Every now and then I’ll complete a time audit to assess where I am spending my time and how I can rearrange my schedule to be more efficient with my time. A time audit is a great tool to assess your routine, but it hardly captures everything a mom does. Here is a glimpse at a mom’s morning:
She looks at the clock a few minutes before 5:00am, knowing she must rise before her children do. If she is too tired, she will miss her opportunity for a shower and other necessary morning preparations. She does her morning stretches and, hopefully, has time to exercise. She showers - if she’s lucky - but, often times, her children are up by this time and her window of opportunity has closed. Sometimes, she doesn’t get out of bed until 6:00 and then everything changes.
She walks through the hallways, beginning to “wake up the house” and her children. It’s a 40-minute process to get her older children out of bed, no matter how many times she threatens to stop prodding them and allow them to be late for school. She turns off the night-time lights in the kitchen, the hallways, and the bathrooms.
She prods the middle school student again, despite her better judgment (Truthfully, she doesn’t want to drive him to school if he misses the bus, and she remembers how difficult it was to get her own body out of bed.) She nudges another child who needs to get in the shower now in order to be ready for school on time.
Soon, all the children are awake, and one is crying because there is no more milk. She runs to the store to calm the desperate-for-milk child. She drops the middle school student at the bus stop on the way to the store.
She answers a million mom questions. “Mom, where’s my book?”; “Mom, can you help me with breakfast?”; “Mom, I need more pencils.”; “Mom, can I check the weather?” It is now 7:00am.
She tells a child to get out of the shower; he is wasting water. She tells a child to change her clothes and dress properly for the weather. She tells a child to take his allergy medicine. She makes four lunches. On Fridays, she makes five lunches. She tells the child to put the milk away, clear the breakfast dishes, and brush his teeth.
She braids hair. She ties pants and shoes. She tries to finish getting dressed.
She empties the pencil sharpener. She says goodbye to a child who is eager to get to school early. She finishes packing the remaining lunches. She puts the lunch materials away. She loads the dishwasher.
Her hair has dried on its own.
She looks at her to do list. She walks the remaining children to school. She waits for another mom who is bringing supplies for the garden club feast later that day. She watches the minutes passing where nothing is getting done. She walks home. Her friend forgot to bring the supplies.
She flushes the toilets (three boys means there is always a toilet to flush). She turns off the lights (how many years does it take to train a child to turn his light off when he leaves a room?). She hangs the towels thrown on the floor.
She turns on the oven, pulls bread out of the freezer, and sets an alarm to call the haircut place when it opens at 10. She begins cooking for her company on Friday night. She bakes brownies.
She is “not” working today. She rinses the dishes, loads the dishwasher and puts away the ingredients. She puts in a laundry load. She straightens up the rest of the house and makes the beds (ok - only her bed). She grabs lunch. Lunch is defined as baby carrots and hummus today.
The morning has ended.