What did routine mean to you before you had kids? I was always like ‘yeah of course I have a routine’ you know. I go to work, I get paid. I normally go to bed early.
I always clean my teeth but sometimes if it’s too late or I’m too tipsy I skip washing my face (oh please, I know you do it too). Sometimes I eat breakfast but if I’m not hungry I just grab something mid morning and then have a late lunch. Yeah. Routine’.
If you’re anything like me you try and get through the day doing as many things at once for instance last night I had a cold compress on my daughter’s knee while stirring the pasta pot and straightening my eldest daughter’s hair (which I didn’t do properly of course, there was a piece flicking out the wrong way which meant the world was ending) oh the joys of a teenage girl!
At the same time of having my 13 year old basically have a meltdown over a few strands of hair I was getting the washing from the dryer for the next day, putting the dinner out before it was stuck to the pot (again remind me to buy non stick pots and pans) I might as bluddy well have stuck a broom up my arse and swept the floor while I was at it.
As parents we tend to put a huge amount of pressure on ourselves to be that ‘perfect’ parent that we see on tv or those mother’s you know the ones at the school who seem to have their whole life together and have the perfect hair and makeup each morning while you’re sat in the car in your pjs shouting out the window because one of the kids has forgot their snack (Yes this May have happened on a few occasions).
Well I’m sorry but I’m ready to give up on trying to be that ‘perfect’ parent because I am NOT a perfect parent and being a single mother who attend university and looks after the home, who is the sole carer to my daughters ages 9 & 13 I am happy to admit yes I do struggle and normally on a daily basis too!
This is where scheduling and routine comes in to play, why should you keep your life to a schedule/routine I hear you ask?
Well I’m going to tell you….
There’s simply no way around it… without a proper stay at home mom schedule you’ll be running around like a chicken with its head cut off, hiding in your bedroom screaming fuuuuuck into that pillow and quite possibly losing your hair or going grey on a daily basis. The struggle is real people!!
Luckily, making a morning routine is simple, too. Pick roughly around 5 things you want to achieve every single morning. It could be anything from working out, to praying, or even scrubbing your kitchen sink I know you’ll not be lost on things to choose from
You’ll see below, I keep mine very simple. I simply picked the things that, if they were the only things that got done that day, it would still be a good day and let’s face it we ALL need a good day being a parent!
1. Wake up early.
I make the bed. For years, 30 to be exact, making the bed seemed like a total waste of time to me. You’re just going to un-make it at the end of the day, right? Despite my mum’s best efforts at teaching me this habit, I never appreciated the power it held.
Here’s what I discovered. Making the bed sets the tone for a productive day. It looks so nice and neat, it makes your whole bedroom seem cleaner and it builds momentum to move onto the next task.
2. Breakfast and Wipe Counters.
Make everyone’s breakfast and clean up as you go. Once they are finished then do your dishes and let them dry on the rack while you go do something else that needs done. This makes everything that little bit easier in the morning and you won’t be coming back from that school run to lots of pilled up dishes with dried eggs and cereal stuck to the bowls.
3. Get everyone dressed.
Get everyone dressed and brush teeth all at the same time. I know, I know this seems extremely basic like “we know kim we do this every day!” However, if you don’t do it all any the same time and have little ones running around, you know what a feat it can be to get this all done. Running from one child to another and then once you finish the first child had stripped off and another has found the tub of chocolate spread.
When you work from home, of course there’s nothing stopping you from staying in your pajamas all day I know I do on regular occasions. Sometimes we just need a break from the outside world. However, I’m found that getting dressed early (or at all!) makes us all ready to make the most of everyday.
4. Do some laundry.
Switch the Laundry around. I always make sure to keep the laundry moving at a steady pace each morning, that way it’s ready to fold after I’m done working/cleaning in the afternoon.
5. Make some coffee.
I’m definitely not the first or going to be the last to write about morning routines or the power of making your bed in the morning. but I haven’t seen anyone else who puts ‘make coffee’ on their to-do list. However, this step is very, very important!
It isn’t just the caffeine addiction that helps build the habit but also a very small little reward to look forward to and a way to fit a tiny bit of self-care into an otherwise very busy day. Our brains literally get addicted to this kind of positive feedback.
6. Older kids leave for school.
Usually around this time my daughters will both leave for school. I am very lucky that my eldest daughter who is in high school obviously is far too cool to have her mum walk her to school and my youngest daughters school is literally across a small quiet road right outside our house I can actually watch her going into the school doors so I wave goodbye and start my day.
7. Make dinner.
Ok ok I know this might sound a little crazy but if you can make dinner now it will benefit you in the long run. I can’t tell you how much this has helped me for when the girls get home from school and of course are ‘starving’ I can say “yes dinners ready it’s in the slow cooker. Instead of running around thinking oh no what will I make them for dinner and spending another hour or so preparing said meal will moaning children hanging on to you remember they’re ‘starving’!
8. Run errands.
Take this time to go out and run errands while you are child free! You will be surprised just how fast you can get things done without a child having a tantrum over that chocolate bar you said no to because they’re going to get lunch or dinner. It definitely makes your day that little bit easier and more productive.
9. Do housework.
Now it’s time to tackle the housework. I specifically use this time to clean up and gut out my daughters bedrooms. The reason behind this? I don’t have a crying child moaning because I’ve thrown out barbies lost shoe or those old wrappers and plastic bottles they want to keep but don’t really know why. I also change their bed covers every couple of days to keep the room fresh, clean and comfortable for them to sleep in.
10. Kids are home from school.
This is where your previously made dinner comes into play! Get them to change out of their school uniform and while they’re doing so you have that five minutes to heat up the dinner and have it on the table ready for those ‘starving’ bellies to devour.
During dinner, take some time and ask questions about school and about 30 minutes of relaxing time (TV, iPods, hanging out in the garden), then we start homework for half an hour. If they don’t have homework, they just read for 20 minutes. I was a support assistant at school & 20 minutes a night will help your kids SO MUCH.
As soon as they finish their homework, they can go out, run around and play until bath time.
11. Dinner dishes.
While the children are playing this then gives you the chance to catch up on the dinner dishes and clean your kitchen getting everything ready for the next day.
I also use this time to circle around the house picking up lost toys and giving the place a quick hoover and dust.
12. Bath time.
We have a snack, then head up for bath time. My daughters get a bath or shower (almost) every night. it’s part of their routine, After bath time, I send each of them to their rooms to get their pjs on and read or watch a short movie until I go in.
One at a time, I go into their rooms, read one book (or they read one to me), I tuck them in, chat for a minute and then kiss them goodnight.
13. Mummy time.
Now it’s time to catch up on your work, blog or anything else that needs donelike getting school clothes ready and packed lunches made for the next day before you head for that nice relaxing bath and sit down with a cuppa and an episode of your favourite tv show before bed.
Believe me you will cherish this couple of hours and most definitely need it take time out for yourself to keep you grounded and sane!
On that note- I’m sure I’ve left out a ton, but it’s enough to give you a rough idea of the sort of routine that will most definitely keep you going and not feel overwhelmed each day. Now don’t get me wrong this won’t just stick after one day you need to keep at it and show everyone in the house that what you are doing goes and is the way you are sticking to it from now on.
I know I had a tough couple of days getting things to change but if you stick to it everything will soon fall into place and your life will definitely be a lot easier for you. Just remember no matter what you choose to do you are still an AWESOME parent and YOU are doing the hardest job in the world. Don’t ever forget that!
Do you have a routine? What do you do every day that keeps your life balanced? I’d love to hear in the comments below.
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