A Letter To My Children: Here’s How Morning Works

Dear Kids, 

Well that was fun, this morning. What, you two with the screaming and complaining and the over all mess of a let’s get out of the house on time for school.  I won’t lie. I was angry that what seemed like a simple task, going to school, went so awry.  Then I realized it was all my fault. It was a veritable breakdown of communication so to speak. I realized I’ve never actually explained to you how morning works.  Of course you didn’t know. 

So in effort to clear up the obvious lack of communication on my part, I thought I’d explain how morning goes.  Consider this a maternal public service announcement. You’re welcome.  Here goes.

Wake up.
Go to the bathroom. That can be pee or other things.  You can even wake up without bodily needs.   Whatever you like, really.  Dealer’s choice.

Change out of your pajamas and put on clothing.  Clothing includes a top and a bottom. Clothing also includes shoes.  Socks, too. This does not need to be a three step process spread over thirty or forty minutes. It could take five minutes. It could be easy. There are only so many choices. Put one of those choices on the top of you. Put one of those choices on the bottom of you.  Put your shoes on even if that means finding them yourself. Put socks on before you put on your shoes.  

Tie your shoes.  

This doesn’t need to be difficult, nor does it need to be a four step process that has me yelling, “Shoes and socks. Shoes and socks.”  

It can be easy.

You’re then going to come downstairs because downstairs is where the kitchen is.  It’s always been there. No one moved it. It was never upstairs.  There’s no reason for you to get lost on the way to breakfast.  The kitchen is the room with the food.  This is not news.

Eat some breakfast.

Eating breakfast doesn’t involve whining about anything.  Eating breakfast means you take some food or ask me to make you something and then when it’s made or you’ve taken it, you eat it.  Eating breakfast doesn’t mean you ask me to make you something and then scream at me for making it for you as if you’re actually in a torture chamber.  Eating breakfast just means you eat some food so that you’re not an asshole at school. Also, food makes your brain work and I don’t want anyone to think you’re dumb.

Like getting dressed, eating breakfast need not be a process that involves more than two steps. Get food, eat food.  That’s all.

It can be easy.

After you’ve eaten breakfast is probably the best time to clear your plate, go upstairs and brush your teeth.  This is not the time to whine, scream, or notice that you haven’t put on pants.  If you’re not sure when to put on pants see step one, “getting dressed,” which is the optimal time to put on pants.  After you’ve eaten breakfast is not the time for pants.  We’ve passed that.  It’s the same every day.  Children have been getting dressed in the morning before school for hundreds of thousands of years. Even cave children knew to put on their loin cloth before leaving the house. You should, too.

Go upstairs and brush your teeth.

Your teeth are the white things in your mouth that are already costing me a fortune.  Brushing teeth involves water, tooth paste and a toothbrush. It doesn’t involve stopping in the playroom or remembering that when you said you did your homework last night, you lied.  Also lying is when you don’t tell the truth.  So if you say you did your homework and you didn’t, you’re lying. A miscommunication is when you miscommunicate. Lying is lying. So if you say you did something that you didn’t please don’t get defensive and say “Are you calling me a liar?”  Why, yes I am.  But not now,  because it’s not time for that.

It’s time to brush your teeth.

Once you’ve brushed your teeth and put enough toothpaste on the sink, floor and the counter so our bathroom resembles an ice blue version of the Shining hotel, please come downstairs.  You should still have shoes and pants on.  There’s no need to lose, or change them, along the way. You’re not Mariah Carey. You don’t need an outfit change.

When you come downstairs, clothed and not screaming at me, pack up your backpack. The contents of your backpack are the things you’ve spread all over our house so that it looks like we were robbed by two people who like fairy books and NFL trivia.  Pick up your stuff and put it in your backpack.  Your backpack is the thing you leave around the house in places where I can’t see it so I can break my ankle.

After you put your lunchbox, snack, water, back up water, other snack just in case you need more snack snack in your back pack, open the front door, walk out the Black SUV in our driveway. Get in it.  That one’s ours.  You’ll know this because it’s the same car we got into yesterday and the day before.  Also, it’s in our driveway and I’m holding the keys.  This isn’t confusing. I’m a mother. not an NBA star. I only have one car. Get in the one I drive.  

It can be easy.

I’m going to get in the front seat, which is the one with the steering wheel because you’re ten or six years old and neither of you are old enough to drive. You sit in the back, far enough from me so I can’t wring your neck when you remember you left your homework folder in the fish tank at home and that it’s trumpet day, but your trumpet is where you left it, right near the potted plant outside. I’ll be halfway to school when you remember this and I’ll want to end your life then and there.  I won’t, because I hate jail.  But, that will be the only reason.  

Don’t scream at me.

Let me repeat that.

Don’t. Scream. At. Me.

Screaming makes me re-think my loathing of jail and makes me question motherhood. Don’t play “Let’s Alternate Screaming At Mom” because I don’t get to play back.  It’s not fair and I like to be fair so don’t scream at me. If you want to turn in your homework at school or learn to play trumpet, remember them both.  It’s best to remember them before you leave the house.  The house is the place we just left, where your toys are. You don’t play for the NBA. You only have one house.  Take your things for school from there before we leave there or don’t scream at me because you left your things there.  I have my own things to remember, like why I had children. I’ll remember that.  You remember your homework.

Don’t fight with your slbling.

I repeat.

Dont. Fight. With. Your. Sibling.

Your sibling is the other person who came out of my vagina, the one who is sitting next to you in the car, the one you’re sure got more pretzels (and love) than you.  Don’t fight with that person whether they got more pretzels than you did, or not.  You both got more pretzels than me and I’m not accusing you of loving me less, so cool it with the sibling rivalry.  Just be quiet.  I’m driving and I’m trying not to crash.  Crashing is the thing that could kill us.  

When I pull into school, I’m going to unlock the car doors.  When I stop the car, you unbuckle your seat belt and get out.  The seat belt is the thing keeping your from being hurled out the front windshield because I stopped short when you two started screaming  at each other in the backseat, causing me to think one of you was being murdered, when really all that happened is that one of you got into the other’s “personal space.”

Prior to getting out of the car say thank you.  

It can sound like this,  “Mommy I love you so much. Thank you for this life. Thanks for giving up your waistline and for never getting the time to eat sitting down.  Thank you for my sibilng, my home, and thank you for doing long division with me even though we learn it some fakakta way that takes 20 steps instead of two. Thank you for my lunch, you probably won’t get time to have your own, but thank you for mine which you got up early to make so you could get me to school on time.  Thank you for my clothes, which I took 20 minutes to put on. You buy me new clothes whenever I need them and don’t buy yourself any and you don’t complain, even though I do.  Oh and thank you for my comfortable safe car, family time, vacations, and all those snacks you packed in my backpack so that I could eat more often than a newborn. Thanks for listening to Hamilton and Moana on repeat and thanks for singing Fifth Harmony songs with me.  Thanks for listening to Taylor Swift with me, you didn’t sign up for that. No grown up should have to endure that music, but you do. Thanks for not sleeping and for the time I pee’d in your hand, and the time you slept sitting up because I had a cough and you held me so I could sleep.”

Just say thank you.

It can be easy.  

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