I try not to get too “preachy” on here, but when I figure out something amazing that changes my life dramatically I cannot help but want to shout it from whatever platforms I have to shout from. I know I have complained about school-day mornings many times before, but the other day I had the perfect morning. And since then I have been obsessed with figuring out exactly what went so right so I can replicate it every day for the rest of my children’s school careers. And of course I want you to benefit from my amazing (and as it turns out, kinda obvious) secrets, so please enjoy:
1. Make the lunches the day before. Doy, Juli. Doy.
2. Skype with your brother who lives across the country the night before, and boast to him in front of your child about the fact that she is learning to dress herself in the morning. Your child will emerge in the morning FULLY DRESSED. This will work ONE TIME, but WHAT A TIME IT WILL BE!
3. Have one little routine thing you do with your kids before they go to school. Maybe it’s a special secret handshake, or a little prayer, or a high five, whatever. Something to connect you and warm all of your hearts before you part ways for the day.
4. Get up early. This is the absolute suckiest one, but it totally works. The worst part of it is going from deliciously horizontal to frustratingly vertical, but after that it’s not so bad. Leave your cozy jammies on, throw on a pair of socks or slippers for the cold floors, and get up. This helps slow everything down — when you have enough time in the morning everything is more likely to flow in a leisurely manner, and nothing has to be as rushed or crazy. You get to chat with the kids at breakfast, you get to make them something more substantial than pop tarts, you have time to deal gently with the surprises and frustrations that they inevitably will spring on you, and you get to leave a warm, smiling memory of yourself in their heads for the day instead of a panicked, crazy one. Then, If you can, after you get them off to school, go back to BED.
5. EAT BREAKFAST YOURSELF. And a healthy-ish one, if you can. You don’t, do you? You gotta. Not just so you won’t be grumpy for the rest of the day and not know why, but so you can model self-care for your kids and show them that you’re looking out for numero uno (or, more realistically, numero quatro). You are important too, so eat up!
6. Forgive yourself when you do it all “wrong,” and have a really difficult morning with them. Because, let’s be realistic: that’s what’s going to happen nine times out of ten. But it ain’t nothin’ an after school hug can’t fix.