"...‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
I'm exhausted--is it May yet? Seriously, I'm not kidding. How many days of school are left? Don't get me wrong. I love that Ben is learning so much: learning how to spell and write words and draw people and tie his shoes.
All that learning is great for Ben, but let me tell you what his mommy has learned about herself since this whole getting-3-kids-out-the-door routine started.
#1: I am not a morning person at all. I never have been. I never will be. I hate it.
And #2. Getting three kids out the door by myself every morning by 7:35am is incredibly challenging...to say the least!
Actually, I wish it was just up and out the door, but it's not.
It's getting up, getting dressed, going potty, washing hands, changing a poopy diaper, feeding everyone breakfast, trying to throw back some food myself, going potty again, washing hands, getting redressed, brushing teeth, changing another poopy diaper (of course, right when we're ready to walk out the door. And I must confess that already I've knowingly put my youngest in the stroller with a poopy diaper (many times) so we can be on time. Gasp! I know. He's my third and I've learned that he'll be ok). WHEW! It's quite a sight, I'm sure.
Growing up, being on time was unheard of in my family. Being 5 minutes late meant that we were right on time and being early...what? Well, that never happened.
Getting ready to go somewhere was chaos, and I am determined to break that habit with my own family.
Ideally, I would love to have my son leave the house with a healthy breakfast, pleasant conversations and hugs instead of rush, rush, go, go, hurry, hurry!
Frustratingly enough, I've found how difficult those habits from my childhood are to break. It seems that no matter how hard I try or how early we get up, our morning still ends in that rush, rush, go, go, hurry, hurry! Plus, "Don't forget this and don't forget that" has come out of my mouth more times than I'd like to admit, so I realized that I can either settle into this same old routine, or I can find ways to do what I can to make improvements in our morning. And hopefully with just a few easy adjustments, our mornings will go a lot more smoothly.
Here are a few tips that have helped us be on time (sometimes even early!) every day so far.
1. Have everything ready the night before: Clothes, shoes, socks picked out. Homework done. Lunch made. Back pack packed. Everything that needs to be signed...signed. Snack ready if it's snack day. Everything for school is ready before we go to bed.
2. Don't press snooze: I always negotiate in the morning when the alarm goes off (especially when my youngest gets me up 6 times throughout the night!) Conversations in my head go like this: SNOOZE--"I won't do a hot breakfast." SNOOZE--"I won't get Nathaniel dressed--heck, I don't even have to get dressed." SNOOZE--"We'll just do breakfast on-the-go." SNOOZE--"Maybe he just won't go to school today..no wait...I can't do that...I have to get up right now!!!"
Trust me, it's always so awful hurrying everyone out the door...especially my molasses kids (seriously, they are so sweet but SO SLOW!) I'm cranky. The kids are cranky. And it's not the way I want to start my day. I've realized that getting those extra 9 minutes of sleep each time has ruined the start of our day.
Don't do it! Get up. Have some quiet time. Get the day going. Have more time to eat breakfast and spend time with your kids. Believe me, I know how hard it is not to push snooze.
I crave that extra 9 minutes, but I always end up wishing I had that 9 or 18 or 36 extra minutes back especially when I'm frantically trying to stuff arms into coats, fingers into glove holes, and heads into hats.
(I wish I could say I followed my own advice on this one more often, but man, those extra 9 minutes can be just glorious!)
3. Set a timer: Figure out the latest you can leave the house in order to still be on time and then set the timer for 30 minutes before that as a reminder to everyone that it's time to start the process. I don't know about you, but even when I think we have plenty of time, there will always be the inevitable smelly diaper or the "I have to go potty!" or rain or traffic or a train. I've learned that if I start the process 30 minutes before we absolutely have to leave, then we may just make it! Not always...but there is at least a little more hope!
And for those of you with snow this morning, I'd make it 40 minutes so you have extra time to scrape the car!
4. Make a Check list: Like I need a reason to make a check list! :-) Seriously though, having a checklist on our back door has been so helpful. Before we walk out the door, we can check to make sure we have everything we need. Plus, I can use it to encourage and empower my son to know what he's responsible for doing before we head out the door. This way, we can at least shoot for being early and just pray that we are, at the very least, on time! Impossible, you say? It has been helpful so far. We'll see how it goes...
Here's the link to our morning checklist: http://www.4realmoms.com/resources.html.
My 6 year old is learning to read, but the pictures definitely help him know what he needs to do. You can download it and even edit it to meet your needs.
Lord, You teach us that it is better to give than to receive. Help our mommy hearts to be giving to our kids no matter what they need. Lord, help us to find balance in teaching them what they can do for themselves and what we should be doing for them. And help us to do those things with joyful hearts.
Lord, You call us to be good stewards of our time. Help us to find balance in work, school, and spending time with our kids. As our alarm sounds each day, help us to get up and praise You for the day. Be with our attitudes and our outlooks as we serve our kids and do all of the other "jobs" that moms have to do. Give us joy as we continue through this school year, and give us wisdom to be on time, if not early, everyday. More importantly, be with us and our children wherever we may be going! In Jesus' name. Amen.
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Do you have any Being On Time Tips? Please share in the comments!