Welcome to The Everymom Before 9am, where we’re exploring the challenges of weekdays and shedding light on all that goes into mornings with kids. We’re asking mothers how they manage their mornings, from the time they wake up until the time they leave the house (if applicable). We hope by sharing a variety of stories, maybe we can help each other find hacks, shortcuts, and, at the very least, support in knowing we’re not alone.
Today: A mom working a full-time corporate job outside of the home in Washington D.C. with a toddler in daycare and another baby on the way.
City: Washington D.C.
Relationship status: Married
Gender Identity: Female
Work hours: Full-Time
Work location: Outside of the home
Awake time: 6:40am
Out the door time: 8:15am
Commute: 40 minutes (15 minute walk to daycare, 5 minute drop-off routine, and 25 minute walk to work)
Number of cups of coffee drank before leaving the house: 1
Partner’s age: 30
Partner’s gender identity: Male
Partner’s work hours: Full-Time
Work location: Outside of the home
Child 1 age: 2
Child 2 age: 25 weeks pregnant with baby #2
Childcare: Full-time daycare
Pets: 1 cat
I will preface this by saying my husband and I are NOT morning people. Our 2-year-old on the other hand … is another story.
6:40am: Alarm goes off. I pretend not to hear it. I snooze it and reach for my phone read a New York Times article and/or skim Instagram, delaying the exit from my cozy bed.
6:50am: Husband elbows me, suggesting I get a move on. I drag myself out of bed realizing if I want a shower I had better make it happen before our toddler gets up. I’m standing under the warm water and hear phantom cries—or are they real? I don’t even know anymore.
7:00am: OK, now I actually hear my toddler through the shower (bathroom shares a wall with his) singing songs and jumping in his crib. I’m irritated my husband is still in bed and holler at him to get the baby. I’m always the first one up because he says (and it’s true) I take more time to get ready in the morning. It’s not my fault society has zero expectations for men and that they can literally wear the same suit every day and be considered well-dressed and put together.
7:10am: Husband gets our toddler and changes his diaper. Toddler has peed through his diaper again; it’s the second time this week, and we have to change all his sheets. I’m usually halfway toweled-off and out of the shower as the toddler races around the corner to greet me. Toddler speed and coordination (or lack thereof) means some mornings he misses the corner and I’m wiping away tears and kissing his “ouchie” from banging into the wall. This morning, however, he successfully navigated the hallways of our narrow row house and greets me with a big kiss and excitedly shows me whichever toy he’s brought in to show me.
If I want a shower, I had better make it happen before our toddler gets up. I’m standing under the warm water and hear phantom cries—or are they real? I don’t even know any more.
7:15am: Husband showers and gets ready while I’m on toddler patrol. I scoop him up in my arms after relentless demands of “Up with Mama?” And our little dictator points in the direction he wants me to take him. I successfully negotiate to ensure we end up in the kitchen because Mama needs her coffee.
It’s taken a few weeks of training, but my son is a well-trained barista at this point. He helps select my glass, gets ice out of the freezer, and pours my iced coffee. Then comes his favorite part: shaking the creamer and watching the “coffee dance” as the cream hits the brew and swirls around, eliciting “oooohs.” He demands a sip, and I occasionally allow, but most mornings excitedly change the subject to, “Lets feed kitty!”
My ability to influence, negotiate, and manipulate (when appropriate) at work has dramatically improved since becoming a mother, but unfortunately, that bullet point on a resume isn’t deemed “professional.” We get out kitty’s “cereal,” and my son gets to scoop and dump it in the bowl, another highlight of his morning.
7:30am: I’m wondering when my husband will be done getting ready because my hair is drying in an unflattering way. We make our way back to the bathroom where my husband is finishing up. He heads to the kitchen to make breakfast while I play beauty parlor with my son. I dry my hair and apply makeup, giving my son brushes to play with as he plays with cars or blocks at my feet. He asks for the “hot air here” (pointing to his head) as I turn the hairdryer at him blowing it in his face. He loves it!
7:50am: The toddler is throwing a tantrum because I selected the wrong pair of blue pants out of his dresser. Really, he is just hungry, so I wrangle him to the table to eat. I finish quickly (I’m pregnant and starving). I quickly leave the table to swipe on some mascara and use the bathroom in peace before my husband leaves for work.
I’m wondering when my husband will be done getting ready because my hair is drying in an unflattering way … I dry my hair and apply makeup, giving my son brushes to play with as he plays with cars or blocks at my feet. He asks for the ‘hot air here’ (pointing to his head) as I turn the hair dryer at him blowing it in his face. He loves it!
8:00am: Husband heads to work and brings the stroller downstairs for me since it’s more difficult now that I’m pregnant to carry a stroller and toddler at once. We sit at the table in the big windows at the front of our row house waving bye-bye to Papa. I’m secretly wishing he took the toddler to school today and also wondering how my toddler has managed to draw eating the last bite of peanut butter toast out for 12 min. I scramble between washing dishes, packing our bags for school and work, and peeking out the window to ensure our stroller isn’t stolen intermittently while making sure the toddler hadn’t thrown his food on the wall or torn it into tiny pieces to drop on the floor.
8:15am: We should be leaving for daycare, but my toddler keeps asking for orange boots (which we don’t even own), not his brown ones. I manage to get his shoes, coat, and hat on (can’t wait for warmer temps), and then I put my own coat and boots on while trying to keep him from running around the house and on our white area rug.
8:20am: We successfully made it out of the house. It’s freezing, and the toddler announces, “Little chilly, Mama.” He refuses to wear gloves, so I work his hands into his little pockets on his jacket and we stroll to daycare—pointing out all the trucks we see.
8:30am: I check him into daycare, it’s a wonderful bilingual center, and they greet him with a welcome song in Spanish that we all sing.
8:35am: I leave the daycare and walk to work. It’s a nice chance to clear my head for 25 minutes while I walk and catch up on news through a podcast or listen to music, depending on my mood.
9:06am: I arrive to work just a few minutes late and dive into my day. Time for that second cup of coffee.
Phew, I’m exhausted just writing all this! I feel like I’ve lived an entire day in the first two hours of the morning. Cheers to all the parents because the morning routine is not an easy one! Worried about how we will manage it with two.🙈