When my girls were little, I’d get up extra early in the already-early mornings and I’d make them breakfast and lunch and get all their things ready for the day. I am not a morning person and these weekday mornings were especially hard. I’d be making sandwiches and cutting up fruit and thinking “I can’t wait until they’re older. No more lunch-making duty for me. They can make their own and I can sleep a little longer.”
Every day, that litany would repeat in my head as I cut up fruit and packed Little Debbies and Cheetos, remembering which girl was currently not eating yogurt and which one couldn’t get enough.
And I couldn’t wait.
I couldn’t wait for the independence and self-sufficiency that would come with my girls getting older. And for the small break that I hoped I’d get from some of these thankless chores.
And sure enough, as they got into high school, I started to step back from the lunch-making duties. I started traveling more for work and the girls had to do their own thing on the weeks I was out of town. I remember coming home from one trip and having them tell me about how my youngest would get up, make the coffee, make sure her also-not-a-morning-person sister was really and truly awake. She’d make coffee, fix lunch, and then go up to get ready for the day, waking her sister again if needed. And I marveled at this new normal they’d found while I was gone.
I thought, “They’re really doing this. I can’t believe it. All these years and they did it all on their own!”
And I reveled in it. My micro-managing mom mornings were finally coming to an end! Glory Hallelujah!
I started spending my mornings sipping tea and surfing social media and blogs, enjoying a slower start to my day. I’d do the carpool run, but the girls pretty much managed their time and tasks without me. It was awesome.
However, in the last few months, both of my girls have had really crazy busy schedules. You know the kind I mean – where there are eleven thousand things to do, go to, read, study, finish, etc. In that final push before the semester ends and the teachers are piling on the assignments, midterms and finals are looming, and everyone has some type of performance or gathering to attend.
They’re burning their candles at both ends.
And they’re in the stage of life where there isn’t much I can do as a mama to help them – I can’t take their tests. I can’t help with a project. I can just be there for them, but that’s about it.
And so a few weeks ago, I decided I was going to do just that.
And I resurrected my micro-managing mama morning duties. But with a slight change. I’m not managing their day, hurrying them along and out the door. But I am picking up some of those mundane chores for them. I’m making the lunches and fixing the breakfast. Filling their water bottles and reminding them to take their vitamins.
What felt like so much to do a few years ago now feels like a little thing. And in doing it I’m showing my girls I’m still here for them. Trying to take some of the stress of doing ALL the things so they can focus on doing the important things. I know they’re capable. And have learned to manage these tasks. But I want to shoulder this for them and say, in an unspoken way, “I’ve got your back.”
One morning when my youngest had had a late rehearsal the night before, projects and tests that day, and she was exhausted and running on fumes, I’d packed her lunch, made her some breakfast and had everything waiting for her on the kitchen counter. She came rushing downstairs, already running late and knowing she still had these things to do. I could feel the stress and anxiousness coming off of her in waves as she dashed by. She walked into the kitchen and skidded to a halt.
“You did this for me? Oh, thank you, mama. I am running so late.”
And that’s when I knew I’d chosen the right path. She can learn time management another week. Right now I just wanted her to know she wasn’t doing it all alone. I had her back. “It’s all good, honey. I got you. Let’s go.” And off we went for another jam-packed day.