Y’all, today I want to talk about something that strikes fear into the hearts of mothers everywhere.
Now, before my non-mom readers go and get their Irish up and start writing nasty comments, I am going to acknowledge that mornings are hard for everyone, everywhere. Sleep is glorious and wonderful and restorative, and most people dread mornings in one way or another. But for mothers, especially mothers who are responsible for getting little bodies up and out of the door to school or daycare or camp, mornings are a special type of crazy. And I’m going to address that special type of crazy specifically because that is what I live. It is what I know.
And to illustrate my type of crazy, I thought I would timeline my morning for you, dear readers. Just to give you a little sneak peek into what I like to call “just a regular morning in the Burnt Toast household.”
5:00–Alarm goes off, set the night before with all good intentions of waking up for quiet time and a quick workout. HIT SNOOZE.
5:47–JUMP out of bed, scramble to finally turn off the alarm and run out to the kitchen. Pray that no one has woken before me so I can have a few moments of silence before the chaos begins.
5:50–Blank stare at the coffee maker. Wonder why it’s making hot water.
5:52–Curse my stupidity for not setting the coffee the night before. Start over. Forgo the pot and get the first drips directly into my cup to kickstart my bloodstream.
5:55–Desperately pull up the school lunch app praying it’s pizza day. It’s not.
6:00-6:10–Slap some peanut butter and jellies together, throw some goldfish in baggies and call it a lunch. Make a silent vow to do better tomorrow so the teachers stop judging my sub-par lunches.
6:12–Quiet prayer at the foot of the stairs. Praying for patience, good cheer, and motherly love as I get ready to do the rounds.
6:15-6:30–Spend 15 minutes walking back and forth between 3 bedrooms, trying to wake my children with decreasing cheer and patience with each successive room visit. Succeed with 2 of the 3. The oldest, fresh off a night of wandering around the house (see here for a description of his insanity), is refusing to even open his eyes.
6:30–Make middle child cereal and youngest peanut butter and jelly, because I am a short-order breakfast cook. Remind them to eat quickly and to stop feeding the dog at the table. Gently call up to oldest to try to get him moving.
6:35–Yell, not so gently this time, up the stairs to try and get my oldest to budge. Get ignored.
6:40–Console youngest as she reminds me that it is, in fact, Red Ribbon Week at school and she (read:I) forgot to wear red yesterday so all of her friends were laughing at her and pinching her. Frantically search for deleted email on what the “theme” is today to avoid full-on Red Ribbon induced meltdown. Silently curse Red Ribbon Week and the war on drugs.
6:45–Head upstairs and physically drag oldest child out of bed and force him downstairs. Once up, he begins his daily routine of systematic torture of his younger siblings.
6:50–Run out of the bedroom where I’m trying in vain to throw on acceptable drop-off clothes to break up a fist fight between brothers over who throws the best fast ball. (Answer: neither. They both stink.)
6:55–Succeed in throwing on a sweatshirt, uggs, and hair in a ponytail before answering to the frantic “MOM! MOM! MOMMY!” coming from the kitchen.
6:57–Help youngest clean up giant water puddle on the floor from her attempt to fill her own water bottle. (YAY Independence!)
7:00–Send middle child back upstairs to find a new shirt because the one he picked has ketchup stains from last nights dinner. Ponder if he ever even got changed out of it to get in bed. Realize I really don’t care if he did or not.
7:05–Chase daughter around house with a brush attempting to comb the knotty nest that is known as her morning hair. Beg to do cute braids and pigtails. Get turned down. Succeed in making a lopsided ponytail. She does not care.
7:08–Morning Prayers. (definitely the only thing I get right each morning)
7:10–send oldest off to school on his bike and shuttle younger two in car to drop off.
7:15–DROP-OFF. Silently curse the mom who parks in the middle of drop off lane, gets out of her car, walks around to the other side, helps her daughter put her backpack on, gives her a big hug, and waits until her little sweetie is all the way in the door before pulling away. Feel guilty for barely coming to a complete stop as I yell “Go. NOW. You’re holding up the line!” to my own children.
7:20–HOME. Drop onto couch in exhausted heap of stress, disappointment (in my self), and worry. Because no matter how old your kids are, when they’re not with you there is always a small little nag of worry about their safety, their happiness and their experience. It never goes away.
Are you sure?
Mornings are hard. Not all of these things happen every morning (except the systematic torture and the prayer) but at least some of them happen on most of my days. And it’s hard. And I’m tired.
So I let myself fall into this groove of not taking anytime for myself because the taking care of 3 (maybe 4 if you count my husband–though in full disclosure he’s a huge help in the morning) is exhausting in itself. After drop off, I would find myself so depleted that I would pour myself some more coffee, crawl back into bed and spend some time just re-grouping. Breakfast was never even a thought. I was too tired to cook anything and the best I could do would be to grab some processed protein bar and call it a day.
But that’s caught up to me, honestly. I’ve felt sluggish and not like myself this past month. I thought when I stopped working that I would have more time for self-care but somehow I found that I actually spent less. And I knew I had to change.
Enter this cookbook. Now if you follow me on Instagram, you know that I love me some cookbooks. Well, books of all kinds really. But cookbooks especially are my jam. I love the recipes, the pictures, the stories behind the recipes. The whole deal, really. So when I ran across the MidLife Cookbook I picked it up, kind of as a joke honestly because I like to laugh about my age. But when I opened it up, I realized that this was no joke. This was a book about loving food. About recognizing that good food and what it can do for your body is quite extraordinary. It’s a book that recognizes that the food God made for us to eat is good and doesn’t really need to be junked up and processed. And when you treat your body right by feeding it right you feel ready to do the work that God has set out for you to do each day.
And I was hooked.
The first place I wanted to start was breakfast. Arguably the most chaotic part of my day, I wanted to transform at least a tiny bit into something for ME and me alone. And that’s where I found their amazing Oatmeal recipe. When I think of oatmeal, sadly, I think of those packets filled with instant oats and some weird powdered substance that somehow turns into “flavoring” when you add water and the heat of a microwave. Not a big fan. But Mimi and Sam transform this humble breakfast into something that both gives life and bursts with flavor. It starts with a base oat mixture that you make in bulk, along with a sweetener that blows sugar and honey out of the water, and you build from there. In their book they have 5 different recipes for oats, I’m just going to give you one. The one I now crave. The one I would eat for every meal if it was socially acceptable. But I promise the others are worth it. The entire cookbook is amazing, so pick it up. (if you buy today there is an amazing deal on Amazon. It’s just $5, link below. So don’t wait!) You don’t have to be midlife to enjoy good healthy food. And if you start now, your midlife self will thank you.
It does take a little prep time to get all the necessary ingredients together. But once you have the basic mix and the sweetener made, it takes about 5 minutes to put it together and it’s oh-so-worth it. Do yourself a favor, give it a try. And then get the cookbook and try the other 4 flavors. Let me know how it goes. And don’t forget to take care of yourself. Everyone else benefits from you being the best you that God has made. And that can only happen if you treat yourself as if you’re worthy of the care you give others.
**This post contains affiliate links which means that if you purchase an item from a link I provide I may receive a small payment. But don’t worry, I only promote products I truly believe in.**
Midlife Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal
- 1/2 cup Midlife Power Oatmeal (see recipe below)
- 1 cup Almond Milk (or milk of your choice)
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
- 1 tablespoon Midlife Sweetener (see recipe below) or honey
- 1 3/4 oz. semisweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
- 1 cup frozen pitted cherries
- Step 1 Place the oats, milk, cocoa and sweetener in a saucepan and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened to your liking.
- Step 2 Stir in the chocolate and cherries and cook for another 3 minutes, until the cherries and chocolate have softened.
- Step 3 Serve topped with raw cacao nibs or shaved semisweet chocolate.
Midlife Power Oatmeal
- 4 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 3 1/2 oz Midlife LSA (ground flaxseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds in a 3-2-1 ratio)
- 1 2/3 cup oat bran
- Step 1 Combine the ingredients and store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
- 1 1/2 cup pitted Mejool dates
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1 1/4 cups water
- Step 1 Combine all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until completely smooth. You’re looking for the consistency of applesauce.
- Step 2 Transfer to a sealed jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.