Parenting Perspectives: Son has Solution for Morning Madness

[Printed in North Dakota’s largest daily newspaper, The Forum, on October 4, 2011. Reprinted with permission.]

By: Roxane B. Salonen, The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead

My 6-year-old recently discovered the blessing of shortcuts.

Rather than putting on his favorite flannels at bedtime, he reached for his school uniform. “I’m just gonna sleep in these so I’ll have enough time for breakfast,” he announced while tucking in his red polo shirt.

What could I, the Queen of Morning Shortcuts who once slept on top of the covers to avoid making the bed, say?

Even the King of the Household has a shortcut strategy. He recently discovered that he can lessen stress during particularly busy weeks by 50 percent by doing half of his morning pushups the evening before.

Still, we couldn’t help but chuckle quietly as our little guy headed upstairs fully clothed and ready to take on tomorrow.

With this image still on my brain awhile later, I flipped open my laptop to do a quick Facebook status update to share of my son’s ingenuity, half preparing for an onslaught of “bad mommy” responses.

“We do the same thing,” one friend posted almost instantly. “Sleep in your clothes? Wear them again? No problem! Pick your battles.”

“I’ve been practicing Nick’s brilliant concept for quite some time now,” a local radio talk-show host contributed. “However, it gets complicated when I arrive at WDAY still dripping from the shower … How does Nick navigate what is easily the trickiest aspect of the Clothes to Bed, Shower Ahead approach?”

“In junior high, I did my hair and makeup at night,” another friend said. “Good thing crusty spider lashes were in at the time!”

Feeling inspired, I suggested to the radio guy that he dry himself off by doing a few circles around the block on his motorcycle, like a college friend used to do to dry his shower-wet hair.

“Well, my wife drives me to work, and I lie on the luggage rack,” he responded. “Works pretty well, save for hanging-too-low tree branches on Ninth Street.”

Who knew Facebook at midnight could be so fun? And to think it all started with my little guy trudging off to bed in his clothes.

A few friends asked me to report back on the wrinkle factor. Incredibly, said son awoke with uniform clothes wrinkle-free and enjoyed a leisurely bowl of Cheerios with time to spare.

I’m still looking for ways to make my mornings go smoothly. In fact, when Nick dons his school uniform around 8:30 p.m., I’m generally reaching for the clothes that will carry me through a majority of my workday as a freelance writer and taxi service extraordinaire.

I’m just a little nervous that one of these days I’m going to get pulled over during school drop-off. Is it a crime for a mom to do her best work in a robe and bunny slippers?

Roxane B. Salonen works as a freelance writer and children’s author in Fargo, where she and her husband, Troy, parent five children. She blogs on family life at