Let me explain my weekday mornings as I am living now. This is just the first hour of my day.
My alarm is set for 7:30 am. I snooze it until almost 8:00 am. During this time my 6 year-old daughter has woken up and has joined me in bed watching YouTube from my phone. My husband has woken up our 10 year-old son Tyson and he then heads downstairs. My husband proceeds to make Tyson’s main course for his lunch, whether it be a sandwich or wrap and gets him his breakfast. He makes me coffee and brings it up to me while I lie in bed trying to get the energy to get up. I notice the time and start to panic. Have to get their clothes ready for their day. I quickly run to each child’s bureau and see what I can match together. Wait, did I just grab two pairs of pants for the same kid? I yi yi. I fumble my way through the ordeal. Now I have both sets of clothing in one arm and my coffee in the other arm. Where is my phone? Did Olivia leave my phone on my bed? I find my phone/or not and make my way down the stairs, hoping I don’t fall (thinking why does Patrick bring me up coffee? I just have to bring it down again!).
Can’t forget to get that first hit of nicotine in. Head outside for a few drags that go to my head and make me dizzy and light headed. You know that first hit of nicotine sometimes does that. I put out my nicotine stick, stumble back inside (because of the light headedness) hoping no one notices my stumbling. I place the remainder of my cig (if there is a remainder) above our closet to save it for later. (Can’t waste them. You know cigarettes are expensive).
I have to finish Tyson’s lunch and make Olivia’s lunch. Included are several snacks and a drink. (Have to remember that Olivia gets milk at school. So no drink box is needed). Lunches have to be healthy as they go to what they call an “Apple School” (health conscious). I fumble with getting the apples out of the fridge and try to peel them and slice them up. (Be careful you are using a knife). I’m foggy. Look in the cupboard for anything else that might entice them and that is healthy.
By this time Patrick has left for work. I don’t kiss him good bye very often. Sometimes it’s just a wave. That’s how much I can give to him in the morning. On occasion it just so happens that I am smoking when he heads out the door (which is 8:05 am so I’m really behind). I watch and wave a few times as he looks back at me until he has disappeared down the sidewalk. Meanwhile trying to find something easy for Olivia to eat or drink. Sometimes it’s just a yogurt drink, or granola bar or even Dad’s Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies. (It has oats in it right? Has to be somewhat good). I am happy when that’s all she wants, then I don’t have to use what energy I have to make something else for her. (It’s OK, I’ll give her her vitamins). I pack their lunches into their lunch bags (Pay attention Tara, don’t mix them up. Did that once. Kids weren’t too happy).
If it’s cold I’ll run outside and start the car to warm up. Ask Tyson to change his clothes while doing so and ask Olivia to start to change hers. Sometimes she still needs help with her shirts. Spray and brush their hair. Tyson will occasionally fight me because I may pull his hair a bit while brushing it. I try to brush it gently. Then he gets aggravated with me if I proceed to keep brushing. I cue them to get their stuff on to get ready to head out the door, you know the necessities to stay warm. They fool around at the door, Tyson teasing Olivia and squishing each other on the bench to put on their boots. Tell them again, “Boots on please!” They get them on. I have to cue them again, “Coats on please!” and “Tyson! Stop bugging!” He lips me back a bit. I hand them their toques and gloves or mittens in Olivia’s case to put on. Get my stuff on, OK we’re ready. Oh wait, can’t forget Tyson’s medication and Olivia’s vitamins. Tip toe to the fridge and reach for the blue pills and vitamin gummies. Think ‘Oh hell why tip toe back to the door, screw it. Floor is already dirty.’ Give Tyson water to wash the medicine down and plop the vitamins in Olivia’s mouth. (She can’t do it herself she already has her mittens on. It’s faster if I do it).
Usher them out the door and into the car. Open Tyson’s door for Olivia to crawl through to her side, Tyson crawls in. I have to shut the door for him and run to the other side of the car because Olivia can’t put on her seat belt with her mitts on. Hoping that while I am making my way to her side, they aren’t arguing about something. Finally rush to the drivers seat and notice the time. Oh shit – 8:28 bell rings at 8:32 I think. Four minutes to get out of our parking lot, hit a four way stop, hit a crosswalk with the crossing guards from the school…and have to wait. Can’t run anyone over. Hope there is place to drop Olivia off at in front of the school. Parents take their time; you’re supposed to drop off your kids and leave. So I’m like hurry hurry hurry. Pull over to the curb. Get out of the car and rush over to Olivia’s side. Lift her out of the car (it’s faster) grab her back pack, put it on her. Kiss her, hug her and wish her a good day. “I love you!” She yells her little voice, “Love you too Mommy!” I watch as she half walks half runs down the school sidewalk to her door and that one of the supervisors or other parents notice her. We exchange a wave. Get back into the vehicle, if we have time I drive Ty to his door if not he just goes through the front. There is another set of crossing guards, so I have to gauge if we can make it in time; can’t run them over either. I get out of the car and open his door and wait for him to hop out. He does a little hop as he gets out of the car. I give him a kiss and hug and wish him a good day. “I love you!” He responds back, “love you too!” With a blow of a kiss. I watch him as he also half walks half runs to the doors. OK, that is done. Kids are in the building. They are safe!
Head home. Park the car in my stall. Let out a big sigh (you know it’s such a long drive.) Saunter to the front door. Finish the cigarette I had started earlier. Take my medications. Might make another cup of coffee, might not. Might watch the rest of the news and The Morning Show with said cup of coffee. Might not. Keep the curtains closed, you know I’m hiding. Curl up on the couch. Set my phone alarm clock for 12:30 and sleep until then. Or snooze it until 1:00 pm. Providing I don’t have any appointments.
Let’s see how many negative intrusive thoughts I had during that time.
#1. Woke up late. ‘Get your shit together Tara! You shouldn’t have stayed up so late! You should have taken your sleep medication earlier last night.’
#2. Husband brings up coffee while my sorry ass is still in bed. ‘The man has to go to work. He is taking time out of his morning to make you coffee and butler it up to you? What makes you so special? All I can think is don’t bring it up, It just means I have to carry it back down again. How awful is that? You are a selfish wife.’
#3. Head outside for a cigarette. Don’t say anything to anyone, just head outside. You know priorities. ‘You are a selfish wife and mother.’
#4. Try to finish making lunches. ‘Why the hell didn’t I just do this the night before?’ ‘You’re not prepared Tara. Never prepared’
#5. Husband is leaving for work. Don’t look at me. I don’t feel like kissing you good bye. I’m too tired. I have nothing to give to you right now. ‘This man makes you coffee in the morning. He tells you to have a good day. He tells our children each by their name to have a good day. He goes to work to provide for his family. What a bitch you are Tara!’
#6. Olivia’s breakfast. Need I say more. ‘You are lazy.’
#7. Thinking to myself, why does Ty have to be so sensitive? I’m just brushing your hair. Toughen up! ‘Um Tara, Tyson has sensory issues. He’s sensitive. Bad insensitive mother’
#8. Getting snappy at the door trying to get them out. ‘They are kids, let them have their fun. It’s your fault we’re rushing in the first place. Not prepared. Bad mother’
#9. Snap at Tyson because he can’t shut the car door. ‘I’ve either spoiled him or he legitimately has problems closing the door. It depends on the day I guess. Bad mother’
#10. Get in the driver seat. The school is just about a block away. ‘You’re lazy Tara. Get your shit together and enjoy the walk with your children. Bad mother’
#11. Notice the time. ‘You did it again Tara. Always rushing because you’re tired and lazy to get up at a decent time. Bad mother’
#12. Get home and want to lie down and hide from the world. ‘What a waste. You are such a waste. You are wasting your day. There is stuff to be done. You signed up to volunteer at the school?! You’re a mother and wife?! I feel for your family. What a joke. Nice try Tara. Yes you just lie down because you worked so hard and deserve the rest. Whatever. Those pills aren’t going to work by themselves. Pity party. Oh I’m so depressed and anxious wha wha wha! Get over it!’
That was just twelve. The ones that I admit to.
These are my negative intrusive thoughts that happen just in that small time frame. This is what sets the tone for my day. Actually getting this out on my blog makes me more aware of how distorted my thinking really is. Better dig out my “Mind Over Mood” workbook and brush up on my Cognitive Behavioral Thinking skills to nip these in the bud.
As my husband said, “This is the your opening salvo.”