Moms and Fall Morning Stress
Ever wonder where the morning went? From the second you wake up, your mind is ticking off an impossible to do list as you wander through your dark house to get that first load of laundry in, answer early morning emails, and maybe even log a work out. By the time your kids are up, you are way ahead of the game, calmly drinking coffee, fully dressed and making a healthy breakfast for all to enjoy with time to spare for a nice little chat.
Okay—rewind—whose life is that??? While it might be the goal, this is often not the case. So what's a busy mom to do now that the school year is underway and Fall is fast approaching? While it’s true breakfast is the most important meal of the day, for some families, including mine, it’s even more important to make sure we get out the door with the least amount of mayhem and the greatest amount of kindness and consideration. In order to do this, you have to put in a system for people to follow, even better when they are half asleep, including yourself. So use this short list of tools to start each day in neutral instead of overdrive and take note most anything you need to do gets done the night before. That single step is your secret weapon to a smoother day.
Family Calendar: Single most important tool to keep you all on track as to where you need to be and when, thus telling you what you need to do. Hang it on the wall in a highly visible place and consider choosing a family mantra, such as the popular Live, Laugh, Love to hang nearby to keep it all in perspective as you whip in and out the door each day. As kids grow, you will add school social events, projects, and test days too—keeping you all in the loop as a team effort for a balanced and fun childhood focused on the fun.
Clothes Organizer: Labeled by day to layout clothes for the entire week. Do it together on the weekend and worst case scenario if your child wants to mix things up, tomorrow's outfit is already there for the taking. Really helpful side effect of this tool is how it makes sure gym clothes or special clothing requests get laid out well ahead of time and sent in when needed. Better yet, it acts as a dirty laundry barometer letting you know exactly when you are in the final 24 hours for clean underwear options.
Nightly Homework: Left to the morning opens the door for a lifetime of procrastination. No matter how calm the morning might be, anything more than recreational reading isn't a fair expectation of either your child or yourself.Papers Packed: This includes agendas signed, books loaded, and backpacks ready to go. The best way to make this happen is to have a designated spot for coats/backpacks, etc. Near the door, but out of the main traffic path is best.Gear Bags: Specific to each activity for each family member, such as Ella Soccer, Ella Music, Ella Softball, making it a snap to grab the bag and go. Key to making it work is unpacking and restocking each time you come in and out from the event. Lunch is in the bag—and dinner is in the oven: If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times to make those lunches the night before. In fact, just after you clean up the kitchen is a great time to knock it out. Mix up bagged lunch with school lunch favorites—show me a kid who won't eat the pizza! Dinner is all about the crock pot—use it often and use it well. This is the one thing I encourage you to assemble each morning because on the busiest days, its the only way I know how to make sure that a warm, healthy, balanced meal is waiting for me that doesn't involve tacos, spaghetti, or pizza.
House: Don't leave it like a twister hit without your knowledge. If your kids are old enough, share low maintenance tasks like walking the dog or simply loading up the lunches. But always load the dishwasher—run it if needed—clear the table, and use every quick cleaning tool on the market to make it a no excuses accepted when it comes to helping out. Think Swiffer Wet-Jets for floors, Clorox wipes for kitchen and bathroom counters alike, and leave the rest of your cleaning for another time during the week.
Car: Same as the house, don't let a bomb launch inside during afternoon car pool only to return the next morning to a pile of sticky trash. Make sure everyone takes their things as outlined above, and keep a stash of small trash bags, window wipes, and wet ones on hand to make keeping it clean a snap. Fill up on your way home from work at night to make sure you don't cut it too close and do your best to notice which service stations close to home are offering the best prices. If you are all over town, use your local news station websites to look for gas price updates—they are plentiful and useful if you don’t have to go out of your way to make the most of a great deal.
Family organization is a snap when you follow these simple guidelines. Give yourself eight days and with each one, tackle a new process one day at a time. You’ll have a complete morning madness makeover before you know it and your entire family enjoys the calm that comes with starting their days with your love and gentle direction.
GO MOM!® INC Founder, Molly Gold, is a 42-year-old mother of three and the creator of The GO MOM!® product line, http://www.gomominc.com. Gold is known for her keen insights into Family Scheduling and has been featured both in print and on air media alike. She is a Family Balance Contributor and Blogger at www.PreciousMoms.com as well as Family Scheduling Expert at www.BlueSuitMom.com.