Yesterday was the first day of school for O and MC and now, twice a week, T, A, and D will be in pre-school. How do we get five girls ready and out of the house by 7:15 a.m.?
As said in the quote above, being prepared is halfway to our victory. Our morning routine starts on the weekend. We have the girls pick out what outfits they want to wear for the week and we hang it up in their closet, ready for go for the week ahead. As they get older, they have both more and less say in their clothing options. V is big on teaching style, so there are plenty of “discussions” involved. But, in the end, there isn’t a question each morning what will be worn and we can have arguments about clothing on Sunday, not during the morning crunch time.
The other morning task that previously generated fighting was preparing lunch, so we moved that to Sunday too. The girls are responsible for preparing and packing their own lunches for the week, up to their ability to prepare and the food’s ability to keep. For example, they will peel and cut carrots for the week but they’d make a sunbutter and jelly sandwich the morning of.
To help ease the process, we have a monthly lunch calendar and adjoining shopping list already prepared.
The engineer in me loves the modular nature of the LunchBlox container but the attached lid of Mr. Lid has ensured everything makes it home every day. Flip a coin and pick whatever works best for you.
Whew. All of that and we’re not even into the morning yet.
For now, my alarm is going off at 5:15 a.m. The last time I was on a regular workout program, it was 4:45 a.m. and I should go back to that. But, for now, 5:15 a.m. In the next 45 minutes, I get ready myself, we start whatever parts of breakfast we need to—starting the oatmeal, turning on the coffee, etc.
At 6 a.m., we wake up the girls. The eldest takes a quick shower some days, all of them dress, brush teeth, clean up their rooms, and we are downstairs at 6:30 a.m.
Either now or after breakfast, they do their chores for the day. Surprise! We have a chart for this too.
We eat breakfast, finish chores, and V will do their hair.
At 7:15 a.m., we’re in the van and rolling to the elementary school. After drop-off, we’re either back at the house or dropping off the little ones at the pre-school.
Now that we’re at a closer elementary school, I’m home no later than 8:15 a.m. I finish up breakfast dishes, maybe make another cup of coffee, then head into work.
This took a lot of practice. It sounds like a well-oiled machine, but it has taken us a few years to figure out how to make this work for us and train the kids to roll with it. We have bad mornings where MC would rather lay in bed until 6:20 and be in a sour mood since she’s late to breakfast. There are still those weeks where we’re busier than normal on Sunday and don’t prepare for the week ahead, which leads to a hard week.
In the end, this routine results in my yelling roughly half the amount I would without it. I’ll take it.