A typical day… is pretty sad

I once read an account of the typical conversations that occur between parent and child in the course of an average day.

If a recording were to be made of the interaction between a parent and their child, it would look something like this:

“Take your feet off the couch.”

“Food belongs in the kitchen.”

“Get your shoes on already.”

“Be careful with the milk.”

“Hurry up!”

“Don’t yell.”

“Let me pour the milk for you.”

“We’re late, hurry!”

“Food belongs in the kitchen.”

“Oh! Look at the mess you made!”

“Here’s a towel, clean it up.”

“What do you mean, you can’t find your shoes?”

“Did you brush your teeth?”

“Where was the other shoe?”

“Finish up, we’ve gotta go!”

“Talk to your sister nicely.”

“Get your coat on.”


What can I say? Way too sad for any comments.

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  1. OHMYGOODNESS!!! You didn’t tape my mornings, did you, Ellen?

    Well, after I get my daughters out to the bus stop they each get a hug and a kiss, it’s just the getting-ready part of the morning that’s stressful. Hmm, thanks for a thought-provoking article… am thinking…

  2. Kind of reminds me of some of my childhood- and that I need to take care that I don’t repeat my childhood with my son- thanx for posting this.

  3. That has NEVER happened in MY house!

    Hehe… who do I think I’m kidding?!

  4. We’ve all had the “mad-rush” type of days! Let’s work to make them the exception, rather than the rule, and allow our children to look back upon their childhood mornings as a time of laughter and love, not screaming and rushing!

  5. Sometimes it takes an article like this to remind us of those sneaky little bad habits that work their way into our everyday life.

    I’m sure that every parent that comes to this site intends to create an empowering environment in their home.

    It is so hard sometimes not to fall into the ‘nagging’ trap when having a hard time just ‘keeping our heads above water.’

    Stress, heavy schedules, and a lack of focus can lead even good intentions astray.

    Articles like this are the ‘course corrections’ that help keep us parents focused on what our real goal is:

    Empowering our children to become happy, confident, and self-reliant people.

    Thanks Ellen for the reminder!

  6. Great point! It’s hard to do, but we should try to have 5 times as many positive interchanges as negative. We’re all working on it!

  7. Gladis in FL says:

    I have found that a little planning goes a long way to reduce those battles. I may not have eliminated them completely, but we are working towards happier mornings.
    I started working PT recently, and on the days I work, I thought it would be a lot harder to get out, but I have also been picking my battles, lol.

  8. Thanks, Cindy and Carrie- good points!

    Gladis, would you be open to sharing some of the planning that has helped your family?


  9. I’ve definitely had those days! It is really embarassing to actually realized how it could affect our children with negative comments. Thanks for this article. It really made me want to make sure I speak positive things to my girls.

  10. our mornings used to be similar, but once i started working a bit less and realizing how i was sounding, i made large efforts to improve. i work with my toddler, not against, and tried hard to observe things that work, even if it means dressing up in front of the tv, or me waking up earlier to do my things first. and inevitably, the more positive i am, the faster we get out, and the happier our mornings are.

  11. Thanks for the eye opener. That sounds just like mornings in my house. I’m always saying don’t squeeze the dog to hard instead of the talk nicely to your sister. I need to slow down!!!

  12. Wow, this sounds like most of my mornings..really puts things in perspective. I try to start the day positively, it just doesn’t always end up like that! I do wake my daughter with a hug and a kiss and have said since she was very little Wake up sunshine, time to start your day!
    Depending on how my teenager gets out of the house, (he’s the first one out) usually sets my tone for the morning. Then when my youngest gtes up (he’s the one with PDD) that is usually the make it or break it moment! Definitely much smoother in the summer months, less running, more relaxing. I will definitely be more aware and try to keep my cool better!

  13. sallympain says:

    Our mornings used to be like that until we discovered home education. Now we can get up when we are ready and fun learning takes place all day with no stress at all. It has also altered how my husband and I work, we now enjoy all aspects of life and continually adjust things to make life good. School had a very bad affect on all of us what with the morning rush, homework, stress because of deadlines and schedules, lack of time, and my childs unhappiness at school which effected us all but we didn’t realise it did until we took him out of that enviroment. Now we have a very relaxed and positive lifestyle.

  14. I kept reading looking for a homeschooling family to post, as I suspected that other homeschooling families had found what we have found to be true. Not having to rush every morning makes for a much more relaxed start to the day in our home. I relate to the comments sallympain makes. However, just so it doesn’t sound all rosy and fun, it can be just as stressful when we finally do leave the house. Just because it is not at 7:30 a.m. does not mean that it is effortless when it happens at 10:00 for piano lessons, or 1:00 for science class, or at 3:00 to go run errands. It’s a good reminder to me that planning ahead and communicating effectively and compassionately go a long way toward a more peaceful home environment. Thanks for the thought provoking comments.

  15. Peggy Kovac says:

    I am long past my child rearing days (72) but did have three young ones. I read fun books to them while they ate breakfast and somehow it was a pleasant bonding experience for us all.

  16. Good point, Lisa! “A typical morning” can ocurr at any time of the day when the family has to get going somewhere!

    Simple things like waking up 15 minutes earlier, laying out mine and the children’s clothing the night before- and this was a big deal here- having a very defined place for the boys’ shoes so that we do not have to look for that missing sneaker- helped us immensely!

  17. Mary Murphy says:

    Switching to home education greatly reduced the stress in our household, too. The funny part is that just before we started homeschooling, I thought that perhaps I didn’t get along well enough with my daughter for it to work. Getting rid of the school rush was all it took for us to get along better. It also made our interaction about learning and doing fun things together, rather than about me always trying to hurry her up!

  18. Got this in an email, thought we could all see the truth in this!

    F A M I L Y

    I ran into a stranger as he passed by,
    “Oh excuse me please” was my reply.

    He said, “Please excuse me too;
    I wasn’t watching for you.”

    We were very polite, this stranger and I.
    We went on our way and we said goodbye.

    But at home a different story is told,
    How we treat our loved ones, young and old.

    Later that day, cooking the evening meal,
    My son stood beside me very still.

    When I turned, I nearly knocked him down.
    “Move out of the way,” I said with a frown.

    He walked away, his little heart broken.
    I didn’t realize how harshly I’d spoken.

    While I lay awake in bed,
    God’s still small voice came to me and said,

    “While dealing with a stranger,
    common courtesy you use,
    but the family you love, you seem to abuse.

    Go and look on the kitchen floor,
    You’ll find some flowers there by the door.

    Those are the flowers he brought for you.
    He picked them himself: pink, yellow and blue.

    He stood very quietly not to spoil the surprise,
    you never saw the tears that filled his little eyes.”

    By this time, I felt very small,
    And now my tears began to fall.

    I quietly went and knelt by his bed;
    “Wake up, little one, wake up,” I said.

    “Are these the flowers you picked for me?”
    He smiled, “I found ’em, out by the tree.

    I picked ’em because they’re pretty like you.
    I knew you’d like ’em, especially the blue.”

    I said, “Son, I’m very sorry for the way I acted today;
    I shouldn’t have yelled at you that way.”
    He said, “Oh, Mom, that’s okay.
    I love you anyway.”

    I said, “Son, I love you too,
    and I do like the flowers, especially the blue.”

    Are you aware that if we died tomorrow, the company
    that we are working for could easily replace us in
    a matter of days.
    But the family we left behind will feel the loss
    for the rest of their lives.

    And come to think of it, we pour ourselves more
    into work than into our own family,
    an unwise investment indeed,
    don’t you think?
    So what is behind the story?

    Do you know what the word FAMILY means?

  19. I really like Carrie’s idea about the 5 to 1 ratio. Now that is a challenge when you are either in a hurry or frustrated with child behavior or both! Being a single mom is espcially challenging because there is usually no other adult around to call you on it. Hmmmmm. Thanks for the guidance. Aardy

  20. Mary, I’m glad your homeschooling turned out how it did and disproved your fears:)

    Dawm, that is a BEAUTIFUL poem, I absolutely love it, thanks for posting it here!

    Hi Aardy, welcome, and yes- we can all use reminders (even the hostess of a parenting site, lol!) ~Ellen

  21. Heather says:

    Now that I am working fewer hours and have some more time, I need to pay attention to this carefully. I am positive that I am not doing 5 positive comments for each correction. I have definite work to do.

  22. Karie Gardner says:

    Yep sounds familiar although not as much as it used to. I do have a teenager and a 2dd so I’m still occassionally falling into that scenario again.

  23. I know that we all say things we don’t mean or just blurt out, but DH and I chose for me to be home with our girls and I try as hard as I can to set a good example for them, in word and deed.
    We all need to be careful in how we come across to our future caregivers.

  24. SarahKate says:

    When my daughter was 5, she attended kindergarten for a year. Our life was pretty simple and relaxed and switching over to rushing out the door and spending 2 hours per day in commute was an eye opener. I had read much about homeschooling and thought about it throughout that year, feeling increasing stress around mornings, which are my favorite time.
    We’ve been homeschooling for a year, and I often remark on how grateful I am for our relaxed, slow mornings. My children have the time to wake up their dollies, make them breakfast, and join the family at the table for our breakfast. We have time to do chores together and work as a team. We have time for a morning spiritual practice – our circle, where we sing and say our prayers. Time is precious, these children are only this young once.

    Peace begins at home.

  25. michelle says:

    WOW!This sounds like me all day. Thanks for the eye opener. It really makes you think about the way you speak to your children. Sometimes I think we are more worried about how their acting and what their doing wrong then focusing and commending on what their doing right. This is something I’m definitely going to work on. THANKS!