I have one little tiny person, two cats (more or less, not counting the pack of stray ones who congregate outside our home and sometimes break into the sunroom) and one giant dog. I do not know how families handle their morning routine when they have more than one little stubborn child. I hear mommies talk about having three and four children and I do not know how they do it. I just have one mini version of me and I am happily exhausted at the end of every day.
In my years of parenting and running a small house pet farm we have developed a morning routine that works for us. Since I have finally given in to a love of lists and organizing my home in the last couple of years, instead of just throwing things into drawers and ignoring them (Yes. I was a drawer shover) we have settled on several things that make our mornings less intensely emotional.
1. Set your coffee maker the night before. This way when you wake up and shuffle to the kitchen, you simply have to push one button. By the time you are out of the shower, you will have delicious coffee waiting for you! Do all of your dishes. Yes, we are currently living without a dishwasher, since ours died an ugly death, and I am saving money to buy a new one, instead of simply using credit. I feel like I live on the plains most days, but Cole actually enjoys washing dishes with me, who knew? Clear your countertops of all clutter and any extra nonsense (Nonsense= toy dinosaurs, papers from school, candy wrappers, cheese wrappers, markers, batteries, suction darts from the dart gun, cats, etc), and wipe them down. It makes me insanely happy to wake up to a clean kitchen. After getting a pep talk from my very tidy friend, Kristen, I cleared my countertops of most things, and it was so freeing.
2. Lay out your clothes and your child’s clothes for the next day. It is funny to me that pre Cole I would spend so much time thinking about what I should wear every day, changing my bag a couple of times, trying to pick the right shoe….sigh. Not that I condone shlepping to work in sweatpants every day, but time is of the essence, and I know what works and does not work for my body now, and have reduced my closet considerably, so that I can grab what I need (Thank you, Ruth Soukup and your 30 day No Spend Challenge). I have found that if I get Cole’s buy in on at least what shirt he wants to wear for the next day (no buttons. Buttons are strictly for church only) he is more likely to not balk at my decision.
3. Pack your child’s lunch and your lunch. Since life with children and animals can be super hectic sometimes, since they do not always wake up so cheerful, packing ahead will save you some sanity points.
4. Pack your child’s backpack and set it by the door. Make sure to include any notes to the teacher that might need to be returned. Also a time and sanity saver, in case your child is like mine and activates slow motion when I beg him to please hurry. Old toys never become as appealing than at 7:15 each morning, when we are trying to simply get INTO THE CAR.
5. Go to bed. You are more likely to want to get up in the morning if you just get yourself to bed. My friends know that I am an early to bed/early to rise girl. When Cole goes to bed, I am not too far behind, since I have had to learn how to listen to my body when I am feeling run down and mommy exhausted.
Now, all of this does not in any way mean that every morning goes magically smoothly at the Keller house. Most days our schedule and system gives me a big of insurance that we will have low drama (which is what he needs for a good day at Kindergarten, and what I need for a good day at the big school). Many days I feel like I am herding cats, or maybe just one cute one who never can seem to have his pants on. Mama sets the tone for the day, so if you are crazy and anxious and rushed, guess what? They will more than likely be crazy and anxious and rushed too. So get set your coffee maker right now, and get yourself to bed, mama!