Thursday, September 22, 2011

Maximise your day - minimise daily hassles

Weekday mornings used to be so stressful at our place.

I always lost track of the time. I'd forget whether I'd taken my multivitamin or not, and where my keys and sunglasses were.

The kids were always scrambling around looking for their shoes at the last minute, too afraid to ask me for help because I was giving them the look of death. I sometimes had to dig into the dirty laundry basket for the least gross socks, quickly iron a clean shirt, and sponge tomato sauce off a tunic.

Shouting was not uncommon, general confusion and annoyance was constant.

By the time we got to school I would be exhausted, completely deflated at my own screeching at the children, frustrated by their lack of initiative, just thinking the day was only good for the bin already. Scrunch it up, start again. But life isn't like that. You just have to try and write a better day with a bad start.

One day I promised myself it would not be so bad again. I would finally fix all the little things that trip us up in the mornings. Like not being able to find my sunnies. I now have a cheap pair which I keep, along with a sun hat, in the car.

And I realised that for the last two years' worth of schools mornings I was always running around the house to check the time.

I didn't have a clock in the kitchen. Which meant the children relied on me to tell them when to finish up from breakfast time (they like to have a little chat around the table) and move onto getting dressed. I realised this was setting the wrong tone to the morning - that I had to tell them to do everything or they wouldn't do it.

Also, I didn't wear a watch and the time on my mobile phone was five minutes slow. I would run out to our back sunroom and read the time from the clock there. This added to the confusion and general running around without getting things done which always frustrated me.

I realised the kids were not focussing on getting ready for school because I seemed unfocused myself, all my running around to check the time, go through the laundry basket etc.

I can't believe I put off for so long fixing the little things that hampered our family life every day. A clock in the kitchen and in their bedrooms and teaching them to tell the time! A spare pair of sunnies and extra sun hats for everyone! Shoe baskets in the bedrooms! Clean, ironed clothes from the night before! Making everyone take their vitamins and medications at the same time!

While I know I also need to learn to manage my feelings of stress better - some mornings with kids are going to be stressful no matter what I do - these simple changes have really helped the mornings run smoothly and put us all in a positive frame of mind for the day. Now my look of death only comes out on special occasions instead of every morning.

What little things have you changed, or what can you change, to make your daily life much nicer? If you have any great tips I'd love for you to share them in the comment box.

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