School mornings are the worst times of our week around here. I’ve talked about this before, I know. I’ll talk with my husband at night, chew over what happened in the morning in the hopes of learning from my mistakes, and then the next morning I’m still gritting my teeth and telling the kids to get their backpacks/lunches/feed the dog/whathaveyou.
The problem is not getting up, per se. I think that, for the most part, we’re all getting enough sleep (Little Missy sort of excluded. She battles insomnia but I kind of think her body might need gobs of sleep. But that’s a story for another day.) and so in the mornings it’s not that we’re super tired, it’s that my brain can’t multitask. I cannot listen to more than one child at the same time, I cannot fix breakfast or school lunches while more than one child is talking to me, I cannot.
They were talking to me so much because they wanted something ELSE for breakfast. So I’d try to get the older two to decide on a single breakfast option while they’re slightly groggy and grumpy, then make them pancakes or eggs or toast all while making sandwiches and getting fruit for lunch and carrying a whining and needing-to-snuggle Baby Chickadee (okay, maybe SHE wakes up too early on school days) in one arm. Plus I was trying to be nice, hold back my frustration, because nobody needs a cranky mommy before they brave the world of elementary school.
My brain was on constant overload. And when my brain is on overload I go into Business Mode, where my smiles stop and I just Get It Done. You eat, you get water, you get the cups, you feed the dog, did you brush your teeth, get your backpack, we have to leave we’re late! But G and Little Missy did not look at it as Business Mode; they looked at it as Cranky and called me out on it. “Mommy, why are you so cranky in the mornings?”
And I decided the root of all my problems, outside of my inability to listen to them and focus without twitching from the stimulation overload, was the food. I was giving them too many options for breakfast while also trying to prepare their lunches.
So Hubby and I narrowed breakfast down to three options: you can have bacon or sausage, fruit, or yogurt PLUS chocolate milk. That is it, that is all. I am not making you eggs or pancakes or muffins on a school day.
My kids are not really down with this new plan. Every couple of days they’ll still ask me what’s for breakfast and I’ll list off the options while counting off the options on my fingers. And they grumble, turn, and make themselves a big ol’ glass of chocolate milk.
Page 2 of 2 - I cannot believe this fills them up until lunch time. But so far they’re not adding more to their breakfast, and you know, Love and Logic: if they’re hungry by lunch eventually they’ll realize it and fix it accordingly in the mornings.
But for now, our mornings are much smoother. They sit and drink their milk while I get out the overpriced but handily pre-portioned items for their lunches. And then I sit with a snuggling Baby Chickadee and listen to the big kids’ conversation, all without a single twitch.
Erin Fox is a weekly columnist for the Augusta Gazette . Her popular blog - erin’s little corner can also be found on our webpage,augustagazette.com.