, and we were dangerously close to the bus arrival time. (Yes, we drive to the bus stop around the corner. Fewer hassles, and plus, it’s cold.)
As we reached the end of the street, I watched in slow-motion an event I had not witnessed before: the school bus pulling away from the stop. And true to my Mother of the Year status, I uttered the following sentence: “We just missed the fucking bus!” Yes, my two children were in the car. (God, I hope my husband hasn’t broken his streak of not making time to read my blog and picked today to start back up) It got worse. I began to shout, choking back tears, about how I “couldn’t have any more mornings like this!” and how I may have been “sick of not being able to find shit all the time!” I was on a roll. My six year old’s eyes were wide. She knew this was serious.
As we pulled up to Sophie’s childcare center, I decided to ask Izzy if she had her mittens. This was not really a question, since I saw them on the floor at home and told her to get them. It was more of a confirmation. Except she didn’t have them. It was 4 degrees outside. It’s one thing to be the mom who says the F-word in the car, it’s another to be the mom who doesn’t send her child to school with the proper outerwear. Stopping back at home would make me officially late for work.
Fortunately Sophie’s childcare provider has a five year old daughter and graciously loaned us some mittens, but by the time Izzy finished her painfully long fumble to get re-buckled (Seriously- she uses the seatbelt every day. Why does it sometimes feel like it’s her first day operating the damn thing and she has apparently lost her thumbs?) I was fuming again.
As we pulled up to school, I was horrified to see the icing on the cake of my maternal failure- flocks of children entered the building. In their pajamas. Because it was goddamn pajama day at school. Was my child wearing pajamas? Hell. No. I wanted to rewind the morning and end up back in bed. Or fast forward the whole day and end up back in bed. Either one.
As I drove to work as quickly as possible, I realized that this time, something has to change. I recalled the only time in recent history I didn’t feel like my daily routine was falling apart at the seams: about two years ago I had a three-ring binder that contained every to-do list, weekly menu plan, grocery list, and dry-erase sheets for daily routines. Every single day I crossed off my checklists at morning, mid-day, and before bed. And I didn’t forget stuff. I was organized.
So, knowing this about myself, why have I allowed myself to flounder ever since- sweating and swearing my way through every morning of my life? Why am I not getting ready for the day the evening before? Why am I not checking items off the same list every morning, as I have clearly proven I am unable to remember them without assistance?
I have stopped asking, “Why am I so disorganized and scattered in the first place?” because the answer doesn’t matter. Maybe it was the second baby that put me over the edge. Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation. Maybe it’s the fact that I have a busy brain that never stops turning. Who cares? The point is, there are clearly things I can do differently to avoid starting my day feeling like the worst combination of asshole and airhead.
Again- why have I not made a change? I have decided that although I hate the chaos, I am almost addicted to it. That I am getting something out of this daily disaster, whether it be a subconscious desire to sabotage myself and subsequently beat myself up, or some misguided surge of adrenaline. So it’s time to be the guy who breaks up with you because he knows he is an asshole who will never commit or change, and he wants to do you a kindness because he knows you will never break up with him. (Still following?)
I am breaking up with my stressful mornings, on behalf of myself. I am using my higher brain, and forbidding my lower brain self to carry on with this self-torture. It’s time to make a change. Tomorrow I will wake up and say to myself in the mirror, “Hi, I’m Stephanie, and I’m a Stress-aholic. I am 12 hours sober.”