After 3 years of staying at home with my kids (now aged 5 and 3), I’m back at work. I’m so happy to be back at Saint Francis, doing a job that I love. But, somedays, I feel very lucky to have made it to school in one piece! Getting two kids and myself ready to be out the door at 7:00 is not an easy feat. The fact that I can’t wear my yoga pants to work everyday makes it even harder! Just the other day, I popped the button on my pants. Not because they’re too small (well, maybe a little) but because I was rushing to button them and pulled too hard. My husband (who is very helpful) keeps asking, how can we make this easier? In the moment, of course, it’s “we can’t!” This is said with as much attitude as my threenager gives when we tell her she can’t have pirate booty for breakfast. But, in all seriousness, there are things we can do to make our working parent lives easier. Here is a list I’ve come up with, some of these things I already do, others are possibly just a pipe dream. One can hope!
Make lunches the night before.
This can seem like a very daunting task. If you’re like me, after work you are so exhausted you’re tempted to ask your 5 year old make dinner and your 3 year old to pour your wine. :) But, I’ve found that if I make tomorrow’s lunches as soon as I get home (BEFORE sitting down, sit down and it’s all over) it makes the morning that much easier. My son eats peanut butter and honey every day, so sometimes I make sandwiches for the whole week at once and freeze them. By lunch, the sandwich is good to go.
Do you need some lunch idea inspiration? Check out the blog: "What Lisa Cooks".
Pick out clothes the night before.
This is a great thing to do with your children. If they don’t wear uniforms, it’s even harder. Let them pick out their clothes, down to the socks and shoes, the night before. This can clear up some of that “No, I don’t want to wear my blue socks, I want my pink socks!” stuff. In my case, I need to make sure they have clean uniforms. Pick out your own clothes too. This one, I have yet to master. But, I know when I do my morning will be so much nicer!
Get up early!
If you are like me, you need some quiet time. This will not happen for me if I don’t try to get up at least a half hour before my kids. It’s so much easier to get things together if you’re doing it without the kids running about. I use my time to have a quiet cup of coffee and relax then eat my own breakfast and begin to get myself ready. Some days, I actually make the kids breakfast before they wake up and put it on the table. Those days are the best days. They don’t happen often.
Have a specific place to put school stuff.
For us, this place is currently the floor in the living room. But, one day, when the mood strikes us, we will be putting up hooks for their backpacks and jackets with baskets below for their shoes, boots, winter gear, (yes, I said winter) etc. The goal would be to make sure all of this stuff gets into the basket when it comes home…...if I think it, it will happen, right? Really though, if it’s all in one place that saves you the time of running around looking for things in the morning.
Breathe and take some time.
I know there are mornings and days where if feels like there’s barely a second to take a breath. I have them often. When it feels like everything is chaotic, it’s the best time to stop. Pause and breathe. You are a great parent and you are doing your best. That’s all we can do. And take some time for yourself. We have to take care of our needs in order to care for others. Yesterday I got to walk in the woods alone. That’s my happy place. Go to yours when you can. Ask for help. You’re not alone!
Pleasant mornings, make for pleasant days. Think about what you need to do to make your morning better. I hope this list of things helps. If you have others you’d like to share with me, please do!