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When the Morning Routine Goes Awry

When the Morning Routine Goes Awry

Most mornings, I leave my house for work before anyone else is even awake to avoid the inevitable traffic. With a small child in the mix, though, things don’t always go to plan. A case in point was the other morning, when my son woke up (loudly)—at the exact moment that I would normally be closing the door to hit the road.

I have to admit, I thought for one second, should I just go anyways and let my husband deal with the early wake-up call? But then I thought twice. I did not have an early morning meeting, so if I ran to the fridge and prepared the milk to feed my son while my husband got ready, it might help their morning go more smoothly. It could allow my husband to pack the lunch, get himself ready, and make sure they were not too late for drop-off at the center. While I knew in the back of mind that this 15-minute delay could result in about an extra half an hour of traffic, the second that I saw my little guy upstairs and heard him say, “Mama,” I knew I had made the right call.

One thing that having my son has taught me is that my new morning “routine” is anything but typical. Honestly, I am not even sure I can consider it a routine since it is ever-changing. While we can usually count on the little guy to wake up at a certain time, and my husband and I have a pretty solid plan for who drops off and picks up….we also have learned that any morning can bring well, anything. There could be a call for unplanned and necessary outfit changes (for us and/or the child), an unexpected meltdown to contend with, or one of my favorites—the boycotting of the car seat (although with time this has improved!). Of course, we do our best to wake up in advance of our son; however, there are days when everything goes awry and he decides that 5am is the new 7am.

Luckily, I am incredibly fortunate to work at a supportive, understanding organization—one that truly supports me as a working mother —and I had the luxury of staying home for those few extra minutes to help. I know if I worked elsewhere, I may have had to shut that front door and leave my husband to juggle the change in schedule.

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I think back on that early morning wake-up call. And while I paused at the sound of my son waking up and disrupting the routine, when I sat down and held him before leaving for work, I realized I was right where I was meant to be.

The Work-Life Equation Podcast Episode 17: Peaceful Parenting on Busy Workdays

We’ve all been there…the get-out-the-door chaos, the after-work frenzy, those toddler-parent moments when things just seem to go, “kaboom.” Is there a better way? Parenting expert and psychologist Jennifer Gillette says unequivocally…yes. She’s got the tips, tricks, and strategies to tame the tantrums and put what she calls Peaceful Parenting back into your day.

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