I’ve been away… hooray! I actually spent an entire weekend on my own for a friends wedding… three nights to be exact. It’s a rather strange sensation when you’re normally the center of a small-person tornado, but a very welcomed break all the same. First day back in the saddle and I managed to break my all-time record for being late to school. Why is it so difficult to get three kids out of the house on time? I need to reflect on the logistical stuff and brainstorm ideas to cure my tardy behavior.
Mornings… does anyone actually like mornings? I keep hearing about these mysterious morning people but I can’t say I’ve ever met one in the flesh. All I know is I’m not one of them, and somehow I’m getting later and later for school. I’ve had to start avoiding eye contact with the Principal when I go to pick up my Elsie’s late slip… yes, I was a teacher once, I know how important it is to be on time.
start Earlier or Do less
It sounds simple, doesn’t it? In order to get three kids out of the house on time, I need to either start earlier or do less. Starting earlier sounds pretty horrible so let’s have a look at doing less. I’m pretty sure I spend a lot of time running around like a headless chicken… so much time wasted doing things like:
- Searching for clean clothes and desperately trying to combine them in a socially acceptable way;
- Explaining to Elsie where her school uniform is, followed by me searching the dryer because it turns out the uniform is not where I said it was;
- Repeatedly digging through the fridge and cupboards until I come up with something that resembles a packed lunch;
- Running around the house trying to find the Twins’ straw cups… really, they could be anywhere and you won’t find two together;
- Shoes… what is it with disappearing shoes when you’re in a hurry?
On assessment, I have decided I need to find the head to my chicken.
simple TIPS to get three kids out of the house on time
I am not going to suggest you make a week’s worth of sandwiches in advance and put them in the fridge for packed lunch. I saw a Facebook video that suggested this ‘life hack’ not long ago and I thought, ‘yuck, I wouldn’t want to eat a three-day-old sandwich‘. But I have found some suggestions to totally mom-boss your way out of morning chaos:
There are all sorts of groovy ways you can organize your clothes to make it simple for yourself and the kids to get ready in the morning. You can go all out and allocate a whole week at once using something like a ‘daily activity organizer‘ or pretty closet dividers. I must admit though, I’m too tight to pay for that much uniform (the skirts are $50 a piece!), so I’m going to have to work on a more daily basis. I do washing every day, so during this process, I can prepare a hanger or a pile of clothes for the following day. One less thing to worry about.
Breakfast at the ready
Breakfast is quick to throw together, but most my preparation is finding clean utensils and vessels. Yes, I basically need to wash up more… But more than that, things need to be quickly accessible. Elsie is now seven and rather enjoys the independence of making her own breakfast, but she can’t reach the bowls and those enormous milk cartons are a morning disaster waiting to happen.
Taking the time to find and wash two straw cups, and setting a table with bowls etc would make breakfast time run more smoothly. I just fill a little jug with milk when I first get up and Elsie and the Twins can get on with their breakfast efficiently. I have dabbled with this in the past and it always goes down well, I’m not really sure why I don’t stick with it.
packed lunch paradise
Please don’t make Thursday’s sandwich on Sunday, it’s really not going to taste very nice. Having said that there are lots of things that do keep well for a few days:
- cold pasta salads;
- pizza bites (love this recipe from The Mad House)
- sausage rolls;
And there are plenty of things that can be prepared the night before and taste just as good. If your kids are into cheese, crackers, cold meats, cucumber, tomatoes, carrot sticks etc, those little bento boxes of deliciousness can totally be made in advance… but again, I personally wouldn’t want to eat cucumber and carrot that was sliced four days ago… maybe I’m just a princess?
There’s only so much I want to do once the kids have gone to bed, so with all these things, it’s about finding the best time to do it. How about when you’re making dinner? I’m in the kitchen anyway and there should be time to rustle something together.
Getting Elsie out of bed in the morning is one of our biggest problems. She’s really struggling with her bug phobia at the moment and getting to sleep involves her staying up reading until her eyes close. She has always been very sensory orientated and doesn’t do well will alarms or sudden awakenings (who does).
I have to factor in a wake-up period… She’s not going to bounce out of bed the second I wake her up so I should be accounting for this in my timings. I have also heard waking to music can help so I should try giving her my radio alarm clock. If all else fails I just send the Twins in… they love to wake big sister up!
shoes glorious shoes
This is extremely basic but it takes training! We’ve been working on it for a while and the shoe situation has got better. As you enter the house, shoes have to come off and go into some kind of cubby/box. Same place every day… immediately after entering the house.
The same goes with the rucksack. We’ve been working on “shoes in the cubby, rucksack on the back of the chair, water bottle and lunch box next to the kitchen sink.” I’m not entirely sure why this is so difficult to do, but we are getting there… slowly! If everything has a place, you won’t be searching for it in the morning.
Organize yourself as well as the kids
Too often, I’m running on time, feeling organized… Elsie finds her shoes where they should be in her cubby. The straw cups are clean and breakfast has gone swimmingly. “Ready to go, everyone?”… Only, where are my shoes? Where’s my phone? And the keys… which one of you Twins has got my keys??
Then I get to the car and run back to get a bottle of water… never leave the house in Arizona without water. Every time I run to and fro, the Twins run behind me because they know once I pick up my bag we’re heading out. So we all run around the house in a headless chicken convoy… what a sight. There’s no point organizing the kids if you’re not organized yourself. Have a place for your things, know where they are in the morning so you don’t let the team down!
Sometimes the chaos can be too much… we are totally overwhelmed and unable to organize ourselves and keep it together. If this is you… take a deep breath. Consider how many good days v bad days you have and when the last time was that you felt yourself. If the idea of therapy is just another thing you don’t have time for, consider getting help with an online therapist. You can be matched with someone appropriate through this link: BetterHelp and Online Therapy.
This stuff is simple for some and not for others… in case you too are struggling with mornings in particular… get organized and get three kids out of the house on time! Good luck!