I may have mentioned once or twice that I’m not really a morning person. Turns out that five out of six Daytons in my house is not a morning person. Those are HORRIBLE ODDS, people, horrible. We thrashed through preschool with the oldest two, and very nearly lost our minds with the third. We sent our oldest to public school, and no matter what we did to make it easier, happier, better, it just wasn’t a good fit. We went to church Every! Sunday! Because! That’s! What! We! Did! It was brutal, and I’m pretty sure that the answer to the cliche “What Would Jesus Do?” was nothing that was actually happening in our home.
So we stopped. We evaluated our options. We slowed down.
And oh, my word, people, the thrashing about and soldiering on fell away. We found our rhythm, one that is a little bit flexible and a little bit scheduled. Some of the short people like to cuddle in our bed in the morning and talk about The Things and The Stuff; another one grabs his school books and joins in the pile. Some days we school at the kitchen table, on others we grab a quilt and head to the back yard (not now, obvs, but in the autumn and spring), sometimes everyone fetches their own quilts and hunkers down on the sofa with assorted school books and novels.
It works for us.
Even so, there are days when we need to get up and out in short order, namely homeschool group days. The short people each have three classes, and I usually teach one or two fiber arts classes. This semester it’s crochet.
The first tip in the Organize Your Morning Routine
chapter is to have a list for each person’s to-dos, including chores, grooming habits, breakfast, etc. Next, Jen suggests that you estimate how long it takes each person to do each item on the list, and plan a Rise-and-Shine time based on that. The third tip is to pare the list down, and eliminate all the things you can do the night before. Jen also recommends establishing a family “Launch Pad”, a resting place for all the items that will be grabbed on the way out the door.
This is how it works out for us:
The Night Before:
- Pack all the supplies I need to teach my classes. This semester, it’s extra crochet hooks, scissors, extra yarn, finished squares for the blanket we’re making.
- Pack snacks for after class. Usually I stuff our picnic basket with apples, cheese sticks, yogurt and something salty. And water bottles. Lord help me if I forget the water bottles.
- Round up anything each of the short people needs to take to class. This is usually a pretty quick item, but one semester I forgot to double check that a certain girl-child had packed the novel the class was discussing and the notebook… EVERY CLASS. Six times in a row. I earned an F for FORGETTER.
- Pack five pairs of shoes, so that when the winter boots come off, shoes can go on. My people are notorious for forgetting shoes (see item 3 and know they come by this honestly).
- Take all of the packed things out to the car.
- Remove bagels and cream cheese from the fridge so breakfast is easy-peasy.
- Load slow cooker with next-day’s dinner. Plug slow cooker into the outlet, otherwise the Ugly Cry is guaranteed at approximately 3:25 the next afternoon.
The Morning Of:
- Wake everyone by 7:45. Except Jack, because he’s always already up.
- Wake everyone up again at 8:00.
- Forcibly remove girl-child from bed no later than 8:10.
- Everybody gets dressed before going downstairs. Except Jack, because he’s already dressed, and has been entertaining himself for an hour.
- I toast bagels and spread cream cheese and make coffee for me (and sometimes the girl-child will get a mocha if she’s playing nicely with others; I’m not above a bribe).
- Short people put on coats and boots, and when their bagel is wrapped in a napkin, they get in the car.
- We need to be driving away from the house no later than 8:45 in good weather, and no later than 8:30 in wretched weather, because we have an hour drive.
Jen’s tips for Organizing the Evening Routine are pretty similar, but also include setting consistent dinner and bed times.
We usually eat dinner between 6 and 6:30, depending on when The Mister gets home from work. The boys are in their pajamas by 7:30, and they snack while The Mister reads to them. They are in bed around 8:30, and then we spend time with Miss O and Elliott; they’re the night owls of the bunch.
I think the most important question to ask when you’re creating a routine and a daily schedule is, “Is this good for my family?” Parents are so busy paying attention to so many things that it is really easy for us to forget that we are growing the next generation of adults. Doing all of the things all of the time is not always the best lesson to teach our babies.
Here’s what the other (much more prompt) ladies have to say about their routines:
Linda at Tapas Lifestyle
P.S. It sounds like I kicked church to the curb, but that’s not the case. The Mister works at a church with a Saturday night service, so we attend there. And when it doesn’t work out, we put our big kid pants on and pull it together for Sunday morning service.