I have an upcoming Before Breakfast episode that talks about that morning ideal of enjoying a whole, uninterrupted cup of coffee, preferably while sitting down. People without armies of young children might be wondering why that seems so elusive. So let me describe what the past few mornings have looked like.
I have been waking up between 6-6:30 a.m. Theoretically I could set my alarm for, say, 6, and get 10-15 minutes before the kids wake up. But I’m not a naturally early riser and so I’m trying to get as much sleep as I can. Anyway, I have been sleeping in the guest room so I don’t hear the toddler start to babble at 5:30. My husband either ignores him or gets him — I am not really sure which — but has so far not been handing him to me before 6 a.m., so I don’t ask questions.
The morning frenzy really starts at 6:30 when the 14-year-old is woken up. I generally make him breakfast because otherwise he will just eat a piece of bread. Not even toasted. I am doing this while juggling the toddler who, if he hasn’t been fed yet, is yelling “Mommy milk!” (It’s great when they start using their words, right?) Inevitably the dog is downstairs barking in his crate. My husband is either showering or (if he was up at 5:45) sleeping. I might pour a cup of coffee but the toddler has a tendency to wave his arms and legs around while nursing, so this is a dicey proposition. Sometimes we read a story but again, it is an active process.
The 12-year-old needs to be up at 6:50 in order to have a shot of getting ready for the bus. At this point my husband is bringing the dog outside, and then brings him back in, so he’s in the kitchen with the rest of us (sometimes he goes on the porch then, but then he might bark and I’m trying not to be terrible as a neighbor). 7 a.m is peak crazy, as my husband and the 14-year-old are headed out the door for the high school run, I’m getting the 12-year-old breakfast, the dog is barking, the baby is running around, and inevitably the 6-year-old hears the commotion and comes downstairs with his own needs (somehow the 10-year-old sleeps through all this…I have to wake her at 7:45). One of those needs is to be supervised packing his lunch, since he decided after a few weeks of school lunches that he wasn’t going to eat them anymore (to be fair, the last week wasn’t a great week — the district is having supply chain issues, and he’s “selective” — picky — enough that if what he thought was there wasn’t, he just doesn’t eat. The other kids will eat whatever is on offer).
Yes, at the moment, 7:00 a.m. is not my favorite time of day. It does get better. The 12-year-old gets on the bus at 7:25 and if my husband is working from home, he comes home around then from the high school run and I go shower. Our nanny comes to work at 8, the elementary kids are on the bus at 8:30, and the dog often goes into his crate for a morning nap around then, so things settle down considerably. If 7 a.m. is terrible, 8:45 a.m. can be quite lovely. So while it might be nice to trouble shoot the morning rush, and while I’m sure there are things that can be done better, I’m trying to remember that a weekday morning consists of both 7 a.m. and 8:45 a.m., and one is not necessarily more representative than the other.
However, I would like to drink my coffee before 8:45 a.m. So that “uninterrupted cup” is a work in progress…
In other news: This should be a great fall weekend — we’re doing some leaf peeping, seeing a lot of family, hiking, and having cider and donuts. I have been learning the names of fall wildflowers, as I mentioned in my fall fun list. There’s a lot of white snakeroot everywhere (those are the little white flowers), goldenrod (self-explanatory), and asters in various forms.
I may abandon my first fall-themed puzzle, as there are approximately 150 pieces of blue sky to go…and I am just not feeling it.
I had an idea for a novel featuring a character who always does the blue sky in 1000 piece puzzles first….
14 thoughts on “Friday miscellany: The madness of 7 a.m.”
Last night, I collaborated for about an hour with my husband and 13-year-old to work on the blue sky left in my 1000 piece puzzle. Everyone was tired and not much progress was made. Today at lunch I looked at it in different light and from a new angle and finished the whole thing off in about 20 minutes. So maybe you just need to look at it from a different perspective! My new favorite time to sit down with my coffee is around 10am when the kids are at school and I’m working from home alone. I take care of initial caffeine needs first thing in the morning with a pre-workout drink, so I can enjoy the coffee with some morning reading. Highly recommend!
“You’ll miss these days.” Perhaps, but I’ll probably enjoy the quiet for a long long time before the nostalgia sets in. I was gifted a fancy insulated mug in the spring (from Corksickle, less fancy than Yeti). I have used it near daily, partly because it really does keep my coffee hot and partially because the lid makes me feel less nervous about spilling coffee on the nursing baby. In any case, happy Friday!
Yes … it wasn’t nursing babies that caused me to use/need them but I love the Contigo coffee cups that have screw-on, lockable (not literally, maybe latchable is a better word) lids. They keep coffee hot FOREVER (well, almost), do not spill, only release coffee when you push the button that opens the seal (but the button is easy to access one-handed) and can be latched in such a way that you can (e.g.) just throw them in a backpack and jog across campus and they will.not.leak.at.all.
12-14 was a hard age for me as a mom. Sometimes I did too much for them, trying to conform to some weird narrative of what a “good” mom would do. Other times I didn’t do enough, assuming that they were more mature than they actually were. So I may not be qualified to advise. But 4 adult kids later, I would say that an untoasted piece of bread is a valid teenager choice that you don’t need to fix, especially during a particularly stressful time of day.
I agree. 12 and 14 are old enough to make their own breakfast.
Was coming here to say just this. No need to make a 14yo breakfast at all, and if he eats a piece of bread for breakfast, who cares. No need to raise a mammone.
But otherwise, we feel you Laura! 😉
I drink my (unfortunately usually first) coffee too at 8:45 after my four kids have left the building. Oh, the silence. Preferably I tank what quiet I need before my husband returns from the school run at 8:55, hurried because he always has a 9am online work meeting. Still he does the school run because I am up with the kids since 6:45 and he sleeps till 7:45. Seems like a deal.
I just adore you for these posts. I have four (elementary through toddler), and it’s just so nice to know our hectic mornings aren’t the only hectic mornings!
Why not get rid of the dog – clearly no one loves or likes this part of the family. Sounds like an awful doggy life being stuck in a crate all the time.
@Lisa – he isn’t in the crate all the time, just for some morning quiet time. He’s outside playing with my husband right now, for instance.
Have you ever considered getting the nanny in an hour earlier? In our house the childcare starts at 7/7:30 for exactly this reason. It is still chaotic but much less so with an extra adult. I also agree that the 14 yo and 12 yo can get their own breakfast. My 14 yo eats a protein bar en route to school. My other kids eat cereal or toast. I can definitely live with that. We reserve more involved breakfasts for weekends.
@Gillian – then we’d really need to go to two people, as we have some later nights too. Which is something I’ve been thinking about but hasn’t happened yet. This morning was calmer (well, at least for me as I drove the high schooler ha ha).
@Laura I hear that! someone is going somewhere in this house from 7 am to about 9 pm some nights!
Kids will be grown and gone in the blink of an eye. Enjoy the chaos. Retirement can be very quiet.