A Typical Working Mom Morning

sunrise5:15 a.m.

“Kerry – it’s time to get up.”

I hear my “human alarm clock” – my husband – whisper those words loud enough to ensure I’ll get up, and then turn to head back downstairs. He’s already been up for 30 minutes, wanting to enjoy some alone time before the day gets underway.

I plod into the bathroom, splash some cold water on my face, brush my teeth and then change into my workout clothes. I quickly make the bed, jog downstairs, take a quick peek at my phone and then head out the door to my sunrise yoga class.

It’s dark, stars still twinkling, and I can see my breath in the cool morning air. Blast car heater, blast music, and I’m off.

6:44 a.m.

After the final Namaste, I roll my mat, throw on my sweatshirt and again slide into my car to make the quick four-minute drive home.

It’s light outside!

As I turn onto our street, I wonder what awaits me.

I push the front door open and my husband tags himself out. He’s dressed our three-year old and has her sitting at the kitchen table to eat some breakfast.

“She was up at 6:15 a.m. and she’s been a pill.”

“Thanks,” I say, and he darts outside to head to work.

My boys – nine and seven – are pretty self-sufficient in the mornings. Besides the basic reminders to grab their lunches, jackets and backpacks, they know the drill.

My lovely daughter, however, is another story.

Tears are streaming down her face and she declares she does NOT want to go to school.

I ask if she is done with breakfast, she nods and I plop her in front of the TV to watch a cartoon so I can get ready. I run upstairs.

Shower. Hair. Make-up.

7:27 a.m.

As I head downstairs again, my daughter is still upset.

“Grab your shoes, time to go.”

“Nooooooo!” she wails.

“Boys, put the dog out.”

I find my daughter’s shoes and guide her over to the stairs. I also have two headbands poking out of my pocket to give her the choice for hair accessories.

She swiftly darts upstairs and I grab an ankle to pull her within reach. She kicks her shoes off and I relent. I pick her up, screaming and all, and wrestle her into the car seat. I’ll deal with her sweater and shoes at school.

7:36 a.m.

We pull up to my boys’ school and they jump out.

“Love you. Remember to bring everything in your backpack for homework. Soccer practice tonight.”

“Love you too,” and they wave goodbye.

Meanwhile, my daughter is still a mess in the backseat.

“I don’t want to go to school. I want to stay home … with you.”

Ah yes, the words every working mom longs to hear.

“I need to go to work today, and you need to go to school,” I explain calmly. Rationalizing with a three-year-old is obviously a waste. Sigh. “My job is to work on my meetings and special projects today, and your job is to learn your letters and shapes and numbers and play with your friends. This is how you become a big girl.”

“I don’t want to be a big girl,” she cries.

I think to myself – yes, there are days I don’t want to be a big girl either – but here we are.

7:45 a.m.

We pull into the preschool parking lot and I open the door, slip her shoes on and unbuckle her seatbelt. She cries some more as I give her a choice on the headbands. She reluctantly picks one and we hold hands into school.

I sign her in, and the director notes my daughter’s sullen disposition.

I walk her to class, and the teacher greets us and then helps console my very upset daughter.

We say our goodbyes – or rather I say goodbye – and my daughter cries harder. She’s been going to preschool for six months, but yet we still have days like these ever so often.

7:51 a.m.

I drop myself into the driver’s seat, throw in a CD and hit repeat on a favorite song.

Time to make my way over to the freeway for my 32-mile commute.

Deep breath.

8:34 a.m.

Now in the work parking lot, I toss all charged electronic devices into my bag and make my way into the office. I feel like I’m running late, but the first meeting isn’t until 9 a.m.

I’ll have time to sift through email and settle in for the long day.

Have I already run a marathon today? Geez! I’m drained, but this is the drill.

I likely won’t leave the office until around 5:30 p.m., and I’m sure when I arrive home, there will be homework and reading and chaos to greet me at the door.

Such is the life of a working mom. Can you relate?


  1. Monica Leite says

    Omg this is so my life except I dont have a tag team partner in the morning since we work opposite shifts and I still cant manage to get exercise in but im going to keep trying. Im curious to know if your husband gets up at about 4:30pm that time does he go to bed?

    • says

      He actually functions pretty well on little sleep. I NEED at least 7 hours – I prefer 8 or 9. Still, we try to get in bed by 10 p.m.

  2. says

    I’m so glad that you and your husband have coordinated a schedule that gives him time to get started and you time to exercise. I can’t imagine balancing the rest of the day without such a good start.

  3. says

    I cannot relate, and I bow to you. I need a nap after reading this! As much as I hate getting up early, I would get up even earlier if I worked and that was the only time I could go to the gym. I couldn’t imagine going after a long day. And was it during this 32 mile commute that you listened to Let It Go?

    • says

      Yes, that was my song for the drive. How can that song not bring a smile? I totally sing out loud and look like a crazy person as I’m cruising. :)

  4. says

    YES, I relate to this in every way. Thankfully my commute is much shorter and only consists of the round-trip drive to drop the girls off at daycare. Depending on the day/meeting schedule, I either work out right after I drop them off or during lunch. My husband goes into the office super early so he can leave early on Fridays. So no sunrise exercise for this mama. Instead, it’s answering emails from Europe & Asia until I hear little feet.

    But the screaming, crying, feet-dragging? Oh yes. At least one of my lovely girls is fired up about something. Every.single.day.

    • says

      I’m hoping it will get easier when my daughter is a little older and a little more rationale. :) I have hope since my older boys are pretty good – and they know better than to act up in the morning. Just stick to the routine and mama is happy!

  5. says

    This is completely my life minus the yoga class but definitely with the sullen child telling me that he wants to stay home with me! Yes, the ‘good’ old guilt-ridden days!

  6. says

    I can relate! And I want to celebrate some things I noticed as I read: you have 2 self-sufficient kids, a helpful husband, a routine, a yoga class that’s only 4 mins away, and a 32-mile commute that doesn’t take 60 min to drive. All that is awesome!
    The daughter wanting to stay home with you? Yup. Been there. Felt that dagger in the heart. She’s in first grade now and for the first school year EVER has not mentioned staying home. Maybe one day for you and your girl, too!

  7. says

    The good news is that your husband is such a great teammate! I can relate… back from the days when I worked FT, AND even now… we still go through the same morning madness (except I am not nearly as dedicated to get up and go to Yoga!) but one advantage I have is that once everyone is dropped off, I am mostly in charge of what happens next. Mostly. I was exhausted by the time 8:34 arrived on your schedule!! :-)

  8. says

    Oh yes, I remember those days. The girls are in their self-sufficient stage (thank God!) but I remember those fussy mornings. :) And tagging in and out with the husband in the morning so we can both get our workouts. It does feel like we put in a full day before we even get to work some days.

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