Daily Tip: If you make a mistake and don’t meet your goal one day, don’t use “I’m off the wagon” as an excuse to stop. Get going again at the next opportunity and forget about the slip up!
By Starr Meneely, Contributing Writer
More specifically; Create a Morning Routine that Works for moms with young children who throw homeschool into the mix!
I can’t pretend to be an expert on housekeeping routines. I can’t even pretend to be an expert at parenting since my four children are quite young (5yr, 4yr, 2yr and baby). Most days are just short of a miracle if it sees any of us simply fed and clothed. The old adage that to clean alongside children is like raking leaves in the wind, rings true in most cases. Any semblance of a daily routine that occurs alongside young children is, in my opinion, a massive triumph.
However, there is order that can be found among the chaos of parenting little children. It requires a bit of determination, a lot of patience and imagination, and some ‘go with the flow’ attitude, but it is possible to get things done and have happy days. I think it is absolutely worth the effort to aim for this. A day that is more order and less chaos is sometimes just what I need to help me mother with the love and intention I always strive for.
For me, this order begins with a carefully planned and executed Morning Routine. If I am tired in the morning I will only be more tired in the afternoon, if I am going to accomplish anything, I have to have an organized morning. Even if I drag myself out of bed I try to keep up with my little routine.
To be completely honest, I don’t think the words ‘routine’ and ‘children’ fit well together. ‘Routine’ seems to leave little room for childishness. Children flow along easily with rhythms and sameness, but they also need space and flexibility to be children as well. I like to think of my morning routine as my morning rhythm and I believe that this outlook is important when working alongside small children.
The ‘NOT TO DO’ list
The first thing I do every morning is take a quick mental stock of the day’s priorities. Do diapers need to be washed? Does my husband have work clothes? Are there phone calls or emails that can’t wait? Am I going to do school lessons with the children? Are there food chores that need to be done; bread, fermenting, stock etc.?
The purpose of this quick little assessment is not to create a ‘TO DO’ list. Its sole purpose is to create a ‘NOT TO DO’ list. If I need to wash the diapers I will not try to wash the bedding. If my husband needs clean work clothes I will not wash towels. If I need to make phone calls or write emails I will not spend the morning on facebook or pinterest. If I have plans to do school lessons with the children I will not take the morning to start a sewing project.
The ‘HAVE TO DO’ list
I do have a little list of things that I absolutely have to do each morning. It isn’t a long or difficult list but it is pretty important. When I don’t follow through with it I always regret it and feel behind. Before I go downstairs in the morning I always do the following:
- Get dressed, brush teeth and hair, wash face/shower – both the children and myself.
- Make all beds
- Quickly tidy bedrooms
- Quickly wipe down bathroom
- Collect and start a load of laundry
I don’t rush through this list. I am a stay at home mom and I home educate, I don’t have to make a school or work run, because of this, I take time. I nurse the baby, braid my girls’ hair, and do a few crunches. My children scatter about eating fruit and playing. Someday, I might not have the luxury of slow mornings. I let myself take advantage of them now. When I finally make my way to the kitchen for breakfast I feel generally put together and relaxed. The postman can ring the bell and I don’t have to stuff myself into a coat to hide my pajamas.
A Truth – Cleaning the Kitchen
I am house proud. I love a clean kitchen. I think that the kitchen sets the tone for the entire house. My ideal morning rhythm includes a thorough kitchen clean and the start of at least one food project before I sit down for school lessons. This is only an ideal, sometimes I manage it but the truth is, if I have to, I let the dishes go for the morning. Realistically dishes always get done because eventually we have to eat off of them. Other important parts of each day are not always so lucky and if left until after lunch often get completely forgotten. Homeschool is one of these things. I try to sit down for our lessons no later than 9:00 or 10:00 AM. If I accomplish this then all other housecleaning and projects can (and usually do) happen after lunch.
A Disclaimer ~ Be Flexible
No matter how carefully we plan, hope and dream of a day that is perfectly balanced with productivity, learning, and play, children and life will unfailingly throw spanners into the works. The baby will feed all night; the children will wake up fractious and quarrelling. Something in the kitchen will break, the phone will ring, the milk will spill, and the toddler will block the toilet with apples. Yes, we have to be flexible. Sometimes everything goes pear shaped and we are right back to barely feeding and clothing ourselves and our children. This is OK. This is more than OK. This is parenting. We can begin again tomorrow (or the next day!).
Any routine that ‘works’ alongside children has to include the children, this means that we should surrender to their pace and let things roll along.
What are your secrets to successful mornings with young children?
Like what you’ve read? Subscribe so you never miss a post! You can also follow us on Facebook or Pinterest. Thanks for reading!