Doing Something Right


There are so many things I do wrong as a mother. Some of what I do wrong I know and some I don’t. Some I’ll figure out and others I won’t. It’s simply the nature of motherhood. It’s so easy to beat myself about those things, and beat myself up, I do. So I have to remember to take the time to notice the things I do right. Especially now when things feel so difficult and beyond my control.

Bedtime with Muffin is a struggle. It’s fraught with negotiation and tears and drama. I do it all wrong. But the mornings? The mornings I have to wake her up and get her off to preschool? The mornings that could easily be just one more battle? Those I do right. I figured out what works and what doesn’t. I’ve learned and adjusted accordingly.  For me—for my motherhood—that’s huge.

Here’s a glimpse into my mornings:

Muffin does best when she’s given time to get used to what’s coming, so I am always sure to tell her the night before, “Tomorrow’s a school day.” I talk it up with enthusiasm. If there’s any protest (and there usually isn’t), I can deal with it then instead of when I’m trying to get her dressed or out the door in the morning.

In the morning, the key is time. We need time. I can’t rush it, so I don’t try. I get up before her and get myself ready. When I’m ready to wake her, I curl up next to her and sing to her. I use the song from Bear in the Big Blue House that Bear uses to summon Shadow. Of course, I substitute “Charlie” for “Shadow” and add in a kiss with each pause.

Where oh where oh where is Charlie? (kiss)

Where oh where oh where is Charlie? (kiss)

Where oh where oh where is Charlie? (kiss)

Where can Charlie be?” (kiss kiss)

It makes her stir and stretch and sometimes she smiles. I love it when she smiles when she’s still half asleep!

She’s not fully awake by then and sometimes she pleads, “I wanna snuggle.” So snuggle we will.

After a couple minutes, I start to dress her. I take off her pajamas staying close to keep her warm and then she starts to really wake. Naturally, she has to choose what to wear, so I usually have two or three outfits ready for her to choose from. She loves purple and girly things and wants to wear the more dressy outfits she has, so she keeps rotating the same four or five outfits despite the fact that she has plenty more! I then ask her if she wants ponytails or bows. (She’s getting more agreeable to those which is good since I just decided to try and grow out her bangs.)

Once I get her dressed, we head downstairs to the kitchen. I have to carry her to the pantry where she chooses her breakfast. “I want minieats and creamy wheat.” (aka Mini Wheats and Cream of Wheat—she often asks for a bowl of cold cereal and a bowl of hot cereal. And some kind of fruit. And yes, she eats it all!

She sits on a stool at the kitchen counter, and I get my morning coffee ready while she’s eating. We chat and play a little. There’s just something about that half hour of time just for us spent giggling together over cereal that’s special for me.

At some point, I sneak away to make sure I have everything I need from upstairs. (It’s key to not let her back upstairs or she finds her toys and the power struggle will begin with, “I just wanna play a minute!”)

Finally, she chooses which stuffed animal she will bring with her to school that day (I give her a choice of three or four of her favorites), we put on our coats and we’re ready to roll.  I gather up my daughter—me with my coffee and her with her juice and stuffed animal, and we’re off to the car.

Sometimes she’s chatty on the drive. Sometimes she asks for “Charlie music” (A CD of her favorite songs like “Wheels on the Bus” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider”) and we sing along. Sometimes we’re just quiet.

Finally, we reach school. She likes me to carry her into the classroom. She’s always quiet when we walk in, but I always get a hug and a kiss and an “I love you” before she goes off to join her classmates.

I get back in the car and finish my coffee on the drive home. And I smile knowing she is safe and happy and that I’ve done something right.


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  1. LeeWee says:

    I can so appreciate the mornings done right. I still climb in bed with Izzy on some mornings for a snuggle and she always wakes up in a better mood that way. :) By the way another thing you’ve done right is be an awesome sister! Love you.


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