This post is basically a big “tip” for those of you that struggle to get out of the house in the morning, whether that is for work or the school run in-between. I have been struggling for months in a cycle that literally started off my day in a frustrated, built up way that effected the rest of the day to come. I am pretty sure the children really didn’t like it either. I made one change, to begin with and it changed my entire mood.
What was my routine like before?
OK, I cannot really explain what has changed without describing what life was like to begin with. And I am sure a lot of you will relate to this. A typical week day morning for me would be: get up around 6:45am and go downstairs. Make a cup of tea and the kids a drink. The kids sit and play with their toys, I sit and drink my tea whilst possibly browsing Instagram (my favourite tool for procrastinating). It gets to about 8am and I will suddenly realise we have 45 minutes to get out of the house and I have to:
- Feed pets
- Feed children
- Feed myself
- Get dressed
- Get the children dressed
- Get book bags / PE kits
- Do Isla’s hair so she doesnt look like she was dragged to work.
- All clean our teeth
- Get shoes on
- Get coats on
Now these ten items may not seem like a big deal, but when you have a 6 year old and a nearly 5 year old in the house, it really is!! I could spend at least 80% of that 45 minutes repeating myself. I annoy myself. It is that frustrating. “Get your shoes on”, “Are you dressed yet”, “have you cleaned your teeth”, oh and “what do you want for breakfast”? Apparantly the question “what do you want for breakfast” causes much confusion to little children. They look at me like they are conjouring up a battle plan to attack a remote island off the coast of Antartica, to reclaim land! OK, slightly off topic, but you get the picture. Pets are easy, they get what they are given and are always grateful. The tasks that take the longest are getting dressed and getting our shoes on. Why? It takes five minutes, max. Doesn’t it?
Due to all the running around and craziness, we often leave the house at 8:45am with coats hanging off our shoulders, one shoe on and one half on, hair still not done and my dress tucked into my knickers! That’s the vision I had of us.
What did I change?
In one of my mindful moments: knowing that I had changed my working pattern and I needed to be more organised to get out of the house earlier on a Monday and Friday, I knew I had to do something differently.
I wrote a list, I love a list, of things that I do in the mornings and then went through all of them to see what I could change and what it would impact. What would give me the biggest impact? I don’t want to be chasing my tail all of the time. I don’t want to be known for forgetting everything and being late everytime. I was embarrassed.
I could have changed many things, but the thing that seems to have worked both physically and emotionally, is the routine itself. Instead of getting up and sitting downstairs in my nice snuggly dressing gown, what about if I get dressed first? Instead of letting the kiddies play for half an hour, why not ask them to get dressed first too? And do you know, it really works! We all get dressed. We have breakfast, do our hair and then whatever time we have left we get to play. Whilst they eat their breakfast, I can drink my tea. It all works out rather well.
Our new routine looks like this:
The other main driver for changing my morning routine, is because on a Monday and Friday I have to leave the house by 8am. I want to make sure the house is “decent”, the children are dressed and fed so that Nanny doesn’t have to spend her half an hour telling them 25 times to get ready! It makes me feel less guilty when I leave the house. Which I guess is what a lot of this is!
Some other things I changed
There are a few other changes I have made since the initial transformation to my routine, that have helped too. We have removed the multiple choice for breakfast. There are no longer six cereals to choose from, toast or criossant and yoghurt. This makes it a quicker decision for the children. I often find having a choice of two things is perfectly adequate for them to feel in control and for it to be sorted quickly. Yesterday I created a quick menu for them to read out together and it worked nicely, they both gave me their orders. It’s amazing what a little piece of paper with the words menu can do.
I will be writing up some more of these changes I’m going through, as a lot is going on in my brain right now and writing about it helps. It might help someone else too, who knows. Next week is all about making the children answer their questions which helps to encourage positive thinking.