While Insta-perfect households may have their morning routines sorted, the morning-run whirlwind remains an exhausting obstacle course for most of us. By Lisa Witepski
Get dressed. Eat breakfast. Brush teeth. Leave the house. In theory, this is a four-step process that could be completed in 30 minutes. In reality, it’s a test of wills.
Maybe these six stages of my morning will resonate with you, too.
Stage One: Five more minutes
It’s probably less painful to have a maniacal surgeon performing brain surgery than to hear your alarm clock going off at 6am. Now begins the fight between having a few minutes more rest and putting the rest of the morning into fast-forward mode, or dealing with the shock of having to emerge out of bed.
Stage Two: Let the coaxing begin
I’m really not big on screens, but every morning I feel exceptionally grateful for the TV – how on earth would I get breakfast and school lunch done if it weren’t for Charlie and Lola? That said, my kids become zombies the instant I pick up that remote. They’re suddenly unable to answer basic questions such as “What will you have for breakfast?” Luckily, they now know the drill so I only have to ask five times before they grunt a response. Of course, they never want the same thing. Not that I mind making smoothies and porridge and sandwiches all at the same time.
Stage Three: The active-wear dilemma
Women who do nothing more active than drink cappuccino while wearing active wear have made putting on leggings a shameful act for all of us. But there’s no denying that, even if you’re not going to yoga, putting on your exercise gear is the easiest and quickest choice – especially since I only shower and dress once I’ve returned from the school run. That said, I always feel I have to talk loudly and enthusiastically about my upcoming boxing class, just so people know my gear is legit.
Stage 4: More coaxing
Unbelievably, it seems I have managed to brush my teeth, wash my face and dress all in the time my children have had a single mouthful of food. Now’s when the real work starts: like a flying octopus I manage to make them finish breakfast, dress, do hair and brush teeth – only to find that I have put my car keys in one of those “safe places” that you never remember and have to spend five minutes tracking them down.
Stage 5: The car trip
Oh, Elsa. How you’ve changed my life. I can’t remember a school drop off that doesn’t start with a full volume rendition of “Let it Go”. If I’m in a good mood, I can convince myself to use this as a mantra, reminding me to ignore client quibbles and shake off any negativity before starting the day.
Stage 6: The separation
My daughter is all gung ho about school – until we reach her classroom, and then it’s as if I’m dropping her off at a refugee camp. Her teacher has to remove her from me with the skill and patience of a surgeon excising a nasty growth. It’s painful for both of us – the irony being that she’s already forgotten the morning’s trauma by the time she’s spied her best buddy, while I carry that heavy-heartedness with me until I’m able to give her a hug when I collect her from school.
In her 16 years as journalist, Lisa Witepski’s work has appeared in most of South Africa’s leading publications, including the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, Entrepreneur and Financial Mail. She has written for a number of women’s magazines, including Living & Loving, Essentials and many others, across topics from lifestyle to travel, wellness, business and finance. She is a former acting Johannesburg Bureau Chief for Cosmopolitan, and former Features Editor at Travel News Weekly, but, above all, a besotted mom to Leya and Jessica. Lisa blogs at whydoialwayscravecake.blogspot.com and lisa.witepski.blogspot.com, and tweets at @LisaWitepski.