This morning felt like it came directly from a typical family sitcom. It was a school morning, which meant I needed to have both my sons, ages 5 1/2 years and 14 months, up, fed, dressed, and out the door in time for the 40 minute drive to my older son’s preschool. (We recently moved, but are letting him finish out the school year).
We were in good shape. Come 1 hour before departure time, both boys (as well as myself) were fed. My husband was helping to get my toddler dressed.
My 5 year old called me to help him clean up after his morning constitutional, and I left him standing at the bathroom sink ready to complete his morning chores, which include brushing his teeth, getting dressed, making his bed, and shutting off his bedroom lights.
He is perfectly capable of independently completing these tasks and has done so many mornings. Some mornings, however, require much prompting.
Let’s back up to where I left him: standing at the sink ready to brush his teeth.
I verbally walked him through his chores and let him know I already laid out clothes for the day in his room (as I had washed the laundry, but hadn’t actually folded any of it for the past week. It was in one giant, wrinkled, but clean, pile on my bedroom floor). I then left to quickly get changed and brush my own teeth. A shower would have been nice, but I do not have time for such luxuries on school mornings.
About 10 minutes later, I heard a toy jigsaw. With my toddler at my feet, I knew who must be working on an impromptu building project. I found my older son still in his pajamas, sitting in the playroom at the opposite end of the hallway from his bedroom.
“What are you doing?” I asked. “Did you finish your chores?”
He smiled at me and feigned surprise. “Oh..no I didn’t.”
“Well please go do that.” I said.
“Ok, Mom.” And he headed down the hallway.
After I finished getting dressed, I went to check on him. Upon opening his room door, I saw his clothes still laid out, untouched. He was lying on his stomach, still in his pj’s, stroking the bindings of a stack of books on the floor.
“What are you DOING?” I asked with a bit more emotion.
“I don’t know.” He smiled.
“PLEASE finish your chores. We need to go shortly,” I pleaded.
“Ok…MOM.” I shut his door.
I got my toddler downstairs. Our bags were all packed. Road snacks and drinks were at the ready. The toddler had his shoes and coat on and was hitting the door to leave. I called up to my older son, “I need you to come down now!”
I heard my son’s muffled voice through the closed door saying, “I forgot to get dressed! I still need to get dressed!”
As I sat there on the floor by the front door, trying to find humor in the situation, I had a thought wash over me:
I am the youngest of five children. My parents had to get five children fed, dressed and out the door every day. Five kids through their morning chores…in 2 bathrooms…dressed in perfect Catholic school uniforms…and out the door with backpacks and sack lunches in hand…while my parents also got ready for work.
How the hell did they DO that?!
I thought ….How many times must they have sat on the floor with half the kids ready, while the other half had forgotten to go the bathroom until that very second…or had a toddler who finally pooped right as they were putting him/her into the car…..or couldn’t find a matching pair of shoes for a child….or couldn’t find that cherished snuggly item that a little one can’t leave the house without?
How many times had they gotten dressed only to be barfed on while opening the front door? And, did they also wipe it off with their hand, assess the damage, and decide to carry on with a pukey wet spot for the world to see because there was no way to get the brood out the door otherwise?
Did they also refuse to look back at the house that appeared ransacked but wouldn’t be cleaned until later that night because there wasn’t time between now and then? And, did they accidentally swear in front of the children when they realized the car was low on gas because they were too tired the night before to stop and fill it on the way home and thought they would just leave 10 minutes early the next morning on the way to school drop off?
I tell you what…I have new respect for my parents. I guess that is the story for most who become parents. You live in the trenches of parent-life and imagine what it must have been like for your own mom and dad (and then you say “ooohhh. I get it.”).
I share this story of my household’s morning shenanigans in good spirits. Raising children is a labor of love, and I do love the labor so very much. I was just telling a friend that while my family’s schedule right now is one huge hustle, I want to be the one driving my kids all over God’s creation, packing their pb&j’s, finding that cherished snuggly for the car, and wiping up their spit with my bare hands. It may not always be glamorous, but it is the most rewarding thing I have ever done….supporting my two sons in their life journeys.
And, I am just so thankful that my mom and dad also felt enough of that same sentiment to keep going, have five children and do all of these things for me.
How long does it take your family to get out the door in the morning? Have you had a similar experience of remembering your parents during your own family sitcom moments?
This has been an original post to World Moms Blog by Tara B. of Washington (State) USA.
Photo credit to the author.