Thursday, June 6, 2013

When You're Outnumbered in the Morning

In the morning, I have three people to get ready: me, and both the kids.
I remember when Lainie was two or three, thinking "God it will be so nice when she's a couple years older and can dress herself in the morning." 
Flash forward six years, and I'm still picking out her clothes, and dressing five year old Jack like he's a damn toddler.
It's hard.
Luckily I've never been one to care too much about how I look, so going to work every day looking close to homeless because I was the last to get ready, and I was subsequently out of time, is nothing new to me.
For the most part Lainie can physically dress herself, and Jack can too if we all have 5 hours to sit around while he takes 1 hour to put on each item of clothing, allowing for 10 minute play breaks in between each thing, and as long as I don't mind Lainie being too lazy to get clean underwear out of her drawer, or trying to leave the house in a sundress in February or a sweatsuit in August.
At any rate, mornings can be a fucking mad house around here, and while I'm not by any means perfect at navigating them calmly, these are my tips for any one else who ever has to get more than one kid ready early in the morning by themselves, and still also put their own clothes on before leaving the house:

1. If one of your kids is not a morning person, but another one of them is, always get the morning person up first. Let the morning grump ass sleep a couple more minutes, and use this time to like, brush your teeth or wash your face, or any of those other "little things" that are always done in the last half second before you ABSOLUTELY MUST LEAVE NOW OR BE SUPER LATE.

2. Pick clothes out the night before. I say this, yet I'm terrible at it, so I do one of two things: I either pick out the outfit for the morning grumpy kid {Jack} during those couple extra minutes I gave him to sleep, or I if I do remember to pick out his clothes the night before, I try dress him in them after his bath and before bed.
I know that sounds lazy and terrible, but hear me out: I usually only put the shirt on him, and only if it's a t-shirt, and obviously the clean underwear and the socks. He HAS to wear gym shoes to daycare, and finding socks in the morning for three people is similar to dismantling a bomb in the rain with someone giving you instructions in Japanese. I put his bottoms at the foot of his bed, and throw those on him as soon as he gets up, before he can argue.

3. Relax about TV in the morning. Once you've dressed both kids, or at least provided the ones that are old enough to dress themselves with clothes, let them read or watch TV or play a video game, or WHATEVER, so you can have a couple minutes alone in the bathroom to get ready. The mornings I get the most pissed off and stabby are the mornings when both kids are under my feet in the bathroom while I'm stumbling around trying to get ready. Also, you can use TV as a reward, for say, putting on your Goddamn shoes. "Put your shoes on in the next 30 seconds, and not only will I not leave you at a fire station, but I'll also let you watch TV for 10 minutes before we leave"

4. Give warnings. I like 15, 10, and 5 minute warnings. I announce that we are absolutely leaving in X amount of time, and I stick to it. If you aren't done getting dressed or getting your stuff together in that amount of time, you are getting in the car as you are, period. I have definitely taken kids to school in pajamas, without backpacks, or clutching Ziploc bags of dry cereal because they screwed around and didn't get ready until there was no time for breakfast. If you have to put your shoes on in the car on the way to school, fine. 
Trust me, it only takes a couple times of this for kids to really pay attention to your warnings.

5. Do it together. I've learned that once the kids are all dressed, it's sometimes easier to do stuff like face washing, teeth brushing and hair combing all together at one time. Sure the bathroom is super crowded, but you can go through in one swoop and do all those quick tasks at once, and nobody's teeth or hair gets forgotten. Yes, I've done that too.

6. Last but not least, coffee.
For the love of all that is good and sacred in this world, motherfucking coffee, please and thank you.

How do you get your minion army out the door on time?


  1. Threats, lots of threats. In every form imaginable. It is the only thing that works for me and on my daughter, unfortunately.

    I thought of you when I read this post:

    Guess we're not such bad mamas after all.. :)

    1. Oh I know all about the threats! This morning I threatened everything from taking the kids to day camp barefoot, to throwing the TV out the window. It was not my finest morning.