Getting ready for the school year: Having a schedule

If you have school age children and you haven’t already gone back to school you soon will be. How do you make the transition? Do you go crazy the first day trying to get there on time? Do you live all summer on your school schedule? Here’s how my family does back to school.

AUGUST: Week 1

The first full week in August is routine time. We start by going to bed at school time. (My kids are still pretty young they went to bed pretty early all summer. You may want to take a few days to do this, slowly moving bedtime earlier.) This doesn’t mean they are getting up at school time yet but their bodies are adjusting to going to bed earlier and it may make it easier for them to get up earlier. Here are the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for amount of sleep children should be getting.

AUGUST: Week 2

We start getting up at school time and following a loose morning routine. We start to enforce school wake up times. There are no time constraints yet so we iron out the wrinkles as we go and make adjustments. This isn’t so much about the time things get done by but the order in which things happen in the morning. The hope is my kids will go through the routine like it’s second nature by the time the school year actually starts.

AUGUST: Week 3

Now its crunch time. We get up at a consistent time. The kids follow the schedule. We try to be ready by the set leave time for school. This week is about making the final small changes so our mornings flow as smoothly as possible.

My daughter’s school starts at 8AM. We have about a fifteen to twenty minute drive to get there. I don’t work in the mornings so me getting to work isn’t part of this schedule equation. She also has two younger siblings that I need to load into the car before we can leave. I get up well before my kids so I can shower, read a devotion, and get some writing or work done before managed chaos descends on my house.

Sample Schedule

6:30 This is my kids wake up time. They are usually up before this.

Once my kids are up, my oldest knows to get dressed. We try to aid this process by laying her clothes out the night before. Her next step is to brush her hair so all I need to do is put it up in some way.

6:45 Breakfast

Starting about age two, we require our kids to be dressed before breakfast on school days. Her little brother is still working on this rule which makes for some interesting mornings.  Breakfast is an easy affair most days being cereal or oatmeal and some fruit.

7:00 Finishing touches

My daughter brushes her teeth. I make sure her hair is done. I make sure the younger two children are some semblance of dressed.

7:15 Load up

Getting three kids in the car in any sort of timely fashion, especially when they are all still in car seats takes some time. This can take my kids anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on how cooperative they want to be that day, so I give myself some wiggle room here so my patience isn’t flying out the window as we get in the car.

As my kids get older and more of them are going to school this schedule will change and most likely become earlier. Getting my kids back into the routine before school actually starts makes that first week of school a little less stressful because they know what is happening in the morning and that it happens the same way every morning.

How do you and your family prepare for the school year? Have you found strategies that work for getting your kids to bed easily? How do your kids get up in the morning? Leave a comment below.

Loneliness

Professional motherhood is great in a lot of ways.  But goodness, it’s lonely.

It seems nearly impossible to find anyone that is actually in my same season of life.
I meet lots of wonderful middle aged folks.
Lots of wonderful peers who don’t have children.
Lots of mothers with small children who work outside the home.

And maybe this is low self-esteem talking, but none of these people can possibly really want me in their life.
With me comes two messy, loud, funny little boys.
A definite schedule of being in my home during nap time, every day.
The truth that I will fall asleep on the couch by 9 pm (if you’re lucky.)
A 30-year-old who wants to be treated as an equal adult, not like your psuedo-children that you are “helping get a start in life.”
A mom who wants to talk about anything other than her job of raising children, but can’t for the life of her stop talking about them.

People can’t possibly fit all of that into their hearts, can they?

And I’ve met lovely people recently.  People who are very kind and friendly and welcoming (we moved six months ago) and even say things like, “We should get together for coffee/dinner/board games some time!”

I have never actually gotten together with any of these people.
They never actually went the next step of making plans.
Which means the suggestion was just a nicety.

Surely, out here in the wide world of the internet, there are other mothers who feel lonely.  And that is why I’m writing and recording.

Let me assure you, there are more of us!
This is the beauty of the internet.  Though it has its share of mom-shaming and political saturation and “perfect” life comparisons that leave you feeling irritated and down on yourself, it also has community – if you can find it.

Leave a comment.
Watch a video.
Visit the Facebook page and post.
This is your official invitation to join me for coffee!  Right now, today.  You will get a response.   I can relate – so can lots of others.

Let’s stop being lonely.

Daily Routines

Let’s be honest – “morning routines” were one of those things I thought were total hogwash.
A mystical creation of work-at-home moms who wanted to seem awesome on social media.
A farse.
Nobody really does this. Nobody actually does the exact same things every morning that include cleaning.  Nobody schedules their day like this.

Well…
I was wrong.

I don’t think you must have a morning routine in order to be a professional mother. (And I do believe that being a stay-at-home mom is, in fact, a profession and should be treated as such.)  But I do think they can form naturally and be super helpful.

Before moving to our new home, I had neither a night nor morning routine.  I was basically flying by the seat of my mom pants, and I didn’t know I had a problem.  Our new house is larger and requires more “housekeeping” to stay up to my standards, and my current baby is getting big and needing more specific schedules and attention, and my husband has gone back to full-time teaching at a permanent position, so my day has gotten fuller.  In a wonderful way, but fuller.
In order to fit everything in and still sleep a relatively healthy amount (I am not about motherhood masochism) I decided to do a few tasks before bed and in the morning before the kids get up, largely tasks I never did daily before.  And thus, a routine was born!

Some nights/mornings they don’t get done.  I’m trying not to beat myself up about it when that happens, when sometimes I choose extra sleep or hanging out with my hubby or helping do some school work instead of tidying up my house.  It depends on the day’s demands.  But it’s nice to have slots to fit these activities into instead of constantly regretting that they’re falling through the cracks.  It’s good to know that these cleaning activities will get done almost daily, that my house most mornings will be clean and quiet, that if people drop by my home will be clean and inviting.   That I will be able to find everything I need if I need to rush out the door in the morning.

Stay tuned for full posts about my morning routine and night time routine!

Today

Today is the kind of day when putting together a lasagna took 25 minutes and most of my brain cells.
I literally cannot remember how many times the baby woke up last night, only that he ended up in my bed at 4:30 with me curled all around him so my husband wouldn’t roll over too far.
I almost started this post with “Today is the kind of Monday…” It’s Tuesday.
The toddler moved like a sloth this morning when I tried to take everyone to library storytime in 15° F weather.  Even though it’s his favorite thing all week.  The baby got cold, which made him wake up, and didn’t take a morning nap.
That’s the truth of being a mom to multiple littles.  It isn’t easy.  It isn’t always fun.  Sometimes it is frustrating and emotionally taxing and you feel like you’re quite bad at it.
I’m going to go tickle my toddler (who is up too early from his nap, mind you) and swallow my cold coffee and find the joy in being home with my kids.  There is always some to be found.  Usually in a giggle or a shared spitty cracker or a silly face or a new word.
Wishing you a joyful today, even if it’s a hard one.