Mike and I work slightly different schedules. Different enough that it plays in our favor as far as daycare drop off and pick up. He is up and out of the house before Mo and I wake up, so I get her ready and drop her off before I go to work. Mike then gets done before me, so he picks her up. In theory, with this arrangement, she would be in daycare from 8:00 to 3:30 instead of something like 7:30 to 5:30. It doesn't always work quite like that - in fact, Mike doesn't usually leave work when I wish he would, and Mo is usually at daycare until 4 or 4:30. And sometimes he leaves so late that I beat him there, but that's another complaint for another post.
Mo hanging out in her reading nook. Check out that drool!
This post is about how difficult mornings are. Before she was born, when we talked about this arrangement, it all made logical sense. But in practice, it is HARD! I have to do every morning by myself, and even though it has been almost a year of this, I haven't found a good rhythm.
Lately Mo has been waking up before I'm ready, so we nurse and then loiter in bed until I gather the energy to haul both of us up and drag us down the hall to the bathroom. Mo is good about entertaining herself (usually be tearing apart toilet paper or finding small random objects on the ground to ingest) while I get myself ready. That part isn't so hard even though I'm still god awful tired at that point.
Mo in a basket. A "Mo"ses basket?
Then we go downstairs and it becomes more difficult, especially since this ridiculously cold and snowy winter has set in. Every morning I juggle how to get her dressed, get some breakfast, make coffee, get all our bags and other accoutrement out to the car, keep her from crawling up or down any stairs, keep her from getting pissed when I sneak out to start the car so it's not an ice box when I put her in, get both of us bundled up, carry her out, strap her in, and somehow not forget anything.
Love her mad face.
It shouldn't be so hard, but by the time I climb into the driver's seat, I usually let out a big sigh and say something like, "Girl, we need a better system." Then I still have to drive to daycare, bring her in, unbundle her, chat with the caretakers, give her lots of kisses, and drive 20 minutes (or more depending on traffic and weather) before I get to work. I feel like I've lived a whole day before I even sit down at my desk.
I'd really love to have Mike there with me in the morning to help juggle it all. There has been a morning or two when he has gone in late, and just that little bit of support in the getting-ready process makes a huge difference.
Mike does what he can to make my mornings smoother. He usually prepares the milk we send with her in the evening so I don't have to do it in the morning. He will help me put together a lunch the night before. I always pick out her clothes and try to arrange things, like her coat and hat, so they are easy to grab. But my mornings are still stressful, and it's not a good way to start the day.
Unfortunately Mike doesn't have the option to go in to work later, even though he often stays well beyond an 8 hour day. At his job, early mornings are key. And I can't get up early with him because a) ew, way too early, and b) daycare doesn't open until 7:30 anyway. Otherwise we'd try to adjust our system a little.
My beautiful baby girl.
So, what? What can I do to not start every day feeling harried and hurried? Working parents with young children, what are your mornings like? I know I have some readers out there with twins or more than one child - dear god, how do YOU do it?