Mornings stress me out to no end. I panic at the thought of dropping the kids off at school before the bell. It’s never been a huge problem or anything (they aren’t tardy but once or twice a year max), but the time restriction plays havoc with my anxiety.
Combine that daily deadline with two “delay fish” twins and one small anarchist, and mornings are downright hellish.
Early in 2020, Henry took me by the hand, gazed up at me and said “Mom, sometimes it seems like you’re one person in the morning before school, and a totally different person after school. After school you’re nice, and before school you’re … anxious.”
I was so happy that he was able to articulate this, and express it so calmly. It is some of the best feedback I’ve ever gotten. I told him I know what he’s talking about, and that I would work on it.
I started doing a bunch more prep at night. Yes, I’m exhausted at that time after a full day of work, homework with the twins, feeding everyone, chores, bedtimes, working out… but it makes the next day start off much better. The twins, in their turn, have quit delaying so much and have stepped up their morning responsibilities. I can now fully trust them to get dressed (I usually lay out their clothes, otherwise Eleanor would be in a tutu and Henry in shorts every day) and get their own breakfasts. Henry has become like a Morning Captain; he is usually walking around with his coat, shoes, and backpack on before I even get all the way downstairs with Grant. Eleanor has a much more relaxed approach to mornings, but to her unending credit, she’s seen how stressed these mornings were making me, so she has taken her own steps to be more on top of things in the morning. I usually only have to tell her once or twice to get her shoes or coat on. Grant continues to sow chaos with a heart full of joy. Bob has also taken on driving the kids to school, so he has to deal with the actual deadline, while I just manage the kids out of the door.
Henry and I had a check-in chat on how mornings were going recently. I asked him if he felt I was more “me” during mornings, and told him that I felt a lot better in the mornings. I got a good review! He was proud of how he could help contribute to my better morning attitude, and we agreed that mornings overall are more calm (Grant notwithstanding) and very smooth. The twins are used to filling out their reading logs every morning, getting me to sign them, and putting them back in their bags, get prepped to walk out the door, and clean up their breakfast messes, which is a huge improvement over the tornado that used to run through the kitchen. I personally feel that our mornings are under control (Grant notwithstanding), and they are no more stressful than any other part of my day now.
I can’t express how proud I am of Henry. I hope that he always talks to people about the things he observes with such compassion and care. I hope that I am always able to hear him (or anyone) when they have valuable feedback.