Every few days I am greeted by some lovely unsolicited comments just like any other parent. Typically the ones I get are along the lines of I don’t know how you do it with three, I can barely handle [insert number of children they have here]. Well wonder no more! I am going to let you in on some of my greatest secrets.
With the help of my husband, I manage to get two kids, a baby, and myself out the door every morning on time and without issues by following these steps.
1.Prep the night before. So obvious, right? So easy right? Not really. It took me forever to get a hang of this step, but it is truly the most important. Once I got this step under control my mornings became, well, amazing. Yes, I, the least morning person you might ever met just described my mornings as amazing.
Each night I fight the urge to go crawl up on the couch with a tub of ice cream and binge watch some HGTV after the kids have finally gone to sleep. I force myself into the kitchen and remind myself that I’ll be thankful in the morning. I prep Chloe’s milk/bottles for the next day and put the lunch bag in the fridge. The boys are provided lunch and snacks through school, so luckily there is little to prep there. BUT in the past at their previous school, I would prep lunches for them as well. Anything that needed to be cold was stacked in the fridge for each child, and other items were placed directly into the lunch boxes on the counter.
As for prepping for myself, I drink two shakes a day (breakfast and lunch) so I prep all my ingredients for those at night. I also clean all my pump parts and prep my pump bag for the next day, making sure I have enough bottles to pump into and caps to go on them (yes, very important to be sure I have the correct number of caps, I have learned that the hard way…).
I make sure backpacks, pillows, blankets, snugglies and any other possible thing that my child could possibly ever want take to school, is ready to go by the door.
Then I grab that tub of ice cream and plop my ass down on the couch.
2. Let them in on the prep. Let them pick what they will have for breakfast. Pick out clothes etc. I find our mornings go a lot better if I let my 4yo pick out his own clothes the night before. It takes a lot of the ‘mommy and daddy are always telling me what to do’ issue away and give him a little more control. And honestly, he’s 4 almost 5 he really should be picking out his own clothes. I also let him pick what he has for breakfast, same goes for my 2 yo. If they want to have waffles, milk and some sort of fruit every morning for breakfast, I will always chalk that up as a win. Again, it all goes back to control. Allowing them to take some of that control back helps make them more cooperative.
3. Wake up and be ready before your kids get up. My husband gets up at 5 and heads into the bathroom. I get up shortly after, feed the baby and get myself ready. I am dressed and ready, which honestly doesn’t take long – full disclosure- I go for the natural look, which consists of clothes, brushed teeth, (sometimes) brushed hair and deodorant. It’s important to be done before you get kids up, otherwise you never end up being done. They need help getting a sock on, or they are sitting on the floor crying because it’s morning and you woke them up (how dare you!).
4. Have your morning vice before the kids are up. Whether it’s coffee or a few peaceful minutes to troll the internet. Do it. Do it when you alarm first goes off. Hell even set your alarm a few minutes earlier so that you can just sit in bed and troll. I also take this time to plan out my day. I think about the things I must do in that day when I have a clear mind – you know because someone is screaming at you because you gave his brother the blue cup.
5. Routine chart to help keep them involved. When my son knows what his next job is, our mornings are much better. He is a child who likes a plan (much like both his father and I), he wants to know what his next job is and I find that a chart helps keep both of us sane. He is not constantly asking me what is next, he can be more self sufficient and accountable which he loves.
These kind of charts are even great to help you with night time. Once I realized how well the mornings were going with one, I made one for night as well. You can check that one out here. I just trim them down and put them in an 8X10 picture frame and hang them in the hallway. There is also an expo marker next to them so he can cross off as he goes. This marker has gotten risky and we have had to relocate it higher (thank goodness for magic erasers).
6. Go to bed at a decent time. Netflix is fun but the less sleep you get the more times you hit snooze.
These six steps help set up an easy to manage routine that will get you out the door on time and without fuss (so long as you don’t give the wrong brother the blue cup).