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With March Break finished, it was back to routine Monday morning.  Admittedly, a week without the extra task of making lunches was wonderfully liberating – especially when combined with a relaxed schedule, days off for all of us, and lots of family times and activities.

I don’t know if it was the contrast between those relaxed starts to the day, or if Monday was really that chaotic, but the process of getting us out the door felt like complete mayhem.

It’s never a good sign if I need to wake Ethan or Audra up.  Or if I have moved on from my sitting-down-enjoying-a-coffee time – which is usually when Audra crawls out of bed to cuddle sleepily on my lap as I finish my journalling.  No matter what I am doing, she needs to start her day with a long, slow cuddle.  (while somewhat inconvenient at times, it’s really quite wonderful)

Some of the sights a passerby would have seen included me trying to start breakfast with Audra in my arms for her morning cuddle – not an easy feat, as she weighs 50 pounds and prevents me from being the whirlwind of activity I intend to be.  Or opening the door to the bathroom – expecting to see Ethan dressed after his shower – and instead seeing him sprawled on the floor in a near-catatonic state. “Huh?” he exclaimed sleepily when I expressed my distress – as if he had forgotten altogether that the following his shower the idea was to was to then get dressed…

In the kitchen, I was like a character out of mythology – eight arms going in different directions.  Breakfast cooking on the stove (bacon, eggs and potato/veggie hash) – while making lunches (homemade soup heating on the stove, filling lunch containers with diced chicken salad, fruit, yogurt and filling water bottles) – and attempting to clean as I went (which really didn’t happen).

All of this peppered with trips to the laundry room to find clean clothes from the unfolded clothes hampers, letting out the dog, and getting myself ready to go to my workout.  Oh – and to eat, of course.  And defrost the car.

By the time all was said and done, I was less like the eight-armed creature, and more like the tasmanian devil – complete with temper.  Audra was in tears (I snapped when she insisted she couldn’t use my brush – and hers was missing.  A brush is a brush, isn’t it?!)  And I had threatened Ethan that I was going to charge him money if he wasn’t dressed and at the breakfast table in 30 seconds (his catatonic state evaporated immediately – since he’s been saving money for a lego set for the last 10 months, and is almost there, this threat – while possibly not the nicest parenting technique – lit a fire under him)

Dean thinks I should wake them earlier and get them started sooner on their routine.  The kids don’t like this idea, or the one of making lights-out time earlier on school nights.  But the issue isn’t really one of tiredness usually – it’s of doing what they are expected to do.  (And of course, they never seem to give him as hard a time.  It seems to be mostly a mom-thing.  *sigh*)

They used to get a weekly allowance, but one of their expected behaviours was to get ready quickly and without fuss on school mornings.  And so I took their allowances away in the mayhem that followed Christmas break.  They must have agreed it was chaos, because they never once complained.  I guess they are aware that our mornings are often less than stellar.  If we plotted out most likely times for me to lose my cool, it would be heavily skewed to be on school mornings.  (definitely not cool)

We’ve tried lots of things to get our mornings to flow better – and I know it’s always hardest right after any break from routine.  The thing is, I get up at 6 every day so that I can start my day the way I want:  I do some movement/mobility work, journalling, writing, reading, setting my goals and intentions for the day.   And to follow my awesome “power hour” with potential craziness just doesn’t mesh quite right.

If I recall correctly, we were in a much better flow before the break.  Maybe it’s just the transition – I just hope it’s a quick one.  Like already over and done with.  Maybe I need to add to my daily intentions to have an easy, happy, get-the-kids-out-the-door experience.

I’d much rather send them off to school with the image of a smiling, sunshine-y kind of mom.

Maybe we’ll start today.