I woke up feeling a little dreadful of our morning routine. Exhausted but for good reason. I had too much sugar last night. Went to bed a little later than usual. If I felt a bit cranky, I did not want to see what kind of mood the kids would be in.
“Mommy! My eyes hurt!” Yes, your eyes hurt because we went to very late last night. Anything after 7 pm is late for the littlest ones.
“I don’t want to wear purple pants!” Okay, why don’t we choose another pair then and I’m sorry I haven’t had a chance to fold your collection of stretchy comfy pants from Target.
“You forgot to correct my math homework!” Ouch. That one hurt. Fourth grade math is no longer mommy mental math. At least, not without coffee.
I had an A-HA moment in between the youngest complaining about her vision and the middle just being cranky, amplified.
Why shouldn’t I set up my kids for a successful, positive day?
True, we could go about our routine, business as usual, because as any of my cousins would tell you, I do not spoil my children (much). I don’t follow my kids around the house with food trying to feed them. I make them eat at the table at mealtime. They clean up after themselves and ask if they can be excused from the table in public. I don’t freak out when they’re running too fast or climbing too high though I do internally freak out if they get hurt. Their public behavior is exemplary and puts their home behavior to shame. Can’t complain though. I’d rather have that than the other way around.
To the middle child, who is my sassy one and the one who was born with the word DIVA embedded in her mind, I did not say the usual, “Alright, let’s get dressed. I’m coming back in five minutes to check up on you.”
Instead I said, “Do you want me to stay with you until you’re ready?”
I had chocolate chip pancakes to make, lunches to pack, and a dishwasher than needed to be emptied. All that didn’t matter in the wake of getting A off on the right foot.
And I think she did. I did have to ask her to get her socks and shoes on twice. She was a bit contrary when I gave her two choices for breakfast and lunch in both cases she always chose option C. She didn’t even put her coat on when I asked her to for this chilly morning. She decided on her striped jacket even though it was the same jacket for which she expressed pure disdain yesterday.
I won’t be able to be this patient every morning but I should remember that I am the first person our children with whom our children will interact. If I can set the tone of their day, why not be mindful of it and quit thinking “I have to get them ready for school” and “I have to get their lunches ready” and “ME ME ME ME ME ME?” Why not think “WE” and “Let us get ready” and be on their team, their side?
I’ll let you know the score tomorrow morning.