For the past few months, I’ve been substitute teaching to put away a few dollars for my own schooling, and get experience with a variety of schools and age groups. The only down side is the early morning phone calls, with assignments, followed by the revised morning routine.
We are a family of night owls (except Christopher, who seems to delight in disturbing the delicate balance of our morning wah), and change is hard at that hour. Sleep is scarce, as Sarah makes her final appearance each night at 11:00 p.m. or so, while Craig doesn’t usually drag his darling behind to bed until the wee hours. Many times I awaken to the cozy sensation of dog on my feet, husband snoring in one ear, and daughter crawled up under my opposite armpit, making it impossible to reach the alarm.
Nevertheless, Team Saxton’s “captain” goes on full alert at 6:00 a.m. Bleary-eyed and baggy-tailed, my morning begins:
6:05 Get myself presentable. Miss America I’m not, but I don’t want to scare the children.
6:10 (Give or take a minute), pack lunches and snacks as needed. (NOTE: No fruit, which rots in the backpacks.)
6:20 Set out breakfast (Froot Loops makes Dad’s life easier. Concerta helps everyone else.)
6:30 Put together my “Bag of Tricks” with books and activities for the appropriate age group.
6:35 Guzzle my first Diet Coke of the day and throw tonight’s dinner in the crock pot.
6:45 Wake Sarah and have her get ready for school. “Where are you going, Mom?” “Don’t worry, Sarah. I’m going to teach today … but Dad will take you to school, and I’ll pick you up.”
6:46 “NOOOOOOOOO! I want to go with YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOU!” This is loud enough to wake up Christopher, upstairs, who soon joins in the fray. It’s unanimous: Dad is chopped liver.
6:47 Wake husband, who wails, “NOOOOOOOOOOOO! I want them to go with YOOOOOOOU!” (snore)
6:48 Maddy joins in on the fun, and wants to be let outside. I hook her up, remind Craig to throw the ball to the dog and/or have Chris walk her so she won’t tear apart the house. (His response: more snoring).
6:50 Help kids find backpacks, clean socks, shoes, lunches, breakfasts, homework. Kicking myself for trusting that they’d done it the night before, as I’d asked them to do. Poke Craig with a stick if he still isn’t up.
6:55 I’m going to be late unless I leave NOW. Breakfast burrito under one armpit (no time to microwave) and Diet Coke in one hand, toss clothes from washer to dryer with the other on my way out the door. Gertrude (my GPS) is not yet awake, and steers me in the wrong direction. Danged satellite.
7:00 Craig calls, finally up. “Do you know where my piano music is? I have a lesson tonight…” (Umm… by the piano?)
Now, I realize that a truly SPIRITUAL MOM would get up at 5:00 to sip tea, make a leisurely morning offering, and have a healthy workout complete with a high-fiber breakfast. A SUPER MOM would have most of this stuff done the night before — including color-coordinating her children’s outfits and ironing her husband’s shirt. Me, I shoot for MORNING MOM, keeping the madness down to a dull roar, containing the chaos and helping the team pull together. On good days, I even have a few minutes to breathe before the kids arrive in my assigned classroom. On REALLY good days, the door is unlocked and the chairs are down, and the lesson plan isn’t written in invisible ink.
But if worse comes to worst, I don’t sweat it. I’ve already made it through the hardest part of the day. After bulldozing my crew out of bed, the rest is child’s play!