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Hey, Peter MacKay, This Is What Real Parents' Mornings Look Like

Hey, Peter MacKay, This Is What Real Parents' Days Look Like
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Every parent who works outside the home knows the feeling of holding down two jobs, but according to Justice Minister Peter MacKay, only moms are really doing the work.

In emails that were written on Mother's Day and Father's Day respectively, the minister showed a serious divide between what he considered the mother's role and what he believed fathers did.

For Mother's Day, the missive sent to all staff read, in part, "I’d like to take this opportunity to recognize our colleagues who have two full-time jobs ... By the time many of you have arrived at the office in the morning, you’ve already changed diapers, packed lunches, run after school buses, dropped kids off at daycare, taken care of an aging loved one and maybe even thought about dinner."

For Father's Day, portions of the all-staff letter said, "I wish to take this opportunity to recognize our colleagues who are not only dedicated Department of Justice employees, but are also dedicated fathers, shaping the minds and futures of the next generation of leaders ... it can also be daunting to consider the immense and life-long influence we have over our children."

These notes came to light just days after MacKay was called out for suggesting women don't apply to judicial positions because it will take them away from their children.

MacKay, who is married to Nazanin Afshin-Jam, the co-founder and president of human rights group Stop Child Executions, is likely well-versed in the hassles of the morning routine, thanks to their 15-month-old son, Kian. In fact, we're sure he's changed a few diapers in his time before work as well.

But if that isn't the message he's putting out to parents, then we thought it was time to let him know what mornings are really like in Canadian households.

We asked a few of our bloggers who are parents to tell us what they and their partners do every morning before they head to the office, and how divide up their tasks. Have a schedule of your own to share? Email us at

athy Buckworth and Steve Webster, four kids

Her day:

4:20: got up, showered and got ready to drive downtown to do a segment on Breakfast Television at 6:20 am

7:00: home in time to work on a travel article for the Travel Channel.

7:30: woke my 12 year old son up at so he could eat breakfast, make lunch, get ready for school. Packed up a teacher’s gift, sent him off. Reminded my 22 year old (home visiting overnight) that I had made her a chicken pot pie to take home, that was in the fridge, that she forgot to take. Made sure my 15 year old was up and knew that I’d be out at the gym (did a weight class for an hour)

10:30: back home to get some sleepaway camp supplies for my 15 year old ... after I showered for the second time

- finished my article, returned about 100 emails, shared my BT segment on social media, responded to social media about the segment

- had a business lunch and got groceries on the way home.

His day (in Kathy's words):

- up at 5:30, showered,

- read the paper

- emptied the dishwasher

- took out the garbage

- left for work after reminding me he would be home a little early to take our daughter to hockey tonight.

- took the Go Train downtown and replied to emails all the way there.

rica Diamond and husband, two kids

Her day:

5:45: alarm goes off; relax in bed meditating for 20 mins

6:05: open iPhone and browse only through emails, etc. while still in bed

6:20: Get up and get myself ready. And coffee!

6:45: Wake the kids

7:30: Feed them breakfast and we're out the door for school

8: Go to the gym

9: Workday starts (or if I don't go to the gym, workday starts at 8)

His day (in Erica's words):

6:15: Wake and get himself ready

6:45: Helps get boys ready for school and sends them down to me for breakfast

7:15-7:30: Leaves for office

icki and Andrew Murphy, one kid

Her day:

6:30: I got up to make final edits to an article for a local arts newspaper (I have a monthly column).

7: Once Max is up, I pour him a bowl of Cheerios, and jump in the shower.

7:30: I get dressed and help (i.e. bribe, threaten, etc.) Max get dressed while speed-eating a bowl of cereal and trying not to puke (I'm 13 weeks pregnant and struggling with morning sickness).

7:45: I pack Max's lunchbox, make sure he has all his supplies in his backpack, pack my own lunch, laptop, etc. for work.

8: I help Max brush his teeth, get his boots and coat on, etc. GET OUT THE DOOR BEFORE 8:15 OR ELSE.

8:15: Drop Max off at daycare, drive to work, call doctor's office from car to make an appointment.

8:45: Check email, meet with production team to discuss tomorrow's TV shoot. (I am creative director at an advertising agency.)

His day (in Vicki's words):

6:30: My husband gets up to shower for work

6:45: Eats his cereal (cold, because that's all there's time for, damn it) while checking the weather forecast

7:00: He wakes up Max, our five year old

7:30: He leaves for work, ensuring he's waved to Max — he has to be at work by 8

bby Langer and Ryan Swain, two kids

Her day:

My morning schedule actually starts in the early morning. Like, 4am, when my 4 year old cries Pee! Pee! Pee! and I have to take her to the bathroom in the dark. So when I get up in the morning, I’m already behind the eight-ball.

6:00: my 6 year old wanders into my room looking for the iPad. Wakes me up.

7:10: out of bed to find the effing iPad for my daughter

7:20: into the shower. No wait, that’s my husband. I’m already downstairs with no bra on, in my pajamas, making a snack for the kids and refereeing their first fight of the day, over the Barbie Corvette

7:40: get into the shower

7:50: dry my hair, get dressed

8:00: downstairs, again. Nanny starts work at 8, but I’m running around making my lunch, making my daughter’s lunch, eating my breakfast standing up, finding someone’s shirt because they don’t want to wear the My Little Pony shirt they chose earlier (no, not my husband).

8:10: leave for work, but have to go back into the house because my 4 year old needs at least 3 ‘kiss and a hug’ sessions before letting me go to work.

8:11: both daughters whining that mommy works so much, ‘mommy, why do you work so much? Why don’t you take care of us?’

8:20: I’m late, I feel guilty, my blouse has an avocado stain on it, and my car needs gas. But finally I’m on the way to work.

His day:

7:10: wake up and check the 18 emails I got last night from my work

7:20: get into the shower, but first I need to help my daughter choose her outfit for the day

7:30: get dressed, shave, while doing that, I need to stay in the bathroom because my youngest daughter won’t go to the bathroom alone. Wipe her when she’s done.

7:40: Review the 40 slide deck that I have to present at 9am to the CFO of PCF where I work, while refereeing the kids’ second fight of the morning. Kiss my wife.

7:50: Grab whatever breakfast I get my hands on, usually whatever the nanny is making. Eat it while I’m heading out the door.

7:51: back to the house because I didn’t kiss and hug the kids enough and they’re upset because I work so much.

7:59: I’m off to work – I have a 45 minute commute each way.

athy Kaufield and Kevin Barrett, two kids

Her day:

I supervise the girls' teeth brushing/hair brushing/getting dressed.

I pack the school bags, sign the teachers' notes etc.

I do most of the meal planning for suppers and most of the cooking, but we take turns cleaning up the dishes and my husband will make terrific suppers with a little direction. He whips up better homemade pancakes every Sunday than I can and even Belgian waffles.

I do the grocery shopping.

My daughters and I - especially my oldest - have the best talks while we are grocery shopping. Recent topics? Pay equity.The pitfalls of organized religion. How democracy works. The importance of starting to save for retirement when you are young. Bullying. What integrity means. Puberty. Healthy food. The importance of education. The lack of women in politics.

If that's not helping to shape my daughter's mind, I don't know what is.

His day (in Kathy's words):

He supervises breakfast in the morning.

He unloads the dishwasher and puts the breakfast dishes away

He packs the lunches - with help from our 11 year old

He takes them to school and picks the youngest up at daycare at the end of the day.

He does lots of laundry, and changed countless diapers when they were young.

He can do a mean set of ponytails in my youngest daughter's hair.

I travel several times a year for work, including a 10-day work trip last summer to Norway and Scotland. He handled all the parenting responsibilities for the entire time I was away - no nanny required.

We both read to them at bedtime.

aomi Zener and husband, two kids

Her day:

7:00: Wake up, start responding to emails

7:30: Kids wake up, I feed the baby. I simultaneously work and watch baby until he naps.

9:30: I cram in my writing, emails, etc. until my prince awakens, demanding to be played with and fed. I balance working and baby care, with a little domestic duty added for sadistic pleasure, until it's time to pick up the hubby from the office at 5pm, followed by the toddler at daycare.

Did I mention that I pull double duty as a lawyer and writer/author? Maybe that's why I haven't applied for a judicial appointment — because I'm busy changing diapers.

His day (in Naomi's words):

7:00: Wakes up, takes out the dog and gets ready for work

7:30: He undertakes the Herculean task of getting the toddler through her morning routine: PJs off, brush teeth, pick out her outfit, screaming match, let her pick out her outfit, try to help her get dressed, screaming match, let her dress herself, then watch as she changes her clothing selection, breakfast, and antibiotics for the cherry on our sundae--double ear infection

8:00: Out the door with the toddler to take her to daycare, and go to work

ennifer and Paul Pellegrini, one kid

Her day:

6:15: I'm up first. Before my feet hit the floor, I've checked my work email for any messages from my boss, and clear out the pile of special offers that have arrived in my personal account overnight. I turn on the computer and put on the radio so I can hear the news. Wish the people on Facebook with a birthday many happy returns of the day. Let the dog and cat out, give the dog a bikkie for being a good dog and going pee and then let him in (and out again). Figure out what we will have for dinner and try to remember to take it out before leaving the house.

6:30: Begin the highly enjoyable task of trying to wake my teenager to get her ready for school, trying in vain to ignore the state of her bedroom.

6:45: I hear my husband shuffle down the hall in search of coffee. While I love him to death, he's a slow-walker at his most awake and he does tend to wander around in a fog until fully caffeinated, so we tend to trip over each other while I'm trying to get the lunches made. Yes, I suppose they could have been made the night before, but Her Ladyship often does not know what she would like and isn't partial to the way tomato makes her sandwich soggy if left too long, so it's just easier to make it quickly in the morning.

6:55: A discussion wherein my daughter asks me to drive her (out of my way) to school, stop at Timmy's and help her get organized for the day ensues. I get in the shower so as to keep both of us from being late.

Now that my daughter is off school for the summer, I won't have to worry about getting her up and out the door too early - although I will have to worry that she's managed to drag herself out of bed in time to get to work. Yes, I'll be able to take whatever route I want to into work, but the truth is, I'll miss being the passenger, because it's a great opportunity for me to talk with my daughter for 40 minutes without a lot of interruptions - something that allows me to help shape a pretty brilliant future leader.

His day:

Wake up around 6:30 and make coffee. Then make more coffee. I get the radio going so Jen can hear the news while she's waking up.

If Jen is exhausted, I take over the job of being the wake up/lunch guy and make our daughter's lunch. I'll also make make Jen's lunch for her.

I make Jen a cup of tea and take it to her when she's in the shower (I leave it on the bathroom counter).

I am often the guy who runs downstairs for laundry baskets, shoes in downstairs cupboards or clean towels.

I will chase down our cat if he refuses to come in before we have to go to work.

Then I head off to work where I am pretty much isolated from everything for the day.

ori and Brian Gard, four kids

Her morning:

6:15: Get up. Check emails/messages/blog

6:30: Shower

6:50: get son up for shower

7:00: Start making beds

7:30: Throw a load of wash into dryer. Fold a load of clothes.

7:45: Do children's hair, makes beds.

8:00: Finish making beds.

8:05: Finish getting myself ready for work

8:20: Take kids to school.

8:30: Start my own day at work.

His morning:

6:45: Get up. Put wood in furnace (winter)/ or make coffee (summer).

6:55: Throw pizza pockets in oven for kiddos. Check computer (TSN)

7:00: Pack up 6 lunches for family (fill out forms and provide money where needed)

7:15: Start breakfast for 6 people. Often, everyone has something different to eat.

7:30: Have shower/shave.

7:45: Do dishes, finish up lunches, wipe off counters, clean up.

8:00: Feed cats.

8:05: Get kids ready for out the door (hats, coats, mittens, etc.- winter); backpacks only in summer.

8:15: Leave for work

eather Lin and husband, two kids

Her day:

6:00: Get dressed in the bathroom with the clothes I set out the night before (no time for do-overs so whatever I got in the bathroom, I’m committed to), put on make-up, brush my teeth, style my hair

6:20: Pack my older son’s lunch, and get breakfast on the table for my kids, fruit salad for my husband

6:30: Wake up both kids, get them to the table and start breakfast

6:45: Leave for work

7:45 am – 4:00pm: Work (I eat breakfast and usually lunch at my desk – sad)

4:00: Commute to daycare to pick up youngest child; answer work emails on train

5:10: Pick up youngest, commute home from daycare

5:35: Prep dinner

6:15: Dinner, speech and reading exercises, colouring, playground, anything with the kids cause this is all I get; answer work emails on BlackBerry

7:45: Bath and brushing teeth time for kids

8:10: Stories

8:30: Kids to bed, out of bed, back in bed, whining, back in bed, finally fall asleep

9:00: Dishes

9:20: Make older son’s lunch for following day, pack younger son’s bag for daycare

9:30: Shower

9:45: Sit down, have tea (or wine), work on any work not completed at work (ie. prep work for satellite interview tomorrow), watch TV, and or read

11:00: Watch news so I know life exists outside my household and office

11:30: Bedtime

His day:

6:30: Wake up

6:45: Greet my already awakened boys and sit down to my wonderful fruit salad and yogurt set out by my amazing wife, get the boys and myself fed, dressed, and out the door… if I’m lucky, quickly walk the dog

7:45: Drive the kids to daycare/school at two different drop off points in the city

9:00 - 5:30 pm: Work

5:30: Pick up oldest son at daycare

5:40: Prep dinner

6:15: Dinner, speech and reading exercises, colouring, playground, anything with the kids cause this is all I get too; answer work emails on BlackBerry

7:45: Bath and brushing teeth time for kids

8:10: Stories

8:30: Kids to bed, walk the dog

9:00: Continue work from day job

11:00: Watch news and baseball highlights, eat cookies, play Candy Crush

11:30: Bedtime

ebecca and Edward Keenan, three kids

Their day:

We both wake up around 7 on a typical morning. After getting ourselves washed up and dressed, we break into zones. I wake up our three young children (ages 8, 5 and 2) and help them get dressed while Ed puts out breakfast and packs lunches and snacks.

I'll follow the kids downstairs and chase after library books, fill in permission slips and otherwise double check that their school bags are ready to go. Ed takes all the kids out the door by 8, gets the older two onto the school bus and drops the two-year-old at her babysitter's before heading into the office. I have a much shorter to commute to my home office in the basement.

I can promise you that neither one of us has thought of dinner yet.

arlena and Carlos Cunha, two kids

Her day:

7:30: Wake up

7:45: Coffee

8:00: Clean all the dishes from last night and tidy the kitchen

8:20: Make the kids' breakfast

8:30: Answer emails, write a blog post and post it

9:30: Make my husband and myself breakfast, make my husband's lunch

10:00: Kiss my husband goodbye, eat my breakfast

10:01: Breakfast interrupted to oversee children making their beds and getting dressed.

10:08: Breakfast interrupted to break up a fight between them

10:10: Tell one of the kids to stop looking at the other one.

10:12: Tell the other kid to ignore the first kid. (this goes on forever, but you get the point. Back to me.)

10:30: Edit a few chapters of a book for a client

11:30: Send out article submissions, pitches and other follow ups

12:00: Make girls lunch

12:15: Clean something (bathroom, fish tank, toy room, you pick. But something.)

His day (in Darlena's words):

8:00: Wake up

8:10: Make tea for himself

8:15: Write, alone, in his office with the door shut (sometimes in the bathroom with the fan on, because we make a lot of noise around here, and he needs quiet to write).

9:30: Get ready for work and eat breakfast

10:00: Leave for work

10:15: Work (copy editing newspaper articles for the New York Times International Weeklies).

Given this, I think it is safe to say that we both play important roles, not one role more important than the other. We're both making an impact on the world. While his may be more immediate, my contribution will someday see its light.

r. Shimi Kang and husband, three kids

Her day:

6:30: Wake up and quickly check emails because I work with my editors and publishers in NYC and they are 3 hours ahead.

7:00: I then wake up my two older kids and shuffle them off to the kitchen for breakfast. I sit with them over breakfast and usually try to discuss an important lifestyle topic, like eating healthy, the value of exercising, being positive, etc. My 4 year old eventually wakes up so I then have to tend to her.

7:30: My nanny arrives and quickly helps out while we make lunches, tidy up after breakfast, get the 4 year old dressed etc.

7:45: I sit down to respond to emails, send out tweets, etc.

8:30: Get ready for work. My 4-year-old usually hangs out with me (on my lap while typing) or in my bathroom.

9:00: Out the door, drop off my 4 year old on the way to work

9:30: First patient at the hospital

His day (in Shimi's words):

7:00: Wakes up and immediately gets ready for work

7:15: Goes downstairs, prepares his own breakfast

7:45: Leaves with two older kids to take them to school, chatting with them along the way, then heads to work

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