Lately my morning routine has been less than stellar. We're at the end of the school year, and like many parents out there, as the days get longer, we become a little lax on the bedtime routine. The nights are fun, but our mornings are suffering!
A few weeks back, our morning was especially chaotic. After getting the three older ones out the door, I began to tackle our toddler. Our spunky, energetic, silly beyond belief, toddler!
I typically work from home, so my own personal morning routine usually involves a top knot and yoga gear. But on this particular morning I too needed to be somewhere first thing.
As it turned out, my three year old didn't really care about my schedule. She was goofing around, being her usual silly self. Normally I would laugh but, but on this particular day, acting like a wet noodle while I try to get her in a jumpsuit just wasn't funny.
As the morning went on and her silliness continued, my heart started to pound out of my chest, as it tends to do when I get overwhelmed and stressed out. She was NOT cooperating and I was minutes away from being late for something I just couldn't be late for.
So I snapped. I raised my voice, and ended my rant with a stern NOW. I wanted to make it clear that today, mama wasn't messing around.
She stopped in her tracks, and stared at me in fear.
Her bottom lip started to quiver, tears rolled down her face and I instantly felt regret. However, I pushed the feelings aside because I just didn't have time!
I buckled her in the car seat, dropped her off at daycare and went on with my day.... with a HUGE pit in my stomach about how the morning went.
All day long I had flashbacks to that quivering bottom lip. Every time I pictured the look on her face, I felt worse.
It wasn't her fault that I was rushed. Yes maybe she should be a little more cooperative in the morning, however at the end of the day, she's 3 years old. The onus for a smooth sailing morning isn't on her. It's on me.
When I picked her up at the end of the day, I got down on my knees and apologized to her for yelling. I told her that Mommy was wrong and shouldn't have yelled!
Part of me believed that she wouldn't remember. Toddlers have short memories right?
Instead, the bottom lip came out and she said, "You don't love me Mommy?"
I instantly went from feeling bad to terrible, and began to assure her over and over that no matter what, I will love her forever.
One of my favourite questions to ask parents, is
"What do you want your children to remember about their childhood?"
That evening, that very question kept coming to my mind.
I don't want my daughter to look back on her childhood and remember her Mom yelling at her.
Even though, there are inevitably going to be times when I do need to raise my voice, I don't want to be THAT Mom.
I don't want to be the Mom who is rushing around in the morning yelling at everyone to get moving. I don't want that chaos. Most importantly, I don't ever want the kids to question my love for them.
Some may say, this is on them. They need to behave and listen. They need to learn that they can't fool around in the morning. Raising my voice is an appropriate consequences.
I disagree. The onus is on me.
The onus is on me to create and stick to a morning routine that sets everyone up for a good day.
The onus is on me to outline clear expectations and to be consistent, whether I have an early morning meeting or not.
The onus is on me to wake up early enough that we are not scrambling to get out the door.
It's my responsibility to create an environment that sets everyone in this family up for success.... So I don't have to raise my voice, or become unnecessarily overwhelmed.
If you're rolling your eyes at this, I know I know. Getting frustrated with the kids is bound to happen. I probably will yell at my daughter again (soon). I probably will loose my cool.
I'm not denying that.
My point is that I am going to do whatever I can't to prevent that from happening. There has to be a better way!
Because going about my day with a pit in my stomach is no way to live. And I certainly don't want my daughter to spend the day questioning my love.