Morning Routines.

This morning started how mine usually do…kids asleep, coffee made (with a scoop of ice cream in place of creamer, yum!), chair outside waiting along with the assortment of birds (crows) and hummingbirds flying about. I sat down with some Crosby, Stills, & Nash playing on my spotify and opened facebook from my iphone. There I saw, back to back, two posts from two friends who don’t know each other. One was detailing the frustrations of getting an unmotivated kid off to school. The next was from an unschooling mom whose kids recently asked to go to school, who was loathe to go wake her kids up because they looked so warm and peaceful sleeping.

The responses to both were like night and day. I really love that about my facebook feed. I have walked in many divergent shoes over the last 20 years. Mormon. Not Mormon. School mom. Unschool mom. Traditional parent. Attachment parent. Religious. Athiest. I have a mixed jumbling of friends in each group, and they fill my facebook with such a grand array of equal yet opposite views. Whether I agree or disagree it fills my life up with variety and spice and I appreciate the chance to peek into such differing world views. My morning facebook is like cereal…just one flavor would be boring, but with everyone adding so much flavor it’s like a big bowl of Fruity Pebbles. You are the Froot in my Loops. You put the Fruity in my Cheerios, if you want to be “healthier” about it.

So, the first post about how to get an unmotivated kid to school on time brought a lot of suggestions. Start giving rewards so you can take them away. Send him out of the house in whatever state he’s in when it’s time to go…half dressed, without eating, without a lunch…whatever it may be. Take away things he loves. I could add a few to the list, since getting Naturalist off to school back when she went to school was never easy. I had to be on her ass every 5 minutes keeping her on track. I’d alternate between being a cheerleader and being a drill sargeant. Do this. Now do that. We made her lunch the night before to streamline the effort. She’d start crying with about 15 minutes till bus time, right when I’d be brushing her hair while she ate breakfast because we’d gotten behind in the getting dressed/packing the bookbag stage. Teeth brushing usually got ditched…aint nobody got time for that! Not when the bus just passed by in the neighborhood behind us! I’d give her some cookies to try and stop her tears, which never worked, so I resorted to literally shoving them in her mouth. I’d then push her out the front door while saying “You can’t cry with cookies in your mouth!” and give her a peppy wave. Then I’d slump to the ground and start recharging myself for the next morning when we’d have to do it all over again. It took the full 24 hours to recover, mostly because I was mormon at the time and couldn’t go for a glass of wine by 8 in the morning.

Eventually I let her sleep in a bit later and drove her to school. I thought it would be best because she could spend more time at home and be dropped right off in front of her classroom. What actually happened was a lot more drama. Sitting in the car gave her more courage to actually wail instead of just sniffle cry. One desperate morning I used my right arm to open her door while leveraging my right leg against her, gently but firmly shoving her out of the car while slowly driving away. “Have a good day!” I called out while trying to close the door again without running into other momcars. I looked in the rearview mirror at my crying 8 year old and also had a good cry driving back home.

I didn’t become a mom for this, dammit!

One thing led to another, yada yada yada, Naturalist didn’t finish out the school year. When other moms asked me why, I talked a lot about bullshit NCLB, bullshit administration, bullshit teachers (not all! But certainly her teacher that year), and bullshit curriculum. What I didn’t say, because it made me sound completely ridiculous, was that the morning routine was killing me slowly. People can get judgey about that. Like, how will your kids learn how to be decent human beings if you don’t teach them–come hell or high water–how to get to school on time. But I’m pretty sure decent Human beings don’t want to bang their head repeatedly against the wall while simultaneously throttling their offspring by 7:30 in the morning.

Fast forward to today, and the other facebook post about not wanting to wake up her warm, happy, sleeping kids for school. The responses were very different. Let them be late! Can they miss the bus and get a ride? Do they really have to go? Along with a bunch of other moms who, like me, are school mom drop outs for this very reason and who openly admit it. Spending slow mornings with happy kids, all while still in pajamas, is such a gift. She ended up bringing warm tea into her daughter, who got up with her alarm and was ready.

Morning schedules are what separates the homeschoolers from the regular schoolers. They are the straw the breaks the camels back, like in my case, or the motivator to really buckle down and regulate, like in my schooly friend’s case. Different people know what’s right for them.

For me, unrushed mornings full of cuddles and fun pancake breakfasts without tears and punishments is what’s right.

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This. This right here is what I became a mom for.

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8 Comments

  1. Love these thoughts. My daughter declared today a pajama day after a series of really busy days. So we stayed in our PJs, ate Nutella and watched Bill Nye videos. It was JUST what we all needed.

  2. What a huge difference between the controlling single mom I used to be in Jersey and the mom I am now. I was just thinking at 1am when C and K finally wanted to go to bed because I was ready, that if they went to school, they wouldnt be able to play with toys until 1am. Or sleep in until 11:30 in the morning. Or have gluten free pancakes with bacon at noon. Its not always rainbows and unicorns but its the best for us right now.

  3. Shelby /

    I love this! I love our slow unhurried mornings. Making the decision to keep my kids home after our first try of kindergarten was the best decision we have made as a family.

  4. We’ve never been a school family, but I live on the same street I grew up on. We are on the same school bus route, and they would attend the same school where I spent all of my school years.

    We tend toward the nocturnal, here. Often, when that morning bus goes by, some of us are just going to bed. We’ve been known to be reading in depth – They Came in Chains (about the slave ships), and Death in Yellowstone (an accounting of all deaths and rumored deaths, till sometime in the 80s), are two examples.

    I can’t imagine feeding my children to that diesel-belching bus, for that half-hour, backtracking ride I still dreaded after 13 years of practice. I can’t imagine riding them to eat, eat fast, the way I needed to (and often couldn’t, maybe because of the haranguing).

    Last fall, watching that bus go by as I was the last one heading off to sleep, after a full night of living and learning and being together, I wrote a poem about it…about how the bus was such an inescapable part of my childhood, and such a non-factor in my kids’ lives.

    It’s almost 6am, now, on a Thursday. My 9 year old fell asleep, after a video chat with her best friend, a little before 3am. My son, who is 12, is giggling as he watches videos in the living room. He woke up for the day shortly after his sister fell asleep, and will be up likely until 8 or 9 – the time many schoolkids are required to go to bed, but, for him, just when he will be ready to sleep.

    That bus will be rolling by in half an hour or so, but it won’t be stopping here.

    And I am profoundly happy about that. I’m going to do a bit more prep for NaNoWriMo, and then go to sleep to dream story dreams….to the sound of a happy, well-rested boy. =)

  5. Rennie /

    I have to say that I always read your blog entries and I absolutely love your writing. I’m always instantly lost in your world, and I really admire your views on living life. You rock so hard! I am amazed every time I think about who you were when we met all those years ago. Keep rockin, sister. You are truly awesome.

  6. Oh I love this post too (well I love all of them really!) We are such slow starters around here and I love that we have the freedom to be relaxed. You have such a great way of presenting things – and what a unique perspective. I love how positive you are about your newsfeed and having so many different friends too – what a great way to look at things!

  7. Tiffany /

    Tiffani to the rescue! Thanks for this post. I’ve been questioning my homeschooling/unschooling lately. We all get there sometimes (at least I think we all do). Reading this put the confidence and calm back into my thoughts about it tonight. Right on time. xo

  8. LOVE that photo!

    I often tell people that we homeschool because we don’t like to get up early and rush around. Mostly they think I’m joking… :)