by Christina L. Moreland
I suppose the mornings we have as mothers can most often be described as “morning mayhem,” but before I explain mine and tell you what I’ve learned from it, I’ll give you a little background:
My husband has either been out of town or had work late (past 9 p.m.) for the past 6 days straight, which means I’ve been “single parenting” it for almost a week. As you probably already know, I have two boys, ages 7 and 11. They are really amazing kids, good boys, and I adore them. And like most kids, they have their moments…
But they are boys, and they respond to having BOTH their mom and dad, and when he’s out of town or not here, let’s just say things aren’t the same. Something to do with the firm “dad voice” maybe? I don’t know… I just know when our regular routine is “OFF,” then everything gets more stressful and off balance.
The boys act out more, they fight more, they make noises all the time, just to make noise! They are boys. And if I get angry or yell, which happens when I get REALLY mad and completely out of brilliant ideas, they think it’s cute and they start laughing. So yelling isn’t really an effective tool for me. Ever. 🙂
So yesterday as I was making lunches, which typically takes me about 15 minutes total, I was also counting on them to eat their breakfast, which I’d already cooked by that point, and get dressed. Typically, I already have outfits pre-selected, so it’s super easy for them to simply make a choice and get it all pulled together.
I know, I do a LOT for them, but my oldest also has ADHD (LINK)
, and so I often over-prepare him to help ME stay on task. Parents who live with this experience will totally understand. Even incorporating a “Best Practices” approach to preparation doesn’t ensure we’ll have a smooth morning — and that’s just part of living with ADHD on a regular basis. Some days are golden — he’s helpful and behaving the way you’d expect an 11-year-old to behave, but other days are complete nightmares, and yesterday was one of them.
He wasn’t eating and decided it was a good idea to start screaming at the top of his lungs, just because.
Then, when Luke (7) complained about the noises hurting his ears, Ashton (11) began shouting at his brother, which of course led dramatic Luke to complain of stomach pain… and it continued on, like a chain reaction of dynamite headed straight in the wrong direction…
Luke’s been having some pain and itching in his foot lately, so I’ve been treating it like athlete’s foot, but after the shouting and screaming, Luke began crying that his foot hurt. I put him up on the counter to have a better look and yes indeed, it appeared to be an ingrown toenail and infected, with red puffy skin all around his inside cuticle. It hurt to look at.
All of this was going on just minutes before we were supposed to be out the door and on our way to the bus…
I sat there for a split second — because that’s all I had — and quick came up with a brilliant idea to soak his foot in Dr. Teal’s lavender epsom salts for about 10 minutes, and then put on Neasporan cream to prevent infection. Remember, I was still trying to get to the bus stop on time for school.
While I was nursing his foot, my 11-year-old decided it was a good time to wash a shirt. No, not a load of clothes, which would have been super helpful at this point, but just one shirt. And the washing machine cycle got stuck and locked.
I was constantly telling both boys to eat and get dressed before they finally did. Ashton was actually lying on the floor sprawled on his back in a non-helpful pose while slowly pulling on his pants one leg at a time “getting dressed.”
And my mother, who was staying with me for a few days and has two dogs, was trying to take all 3 dogs out to pee. Of course all three dogs had to go out at the same time while all of this was happening.
In between I was trying to sip coffee, which had already turned cold several times and I found myself reheating it or just starting a new cup because the last one had to be tossed out.
I know so many of you can probably relate at this point.
Finally, I got the boys out the door and into the car, which seats 7, and they were fighting over the same spot! One forgot his water bottle and had to go back in, and oh no, we could NOT forget to take out the trash, which had stinky fish in it from dinner the night before.
I actually succeeded in making lunches, finishing a full cup of semi warm coffee, completing the round of clothes, getting them both fed, dressed, and packed for school AND into the seats, AND got the trash set out on the curb ON TIME, when we finally went to the bus stop…
Now, one thing I love about our neighborhood is how many open areas we have for running and for playing, as well as our amazing neighbors who have become good friends. And the “bus stop house” happens to be my good friend who has a basketball goal out front. All the boys (we have about 10 on most days, some days have had as many as 14!) and one girl come over to play basketball, “Knock Out,” “Jackpot,” and “4-Square” for about 15 minutes before the bus arrives.
They played for a few minutes when the bus came rolling in.
Just as the bus was coming, Luke, red-faced and teary began screaming, “Oh no, it hurts soooo bad!!!” I looked over at him and he had gotten a thorn in his finger — and this is just comical — he had been the one sitting out on the stone bench in front of the flower bed! He wasn’t even playing a sport, just watching the others! How he had gotten a thorn in his hand is beyond me!
The bus stopped and waited, and all the kids started to get their bags and say their goodbyes, and by this time I was literally praying for a miracle.
I opened his hand and tried to look at the splinter, but he was scared and wouldn’t let me, pulling away. My friend offered to go in and get tweezers, when I somehow opened up his hand and reached in and pulled out the tiny thorn with my fingernails on the first try. Thank God.
He immediately stopped screaming and crying, and said, “Oh, thank you, Mom!” Hopped off his bench, gave me a kiss, and ran to the bus.
Right after that approximately one hour and 20 minutes of morning mayhem, I had to switch gears, clear my head, and be in “work mode” for my business.
And you know what, it’s hard.
I don’t say any of the things that happened yesterday out of complaint, because there’s nothing more important to me than my family, and I know I’ll look back on yesterday sometime in the future — probably not too far away from now — and miss “those days.” I know I will.
“The days are long, but the years are short.”
And I know parts of this are really funny.
I know that and I’m grateful. But still, it’s hard! And I just wanted to share this to let you know EVERYONE goes through it. We don’t have remote controls controlling our children or the choices they make, and that’s OK!
And I’m sure there are going to be days when they really mess up — like when they are about 17 and think they’re invincible, and I’m going to say, “What the hell were you thinking?” It’s part of life and growing up. I know it’s coming.
But Mama, I just want you to know I feel you and I get it.
After all of that, this morning was a lot more smooth. I got everyone fed, dressed, and out the door on time, and they had a great time playing their normal morning games. The boys miraculously got along and no more shouting matches ensued. I felt optimistic and accomplished. I had done a lot before 7:45 a.m.!
I saw them onto the bus and got home to begin my work day when I looked at the kitchen counter and realized…
My son had forgotten to take his ADHD medication before he left for school on a huge science benchmark test day. Ugh! Not again!
Want to know what I did?
Put down my pen and my agenda book, grabbed the medication, and drove back up to the school to give it to him.
Because that’s what Super Moms do.
If you’d had a crazy morning like this one, I’d love to hear from you. What happened? How did you handle it? Most importantly, what did you learn about yourself or how you could do things better? Knowing we’re not alone in our Motherhood journeys is crucial to feeling capable when all else fails. I’m still here with you. 🙂
P.S. Video References:
In the above post I mentioned my son has ADHD. I did two Facebook lives where I discuss this openly and offer resources for other parents going through this struggle. Check them out here:
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