Let’s talk about the morning crush. It’s that time between wake up and leaving for school when someone ends up yelling, someone ends up crying and some forgets something essential (sometimes it’s all the same person). But as soon as you see the back of their head and backpack in your rear view mirror, the guilt sets in. I didn’t figure out how to destress our before school morning routine until this school year.
I am not a morning person. One of my kids is not a morning person. The other kid is not at the age of full self sufficiency or comprehension. This is the worst combo ever.
I know there are adults out there who slay at time management. I’m talking, they have things down to the second! I am also, not this adult. I, much like my daughter, have a very vague concept of time. It is with all the consciousness of my being that I get out of the door. When I worked, my outlook calendar was wrought with alarms and reminders and using those tools, I functioned and thrived as a typical adult. But now, being the sole person responsible for getting 3 humans and their belongings out the door…biggest challenge of my life! And also a very strong argument that two children is plenty for me.
We have made some changes that have changed our mornings. We are not ALWAYS on time but we are also, not always late…and that my friends, is a win in this household!
My kids have been on a hunger strike at breakfast for weeks. I tried to fight it. No one won. In a moment of desperation, I relented and asked them, “What do you want to eat for breakfast then?” The answer was toast or bagel, fruit and cheese. Done! My daughter chose a small croissant, bagel or toast, a small serving of berries and a couple slices of cheese. My son is a little better about breakfast but he will not eat fruit of any kind. His breakfast is either waffles, toast or oatmeal with peanut butter and a glass of milk. Yes, he eats peanut butter as a topping on all of those things and nothing else. No butter or cream cheese, nothing. And we now have a less stressful breakfast.
Prep Whenever Possible
Get the kids involved in this one. Before bedtime, backpacks are packed 100% for the next day. If you have a library book to return, a project to turn in, homework due, get it in that bag before the morning. If it’s their job, it becomes a habit and they will do it automatically. Prep all your lunch and dry snacks ahead of time. My youngest loves filling baggies with pretzels and goldfish. Have your kids help with the prep so they know that lunches and snacks don’t just appear out of thin air. This will also save you a few extra minutes in the morning.
Let Them Lead (sometimes)
I wish I had an app that would just repeat “where are your shoes?” in my voice over and over. We have made it all the way to school to discover someones shoes were not even in the vehicle. (Honestly, how did the concrete on bare feet not feel odd???) My kids are totally different and last year I tried, desperately, to make things the same for them and all that got me was extra stress. Finally, I took Elsa’s advice and let it go. My daughter has to be dressed head to toe before coming to breakfast or the world implodes as we are trying to get out the door. I’m not exaggerating. I don’t even think she would be able to recall her own name, let alone where her pants are in the last 15 minutes before leaving the house. My son, he needs to be dressed last minute and shoes put on as we are walking out the door or he will be covered in food and his shoes end up in the back yard. I swear that has happened. I still pick out my kids clothes. That’s where I draw the line and that’s just how it works for us. I grab their clothes as I go in to wake them up. I know I can put one set at the foot of my daughters bed and take my son’s clothes to the living room with me.
And they left the house happily ever after.
On most days.