Getting Out the Door

by Rachael on March 29, 2012

Unless he’s taking the Critter to school, Brian is up, out the door, and heading to work before 6:00 most weekday mornings, which means I’m on my own with the little ones from the time we’re up until Brian returns home in the late afternoon or evening. In the weeks since I’ve had two little ones in my care, I have not yet managed to get us out the door before noon without Brian’s (or, when she was here, my mother-in-law’s) help. What the hell is going on? All that needs to be done in the mornings is the following:

  • Prepare, eat, and clean up after breakfast. And the cleaning up is pretty minimal — I generally don’t do dishes.
  • Get everyone clean and dressed.
  • Make the bed and do liturgy, both of which I skip if we have to be somewhere and we’re running late.
  • Brush our teeth, put on our coats and shoes, and head out the door.

No big deal, right? Here’s what actually happened this morning:

  • We woke up sometime before 7:00. I changed the Gnome’s diaper twice and his sleeper once, and then I nursed him.
  • I prepared breakfast and then ate it with the Critter while nursing the Gnome again.
  • I wrote in my journal for a few minutes. I can’t reasonably do morning pages with a weeks-old Gnome, but I can write in my journal for a few minutes at about the time when I used to do morning pages. I hope that the habit sticks, because it turns out that with a weeks-old Gnome, I can’t commit to writing in my journal every evening or even most evenings.
  • I accepted the Critter’s invitation to work with him. We built two towns with his blocks, both of which he gleefully destroyed.
  • The Critter and I cleared the breakfast table.
  • I nursed the Gnome again, while writing a grocery shopping list and then reading a book to the Critter (twice).
  • I played one game of hide-and-go-seek with the Critter.
  • I took a shower. Finally. By this point, it was about 10:00.
  • By the end of my shower, or shortly thereafter, both children were crying. I don’t remember exactly how this happened, other than that there was some imaginary gun play involved in the events leading up to the Critter’s tears. The Gnome was already crying by then, and so I had little patience with the imaginary gun play. I might have yelled at someone (not the Gnome). We’ve been following Lawrence J. Cohen’s suggestions for responding to gun play (e.g., pretending that the Critter’s imaginary gun — his index finger — is actually a “love gun,” akin to Cupid’s arrow), but I’m thoroughly exhausted with the imaginary gun play. I. Hate. It.
  • I got dressed really, really quickly. And then I’m pretty sure I changed the Gnome’s diaper (and sleeper) yet again.
  • I nursed the Gnome again, while cuddling with the distraught Critter on the bed. Nobody was crying anymore. Good.
  • I finished getting dressed, while the Gnome pooped again. Another diaper change.
  • I made the bed, which always always always involves wrangling with the Critter, who views making-the-bed time as playing-on-the-bed time. Grrr. More cuddling with the Critter was warranted after that.
  • The Critter and I offered incense at my altar, and I did liturgy. Chanting the Heart Sutra often gives me perspective on the turmoil of the morning. I chant “Form is no other than emptiness, emptiness no other than form,” and I remember that whatever nonsense I’m dealing with that morning (including the nonsense of my own monkey mind) is impermanent, which brings both relief and sadness. The Gnome is growing so fast! I’ll never have another baby! And so on. This morning, alas, chanting the Heart Sutra gave me no such perspective.
  • I helped the Critter get dressed.
  • We had a small sit-down snack. Yes, by this point I was hungry again! Plus, we’re working with Ellyn Satter’s guidelines for feeding children, in the hopes of helping the Critter learn to accept and enjoy a wider variety of foods.
  • We went to the bathroom and brushed our teeth.
  • I bundled up the Gnome in the Ergo, the Critter and I put on our coats and shoes, and we headed out the door — at 12:30.
the sky, 3.29.12

At last, the sky overhead!

There is, in all likelihood, a lesson to be learned in this narrative. It probably has something to do with giving. Or perhaps with the isolation of the contemporary urban stay-at-home mom.

But right now, what I have in mind is what a random passerby said to me this afternoon when she saw me walking down the sidewalk with the Gnome in the Ergo, the Critter by my side, and one huge bag of groceries in each hand.

Yes, she actually said “You’re incredible.”

I’ll take that. Hell, yeah.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Lucy March 29, 2012 at 5:40 PM

After such a busy morning, I’d be ready to go back to bed! It’s amazing you did all that hard play and you then got out the door AND did grocery shopping. Yours are lucky boys, through it all. When Juni was tiny, it took such a long time to get out the door. And inevitably, just as we were about to leave, she’d have an explosive nappy. She had impeccable timing like that.


Melissa March 29, 2012 at 6:33 PM

A well-deserved compliment! I have a heck of a time getting out of the house at a reasonable time with one child, and I don’t make beds or do liturgy. I know it’s not what you were going for, but I’m impressed!


Rachael March 31, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Hm. Actually, it looks like Thursday just might be the only day this week that I’ll manage to make the bed and do liturgy. Ah, well.


Lauren @ Hobo Mama March 30, 2012 at 3:42 PM

You are incredible!

Can I just say I’m so glad we’re not alone? I do NOT know how people get out the door in anything like a reasonable timeframe. The napping, the nursing, the changing clothes of multiple people…it just doesn’t happen fast. Even when we think we’re going out the door, it takes literally 5-10 minutes just to get down the stairs and into carseats. We are never on time to anything. I try not to promise to be.

Also, making the bed as playtime — yes! Drives me up the wall.


6512 and growing April 6, 2012 at 11:08 PM

Sounds perfectly normal and like you are quite a bit more sane than I’d expect at this juncture.

Enjoy those fabulous boys!


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