10 Things that could help make your mornings with kids easier
Every morning is different. I think one of the things I’ve learned with raising 3 kids is that things don’t always go as scheduled. I try to do the same routine with my kids everyday and yet somehow always wind up missing the mark, one way or another. There are always unexpected issues that will arise, like they woke up grouchy (pretty much every day), I wake up grouchy (almost always), they don’t have anything to wear, they suddenly hate all their clothes, I didn’t wash the right pair of pants or shirt, can’t find socks, I don’t have what they wanted for breakfast that day. Mornings are tough on everyone; I mean it’s just cruel to get pulled from that nice warm bed and comfy blankets. All for what? to go to school and learn, oh the audacity of me to pull them away from it all. At least that’s how they feel at first, but after some water splashed on their face and some breakfast they are back to the normal happy, loving, energetic, high strung, always on time, hurry up mom or we’ll be tardy kids that they are. So I have developed a few habits that have helped ease my mornings even with all the mishaps.
1. Look at the week’s schedule: Take a few minutes the night before to look at the kids schedule for the week and yours. Put reminders on your phone, write it down on a calendar whatever you use to keep track of your life. Even if you don’t do any of those things at least take a look at it so that you have at least some idea of what is going on. This will hopefully keep you from being that parent that has no idea that the kids had to wear college shirts in support of college day at school. Don’t be that mom.
2. Talk about meals: Talk about what meals to have for the week. Get ideas from them of what they’d like to have. I find this very important because my kids are always one step ahead. They want to know what they are having for dinner while still eating lunch. Drives me nuts but talking about future meals somehow eases their minds, so I’ll do it.
3. Have them check the lunch menu: My kids are planners. They like to know ahead of time if they will be enjoying their meal. So I have them check the school lunch menu. I try to do it on Sunday so that I have an idea of how many days they will be taking lunch vs how many (if any) days they will eat school lunch.
4. Go to the store: Now if all goes well with #’s 1 & 3, then off to the store I go to make sure I have what I need for lunch/meals. Along with special request by all.
5. Gather all backpacks and school work: All too often I find backpacks on the floor, in the living room, under the bed, pretty much everywhere except in their designated area. So making sure they know where it is will be crucial to our morning routine. Also making sure homework is actually in it and not on the kitchen counter where they left it after getting distracted.
6. Pick clothes: Laying out the clothes they plan to wear the next day is so helpful. This small habit goes unnoticed all too often. Maybe because it seems so simple to get up, get clothes and get dressed. Having clothes picked out prior to getting ready helps ease so much tension in the morning. It avoids all the fumbling of drawers, running around trying to find a clean pair of pants, or socks, or shirt, you get the picture.
7. Take scheduled showers: Whether showering is done in the morning or the night before setting a time slot for showers is important. I don’t how many arguments we’ve had over who is showering first and in what bathroom. It’s best to assign a kid to a shower time and get it done.
8. Discuss breakfast ahead of time: Oh this is big at my house. Like I mentioned, my kids are big on knowing what the next step will be. It somehow calms their anxiousness. Breakfast options are on the table, so to speak, and hopefully no surprises in the morning.
9. Drink lots of coffee: Enough said….Drink a lot of coffee. Coffee is usually the first thing I do when I wake up. If coffee is not your thing then hot tea, hot chocolate anything that you like to start your morning with.
10. Enjoy getting them ready: Ok so after all the planning and discussing let’s remember the most important thing to do in the morning, enjoy being a momma. Enjoy getting them ready, making them breakfast, packing lunch, and just seeing those precious little faces. They won’t always need us to schedule showers or to make sure they have their homework. It will all change so fast and before you know it they will be self-sufficient adults making their own way in the world. So until that day comes I will continue to do all I can to make their days with mom special.
Every Sunday I go through the same motions to get my day going for church with the kids. I set my alarm to wake up hours before they do because this will give me a head start on the morning rush. I have it all planned out it my head, get up, drink my coffee, (because without coffee let's face it there is just no point to continuing my day) relax a little, maybe do some reading, wake the kids and get them going. Yes, it's a great plan, but that's all it ends up being, a plan. After I've snoozed my alarm so many times that it won't go off anymore, the kids have already woken up before me and are already in the living room watching T.V and are in no way willing to be bothered to get ready, I finally get up. Grouchy and stressed because now I have no time. I am rushing to get all 3 kids ready, trying to get myself ready. Fumbling through all the laundry that I swore the night before I would fold and put away just to find some clean pants for my son to wear, in which case there usually aren't any clean pants so I end having to ask him to please wear any pants he can find. The girls are always distracted running around doing anything but what they are actually suppose to be doing. I am getting pulled in all directions, find this, where's that, what are we doing after, what are we having for lunch. Meanwhile my coffee is now cold, I haven't had breakfast and we've got 10 minutes before we need to leave. My husband is working so it's all up to me. I let the kids eat anything they can find (but eat fast cause "ain't nobody got time for that"). We run around gathering ourselves trying to walk out the front door. We finally leave get in the car and all of sudden I take a deep breath and we are off to church. Once in the car everyone is calm, singing, relaxed....for about 5 minutes before they start saying "turn on the internet", "I forgot my i pod let me play your phone" , "put on this song". These kids are non stop. It's now 9:30 am and I am already exhausted.. If only I hadn't snoozed my alarm and actually followed my plan. Oh well can't win 'em all. We are all here, alive, fed and full of energy.
I am grateful for any kind of morning with my kids, even the not so graceful ones. Everyday is definitely a gift and looking at their faces every morning is my motivation. I know the steps I need to take to make our mornings function with ease, but sometimes they are easier said than done. It is Sunday, our day to rest our souls and have our bodies catch up, to gear up for the rest of the week. Through it all I will thank God for it all! Oh and remember to do some laundry!!
Next: I will post 10 things to help ease the morning rush with kids!! (from my not so perfect expertise)