I had an argument with my husband this morning. It was about the stupidest thing. But, on deconstruction, I can see how the argument represented so much more than what we were actually arguing about. The crux of the matter is the root of the problem with weekday mornings. Something I tried, spectacularly badly, to explain to him at the time.
Our argument? It was about shelving units. Namely, the pair of shelving units in our hallway that I needed him to bring back upstairs because the bloke off Gumtree failed to turn up to collect them yesterday (stay awake people). But at 7am the NLM failed to see the pressing urgency of why it had to be him to bring the units back upstairs. You’re at home today, he said, why can’t you bring them back upstairs? It’s a two minute job.
And there’s the heart of the issue. Because anyone who has to get children ready in the morning and actually be somewhere before 10am will tell you, nothing is a two minute job.
At the time, I tried to explain – in rising hysteria – that I didn’t have two minutes. That it was a huge feat of accomplishment to even find time for a wee before the school run, let alone carry a pair of shelving units upstairs. He didn’t understand. But all you have to do is get the kids dressed, give them breakfast and then leave the house? How can that be so hard? Says the person who leaves home for work at 7.15am and misses all the weekday morning action.
To those of you who are blessed with not having to get kids ready and out of the house under a looming deadline, let me explain the exact reason why it’s so difficult: children have different priorities to adults.
What my five year old thinks is important in the morning:
- Finding a pair of tights that don’t go over her toes. (No such thing exists.)
- Finding her Anna lego figure that has been lost for approximately ten days.
- Singing her favourite Taylor Swift song.
- Finding the My Little Pony star on Tiny Tots and then logging onto my laptop to mark off said star on the Tiny Tots website.
- Spreading her own toast with a particular knife that happens to be cleaned in the dishwasher at that very moment.
What my 15 month old thinks is important in the morning:
- More breastfeeding.
- Climbing on the dining table.
- Practising Free Running off the dining table.
- Emptying three packets of babywipes.
- Getting stuck behind the TV.
This is the problem with weekday mornings. My kids and I have absolutely nothing in common when it comes to early morning priorities.
While I’m intent on getting them dressed, fed and out of the door, they’re intent on their own personal little battles that are 100% important to them at the time. Try explaining to my 5 year old that 8.30am is not the time to deliberate over what colour she’s going to paint her nails at the weekend, or that it really doesn’t matter Lego Anna was lost in her Frozen set a while ago and we can find it later. She doesn’t want to know. Kids live in the moment, so anything that pops into her head at any given moment is cause for massive concern and must be dealt with there and then. Priorities.
And while I’m trying to field, cajole and encourage my five year old that my priorities are more pressing than her priorities (getting dressed, eating her breakfast, brushing her teeth) I’m also trying to field and cajole a 15 month old who has wildly different ideas of what is important. Which is why many mornings I find myself attempting to think up persuading arguments to forget about My Little Pony until 4pm while simultaneously buttering toast, retrieving a toddler off the dining table and not wetting myself because I haven’t had a chance to do a wee yet today.
Don’t tell me to get up earlier. I was up at 5.30am today. I could be out of bed at 3am – hell, I could even avoid bed altogether – and still the same conflicts would occur. Hair doesn’t want to be brushed, school shoes don’t want to be worn, breakfast doesn’t want to be eaten. It makes no difference how organised I am or how early we start getting ready for school.
And that’s the problem with weekday mornings. It doesn’t matter how patient I am. No matter how many random requests I try to fulfill at just the moment we really need to be walking out of the door, it really makes no difference. Until both my children are teenagers (at least) there is very little chance of us sharing anything in the way of early morning priorities. That’s why weekday mornings suck.
And that’s why I can’t spare two minutes to move a pair of bloody shelving units back upstairs.