Morning Has Broken [Me]

Weekday mornings in our house used to be pretty crazy and I am immature enough to blame it on my daughters, ages 9 and 11.

While I cannot attribute said craziness to their inherent personalities (they’re really quite lovely), I can blame it on the myriad tasks in their world that need attention before they head off to school.

These tasks include: checking homework, signing reading/flashcard logs and agendas, figuring out the day’s attire, filling water bottles, deciding to take hot lunch or bring a lunch, teeth brushing, hair combing, packing shoes, etc. Somehow, although the little darlings would arise an hour before school started, these tasks would not be brought to my attention until 10 minutes before we were to head out the door. That was often followed by loud sighs, sarcastic remarks and the occasional profanity (mine, not theirs).

One day I decided enough was enough. I can’t remember if it was a last-minute agenda signature or snack request, but suffice to say I lost it, yelled loudly and immediately regretted it. There were tears and sulking and slamming of doors (theirs). That was followed by silence on the car ride on the way to school.

Something obviously had to change or I would just have to leave (as in, forfeit my Mom title until the kids graduated.) After dropping them off, I drove home fuming, thinking there had to be a better way to start the day — for everyone involved. I’d much rather start on a positive note than a negative, and I’m pretty sure my girls felt the same.

A big fan of the ‘to do’ list, I decided to create a spreadsheet that the girls could refer to each morning. If they saw what needed to be done, they wouldn’t have to hear my reminders to do them ad infinitum. On the left side I listed tasks. The days of the week were listed across the top. Each time they accomplished a task, they were to check it off the list. I creatively dubbed this the “Morning Prep Chart.”

A happier home

Fast forward to today and our household is a much happier place. While there are neither cartoon birds singing, nor a rainbow in sight as a result, I cannot believe how much better the a.m. is. I’m still slightly amazed at how something so simple can work so well.

What about you? What kind of solutions have you implemented to make your life easier? Let us know by posting in the comments below.­

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