written by a Stay At Home Mom in Wisconsin
5:20 AM – Good morning?
I sure didn’t feel like there was anything good about these mornings when my oldest daughter started Kindergarten. I scowled at the alarm clock. I dragged myself downstairs to make breakfasts and lunches, empty the dishwasher in between, and chug my coffee down on the 7-minute drive to school.
Because I was frantically trying to accomplish these mundane tasks while getting our children ready to head out the door by 7:35 AM, I was snippy, short, impatient, and unkind. As I sent off my babies for the day, I’d say “Have a good day,” silently scolding myself for ruining their day right from the start.
It took until she was in 3rd grade, but I finally found something that helped me feel like I didn’t have to tread water to make it as a mom. After reading A Mother’s Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot, I knew that having set times for everyday tasks would help me in my struggle to get it all done in 24 hours.
Here’s the routine that has helped me work toward becoming the kind of mom I want to be in the morning:
- Up an Hour Early
By waking up an hour earlier than my kiddos today, a decade of the Rosary, emptying the dishwasher, starting a load of laundry, taking a (quick) shower, and enjoying a cup (or 3!) of coffee are all in the books before 6:20 AM.
- Delegating Tasks
When I pass off regularly morning chores to the other able-bodied people in my home, the whole morning runs more smoothly. I am able to avoid changing sheets and hand towels, replacing toilet paper rolls, loading the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher, and opening the drapes in the front room – which leaves me time to help hunt down the missing mitten, fix a broken shoelace, or manage any of the other school day morning emergencies that might crop up without stressing out.
- Sacred Spouse Time
After the kids are in bed, my husband and I have instituted a “no cleaning policy.” That time is spent on each other and with each other – even if that “each other” time simply means going over tomorrow’s calendar before we fall into bed exhausted from a particularly busy day.
While school is in session, I embrace this way of life. When they are home at 2:55 PM and have snacked and done their homework, the children and I are able to spend time together before night comes, and the whole ordeal starts over the following day! Sometimes this time spent together is simply doing before dinner chores or after dinner chores, but at least I am working along the side of them.
A friend once told me that love is spelled T-I-M-E. I couldn’t agree more.
Those school mornings when I was a ball of stress are no more. Most* mornings, they hop out of the car after a quick kiss and hug with a genuine smile. *As in ‘definitely not every one.’
Besides the benefits to my mothering, keeping this type of rule in our household is better for my own mental and spiritual health. Personal hobbies like reading, quilting, and photography are enjoyed throughout the day during other downtimes. Because I have been blessed to be a stay at home mom, I am able to set puzzles and run to the park with the little ones instead of constantly doing work that really could be done at other natural times or chores that can be done by other children.
My next read, Splendor in the Ordinary by Thomas Howard, is further helping me in finding joy in wiping out lunchboxes, filling out yet another field trip permission form, and searching through the Scholastic book order packet for appropriate books.