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What The Most Successful Parents Do Before Breakfast

2012 July 19

I came across this story in the New York Times‘ “Motherlode” column from last month about “What The Most Successful Parents Do Before Breakfast.”

The answer? Four coffees? Eggs Benedict? Downward dog?

Nope, you guessed it. Spend quality time with their kids.

It’s all about how those early morning hours that we, as parents, are all granted, can and should be put to better use focusing on your kids and quality interaction before real-life wakes up and takes over your day.

I think we do a pretty good job of savoring our mornings. Kai is usually up before Little D, which means we get some nice solo time with him (we get the same with her in the evenings as he tends to go to bed earlier, it has worked out so well without us even trying).

We do check emails and social media, etc upon waking but once we’ve answered anything pressing and wrapped our heads around what’s to come for the day, it tends to be a nice two hours or so of relaxed, family time.

Disclaimer: we both work from home offices so we don’t need to do the whole shower-blowdry-dress for the day thing right away…or who are we kidding, even before lunch on most days. We do both have to be at our desks by 8:30am though so we don’t have all the time in the world.

But regardless, we don’t make fancy breakfasts that keep us in the kitchen – a bowl of Cheerios, easy-bake Trader Joe’s croissants, a banana, yogurt and multi-vitamin are often on the menu. We don’t turn on the TV to catch up on the news. We don’t drive ourselves nuts pulling together elaborate bento box lunches for Little D (she eats Trader Joe’s pesto pasta most days, it’s five minutes in the microwave and suits her just fine). We don’t worry about what she wears to school – it’s a tshirt and shorts which she picks out herself, we leave a hoodie by the door to grab on the way out and her hair is always in a ponytail, which I have mastered in less than 30 seconds. We often change Kai into his day clothes upon waking so he’s ready to go immediately.

What do we do? Read books. Play with trucks. Talk about what’s to come in the day ahead. Talk about our dinner menu for that night. Maybe a little downward dog, if Kai is in the mood…which he often is.

And even though we may be tired and under-caffeinated and a little preoccupied with the day’s looming responsibilities, it somehow always ends up being the easiest part of the day to navigate.

Which apparently makes us very “successful,” according to the New York Times.

Now if only someone could tell me what those same parents do during the witching hour?

8 Responses leave one →
  1. jenn permalink
    July 19, 2012

    I have that same tea cup sitting in my Keurig ! Morning and after dinner seem to be the best times to connect with my kids. Carpool works great with the middle school kids. They talk about the day and I hear things that I probably would not have heard if my daughter was walking to school etc.

    • WWGD permalink*
      July 20, 2012

      Interesting – Little D (still in preschool) tends to be completely silent on drive home. I think she’s still super exhausted after a full day. She opens up a little more about her day at bedtime, when we’re just laying around and deciding on books…I’ll take it when I can get it 🙂

  2. July 19, 2012

    agreed. i want to know about the witching hour! and this is yet another lovely reminder about how important our time together is. watch me bag the last hours of my planned-late-work-day to go home and be with mine (during the witching hour), and work after they’re asleep. thank you.

  3. July 20, 2012

    Must be such a struggle to get in that parenting time while still being productive at work. So nice you can work from home! Teri

  4. July 26, 2012

    Interesting… I, too, have been making the morning a family time priority. I actually started to set up breakfast at the table (nothing fancy – just bagels, fresh fruit, milk, juice, yogurt, etc.) and we all sit at the table to eat. We don’t sit together for dinner at night because my husband comes home from work too late so we have to do this in the morning. I started this about a month and felt soooo good about it. Prior to this, I would be mostly on my iphone/computer checking, answering emails and social media, and more often than not, I would skip breakfast. So unhealthy! Now, we all have breakfast and family time together before we start our day and it certainly have made me a happier and more productive mom!

    • WWGD permalink*
      July 26, 2012

      So great! I don’t know what it is, but we are definitely far less distracted in the morning and totally engaging more. And now appreciating it more, too!

  5. Helen permalink
    December 10, 2013

    In my case, in my childhood, I never skipped my breakfast. My parents believed that having breakfask made my brain awake, so they always force me to eat or drinking even though it was not full-prepared meals.
    The interesting point was that instead of my parents, my grandmother was preparing for our siblings’ meal. This is because my parents were both working so they have to leave home early. And in the weekend, my mother slept untill noon. Was I affected by this a lot? Maybe, I have same habit with mom; I can’t wake up early in the morning especially in the weekend. I spend my morning time sleeping, although my father is a sort of early bird.

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