My family and friends will tell you that I am not a morning person. When I used to work outside of the home I would snuggle in bed through two, three or even four snooze settings on the alarm clock before jumping out of bed at the last possible moment and dashing to the shower before scrambling out of the door in a rush to be on time. Obviously this was in the days before our small person woke me on the wrong side of a 7 and I can’t even imagine how I would get to work on time with that small person in tow?!? I have the greatest respect for mothers who achieve this everyday. And so in the interest of continuing this month’s theme of Simple Solutions, I asked fellow blogger, Bron of Maxabella Loves, who is herself the working mother of three small people, to share her secrets for getting everyone out of the house with as little fuss and bother as possible each morning.
Am I busy? I’m told that I’m busy all the time. I work four days a week in a corporate job in the city. I have three children (2 1/2, 5 and 6) with the older two at school and my youngest at daycare 2 days a week and with her grandparents (Nonno and Nonna) 2 days a week. I also volunteer at both the school and the daycare.
But I don’t feel especially busy.
My secret is that while I’m a ‘working mum’, my husband (LOML) is also a ‘working dad’. So together we get the job done. Added to that, I’m an organiser. My whole life I’ve loved to organise things so being a working mother is just the perfect job for me.
The only time of day that I would say is truly busy are the mornings. All five of us are out the door four days a week by 7.45am. Here’s the thing: LOML gets up at 6.15am but I haaaaate getting up in the mornings and simply cannot get out of bed before 7am. So how do we do it?
Well, the children have always been up and out early, so it’s ingrained in them that this is just what we do. They don’t always co-operate (!) but they don’t fight too hard because dragging their feet has simply never been an option. Most mornings they wake up at around 7. My 5 year old is prone to a sleep-in and often needs to be woken. This can be tricky!
We get everything ready the night before. We pack the school lunches, we lay out the ironed clothes and shined shoes and matching socks, we pack the school bags with library bags or notes or homework or readers. I ask the children before bed if there is anything special they need for school in the morning, or anything that needs attention. I get my own outfit ready. Everything that’s leaving the house with us in the morning is kept on one couch in our family room ready for action in the morning.
We have a ‘breakfast station’ in the cupboard above the toaster. Cereals, breads and spreads that don’t need refrigeration are all kept here. It makes morning breakfast preparation much simpler. We save elaborate breakfasts for the weekends and I generally eat mine after I get to the office. I have cut up fruit on the train and muesli when I arrive.
We work in tandem. Generally I’ll get the children ready while LOML makes the breakfast and packs the lunches. We get the children totally ready and then we attend to ourselves. I can go from pyjamas to voilà in about 5 minutes. I don’t look immaculate, but I like to think I look cared for and that’s good enough for me.
We wash the breakfast dishes, wipe down counters and take out the rubbish, but we don’t make the beds or tidy up after the children. I only ever tidy up once at the end of the day anyway and beds need airing when there is no one around to see them!
That’s the ‘organisation’ part. But where’s the fun start to the day?
We sing. We’ve got lots of silly songs about getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing our teeth. Most are songs we made up. One morning a while ago I accidentally stepped on a wet nappy that my toddler had left on the floor (thank you toddler!). The ‘I stepped on a nappy’ song was born (to the tune of “I started a joke” by the Bee Gees): Iiiii stepped on a nappy, it made me happy, that stinky old nappy. Really silly stuff, but it’s a way to make an awkward time of day a fun and happy time for the children. That nappy song is never going away.
When the kids were smaller we used to ‘theme’ the mornings. So one morning we might pretend to be astronauts getting ready to head out in our space ship. Or pirates going out to our ship. Or fairies getting into our fairy mobile. Whatever the theme, the journey was always lots of fun. We still do it from time to time, but it’s not as essential anymore to keep things moving.
All in all, we get there most days without too much fuss or bother and hopefully a little bit of family fun as well. About once a week we even have enough time for a quick story before leaving!
Oh, one more thing, it took me a while to get into the habit of asking everyone if they had been to the toilet before we’re due to leave. I learned that lesson the hard way!
Read more of Bron’s adventures in parenting and in life on her fabulous blog, Maxabella Loves.
What are your secrets for getting through your family morning routine with as little fuss and bother as possible?