I Bet You Aren’t Gwyneth Paltrow in the Morning, Either.

I can’t stand it. Everywhere I go lately I see morning routine lists. Have you seen them?

Cheerful photos, bullet lists and must-dos, snuggle time, gym time, and fresh smoothie recipes made from steamed baby spinach and organic fruits (guaranteed to be watered daily by the purified and desalinated tears of angels).

(The smug part is always in parenthesis.)

From Forbes magazine to blogs, your morning guides to success.

Now, by some measures, I could be considered successful. You know, if you don’t look at my house, my car, my bank account, or the fact that I have been known to bribe a seven-year-old child.

But my job rocks. I hold a titled position in an awesome, thriving company that lets me work from home. I am good at my job, and I love it, and the people I work with.

Which is why I read those stupid lists. Because honestly, who doesn’t have room for improvement?

But these people…their reality is nothing like mine. While most of them apparently perform their morning ablutions to a humming choir, I  comb my hair (sometimes) while digging through laundry baskets looking for one more clean sock while I sing Bloodbuzz Ohio.

I still owe money to the money to the money I owe….

My morning recipes will never be featured on Goop, and my routine will not be an inspiration to others. And I am betting (hoping) that your won’t be, either.

So here it is—a morning routine based in reality.

6:15 – Alarm – Move the cat off my face, hit Snooze. Push the 125 pound dog off me if I fell asleep on the couch last night.

6:23 – Alarm – Move the cat off my face, hit Snooze. Push the 125 pound dog off me if I fell asleep on the couch last night. Try to calculate how many times I can hit snooze before running the risk of missing the bus.

6:25 – Decide that math is too hard in the morning, move the cat off my face and get up. Try to wake up the kidlet.

6:27 – Let the dog out, light the fire, make coffee.

6:30 – Stare blankly at the kitchen wall.

6:32 – Pour coffee, go to my office and boot up the computer. Try to wake up the kid.

6:35 – Open work programs, email and social network sites. Realize I can’t see. push the cat off my lap and go look for my glasses. Detour to the living room to open the curtains.

6:38 – Check work email for anything urgent, answer any that can be answered in 2 sentences or less. Delete 111 client newsletters. Why is there no unsubscribe option on these? Where is my coffee?

6:40 – Decide I won’t find my coffee, pour a new cup. Detour upstairs to tickle the kidlet until he is pissed enough to stay awake.

6:45 – Social network review, liking or sniper-snarking friends’ posts. Post a complaint or statement of gratitude, depending on mood, weather and whether or not Mercury is retrograde.

6:55 – Open work websites and login. Setup work music playlist. Begin pulling reports that have to be in by 7:25 AM. Realize I can’t see, push the cat off my lap and go look for my glasses. Detour to threaten the kidlet with a morning round of Ethyl Merman if he doesn’t get up.

7:05 – Crap! It’s after 7:00? How is it after 7:00?

7:06 – “Youuuuuuuuuuuuuu’ll be swell! You’ll be great! Gonna have the whole world on a plate!” Laugh at the kidlet’s fury.

7:08 – Make the kidlet breakfast.

  • Good day – Multi-grain Cheerios, or oatmeal
  • Medium day – Toast on crappy white bread (1.19/loaf) with peanut butter.
  • Bad day – Have put off grocery shopping for so long the only breakfast options are ketchup or soy sauce, so remind the kid to eat at school.

7:10 – Tell kidlet to get dressed as soon as he is finished eating, and return to reports. Detour to bedroom because I remember I need to get him clothes. Find my first cup of coffee, wonder if he really needs socks.

7:18 – Finish timed reports, yell from my office, “You better be dressed!” Realize I still can’t see, push cat off my lap, go in search of glasses. Detour when I see the kid’s backpack under the kitchen table.

7:19 – Check folder for completed homework. 60% chance of searching for homework. Put lunch bag in backpack, if I remembered to pack it last night. If I didn’t, tell kid to eat lunch at school. Wonder when I last sent in lunch money. WHY won’t this cat leave me alone? Oh, I should feed her. And the dog.

7:20 – CRAP! The dog! Let the dog in, apologize profusely and feed both pets. Tell the kid to get dressed.

7:22 – Start morning reports for my staff. Wonder where my coffee is. Yell from my office, “If you aren’t dressed when I get out there I will throttle you!”

7:28 – Send first round of reports to staff. Grab cell phone and go freak out on the kidlet for not being dressed. Dress and winterize the kid, throw back pack to him while pouring fresh coffee. 30% chance of picking up contents of backpack that fell out because I forgot to zip it.

7:30 – Herd kid out the door to wait for the bus. Try to drink coffee and smile while dodging snowballs. Why am I not wearing gloves?

7:32 – Shake snow out of my shirt, and review my Trello work lists on my phone to see what the big project of the day should be.

7:33 – Bus! Give my kidlet a hug and a kiss, tell him to be a good person, and to take the bus home, like there is a magical alternative. There IS no alternative to the bus. But I have been saying that every day for 2 years. What in hell is wrong with me?

7:45 – Finish staff reports, realize I still haven’t found my glasses. And where did I leave my coffee?

7:50 – Drink my coffee while wearing my glasses, start playlist and open today’s big work project.

10:30 – Nuke a secret-stash peanut butter pop-tart (breakfast of champions), wonder if I remembered to have the kid brush his teeth.

So that’s it—a typical morning routine. There are variations, of course. Like Crap-I-Forgot-to-Take-Out-the-Trash Wednesdays, and I-Told-You-To-Find-Your-Library-Books-Last-Night Thursdays, but this is pretty standard.

And not Goop-worthy at all. No 20 minutes of meditation or yoga. No snuggle time with the little. No angel tears or spinach steaming. Just get up and go.

But this feels successful to me. Because when we come out on the other side of the day, I have time for snuggles, homework and video games after school. We all eat dinner together. The dog hasn’t frozen to death. My husband and I do a crossword puzzle together while we all watch Teen Titans GO!.

Sooo, I’m winning. Right?

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