**disclaimer – this post falls in the the #latergram category. I realized I never posted this and wanted to share, but if you are thinking.. “ok, I know Lila is older than that and where is Levi?” That’s why. I hope you enjoy! Let’s go back to the Fall of 2018 🙂
I messed up. I did NOT have a parenting win this morning. Let me give you a little bit of background. Every morning is a little bit of a rush, which is an understatement. I’m sure every parent with kids that still live at home can understand. I like to imagine it gets a little bit easier when they are more independent in middle school and high school, but we are not there with Lila yet so I can’t say much about those kind of mornings. I’m sure that age group comes with it’s own set of challenges though.
This particular morning started out great! Lila slept straight through the night until after 7:00am, I took the dog on a walk, I packed my lunch and some after school snacks, AND I got myself completely ready BEFORE Lila woke up – like shower, makeup, hair, everything (freaking miracle). Today was looking good! I was set up for a whole slew of parenting wins today. Lila waking up later than usual at 7:00am was great from a “getting myself ready” standpoint, but from a “getting Lila ready” standpoint… not so good. It was great that she gets to sleep in since fortunately I’ve figured out that if she can sleep in until she naturally wakes up she doesn’t get sick as often (duh! Haha!). Not so great that she’s already far from a morning person and every step of the getting ready process along the way is a struggle.
Shout out to all the parents out there trying to get their kids ready in the morning!! I’ll have a beer for you tonight after work.
Seriously, let’s just talk about getting dressed – you would think that if I buy her 5 new dresses that she liked in the store that we would get 5 days of easy choices, no questions asked and then we would be on our way. Ha! No. The 5 dresses she liked in the store, she only liked in the store. The dress she wants to wear today is in the dirty laundry hamper. I respond with, “Sorry, honey, you are going to have to wait until I do the laundry and we don’t have time to do that this morning. You have four other dresses to choose from.” I pull out all of the stops as I grab each dress to describe how special it is. I say, “You’re friend has this dress, maybe she’ll wear it today and you can match?!” or “You haven’t worn this one in a while, you love this one!”. Finally after negotiating, she whines, “it’s so early and I’m too tired to choose”, I pick a dress – she immediately says “No” and grabs one of the other 3 dresses left. That’s just getting dressed. And hold the judgment… we all know everyone has an opinion about how they would handle the situation as a parent. Remember, I am doing the best I can in the midst of getting to work and to school on time – it’s about survival!! Haha. Welcome to parenthood, I promise there are good times.
Breakfast is a little easier since we have established a bit more of a routine for this part of our morning. Getting out of the door has it’s own process that usually involves getting into the car all buckled up to hear “Mom, I have to go potty.” I always tell Lila to “Go when you feel like you need to go”… but I mean come on! We could have stolen 5 minutes from the getting-dressed struggle to go potty. Kids and time management. Ha!
What you don’t know is that for the last couple of weeks we have been trying to establish a new bedtime routine. What that routine is, we still aren’t exactly sure yet, but it’s evolving. We’ve had a couple of changes that have forced this – Bryan got a new job where he recently switched to working mostly night shifts and Lila transitioned to the next class in her school. The final class that she will be in at her current school before the big KINDERGARTEN next year! (insert sappy mom tears).
These changes have been great for our family, but nonetheless, a new routine is yet again upon us. Which isn’t a new thing really. I swear every bit of the last four years (“four and a half” Lila would say) have been a constant pattern of not actually having a set routine.
As a parent, once you figure out a routine, it almost becomes bad luck to say “we’ve got this nailed down”, because literally the next day that will change. So you get used to change. It’s a part of life, might as well accept and embrace it.
Now that I’ve set the stage, you’re probably wondering how I screwed up. I’m a parent, I screw up a lot. This morning though, it was something that seemed so small, but really had a profound impact on me.
In the midst of figuring out what all is needed for everyone to have a successful day at work or school… All I know for sure, is that I need to get Lila to the school before 8:00am so that she gets to play with her friends outside before the “school” part of school begins. I’m a big advocate for kids needing recess during the school day.
Our drive to work and school is filled with more traffic than usual and I decide to take a different route hoping to cut off a few minutes from the usual commute. I was hitting every single green light, it was fantastic. We get about a mile away from the house and Lila starts to tell me how much acne I have on my face and my back, which left me confused, because I was actually having a lot of really great skin days recently (I changed my skin care routine completely). Come to find out she was confused about the difference between zits and moles. Don’t worry I explained them to her… these are the conversations we have on the way to school/work.. What do you talk about?? Haha!
As I’m feeling my neck to show her, “this is what a mole looks like”, I also noticed the absence of my lanyard. The lanyard that holds everything I need for work. Literally everything. My heart drops, in 3 seconds I’m starting to consider asking my husband if he could drive across town to my office and give it to me while I drop Lila off at school. Although, since he woke up just to say goodbye to us since he had worked the night before, I can’t do that to him. Luckily I was close enough to turn around. I called my husband, we did a drive by pickup (he practically through it through my passenger side window) and we were back on our way.
The whole way back to the house though. I didn’t feel bad about not having my badge for work, I felt bad because Lila wasn’t going to get to play with her friends this morning before “school” starts. We were going to be on time if we didn’t have to turn around. Again, in addition to what you don’t know, is that for the past four days, we have missed outside time in the mornings because we can’t seem to leave the house on time. Mostly the lack of routine is leaving me scrambling and underestimating what I can do in the time that I have.
I must have told Lila ten times on the way back to the house how genuinely sorry I was. I was fully expecting the threenager part of her that is still hanging on to come out in the form of a pouty face with crossed arms and a head to the side giving me the silent treatment. I felt like I deserved it. That’s not what she did at all! I was shocked. The only thing she said in the most genuine little four (and a half) year old voice was, “It’s okay, mommy. We’ll try again tomorrow”. Geez, cue more tears.
Letting your kid down is the worst. For the last four days, I have told Lila “Ok, we missed outside time today, but we are going to try again to make it tomorrow. We’ll leave a little bit earlier.” It might seem like a small screw up, but at this age, she isn’t thinking about much else beyond trying to make it to outside time to play with her friends. It’s important to her and that’s what matters. To be honest, she shouldn’t be thinking about much else!
Why is this a big deal to me? I need her to trust that I am going to follow through with my end of the deal with whatever that may be as she gets older. Right now, it’s getting ready in the mornings with enough time to leave and get to school for outside time. These are small opportunities, but opportunities nonetheless, to start building that trust with her that will hopefully carry through every stage of her life. I want her to know that she can trust what I say is what I will do and that I do have her best interest at heart. Of course I can tell her those things, but actions show that I mean it. You need both. Tell your children that they can depend on you, but also SHOW them that your are dependable. And if that means you need to change old habits, that’s ok! Start today! Be dependable.
With all of this being said, I have to start somewhere. I’ve made the commitment to change some old habits, and there are ALOT of things that I need to start practicing along the way to really instill these new behaviors, but sometimes you have to start small. Now what? In an effort to help the morning routine, since that seems to be the most chaotic and unpredictable, Lila and I have come up with a “night before” chore chart. It was actually a pretty fun activity! Lila got to pick out the stickers, she seems excited to check things off the list, and there is noticeably less stress in the mornings. I have no idea if this story and chart will help other parents with small children, or even adults if you need to change your habits, but it has really helped us. Our mornings, have been going much smoother in terms of not just leaving on time in the morning, but it’s actually starting to feel like we are “morning people” and can enjoy the morning! (Gasp! lol). I actually get to eat breakfast sitting down with Lila instead of putting on my makeup with a bowl of yogurt next to me on the vanity.
It’s helped a lot and I like to think it ripples through the rest of the day. I hardly start my day rushed anymore and it helps set the tone. Everyday doesn’t go without it’s hiccups, but at least we are actively trying to address them while also remaining flexible as the routines of life need to be modified frequently. There is no need to stress about it, like I said before, change is inevitable. If you know you are doing the best you can, just embrace it.
Until next time,