How’s that for click bait? Sorry to say, but this title is just as misleading as most! Still, I tried something new in the mornings and maybe it'll work at your house, too.
School mornings are hard sometimes. Parents start the day hopeful, confident that today will be the day that the morning will go smoothly, they'll keep their cool, and everyone will be at school and at work 5 minutes early. This will be the day that sets the standard for winning the Parent of the Year trophy.
These lofty goals begin to crumble the moment the first child wakes up and remains in dreamland with no aspiration to arrive anywhere, ever. Reminders from parents start out patiently and gently, “Time to get dressed, sweetheart!” “Yes, of course we have time for a cuddle!” We'll call this stage Early Optimistic.
Then there is a middle stage, Losing Hope, where the parent is still really trying to hold it together, but voices become slightly louder and more strained,
“It’s not time to sort through the 5000 marbles to find the one with the tiny grey speck.”
"I'm sorry, I don't know where your special stick went!"
Though the niceties are still there, exasperation begins to set in, “Pumpkin, you know that it’s time to get dressed!”
“There isn’t time to play until after we’re all ready to go.” Which by the way, never happens. There is never time to play AFTER we are ready because we are always only ready with seconds to spare.
After getting breakfast going, parents may head to the bedroom to help the situation, only to find your child naked with one leg through his undies sitting on the floor playing Lego, oblivious to his lack of clothing and the time crunch. This morning, both kids were dressed, then I made the mistake of leaving for a moment to get myself dressed. I came back to find both children naked. They stared at my expression and pleaded, "Sorry mum, we couldn't help it! There was a magic wands that makes everyone naked-ified!"
This type of incident leads to stage 3, Raging Chaos, where full-fledged exasperation, raised voices, and a notable lack of deportment sets in. This is also when eligibility for the Parent of the Year trophy is lost and parents will find themselves saying things like, “For the millionth time, I asked you to ________!”
Though parents know better, the random and presumably unhelpful consequences rear out,
"Brush your teeth now or we're having broccoli for dinner for the next 6 months! That's right, just broccoli!"
"That's it, Santa's not coming this year or ever! And the Easter bunny? Forget about it!"
These types of statements are unsupported by the parenting professionals, the same experts who are notably absent from your home in the morning.
Meanwhile some parents are near tears, muttering to themselves, "Don’t we do this everyday?” "Why do they hate me?" Some call their friends for a sanity and basic operations check-in, "Is there something wrong with my voice?"
No parent wants to get to stage 3, but it happens more often than we'd like to admit.
Some parenting professionals suggest that you go with your child to get dressed. Good theory. But then he start telling you about the fort that he’s going to build, complete with the details of the design for the stained glass windows and the long drop and sprints off down the hall to get a paper and pen so he can draw up the plan. “It’s not time to draw up plans for the secret fort and long drop! Come back here so I can help you get dressed!”
Though somewhat controversial with the parenting professionals, some experts suggest using a checklist or a reward chart in the morning. Some of our friends use these and find them helpful. Some of our friends also manage to wake an hour early each morning for music practice. We do not share these sorts of superhuman parenting skills. But we were inspired by the charts and the kids decided we could make our own.
The day before school started, Sadie and Dan spent the morning designing their morning routine charts. Dan spent hours making the columns and rows and drawing in a picture to represent each job. Sadie did, too, but became frustrated with the process so we used some clip art to fill in her boxes. They are both very proud of their charts.
The downside is that they are completely ineffective. In fact, I have a suspicion that they’re making us later by adding one more thing to do in the morning. Dan looks at his list and then goes to cuddle the dog and still needs at least ten thousand reminders. Sadie uses her list, but spends more time doing fancy check marks and doesn't always have time for all the things on her list. The other day, she checked of "do hair" prematurely and accidentally, but when I approached her with the brush, she began to cry and protest, "We don't need to do my hair! I already checked it off."
Always at the very last minute, it almost all comes together. The kids are dressed, fed, cleaned, packed, and out the door. The parent is deflated and glad that tomorrow is Saturday when the family can go with the flow and she will most definitely be eligible for the Parent of the Weekend trophy.
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