The Truth about Mornings with Four Small Children

What do you share online? Cute smiles, pretty drawings, mouth-watering meals, smart outfits or photos of crooked smiles, closed eyes, naked tantrums, fish fingers served with beans and chips?

What we post online tends to be an edited version of our days; a way of recording the best bits. Last week, two of my friends wrote posts that rang a bell. Renée was giving her insight into life with three children and Vicki simply felt like quitting her job as Mummy.

Their very honest posts inspired me to write about a typical morning in our house, from waking time to the school run. As our mad rush was unfolding this morning, I paid a lot more attention to it all.
6.41 a.m. Wriggly (5 months) wakes up for a feed.

7.58 a.m. I can hear Crevette (6 years 3 months) and Beanie (4 years 1 month) playing in their room. Jumpy (2 years old) is starting to scream, “mouk, moooooouuuuuk!” (milk). I ignore them and close my eyes as Wriggly is having a top-up.

8.05 a.m. Wriggly is fed and the big ones are starting to be seriously loud in their bedroom. I hurry downstairs to make their breakfast, making sure I open the gate quietly so they do not follow me.

8.14 a.m. The kids’ breakfast is overcooked once again. It looks more like stodgy cement than creamy, warming porridge. I add lots of honey to make it more palatable. In an attempt to get everything ready quickly, I knock Beanie’s juice all over the table. It goes everywhere. As I look at it seeping through the floorboards, I cannot help but wonder whether that might attract rats. I am running out of time so I mop it all up in a rush, leaving everything sticky. Breathe Mel, breathe!

8.23 a.m. As I get to the children’s bedroom, cup of coffee in one hand and milk for Jumpy in the other, I realise with horror that the little monsters have not wasted their time. Every single soft toy is in Jumpy’s cotbed, the dressing up costumes are all over the floor, Beanie is dressed as a princess meet wolf and Crevette has a Spiderman costume on, complete with Darth Vader mask and Jedi Cape. The books are all off the bookshelves apart from three and Beanie’s sheets are covered in felt tip. My sweet, innocent children have no idea who would be capable of creating such a mess! I tell them to get dressed through gritted teeth.

The Truth About Mornings with Four Small Children

8.32 a.m. Crevette faffs, puts his vest on the wrong way round for the third time in a week and cannot find his socks. Eventually, he is dressed and downstairs. Beanie has taken off her pyjamas and apologises for peeing in her nappy again. As she takes it off, I get a whiff that reminds me of my great-grandmother. I give her a bottom shower and she gets dressed, before going downstairs.

8.38 a.m. I have a sip of my coffee and hear Beanie screaming at her brother for eating from HER bowl of porridge. He committed the unforgiveable crime of having a bowl she likes and she is furious. She refuses to eat her breakfast. She then finds my iPad and proceeds to hit her brother with it. I am boiling inside and start getting snappy as I speak to her. I take her to one side for a quick, private chat. She does not make eye-contact and crosses her arms. She gives me a small kick in protest. I shout; she shouts louder.

8.41 a.m. Jumpy’s nappy is so full her vest and pyjamas are soaking. I take them off, give her a quick shower. As I try to get her dressed, she starts running away, giggling. Why does she always do that? Patience is seriously starting to run out. I manage to get her dressed, give myself a quick wipe and get dressed. I carry toddler and baby down the stairs.

8.47 a.m. I feel I am doing well for time for once, then as we are just about to head off, I realise the key is not anywhere to be found, the baby has just had a code brown, the four year old only has one boot on, the school boy has left his water bottle upstairs and the toddler is having a tantrum for no apparent reason. Oh wait, of course… I was trying to convince her to sit in the pram. She will have to be wrestled there. Key found in my handbag, water bottle rinsed and filled up, two boots on four year old’s feet and baby in the pram still marinating in her nappy and we are finally about to head off.

8.55 a.m. The bell must be ringing at school. I open the door and realise it is raining. I run upstairs, get everyone’s wellies and run back down, very nearly tripping over my own feet on the way down. I throw the rain cover on the pram and start walking, urging the kids to hurry up. I try to get my coat on whilst pushing the pram as quickly as I can. As we walk, I realise the children did not brush their teeth. I make a mental note to insist on a thorough brushing session before bed.

9.01 a.m. We are running towards the school, kids moaning about tired legs, close to tears (all of us at this point) and we arrive at the door as they are about to close it. I push little man in and the teaching assistant looks at me with a pitiful expression. He is the last one in. I feel like an awful mother. Welcome to my world!

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  1. I’m glad that I helped provide the inspiration to write this lovely, although it doesn’t sound like it’s a whole load of fun at times these posts can be really cathartic to write. Rest assured that you are not alone when it comes to school run dramas, I imagine it tips 99% of parents over the edge on a regular basis – I’m reserving the 1% for the true saints among us that will put our own patience for our children to shame…

    Can’t believe you guys don’t start getting up until 8am though, that’s pretty incredible. It’s a 6am start for us almost every day. I like to think it won’t be forever though xxx

    • I really would rather be a morning person rather than a night owl now that I have children, but if it has not happened yet, I doubt it will ever change. Oh well!

  2. adeline says:

    j’adore la fin de l’histoire, surtout quand on sait tout ce que tu fais avec tes petits!!!!!! courage Mel, c’est pas bientôt les vacances et les maladies de l’hiver (gastro, grippe…) ne sont pas encore vraiment arrivées!!! je te remonte bien le moral, là???? c’est mieux???? xxxx

  3. I don’t have kids but this made me smile – not in a smug way but in an admiring kinda way x

  4. Hahaha!!! The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth! Isn’t this exactly why we wanted to be mums? Isn’t it exactly what we’d envisaged… What your story misses that our mornings are occasionally and unfortunately full of is the screaming 🙁
    …Again, surely exactly what I envisaged?!
    Where are the HAPPY bouncing, helpful, ‘present’ children I’d imagined… I didn’t even write obedient there… Why does that sound like such a bad word? …But seriously, a little bit of ‘yes mama’ that would go a LONG way!
    <3 <3 <3 They can say what they want about us 'missing' these years later, but seriously, there are somethings I will NOT miss! 😉

  5. He he! I know it isnt funny but sounds so familiar…except wait!! Your baby wakes at 6.40am?? That is waay later than my two. How do you do that?! No wonder it is a rush when the older kids wake even later…

    • I normally have to wake her up at 7.30 a.m., but there is a good reason for it: she has her last feed and goes to bed at the same time as me, between midnight and 1 a.m. I jinxed though… last night she was up at 3.58 a.m.

  6. Spidermummy x says:

    Wow this sounds familiar, and I only have 3 to deal with – hats off to you! I wrote a similar post about my morning craziness here (but not as well written as yours!)
    I hope you had a nice big cup of coffee when you got home xx

    • No time for coffee on Monday! On the way back, I had to rush to get a wash on, change baba and attempt tidying up the house before playgroup. Mind you, I did have coffee (OK, warm black watery beverage) at playgroup.

  7. Oh wow your morning does sound manic – I find it a mad rush to get out the house with just two little ones so hats off to you with juggling four. It did make me chuckle reading some of your post – the comment about Wriggly marinading in her nappy – brilliant description (as was the whiff reminding you of your great-grandmother!). Jessica used to ask for ‘mouk’ too! Glad you managed to just about get Crevette to school before the gate closed!

  8. This sounds remarkably like mornings in my house, in fact there is a post drafting itself in my head on this very subject. Apart from being stressful, it means that I end up shouting almost every morning, and I hate that 🙁 Why does the school run have to be so difficult?! #thetruthabout

  9. Oh wow. I feel like I have the most regimented mornings ever now although there is *no way* I could leave the kids in their room til gone 8 (but we have to leave the house at 8.30 to get JJ to school for 8.45). They’re normally up by 7.20. It’s finding the time to get yourself ready and have your own breakfast that I find near impossible – well done for getting yourself a coffee – sounds like you need it!! Thanks so much for linking to #thetruthabout Mel – I’m getting a lot of insights into having more than 2 children this week!! 🙂 X

  10. Viv'maman_Bas says:

    Pratique d’habiter si près de l’école ! Et puis TOUS les matins, A me fait aussi le coup de se sauver quand il faut s’habiller. Il rit beaucoup, moi bien moins 😉 xx

  11. Sounds like you are doing absolutely brilliant with so many so young my lovely. I am in awe of you and all you do and blogging on top of it too! Superwoman! Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

  12. lifeatthelittlewood says:

    Oh goodness Mel, you do have your hands full! I love your honesty though – this is what most parents experience at one time or another! I only have three kiddies, but am late almost every morning. Thankyou for showing me I’m not the only one! Xxx #sharewithme

    • If we were taking our kids to the same school, I bet I would be the one running in as your own little ones have just gone in… I would make you feel good about yourself because I am there even later than you are!

  13. Well, firstly, I think you’re amazing for getting 4 small children out the door in the first place! I find 2 testing a lot of the time! Also, you’re a HERO for getting all 4 of them ready, fed and out the door in that short space of time- mine are up at 6-6.30 every day, and we are still dashing to get ready to leave the house at 8.45am! x

  14. That. Exactly that. That’s what parenting is really like. Every evening I go to bed with such good intentions and then the next morning we’re rushing, shouting, tantrumming all over again. But we wouldn’t change it for the world…..just for a weekend in a child-free spa maybe? x

    • I know, I am the same! Every night, I go to bed telling myself I will get up ten minutes earlier, sit at the table with them whilst they are having their breakfast and listen to Crevette read… somehow, it never happens.

  15. Brilliant post, it did make me laugh. I love the pic too. There is nothing glamorous about getting kids ready in the morning is there! #sharewithme

    • No, there is not! I could have taken a photo of the whole bedroom but thought it would be less depressing going for a close-up…

  16. C’est fou ! C’est des matins de vertige ! Déjà j’ai râle de fois parce ils sont deux et le matin ils se chamaille sans arrêt ! Avec 4, je ne sais pas si je pourrais ! Tu as beaucoup courage ! Il ne faut pas surtout culpabilisé, tu est déjà au top 😉

    • Quelle folie le matin… et pourtant je suis persuadée que je m’ennuierai quand ils seront plus grands et que ce sera calme!

  17. I seriously don’t know how you do it, I find 3 tricky enough! I now have to be out by 8.15 for a before school activity twice a week, I’m amazed that we do it but somehow we do. xx

    • I honestly have no idea how we will all manage to be out of the house at 7.10 a.m. when I go back to work… better not think of it just yet, he he!

  18. Hello there, I only have one child and struggle most mornings to get out of the house on time, so have nothing but admiration for you managing four-I don’t think I would ever be able to go out before noon! All credit to you, you are doing an amazing job xxx

  19. Susanne Remic says:

    Eeeek. Today is my first day of proper 4 small people school run on my own. My husband has been fab since Elsie was born but he has to work early today so I have to go it alone. Wish me luck! x x x

  20. Totally relate to this and it sounds like my morning with 2 kids, you are amazing handling 4, husband and I scared to have a third as not sure we’ll cope, hats off hun. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

  21. I take my hat off to you Mrs – two is more than enough to marshal out the door and even then it’s a struggle for me! I LOVE this post, so honest and I’m sorry but I had a bit of a *chuckle* too! Have shared x

  22. suzanne3childrenandit says:

    Ah how I remember these days. It does get easier. I promise x

  23. I find it a mad rush getting one out of the house on time so I can’t even begin to imagine how you do it with four. Huge respect to you. And had to laugh out loud when I read the marinating comment.

  24. Sounds like a normal morning to me – hats off to you for managing with four little ones my morning is hectic enough with two! My boy is close to tears as we are running the final it to school too 🙂

  25. Izzie Anderton says:

    Keep going lovely – it’s all you can do. Just as well we have wine… it was the only thing that kept me sane when my 2 were little x

  26. wrymummy says:

    All rings so true, Mel. We are normally up way earlier but still is a horrendous rush, and the baby always does a poo at the last minute. It’s bad enough with three so I take my hat off to you with four! xx

  27. Great post, and probably an account of every Mother in every house except probably Victoria Beckham but she isn’t real.
    The pressure for us to be perfect and blog our best bits is huge, but it’s all crap – we all do our best and as long as we try then that gets us through the day!

    • So true. We do try our best every day and the fact most of what we see online is sugar-coated doesn’t make it any easier, does it?


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