Sunday, December 16, 2012

School Mornings

Most school day mornings at my house go something like this:

Mama wakes up at 6 am and tries to get an hour to herself before someone else wakes up. Somewhere between 6:01 and 7:15, the kiddos get up.

We make smoothies and oatmeal or toast or cereal. The kids eat and I start to encourage. Time to get dressed. Finish your breakfast. You need to brush your hair. Please put your toys away. You've got to get those teeth brushed & that face washed.

Somewhere around 8:15, it turns a little naggy. Why are you making crafts? Where is your underwear? No, you can't wear shorts today. Actually, your teacher probably doesn't need a homemade card from you today, really.  Are you wearing jammies to school? EAT your food.

Around 8:30, the heat turns up. Did you hear me?? You cannot go to school like that! Why didn't you tell me you had homework last night? Why are you petting the dogs right now?! BRUSH YOUR HAIR!!

And on more days than I'd like to admit, it gets worse. Sometimes there is screaming. Sometimes there is crying. Occasionally there is cursing. And that's the mama. Too many days, at 8:45 am, I usher the kids out the door with a little speech that goes so something like this: "I love you, but we cannot live like this." We kiss and hug and the kids walk off to school and I'm frustrated with myself and they are frustrated with me and it feels terrible and I go drown myself in a vanilla latte at Starbucks and pray that they will be able to afford their own therapy when they grow up.

Friday was one of those mornings at my house. Except that since it is Christmastime, I drowned my sorrows in a peppermint mocha.

I have talked with enough friends to know that we aren't the only home where mornings are hard.

But I can't shake the feeling that there's a mama or two in Newtown, Connecticut who had our same kind of frantic morning on Friday and sent her kids off to school in a state of frustration. That someone's last words to her child were a statement of exasperation. And my heart especially breaks for her.

Because we ARE good mamas. We want our kids to be well fed. Clean. Warm. Ready to learn. It's why we encourage, nag, even sometimes raise our voices to get our kids out the door and to school on time.

Oh, mamas. If your last words were ones you wish you could take back, I pray you will know the gift of mercy and you will have every assurance that your child knew how much you loved them. 

And may I remember your precious child the next time we are having one of those mornings, take a deep breath, and put it all into perspective.


  1. I have been having very similar thoughts, and I appreciate the eloquence with which you expressed them. I will never forget when T was little and C was a baby, and I could not get him to nap. I expressed my frustration, and then felt really bad about how angry I had gotten. I went in to apologize, and told him he would go to his Grandma's after he woke up. His response was, "And then I can never come back home?" Sweet boy, and I had really torn at his heart. I really pray for those mamas.

  2. To a beautiful, powerful, loving, kind, sweet, stern Mama. I'm sending love to you AND your kiddos. :)

  3. Oh my, Sarah. It's not nice to make a mama cry in the lobby of gymnastics.

    Nearly all of my mornings look like what you describe -- especially with Pippi. And oh don't you know that I thought about those Newtown mamas and all the things they must have been replaying in their minds. It actually makes my heart stop for a few beats.

    Here's another take worth reading: