I have always admired the mothers I see on television that are up before the family getting a nice breakfast of eggs, bacon, and fresh squeezed juice ready for them. These mothers are wearing coordinated pajamas and a smile. I really wanted to be that kind of mother. However, as I have already mentioned I am the dark side of Donna Reed. I simply don’t do mornings and I cannot even speak coherently until ten a.m.
One night my husband and I were watching a Japanese horror movie, in it there was a ghost who had long tangled hair covering her face and chest, she was in a long white nightgown and because of course she was the undead, her movements were contorted, very creepy, as she came forward. Suddenly, we hear giggling behind the green chair. The kids crawl out from their hidey hole and Mark points at the ghost and says, “Mom, that looks just like you in the mornings!”
My husband Chris has an even better description of me in the mornings. “She wakes up and groans. Sits straight up then throws herself back down with a thump. After a minute or two, she will roll out and you can hear her feet slam down onto the ground. Nancy puts her slippers and robe on then starts towards the kitchen. Her shoulders are slumped like a hunchback, her hair is totally covering her face, hands are sort of clawed. The best part is when she starts to walk. There is a shuffle sound then a thump. And all the way to the kitchen all you can hear is shuffle, thump. You know exactly where she is. God help you if you ask her something or try to get her to speak. I like to call her The Great and Terrible Shuffle Thump.”
As for breakfast I will stand in front of the kids and croak out “Pancakes, toast, cereal, pop tart?” There are no exceptions and I will not answer questions either. I will stand there and stare at them blankly until I am told what they want to eat from my list. I will shuffle thump off and throw frozen pancakes into the microwave, lean my head onto the counter until the beep sounds. After I have the breakfasts made I will sort of drop them down in front of the kids and go make my tea. I will curl up over my tea and growl at anyone who comes to close to it.
Most mornings Chris is the one who makes the lunches but even though he creates the lunches, if something in them is wrong, I still get the blame somehow. On school mornings the kids watch Chimp Eden while I worship my tea, then I stagger around putting toothpaste on tooth brushes and chasing down the kids to brush their hair. I will watch numbly as Melissa goes through several outfits and shoes.
When the buses come and Chris grabs the children and runs them onto the bus, I stand in the doorway clutching my teacup, waving mechanically at the bus driver, and my child who is trying to signal to me to go away. I have no idea how many little kids on the bus I have probably scared half to death.
No, I am not that warm, sunny mother who does such a wonderful job of taking care of her family in the mornings. Then again, these are television moms, if someone was going to pay me for waking up and being cheerful, I would probably do much better.