Managing the Morning Madness
I am generally not a first day of school crier. I remember shedding a few tears when Chuck started kindergarten. My baby started school! That’s the ONE time in all of the first days of school over the past 12 years that these cheeks have been wet, until today… oh my, did I shed a tear or two.
Steve and I learned about a K-8 school in our community that sounded like the perfect fit for our girls, so we got on the waiting list and waited. Last week the call came that a spot was open for each of them! We got all of the paper work turned in, said goodbye to the old school, and this morning was The First Day of School: Take 2 for Babs, Joy, and Chuck.
They’re going from a regular public school to a charter school with some different rules. One of those new rules is the requirement to wear school uniforms! We spent the weekend trying to find just the right clothes to meet the uniform guidelines and help the girls feel cute and confident.
Just look at those cute, confident kids. Have you ever tried shopping for an entire school uniform wardrobe 3 weeks after school has already started? For 3 kids? In 2 days? During soccer season? We had about 2 hours on Thursday night and some time on Saturday, and not a single store we needed to visit was in town. The uniform sections of every store we visited were picked over and hardly had anything available in the sizes we needed.
Somehow we ended up with enough outfits to make it from laundry day to laundry day for each kid. Tender mercies and blessings. That’s the only way we got it done. We even got some funky Old Navy pricing that helped a lot with the budget – shirts for a penny and the jumper Joy fell in love with for 97 cents!
Another big change with the new school is the starting time. It works out perfectly for Steve to take them to school on his way to work (hooray!!!!), but since they start earlier and have to drop off Bree at junior high on their way, they have to leave an hour earlier than they are used to.
There are some mornings that they barely get out the door on time as it is, but now we’re cutting off an entire hour every morning. There really is no reason why getting ready should take them so long. Most of their time is spent lollygagging and playing with the toys they find while searching for their shoes. Which means most of my morning is spent reminding, nagging, and eventually yelling. Not exactly how I like to send my kids off to school every morning.
And don’t even get me started on our issues with shoes. I can’t even begin to count how many hours of my life I have spent searching for lost shoes, but I’m pretty sure if I could get all of that time back, I could write the great American novel… or 7. But there’s no time for shoe hunting anymore – or shirt hunting, or underwear hunting, or “Mom, where is the sock basket???” or “I can’t find any pants without holes!”
I know it sounds like we never do laundry, but I do! Unfortunately, they don’t feel any need to put those piles of clean clothes away… We’ll work on that issue another day.
Basically, if we’re going to make this new schedule work, we are going to need some help. So here’s my brilliant idea to make the mornings run smoother.
So simple, and I am so in love with it already. I picked up a 6-shelf hanging closet organizer and labeled each shelf with a day of the week. The labels are simple and straight forward – days of the week printed on cardstock, different colors so it’s easy for the girls who share a closet to keep it straight. I folded the top of each word strip over and used duct tape to attach them to the shelves. There is probably a fancier way to do it, but I’m trying to stop making my life more complicated than it needs to be. (HA!)
Since shoes are the bane of my motherly existence, I made the sixth shelf for shoes. It’s empty right now because the shoes are on those cute little feet at school. Hallelujah!
On laundry day, the girls put together 5 outfits – including everything they need to get dressed and ready that day (underwear, socks, hair clips, etc.) – and put one outfit on each shelf. When they wake up in the morning, they don’t even have to think about it or search for anything. They cheerfully get out of bed (right???), hop on over to the closet, and put on the clothes on that day’s shelf. Voila! Instant morning awesomeness.
This morning they were completely dressed even before family scripture study. Usually they’re still half asleep and wearing half of their bedding because they dragged it with them when they dragged themselves out of bed. I know the first day of school excitement will wear off, but this simple system will keep on helping our mornings run smoothly and our sweet little students get out the door on time. I wish I had thought of it 12 years ago. Just think of all of the time I could have spent *not* searching for clothes and shoes every school morning and all of those mornings I could have sent my cuties off to school without being nagged out the door.