A School Morning

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Today I’m joining Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary for Just Write. Read here to learn more about Just Write. In a nutshell, it’s a free write about a recent or current experience without adding analysis, explanation, or clarification.


I get out of bed. I take my pills which sit on my nightstand with a glass of water at the ready. I brush my teeth, my hair, use the bathroom, put in my contacts & pull on pants.

I wake up the girls with kisses, one, two, three. Lazy summer mornings gone, harder to wake up. They move slowly. I move fast, it’s my job. Morning time flies. We can’t be late.

I get the baby up, change her wet, bulging diaper. She cries, rubs her eyes, reaches for her paci and her crib as I get her dressed. Like her sisters, she is tired, dragging. Not back in the swing of early school mornings.

I carry her down the hall where the big girls remain motionless in beds. With an edge in my voice this time, I remind them they have to get up or we’ll be late for school. I take baby downstairs, put her in her booster seat, pour her cereal. Crunching sounds, cuteness. She is happy with Cheerios and milk.

I start making cinnamon toast. I take the dog out, grab the newspaper, scoop the dog’s poop. When I get back inside, baby’s crying, alone at the kitchen table. Sunlight streams in on her head and I realize I haven’t fixed her hair. I brush her blond wavy locks and she whines, but keeps stuffing cereal into her hungry mouth.

I look at the clock & yell for the twins again. I feel tense. Piper’s toast is ready. I cut it into bites, put it in front of her, wiping cinnamon on my pants. The light is too bright. I close the shades a bit. Finally the girls come downstairs.

The big sisters slowly scrounge for cereal. One hasn’t brushed her hair yet. I hand her a brush, set out bowls, spoons and cups for them. They stand sleepily in the pantry, just staring at the boxes. I feel frustrated.

I look at the clock. I set the timer so they need to know when to go upstairs to brush teeth, potty, etc. before we leave. They stall. They take their time.

I get more tense.

I grab the dog’s dishes, give him fresh water and food, hide his medicine in a ball of bread. He eats the bread first, then hides under baby’s booster waiting for her to start throwing.

The twins pour cereal, a lot lands on the counter, some scatters on the floor. Paws come, clickety-clack. Doggie crunching and snarfing sounds. I clip him to a leash tied to the oven door handle. Mini poodle has stomach issues.

The twins sit and finally start eating. I look at my trio and as they giggle and make faces at each other, laughing…and I’m happy. But it hardly seems to last because…

Then fighting starts. About something the night before that I don’t want to dredge up again. The timer goes off. I ask for plates and bowls, watching chubby baby legs kick under the table. Baby teeth crunching. Sticky baby hands clutching a cup of milk. Gulping sounds, she can’t get enough.

Plates clatter into the sink. Feet stomp upstairs, pausing at the landing to look out the window. I look at the clock. I breathe, try not to yell, and tell her she has GOT TO GO BRUSH HER TEETH. NOW.

Somehow shoes are on. Lunch boxes, umbrellas, notes to teachers, backpacks, kids, and mom get into the car by 8:00.

And I heave a sigh of relief that on this morning?

We are not late.

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  • http://www.imnotinfectious.com/ Michael Lombardi

    I didn’t know how in the world I was going to do this. But I was able to get something. It’s done in the same style as yours. I’m going to put it in the link up. I hope to see yours there.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      I’m so glad you did and happy to see you exploring new things. It’s good for both of us, ya know?!?!

      • http://www.imnotinfectious.com/ Michael Lombardi

        I agree. It’s just such an unusual way of writing for me.

  • Bridgette

    Thank you for that peek into your morning. It’s amazing to me how connected we all are, even if we feel alone.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      Thanks for reading! I try to tell myself that…that it’s not just me? That I’m not the only one feeling frustrated, kids not listening, sounding like a broken record, then feeling like the worst mom ever…and it’s deja vu every day. Except now I’ve got a plan, and I’m going all drill sergeant on them starting tomorrow. LOL!

  • Renee Jacobson

    Remember that tension that you felt: because THAT is what your children feel — our children feel — all day, every day. Not fun.

    I still have a few weeks before my son starts high school. Freaking high school, Erin! {can you even believe that?} Hopefully, he’ll want me to get up with him on that first day for a kiss at the kitchen table.

    But probably not.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      Do you mean I’m inflicting my tension on them? I mean, on some level I am, but at the same time, I’m not sure that’s entirely what you meant…I know they sense things, and they’re smart kids, but MAN do they know how to push all my/our buttons. Things are about to change all up in here tomorrow. I’m armed with charts and stickers and I’m not going to follow them around to make sure they do what they’re told. You don’t get up out of bed? Then you miss breakfast and you go to school in your pajamas or change in the car. They’ll have to learn the hard way. It’s not worth my being this crazed and stressed every weekday….


      • http://www.imnotinfectious.com/ Michael Lombardi

        Can’t wait to hear how this went. I’m sure for the first little while they test the system.

  • Sarah Heleringer Reinhart

    This sounds familiar :) Except my kids have to be at school by 7:45. Doors lock after that. Pray for me! We do SO MUCH in the mornings don’t we? It’s amazing what we get accomplished in the moments we stumble from bed. xx

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      7:45? HOLY SHIT. And I only have three kids. How do you do it? I’ve been working on posters all weekend and I got stickers for them as incentives. Individual things are listed on the chart, and I’ve also decided that come hell or high water there will be no: (1) changing one’s ensemble once one has already gotten dressed; (2) no choosing breakfast. I’m not a short-order cook. I’m going to post a regular menu. Seriously. Thinking cereal + toast on Mondays, oatmeal on Tuesdays, scrambled eggs and bacon on Wedesdays, and maybe toss in some pancakes or toast with jelly or a bagel morning or something. But then I can start prep ahead of time while they are (SUPPOSED TO BE) getting dressed!! ack. Mornings + homework time after school are often hardest parts of the day for me…..

  • http://www.deepestworth.com/ Shannon

    Hang on tight, Erin. It gets easier in many ways.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      Um, when exactly? Just so’s I have some idea? LOL!!!

  • http://unintentionallybrilliant.blogspot.com Roxanne Piskel

    I’m getting tense just reading this. I thought my mornings were a scramble – I can’t imagine adding 2 more kids!

    Just keep breathing though. Stay calm. XO

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      Yeah, I am pretty tense in the mornings. I am working on that, though. I just replied to SundaySpill Sarah below and I’ve got charts & stickers coming. Though I know we all waffle around what is expected vs/ what should be “rewarded,” I think I have to start with small rewards here and then once they’ve gotten it down, I can back off a bit….and since they are twins, there’s natural competition, so perhaps that will work in our favor…? or it could blow up in my face. I’m sure you’ll be seeing another post soon about which way it goes…. wish me LUCK!

  • http://writingwishing.com/ Alison

    Some days, I really don’t look forward to mornings because although we don’t have to rush (preschool starts at 8.30, and we’re less than 10 minutes drive away), the kids get very fighty and aggressive in the morning and my coffee gets cold, and my breakfast is always left half-eaten until 10.00, when I can get the baby down for his nap, then I can finish it. I get your frustration, so much. xo

  • Melissa Ruppert Olivero

    School begins here this Monday and I am tense already knowing that many mornings will be like yours today. Eventually we will all find our rhythms (fingers crossed).

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      At least you have the comfort in knowing we’re all in this together. I mean, I do think all kids are different, and sometimes I wish mine were like the kid next door who refuses to eat breakfast, b/c half of our battle would be DONE/GONE right there! I’m cracking down starting tomorrow. I AM THE MOM. I CHOOSE. I MAKE THE RULES. I AM TAKING BACK MY….. uh, what am I taking back?

      CONTROL! That’s it, CONTROL!!!!

      • Melissa Ruppert Olivero

        LOL That’s so sweet that you think that control is possible. *grins*

  • Mary @ A Teachable Mom

    Your morning routine needed no analysis, explanation or clarification. As a parent, I’ve been there. As a writer, I’m grateful to feel every moment with you. I’ll check out Just Write.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      I hope you do check out Just Write! Heather is awesome and it’s a great community. Plus? You get to write whatever you want, no prompt, no pressure. I just need to do better about reading more of the other entries. 😉

  • http://www.jenniferpwilliams.com/ Jennifer P. Williams

    Getting up and out is hard. It doesn’t matter if it is the first morning or the last.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      AMEN. That is one of a million reasons I need a sister wife. We could take turns. It would be awesome!

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  • http://www.worldsworstmoms.com/ Tammy

    I love this. I could see it all. Felt like I was a fly on the wall in your kitchen.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      Thanks so much! Although, you wouldn’t have wanted to be a fly on the wall—too loud for you! All the screaming, fighting kids, etc?!?! LOL

  • Stevie

    This is such an interesting exercise, to write and not analyze. I love the way it came out. Mornings are tough!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      Thanks! In looking back on it, I’m not sure I didn’t sneak a bit of analysis in there, but…I tried! Mornings are the WORST!!!

  • http://www.about100percent.com/ Andrea

    Mornings like this are so frustrating, aren’t they? And I’ve got 180 of them to go. Here’s to on-time days!

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