The alarm goes off… I hit “snooze” a couple of times. And then I cease to know whether it stopped ringing or I just forgot to hear it.
I am finally awake. I reach for my phone. It blinks back at me: 6:10 a.m.. Damn, whatever happened to the alarm? I check the alarm ringer volume…. MAX VOLUME. Yeah, fine!
I turn over and think through my to-do list. I try to rev up my brain to remember what I had planned for today’s breakfast, snacks for school and lunches. Who do I have to call today? What meetings do I have? My brain finally catches up. Now that I have retrieved the data, my brain does a quick recalculation. Can I sneak just another two minutes inside the covers? No luck there!
I lazily drag myself to the bathroom. I sit on the bowl and doze off another few minutes while my insides are doing the work. I peep into the bedroom with my toothbrush in my mouth to see if Dear Hubby has stirred. He is still as a log, cuddling the girls.
I walk into the kitchen. I contemplate if I can somehow manage a quick walk around the block. Maybe! I slip on my walking shoes, do a quick two rounds and come back with my head already screaming ‘LATE.’
One more time, I promise myself that I will dedicate more time to my exercise. Tomorrow.
I check back into the bedroom once again to see Dear Hubby stiller than stone. I walk over, give him a quick nudge, say the time and walk back into the kitchen. Do I make a cup of tea? No, I will wait for DH. I could save some time.
Almost automatically, the dal, the rice and the veggies start to get cooked. I look at the time again and perk up my ears to see if I can faintly hear something in the bathroom. Silence. I run to the bedroom and give my hubby a nudge — no, a shove. A pretty hard one. This time, I don’t bother to stop and bestow the knowledge of the current time on him. I am already running back to the kitchen shouting out the time.
I hear him walk to the bathroom. 5, 10, 15 minutes! What the –? I bring the cooking to a logical break point and sprint to the bathroom, rapping on the door. What I really want to do is to break it down. I do a good job of showing AND not showing the annoyance in my voice (ah, the art of balance), “What are you doing?”
I hear a gruff, sleepy, exasperated voice, “I am doing the job!!!”. As if that was irrelevant, I shoot back, “Wake up the kids!”
I time my tea to be ready as he emerges from the bathroom, sleepy and light. I place his tea on the table, with the same words, repeating, “Wake up the kids!” For an instant, my mind flashes visions of those naïve bygone years, me and my beloved sipping a cup of tea on a bench, in a resplendent garden, having philosophical discussions… ha! Right now, “Wake up the kids” seems to be the most romantic thing I can say. My tea is on the platform, too hot to sip. I decide to fill in the cooling off period with the chore of packing the kid’s snack boxes. Then, the curry needs stirring. I should have started fixing breakfast. The rice is boiling over. I hear the kids groan as they are beginning another day. I can’t find my daughter’s fancy lid. My daughter walks into the kitchen to negotiate five extra minutes of sleep. Dad has already said no!
Oh! My tea gas gone cold now! I discard the idea of reheating it — not worth the trouble. I gulp it down.
I usher them back into the shower. I remind my daughter about the pre-bath coconut oil massage and the oats scrub. Their shower takes forever. Not to mention that they have used up all the hot water. By now, they have also fought about who wants hotter or colder water, who gets which towel, who was right about the exact location of a trinket they found on the ground, the color of it, the size of it and its potential uses. Dear Hubby does their shutting up, the hair and the uniforms. His own shower takes less than four minutes (compare this with the time allocated for his morning ablutions!) He walks into the kitchen to relieve me and starts packing our lunches. My shower takes about 97 seconds. I do a quick prayer and hurtle back into the kitchen.
By now, my brain is automatically divided into four parts. Only the smallest part has the luxury of thinking about my activities. The other three chunks are assigned to monitoring what Dear hubby and the two girls are doing respectively, with the largest two chunks divided between equally between the girls. Magically, I also seem to develop eyes at the back and sides of my head. When I holler at my youngest daughter to move away from the mirror because she has been there too long, she eyes me suspiciously to see if I am hiding some unknown monster powers that can see through opaque walls in the kitchen. I am now clocking them by the second. Every 13 seconds or so, I yell out an instruction, “get your bags out,” “wear your socks,” “get the shoes!!!” ” pick up your lunch bags!” This does not include the reminder I yell out every six seconds to stop talking about the cat they spotted a week ago and to focus on the job at hand.
Now, even the kids are aware that they in the “highly sensitive time zone.” Except that we seem to be in a time warp. What seems to be super-fast to them is excruciatingly slow for us! Which means, we have to resist the urge to wrench everything from their hands and do it ourselves to save on time. We have about 20 minutes left to leave the house.
Breakfast is ready! The battle shall begin!
All of us have breakfast at the same time, no, no — not with us sitting around the table eating our own stuff happily, occasionally asking to pass the salt.
Instead, ours is like this: Hubby and I are gulping down spoonfuls of our breakfast in between feeding the two girls. How they can forget to chew stuff that’s in their mouth is still beyond us, so we just stick to doing what we can: urge them to swallow what’s in their mouth. Remind them to pick up the next spoonful — 1, 2, 3, 4 — too long, PICK IT UP! OK, now chew. Gulp it! Phew!
My little girl has just discovered that her diary is missing from her school bag which she insists was intact till she went to bed. Another work of the Gods? Or Demons? Her sister, meanwhile has been suddenly enlightened with the memory of a science project that requires leaves from 10 different trees. Ten, no less!
I take one final passing glimpse of myself in the mirror. I look like a well-managed wreck. I dangle my footwear, pick up the keys and make a dash down the stairs. The girls are still babbling away. Hubby looks well-fed and irresistible, his boyish charm accentuated by his serious office attire. I note with a sense of pride that I have one hell of a crazy, but happy family.
Thank God for the traffic. I can finally get some makeup on.
Well, tomorrow is another day! Till the I cease to be a monster mommy!
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About the Author:
Devishobha Chandramouli is the founder of Kidskintha- a site dedicated to creating happy children. She believes that growing up well and happy is a function of growing up with well-informed adults. This site aims to deliver research-grounded and bite-sized pieces of information on two important facets of a child’s life- parenting and education. You can find her voice on the Huffington Post, Addicted2Success, TinyBuddha, Citizen Matters , Nectar and Lies About Parenting.