as we near the end of the summer (*tears*), our focus tends to be on preparing the kids for the back-to-school transition and putting in place some new routines. but this year, i’m shifting my focus to myself. yep, sounds totally selfish. and maybe it is… but i’ve found that a prepared, calm mama is a happy mama. and if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy ;)
in the past, our mornings tend to look a little like this: sleep as long as possible, jump out of bed, give a quick once-over to see if a shower is absolutely necessary, throw on clothes (that are probably on the floor from yesterday), yell for the kids to get up and do their chores, beg everyone to eat breakfast faster, see there’s only a few minutes til we need to leave, remember to pack lunches (get creative because we’re down to pretty much just condiments in the fridge), hope the kids have all their books in their backpacks and run out the door. then go back and get the kids ;)
but this year will be different (i think i say this every year). this year i will be prepared. and if i’m prepared, i have much more mental space to make sure all my little people are well-prepared, too. my kids work well with lists to check off, so i’m making one for myself as well.
1- it all starts by being prepared ahead of time. the last minute rush tends to stress everyone out, and slow, calm mornings are a better start to everyone’s day. each night before school, i’ll make sure the kids have their essentials ready: clothes picked out, lunches packed, backpacks packed.
– picking out the next day’s outfit is just as important for my boy as it is for my girls. he tends to moan and groan about getting dressed, and he’s old enough to pick out his own clothes. so by having him do it ahead of time the night before makes for less morning mishaps. and my girls have gotten to the age where getting dressed just takes longer. and i get it, but i also want to avoid morning drama, so laying out the outfits with all the accessories the night before will help avoid some of it. *quick parenting tip: i gave up control after toddlerhood with each of my kids when it comes to choosing clothes. i let them wear whatever they want as long as its weather appropriate (and modest, of course). i filter what goes into their drawers, so i know there will be nothing i won’t allow in there. and they all know how to check the weather on my phone to make sure they are dressed appropriately for the weather. it makes my life so much easier!
– packing lunches the night before avoids the oh-my-goodness-we-have-no-food syndrome. we generally start out the year with really healthy lunch foods, and end the year with a lot of pre-packaged junk, so i’m hoping to keep the healthy kick going longer if i can! i tend to have more time in the evening to pack a healthy lunch, then i just tuck the lunch boxes all in the fridge and toss them in their backpacks in the morning. ok, thats not totally true. i’m a big fan of teaching independence, so i usually have my kids grab their own lunch boxes and pack them into their bags. if you have a kid that loves to cook like i do, involve them in the lunch making routine. lily loves making great lunches and surprising her siblings with a handful of chocolate chips in their bags!
– get into the routine of double checking backpacks the night before school. there’s nothing like the panic of searching for a lost book as we’re running out the door. after homework is done, put it all straight into the back pack. and make sure you’ve filled out any paperwork, or signed any permission slips and tucked them in as well. this way, all they have to do in the morning is toss in their lunch!
2- so now that the kids are prepped ahead of time, its time to do that for yourself as well. getting up even just 30 minutes before the kids makes a world of difference for me. it is really really hard for me to do, but when i do i am a much nicer mommy. i can get out of bed, get my coffee, return any urgent work emails, then detach. did you hear that? DETACH. thats the most important thing. i will set my computer aside and not check it again until after i’ve dropped off the kids. if i don’t detach, my mind is not on getting the kids ready for school, but on work. now i can focus on giving them a healthy breakfast (or making sure they’ve made themselves a healthy breakfast), gently reminding them to finish their chores (rather than the usual nagging), and speak in a sing song voice without even faking it ;)
3- use technology to your advantage. i tend to forget things (or everything) if i don’t write it down. but still just as bad, is once i write something down, its out of my mind. so i use the alerts on my phone all.the.time. if we’re supposed to bring a snack to class, i set a reminder to grab it out of the fridge on my phone for just before we walk out the door. and i often have “errands” i need to do at school once i drop off the kids, like go to the book store, or sign up for something, or volunteer, so i set reminders for those to go off just after i’ve dropped off the kids.
sometimes a long list of to-do’s is overwhelming, so i decided to just keep my list to the point and simple! i hope this can be helpful for you as well!
feel free to print off your own here.
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