Ready or not, school is in full swing.
In the past (and likely, again, in the future), I have had a hard time creating a successful school morning routine. Mornings at our house have been a tad ugly:
- We lounge too long on the couch before breakfast. (Slothfulness is a problem I’ve devoted an entire post to. We’re – no, I’m – that bad. You can read about it here.)
- The kids goof around instead of getting ready.
- I growl and mutter and yell.
- All five of us (my husband included) trip over each other in the kitchen trying to get cereal, make eggs, and pack lunches.
- 70-80% of the time, we run late, which means I’m yelling again as we dash out the door.
Yuck. And all this, despite my valiant efforts to:
- enforce bedtime showers to cut down on fighting over shower time in the morning;
- re-organize the kitchen to maximize efficiency;
- employ colourful routine charts for the kids; and
- honour rash vows to speak in an inside voice in the face of unmeasurable frustration.
I always seem to fail, yet I keep trying.
Why I (and You) Should keep Trying
There are two simple reasons:
First, because there is no point in admitting defeat.
If we give up, our lives will only spiral further into chaos, and no one will be the better for it.
Do we need to run our homes like a drill sergeants? Goodness, no!
Can the efficiency and harmony of your home, however, improve? Yes, yes, and yes!
Second, because it’s worth it.
I know from experience that some, if not all, of my genius ideas (and the ideas I’ve gleaned from others) won’t work out. But for every 9 plans that fail, I stumble upon one good fit – a gem of a lifesaver – that reduces stress in our home.
When order rises, yelling decreases. In my opinion, that’s worth the trouble of trying, and trying again.
How To (Realistically) Create a Successful School Morning Routine
William James (1842-1910), an American philosopher and psychologist, said,
“Habit simplifies our movements, makes them accurate, and diminishes fatigue.”— William James (1842-1910)
Now, doesn’t that sound lovely?
It would seem, then, that if I continue to pursue my own, and my children’s, good habits (including the habit of following simple morning routines), eventually, I will reap the benefit of children moving in the right direction and the added bonus of my own diminished fatigue.
Diminished fatigue? That’s heavenly news for a tired mom. That’s hope.
The Hope of Habit
Hope inspired me to try again this fall.
Hoping to inspire hope in others, I’m going to share some of my personal journal entries with you from the first several days of the 2019 school year:
Sunday, September 1, 2019:
School starts in three days.
I’ve organized my morning cereal cupboard and my outdoor clothes/helmets entrance station where I designated certain hooks for specific children.
I have tidied the fridge freezer drawer and stocked it with containers full of home-baked goods.
I have created a lunch-packing station and an after-school drop-off-your-agenda-and-notes station.
I plan to walk to school with Thales and Julie in the mornings to get myself out the door and start my day with movement and fresh air.
The house is ready, and I have great plans to succeed. I hope.
(Click here to read a more detailed explanation of the above picture gallery and to find out how each of these organization ideas helps to smooth out our school morning routine.)
Wednesday, September 4, 2019:
I walked to school this morning. It was sunny and calm and crisp. I feel good.
And it’s strange; I’ve been productive all day. I’ve:
- washed, dried, folded and put away two loads of laundry;
- washed dishes;
- tidied house;
- worked on my second novel, marketing my first novel, and drafted a future blog post;
- enjoyed two uninterrupted phone conversations; and
- to top it off, it’s 2:16 pm, and the house is STILL TIDY!
And the quiet! The quiet is so beautifully, peacefully silent. This is a new land I’ve never visited before. This is the land of a stay-at-home mom who’s kids are ALL in school this year!
Friday, September 6, 2019:
With only a few reminders here and there, the kids are doing an impressive job of following their new school morning routines.
I’m more than a little pumped at the success of my plans so far.
Monday, 9 September 2019
I have the most amazing kids ever! Although they are tired this Monday morning, I didn’t have to get after any of them to get ready for school.
I feel like I’m in an alternate universe. A crazy-awesome one!
Sunday, September 15, 2019:
We have successfully survived the first 10 days of school, and I am so proud of us!
Was My School Routine a Success?
Yes! To me, success looks like this:
- Success is trying.
- Success is discovering an idea that worked, even if not every idea worked.
- Success is seeing my children grow in capability and independence.
- Success is the wonderment of me NOT yelling for eight school mornings in a row!
You and I will measure success differently because we’re different. Good different.
A Word of Caution
Don’t try to be someone else.Tweet
I used to compare myself to other women, and it made me so miserable. In contrast, the more I accept who I am and how I’m made, the more I come alive. This is good for both me and my family, and this is my hope for you, too. (Please read my story to freedom and finding who I am, here.)
Therefore, the beauty in what I’ve shared is not the perfection of a perfectly managed home. The beauty is that I’ve embraced who I am, then used my interests and strengths in a positive way for the benefit of my family.
Use your unique interests and strengths to run your own home in a way that fits you and your family.Tweet
How do you measure success? Share in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you.
For more practical ideas, check out 5 Fun Ways to Get Your Kids to Clean Up.
Sara Jane Kehler