Halloween and Morning Routines

I just decided this morning that I hate Halloween.

It’s not even because I grew up in a home where we chose to not celebrate Satan’s holiday. Side note: I distinctly remember my mom creating a Noah’s Ark costume for me out of posterboard, suspenders and stuffed animals when I was in the 5th or 6th grade. This is funny to me mostly because my mom was not particularly known for her crafting skills nor was I totally on board (get it???) with dressing up as a Biblical event of epic proportions.

But back to my original statement. I decided this morning I hated Halloween/Fall Celebrations/Harvest Festivals/whatever we choose to call the event where we dress our kids up to receive ungodly amounts of candy and then, in turn, probably discipline them for sneaking, eating too much, or fighting over it with their siblings. (Insert long sigh here.)

It’s really not Halloween’s fault.

This morning highlighted my own failure to plan ahead and get organized so that we could prepare for school and Mother’s Day Out in a peaceful, yet purposeful atmosphere. Getting three kids ages 5 and under ready for school without planning for extra activities is difficult in and of itself. Add extra distractions and this was nothing more than a recipe for disaster. As I’ve had time to think this through, I’m going to recommend to our school administrators that on these types of days we institute a mandatory 1 hour late start.

Things were going okay from 07:00-07:15. But my blood pressure started to rise in steady increments from 07:15-07:45.

I’m going to call this time period the Red Zone for parents. For those of you who don’t know, I’m married to a football coach. In footballese the Red Zone is the area of the opponent’s 20 yard line to their goal line. The team that controls the ball and scores from the Red Zone is statistically more likely to win the ball game. The fighting can be especially brutal in this prime real estate as the defense launches an all-out effort to keep the offense from scoring. Everything in the Red Zone is critical. There’s no room for error. Mistakes in the Red Zone can cost you the game.

I did not execute the strategy during the Red Zone. My husband likes to use the mantra “poise under pressure” to talk about mental toughness coaches like to develop in their teams. I ran out of that. Many of you can relate.

I could’ve written a new song with how many times I repeated myself.

Take your pajamas off and put them away. (repeat 5x)

Brush your teeth and hair. (repeat 4x)

Did you finish your breakfast? Hurry up and eat it! (repeat 3x)

Stop fooling around! We. are. late! (repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat)

We were almost ready to go and then my sweet middle child tripped over her Princess Belle dress and fell hard. After making sure she was okay I decided we needed a wardrobe change. Thankfully she was at peace with that and miraculously I found a doctor costume and was able to locate all the pieces. But by the time we got to school my eldest was late and they’d already locked the gate. Sigh again. Her PE coach happened to see us and unlocked it for us so we didn’t have to make the block and march past the front office.

After delivering my children to school everything immediately calmed down. My shakes didn’t, but that’s a genetic issue.

After about 30 minutes of chaos we really have had a good day. I’m grateful that I do have a choice in how I behave. I’m grateful that tomorrow is a new day and I can make some adjustments. I’m grateful that I have such great kids that forgive me when I ask for it. And I’m grateful that I have permission to forgive myself.

But I REALLY want to experience something different on school mornings.

The critical mass in my home is comprised of pre-emergent readers, mind you, so text-based charts aren’t too helpful. The literacy rate in my home is only 40%, but since 3 out of 5 of us is under 5, then I don’t think we need to worry too much about this yet.

I need a morning routine that works for us  and I need to enforce boundaries. Gosh child training/training myself is hard!

How do you keep the peace in your home during the morning routine?

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Comments

  1. Raising three young ladies of our own (about same age spread of yours), we found an amazingly effective solution – it’s crazy expensive, but we sent our girls to college! One side benefit to this our household literacy rate is back at 50% ( couldn’t resist, lol). Love your posts. Parenting is one of the hardest things you will do, but most rewarding!

  2. Cindy Remini says:

    Try picture schedules? I had a few 3 year old PreK kids and a kindergartner that it worked wonders for. Maybe do small pictures: one of clothes, brushing teeth, eating breakfast etc. clip them on a ring so the kids can each have one or make a chart and they can put a sticker up as they complete their tasks. Of course I always had to make it a competition for my 3 year olds or offer some reward for stickers after a few days (a week was too long). It took a while for them to get the routine down but when they did it worked wonders for them in my PreK class. Not sure about using it in the home setting but could be worth a try.

    • jodilafrance says:

      Thank you, Cindi! That’s a great idea. Can you send me a picture of what you’re talking about? I’m not a visionary-type person, unfortunately.

  3. This is so hard for me and I have still not mastered it. You see I have a problem with getting my butt out of bed when the alarm goes off. They are sleeping so good never wake a sleeping baby. 😉 We are just in the first year. By year 16 maybe we will have it mastered.

  4. Paula Gowman says:

    Just know that after you have a schedule and everyone including you is finally on board eventually they will become teenagers and you are back to them taking naps and being fussy again. Never fear one day they will live on their own with their families and they will call/text and say how did you get everything done like you did. No one but you will remember the late arrivals to school or changing of the costumes at the last minute – they will remember the time Mom dressed them up for those special days such as Halloween/Fall Festival or just to have fun. The candy that was snuck and shared with precious sisters and all the fun they had growing up. Cherish those days too soon you will be comparing your grandchildren to your children and wonder where all the time went.

    • jodilafrance says:

      Oh my goodness, Paula, your words are like a warm blanket for my heart! I so appreciate your encouragement. I was just looking at Maisey today and the way she moves her bottom lip when she cries and all of the sudden it was like she was just a little baby again. She still cries the same way. Only I know that because I was there in all those behind-the-scenes moments. I think that’s one of God’s gifts to a mama, don’t you? Love you!

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