Yesterday Forbes published a list of the morning routines of 12 women they described as “At the top of their game.” I give them credit for the diversity of both industry and race of the profiled women, but there was still a certain uniformity of privilege and obnoxiousness. Specifically around breakfast selections, exercise, and fashions.
The one that personally put me over the edge was right here:
6am My little ladies wake up and I make their breakfast—green milk (almond milk with coconut water, banana and steamed baby spinach) and either whole wheat French toast or pancakes.
There was another woman whose description of her initial groggy outfit included name dropping a pair of $115 sweatpants. That also struck me as a little random and more than a little competitive.
Bringing me to the point of what bothered me about the article – even in the morning routines there was a sense that these ladies were being pitted against each other. Who did the most arduous pre-dawn yoga? Who cooked their kid the veganest soul crushingly awful breakfast? Who was the most grateful to have woken up? Who best set themselves up to slay everything in their path that day?
It transformed what should have been a lightly interesting, inspirational article into another opportunity to judge and be judged by each other.
I was not the only one who felt this way. There’s a delicious parody of it published here, where everyone basically does their best to exaggerate their own complete inability to function in the morning. Which is nice, it lets us off the hook, but it also makes me feel like I’m seem sort of silly for even trying. I would describe these as a little closer to my truth but I would also say I haven’t quite so completely written off the idea of getting the day started off on the right foot.
So here’s my version. Because what could possibly be more interesting than YET another morning routine.
My morning, my foibles, and what I’m working on.
6:00 – Boyfriend, who starts work at 7:00, wakes up. I’m occasionally dimly aware of his alarm going off but even then, the Schadenfreude of knowing I get to stay in bed later trumps even the best intention to exercise.
7:00– Alarm #1, which is a Sonos chime from across the room. I have struggled my entire life with trying to get up out of bed on time. This is the best system I’ve come up with so far, as this forces me to get up and turn it off.
7:01– First “data hit” of the day. Check work email, personal email, texts, Facebook and Twitter mentions. Usually nothing is on fire.
7:03– The snooze process begins.
7:15 – Alarms #2 and #3. Clocky rolls off the bed at the same time that the Sonos goes off again, this time on WXPN (yes it’s a Philadelphia radio station). I have to sit up to retrieve the Clocky or it will go all the way under the bed, and I’ll have to lie down on the cold floor while I catch it.
7:16 – Dog whining outside the door becomes unbearable.
7:20– Downstairs. Depending on what day of the week it is I’m either stuck trying to set up the coffee pot or just clicking the button to start it. – Guess which days I prefer? The dogs completely lack patience for any part of the coffee-making.
Feeding the dogs involves accommodating a bunch of odd dog-pack politics. I have one who refuses to eat until the other one is finished, and that one refuses to eat until he’s been out. I can’t leave dog #2 to finish her breakfast on her own because afterwards she’ll run off and do dog #2 in my house. The only upside to this whole thing is that I usually get to drink at least a few sips of coffee while juggling the two of them.
7:35– Missing something. Oh, that’s right, I have a daughter.
7:35:30 – Upstairs. I wake my daughter up and then turn off the Ellie Golding album she listens to on repeat ALL NIGHT like someone being held in conditions that violate the Geneva Convention. I await her first full sentence of the day, which is usually a jewel. Failing her getting to full speech on her own, I engage her in a series of hypothetical breakfast propositions guaranteed to force her completely awake.
Me: How about a bowl of EELS?
Me: How about a plate of SNAKES?
Usually this enough to get her out of bed and down the stairs to supervise breakfast and make sure it doesn’t writhe.
7:45– Downstairs. Clean up after the dog because whatever, outside, inside, it’s all the same to her as long as it’s done. Wash hands. Depending on the day my daughter and I either eat breakfast together or I make her lunch while she eats. Right now she’s big into putting her own peanut butter on a waffle. The peanut butter is JIF. Full sugar. Full salt. Glorious.
7:53 – Lunch constructed, I sit for five minutes and look my daughter in the eye before we start getting dressed. I mean, I’m not staring at her menacingly for five minutes. We’re talking about her day. For someone who’s done the same thing at school for three years she’s still shrugging and unsure about what the plan is when I ask. Interspersed: Second data hit of the day.
7:58 – Upstairs. Put together whatever clothes meet the bare minimum for school drop off. This is just the first of a few costume changes.
8:05 – Select daughter’s outfit. Downstairs, Beg, cajole, scream, draw lines in the sand that are instantly erased, rescind TV privileges and make promises until my daughter agrees to change out of her pajamas and put on school clothes.
8:12 – *While running up and down the stairs* -Where are the keys? Where are my glasses? Where’s my purse? Have you seen the keys? Where’s the spare key? Have you seen my glasses? Sure you can have a car snack. Sure you can take that toy just HURRY. Oh here’s the keys, under the couch. Please put on some shoes. Shoes. SHOES. PUT ON SHOES. Not those shoes. Oops forgot the lunch I just made. Screw glasses I’ll hold a hand over one of my eyes.
8:16– In car. I spend a couple of minutes with the radio on Sirus XM’s Backspin deluding myself into thinking whatever’s playing isn’t going to be “that bad” for my daughter to listen to. Radio edit of Notorious B.I.G’s “Give Me One More Chance?” Sure. No problem. Oh wait, that’s not the radio edit. Oh my. Don’t tell Grammie you heard that. *click*
8:20 – Decide whether to make illegal left hand turn into the school’s driveway or wuss out and go around the block. This decision, and how it subsequently works out, tends to be a real harbinger of how the rest of the day is going to go.
8:22– Mom-spit face cleanup for peanut butter removal, scratching of sleep from eyes. Possible spruce up of hair. Out of the car and into school. We have a deal where she will go to school without fuss but she won’t say goodbye.
8:35– Back at home, making breakfast decisions if I haven’t already eaten. When I don’t eat with my daughter, I go across the street to the local scratch bakery to buy a muffin. Honestly, I do this mostly because it’s the only 5-8 minutes during the work day that I’ll be in contact with other live adults. It’s worth it for exchanges like these.
Homeless Man: I don’t know who picked your outfit out today but that vest just WORKS!
Me: Thank you.
8:49– Muffin and second cup of coffee in hand, I climb the stairs and log into the work VPN…
AND THERE I SIT UNTIL NOON.
Not exhausting at all right?