I’ve been known to drive in a state of panic once or twice, we are late you see. I’ve squinted through blinding sun strike whilst trying to answer the questions of three rowdy cherubs. I yell over a blaring radio, de-mist windows by cranking up the air-con and the window wipers simultaneously, and have even attempted putting on my seatbelt, all before we’ve reached the end of the drive! I’ve definitely breathed a sigh of relief whilst merging into the traffic jam of local parents and work commuters, just thankful that we’re finally on our way. The build up to actually exiting through the front door is all too often the most monumental of efforts!!
I thought about something interesting the other day that’s rather made me stop and rethink the way we do mornings. It’s about making memories, memories of simple, every day occurrences. Here’s a thought, as parents, we’re making a memory of “before school” without even realising we are. How our children start their day at school is hugely impacted by their memory of the morning.
What is most important in those few precious hours before school is NOT that my kids have super exotic school lunch-box food, perfectly ironed t.shirts, elaborate photo-ready hair styles, or even a nutritious breakfast, or being on time for school!! Sure those things are great, and some important even, so don’t get me wrong, but what our children really need is good memories of their mornings.
Once they leave my car and step into inside those school gates, my children are out of the safety of my loving protection, they may face; mean kids, an unfair teacher, a difficult test, or even loneliness?
Knowing all this, it seems I’ve got my morning job cut out for me; to bite ones tongue and let the little things go – I do not want to be the cause of any anxiety or stress in the already huge mix of emotions inside my 6, 10, and 12 year olds heads. Not as easy done as said, especially when one won’t get out of bed, one still can’t find socks I’ve laid out next to their shoes an hour ago, and one still can’t decide which of 300 toys to take for news that morning.
I’m having good days and bad, I’m human, it’s important as a mum to remember this. We don’t win them all! But it’s worth the extra effort to try and make it happen most days!
That’s not to say I let bad behaviour reign, if a fight breaks out, or a harsh words are spoken, I’m finding ways to deal with it without yelling. “That won’t earn you a star on your chart” works a treat at the moment, as each star earnt is a dollar in extra pocket money. My kids get a base rate of $10 per month and anything extra can be earnt from good behaviour, completing simple jobs like unloading the dishwasher, being helpful, being kind, tidying ones room etc… someone earnt $27 last month!!
I’ve found that getting up before the alarm and my cherubs, is my best bet at getting ready for the day, uninterrupted. I shower, dress, do hair and makeup, and am then ready to focus on everyone else. We have a strict “no I.T” (Information Technology) rule for mornings, it was hard at first, but my children know that once they are ready and have free-time they can read, play in their rooms, practice music lessons, or go out for a jump on the trampoline. Each child has a checklist that they work through, for example, “make bed, get dressed, breakfast, brush teeth, hair, pack school bag, shoes” – once they’re done they have free time, but if I’m honest, free time doesn’t happen too often, we do still just make it out the door on time. It takes a long time to complete ones checklist!
Life is short, by the end of the year my 12 year old will be a teenager, my 10 year old will be finishing primary school forever, and my six year old may have lost his obsession with Spiderman, or not!! The truth is that in ten years from now they won’t remember most of what I thought was important, having the washing clean folded and put away, the beds made, the blinds open, the pillows lined up neatly on the couch, vacuuming, mopping, dusting, so I’ve decided life’s about making memories, happy ones, I want my kids to remember they had a happy start to their day each day, and that no matter what, their mummy loved them and couldn’t wait to see them again at the end of their day at school!!