“I told you to put on your shoes!”
How many times have you said that? Seriously. Getting out of the house (especially in the morning) is one of the toughest parts of being a parent. It makes you want to scream and if you're like me, you do. I do not have this figured out yet. My family and friends will attest to this. I often show up to things late and frazzled. However, I’ve found that when I do a few things, we have a better track record.
Why does it matter? Lots of people are late for stuff. Well, there are a couple reasons to get better at this.
It’s a terrible way to start the day or church service or anything you’re trying to get out the door for. If you like being on time, it’s aggravating when circumstances outside of your control make you late. And let’s be real. Our kids are circumstances out of our control. No one likes arriving to a place feeling aggravated or angry.
It’s also not a good witness. PLEASE don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying we have to have it all together as Christians. But if we’re always the crazy mom showing up late and frazzled, that’s not the kind of life a non-believer wants to emulate. We should always be genuine and never expect perfection, but if we want to be a witness, having it together sometimes is a good idea.
Here are some things that have worked for me. They are not rocket science and they’re probably listed on 1,000 other blogs, but here goes:
1. As much as you can, do it the night before. Pack lunches, lay out clothes, sign important papers, etc. These are things that take longer in the morning because we’re less efficient when we’re tired. Also, if your kids are around for lunches or clothes, they may weigh in on what they want. There’s plenty of time for their opinions. Just not when you’re trying to get out the door.
2. Do what you can to create a calm atmosphere. I play some music in the kitchen in the morning. It seems to cut down on the tantrums, arguments, and frustration about being awake.
3. Play offense. I love my kids so much, but I HATE waking up to one of them in my face. It makes me feel out of control and starts my day on the wrong terms. I like to start my day on my terms. Maybe get a few minutes to shower or sit quietly and think about my day before the crazy starts.
4. Have a system. Make sure coats, gloves, shoes, book bags, etc. have a place. Will your kids remember to put them there? Probably not, but in the event one of them does, it will make your morning a little easier.
5. Audiobooks! If you have to get kids in the car, use audiobooks! Go to your local library and rent some audiobooks. Find something that’s interesting to all of your kids and pop it into your car CD player. Be real, you haven’t used that thing since 2007. It’ll keep your story right where you left off and your kids will want to get in the car to see what’s going to happen next. This one really makes a difference in my house.
There you have it. These are just a few of the things I’ve done to make mornings bearable. In fact they may even be pleasant. Too far? Maybe.
Don't forget to have grace with yourself. Guess what will happen tomorrow? Another hectic morning. And another chance to make a change. Comment below if you have your own tips. I’d love to hear what works for you.