Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Working Mom: Heather (on Morning Routines)

I am a working mom (and I love it); but, if I'm being honest, I feel like most days I'm more "surviving" and less "making it work."  So... I enlisted the help of some dear blog friends to share their experiences, advice, lessons, and encouragement on all kinds of topics related to life balancing a job outside the home and a family. I think this goes without saying, but please know that this series is - in no way - meant to belittle or undermine the work of stay-at-home moms - you are doing an incredibly important JOB, and I have so much respect for you!  That said, I do feel like working moms are sometimes under-represented in the internet world... So, my hope is that this will be a place for working moms of the blogosphere to unite and feel understood, connected, strengthened, and supported (plus, maybe pick up a tip or two)!   Overall, I hope this will be a reminder that (regardless of your situation), you are NOT alone, and you are doing a darn good job! Please introduce yourself and  "join the conversation" in the comments.  

(More from me on being a working mom here.)

Not only is Heather one of the best Instagrammers I know, she is also the mom to three kids (including a set of TWIN girls born in 2009) and has been teaching elementary school in Central Florida since the first one was born in 2007. Today, I'm happy to have her sharing a little bit about how she gets everyone out of the house clothed (and looking cute, might I add), fed, and smiling every day with a simple morning routine:


I suppose Elizabeth asked me write about morning routines as a working mom because with three kids to get out the door in the morning (and the fact that we do make it out the door and to school on time) must mean I'm doing something right. Honestly, I figure you will think one of two things after reading this post if you are a fellow working momma. 1) "Dang, I'm so glad I'm not the only one that does that" & or 2) "That's it?" When it comes to morning routines I've learned a few simple rules. Let's call it Heather's 5 tips to getting out the door in the morning without loosing your sanity and also making it to work on time.

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1. Your night time routine is a major indicator of how your morning routine will go. On the nights that I plan ahead (i.e. pack lunches & snacks, iron & lay out clothes, check folders, & load the car) the following mornings always run significantly more smoothly. I'm not running around the house (with that feeling of "crap, I've only got five minutes left before my last possible deadline for pulling out of the driveway" looming over my head) half dressed as I chase kids around to brush hair & tie shoes. 

2. Set multiple alarms. I don't know about you, but I'm always terrified that if I set just one alarm something will happen to it and I will over sleep (which is really quite impossible with Lilah as my human alarm clock). I set an alarm for when I should wake up, then one for when I should really get out of bed & start getting ready (yes, I know there is such a thing as snooze but come on people, who really ever listens to it?). Then I set one for my first goal of getting out the door and one more as my last possible time I need to leave the house. Because of this I am honestly usually pulling out of the driveaway before my last alarm goes off, which is a major score in my book. 

 3. Make sure the kids know your routine, too. My kids know exactly what I expect of them when they wake up. & yes, cartoons in the playroom is our thing. They know to go in there, turn on the t.v., and veg on the couch until I call them to get dressed. Tucker and Lexie are really good at this most days, Lilah however will come in my room about 50 times to check when she can get dressed. When I do finally call them to come get dressed they know they need to go to the bathroom first, change their clothes (they even know the specific spot in my room that I lay each of their outfits & go straight to that spot to see what they are wearing for the day), put away their pjs, and then brush their teeth & get their socks and shoes on. Then they come back to me so I can do their hair. Every day, just like that. 

4. Feed them. Luckily for me, I don't have to feed them breakfast in the morning because our county does free breakfast for all students (why pay for a meal when we can get it for free, ya'll know how much my kids love to eat!). But, I do give them dry cereal & milk when they ask (which, if you know my kids, is usually all the time). Kids who are busy eating are too busy to bother momma who is getting ready for the day.

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5. Pick your battles. In the mornings, most of which come way too early for my liking, I don't want to have to argue with my kids over anything. But it's just so easy to get caught up in the hustle & bustle of trying to make it out the door & to work on time that sometimes arguments happen. Kids move too slowly or want to make time for things that just don't fit in your idea of how the morning needs to go (like pulling out the 1,000+ piece Thomas the Train set to put together and begin playing with when you only have ten minutes before you need to leave). Not that any of those things ever happen in our house! Psh. I've learned to pick my battles. Okay, you want to pull out the trains? Do it, but don't be sad when I tell you time is up and we've got to go. I try my best to make wagers with the kids. Sometimes, I say things like this, "Ok, you pull it out now & start playing but when I say it's time to go soon, you load up without complaining or you don't get to play with them tonight when we get home." I've realized giving the kids something like that to work with usually helps. 

I have to be honest with y'all and tell you a little story. My kids all have iPod touches (which I really don't feel is that uncommon anymore in the technologically advanced society we live in). Over the summer they got pretty dependent on them (and with my husband being out of town all summer making me a single mom I let it happen) and we decided to take a break from them once school started. Right now they really only get them maybe a half hour a few days a week and usually not until the evening or before bed to wind down. The other morning though, I was running late and gave in to the question, "can we have our phones, mom?" (that was me picking my battle). That same morning they also ended up sneaking bringing them in the car & to tell you the truth? Oh em gee. It was like a miracle had taken place. There was no whining over who was touching who, or who had who's book. Heck, there was barely even any talking going on at all. It was a half hour of pure silence as they played games & watched shows on their iPods and I listened to my songs on the radio while enjoying my coffee. & you know what I realized in that moment? Who cares! Who cares if I'm the mom that lets her kids rot their brain for 30 minutes a day on the drive in to work in order to get a little peace & quiet? Kids-1, Mom-0. But honestly, in the end, we are all happy and surviving and rocking our morning routine so that's an A+ to me! 

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Heather blogs regularly at Life As We Know It... - check her out for more musings on motherhood, teaching, decorating, etc.


THANKS HEATHER!

So, what would you add to Heather's list?  
What helps you get out the door in the mornings?

12 comments:

  1. I love this series! Keep em coming!

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    1. Isn't a great idea?! I'm so glad Elizabeth thought of it and I can't wait to read the rest of the series as well! There are so many great topics to come!

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  2. I love this!! I agree with it all, but mostly picking your battles! I have learned this with just ONE baby who's only 15 months. I can't wait to read the rest of the posts!!

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    1. Yes, picking your battles should have been listed first maybe ;) I agree...can't wait to read the rest!

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  3. Morning routine is so important I feel like it sets the tone for the day. These are great tips!

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    1. It definitely sets the tone for the day. Funny that my post on morning routines would go live the day we have a pretty horrible morning which led to a pretty horrible day! It was nice to re-read my post and see a few nice comments at the end of the day and realize tomorrow is a fresh start!

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  4. Yay! So excited for this series. Thanks to Heather for keepin' it real! You are my idol! I have one child and getting out the door every morning is a challenge. I applaud you. Great tips. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. That's probably the sweetest comment I've ever gotten, Paige! I think keeping it real is important because as moms we've got to stick together in this crazy job of ours and lying to you about having perfect mornings every day would totally not be fair!

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  5. wow, 3 kids and she rocked a yellow belt IMPRESSIVE!!!!

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    1. Ha! You are so funny! Thanks for reading the article!

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  6. I love this series and thought this post was really cute. We don't have kids yet but have definitely learned the value of getting lunch/clothes/anything else ready the night before! I do have a small quibble: I know it's meant in jest but it really bugs me when someone says they are "a single mom" when their husband is out of town for a while. I was raised by a single mom and it's not the same, I promise you!

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    1. Glad you could take away some tips from this for the future. I'm sorry if I offended you with the single mom jest, like you said, but when I was home by myself taking care of 3 small kids for 14 weeks I felt pretty alone in the parenting department. I didn't say it in any way to put real single moms down, just like this series for working moms isn't in any way to put stay-at-home moms down.

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Your comments are what makes this thing fun! I LOVE to hear from you and do my best to respond to everyone! THANK YOU!


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