A few weeks ago, Forbes detailed the morning routines of “12 extraordinary women” at the top of their industries. The first one began:
4:45 Wake up and have a bowl of quinoa cereal. I do an hour or so of 3rd or 4th series ashtanga yoga.
6am My little ladies wake up and I make their breakfast—green milk (almond milk with coconut water, banana and steamed baby spinach) and either whole wheat French toast or pancakes.
Come on! I don’t know what’s worse — if this is an accurate representation of someone’s morning or if she lied thinking it made her look better. In any case, The Federalist asked 10 women from across the country to detail their morning routines. Theirs had far less quinoa cereal.
Meghan Keane Graham, VP Content, Brooklyn
6:15 Wake up in anticipation of my 18-month old screaming that he is also awake. Consider being proactive and working out before he actually wakes up. Roll over.
6:45 Actually wake up to my son screaming that he is awake. Consider going to get him. Poke my husband and tell him it is his turn.
6:50 Try to continue sleeping as my son pokes me in the face repeatedly saying “BOOK.” Read books.
7:00 Consider getting in shower.
7:15 Actually get in shower.
7:30 Overhear my son screaming and go to see what is happening.
8:00 Realize I need to finish getting ready.
8:00-8:05 Feed my son breakfast, blow dry my hair, look in the mirror, search for two pieces of clothing that are clean/reasonable to wear to an office, brush my teeth, brush his teeth, find his water, look for final piece of outfit, change entire outfit when I can’t find it. Pick up cheerios from floor. Look in the mirror.
8:05 Consider leaving the house.
8:20-8:40 Actually leave the house.
Kate Trinko, Managing Editor; Washington, D.C.
7:00 Alarm rings. I press snooze.
7:09 Alarm rings again. I press snooze. Contemplate whether I really need to find a more annoying alarm tone/put 2nd alarm out of reach so that I am forced to get up.
7:18 Alarm rings again. I give in, and stumble out of bed. Read e-mail and determine no one is in crisis mode.
7:19 Again confronted with the horrific reality that you have to make the coffee before you have drunk the coffee.
7:40 After shower, try to decide whether to eat oatmeal or granola bar. Decide it’s too much work to microwave hot water for instant oatmeal and opt for bar.
7:45 Blow dry hair while idly contemplating my mortality/what percentage of my lifespan is going to be spent on blow drying my hair, which is zero interested in ever not retaining water as long as possible.
7:55 Realize pajamas are probably not going to cut it as professional attire. Pray that that the load of wash I did … well, let’s say a while back … still has a couple of unworn items I can choose from.
8:00 Put make-up on. Wonder if the neighbors are ever going to file a complaint against for me for playing Taylor Swift on repeat at loud volumes.
8:05 Think about making my bed, but decide it’s conveniently more life-affirming to embrace chaos and don’t.
8:10 Ride metro to work, reading twitter and news e-mails the whole way, while also aggressively strategizing about how to best position myself to get out of the car first, and cut 8 seconds off my commute.
9:00 At work. Pound coffee until I have a functioning brain.
Patrice Stilley, Stay-at-Home Mama; West Chester, Pennsylvania
Note: the only thing consistent about my morning routine is that there is no consistency. Except for one thing: as soon as I am conscious, still in my bed, eyes closed, I say a prayer thanking God that my husband and children are healthy and sleeping peacefully in their warm beds in our safe home, that I can call my mother on the phone and hear her voice, that I can put my feet on the floor and stand up and go. And then I say a prayer asking to get everyone out the door on time without too much shouting.
8:30 Out the door, get the eldest on the bus, drop 4 year-old at preschool, get back home for baby’s morning nap around 9:30. I admit that I make the heart shaped sandwiches and funfetti pancakes when we have time.
10:00 Start making lists and devising new ways of saying the same things (get on your shoes, where’s your backpack, brush your teeth, get your coat, feed the dog, etc.) Say another prayer asking for help because there was extra shouting or praise for lack thereof.
Caroline Espinosa, Non-Profit Communications Director and Graduate School Student; Austin, Texas
6:00 Alarm goes off, I hit snooze.
6:10 Alarm goes off, I hit snooze.
6:20 Alarm goes off, I hit snooze.
6:30 Alarm goes off. Consequences of oversleeping creep into my brain. I get up and wake my children.
6:35 Answer questions from my children about what the weather will be like.
6:38 Start coffee, place chicken nuggets into the toaster oven and lay out the rest of the kids’ lunches.
6:45 Try to convince my son to eat Cheerios for breakfast.
6:46 Make my son a breakfast taco. Place yogurt on the counter for my daughter.
6:47 Stand in front of my closet and try to decide on something comfortable, yet professional, to wear.
7:00 Pull nuggets out of the toaster oven and call for my kids to hurry up and pack their lunches.
7:05 Pour one cup of coffee for the car and another for the office.
7:06 Ask my son if he brushed his teeth. Tell my son to brush his teeth.
7:08 Ask the kids if the cat has been fed. Tell the kids to feed the cat.
7:10 Get us all in the car and on our way to school. We say our prayers on the way.
7:30 Drop the kids off at school and call my sister as soon as I am no longer in the school zone (respecting the no cell phone use in school zones law).
7:45 Park and put my makeup on in the car.
7:55 Exercise (taking the stairs instead of the elevator down from the 5th floor of the parking garage)
8:00 Sit down at my desk and start working through my emails. Thus my day begins.
Carolyn Ziegler, The Grandmother; Castle Rock, Colorado
7:05 Check my emails. Play a game of Spider Solitaire.
7:10 Read The Federalist-specifically anything written by my daughter Mollie.
7:20 Read the comments following the article(s). Get upset if anything negative is written.
7:30 Call Mollie. Report the comments. She proceeds to tell me no educated person reads those. Feelings are hurt, but this does not deter me.
8:00 Make and have breakfast (usually scrambled eggs, 1 strip of bacon, English muffin or anything laying around from the previous day (i.e. brownies)).
8:30 Take my vitamins and Lisinopril.
8:35 Take my morning shower. Wash my hair if something special is going on that day.
9:00 Go on my daily 3-mile nature walk. Try to think of pleasant thoughts of my family.
10:45 Come home and get things ready for my antique retail space at The Emporium.
Typical morning of Erica Beeney, Hollywood Screenwriter
5:30 baby wakes up. Bring her into bed. Let her “touch my boos” and we all go back to sleep. Hopefully.
7:00 Theo gets into bed. Pretend to sleep.
7:10 The dog gets into bed. Still try to pretend to be asleep.
7:15 Give up. Depending on what I ate or drank the night before, take a Tums. Give one to the children who think they’re candy. Come on, it’s calcium people!
7:20 Realize Theo has made his own breakfast. Clean up kitchen.
7:23 Get distracted by screaming. Break up fighting children.
7:30 Wrestle them into their clothes. Try to convince T to put on his own shoes. He compromises — he’ll do one if I do the other.
7:35 Start to make lunches. See Theo outside in the dirt with one shoe on.
7:40 Theo turns on the garden hose. Everyone gets wet.
7:45 Wrestle everyone into new clothes. Pray Sendy our wonderful nanny doesn’t hit traffic!
8:00 Sendy arrives on time. Hooray.
8:15 Take shower while small children barge in constantly.
8:30 Pretend to read email while drinking coffee but actually look up celebrity gossip.
8:45 Think about making an almond milk smoothie. Have a piece of cinnamon bread and another Tums instead. Wonder if it was a mistake to mention Sendy. It would look a lot better if I were doing all this on my own, wouldn’t it? Consider editing her out.
9:00 Theo’s preschool starts without him.
9:10 Everyone scrambles into the car.
9:11-9:24 We all argue about how many times to listen to the stupid princess song again.
9:30 Theo arrives at pre-school.
10:00 I am in my office filling out insurance forms.
12:30-2:00 I actually get some work done.
2:15 Start thinking about the kids and if we’re going to do something special later like put our rain boots on and splash in the huge puddles running all down the back alley, the result of a water-main break. When a work crew plus heavy equipment plus puddles equals magic.
Elizabeth Evans, Boondocks Muse & Menagerie Director; Pennsylvania
6:00 The alarm on my phone goes off (unless I’ve forgotten to set it, in which case, all is lost). In a state of blissed-out torpor that lasts approximately a minute (to say I’m not a morning person doesn’t begin to describe my chronic state of soggy befuddlement), I stare at the ceiling. Then I give my teenage son next door a holler, hoping against hope that this time he’s set his alarm and gotten up before me. There might be a life in which this happens.
6:05 Unfortunately, the ringtones have also signaled the cat to get up, racing around my feet as I stumble to the kitchen, and waiting expectantly by the refrigerator. No dry cat food for him. He wants what his people are having. Opening the door to the fridge, I hit the cat.
6:20 Why does it take twice as long to make a sandwich before sunrise? I’ve never worked this out. No parenting manual suggests making your 17-year-old high school, junior lunch, but I still do. It just one more way of staying connected to a boy who is growing up breathtakingly fast. Once again I have forgotten to buy milk, but what can you do when the kid goes through a half-gallon every two days? For myself? A fistful of dark-chocolate-covered almonds. Practically a health food, right?
6:40 A big hug as he scurries out the door (somehow, we’re on time), and he’s gone. Maybe I should answer the emails I neglected yesterday. Or maybe I’ll just catch up on Twitter and the news for a half an hour. What could possibly go wrong?
8:40 Yikes. I’m going to lose all respect for myself if I’m not showered and dressed in the next twenty minutes. Besides, one of my several editors wants that column at eleven this morning. Leaping to my feet purposefully, I race up the stairs, only detouring briefly to grab another handful of almonds on the way. At long last, the day can begin.
Heather Wilhelm, Unofficial Spokesperson for The “Tot Clock” and Amazon.com; Austin, Texas
5:15 This, I suspect, is when my two oldest boys get up. I do not know for sure, however, because I have invested in not one, but two “Tot Clocks,”—conveniently available on Amazon.com!—which helpfully change from blue to yellow at exactly 7:00 AM each morning. This is when they are allowed to leave their rooms.
7:00 plus maybe 30 seconds Did I mention I never need an alarm clock? Never? You know how the DeLorean in “Back to the Future” leaves tracks of fire in its wake? My kids are faster.
7:05 15,000 words have already been spoken thus far in the Wilhelm household, none of them by me. Someone has likely tackled, full-Nelsoned, or karate-chopped someone else.
7:07 Sometimes I leave myself crazy notes in the middle of the night, always on neon Post-Its. This is a fun thing to wake up to. Sometimes they make sense—“Column about imperial presidency!” Sometimes they say things like “Get dentist buffalo.”
7:10 Brush teeth, maybe wash face. I might not make it to the face part. I think I read on Gwyneth Paltrow’s website that natural oils prevent early wrinkles. This might not be good advice, because Gwyneth also tells me that I might need a $6,000 Stella McCartney yoga mat.
7:11 Also, I think I just heard the sad, majestic, waterfall-like sound of a box of Scooby Doo cereal being emptied on the kitchen floor.
7:11 plus maybe 30 seconds Eerie silence.
7:11 plus maybe 45 seconds “Uh oh.”
7:12 Guys, I have this awesome broom, which was also purchased on Amazon.com!
7:15 Get third and youngest boy, who is still in a crib, up and dressed. He tells me, face deadpan, that he does NOT want a bagel. If he were not in a crib, he would no doubt be knee-dropping me right now.
7:20 It is either “bagel day” or “cereal day.” I cannot tell you how much my kids love “cereal day,” even though I do my best to buy them really boring organic cereals. (It will shock no one to know that my husband is responsible for the Scooby Doo cereal. He also once bought them Fruity Pebbles, which might as well have been crack.)
7:30 I have this really great schedule on my refrigerator designating who is going to drop off whom, who will be when and where, who has “Bring a Peanut-Free Snack to School” day today, who has to dress like a Native American, and so on. I’m no communist, but this is seriously a miracle of central planning.
Approximately 10:05 Oh man. I have yet to wash my face. Thanks a lot, Gwyneth. Thanks a lot.
Blair Cromwell, public relations; Bentonville, Arkansas
3:45 Middle child crying stumbles into my bedroom because she cannot find teddy. Find bear, put her back to bed. Look at the clock with a heavy sigh knowing my alarm will go off in 15 minutes. Manage to doze off.
4:00 Alarm goes off. Hit snooze…intention is to work out.
4:10 Alarm goes off again. Hit snooze again.
4:20 Alarm goes off again…drag my ass out of bed and go workout.
4:30 Do a 30 minute Les Mills Combat boxing workout –half-assed of course. It’s four freakin’ 30 in the morning.
5:20 First cup of coffee. Put on my face and un-frizz my Leo mane.
5:45 Turn on oven for eldest’s frozen French toasts sticks…the only thing she will eat in the morning. Last month it was the pancake corndogs from Sam’s. This month it’s the sticks. I don’t care as long as it’s easy. While oven is warming I begrudgingly unload the dishwasher…I think for a minute that I will leave it for my husband as I have unloaded it the past several mornings. It’s his turn, dammit! But, I decide to play nice and unload it since I have time.
6:00 Toast sticks are ready. Second cup of coffee. Make my first attempt to wake the first-grader for school.
6:05 Round two of trying to wake the beast.
6:10 Round three and the threats begin. She sleeps on the top bunk so all of the commotion to get her up awakens the middle child who immediately pops up out of bed, goes and retrieves my iPad, and turns on Netflix with the volume at full blast.
6:15 Have to give oldest piggy back ride to breakfast table because she claims she’s too cold and tired to walk to the table. Sit her down and she stares at her plate for 10 minutes before she decides to eat. She whines that food is too cold, there’s not enough syrup, and I’ve over cooked them. Also, she wanted milk not OJ this morning and I failed to read her mind.
6:25 Feed the dogs. Tell the first grader that I expect her to be dressed by the time I return.
6:30 I return and daughter is lying on the couch curled up with her Frozen blanket that is now covered in syrup. Coax her into putting on her uniform for school while she complains that she doesn’t like whatever it is that she picked out the night before.
6:40 Brush my teeth and attempt to finish my hair. Oldest comes into my bathroom partially dressed. Brushes her teeth while I spray detangler on her Rita Coolidge hair-do. She cries and whines at every slight tug as I aggressively pull the hairbrush—marketed as non-pulling—through her hair. Slap her hair into a ponytail and tell her she can watch TV while she puts her shoes on. I finish getting ready.
6:50 I’m dressed and realize I forgot to make my protein shake, so I scramble to make it quickly. Oldest still hasn’t put her shoes on although it looks like she is in the process.
6:55 I go start the car because it’s cold and we have too much stuff in the garage for me to pull in my car. Come back and there is at least one sock on. I threaten to turn off the TV if she doesn’t get a move on.
7:00 I start to get irritated because we should’ve left ten minutes ago to be at her school on time. Oh, and for the last 30 minutes my husband’s alarm has been going off and I’m amazed that he can sleep through all of the whining and threats. I make my third cup of coffee in a to-go cup and start to put my purse and other miscellaneous crap in the car.
7:05 Daughter’s shoes are finally on. Grab coats, walk out the door, and leave my protein shake sitting on the counter.
7:39 Make it through carline with one minute to spare.
7:45 I’m now 15 mins late for work. Get to my office, sit at my desk. Realize I’ve forgotten my breakfast. Find mild relief in the form of a cheese stick in the office fridge. Turn on my computer. Start going through the emails offering me SEO consulting and bargain remnant ad space. Wait anxiously for
8:00 so I can walk to the corner coffee shop and get my 4th cup of coffee.
8:10 Look at my calendar and hope there is a lunch meeting…an early one…hopefully an 11a.m. because I forgot to pack a lunch and all I have in my stomach is four cups of coffee and some cheese. Since I was late for work, I technically shouldn’t take a lunch break which is why I’m crossing my fingers for a scheduled lunch meeting, an early one—I need someone to feed me.
Michelle Taylor, law enforcement; Virginia
5:45 Wake up when the dog whines and thank God that my husband takes her out.
5:46 Check both phones to make sure I haven’t missed anything tragic or amazing overnight.
5:55 Actually get out of bed. Proceed to get ready for work.
6:20 Usually this is when at least one child stumbles into my room to inform me that they are awake and need to use the potty. I remind them that it hasn’t moved overnight and send them in that direction. Once that task is complete, I send them to get dressed and brush their teeth.
6:45 Wake up the other child. Instruct to get up, brush teeth, and get dressed.
6:50 Repeat above.
6:55 Explain that that line on the toe of the tights was not placed there solely to torture little girls.
6:57 Adjust that line on the toe of the tights.
6:58 Re-adjust that line on the toe of the tights.
7:00 Say something like, “For the love of everything, Grace, just go downstairs and we can fix your tights later.”
7:01 Send both children downstairs to eat breakfast. Kids are required to eat a protein. Everything else is bonus. (Usually my husband gets this on the table so I can make the bed, which I admit I’m a bit compulsive about.)
7:05 Head downstairs. Pour coffee in a travel mug. Think about eating breakfast. Reject the idea because it takes too much time.
7:10 Encourage my children to eat their breakfast. Remind them it should not take this long to eat two hard boiled eggs and a frozen Eggo waffle (no judging).
7:12 Remind them to feed the dogs and the fish. Tell them to have a good day at school and request that they behave.
7:15 Walk out the door and drive to the Metro.
8:00 Get to office and regale officemates with stories about the little line on the toe of the tights that was placed there to torture mothers.
** Full disclosure. We have an au pair. She’s awesome and we love her and she’s supposed to handle the morning routine. But when she and I are home at the same time, the kids default to me and it just feels mean to ignore them, so she’s not doing a lot of the morning routine. However, on occasion, I say “Please ask Christina to fix your tights. That’s why she’s here.”